Cliffs of Moher: when to visit, what to see, & things to know

These iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in West Clare are truly breathtaking. Here is everything you need to know about the Cliffs of Moher.

Standing at an impressive 214 metres (702 feet) high, this stunning cliff face is one of Ireland’s most celebrated features. Stretching along the coastline of County Clare for an impressive 8 km, the infamous cliffs are home to staggering sea views.

It is believed that the Cliffs of Moher, which are one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland, are over 320 million years old and many movies feature the Cliffs of Moher.

It is widely thought that these cliffs were once part of a warm sub-tropical estuary when much of Western Europe was covered in shallow warm seas. As time progressed, the estuary became a low range of hills that were eventually eroded to form the infamous cliffs.

The Cliffs of Moher get their name from an old fort, Mothar, which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars. This fort was at Hags Head, the most southerly point of the Cliffs of Moher.

Every year about 1.6 million tourists flock to the Cliffs of Moher to experience this jaw-dropping experience for themselves. No trip to Ireland would be complete without paying a visit to this magnificent stretch of coastline.

When to visit – the best time to experience the cliffs

When to visit.
Credit: Chris Hill for Tourism Ireland

As Ireland’s second most popular attraction, the Cliffs of Moher can get extremely busy, particularly during the tourism season. While the weather is generally better during the summer months, it is the busiest period for the attraction.

If you are planning on heading to the Cliffs of Moher during the summer months, it is usually quieter before 11 am and after 5 pm. Trust us; it is a much more enjoyable experience when fewer people are milling about!

What to see – the highlights

The highlights of the Cliffs of Moher.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

With 8 km (4.9 mi) of cliff-face to explore, there is so much natural beauty to marvel at, so be sure to walk the entire length of them.

Most people tend only to spend a short while in the area, so they usually stay in front of the visitors centre, making it overly crowded during the tourism season’s height.

Harry Potter fans should keep their eyes peeled as a scene from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was filmed here. In the movie, Harry and Dumbledore go looking for one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. The famous scene is filmed at a large cave at the cliff’s base, which was home to the locket once owned by Salazar Slytherin.

As a Special Protection Area for birds, the area surrounding Cliffs of Moher is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Over 20 different bird species call the cliffs home, ranging from puffins to the elusive peregrine falcons. There are butterflies, bats, feral goats, and hares who also frequent the area. Sometimes in the sea below, there are basking sharks and pods of dolphins.

Near the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher is O’Brien’s Tower, a tower which dates back to 1835. While it can get busy, this should not be missed when visiting the area as the views from here are truly magical.

Inside the tower, visitors have the opportunity to learn about Cornelius O’Brien, who built the tower for the hundreds of tourists who visited the area back in the early 19th-century.

Things to know – important information

Things to know.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

There is a visitor centre at the Cliffs of Moher, in which you can learn about the story and history of the cliffs and surrounding area. A video plays on a loop that offers a birds-eye view of the cliffs, which is very interesting.  Kids will also enjoy the interactive experience that is available here.

If you are walking to the cliffs and don’t want to go to the visitors centre, you won’t need to purchase a ticket.

However, if you drive to the cliffs, you will have to pay for parking, but this includes access to the visitor centre. For the cheapest option, it is best to book in advance here.

As the cliffs face out onto the wild Atlantic Ocean, it is best to bring another layer, so you don’t get too cold. Winds can get extremely strong here, so be careful when standing close to the edge of the cliff.

We suggest heading out on a Cliffs of Moher cruise for a unique way of enjoying the Cliffs of Moher.

Starting in the nearby town of Doolin, you will get to view the entirety of the cliffs from a unique angle, and you will feel absolutely minuscule as you look up at the looming cliffs!

Sunset at the cliffs is an utterly mesmerising experience. As the cliffs face to the west and overlook the ocean, we guarantee that the sunset will be unlike any other! Bring a picnic and a blanket as you enjoy one of the most magical experiences in the west of Ireland.  

How to get here – directions

Cliffs of Moher are one of the most iconic sights in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher are conveniently located so you can day trip from almost anywhere in Ireland with some planning. It is just a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Galway or Limerick, and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Dublin.

Address: Lislorkan North, Liscannor, Co. Clare, V95 KN9T

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