Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

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Each and every year, more than one million people visit the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Which is pretty impressive, when you realize that the population of this small, Atlantic island nation is only about 4.5 million. I guess it's a testament to these spectacular cliffs, which rise up more than 700 feet out of the sea on Ireland's west coast.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

I'd seen these cliffs before — in movies (like Harry Potter and the Princess Bride) and in plenty of photos. But actually seeing them in person?

I was far more impressed than I thought I would be.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

The October morning of my journey to the Cliffs of Moher dawned chilly, but beautifully clear — a rarity for an autumn day in Ireland. I made my way to one of Paddywagon's pick-up spots in downtown Dublin, and happily climbed aboard a tour bus with a couple dozen others, all of us wiping the sleep out of our eyes. I vowed to stay awake, however — there was too much Irish countryside to enjoy.

We set off from Dublin by 8 a.m., hitting the road for a long day of sightseeing. I was expecting to simply head straight to the Cliffs, but we had a couple of stops along the way: first Dún Guaire Castle and then the ruins of a monastery, followed by a stop in the town of Doolin for lunch.

Dún Guaire Castle, Ireland

Monastery cemetery in Ireland

Then, finally, it was time to go to the Cliffs of Moher.

Sleepy again and with a belly full of hearty soup, I sadly missed any commentary our Paddywagon guide offered up about the Cliffs on our way from Doolin. But it didn't matter. When Mother Nature creates something like this, you don't need to know a whole lot of background about it in order to appreciate it.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

(In case you're curious, though, the Cliffs of Moher are located on the edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise from 390 to 702 feet out of the Atlantic Ocean, and are home to tens of thousands of birds — including puffins!)

Upon arrival at the Cliffs, our guide set us free to explore for 90 minutes on our own. Could I have used more time at the Cliffs? Perhaps. After all, the hike out to Hag's Head (the southernmost point of the Cliffs) takes about 3 hours round-trip, and there's also a visitor's center to explore. With a chilly wind blowing, however, an hour and a half suited me just fine.

Most people made a beeline for O'Brien's Tower, the round stone tower that stands on the edge of the Cliffs. It's supposed to have some nice views. I, however, decided to go the opposite way, toward's the south.

O'Brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Moher

My reasoning for this was simple: since it was the afternoon by this point, walking this way along the Cliffs would provide the best light for photos. And I was well rewarded for my logic.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Even though the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions, it didn't FEEL like I was sharing my views with lots of other people. In fact, most of my walk along the packed-dirt cliff trails was quiet.

And oh so green.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

I left the Cliffs of Moher tired and more than a little windswept, but with a huge smile on my face.

Though most people will tell you that the best way to explore Ireland is by renting a car and driving yourself around, there's a lot to be said of full-day trips like this one, too. Yes, you spend quite a bit of time on a bus, but you don't have to worry about navigating Ireland's narrow roads, and you can truly enjoy the scenery as it slips by (or, you know, you could take a nap).

Overall? Totally worth it.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

IF YOU GO…

I went to the Cliffs of Moher with Paddywagon Tours, where a trip like this Cliffs of Moher day tour starts at 40 Euro ($62 USD). This price does not include lunch, but does include a guide, your transportation, and entrance to the Cliffs.

Alternatively, you can check out this Cliffs of Moher tour with Viator.

Are the Cliffs of Moher a place YOU would like to visit?

 

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Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

 

*Note: I was invited on a complimentary tour to the Cliffs of Moher with Paddywagon Tours. All opinions, as always, are entirely my own!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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58 Comments on “Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

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  1. I am about five years late to the party :-), but these photos are wonderful. Our family just returned from a visit to Ireland and we included the Cliffs of Moher. it was a rainy and foggy day, but we still got some awesome photos, and some kind of eerie ones, too. For those who like this sort of thing, be sure to visit one or more of the following: Cliffs of Moher, Cliffs of Kerry, Slieve League, or the cliffs around Dunluce Castle (in Northern Ireland).

      I’ve visited the Cliffs of Moher three times now, in 3 different types of weather – and they’re pretty much awesome no matter how you see them!

    Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures! I totally agree with you day tours are a very good solution for those who want to visit Ireland without worrying of driving and you can enjoy the Irish countryside as well and the cliffs are just wonderful !
    Hope to welcome you back in Ireland soon.

    I’ve just returned from a trip to Ireland. I had no idea the Cliffs of Moher were a must-see. Looking at your photos, I realize I have to get back there at least once more.

      Perfect excuse for another trip! 🙂

    I envy your photos, not only because of the quality but because we went to the cliffs on a cold, windy and rainy day in May. I wanted so badly to shoot some nice photos and ended up with a lot of grays and dark clouds.

    That path along the edge of the cliffs was memorable — the high winds almost seemed like they were ready to knock some of us off the cliffs and into the water below.

      I definitely lucked out with the weather the day I went (though it was still very windy!).

    Your photos are amazing Amanda! The Cliffs of Moher are definitely a sight I’d love to see some day and seeing your photos and reading your words about it just make me wanna go even more! lol Thank you for sharing the beauty of Ireland =)

      Thanks so much, Eden! There’s definitely a reason that the Cliffs of Moher are so popular!

    My goodness what beautiful images! I loved them all.

      Thank you! The Cliffs are really stunning!

    WOW! You got some great photos of the cliffs! Really hope you have enjoyed your trips to Ireland as much as we have enjoyed your posts!

    I love The Burren, where the Cliffs are. The first time I went there, it was before the Visitors Center and was way less crowded than it gets these days. Doolin is know for its traditional Irish music and the entire area has archeological and other treasures. A wonderful place to go when in Ireland. Spend a few days!

    Great photos. Good that other people will know about the spectacular cliffs. Looks like you got a good day at least as in the last 2 weeks with the storms the spray from below is coming over the cliffs!

      The Cliffs should definitely go on any Ireland bucket list!

    That shot over the cliff into the water makes it seem like you’re right on the edge. Eeeek! I wish I had planned a trip out to see the cliffs when I was in Ireland as they’re gorgeous!

      Heehee, well I kind of WAS very near to the edge to get that shot! Lucky I’m not afraid of heights!

    I took a three day Shamrockers tour along the coast (which I loved) and this was of course one of my favorite stops. Beautiful photos!

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