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Cliffs of Moher in Ireland: Your Complete Guide

By: Camila
Published: 27/04/2021

Come visit the jewel of Ireland, the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs themselves are imposing and dramatic, but it’s the whole experience that makes this a worthwhile stop. From birdlife to stunning sea views, you’ll want to make the detour to see the top attraction of Ireland.

No trip to Ireland is complete without at least catching a glimpse of the famous Cliffs of Moher. To help you plan your holiday, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions about visiting the cliffs.



About the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Let’s start with the basics. What are these cliffs you may have heard so much about? Where are they located in Ireland? How were they formed? Learn a bit more about this famous rock face before your visit.

What are the Cliffs of Moher?

They are an important part of the coastal landscape in Ireland. They are characterised by their height and length, a sheer drop into the sea below and craggy rock formations.

From the top, you could spot sea stacks, caves and other coastal landforms. A highlight is the Branaunmore sea stack, which stands 67 metres (220 feet) high. It was once part of the cliffs but was separated due to erosion.

The cliffs are part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark which supports sustainable tourism. Thanks to its high number of bird species, it was also made into a special protected area for birds and wildlife back in the late 1970s.

cliffs of moher and the sea

How were the Cliffs of Moher formed?

When you come to admire the Cliffs of Moher, you also come to witness 300 million years of history. The rocks that make up the cliffs were formed that long ago, during the Upper Carboniferous period.

If you look over the cliff edge, you’ll notice long horizontal layers of rock, also called strata. These layers are made of siltstone, shale and sandstone.

Their fractured look was created because of the movement of the tectonic plates on the Earth’s crust. Colliding with one other created deep fractures, which you can now witness at the Cliffs of Moher.

How tall are the Cliffs of Moher?

The cliffs reach up to 214 metres (702 feet) in height at their highest point. And they stretch on for 8 kilometres (5 miles).

Where are the Cliffs of Moher?

The cliffs are located on the west coast of Ireland between the cities of Galway and Limerick. They are one of the highlights of the famous Wild Atlantic Way, which follows Ireland’s west coast.

Nearby towns include Doolin and Liscannor in County Clare.

What was filmed at the Cliffs of Moher?

The cliffs’ natural beauty has been used as a backdrop for many movies, television series and even music videos. It’s no wonder when you see how striking the landscape is here.

You’ll probably recognise them from Harry Potter, The Princess Bride, Leap Year, Father Ted, and much more.

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Now you know the “what”, let’s get on to “how”. Learn more about visiting this top tourist attraction and its visitor centre.



Are the Cliffs of Moher worth seeing?

Yes! Come witness the power of the Atlantic Ocean at Ireland’s most popular site. You can expect spectacular natural scenery, from the cliffs themselves to the sweeping views from the edge.

On a clear day, you can see all the way to the windswept Aran Islands and even the Dingle Peninsula. You’ll also enjoy beautiful views of Galway Bay and the Twelve Pins mountain range in Connemara.

With more than 600 metres (2,000 feet) of paths to explore and multiple viewing platforms, you’ll be able to take it all in.

view of the cliffs of moher

Do you have to pay for the Cliffs of Moher?

Technically, you don’t have to pay to see the cliffs as they are part of the natural landscape. However, there is a fee for the Cliffs of Moher visitor experience.

So that is to say that yes, you’ll have to pay. In fact, if you’re driving, the car parking fee is inclusive of admission. But you can look forward to maintained paths, viewing areas, an interactive exhibition, Wi-Fi, free tours, and more.

The admission cost also contributes to the conservation of the area.

What facilities are available at the Cliffs of Moher?

When you arrive at the Cliffs of Moher, the admission fee includes access to the secure car park across the road.

You can then head into the visitor centre where you’ll find:

  • A tourist information desk
  • Baggage and storage facilities
  • ATM, or cash machine
  • Toilets
  • Gift shops
  • Self-service iPads, maps and brochures
  • Puffins Nest Coffee Shop and Cliffs View Café

For optimal visitor experiences, the centre is entirely wheelchair accessible. There is access to the cliffs and some elevated views from Hag’s Head and O’Brien’s Tower. Wheelchairs are also available for use on the site.

Outdoors, you can take advantage of the picnic tables and stone bench seating to make it a day. There are over 600 metres (2,000 feet) of paths to explore and viewing platforms. This includes the Main, North and South platforms. You can also access O’Brien’s Tower.

What are the best place to see Cliffs of Moher?

From the visitor centre, you have the choice of quite a few viewing spots. Take your pick from the 3 main platforms that all offer stunning 360° panoramas.

From the main viewing area, you can admire the south cliffs and the Hag’s Head rock formation. The North platform is located at the highest point of the cliffs, Knockardakin. Finally, the South platform is where you’ll find the best views over the puffin colony of Goat Island.

You won’t want to miss O’Brien’s Tower either. It was built in 1835 by Cornelius O’Brien, a local landowner who wanted to develop tourism for the local economy. Yes, even back in the day, people flocked here to come see the mighty Cliffs of Moher.

The tower sits atop a headland and offers magnificent views over the cliffs and surroundings.

What to do at the Cliffs of Moher?

It’s not all about the visitor centre and viewing platform. There is much to do when you visit the Cliffs of Moher and its area. You can of course explore all the pathways at your leisure.

Bring your binoculars if you’re a keen birdwatcher. The cliffs are home to Ireland’s largest mainland seabird nesting colony. Here, you’ll find 20 species of nesting birds and up to 30,000 breeding pairs.

You could also take plenty of photos. Sunrises and sunsets are stunning from the Cliffs of Moher.

In the area of the Cliffs of Moher, there are a host of attractions to visit and activities to try. This includes the nearby Burren National Park, Poulnabrone Dolmen, Limerick, Bunratty Castle, Kinvara village and Dunguaire Castle.

Why not book a guided walk along the seaside? Or you could visit alpacas, try horseback riding, surfing or angling, go mountain biking, and more.



view of the burren rocky landscape

How much time should you spend at the Cliffs of Moher?

We recommend that you plan at least 1 to 2 hours for your visit. This way you’ll have time to explore the exhibition and enjoy a cliff walk to take in all the magnificent views from the different platforms.

Entrance is usually ticketed in sections of the day: morning, afternoon and evening. You’ll want to arrive during your time slot but from that point there is no time limit to your visit.

What is the best time of day to see the Cliffs of Moher?

Only you know what’s best for your trip. Maybe you’re staying nearby and you can take your pick of the time of day. If you’re driving through, you may be confined to your set itinerary.

It’s good to take into consideration that mornings are usually less busy. You’re likely to enjoy a quieter experience at the cliffs if you go nearer opening time.

Where can you see puffins at the Cliffs of Moher?

With 8 kilometres (5 miles) of rock face, the cliffs are home to an array of birds, marine life, fauna as well as sea and land mammals. When it comes to birdwatching, the area is splendid. It’s no wonder it is specially protected.

The puffins who call the Cliffs of Moher their home spend their winters at sea and come to shore to nest. They arrive around late May and stay until mid-July. So plan your trip ideally in June to come see them in their natural habitat.

You can spot them anywhere along the length of the cliffs. Also keep an eye out for guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, peregrine falcons, kittiwakes, and more.

Fun fact: Did you know that as opposed to declining numbers around Europe, the puffin population at the Cliffs of Moher is increasing?

puffins standing on rock

Planning your trip to the Cliffs of Moher

Now onto the practical tips to plan and book your visit to the famous Irish cliffs.

How to get to the Cliffs of Moher?

The best way to travel to the Cliffs of Moher is to drive. Take the wheel and you’ll be able to journey at your own pace.

From Dublin, the driving time is around 3-3.5 hours. You’ll have to cross the country from the east to the west coast. It’s doable in one day, of course, but take your time to enjoy other parts and highlights of Ireland.

You could stay in Galway. Driving time to the Cliffs is around 1.5 hours from here. Make it a longer getaway and stay at the nearby village of Doolin. This way you could enjoy more of the nearby attractions as listed above.

Are you driving around Ireland clockwise and coming from the south? The driving time from Cork to the Cliffs of Moher is around 2.5 hours.

Conveniently, the cliffs are located only 1 hour north of Shannon International Airport.

What is the best way to see the Cliffs of Moher?

You could see it on a day trip, but the best way to come enjoy the outstanding beauty of the Cliffs of Moher is as part of a coastal journey.

Take a self-drive tour from Dublin to the west coast. You could start from the top, in Donegal, and follow the Wild Atlantic Way south. This is an iconic route that follows the west coast of Ireland, passing by scenic cliffs, long strands of golden sand, tranquil fishing villages and historic sites.

Or you could focus on the southern section, between Galway and Cork. Some of Ireland’s top attractions are located here, including the Cliffs of Moher, but also the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Killarney National Park and Blarney Castle.



Booking your trip to the Cliffs of Moher

If you were wondering how to visit the Cliffs of Moher, we hope you have a better idea now. Did it inspire you to make this trip happen? Let an Ireland expert plan your trip for a memorable getaway.

When you book with Nordic Visitor, you get your accommodation, car hire, and activities planned and booked for you before you arrive. And your itinerary can be tailored if you have any special requests. Just ask your personal travel consultant!

You’ll also receive our Ireland Travel Guide, a personalised itinerary and map marked with your daily stops and recommendations. We’re also here to support you every step of the way and you can access our 24/7 helpline during your tour.

When you’re ready for your coastal Irish adventure, get in touch with our Ireland experts.

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Post by: Camila

 Camila grew up between the French Canadian and Chilean cultures, before moving to Scotland in 2012. When she’s not travelling or writing about travels, Camila loves to read, run, and puzzle. Her favourite destinations have been Reykjavík, Copenhagen, Estonia and Cape Town. 

Find Camila on LinkedIn.

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We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way - check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.