Unique Ways To Visit The Cliffs Of Moher (And How To Avoid Getting Shafted On Parking!)

Everything you need to know about visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

visit the cliffs of moher ireland
Photos via Shutterstock

A visit to the Cliffs of Moher is one of the most popular things to do in Clare.

Located in the beautiful Burren region, the Cliffs of Moher stretch for an impressive 13km and stand proudly above the Atlantic at 702 feet in height.

They attract 1.5 million+ visitors every year and are home to a visitor centre, a new O’Brien’s Tower experience and they offer mighty views.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything from how to avoid getting shafted on Cliffs of Moher parking costs to things to do nearby.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting the Cliffs of Moher

cliffs of moher at sunset
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Although a visit to the Cliffs of Moher is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

Pay particular attention to the point about parking/ticket prices, as you can be easily fooled into paying much more than you need to.

1. Location

You’ll find the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland, in County Clare, on Ireland’s West Coast. They’re a stone’s throw from Liscannor village and Doolin.

2. Safety

Please, please, please don’t get close to the cliff edge. The ground is VERY uneven in places, the wind can be incredible strong and, sadly, tragedies have happened where people have fallen from the Cliffs of Moher after getting to close to the edge. Please keep your distance.

3. Parking

If you plan on parking at the Cliffs of Moher, you’ll need to pay €6 for each person in the car (you’ll get access to the visitor centre for this €6, also! Note 1: if you book online you’ll save around €2 per person. Note 2: Prices may change).

4. Ticket prices

So, your €6 gets you into the visitor centre, which isn’t anything special (there’s toilets, a cafe and a gift shop). If you want to visit the new O’Brien’s Tower experience, you’ll need to book this at the reception in the visitor centre. I can’t seem to find how much this costs but it doesn’t appear to be included in the main ticket price

5. How to get in for free

If you’re walking to the cliffs on the Doolin Cliff walk (or from Hag’s Head) and you don’t want to go into the visitor centre, you don’t need a ticket. To avoid getting stuck for paying for everyone in the car, let your passengers out SAFELY before you reach the ticket booths.

6. Opening hours

Like most tourist attractions in Ireland, the opening hours for the Cliffs of Moher changes depending on the season (note: opening hours may change):

  • Jan, Feb, Nov and Dec: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Mar, Apr, Sept and Oct: 08:00 – 19:00
  • May to Aug: 08:00 – 21:00

7. Weather

The weather at the Cliffs of Moher, just like in any other part of Ireland, can be a little bit mental. You could be lashing on sun cream one minute and diving under a tree for shelter the next.

Bring layers. That way, if it’s too hot you can remove some, and if it’s too cold you can put some back on. A waterproof jacket or a poncho is key!

4 of the best ways to see the Cliff of Moher (if you want to avoid the crowds)

visiting the cliffs of moher
Photo via Shutterstock

OK, I need to be careful about how I word the next few sentences, as I don’t want to be liable for anything… There are 4 ways to visit the Cliffs of Moher that’ll ensure you dodge the crowds.

Now, while the second and third points below are perfectly legal and all above board, the first is more than likely frowned upon. Frowned upon, but I know lots of people that have done it and it’s been grand:

1. Arrive before the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre opens

cliffs of moher at night
Photo by Burben (shutterstock)

I’ve heard from many that the best time to visit the Cliffs of Moher is very early in the morning, before the visitor centre/parking opens up.

According to a friend that’ll remain nameless, he recently made a trip to the Cliffs of Moher at 05:00 (the sun starts to rise from around 05:05 in Ireland in June).

The car park was closed, but he parked outside, not far from the barrier, in away from the road. He then walked to the Cliffs and had the whole place to himself as the sun rose.

Disclaimer: I’m not advising you to do this. If you did want to visit early in the morning, you’d want to ensure you get there very early to avoid blocking staff from entering the car park.

2. Arrive at Sunset

cliffs of moher at sunset
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

I’d argue that the best time to visit the Cliffs of Moher is just before the sun sets. One October, myself and one of the lads (Mayo Declan) ended up in Doolin for a night, and managed to get up to the cliffs just before the sun started to set.

It was pretty damn special (see the photo above). In and around sunset at the Cliffs of Moher tends to be quiet. Now, when we were there it was Ireland’s off-season, so there was only a handful of people there, anyway.

However, I’ve spoken to a load of people over the years that have visited at sunset, and they said it was reasonably quiet for them, also.

Tour companies tend to visit the cliffs in the morning and afternoon, with few offering (I’ve only seen one) late evening trips. Well worth doing!

3. Cliffs of Moher boat tours

ferry cliffs of moher
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The photo above is about 7 years old and I still have that ropey looking jacket for some reason… One of the most unique ways to see the cliffs is on one of the Cliffs of Moher boat tours.

You can climb aboard a ferry at Doolin Pier and you’ll sail below the cliffs. Out of all the ways that I’ve seen the cliffs over the years, this was the most unique, by far.

There’s another tour that you can do that takes you from Doolin to Inis Oirr Island. Then, on the return journey, you’ll sail below the cliffs.

Here’s a couple of Cliffs of Moher tour suggestions (these are affiliate links – you won’t pay extra, but we’ll make a small commission on the sale, which we greatly appreciate).

4. See them from the Hag’s Head side

hags head car park

This is another great option for those of you looking to dodge the crowds. Whack ‘Cliffs of Moher Liscannor Walk’ into your sat nav.

You’ll get parking here (it was €2 when I was here last) and you can take a handy 15 to 20-minute walk up to the viewing point across from Hag’s Head.

I tend to recommend this to people that have no other option but to visit at peak times and that want to avoid a crowd where possible (the Doolin Cliff walk is another good option!).

While you’ll still encounter plenty of people here during peak time, it’ll be nowhere near the number of people at the side near the main entrance.

More things to do when you visit the Cliffs of Moher 

There are a number of things to do at the Cliffs of Moher and there’s many more things to see nearby (which I’ll cover later).

Below, you’ll find everything from O’Brien’s tower to the visitor centre to the new immersive visitor experience.

1. Switch off and soak up the view

cliffs of moher at sunset

This one may seem obvious, but it’s not. One of the first things people do (myself included) when they arrive at a place like this is whip out their phone and take a picture.

When you visit, try and soak it all up – the views, the smell of fresh sea air and the feeling of the Atlantic breeze whipping across your face.

Now, this is definitely harder to do at peak times when there are big groups legging it about the place, selfie sticks all over the gaff, and noise. 

2. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and O’Brien’s Tower

visiting the cliffs of moher ireland
Photos via Shutterstock

O’Brien’s Tower is part of the visitor experience. You’ll find the tower near the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher. It was constructed way back in 1835 and used as a viewing point for tourists.

It was restored in 1970, 2008 and then again in 2019. The interior of O’Brien’s Tower now hosts a new experiential tour, where visitors will hear the story of the infamous Cornelius O’Brien.

Expect visuals and stories. Note: you’ll need to book a ticket for this tour in the reception area.

Getting to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin and Galway

blackrock beach salthill
Photo by Lisandro Luis Trarbach (Shutterstock)

One of the most common questions that we receive revolves around getting to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway, Dublin and Limerick.

As a visit to Moher is one of the most popular things to do in Ireland, there are a few different ways to do it from many major towns and cities:

From Galway

  • Driving: It’s a handy hour drive from Galway City
  • Bus: The 350 bus from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher is your best bet
  • Tours: See our tour section below

From Dublin

  • Driving: 2 hours and 50 minutes
  • Bus: The Dublin to Cliffs of Moher bus route isn’t ideal – you take the M7 from Dublin City to Ennis, then the 350 bus from Ennis to the cliffs – total time: 5 hours and 30 minutes
  • Tours: See our tour section below

From Limerick

  • Driving: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Bus: The Limerick to Cliffs of Moher bus route is handy enough – you take the 300 bus from Limerick to Ennis, then the 350 bus from Ennis to the cliffs – total time: 3 hours 
  • Tours: See our tour section below

The Cliffs of Moher shuttle bus

Cliffs of Moher Shuttle Bus Schedule

If you’re staying in Ennistymon, Lahinch, Liscannor, Doolin, Lisdoonvarna you’re in luck – a shuttle bus launched in 2019 that now serves each of these areas.

You can buy tickets and get updates on the cliffsofmoher.ie. Note: the service only runs during the summer months (30th May – 31st August).

Cliffs of Moher Tours 

As the Cliffs are one of the most popular places to visit in Ireland, there’s an almost endless number of Cliffs of Moher tours on offer, and they tend to be pretty OK price wise, if you don’t have a car.

Here’s a couple of day trips from Dublin and Galway that have great reviews (note: these are affiliate links).

Day trip from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher

 

Day trip from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher

 

Things to do near the Cliffs of Moher

One of the beauties of Moher is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Cliffs (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Doolin

what to do in Doolin
Photos via Shutterstock

The mighty little village of Doolin is one of the most popular places to visit near the Cliffs of Moher and it’s home to everything from Doonagore Castle to the Doolin Cave. Here are some Doolin guides to nip into:

2. The Aran Islands

what to do on the aran islands
Photos via Shutterstock

The Aran Islands (Inis Mor, Inis Oirr and Inis Meain) are a short ferry ride from Doolin Pier. There are plenty of things to do on the Aran Islands, from Dun Aonghasa to the Worm Hole.

3. The Burren

Poulnabrone dolmen in the burren
Photos via Shutterstock

The Burren National Park is home to some incredible things to see and do. From the brilliant Burren walks and Father Ted’s House, to Poulnabrone Dolmen, Fanore Beach, the Aillwee Caves and much, much more.

Cliffs of Moher FAQs (yes, a scene from Harry Potter was filmed here…)

harry potter ireland

We’ve received many different questions about the cliffs over the years (mainly relating to the Cliffs of Moher Harry Potter link…). I’m going to try and answer the most common below.

If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, just ask it in the comments section below this guide.

Was Harry Potter Filmed at the Cliffs of Moher?

Yes. A scene from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed at the cliffs. Remember the scene where Dumbledore and Harry travelled to a cave to locate one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes? That was shot in one of the caves at the Cliffs of Moher.

Do you have to pay for the Cliffs of Moher?

No, you do not need to pay in to see the Cliffs of Moher. You do have to pay for the car park (€6 per person) and into the visitor centre (it’s free in if you pay for parking) but if you don’t have a car, it’s FREE to see the cliffs.

When is the best time to visit the Cliffs of Moher?

If you can, try and arrive just before sunset. It tends to be quieter before the sun drops and, on a clear day, the view you’ll be treated to is out of this world.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

2 COMMENTS

  1. If we purchase the discounted tickets on the website, do we have to pay for the car park when we get there or is that already included in the ticket?

  2. Hi . Will be in Doolin Sunday with my daughter to see Cliffs , her 1st time!! , she’s 21 ( shame on me ).. anyway weather is supposed to be chronic, again !
    From reading the above ( fantastically informative btw, thanks) , I’m torn between the cliff walk or boat? , presumably both with depend on how bad it is too weather wise.
    Love reading your blogs .
    Thanks

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