The Doolin Cliff walk is arguably one of the most unique ways to see the Cliffs of Moher and it’s one of our favourite things to do in Clare.
And as anyone who’s rambled along this version of the Cliffs of Moher coastal walk will tell you, it’s one of those experiences that absolutely cannot be replicated through videos or photos!
Whether it’s for a gorgeous sunset or a windy winter walk (it’s called the Wild Atlantic Way for a reason!), the cliffs are relentlessly impressive from any angle.
However, in this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to make your way from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows about the Doolin Cliff Walk
Although a ramble along this version of the Cliffs of Moher walking trail (there’s another one from the Hag’s Head side) is one of the more popular things to do in Doolin, it isn’t overly straightforward.
Below, you’ll find some quick need-to-knows. PLEASE pay careful to the safety warning, as proper care is required while doing this version of the walk.
1. There are two Cliffs of Moher walking trails
There’s the Doolin Cliff Walk, which starts in Doolin and follows the coast to the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre before continuing on towards Hag’s Head.
Then there’s the walk from Hag’s Head to the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre, that finishes up in Doolin. In this guide, we’re going to tackle the route from Doolin.
2. How long it takes
The full Cliffs of Moher walk stretches around 13km (from Doolin out to Hag’s Head) and takes around 4.5 hours while the shorter version of the Doolin Cliff Walk is 8km (to the visitor centre) and takes roughly 3 hours to complete.
Thanks to the exposed cliff edges and swift changes in the weather (accounting for wind, rain and fog), the Doolin Cliff Walk can be classed as a moderate to difficult walk. The ground is fairly flat, and there are no prolonged inclines, but the path is uneven, so care is needed.
3. Where to start
You start this version of the Cliffs of Moher walk from the colourful (and lively, depending on what time of the day you visit!) Fisher Street in Doolin. There’s parking just up the road from Gus O’Connor’s (one of our favourite pubs in Doolin!).
4. Safety warning (please read)
The Doolin Cliff Walk follows a trail that hugs the cliff edge and the ground is uneven, so it’s easy to loose your footing at times. Care and caution is required (especially if walking with kids). Please, please, please avoid getting near the edge.
5. Section of trail closed
Please note that a section of the Doolin Coastal Walk is now closed for repair works (the section between the exit that takes you to/from the visitor centre and the access at Aillenasharragh). We’d recommend doing the Liscannor to Cliffs of Moher Walk instead.
The trail to follow for this Cliffs of Moher walk
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the trail you take from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher. If you haven’t already, please flick back up and read the safety notice.
You’ve a long, lovely walk ahead of you that’ll banish the stickiest of cobwebs and treat you to stunning views throughout.
Starting off the walk
Starting the Doolin cliff walk from colourful Fisher Street, you’ll reach the first stile after around a kilometer (you can’t miss it – it’s like a mini step ladder up and over the fence).
When you hit the ground on the other side, you’ve reached the start of the trail. It’s from this gravel path where the you’ll start to get a feeling of the majesty of the cliffs, even from this relatively low height.
Fields, birds and coastal views
The gentle uphill trail passes through absurdly green grassland that contrasts nicely with the rocky ridges and raging ocean below.
You’ll also properly feel the wind on your face as you get further away from the comforts of Fisher Street!
Small streams and vivid flora will also punctuate the initial journey from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher, as well as plenty of wildlife, birds in particular.
Hitting the half-way point
The cliffs begin to get a little steeper about halfway through the walk but as the path rises, the views become ever more impressive.
It’s well signposted but again PLEASE DON’T BE TEMPTED TO GET TOO NEAR THE CLIFF EDGE, as sudden gusts can come out of nowhere.
Before long you’ll approach one of the most famous viewing points of the Cliffs of Moher walking trail (you’ll also probably bump into a few more people here).
The cliffs rise majestically and disappear off into a hazy distance with the Branaunmore sea stack a unique part of an already stunning landscape.
67 metres high, the sea stack was once part of the cliffs but coastal erosion slowly removed the layers of rock that connected it with the mainland.
Finally, you’ll reach O’Briens Tower where you’ll also find the main viewing points and visitor centre. O’Brien’s Tower provides some mighty panoramas so head up there and drink in everything this gorgeous landscape has to offer!
The shuttle bus back to Doolin
Yes, you don’t have to worry about walking all the way back – you can take the Cliffs of Moher shuttle bus, which launched in 2019. The bus runs 8 times daily from June to August.
For some weird reason I can’t find info online about prices or where to get the bus from, so just check in the visitor centre.
A longer walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher and on to Hag’s Head
If you’re up for a windswept challenge and even more savage views of Ireland’s most famous cliffs, then you can always take on the longer walk from Doolin to Hag’s Head.
Or, you can walk from Hag’s Head and finish up the walk with a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants in Doolin.
A 13km jaunt in total, this version of the Cliffs of Moher walk provides remarkable vistas to the Aran Islands, Connemara and down along the Clare coast.
On a clear day, the mountains of Kerry can also be seen. And, of course, this trail is a little quieter so you’ll have the stunning scenes all to yourself!
A guided Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher coastal walk
If you want a deeper experience of the Cliffs of Moher walking trail, then there a few handy guided tours from knowledgeable locals that will be worth your time.
These guided walks are great if you’re not confident in tackling the trail by yourself and if you fancy discovering stories about the local area.
Pat Sweeney’s family have been farming the land around the cliffs for five generations and he knows the Cliffs of Moher coastal walk inside out.
From taking you to the finest viewpoints to providing interesting information about local history, folklore, characters and wildlife, Pat’s your man. His easy going style will make the hours on his Doolin Cliff Walk tour pass by in no time.
Check out Cormac McGinley’s walking tour too. Cormac worked as a ranger at the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre for 11 years so it’s fair to say he knows what he’s talking about!
His tours are packed with info and stories and typically last between three and four hours. Both tours have rave reviews online.
FAQs about the Cliffs of Moher walking trail
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from how long the Doolin Cliff Walk takes to which route is the best.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
How long does the Doolin Cliff Walk take?
If you walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre, it’ll take you around 3 hours max (although you may finish it quicker, depending on pace). If you’re going to walk from Doolin to Hag’s Head, allow 4 hours.
Can you walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher safely?
Yes, you can. But PROPER CARE AND CAUTION ARE REQUIRED AT ALL TIMES. The Cliffs of Moher coastal hugs the cliff edge, so it’s absolutely critical that you avoid getting too close. If in doubt, take a guided tour!
Is the Cliffs of Moher walk easy?
No – it’s definitely not easy, but it’s not too challenging, either. It’s just a long walk, so a decent level of fitness is required. Especially if you’re walking from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher and then on to Hag’s Head.