11 Often-Missed Cliffs In Ireland That Are Just As Mighty As Moher

11 Cliffs in Ireland that are Just as Mighty as Moher
Photo left via Mark Heighes/shutterstock.com. Photo right via Deirdre Fitzgerald.

When it comes to cliffs in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher tend to attract the majority of the attention.

Located on the Wild Atlantic Way, these majestic sea cliffs offer plenty of dramatic scenery, thanks to their height (rising to 214m/702 feet).

Now, while Clare’s famous cliffs are incredible and well worth visiting, there are plenty of other cliffs in Ireland that don’t get half the credit that they deserve.

11 Cliffs in Ireland worth visiting in 2020

In the guide below, you’ll discover 11 incredible sea cliffs in Ireland that are just as magnificent as Moher, yet receive only a tiny portion of the attention. 

You’ll find lesser-known cliffs, like Croaghan in Mayo, to more popular spots, like Slieve League in Donegal.

1. Dún Aonghasa (Galway)

aran islands dun aonghasa
Photo by Timaldo (Shutterstock)

Head north from the Cliffs of Moher to Inis Mor in Galway where Dún Aonghasa stone fort and sea cliffs are waiting to thrill you.

Perched right on the lip of these cliffs are the remains one of the largest prehistoric strongholds on the Aran Islands. Stand at the cliffs (not too close to the unfenced edge please!) and peer down the sheer 87-metre drop to the hungry white-capped waves far below.

Try to envisage the remarkable manual labour required to collect and shape the thousands of upright stones that were used in the construction of these massive drystone defences 3,000 years ago. 

2. The Kerry Cliffs (Kerry)

the kerry cliffs
Photo by Mark Heighes/shutterstock.com

You’ll find our next cliffs along the mighty Skellig Ring in County Kerry, a stone’s throw from the little town of Portmagee.

For elevation, the Kerry Cliffs even higher than the Cliffs of Moher, rising 300m (about 1,000 feet) above the restless waves below.

The views are equally jaw-dropping with the shadowy outline of the jagged peaks of Skellig Michael appearing on the horizon on clear days. 

You’ll have to pay a €4 per person entry fee and you’ll then need to take the short stroll from the car park up to the cliffs. Incredible views await.

3. The Fair Head Cliffs (Antrim)

Ariel view of The Fair Head Cliffs
Photo via Nahlik on shutterstock.com

Located just outside Ballycastle, Fair Head is the tallest cliff face in Northern Ireland at 183m or 600 feet. Popular with climbers, Fair Head is the biggest expanse of climbable rock in Ireland.

Keep a lookout for wild goats on the nearby “Grey Man’s Path” and, if you visit on a clear day, soak up the views out to Rathlin Island and scenic Murlough Bay.

Of course, there’s a legend about how Fair Head got its name; a story involving a beautiful fair-headed maiden and a duel which ended up with both lovers falling over a cliff and her body washing ashore here. 

4. The Cliffs At Bull Rock Island (Cork)

Bull Rock Dursey Island
Photo taken by Deirdre Fitzgerald

Located about 4km from Dursey Island, Bull Rock Island stands at 93-metres-high and is home of the famous Bull Rock Lighthouse (now automated).

The island has a tunnel right through it (said to be the Gateway to the Underworld) that boats can sail through when the sea is calm.

It’s an unforgettable trip! Abandoned ruins on this green sandstone and purple siltstone island are evidence that this wild outcrop was once inhabited.

5. The Croaghaun Sea Cliffs (Achill Island)

highest cliffs ireland
Photo by Junk Culture/shutterstock.com

Croaghaun Cliffs top the table as the highest sea cliffs in Ireland (688m or 2,257 feet) and the third highest in Europe. They are almost three times higher than the more famous and easier-to-access Cliffs of Moher.

Located at the western end of Achill Island, these exposed cliffs can only be reached on foot (there’s a nice hike from near Keem Bay) or via boat.

Look out for the swooping peregrine falcons (the world’s fastest living creature) which can dive at speeds of up to 240mph. 

6. The Cliffs at Whiterocks (Antrim)

Whiterocks in Portrush
Photo by Monicami/shutterstock.com

One of the most beautiful cliffs in Ireland, Whiterocks Cliffs overlook the glorious white sandy beach at Portrush in County Derry.

These stunning limestone cliffs have plenty of caves, arches and headlands which have romantic names such as the Wishing Arch, Elephant Rock, Shelagh’s Head and Lion’s Paw.

Enjoy a bracing beach walk, explore the caverns (when safe to do so!) and look out for seabirds before heading into Portrush for refreshments.

7. The Cliffs at Loop Head (Clare)

Ariel view of The Cliffs at Loop Head
Photo via 4kclips on shutterstock.com

Another gem on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs at Loop Head are some of the most underappreciated cliffs in Ireland.

These sheer cliffs, with their defined strata layers, fall vertically into the sea. The cliffs are located at the tip of the Loop Head Peninsula with the Atlantic on one side and the Shannon Estuary on the other.

You can climb the 23-m high lighthouse on guided tours. Check out the restored EIRE sign from WW2 and look for the nearby sea stack known as Diarmuid and Grainne’s Rock or Lover’s Leap.   

8. The Cliffs at Slieve League (Donegal)

The Slieve League Cliffs
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The Slieve League Cliffs are another contender for the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Standing above the 609m (2000-foot) drop you can make believe you are on the very edge of the earth.

Book an informative guided tour along the cliffs at the Slieve League Cliffs Centre and learn about the Signal Tower, pilgrimage chapel and beehive huts.

Alternatively, drive up to the main viewing area and make the short stroll from the car park where, on a clear day, you’ll get views like the one above.

9. The Cliffs at Mizen Head (Cork)

Mizen Head Cliffs
Photo by Monicami/shutterstock.com

Mizen Head is the most southwesterly point of Ireland so these cliffs are a landmarked on the well-trod tourist trail.

The clifftop walk includes some vertiginous experiences, 99 steps and a footbridge across a water-filled ravine that is not for the faint-hearted. 

You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking sea views and maybe even a dolphin or whale sighting.

10. The Cliffs at Benwee Head (Mayo)

The Cliffs at Benwee Head
Photo by Gareth McCormack

Part of the 12km Benwee Head Loop Walk, the Benwee Head Cliffs are in a dramatic landscape of surreal natural beauty.

From the clifftop, you can see Slieve League Cliffs and Croaghaun, other top contenders mentioned in our roundup of the most incredible cliffs in Ireland.

Look out for the stone-carved EIRE sign near the shepherd’s hut and gaze out across the peninsula to the Stags of Broadhaven, just offshore.

11. The Fogher Cliffs (Kerry)

The Fogher Cliffs Kerry
Photo via CA Irene Lorenz on shutterstock.com

Last but certainly not least, the lofty Fogher Cliffs rise to 600 feet (183m) on the northern side of Geokaun Mountain, the highest peak on Valentia Island.

You can drive or walk 1200 metres from the car park along a cliff path to admire the beautiful views above (there is a €5 entrance fee per car).

The cliffs include four lookout areas providing information boards and views of the Skelligs, the Blasket Islands, Bray Head Tower, Church Island, Portmagee and the Cable Station.

What cliffs in Ireland have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve left out some incredible Irish cliffs from the guide above (the cliffs in Ballybunion in Kerry and the ones in Ardmore in Waterford spring to mind).

If you’d like to recommend some other cliffs in Ireland to those reading, let us know in the comments section below.

Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Ballycotton cliff walk is also spectacular, love all those above thank you for the recommendations! I’ve been to about half of your suggestions, so looking forward to more trips in the near future hopefully!

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