Day Trippin': A Quick Guide To The Cliffs of Moher
'Member the good old days of Instagram? Before that shitty algorithm took over and ruined our feeds and self-esteem?
I remember scrolling through my feed and stumbled across a photo of these beautiful, dramatic cliffs. While I can't remember whose photo inspired me that day, the image was burnt into my brain, and it went right to the top of my nature-wonders-I-need-to-see list.
And I'm proud to say I finally managed to tick that off - despite being deported from Ireland and technically denied entry into the country.
Talk about overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal.
- About The Cliffs of Moher -
The Cliffs of Moher is Ireland's most visited natural attraction, and it's not hard to understand why. Each year, the cliffs attract one million visitors, and despite the general shitty weather these cliffs still manage to look majestic as fuck.
The 120-metre cliffs are home to 30,000 birds including puffins, a herd of wild goats and on occasion, you might even spot a basking shark, humpback or minke whale.
But as with most beautiful things in life, they do not come without their share of controversy.
It is also one of the most deadly tourist attractions in the world. With strong winds and no railings along the cliff walks, a number of people have fallen to their deaths and endangered others who have tried to rescue them.
- Getting to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin -
- Option 1: Sign up for a tour, sit back and relax and have the logistics be someone else's problem.
- Option 2: Hire a car, without GPS, download directions and pray for the best.
Naturally, I went for option number 2.
Although it did take me much longer to get to the cliffs thanks to an unplanned detour through the Irish countryside, the views made up for it.
The drive from Dublin should take 3 hours if you are not geographically impaired.
It blew my mind that in the same amount of time it takes to drive from Johannesburg to the Drakensberg mountains, I can cross the breadth of an entire country.
- Entrance Fee -
Once you arrive at the cliffs, you will see a massive parking lot opposite the visitors centre. It is here where you will pay for admission to all public areas as well as the Visitors Centre and Exhibition.
But, if you plan on going to the O'Brien Tower, that will cost you extra.
Prices for Cliffs of Moher:
- Adults: €6 (R 90.00)
- Seniors: €4.50 (R 70.00)
- Students: €4.50
- Disabled: €4.50
- Children under 16: Free
Prices for O'Brien's Tower:
- Adults: €2.00 (R 30.00)
- Child: €1.00 (R 15.00)
You can find a list of opening hours depending on the time of year you are visiting on the official website.
- Harry Potter and the Cliffs of Moher -
If you are a Harry Potter nerd like me, you probably recognise these famous cliffs from the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Harry and Dumbledore stand on Lemon Rock looking at the Horcrux cave in the face of the cliffs. While you won't be able to stand on the rock from the scene, you can snap a few photos of it from the cliff path and tick off another Harry Potter filming location.
- The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk -
Thanks to getting lost and the weather making a turn for the worst (which of course, I was not prepared for), I didn't get to complete this entire coastal walk. But the small part that I did walk was incredible, and I highly recommend it to those that will remember to bring raincoats or umbrellas.
The walking trail starts from Liscannor in the south and ends in Doolin in the north. Apart from the views of the cliffs, you will also see the Aran Islands in the distance, Galway Bay and Aill na Searrach.
The trail is not easy. There are no barriers with steep ascents and narrow flagstone steps.
Make sure you are prepared for sudden changes in weather and that you are physically able to walk for 18 km in difficult terrain.
- O'Brien's Tower -
Built in 1835, the O'Brien Tower gives visitors a beautiful viewing point and photo opportunity of the cliffs. Especially on a clear day when you can see five countries from the tower.
But if the weather is shit, and you are into weather, you can still visit the tower and learn about local weather patterns. #ItsTimeToNerdOut
Or you can be lazy like me and enjoy the tower from a distance before getting rained on and running into the Visitors Centre to dry off.
- Food -
The Visitors Centre does have a restaurant, but if you are looking to save money, I would recommend driving into one of the nearby towns. We stopped for some pizza and coffee at Stonewall Cafe in Doolin, about a 30-minute drive from the cliffs, before our trek back to Dublin.
Luckily, this time we managed to avoid getting lost and got back to our hotel in an acceptable time frame.
It felt amazing to finally be in a place that I fantasised about for so long. Often after dreaming about a destination for so long, reality doesn't live up to the fantasy. Fortunately, the cliffs did not disappoint and were a saving grace from the drama train that was my time in Ireland.
Have you ever been to the Cliffs of Moher? What are some of your favourite natural wonders from around the world?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, I'm Lauren! I'm passionate about inspiring young South Africans to travel for less and sharing my experiences and how to navigate the endless visa paperwork along the way. When I'm not busy preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, I'm having a travel fail somewhere and geeking out in countries all over the world. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!