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One of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic sites, visiting the Cliffs of Moher is a must when in Ireland.
With an impressive 700-foot drop to the raging Atlantic Ocean below, the Cliffs of Moher showcase the untamed Irish landscape in the best possible way.
Because of their unique beauty, the Cliffs of Moher have been featured in quite a few movies, including The Princess Bride (as “The Cliffs of Insanity”) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (as the hiding place for part of Lord Voldemort’s soul. But don’t let that scare you away…). Both movies fall solidly into the category of “Best Movies Ever” in Sam’s and my opinion, which made visiting the Cliffs of Moher an even more amazing experience.
Leading up to our trip I had been concerned about visibility, since I’d heard the weather can be hit or miss. A friend of ours said the fog was so thick when he visited in July he could hardly see his hand in front of his face.
We’d heard of other people scheduling several days in the surrounding area to increase their chances of having good visibility (Nearby Doolin is a popular home-base).
Considering our tragically bad luck with weather, I figured our chance of having a clear day was roughly zero. But despite being an overcast morning, we lucked out with excellent visibility when we visited in early February.
We had also heard the Cliffs of Moher get pretty crowded with busloads of camera-happy tourists. But since we were traveling in the off-season (something we highly recommend!), we only encountered a handful of other visitors.
Paved paths make walking around the cliffs easy and accessible. There is some incline, but nothing I’d consider a deal-breaker for travelers morally opposed to exercising while on holiday.
A barrier lining the cliffs is intended to keep the afore mentioned camera-happy tourists from walking too close to the edge and plummeting to their death.
But despite the not-so-subtle hint, many visitors ignore the barrier and inch right up to the cliffs’ edge anyway.
Not to be dramatic, but the wind can get pretty intense and people have fallen off the edge and died. Don’t be that person. Don’t endanger your life for a selfie. We stayed firmly within the designated area and still managed to get some fairly epic pictures.
We spent about two hours admiring the cliffs, and we could have spent even longer if we hadn’t gotten hangry and vacated the premises in a frantic search for food.
Note: There is a restaurant in the visitor’s center. We chose to “save money” and find somewhere cheaper along the road. Two hours of driving later and in a weakened state of starvation that had me pondering the nutritional properties of plastic, we FINALLY found a restaurant. In hindsight, we should have just eaten on-site.
Though we didn’t have time on our visit, we have heard that the hiking trails surrounding the cliffs offer some breathtaking views and have fewer crowds. If you do plan to stray farther afield, be sure to wear appropriate footwear as the paths can get muddy.
We paid €6 to park our car and visit the cliffs. The parking lot is across the street from the cliffs and a short walk from the Visitor’s Center.
Since it’s one of the most popular attractions in Ireland, you won’t have trouble finding a tourism agency running bus tours. Most tours operate from Galway or Dublin (Note that Dublin is on the opposite coast of Ireland, so expect several hours of driving in each direction).
But if you’re like us and would rather volunteer for experimental drug trials than join an organized bus tour, you can easily visit the cliffs on your own in a rental car.
The Cliffs of Moher is located along the Wild Atlantic Way, a scenic tourist trail running along Ireland’s west coast. We stayed the night in Galway, then visited the Cliffs of Moher on our drive down the coast to Kenmare.
What are some unforgettable views you’ve come across in your travels?
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