The Cliffs of Moher, located in County Clare about 90 minutes south of Galway, are renowned across the globe for its dramatic beauty. Giant ramparts ascending up to 1,220 feet are beaten daily by heavy Atlantic Ocean surf, and many a ship was battered against these rocky walls across the centuries. O’Brien’s Tower, located on the highest of the cliffs, provides the best viewing point. The tower was built in 1835 and on a clear day provides views of five Irish counties.
The Cliffs of Moher run from Hags Head to Doolin with the Visitor’s Center situated in the middle. Don’t expect to see a large building structure when you arrive at the Visitor’s Center parking lot as the center has been built into the cliffs and is partially underground. At the Visitor’s Center, families will enjoy interactive and kid-friendly exhibits about the evolution of the cliffs and its surrounding towns. Kids can learn about the Puffin Penguins that live along the cliffs and take a virtual post card picture and email it to family at home. Families could spend several hours at the Cliffs of Moher.
Hiking: Viewing the Cliffs from the Visitor’s Center is awesome on a sunny, clear day but hiking the Cliffs is even more outstanding and a great way to witness their awe. Hiking the Cliff Walk is recommended for children 10 and older. The walk runs along the Cliffs edge and is not always level and there is no fence keeping folks from the edge. We recommend parking at the Visitor’s Center (much smaller parking lots are also available at Hags Head and Doolin) and touring that area before beginning your hike. A shuttle bus called the Paddy Wagon and taxis are available at the Visitors Center to take families to either end of the Cliffs of Moher at Hags Head (southernmost point) or Doolin (northernmost point). Catch a ride to either end and then begin your walk back to the Visitor’s Center, which is about a three to four mile hike. You can also walk the length of the Cliffs (about eight and half miles) but this could take much of the day. Our favorite is walking from Hags Head to the Visitor’s Center as it offers those iconic Cliffs of Moher views but make sure you have several hours to spare. If you plan to hike, families should estimate spending four or five hours at the Cliffs or a significant portion of your day.
Things to Know/Bring: Bring plenty of water if you are hiking the Cliffs. On a warm summer day, remember sunscreen and a hat but also be prepared with a rain jacket as the weather can quickly change. This is a very popular tourist destination so arriving in the early morning or early evening (in the summer months the sun does not set until 9 or 10 p.m.), there are less crowds. The most people are also centered around the Visitor’s Center. There are less people along the Cliff Walk.
Dining: There is a sit-down cafe offering awesome cliff views from the large glass windows and there is a grab-and-go cafe located near the gift shop at the Visitor’s Center. A few local craft and sweater shops are located outside of the Visitors Center as well.
Parking: The large, main parking lot is available at the Visitor’s Center and smaller lots are located at Hags Head and Doolin. Parking is included with your admission to the Cliffs when parking at the main Visitor’s Center lot.