Cliffs of Moher and Surrounding Attractions in County Clare
The Cliffs of Moher site is probably the most visited tourist attraction in Ireland with a record of nearly a million visitors annually.
Cliffs of Moher’s history
It all dates back to 1833 when a local landlord named Cornelius O’Brien recognized the value in attracting people to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. He believed that the development of tourism would benefit the local economy and bring the people out of poverty. O’Brien built a wall of Moher flagstones along the cliffs, stables and a picnic table for visiting tourists in the 19th century. There are quite a few interesting things you can do at the Cliffs of Moher. Weather and the number of other visitors onsite will determine how long your visit will be.
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O’Brien’s Tower was built by Cornelius O’ Brien in 1835. It is located to the south of the visitor’s center as you follow the path and steps along the edge of the cliff. From observation deck located at the rooftop of the tower you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, Aill Na Searrach and Hags Head. When the sun is out, you can see Connemara and the north of County Kerry. The highest point of the Cliffs of Moher is at Knockardakin, 214 m above sea level.
Location and how to get there
The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland close to Liscannor village in County Clare. The Cliffs are easily accessed by road from Galway (1.5 hours), Ennis (40 minutes), Limerick (1.5 hours) and from the ferry to and from Killimer in Kerry (45 minutes). Dublin is approximately 3.5 hours when you go through Limerick.
The closest airport is Shannon International Airport which is approximately 50 minutes by road. The airport has direct connections from USA (New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia) and mainland Europe. Shannon Airport serves the West Coast of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way. Airlines serving Shannon Airport include Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Air Transat.
Allow a minimum of 2 hours for a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. However, if you want to experience the beauty of all the cliffs and walk down the trails, plan to spend a full day there. It is recommended to stay overnight in the surrounding towns and villages such as Doolin and Ballyvaughan where you can enjoy the local culture and traditional Irish music.
The visitors center building is open at 9 am all year round . It is closed on December 24, 25 and 26. The closing time varies depending on the season (5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 9pm). For exact closing times click here.
An adult pays $6 while a student pays $4.50. If you are under 16 years old you will not pay any fee. To go up the O’Brien’s Tower, adults pay $2 while children pay $1. A guided cliff walk and a cruise costs $30. These are 2017 prices. For more information, visit the official website of the Cliffs of Moher.
Surrounding Attractions in County Clare
I planned to visit the Cliffs of Moher very early in the morning, therefore I decided to spend the night before my visit in Ballyvaughan, a little town 30 km away from the cliffs, as you are coming down from Galway. There are small lodges and Bed & Breakfasts in this town which are not too expensive. As you drive from Ballyvaughan or Galway try to take the coastal route, R447 instead of N67; the views are very astonishing and overwhelmingly beautiful.
Rathmorgan seems to be a farmers area. Cattle grazing along the coast is one of the purest glimpse that has remained in my memory of this trip. The long country roads are smooth and a pleasure to drive on.
As you push through R447 you will come across the Burren site. Basically, the Burren is a massive area made of rocks that were formed as a result of gradual limestone deposits between 359 and 299 million years ago. To learn more about the Burren click here. Further along, there is a walking trail ‘The Burren Way’ which links the villages of Liscannor and Doolin.
Murroogh is a hamlet in County Clare also known as Murrooghtoohy or Murroghtwohy. It’s a pleasure watching cattle sitting on the side of the road fearlessly staring at you. I was actually terrified; I stopped my car for a good few minutes at one point hoping the big cow sitting in the middle of the road would make a way without causing a scene.
Doolin is a vibrant coastal village just 9 km from Cliffs of Moher. This might be a good place to eat nice local food and spend a night as the village is known as the center of Irish music. A good few pubs and Bed & Breakfasts are located in this village.
As you continue driving along the coast heading to the Cliffs of Moher, you will come across Doonagore Castle just 1.8 km from Doolin village. This is a 16th century castle which is currently a private residence.
After visiting the Cliffs of Moher I took R478 which connects with the main road N67. My next stop was Lisdoonvarna, a small but very lively town known for its music and festivals. It is also a home to the well known and colorful ‘Match Maker’ Bar. The bar is located in the main street. The annual matchmaking festival is held every September for people looking to find love.
Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb
Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb is located in Gleninsheen Town and dates back to 2500 BC. It sits on natural limestone particles of the Burren. To get to the tomb, take N67 road from Cliffs of Moher or Lisdoonvarna, then take R480 road. When you turn into R480 you can stop by Aillwee Cave, which you will find on your way to Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb.
Corcomroe Abbey is a monastery located at Abbey West, The Burren, County Clare. It dates back to 1891 as a dwelling for Monks who chose to isolate themselves from surrounding communities. You will find the tomb of Conor na Siudaine Westropp that dates back to 1267.
After visiting Corcomroe Abbey, I decided to stop by Kinvarra Village. Kinvarra is a sea village to the south of County Galway. The colorful shops in their little town will make your eyes sparkle. There are good restaurants serving seafood dishes and other Irish gourmet food.
Burren National Park
I did not get a chance to visit Burren National Park but it is a must see in County Clare. The vast area (1500 hectars) is made up of limestone particles, lakes, cliffs, woodland and walking trails. The address is Clare Heritage Centre, Glenquin, Corofin, Co. Clare.
What to wear to the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Figuring out what to wear to the Cliffs of Moher and other surrounding attractions can be daunting because of the unpredictable weather in Ireland. It is a good idea to pack for both warm and cold weathers and choose what to wear on the day you are visiting the cliffs. If the sun is not shining it is best to wear shoes that grip the wet ground and stay away from edges of cliffs.
Here are links to the items displayed in the travel packing capsule/ guide above. Create Two Winter Looks: Cashmere Sweater | Black Fishnet Skirt | White Shirt | Black Leggings |Padded Vest | Black Leather Backpack Bag | Sorel Waterproof Boots | Create Two Summer/ Spring Looks: Blue Denim Shorts | Striped Cotton Shirt | or White Knotted T-shirt | Pink Shoulder Dress | White Canvas Shoes | Bluish Cross Body Bag | Hoop Earings | Choker Necklace |
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