The CLIFFS OF Moher is Ireland’s top tourist attraction, with 1.5 million people visiting each year to admire the stunning landscape and breathtaking scenery.
What’s the best way for Clare coast residents to enjoy this area without crowds? Martina McCarthy, Moher Tours’ local guide, was asked by thejournal.ie. She grew up here and leads visitors on guided walks through Liscannor as well as the famous Cliffs.
What is the best time to go?
McCarthy suggests that you should visit Cliffs of Moher early in the morning, or later in the afternoon, because there are a lot of people who come to them every day, especially during busy summer seasons.
You might need to make sure you have a great time and check the weather forecast before you leave. The cliffs are stunning at all times of the year. You just need to be more cautious in winter. The paths can become slippery if they’re wet, and you’re exposed when it’s windy.
Pro tip: Go to Cliffs of Moher in the evening for a more relaxing experience. The cliffs glow pink at sunset, which is a spectacular sight and quieter than going in the middle or late afternoon.
Where can I park my car?
The Cliffs of Moher visitor center has a large parking lot. You can park your car all day at the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre for EUR8 (children are free) or EUR4 if you buy an off-peak ticket online.
Guerin’s Path is another option. It’s located about 1km from the visitor center and costs EUR5 per head. If you are willing to walk a little more, you can park your car in nearby Liscannor or Doolin.
Pro tip: Park close to Hag’s Head. This is the most southern point on the cliffs. McCarthy says that McCarthy pointed out that there is a small parking lot with a EUR2 honesty container. It’s only a 10 minute walk from the cliffs.
Which are the most important sights to see?
Tourists will be drawn to the visitor center, which is located on the hillside between the cliffs. There are interactive exhibits and videos inside, and there are viewing platforms and protected pathways outside. O’Brien’s Tower is also available for EUR2, which has been at the top of the cliffs since 1921.
There are many spots that you can take in the beauty of the coastline, such as the caves and sea arches created by coastal erosion.
It’s nice to see the beautiful flowers, birds, and stones. McCarthy states that the air up there is fresh and clear, and you can see all of it on a clear day.”
“Looking to the north and west, you can see the Galway Mountains and the Aran Islands. To the south, you can see Liscannor Bay and Loop Head.
Pro tip: Allow yourself time to see the scenery and cliffs properly. Some people only have an hour, so you can take the famous photograph. McCarthy says that those with more time should still get out and explore the area.
What are the best places for lunch?
The visitor center has a cafeteria and a restaurant. There are also picnic tables outside for those who wish to bring their own lunch.
McCarthy recommends visiting Liscannor and Doolin if you have more time. There are many cafes, pubs, and restaurants. These include McHugh’s Rock Shop, Doolin Cafe and McHugh’s Egan’s Vaughan’s and Gus O’Connor’s.
Pro tip: Moher Cottage is located on the road to Liscannor and was voted “best coffee in Ireland” in a Today FM poll. “This is a great place to grab coffee and a snack. Caitriona Conidine transformed it into a beautiful coffee shop and gift shop. McCarthy adds that her husband also owns Considine’s Bar, which serves great pizza on weekends.”
How can I get away from the crowds at the Cliffs?
The Cliffs of Moher coast walk is a great way to enjoy the best views and avoid crowds at the visitor center. The trail follows the coast for almost 20km, passing through farms and other land.
McCarthy said, “The coast walk is so different that you might not even see any tourists at certain points.”
You can start in either direction. However, if you’re feeling fit, I recommend that you start at Doolin in morning, walk the 8km to the visitor center, then continue to Hag’s Head (5km).
It’s a narrow path along a exposed cliff edge, so be cautious with children. It is easy to follow and you won’t get lost.
Pro tip: A shuttle bus runs along the coast from Doolin to Hag’s Head, and back to Liscannor. McCarthy states that the shuttle bus runs the circuit from 9am to the evening so you can walk a portion of the walk before returning to your car.
Are there hidden gems that I should be looking out for?
You can’t go wrong with a visit to the beach if you’re on the Clare coast. You can swim and do watersports at many popular locations near the Cliffs of Moher, including Fanore and Spanish Point. But Clahane is a great place to find a hidden gem.
McCarthy states that Clahane, although busy at Lahinch, is a beautiful little beach that would be well-known by locals.”
It’s a beautiful beach with a lot of rock pools and sand. You can park your car there, and take a walk around Clahane to enjoy the sunset.
Pro tip: Keep an eye out for Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths. They regularly bring mini “hot tubs” made from old barrels to Clahane. The heated seaweed barrels are large enough to hold two people. You can also just relax under fairy lights and watch the world pass by. McCarthy says that it is one of the most beautiful experiences he has ever had.