One of the great joys of working at Adare Manor is the opportunity we have to introduce our guests to some of the many wonderful sights and attractions Ireland has to offer. Thanks to our location in the heart of the Southwest, Adare Manor makes a wonderful base for exploring the country: within an easy drive of the Manor House you’ll find breathtaking scenery, fascinating historical sites, and lively towns full of interest and excitement.
With so much to see, you’ll want to put together an itinerary that gives you a true taste of what Ireland is all about. If you are staying with us, our concierge team is always here to help with recommendations, reservations, and local knowledge. If you’re just in the planning stages of your trip, poring over guidebooks and through websites can feel a little overwhelming: there is so much to sort through. That is why we’ve decided to create our own series of comprehensive guides to some of the most amazing locations you can visit from Adare Manor. We have gathered together all the most important and useful information in one place for you to make organising your trip simple.
This first guide will walk you through one of the most spectacular natural sites in the world, the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. Just an hour and a half from Adare Manor, this attraction deservedly makes every short list of “must visit” spots in Ireland. Visiting the cliffs is an awe-inducing experience, with stunning scenic beauty, abundant wildlife, and all the exhilaration of wind and sea.
Exploring the Cliffs of Moher
These are highest vertical sandstone and shale cliffs in Europe, reaching a height of over 200 metres from the water (about 656 feet). The stark, rugged cliffs meet the wild Atlantic ocean and run for a length of 8 kilometres (5 miles) and are home to an incredibly diverse population of flora and fauna, including many sea birds and even a colony of puffins. They were designated a UNESCO Global Geopark for their exceptional geological significance, rare natural habitats and ecology, and for their commitment to education and sustainability. On a lighter note, fans of the cult classic film The Princess Bride may recognise the scenery: the Cliffs of Moher were the location used to stand in for “The Cliffs of Insanity!” They also make a cameo in one of the Harry Potter films, The Half Blood Prince.
The Best Views
From the Visitor Centre, there are several official viewing platforms which offer panoramic views of the cliffs, and which have been secured to offer a safe spot to drink in the beauty of the cliffs, even if you have a fear of heights.
- The Main Platform offers splendid views of the south cliffs and Hag’s Head.
- The North Platform is near the cliffs’ highest point, and allows you to look out for miles in every direction.
- The South Platform looks out on the puffin colony on Goat Island.
Marking the very highest point of the Cliffs of Moher, O’Brien’s Tower dates back to 1834. It was built by Cornelius O’Brien, a local businessman, to offer Victorian tourists a spot to drink tea and gaze out at the cliffs. A more romantic story claims that O’Brien built the tower to impress a lady he was courting, but whatever the reason, it still stands as a beautiful monument on the cliffs’ edge and provides unbelievable views from the top. There is a small additional charge to climb the tower to the viewing platform on the roof: €2 for adults, €1 for children.
The Cliffs of Moher Exhibition
Inside the Visitor Centre is an interpretive exhibition which includes multimedia exhibits, a children’s play area, and in-depth information about the history, geology, wildlife, and conservation of the Cliffs of Moher. Allow about 25 to 45 minutes for an unhurried visit.
Guided tours led by trained Cliffs of Moher staff can be pre-booked for groups of up to 20 people for €45 per person. Tours are currently available in English only. They are subject to availability, must be pre-booked at least a week in advance, and are not available during the peak months from May through September 15th.
Audio guides in English, German, French and Irish make it easy for you to give yourself your own guided tour using your phone (headphones are recommended!) You can download them from the following links for iPhone and for Android.
There are public toilets located in the Visitor Centre. You will find unisex toilets with baby changing facilities on the ground floor and men’s and women’s toilets on the first floor. During peak times additional unisex toilets are opened in the car park. You’ll find them on the opposite side of the road from the cliffs.
Cliffs of Moher Restaurants and Dining
There are two cafes inside the Visitor Centre:
- Puffin’s Nest Coffee Shop serves sandwiches, cakes, homemade soup, and hot and cold drinks.
- Cliffs View Cafe is a sit down restaurant which delivers on the amazing views promised in the name! All dishes use local produce and meats from County Clare. You can also buy a packed lunch here to take away.
You may also pack your own picnic lunch to bring. Stone benches and picnic tables are available on site.
You can pick up souvenirs and gifts of your visit to the cliffs from the main gift shop inside the Visitor Centre, or shop the six independent craft shops just outside the centre, with jewellery, knitwear, t-shirts, music, and other locally produced items. Be aware that the craft shops may operate with different hours than the official Visitor Centre.
There are 20 kilometres (about 12 and half miles) of scenic walking routes across the coast of County Clare which provide some truly rewarding views. It’s a challenging but fun way to get some exercise in the fresh air and magnificent beauty of the countryside. These walks are not recommended for those with limited mobility or children under 12.
- Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre to Hags Head: 5km (3.1 miles), 1.5 – 2 hrs
- Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre to Moher Sports Field: 6km (3.7 miles), 2 hrs
- Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre to Liscannor: 12km (7.5 miles), 3.5 hrs
- Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre to Doolin: 8km (5 miles), 2.5 – 3 hrs
- Doolin to Hags Head: 13km (8 miles), 4 – 5 hrs
- Doolin to Liscannor: 20km (12.5 miles), 6 – 7 hrs
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher from Adare Manor is easy. If you have a car, the route is very straightforward: full Google Map directions can be seen here. With the help of our dedicated concierge, you can also join a coach tour or hire private transportation right to the cliffs.
Opening hours for the Cliffs of Moher
The Visitor Centre hours vary by month:
- January and February: 09:00 – 17:00.
- March and April: 08:00 – 19:00.
- May to August: 08:00 – 21:00.
- September and October 08:00 – 19:00.
- November and December: 09:00 – 17:00.
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre only closes for three days a year: the 24th, 25th, and 26th of December, or in rare cases of dangerous weather conditions.
Booking tickets online
If you are booking a coach tour, check to see whether your entrance fee to the Visitor Centre is included in the tour price: usually it will be. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to book your tickets online at the official Cliffs of Moher website. Online booking will guarantee entrance even at busy times, and pre-booked tickets for off peak times can offer a substantial savings. As a guest of Adare Manor, you can contact our concierge for assistance in arranging a coach tour or individual Cliffs of Moher tickets.
- Peak time: 11:00 – 15:59
- Off peak time: 8:00 – 10:59 and 4:00 to 21:00
The online ticket prices (as of the time of writing) are:
- Adult – €8.00 peak/€4.00 off peak
- Senior – €5.00 peak/€3.50 off peak
- Student (Over 16 with ID) – €5.00 peak/€3.50 off peak
- Children (Under 16) – FREE (Maximum of 4 children’s tickets per adult)
If you buy your ticket at the gate, peak time prices apply, regardless of the time of day.
When is the best time of year to visit the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are a magnificent sight in any season, from the brilliant sunshine of a fine summer’s day (when the views seem to stretch on forever) to the atmospheric drama of a winter evening, as the wild waves of Atlantic crash into the cliff face far below. When the weather is exceptionally foggy views can be restricted, so whatever the time for year, a clear day will give you the best chance to fully appreciate the sights.
The peak season for visitors at The Cliffs of Moher is from April to September, with July and August being the busiest months of all (you can expect larger than normal crowds during any school holiday period as well).
What is the best time of day to visit the Cliffs of Moher?
As one of Ireland’s most popular attractions, the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre welcomes over a million visitors each year, and according to online reviews, some people can find it a bit crowded at peak times. Weekdays are always less busy than weekends, and if you have the option to be flexible about the timing of your visit arriving after 4pm is a good option. Not only is the site a lot quieter then, leaving you to explore in peace, but if you time it right you can also catch the spectacular sunset. You can even stay after the Visitor Centre has closed: the exit barrier from the car park will lift automatically when you leave.
How long should you to allow for your visit?
A minimum of two hours is recommended to allow you to take your time and enjoy the magnificent scenery and the interpretive exhibits in the Visitor’s Centre at your leisure. Dining and gift shops are also available on site, so you might want to schedule in some extra time to grab a bite to eat or do a bit of shopping.
What to wear and bring with you to the Cliffs of Moher
Choosing the right clothing for your visit to The Cliffs of Moher can help ensure that you stay comfortable no matter what the weather may do. Warm layers with a waterproof jacket will keep you snug and dry even on wet and windy days, and sturdy walking boots are strongly recommended, especially if you’re planning to enjoy one of the coastal walks to or from the villages of Doolin or Liscannor.
There are coin operated telescopes in the official viewing area, but if you have a pair of binoculars it’s worth bringing them along, especially if you are an avid birder. A camera is an absolute must! Umbrellas are not recommended as the winds on the cliffs often make handling an umbrella difficult or impossible!
Weather safety at the Cliffs of Moher
The weather in the west of Ireland can change quickly and dramatically at any time of year, and at exceptionally stormy times high winds can be a hazard: check the forecast before you set out In order to ensure the safety of all visitors to the Cliffs of Moher, a colour coded weather warning system is in place. Warning signs are posted at the entrance to the car park.
- Yellow means that hazardous weather conditions warrant extra care: walk slowly and link arms with children and older people.
- Orange means that it is too dangerous to visit the cliffs. Strong gusts of wind will make it unsafe to visit the viewing areas. The visitor centre will remain open as a shelter to those on site already but you should reconsider and delay your visit.
- Red means that winds are extremely hazardous, the site has been evacuated, and the visitor centre is closed.
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher with children and babies
In spite of the dramatic heights of the cliffs, all of the official viewing areas are safe for supervised children. Buggies and strollers are welcome, with hard surfaced paths to all buggy-friendly areas. Baby changing stations are located in the toilets on the ground floor of the Visitor Centre and there are child friendly meal options at both cafes in the Visitor Centre and high chairs are available in the Cliff’s View Cafe. The Cliffs Coastal Walks which extend beyond the boundaries of the Visitor Centre are not recommended for Children under 12 years of age as the terrain can be rugged and uneven and includes steep ascents.
A limited amount of disabled parking is available for vehicles displaying a disabled permit. The Visitor Centre at the Cliffs of Moher is wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available to borrow from the reception desk in the centre. Outside, the main viewing platform is also wheelchair accessible. There are hard paved wheeled access paths to the Hag’s Head viewing area and O’Brien’s Tower, but it is quite steep, so wheelchair users are advised to use these paths withs assistance and at their own risk. Because O’Brien’s Tower is a listed historical building, there is no lift to viewing platform on the roof. The first floor and viewing platform in the tower are reached by a narrow spiral staircase which may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. The Doolin and Liscannor coastal walks are not wheelchair accessible or recommended for anyone with restricted mobility.
You can learn more about accessibility at the Cliffs of Moher on their dedicated accessibility page where detailed information and downloadable PDFs are available.
Cliffs of Moher parking is included in the ticket price, and is for an unlimited amount of time.
If you’re planning a trip to the cliffs from Adare Manor, we’re always delighted to do whatever we can to make your journey smooth: all you need to do is ask. We hope this in-depth guide to the Cliffs of Moher is a good first step! While there are endless ways to spend your time at Adare Manor, we also love helping guests discover the many incredible places they can visit within driving distance of the hotel. These day trips are full of adventure, and by the time people return to us in the evening, they are full of stories to share and ready for a relaxing drink by the fire. We hope we have the opportunity to welcome you soon.