The Cliffs of Moher
After an amazing morning at the UNESCO heritage island of Skellig Michael (where the new Star Wars was filmed), it was time to drive along Ireland’s spectacular Western Coast, or the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, to Ireland’s 2nd most popular tourist attraction the Cliffs of Moher (The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is number 1, proving Irish drinking stereotypes right since the 17th century!).
The Cliffs of Moher Tickets?!
After a long drive from Port Magee to the Cliffs of Moher we discovered that they kinda have a ticket for the Cliffs of Moher. This was something I had no idea about before we arrived, and I was surprised that a natural attraction could be ticketed. How it works basically is that neither the tickets, nor opening/closing times, are enforced.
If you park at their main carpark, and enter through their visitor’s centre, with toilets, restaurants, paved walkways etc, then yes you have to buy a ticket (although if you arrive after 5pm, as we did, it’s free and far less crowded, highly recommended) priced at €6 per person, but often the centre is ‘full’ during the day so beware!
If you don’t want to pay the €6, you can park around 1km or so before or after the centre and simply walk up to the cliffs yourself (perhaps a 15 minute walk) via a few country lanes. Personally we were prepared to pay the €6 to get the full experience, but as we were after 5pm it was free anyway.
When you enter the main centre, it’s a 10 minute walk, follow the path/crowds and before long you’ll see the hugely impressive cliffs in all their glory. Before you go walking on the cliffs, head up to O’Brien’s Tower, the little lighthouse-esque building on top of the hill (an additional €2 to go to the top, we didn’t bother). The best views are from that side.
Now here’s a naughty little tip. If you jump over the barrier opposite O’Brien’s Tower, there is a grass bank that overlooks the whole cliffs. It’s pretty safe, and there’s no-one there, so it’s as if you have the whole Cliffs of Moher to yourself, spectacular. Naturally I wouldn’t recommend that you too break the rules, but just so you know…..
After we had our little photo shoot fun, we went for a walk along the cliffs. Give yourself a good hour or so to wander around them, they are truly spectacular. We were running out of sunlight so we had a brisk 30 minute powerwalk, and looking over the edge is something I’ll never forget. Be care though, people fall to their death every year, it’s a sheer drop and there’s no-one surviving that!
Getting to the Cliffs of Moher as a day trip from Dublin is doable too, it’s about 3.5 hour drive from Dublin so an early start could get you here for midday, spend 2/3 hours here and back in Dublin for a late dinner. A better option would be to use Galway as your base. Galway is a really fun, Irish city – just 90 minute drive from the Cliffs of Moher. Also, it’s a great starting off point to access the Aran Islands too, which was my next destination after the Cliffs of Moher.
Galway is also a brilliant place to have a few drinks, and soak up a real ‘Irish’ city. We stayed an amazing hotel in the city centre, the Hotel Meyrick, right by Eyre Square. 160 years old, traditionally styled and after a 5 hour drive, Skellig Michael in the morning, Cliffs of Moher in the late afternoon another 90 minute drive to Galway, we were desperate for a bit of luxury.
I organised a room for both Josh and myself, but also for the girls. We had a gruelling schedule the last few days, so we needed a ‘pick up’ and the Hotel Meyrick did just that. We valet-parked our gorgeous Camper Van (perhaps the first people to do that at this hotel?! Ah, the joys of being a blogger!), and checked in to a seriously impressive lobby. The lobby, though, was soon outdone by our exectutive room which was about the same size as my condo in Bangkok!
It was a quick shower and change before we fully unwinded by going for a group meal at the No.15 restaurant in the basement . Red wine and steak after one of the best travel days of my life was the perfect end, or almost the perfect end. The perfect end came with a Guinness after a short walk into town! And with that perfect day, I was set for an emotional return to my place of birth, the Aran Islands or InisMor to be precise. I hadn’t been back since I was less than 2 years old.
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