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Visit the Cliffs of Moher for free at Hags Head

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The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most visited and photographed natural landmarks. At their highest point they rise no less than 214 metres (~702 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean. An impressive sight you can’t miss when visiting Ireland. There are several ways to visit the Cliffs of Moher though, differing in price and view. But which one is the best?

We saw the Cliffs of Moher from 2 different points of view. One’s free and off the beaten path, the other busy with tour busses. In this post we’ll give you all the information to decide for yourself which one best fits your time and budget.

The Cliffs of Moher as seen from Hags Head

Selfie at Hags HeadSelfie at Hags Head

The Cliffs of Moher stretch out over a distance of 14 km (~ 9 miles) along the west coast of Ireland. Hags Head marks the southern end of this impressive natural landmark. It’s the start (or end) of a stunning coastal walk leading you over the Cliffs of Moher, all the way to Doolin, but more on that later.

At Hags Head you have an off the beaten path view of the Cliffs of Moher. In total we spent about 1.5 hours here, admiring the views, looking for a geocache, and flying our drone.

How to get to Hags Head

To get to Hags Head, you can take the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk Shuttle Bus from Liscannor or Doolin, getting off at the stop called Kilconnel.

If you have a car though, you can park it for free at the Community Sports Field in  Liscannor. To get there, turn off the R478 across from The Rock Shop, take the first right and then the third right.

Car Park near Hags HeadCar Park near Hags Head
Just walk towards the Tower of MoherJust walk towards the Tower of Moher
It's about a 15 minute walk from the Car ParkIt’s about a 15 minute walk from the Car Park

Instead of pulling over there, we drove past the car park until we reached the last house. They run a private car park that can hold about 20 cars. You’re asked to put €3 (it was €2 when we visited, hence the photo) in a box for using their parking facilities. This may be away from the crowded Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, but note that this small car park can get busy as well.

The views at Hags Head

From this car park it took us about 15 minutes to get near the  Tower of Moher, standing on Hags Head. From there you can walk either left towards the geocache that’s hidden there (thanks for leading us here!), or right towards the Cliffs of Moher.

Making our way to the Geocache at Hags HeadMaking our way to the Geocache at Hags Head
Found the Geocache!Found the Geocache!

It took us another 15 to 20 minutes to get to the geocache, including photo stops. We listened to the constant lapping of the waves while walking, reminding us of the mighty ocean below. You don’t want to end up down there, so be careful, as the path comes near the edge of the cliffs at times, and can be slippery when wet.

When heading back, we continued past the Tower of Moher to properly see the famous Cliffs of Moher. You’re looking towards the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre now, so from here you see the “back” of the cliffs. Try to spot some people standing on top of these impressive cliffs to get an idea of their dazzling height.

Hags Head as seen from the Geocache locationHags Head as seen from the Geocache location
Hags Head view of the Cliffs of MoherHags Head view of the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre is the spot where all the tour busses go. There’s a visitor centre with toilets, a café, and an exhibition on the Cliffs of Moher, which we quickly browsed.

To admire the Cliffs of Moher, walk past the visitor centre, towards O'Brien's Tower. You can climb the tower for €2 per person, but we didn’t. We did enjoy this classic, endlessly photographed view of the Cliffs of Moher.

O’Brien’s Tower underwent some large restoration works in 2019. The outside got a new layer, and the interieur has been upgraded. You can still climb the Tower for the view, but they now offer an experiential tour of the Tower as well.

The cliffs here are quite a bit higher here than at Hags Head, which makes it feel even more impressive. You can walk all the way to the viewpoint on the left as well, but there was a lot of wind and we were getting tired, so we skipped it.

Classic Selfie shot at the Cliffs of MoherClassic Selfie shot at the Cliffs of Moher
You'll have to share the view at the Visitor CenterYou’ll have to share the view at the Visitor Center

We have to say the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre did a good job in trying to make it blend into the landscape. The visitor centre itself is nestled in the hill and the paths aren’t made of shiny materials, but in colours that fit in with its surroundings. They also have committed themselves to the conservation and sustainability of the Cliffs.

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre website says to allow for at least 2 hours, but all in all we were only there for 30 minutes. We preferred  Hags Head, where you aren’t surrounded by hordes of tourists. It feels more adventurous too, as there aren’t any paved paths or fences between you and this natural wonder. Makes Hags Head more dangerous too, of course, and unfortunately not accessible for wheelchairs.

View at the other side of O'Brien's TowerView at the other side of O’Brien’s Tower

How to get to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre

Depending on where you’re coming from and if you have a car at your disposal or not, there are different ways to get to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre.

By car

If you have a (rental) car, you can park it on the official car park across the street from the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. When entering, you have to pay a €8 entrance fee per person (adult). This includes the parking fee and admission to the visitor centre and the different viewpoints. Climbing O'Brien's Tower is not included, for that you have to pay another €2 per person, as mentioned above.

If you book online through the Cliffs of Moher website at least one day in advance, you only have to pay €4 per person (adult). This price only applies for a morning visit or an evening visit. Around noon, the entrance fee stays €8 per person.

If you arrive outside the time slot you booked, but on the same day, you’ll have to pay an additional charge of €4, bringing the total price per person up to the regular Cliffs of Moher ticket price. Depending on how well you stick to your planning, this might be a good deal for you. Keep in mind that no one is able to predict the weather one day beforehand in Ireland. (More on the Irish weather below.)

On a Cliffs of Moher tour from Dublin

As Dublin is Ireland’s capital, a lot of tours to the Cliffs of Moher start there. These are all day trips, because it’s about a 3.5 hour drive between Dublin and the cliffs. Often there are different stops on the way though, like The Burren, Galway, or Doolin.

Most of them are bus tours, but some of them include a train ride from Dublin to Limerick, before continuing by bus.

Looking to book a tour to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin?
Check out these options:

On a Cliffs of Moher tour from Galway

Galway is probably the biggest and most popular city near the Cliffs of Moher. Quite some tours to the cliffs start here as well. These can be day trips or half day trips, because it’s only about an 1.5 hour drive to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway.

Looking to book a tour to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway?
Check out these options:

Some tours to the Cliffs of Moher start in other cities in the area as well, like Cork and Limerick.

By Shuttle Bus from one of the neighbouring towns

If you stay in Liscannor or Doolin, two towns neighbouring the Cliffs of Moher, you can take the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk Shuttle Bus to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre.

You can find a timetable and map on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk Shuttle Bus website. Do note that this service is not available in winter.

Since June 2019, there’s also a Cliffs of Moher Shuttle, operating 8 times a day in June, July and August. It transports visitors from Ennistymon via Lahinch, Liscannor and Hags Head to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and back. The other line starts at Lisdoonvarna, driving via Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and back.

You can buy tickets and find a timetable on the Cliffs of Moher website.

On foot, via the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk

If you have the time, the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk is supposed to grant spectacular views of these world famous cliffs. Bonus: you don’t have to pay anything to get to the viewpoints at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre.

Depending on where you decide to start, the walk can be up to 20 km one way. Plan your trip beforehand and hop on and off the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk Shuttle Bus as you see fit.

The Cliffs of Moher Coastal WalkThe Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk

You can find a timetable and map on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk Shuttle Bus website. Do note that this service is not available in winter.

If you decide to hike the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, you’ll have the path to yourself most of the time. The majority of tourists don’t go beyond the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre (more on that later) anyway.

Before you go, here are a couple of common sense tips: stay on the path, make sure you don’t slip and fall off the steep Cliffs of Moher, and don’t forget to look inland every once and a while for a different kind of scenic view.

Flying our Drone from the Coastal WalkFlying our Drone from the Coastal Walk
Don't forget to look inland from time to time!Don’t forget to look inland from time to time!

If you’re interested in doing this hike, check out this post on walking the Cliffs of Moher by Julie from Earth Trekkers.

Where to stay near the Cliffs of Moher

There are plenty of hotels near the Cliffs of Moher. Not big chain hotels, but small lodges and B&B’s, spread over the surrounding towns and villages.

Liscannor and Doolin are within 10 km (~ 6 miles) of the Cliffs of Moher. There’s a shuttle bus driving between these cities and the Cliffs of Moher. Check out the hotels in Liscannor and Doolin according to Booking.com.

Galway is probably the biggest and most popular city in the area though. Check out over 300 hotels in Galway according to Booking.com.

We stopped at the Cliffs of Moher on our way from Killarney to Galway. We stayed a couple of days at a lovely B&B in Galway, exploring the city and doing a bunch of day trips from there. Find the best deal for Ardawn House B&B on HotelsCombined.

Weather at the Cliffs of Moher

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: the notorious Irish weather. After 2 weeks in Ireland we can describe the Irish weather as follows: unpredictable. A local told us that a weather man is the most useless job in Ireland. They always say sun and showers and they’re always right. One moment the sky is blue and the sun is out, the next, it’s getting darker and the fog comes setting in. It’s often not even about planning, it’s just dumb luck.

Tip: You can find weather predictions on the Cliffs of Moher website.

The sun was gone once we made it to the Visitor CenterThe sun was gone once we made it to the Visitor Center

We were fortunate enough to have decent weather when visiting the Cliffs of Moher. From  Hags Head we could even see the Aran Islands. A strong breeze, but no fog, and barely any rain. At another viewpoint during our Ireland road trip we were less lucky though: a thick fog hiding everything that was farther than a couple of meters. Just be aware that this can happen to you at the Cliffs of Moher as well. That’s Ireland for ya!

Flying your Drone at the Cliffs of Moher

General drone flying rules state that you aren’t allowed to fly your drone near buildings, airports or above crowds. We only flew our drone (a DJI Mavic Pro) at  Hags Head, not at the  Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. Apparently it’s not allowed there, but we couldn’t find any information on it on the Cliffs of Moher website. We did see someone else fly his drone there.

The Cliffs of Moher as seen from aboveThe Cliffs of Moher as seen from above
The Cliffs of Moher as seen from the eyeThe Cliffs of Moher as seen from the eye
The Cliffs of Moher as seen from belowThe Cliffs of Moher as seen from below

Ireland in general can be windy though, especially at the coast, so think before you let your drone take off. We heard about someone’s drone crashing in the ocean at  Hags Head. The wind blew his drone away from him, he lost control and the drone probably ran out of juice and crashed. Wouldn’t want this to happen to you!

Brecht was not sure about flying his drone at  Hags Head after hearing that. The wind blew inland though, and another guy was flying that same drone when we arrived, saying it managed to keep pretty steady in the current wind. It would have been a shame if we hadn’t flown it, look at these shots!

Can you spot us on the Coastal Walk?Can you spot us on the Coastal Walk?
Hags Head and the Tower of MoherHags Head and the Tower of Moher

Saying we were impressed with the Cliffs of Moher is putting it lightly. The sheer size of them alone makes your jaw drop. We recommend to admire this natural beauty in a more private and closer-to-nature setting at Hags Head. Make sure your camera has a full battery!

Have you visited the Cliffs of Moher already? Were you impressed too? We’d love to read about your experience in the comments! Or is it still on your bucket list? Make sure to put Hags Head in parenthesis next to it then. 😉

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How to visit the Cliffs of Moher for free at Hags HeadHow to visit the Cliffs of Moher for free at Hags Head