The Cliffs of Moher embody the wild, rugged landscape of Ireland. It is no wonder that they are one of the most photographed and visited places in the whole country. In fact, over 1.5-million people come to admire the cliffs each year.
The Cliffs of Moher are located along the Wild Atlantic Way in the West of Ireland in County Clare. They can be easily reached as a day trip from Dublin or Galway.
At the highest point, the Cliffs of Moher reach 214 metres (702 feet) and plunge into the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The views are not only spectacular but can also be a little hair raising to especially when the wind whips up and the fog descends.
With this in mind, we’ve put together this Cliffs of Moher Safety Guide so that you can make the most of your visit by being prepared before you go and staying safe and happy whilst you are there.
Preparing for the Weather
The obvious advice is to check the weather forecast and conditions before you set off for the Cliffs of Moher. However, the best advice when it comes to planning your trip to the Cliffs of Moher is to expect the four seasons in one day. Weather conditions are very changeable in Ireland, more so out West.
Always pack a raincoat and if it is windproof too, even better. The wind can rip through you sometimes at the Cliffs. Following on from that, leave the umbrella at home. It is better to put up your hood and not a ‘brolly as the wind will just turn it inside out and render it useless.
Unexpected gusts of wind can also give you a fright and sometimes feel like they could blow you over the edge, especially if they make you lose your balance. Don’t risk your life for that dramatic clifftop photo or perfect selfie, keep away from the edge at all times.
When fog blankets the Cliffs, it can be very dramatic and atmospheric, romantic even, but it can reduce visibility and you should take care when walking around. Use your common sense and if the fog is making it difficult to see in front of you then call it a day and head back to the Visitor Centre.
Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk Safety
One of the most popular ways to get to the Cliffs of Moher is via the Cliffs Coastal Walk. This trail is about 20km long and stretches from the village of Doolin to Liscannor. The trail passes through farmland with grazing livestock and onto the Cliffs.
Because the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk goes through farmland with livestock, dogs are not allowed on the trail.
The Cliffs Coastal Walk is an official path with signposts. However, when walking you’ll notice a second bare-earth trail, one closer to the cliff edge. This is not an official walk. This route has been formed over the years by walkers who have strayed from the official path. For your safety, do not walk this unofficial route. Stick to the official Cliffs Coastal Walk. The official path is there to protect you as well as the surrounding land.
Apart from keeping you from getting lost and from trampling and private land which the Cliffs Coastal Walk cuts through, the path is designed to keep you a safe distance from the edge of the cliffs.
This isn’t just ‘health and safety gone mad’ or people out to spoil your fun, some parts of the cliff edge are actually unstable and in a dangerous condition and rockfalls are not uncommon.
In fact, in recent years, landslides have caused parts of the cliffs to dramatically fall off into the sea below and have created fissures in the cliffs.
So, we’ll say to one more time for the people in the back, do not stray from the official Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk.
Also, if you are planning on doing the full 20km walk, make sure you have sturdy and appropriate footwear, plenty of water and snacks and a charged-up mobile phone.
Visiting the Cliffs with Children
The Cliffs of Moher is a great place to visit with children but as with all outdoor attractions, you must keep a close eye on little ones at all times.
At the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, there are protective walls around the official walking route, as well as plenty of signs warning of the dangers of getting too close to the edge.
The protective slabs will be too high for younger children to see over, so they may be tempted to try and climb on them to get a better view. This may cause them to fall, slip or get too close to the edge. So make sure you hold their hand along the path.
The path at the Visitor Centre is covered with hard surfaces so you can push a buggy along but again, do not stray from the official path. The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk is not suitable for buggies.
Wildlife Safety Guide
Do not disturb any of the wildlife at the Cliffs of Moher. With tens of thousands of seabirds at the Cliffs, it may be tempting to get close to the nesting birds to take a photo but you must not do this. Not only will you be dangerously close to the edge but you may frighten the birds. Also, never ever try and take an egg from a nest.
You are not allowed to feed any of the wildlife at the Cliffs of Moher. So, if you are having a picnic make sure you don’t leave any food behind. Put all your rubbish in the bins.
Whilst not permitted on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, dogs are allowed the grounds of the visitor centre.
Cliffs of Moher Tours
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, why not book a day tour from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher? If you are looking to explore more out West, Wild Rover Tours has a 2-day tour departing Dublin that brings you to Connemara, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher as well as an Aran Island tour. If you want something a bit more bespoke, we can also arrange a private tour of the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin.
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the top attractions in Ireland and we want you to enjoy the stunning scenery and dramatic landscape as much as possible. Stay safe and don’t put yourself in danger by walking the unofficial dirt track, don’t endanger the wildlife, and don’t get caught out by the temperamental Irish weather. Stick to those safety guidelines and this will be a very memorable trip, for all the right reasons.