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Hags Head Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail


Gazing Out at Hags Head on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail, County Clare Ireland
Gazing Out at Hags Head

Of all the famous cliffs in Ireland, the Hags Head Cliffs of Moher walking trail from Hags Head to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center is our favorite. The wind, moody clouds, green pastures, and swaying seagrasses all add to the romance of the dramatic coastal trek.

Hags Head on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk; a UNESCO Global Geopark, Ireland Travel
Hags Head

The Cliffs of Moher are a 5-mile tract of cliffs on Ireland’s western shore. A walking trail along the rim of the bluffs runs between the towns of Liscannor and Doolin. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center is situated about half-way between the two. Spending the day walking these rugged bluffs is one of the best things to do in Ireland.

Solitude on the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher walk from Moher Tower to O'Briens Tower.
Solitude on the Cliffs of Moher

In fact, the Cliffs are Moher are Ireland’s most visited outdoor attraction. On any given day, the Visitor Center is crowded with tour buses and road-trippers. To avoid the congestion, we started our hike at the Hags Head end of the cliffs. We encountered few fellow hikers until just before the Visitor Center. Our Cliffs of Moher walking trail guide provides information on how to complete the walk. 

Walking North Toward Doolin on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail is one of the Best Things to do in Ireland.
Walking North Toward Doolin
Hags Head Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail At A Glance; Ireland Travel
The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail. Ireland travel on the Wild Atlantic Way. County Clare Ireland.
The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail

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WHERE ARE THE CLIFFS OF MOHER

Located in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are part of the Burren region; an area known for its unforgettable rock landscapes. Together, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher are designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark.

The trail to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center is one of the best things to do in Ireland. The Burren in County Clare.
The Trail to the Visitor Center

WAYS TO SEE THE CLIFFS OF MOHER

Most travelers will experience the Cliffs of Moher in one of two ways:

  1. Entering at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center which offers comprehensive guest services and good accessibility to the cliffs ($7-12 Euro pp). The Visitor Center is a good option for guests with mobility issues, children, limited time, and no car.

  2. Hike the private network of trails making up the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk:

  • Doolin village to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center: 8km (3 hours)

  • Liscannor village to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center: 12km (4 hours)

  • Hags Head (Kilconnell) to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center 5K (1.5 hours)

 

This guide to the Cliffs of Moher walking trail focuses on the Hags Head to Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center hike.

Famous Cliffs in Ireland as seen on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail in County Clare Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Famous Cliffs in Ireland

TRAIL DISTANCE AND TIME TO COMPLETE 

Trail Distance: 6.2 mile (11km) round trip.

Time to Complete the Hike: 4.5-hours


CLIFFS OF MOHER WALKING TRAIL DIFFICULTY

The walk is relatively flat with gradual uphill and downhill grades. Most guides rate this trail as moderately strenuous due to its length, uneven surfaces, and safety factors including walking close to exposed cliffs, dangerous wind currents, slippery surfaces, and poor visibility in foggy conditions.

 

CLIFFS OF MOHER MAP

Google Map: Cliffs of Moher Map on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Clare Ireland.
Google Map: Cliffs of Moher Map

HOW TO GET TO HAGS HEAD

Take R487-north from Liscannor to Kilconnell (6km). Drive until spotting “The Rock Shop.” Take a left. You will enter a maze of country lanes and farms. Follow the signs to Hags Head and the Cliffs of Moher. Be aware, signage is sparse. We drove around the narrow lanes for close to an hour before stumbling on the private car park leading to Hags Head. If you are easily flustered, we advise that you drive to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center, pay the admission fee, and do this walk in-reverse.

The Cliffs of Moher Between Liscannor and Doolin on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail, County Clare Ireland.
The Cliffs Between Liscannor and Doolin

HAGS HEAD PARKING

We parked in a private car park located at the last house before the entrance to Hags Head and the Cliffs of Moher (fee $3 Euros).


  • Regarding the Moher Sports Field: Many travel guides advised parking in this location. When we arrived at the sports field the gates were locked and large signs prohibited unauthorized parking (with towing listed as a penalty).

Livestock in the Pastures on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail in the Burren on the Wild Atlantic Way, County Clare.
Livestock in the Pastures

QUICK NEED TO KNOWS

Trash: This is a LEAVE NO TRACE location. Plan to carry out your trash.

Restrooms: None, until reaching the Visitor Center.

Food/Drink: None, until reaching the Visitor Center.

Accessibility: No paved trails or disability accommodations until reaching the Visitor Center.

Cost: No admission gate or charge. Fee for parking.

Private Property: Much of the Cliffs of Moher walking trail is on private property. Please be respectful of landowner’s livestock, equipment, and land.

Trekking Along the Atlantic in County Clare on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail; a UNESCO Global Geopark in the Burren.
Trekking Along the Atlantic in County Clare

BEST TIME TO VISIT

  • In summer, weekends, and holidays go early as the car park quickly fills.

  • Views are best on sunny days, and at sunset.

  • If you plan to explore the Visitor Center, keep in mind it will be most crowded between 11am to 4pm.


CLIFFS OF MOHER WEATHER

Temperatures average around 50’F (10’C) in the winter, and 64’F (18’C) in the summer. The maritime climate changes frequently. Expect sun, strong winds, rain, and fog.

Picnicking Too Close to the Edge on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail in County Clare Ireland.
Picnicking Too Close to the Edge

CLIFFS OF MOHER TRAIL SAFETY

There is no fence for most of the walk on the Cliffs of Moher walking trail. As you hike, you will notice the official gravel path that runs around 12 -25 feet from the edge as well as a grassy foot path runs about 4 feet from the edge. Extreme care should be taken to remain on the official path. Avoid walking or sitting too close to the edge. Strong crosswinds, poor visibility, eroded soil, and slippery conditions may lead to falls over the cliffs with fatal outcomes. The hike is not suitable for children under 12 and pets are not allowed.

Straying on the Path on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail in County Clare Ireland.
Straying from the Path

WHAT TO BRING

Sturdy walking shoes and a warm, water proof jacket. Pack water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and a hat. Bring a mobile phone with GPS, but be aware coverage is spotty.


THE HIKE: MOHER TOWER TO O’BRIENS TOWER

Leaving the car park, head up a country lane toward Hags Head. At the top, pass by a gate and stone wall to continue on to Hags Head. The rock formation is the cliffs most southerly point. It is said to be shaped like a woman’s head (hence the name). From here, move on for closer views of Moher Tower.

The Road from the Car Park to Hags Head on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail; Ireland Travel
The Road from the Car Park to Hags Head

There was once a fort where Moher Tower stands. During the Napoleonic wars the fort was razed and replaced with a watchtower. The cliffs and tower derive their name from the Gaelic word “Mothar,” meaning the ruin of a fort. The tower is at the tip of a peninsula with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Stone Wall by the Hags Head Entry. The Cliffs of Moher Walk is one of the Best things to do in Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Stone Wall by the Hags Head Entry

From Moher Tower, locate the path and head north toward Doolin and the Visitor Center. Over the next few kilometers, you will pass by acres of farmland. There will be slate fences, flagstone stairs, cows, sheep, and farm equipment along the route. The area is also known for its many types of flowers, fossils, and birds.

Hag's Head and the Moher Tower. Guide to the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail in County Clare Ireland.
Hag's Head and the Moher Tower

Gazing at the sea, look for the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. In the layered sandstone bluffs, try to identify hidden caves. The magnitude and majesty of the cliffs builds as you trek along. Hikers further up the trail look like dots atop the cliffs. Ships, small specks on the water, begin to give you a sense of high you are.

 

In time, you will come to an expanse of cairns along the cliffs. The area was once a dumping zone for local quarries. Over the years, visitors have created a garden of cairns from the refuse.

Cairns Along the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail. Famous Cliffs in Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Cairns Along the Trail

We completed the Hags Head walk in late-May. On our trek, hikers were few until about 1.5 km from the Visitor Center. At that point, we encountered a series of small roads where touring companies were emptying bus loads of people. From here until the Visitor Center the crowds became much thicker. At lookouts there was a lot of jostling for the best photo spots.

Nearing the Cliffs of Moher Visitors Center: County Clare things to do in Ireland.
Nearing the Visitor Center

In front of the Visitor Center there are three viewing platforms (Main, South, and North); all enjoy spectacular coastal views. O’Briens Tower is located by the North Platform. The climbable structure was built in the 1800’s by Cornelius O’Brien as a viewing point for tourists. O’Briens Tower marks the cliff’s highest point at around 700-meters. The rock formation at the base of cliffs in front of the tower is called Branaunmore sea stack.

O'Briens Tower and the  Branaunmore Sea Stack at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center
O'Briens Tower and the Branaunmore Sea Stack

Before making the return trip to Hags Head stop at the Visitor Center. There are exhibits to peruse. You can take a bathroom break, fill your water bottle, and visit the cafes and gift shop.

 

Relax, and drink it all in on your walk back to Moher Tower. This rugged piece of coast is surely some of County Clare’s most wild and wonderful. Sláinte! (Cheers) Laura and Randy

Layers of Sandstone and Shale on the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail in County Clare Ireland.
Layer of Sandstone and Shale

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Outcroppings on the Cliffs of Moher. Guide to the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail in The Burren on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Outcroppings on the Cliffs of Moher

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