Hiking the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Come witness at the Cliffs of Moher where land meets sea in a turbulent end. Waves crash hard into rocks, chiseling their way deeper into the high cliff side.
Gulls swoop in and out of cubby holes, riding the wind and crying with careless delight.
Everywhere the lush grass dances endlessly in the unrelenting power of the wind.
Off in the distance, the lone tower of Hag’s head stands and we say to ourselves “what is out there?”.
And in that moment when the wind howls in your ears and makes your hair dance wild, there’s nothing left to think but the words:
“I am so alive.”
View from O’Brian’s Tower
After visiting the visitors center, we walked up the north side to O’Brien’s Tower. If you want to pay the extra 2 euro, you can walk up the steps to the roof of the tower for a photo. The view was beautiful, but so very windy. Be careful with phones and small cameras with no neck strap.
Hike to Hag’s Head
The Iconic view comes from O’Brians Tower and the visitor center, but we wanted to go further, so we walked to the south wall and kept going. Most tourists don’t go beyond a certain point, but there is a trail that will take you all the way to Hags head.
Looking back, it’s amazing to think that we were in that tiny little tower.
As we continue along we look back over our shoulders and see such beautiful farmland. Mother cows sit with their calves, grazing lazily. The clouds move quickly casting shadows over the florescent green pastures.
We come to a garden full of rock piles from previous travelers. We decide to choose a rock not already piled and take it home with us to remind us of our hike on the edge.
We finally arrive to hags head with a little disappointment. It’s fenced off so we can’t explore it. We sit for a while in a little spot protected by the wind. We’re still so happy to have come all this way, far from the tourists. We feel lucky that we get to see a portion of this place that most don’t normally see.
The walk back is so painful for me, as my shoes are not proper hiking boots. I hobble back to the car, ready to sit for hours as we make the drive to Galway.
Our Recommendations for Hiking the Cliffs of Moher
Bring a wind breaker
We came on a very windy day. The man at O’Brian’s tower said the winds were up to 60km/hour. Even in less windy conditions, you’ll likely want some sort of wind-resistant clothing.
Bring good hiking boots and hiking poles
If you plan to hike anywhere on the cliffs, bring good footwear. It had rained the day before (when does it not rain in Ireland? Seriously) and the ground was slick with mud and puddles and uneven paths. I regret not having my hiking pole for stability as the wind really did push me around a bit. Jeremy was very anxious watching me fight the wind. He kept me far from the edge to make sure I didn’t fall over.
Bring snacks or lunch
We had no plans to go as far as Hags head, but we just kept on walking. It took about an hour to get all the way out there and by the time we did, we were really hungry. Prepare yourself for wanting to go farther because it’s just so beautiful and make sure you have enough food and water.
Go for sunset
Due to the overwhelming popularity, the Cliffs of Moher Website recommends going later in the day to avoid the crowds and to manage the number of people visiting at one time. I regret not going when the sun was out and setting. Seeing the cliffs turn golden would have been spectacular. Try something different and go later in the day. If you plan on hiking however, that may not be the best idea.
Lastly, practice caution on the cliffs
Be smart. Don’t stand on the very edge of the cliffs, even for that perfect photo or selfie. It’s dangerous and not worth the risk of falling. Just this July a woman’s body was found, after her pack was found on the edge of the cliffs. One can only assume that she fell to her death. Practice caution and admire from a safe distance from the edge.