During our trip to Ireland, we stayed 2 nights in Doolin, the city closest to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Not only does the city provide a place to stay on your way to see the cliffs, but has plenty to offer on its own.
See The Cliffs Of Moher From Above
Seeing the cliffs from about is easy and requires and simple drive to the visitor center. There is a parking lot where you pay per person as you enter.
The cliffs are only a short walk from the parking lot. There is a visitor center, restaurant, and Murphy’s ice cream shop. Make sure you try the sea salt ice cream!
You can walk along the cliffs both to the left and the right. If you are really ambitious you can even walk to the cliffs from Doolin. I understand it to be a 3-hour hike.
Cliffs of Moher From Below & Aran Island Cruise
We really enjoyed seeing the cliffs from below by going on a ferry and visiting the Aran Islands. You can call ahead or book when you show up to the pier. We were provided with tickets from Bill O’Brien. You really can’t miss them when you get to the pier. We found the staff and Bill very friendly and helpful. We arrived about 10 minutes before departure, giving us time to get our tickets and pay for parking. For 30 Euros you can purchase round trip tickets that will take you to Inis Oírr, also know as Inishmore, and by the Cliffs of Moher on the way back. It is the smallest island and closest from the shore.
First things to know is the boats are fairly small so if there are rough seas you are going to feel it. Also, you feel the wind a lot more onboard than on land so dress appropriately. We were pretty lucky and enjoyed a sunny day on the water with very calm seas. I recommend finding a place on the top level of the boat since you feel the waves less than below.
On your way out of the harbor, the first thing you will pass is a small island visible from shore.
Once you arrive on the island you have several options to get around. At the pier, there are people waiting for you.
You can take a tour around the island on a horse-drawn carriage, rent bikes or you can just walk around. We opted for bikes and used them to ride around to the different ruins. The only issue was the hills, we found ourselves walking our bikes to most of the sites, then coasting our way back down. For the least effort, jump on the back of one of the carriage.
The cemetery has an interesting sunken church. It was first built above ground but overtime was covered with sand and is now underground.
Also on the Island is the Plassey Shipwreck and O’Brien’s castle.
The O’Brien’s castle is on top of a hill and makes for a perfect place for a picnic or just to relax.
We stopped at a small café ran out of a home just outside the castle ruins for a sandwich and drink.
We stayed on the Island for about 2 and a half hours then headed back to the ship. As we waited for our ships to start boarding, we went for a quick walk on the beach and were amazed by the clear waters.
We had a strong urge to stay on the beach all day, but couldn’t miss our ferry.
As we boarded our ship we were absolutely delighted to notice a dolphin was in the harbor with us. While we waited to be on our way, it breached the surface several times. It was the closest I had ever been to a dolphin in the wild.
Seeing the cliffs from the ferry was an amazing site.
I feel like the cliffs seem more substantial from below. You can get an idea of the size based on the boat in the image below.
You also pass the cave that was filmed for Harry Potter from when Harry and Dumbledore go to find one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
After going by the cliffs, we made our way back to the pier.
We went ahead and checked out the coast line by the pier.
The coast is very rocky and was fun to explore a bit.
Once we started to feel hungry, we made our way to the pubs Doolin is well known for.
For the night we stayed at Ballinalacken Castle, an amazing bed and breakfast built next to a castle ruin that we toured with the owner.
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central American, South America and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.