Hiking the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher were one of the things I was looking forward to the most on our road trip through Ireland - I was keen to do a bit of exercise and see the famous, 700 ft high cliffs - which apparently are Ireland's most popular tourist attractions (after the Storehouse?!)

There's lots of different ways to visit the cliffs, there's a 12km hiking trail all the way from Doolin to Liscansor which you can tackle in one go if you have a whole day, or chose a section if you're a little more pushed for time, or if you're only passing through on a flying visit, the Visitors Centre is at one of the most dramatic points scenery-wise, and if you want to take them in from a different angle there's always a boat cruise that doesn't require any walking at all! So take your pick but whatever you do don't miss them!

We chose to do the walk between Doolin and the Visitors Centre, starting at the top of the cliffs and walking down as we were worried about the weather closing in, and the amount of time we had (obviously walking down is faster than walking up) but if you're up for the challenge the walk up would be arguably more rewarding - just be prepared for a difficult climb, it's not an easy walk. 

We started with a quick stretch...

Coastal Walk Cliffs of Moher

And then we were off!

Ready for the Coastal Walk Cliffs of Moher

We gave ourselves 2 hours which in hindsight was ridiculous because we (okay, mainly me) took about 40 minutes just to cover the first mile (of 5) thanks to the number of photos we (I) was taking. But seriously, how can you walk quickly when this is in front of you?

The area around the visitors centre gets busy so go early if you want to avoid having to share the experience with hundreds of people! Also, there's a fee just to park at the visitors centre so if you're just getting dropped off, don't enter the car park. The visitors centre is nothing to write home about so don't waste your time with it (or the cafe) just make use of the bathrooms (the only ones on the 12km trail) and head for the cliffs. As you get further away from the visitors centre, the crowds thin out, as does the path...

At some points just a muddy groove in the grass, perched on the edge of well, certain death. We trudged ahead (by now there was a photo ban in place!) and started to make good progress towards Doolin, before suddenly becoming quite aware that we were perilously close to the cliff edge....

Turns out we weren't on the main path - in fact we were quite far from it! 

 Unstable cliff edge, please return to official path...

Unstable cliff edge, please return to official path...

In an effort to head inland we hurdled a fence and found ourselves traversing a meadow wandering at what point we were going to come face to face with a charging bull...

Before finding the path again....on the other side of an electric fence to the one we were standing on...

But teamwork makes the dream work and soon we were back on the right side of safety and back on track towards Doolin.

As we made our way back towards sea level the landscape changed and stunning rock formations appeared as we tackled the last section of our hike in peace and solitude, free from the crowds we'd passed at the top. 

Finally reaching our goal - lunch at the Ivy Cottage. Delicious home made burgers all round were just what the doctor ordered followed by coffee and cake and we were ready for the next leg - onwards to County Kerry! County Clare you did not disappoint!

Cliffs of Moher guide www.caribbeansnowflake.com