The Cliffs of Moher is the hottest tourist attraction in all of Ireland, with over 2 million tourists visiting a year. Everyone who’s ever visited Ireland has even posted a lust-worthy photo with a corny “moher” caption, too. Even I have! After seeing the Cliffs of Moher myself, I can agree that it deserves its title as the most popular Irish tourist attraction.
There are quite a few ways to see the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, which is where I was staying during my semester abroad. You could take a trip on your own, utilizing the DART and the bus system, though then you’d also have to pay the fee to get into the Cliffs of Moher visitor experience. In the end, this price would be about the same as choosing a tour, plus you’d have the hassle of trying to plan everything out yourself.
Which brings me to my second option, go with a tour group! There are many different tourist day trip companies in Ireland, with Wild Rover and Paddywagon Tours being the most popular. However, for my first ever day trip in Ireland, I chose to go with Finn McCools Tours, because you get way more bang for your buck (and no, this post is not sponsored, it’s my honest opinion). The tour I took was the “Cliffs of Moher, Burren and Galway Tour from Dublin” for €45. We even made a special stop at a monastery which I never would’ve had the chance to see if I hadn’t found this tour!
Pro tip: Sit on the left side of the bus so that you get the best views along the Wild Atlantic Way!
Now, this trip is going to be a very long day. The trip itself starts at 6:30 AM and ends around 8:00 PM. That’s not accounting travel time to and from the pickup/drop off spot at the Dublin City Gallery. Since I was staying at University College Dublin, I had to wake up around 5 AM to get there on time, making this a 16ish hour travel day! Prepare yourself.
My roommate and I each found that it was best each bring a backpack. In the backpack, I’d suggest bringing snacks, a change of socks, an umbrella, a lunch, money, and water. It might even be smart to pack an extra sweatshirt or jacket, too, or any other essentials that you might need.
I can only speak on what to wear in January, since that’s actually when I saw the Cliffs! I found it best to wear my bean boots, jeans, thick socks, a long sleeve, sweatshirt, and a rain jacket. The Cliffs themselves can be pretty misty, so expect to get wet depending on where you’re walking near them!
The weather in Ireland also changes on the flip of a dime, so I highly suggest wearing layers! This way you can be prepared for any situation.
Kilmacduagh Monastery was the first stop of our day. This was one of the additions that made me choose Finn McCools, since no other tour companies stop here! This monastery’s abbey dates back to the 13th century, and has a round tower (which I have found are pretty hard to come by in Ireland) from the 12th century. The cool thing about the tower is that it even has a slight lean!
This was a great stop because it was around the time that I was starting to get antsy. I was ready to get up and explore so I fairly enjoyed this stop, despite the multiple girls on our trip who had to take selfies at literally every spot at the monastery. It was crazy to walk around and see how some of the graves were incredibly old and some were more recent.
While you’re being driven towards the Cliffs of Moher, you actually drive along part of the Wild Atlantic Way! For those of you who don’t know, this is a popular tourist coastal route that goes all along the western coast, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. You’ll get to just sit back and relax while looking out your window and enjoying nonstop views of the water and even drive through some farm towns!
I just couldn’t get enough of it. My roommate actually fell asleep and I was sad for her because she missed out on so many great views! I will say that if you’re easily carsick, you’re going to feel it during this part of the ride.
After driving a bit along the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s finally time for the Cliffs of Moher! The nice thing about touring with Finn McCools is that your ticket price is actually included. As you step off the bus, your tour guide will hand you your ticket, and you’re good to go!
We were able to spend about 1.5 hours here. I grabbed my backpack and my roommate and I ate our lunch upstairs in the cafe area. You technically don’t have to pack a lunch because you could buy one at this point in the tour. Packing your own lunch is a great way to save money!
I just so happened to visit the Cliffs on one of those cloudy and overcast days. I’ve heard that this is pretty typical weather for western Ireland, so I guess you’re lucky if it’s sunny when you go! My photos all came out pretty dark and there’s no depth in the sky no matter how I edit them, but seeing them in person absolutely blew me away. It was so awesome to be able to see something I’ve only ever seen in photos before, and in movies like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
There’s also an awesome little tower here called O’Brien’s Tower, which I actually ended up getting some great shots of. This tower symbolizes the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher and dates back to the 19th century.
This is yet another stop that I was super excited for! Essentially, the Burren (from what I understood on my tour) is the closest to a lunar landscape that you can get on Earth. All the rocks have holes in them from all the rain, so they’re super cool to look at. There’s some massive holes in them!
The “Baby Cliffs” are also here and they look like a mini version of the Cliffs of Moher! Weirdly enough, this is the part of the tour that the sun finally peaked out and said hello! Unfortunately, I actually didn’t go close enough to the Baby Cliffs to snap a good coastal picture. It was definitely a gorgeous area!
Last but not least, we finally made a 2 hour stop in Galway city! I had heard so many great things about Galway, so I was really excited to visit. Since we were there for such a short time, we stuck to the really touristy area. I do wish that I had time to venture out a bit more. However, I fairly enjoyed going into the church and walking around the market area. I also found a bunch of bookstores which made me so excited!
Galway felt a bit like a smaller version of Dublin to me, but I still really loved it! I especially loved how our tour guide told us about the few castles left standing in Galway. One of them is now a bank and one is now a coffee shop. I of course stopped at the coffee shop to check it out and bought myself a coffee!
There’s even a lot of free things to do in Galway, which is perfect if you’re on a budget!
The ride home was pleasant and we got back around 8 PM. I slept most of the ride home because I was so tired after the travels of the day! This was the first day trip I took while in Ireland. I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorites.
The Cliffs of Moher are a must-see while you’re in Ireland. Make the trip with Finn McCools Tours so you don’t have to worry about the planning!
Check out our travel vlog from our day on our Finn McCools Tour to Galway & the Cliffs of Moher!