This post is about driving on the Clare coast up to Cliffs of Moher and is the 3rd one in my Ireland series. To see how it all began click here.
The trip between Dingle and Doolin (near the Cliffs of Moher) is 3 hours and we were looking for ways to fill the day. When we looked at the map and searched different Facebook groups, to see what we were doing next, one thing that kept coming up is Clare coast, and I didn't quite understand what it was about. Until I reached it.
Loop Head Drive
After we got off the shuttle we started driving toward Loop Head at the most western point (map at the bottom of this post). We knew the road there should be beautiful and there was a lighthouse there. That's all. Of course, the trip there is marked as part of the Wild Atlantic Way, a branding that the Irish made in 2013 and is now considered the world's longest coastal driving route. In general, it is mainly signposts (because the roads were already there before), and really it is beautiful.
When we reached the lighthouse we saw that you can pay an entrance fee of 5 euros but my advise is to skip it. Just walk around. It's C-R-A-Z-Y! You can literally walk on the edge of cliffs AND the ground feels like walking on this bouncy grass thing 🙂 .
Yes, I know it's not clear, but I have no other way to describe it, maybe you'll understand it from the video… Now, because these cliffs are not very high, you can also hear the sound of the waves quite loud, which doesn't happen in the Cliffs of Moher, which we'll get to later in the post. At some point we suddenly met an American couple so we had to do a selfie :).
Moving on, we stopped by this cemetery which something in the vivd green colors always make it look really good taken care of. A year earlier, during foliage, I really liked one in Maine (BTW – this post also has a very nice lighthouse in it!)
From there we continued north to Kilkee cliffs – WOOOOOW. These cliffs are along the crazy N67 road, and it's not that there's only one place to stop. Stop, see, move on. Two or three times. The cliffs were fun and a little bit reminiscent of the Faroe Islands. Because here, too, it's wild, without fences or any other signs of "western civilization", and I say it in a totally good way.
At the first stop was a cute shepherd dog I thought was someone's but at a glance did not seem to have an owner and he walked around with me :). What a charm !!
Here's a short video of Clare coast, no music so you could hear the waves 🙂 .
We weren't sure if we should visit Cliffs of Moher on the same day, but eventually it was too much so we decided to do it the first thing the next morning.
Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher
We arrived Doolin and settled in O'connors Guesthouse which was really nice with a large room and a great breakfast. Doolin is the closest town to the Cliffs of Moher.
If you want to quibble, Doolin does not really exist. Why do I say that? Because it is actually three very small villages that merged into one, and therefore there is not really a "city center". What's more, there are 3 relatively close pubs, so what you do is pass among them and listen to live Irish music!
It was really fun. I think its my most enjoyable evening in Ireland. In one pub it was a guitar, an accordion, and a fiddle, which is actually a clever name for violin – seriously. In another pub a Banjo (love the banjo!), harp, piccolo, an Irish drum and a woman who sang in Gaelic. The atmosphere is very coazy and it feels authentic…
If you have some sort of mental image of how it sounds like, see if it matched the actual thing:
Cliffs of Moher
Two words about the Cliffs of Moher cliffs in case you don't know. When talking about a trip to the Irish island (Ireland + Northern Ireland), we mainly talk about two attractions: Cliffs of Moher and Giant's Causeway. I follow all kinds of discussions that people ask what to see if there's only time for one of them and from what I see the public doesn't have a definite answer…
If you ask me, well, I do not have either. I went to Northern Ireland when I was short in time and I really don't regret it. If I had given up the Cliffs of Moher it would probably have bothered me too. The solution? Make sure you have plenty of time. Or think ahead of time about your next trip to the area 🙂 .
We got up in the morning and drove early to the Cliffs of Moher before all the buses arrived. 8 minutes drive from Doolin and 6 euros after, we were ready to start. We started on the "usual" route, marked, at the end of which there is the O'Briens Tower. The entrance doesn't include boarding it, but because I had some coins in my pocket I decided to go up. Bottom line – in my opinion is not worth these 2 euros.
Who is responsible?!
Along the way there is a fence that blocks the path, but not 100% and there is a sign that says something like "From now on we are not responsible." We read and continued 🙂 . What happens in this part is that there really is no separation between the cliff and the sea and you can free fall :). Anyone who wants can literally lie on the edge of the cliff!
The difference between the Cliffs of Moher and those we saw the day before is that they are much higher, about 2 times! Here, for example, I didn't hear the sea at all… After the cliffs of Moher, which took something like two hours, we continued towards Galway but that's a story for another post!
A short video showing how it feels to lie down there… and like I promised a map of the day.