Cliffs of Moher Day Trips from Dublin

Almost 300 kilometres separate Dublin from the Cliffs of Moher, but once you're there, it's worth it. Find out the best way to get there and see for yourself.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

Cliffs of Moher Day Trips from Dublin

Cliffs | ©Pixabay

Of all the activities and things to do near Dublin, I never tire of recommending a trip to the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's main tourist attractions. I'm sure that knowing this, you've become curious about this landscape of nature, heights and sea; the best thing to do in that case is to book an organised tour.

There are several alternatives and different types of tours depending on your budget and the type of trip you want to do. You can expect to need a full day to go to the cliffs, but you can extend the trip by a few hours (or even a few days) depending on whether you want to add other stops to the visit. As I know that so many options can be overwhelming, I have selected the best ones to make it easier for you to choose.

The best option

Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey and Galway Day Trip from Dublin

Visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and Galway in one day

Discover this wonder of nature in Ireland and take home the best memories of this excursion. Travel along the island's coastline with stops at Kilmacduagh Abbey and the picturesque city of Galway.

Duration: 12 hours 30 minutes

This tour is usually priced at around €76 and includes the return trip and entrance to the cliffs (required to enter the Park and its Visitor Centre); all this accompanied by a guide who will explain everything about Moher and Galway.

The first destination is usually the Cliffs of Moher. You will have about two hours to walk along the cliffs. If you have vertigo and the 200 metre height is too much for you, you can stay at the Visitor Centre and learn about the history of the cliffs. You'll then stop at Kilmacduagh Abbey and continue on to Galway, where you can stop for a snack and a stroll through the colourful streets, orhead to the mouth of the river.

In total, the tour takes about 12 hours, so you'll also have time to explore at your leisure.

Book your Cliffs of Moher Tour

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher on your own from Dublin

Cliffs of Moher|©Pic et Ciel
Cliffs of Moher|©Pic et Ciel

The route from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher is neither direct nor the smoothest, so I recommend that the first option you consider is to book a tour. However, if you still like to travel at your own pace and prefer to manage it on your own, here are some of the options you can consider:

Public transport

Unfortunately there is no direct public transport from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. So if you decide to make the journey this way, you will have to make combinations, the simplest one, a transfer in Galway.

You will have to first take the X20 bus to Galway and then from there, the 350 bus that will leave you at the entrance of the Cliffs of Moher. The transfer will take you about 5 hours, but keep in mind that there are not many buses a day so this estimate can be extended.

The total price of both journeys is around 30 € - 40 €, depending on the time you travel, but it can be a good option if your idea is to spend the night in Galway and visit the city on the way.

If you choose this option, I recommend you visit the bus company's website to check timetables and organise your itinerary so you don't get any surprises.

Renting a car

Another recommended option if you want to go to the Cliffs of Moher on your own is to hire a car. If you go from Dublin, it will take you approximately 3 hours without counting extra stops.

The car will allow you not only to do the route at your own time, but also to go around the cliffs at your own pace and without being dependent on the schedules stipulated by an excursion.

However, if your idea for this plan is to do it in one day, it is not worth it. In this case, do not hesitate to book an excursion to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin and forget about the stories and unforeseen events.

Also, remember that in Ireland you drive in the other direction, so the narrow and winding roads that lead to the cliffs can be more complicated and therefore take longer to get there.

Excursion from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher along the Atlantic coastline

Bunratty Castle| ©DXR
Bunratty Castle| ©DXR

Although the cliffs are the destination, I'm sure you've read that the drive is well worth it. If you want to take advantage of the journey to see those places in between, my advice is to book a tour that includes stops along the Atlantic coast. You'll travel along the Wild Atlantic Way, taking in historic sites such as Dunguaire Castle, Kilmacduagh Monastery and the countryside of the west of Ireland.

The great advantage is that, as you go with a guide, he or she will explain the towns and places you pass through, something that is impossible to control if you go alone on public transport.

However, these tours are not as direct, as you'll be making stops along the way. If you're interested, this is your best option, but bear in mind that the three-hour bus ride will turn into four or five hours (one way) and can be very long and tiring if you want to get to the cliffs as soon as possible.

Main stops on this type of tour

It is clear that the main stop and the one where you will spend the most time is the Cliffs of Moher. Not only because the spectacular scenery is worth it, but also because the entrance fee is included. Of course, before arriving you will have had the opportunity to take some photos of Bunratty Castle, which was occupied by Vikings and kings.

On the cliffs you can take a walk, learn about the history and nature of this place through the Visitor Centre or have a bite to eat in one of the nearby restaurants.

Back in County Galway, you'll appreciate stopping at Kilmacduagh Monastery, which is actually a monastic complex that is free to visit. Over a thousand years of history can be breathed in as soon as you set foot in these ruins. Although everything is striking, if anything it's the tower, which is leaning and one of the tallest in Ireland!

Another must-see on most tours is Dunguaire Castle, which is right on the border between County Clare (where Burren and Moher are located) and Galway and is one of the most photographed places in Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher and Ailwee Caves tour

Inside Ailwee Caves| ©Paolo Trabattoni
Inside Ailwee Caves| ©Paolo Trabattoni

You might think that a three hour bus ride to the Cliffs of Moher is more cost effective if you also include the Ailwee Caves in the tour.

This is always a possibility and a good way to see two of the most beautiful places in Ireland and the surrounding area. In total it will take about fourteen hours of sightseeing, 7-8 of which you will be on the bus.

The first stop is usually the Ailwee Caves. You may be familiar with the name, as it is the largest and most famous cave system in the country. Remember to bring a jacket as it gets chilly in this underground paradise of stalagmites and stalactites. A guide will give you first-hand information about the geology of the area.

Before heading to the Cliffs of Moher, you'll have time to refuel at a restaurant in Doolin, which is halfway along the route.

However, as both visits are included, you may have a little less time to spend in each one. My advice is to listen carefully to the guide's instructions so that you get the most out of your time there.

Cliffs of Moher and Burren National Park Combination Tour

Afternoon at Cliffs of Moher| ©Sean MacEntee
Afternoon at Cliffs of Moher| ©Sean MacEntee

Fancy getting close to the Irish countryside? Then book one of the combined tours to the Cliffs of Moher and Burren National Park. Here you will find approximately 70% of Ireland's plant species.

While on the cliffs you will enjoy the views, the waves crashing against the rock walls and the many birds flying overhead, in the Burren you will have the opportunity to see a totally different and unique landscape. Why? Because its chalky, grey soil, but close to the Atlantic, allows all kinds of species to coexist there, from native plants to others originating from arctic or Mediterranean climates.

Please note that the Burren Park is a protected area, so it has respect for the flora and fauna, but also for the ancient monuments that are there. For example, you will see Celtic crosses and megalithic tombs; if you don't know their significance, don't worry because the guide will give you a historical introduction.

Book your Cliffs of Moher Tour

Cliffs of Moher tour with a visit to the village of Doolin

Visiting Doolin| ©Wegdekstreepje
Visiting Doolin| ©Wegdekstreepje

As you make your way to the Cliffs of Moher, you're sure to notice that you're leaving behind the big city of Dublin and entering a much more rustic and traditional part of Ireland.

To get closer to this world, I recommend a trip to Doolin, a fishing village and home of Irish music. Some tours include this stop on the day trip.

And although discovering a city like Dublin is a great plan, my advice is always to get to know the "home" side of a country, so I recommend going to Moher and then to Doolin. In the cliffs you'll have time to go hiking and bird watching, while in Doolin you'll be able to stroll among the colourful houses with thatched roofs, so typical of the Irish countryside.

One of the things you really have to do in Doolin, and which will be a great way to rest after the route along the cliffs, is to have lunch and a beer in a pub. This town is famous for its music, so if you're lucky the menu will be accompanied by the tunes of a local band.

Cliffs of Moher train tour from Dublin with stop in Limerick

Dublin Train| ©Giuseppe Milo
Dublin Train| ©Giuseppe Milo

If you are thinking of going by train to the Cliffs of Moher, you should know that there is no direct route, so you will have to go to Limerick and then take a bus (or several) to get to the cliffs or get around the area. My advice is to save time (and money) by booking a tour that provides you with train tickets (with guaranteed seats) and then a private bus to get you from one point to another.

Besides the fact that it's better value for money to go with a tour, the good thing is that they usually include a tour guide, who will accompany you on the journey to the train and during the stop in Limerick. This city, which lies on the banks of the River Shannon, is steeped in history as well as artistic life.

Private, tailor-made tour to the Cliffs of Moher

Photo taken on the Cliffs Tour| ©Jonathan Geiger
Photo taken on the Cliffs Tour| ©Jonathan Geiger

Are you an independent traveller? In that case you might not feel like a group tour because of the time constraints and the need to fit in the group departures. However, you can always book a private tour, just for you.

The price is obviously a bit higher, but your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Dublin and take you straight to the Cliffs of Moher, unless you want to make a stop in between. In that case, just let us know so we can tailor the route to suit you. In total, 12 hours for you to explore at your own pace.

Not sure where you want to stop? Don't worry, as you will be travelling with a guide, this person can advise you on where to stop. The best thing is that you don't have to worry about timetables or getting from one place to another, as the car will always be at your disposal, whether you want to spend two hours at the cliffs, as is normal, or extend your visit and go from Dublin to Galway, for example.

Two-day Cliffs of Moher tour

St Finbar's Cathedral| ©Charlie cravero
St Finbar's Cathedral| ©Charlie cravero

I'm not going to kid you, the three hours from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher can be long, especially if you want to make more than one stop in between. If that's the case and you're worried that the lack of time will make you see everything quickly, I recommend you sign up for a longer day trip, so you won't feel like you're spending all day on the bus.

The great advantage is that once you've extended your stay, there will be more time to visit the Cliffs of Moher, but also to see other places such as Cork city (where you can shop at the local markets) and the Atlantic beaches.

Book your Cliffs of Moher Tour

Cliffs of Moher tour from Dublin with boat trip

Cliffs of Moher Boat Tour| ©Fabian Fortmann
Cliffs of Moher Boat Tour| ©Fabian Fortmann

The views from the Cliffs of Moher are quite impressive, but if you want to get a panoramic view of them and how they cut into the coastline, nothing beats a boat trip. Some excursions from Dublin include this cruise option.

What's so special about seeing the cliffs from the water? Well, although from above you can see the birds that inhabit the area and the natural landscape they form, with the cruise you'll be able to appreciate their immensity much better.

In total, there are some 8 kilometres of large, high rock walls on which the waves break. You will not regret it!

The boat usually departs from the pier in Doolin, the closest town to the cliffs. If you're lucky, you might even have a dolphin as a companion. In any case, what you will have on board is a guide explaining how they were formed and the value of the unspoilt landscape of Ireland's Atlantic coast.

Harry Potter fans may be familiar with one of the sea caves on the tour, as it's where scenes from the film The Half-Blood Prince were filmed.

Cliffs of Moher tour including visit to the Aran Islands

Aran Islands| ©Doug Kerr
Aran Islands| ©Doug Kerr

From the top of the Cliffs of Moher you will see, in the distance, an archipelago of the famous three Aran Islands. Many travellers settle for that, but the beauty of these islands is well worth a visit.

Luckily, there are excursions that include them on their routes from Dublin. Even if you don't have time to disembark on all three Aran Islands, you will disembark on one of them (it depends on the tour, so check beforehand). In any case, you will go around all of them and the guide accompanying the tour will explain what you will see. For example, from the water you can see ruins and the Dún Aonghasa, an ancient stone fortress. From there, you can also see the Cliffs of Moher.

We compare the different ways to go to the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher|©N i c o l a
Cliffs of Moher|©N i c o l a
  • Cliffs of Moher tour with stop in Galway
  • Duration: approx. 12 hours
  • Price: approximately €76
  • Please note: Includes guided tour of Galway and Kilmacduagh Abbey.
  • Public transport
  • Duration: from 5 hours
  • Price: approximately €40 for both journeys
  • Please note: The route is not direct and requires a combination of buses: Dublin-Galway/Galway-Antilles.
  • Car hire
  • Duration: about 3 hours non-stop
  • Price: from 100 € per day
  • Please note: In Dublin you drive on the left and there are narrow roads.

Tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Sunset at the Cliffs of Moher| ©Allan Henderson
Sunset at the Cliffs of Moher| ©Allan Henderson

It is clear that there are many options for going to the Cliffs of Moher and enjoying a tour there. Whichever type of tour you choose, there are a few tips I'd like to give you so that nothing spoils the experience. Do you take note?

  • Take a jacket or mackintosh: the Cliffs are hundreds of metres above the sea and on the Atlantic coast, so it's windy and chilly. You can always check the weather forecast before you go.
  • Avoid going on windy days: the best season is spring or summer for this very reason; in the colder months the gusts of wind come unexpectedly and can be dangerous, so don't walk on the edge or carelessly.
  • Respect the marked path: when you enter the Cliffs you can start the path to the left or to the right, whichever side you choose to start on, follow the signs and do not cross the protective fences.
  • Don't forget some food: restaurants are generally expensive in the area, so if you can, bring your own food.
  • Enter the Visitor Centre: don't think that the Cliffs are the only interesting thing to see and that once you've seen them, you're free to go. There are beautiful and very interesting photographs in the Centre to help you understand how the landscape has changed over the years.
  • Wear suitable footwear: remember that the trails are made of dirt and stones, so wearing the wrong shoes could jeopardise your walk.

Already know what you're going to see at the Cliffs of Moher? Make the most of your trip and come back with plenty of adventures to tell.