On the very last day of 2016 we found ourselves in Ennis. (It wasn’t a surprise, we’d travelled there the day before, crossing the country for a friend’s family-friendly 40th birthday party.) We stayed at a hotel that would be retro if it wasn’t all the original decor and enjoyed a lovely evening reminiscing with friends.
We hadn’t spent any time in Clare since we had a week’s holiday there in 2009, so we and first spot on our agenda was to head west and see the Atlantic Ocean at the Cliffs of Moher before making our journey home. We travelled from Ennis through Lahinch on up to Liscannor. The clouds were dark and the winds were brewing as we approached the car park entrance. We paid €6 per adult at the car park (kids under 16 are free) and parked the car.
I’ll be honest, things weren’t looking good for our daytrip. The kids were cranky from the late night the night before and there were protracted debates about putting on coats and hats despite the winds and dark skies. We eventually got the attire sorted and the entourage crossed the road from the car park into the site itself.
In my experience visitors’ centres can be hit or miss, and I’m happy to report that in this instance it was a really big hit. The centre itself, cut into the rock, is impressive and the inside is cavernous and very peaceful as a result. The displays are all very interactive, we were able to design and send ourselves postcards and videos (they take three weeks to arrive though) and the kids enjoyed a couple of games which involved jumping on fake rocks. There’s educational stuff about the geology and the local area. A video is shown too but for the sake of the other patrons we declined to join it (we are noisy). A small cafe and a restaurant in the complex are the catering options, we had sandwiches from the cafe and they were fine and not particularly expensive as you might expect from a destination like this.
The main attraction is of course the stunning natural scenery, sea cliffs over 700ft tall stretching for 8km along the Atlantic Coast, it’s breathtaking. We walked to the left first, north towards O’Brien’s Tower. The boys, who had scrambled up the steps begged to go “up higher” and we paid an additional €2 per adult (there was supposed to be a €1 per child fee too we gave €5 and were waved on) to climb the tower for an even more spectacular view, and a climb!
Because of the weather when we were there the wind was blowing spray from the sea across our path as we walked south along the cliffs, and it looked like dandelion wishes or fairies on the wind. Tourists were stopped staring at them and we had to explain what they were. The boys really got a lot out of the place, it’s hard sometimes to gauge whether a visit will be a hit or a miss, but the number of times that they said “Epic!” their favourite word of the moment to describe good things was remarkable. Slabs of local stone make the cliffside walk very safe and my children were quick to correct the tourists who walked on the wrong side of it for photo opportunities. (cringe)
The Cliffs of Moher Experience is hugely popular with tourists and you can see why it has a whopping ONE MILLION visitors a year. Therefore, visits off peak are to be recommended. I think arriving in the late afternoon and catching sunset over the cliffs would be absolutely beautiful, as the space is limited especially in the Visitors’ Centre if it’s very busy.
We stayed at Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis. It was clean and reasonably priced and the staff were all very friendly and helpful. The bar food was pretty good, but the hotel rooms are pretty outdated and could do with a decorative upgrade. Would we stay there again? Yes, but the price would want to be right. We booked online through roomex.
Nothing to disclose: Not a sponsored post, cash paid for all services, no freebies.
Definitely on our list – Ireland has so many great places to explore!!
It sure does