Officially 1 month of living in our van TODAY and we are feeling more and more at home everywhere we go. We do miss the comforts of our American Sprinter Van at times + our setup of having showers available nearly EVERYWHERE we go, but we are slowly finding solutions to all our needs. So far, the BEST option for showers (we still want to try CouchSurfing) is for us to stay at a campground every once in a while, which also offers us a great sense of community among other VanLifers! Our favorite thus far has been Mannix Campground along the famed Ring of Kerry (read more in our Ireland Bucket List post, coming soon!). Mortimer, the man behind curtain since 1984, does an impeccable job making this campground more than special + he knows A TON about the area… including how to hike to and see the Cliffs of Moher, for free 🙂
The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk officially opened in 2013 and has really made it possible for people of all ages and fitness levels to safely explore this incredible, dramatically-rising, beautiful chunk of earth!:
We decided that if we were going to embark on this adventure we were going to GO BIG and SEE IT ALL. We spent 10 hours (11am-9pm) exploring 20km (12.5 miles) of craggy Irish coastline + 1 WILD bus ride…WARNING: Only attempt if you are looking to experience your BEST, most FAVORITE day in Ireland, oh and watch out for those cliffs:
We started our journey in Liscannor at the Moher Sports Field free car park (map above). The 1st km of our trek was a surprisingly scenic walk along a quiet road to the trailhead. We met all sorts of curious farm animals and saw more than a handful of incredible little farm houses, take a look:
Can’t say we’d ever seen this before!:
Once we reached the trailhead it wasn’t long before we had arrived to Hag’s Head, a rocky peninsula that resembles a seated woman when viewed from the north. We admired the ancient fort ruins that loomed above and followed an adventurous looking trail that took us off the main path, down in between 2 giant boulders, to an awesomely-gnarly, zigzagging rock, TO THIS:
Here are the boulders we squeezed between:
That really sweet zigzaggy rock:And the romantic ruins of the fort:We had a hard time leaving this beautiful spot and couldn’t even imagine the beauty that awaited us at the REAL view of the cliffs. In an attempt to prolong our anticipation and marinate in our warm, sunny JOY, we decided to plop down and enjoy a picnic, along with some nice peaceful moments, before moving on:
From Hag’s Head we had 5km (3 miles) to go before reaching The Cliffs of Moher Visitor’s Center (our halfway point), which is situated just beyond the highest of all the cliffs, Knockardakin, which sits at 702 feet… can you spot my upside-down red pants below?:
The closer we got to the Visitor’s Center the more people were EVERYWHERE. We originally thought we might stop for a snack break at the little cafe inside but there were lines of people EVERYWHERE. We only stopped long enough to add to Drew’s smashed penny collection, had a quick bathroom break (being that it’s the only one on the entire trail) and quickly got out of dodge. Look at them all lining the close and distant cliff tops like colorful ants (LOL):
The view just outside the Visitor’s Center was pretty epic, but the lighting was a bit off for our liking so we decided we would return in time for sunset (photos coming, just continue reading). Adventure tip: Sit on the edge of (or lay down and peer over) the cliffs just north of the Visitor’s Center and watch as the ocean spray FLIES UP at you like air borne GLITTER!! Truly STUNNING, exhilarating and unlike anything we had EVER experienced… and if you’re lucky you might even get to see a rainbow form by the crashing waves……underwater treasure chest perhaps?We had 8km (5 miles) to go before reaching the town of Doolin and from here the crowds completely dissipated. It became evident that the trail between Hag’s Head and the Visitor’s Center was extremely popular, and this one not so much. If we had to recommend one section over the other we would recommend the Hag’s Head leg for its dramatic scenery, but we personally loved the Doolin leg for it’s unparalleled peace and solitude.
Dreamy Irish stream covered in lucky clovers:
Really incredible rock formations:
As we approached Doolin we could see the Doonagore Castle in the distance. We discussed our next move, as we knew we had limited time to catch the bus (especially being that is was Easter Monday) AND make it back to the Visitor’s Center in time for sunset, but we were determined.Sure enough we caught the last Bus Eireann, route 350, just outside the Doolin Hostel (3.50 Euro each)! This was one crazy, winding ride…an adventure in itself! But we made it back to the Visitor’s Center in time to enjoy the setting sun, and watched as it painted the stunning cliffside, and each other’s faces, gold:
Being that we had caught the last bus of the night, we now had to hike 6km (3.7 miles) back to the Moher Sports field, where our #rollinghome was parked. It took us just over an hour, but before we knew it, we were home sweet home.
Be sure to watch our video of the beautiful cliff-side adventure!
1. Pack a lunch + snacks + plenty of water
2. Go on a clear day (if possible), otherwise it will be very cold and windy.
3. WEAR LAYERS. I had long Johns + long sleeve T + fleece pull-over + rain jacket + jeans + wool socks + sturdy (water proof) hiking boots + beanie + Hot Hands. Some layers got shed at times, but by the end, every single layer and resource was in use. Remember, Ireland can experience all 4 seasons in a single day, no matter what time of year.
4. Make it an ALL DAY event if you have the time. It’s entirely too beautiful of a place to only spend a couple hours of your whole life in… it’s worth giving it more.