Doolin Cliff Hike to the Cliffs of Moher
Scott and I sat on the bus making its way toward the west coast of Ireland, more specifically the village of Doolin. This area is known for the Cliffs of Moher. We had wifi on the bus, so I looked online at hikes in the area. The Doolin Cliff Hike to the Cliffs of Moher was mentioned and we decided it would be the perfect hike for us.
Eventually, we found a B&B with a room available for the night and I asked our host about the hike. She made a quick phone call and let us know there was a three hour guided tour at 10:00 am the next morning, from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher. Scott and I discussed taking a guided hike vs. just figuring it out on our own. In hindsight we are so glad to have chosen to be guided, and we know we supported an amazing cause.
Doolin Cliff Walk
At 10:00 a.m. sharp, Scott and I, as well as 15 other people met in front of O’Connors Pub. Pat Sweeney talked to us about the trail and the history behind it.
In 2006 there was economic struggle in the area and the farmers looked for different ways to bring tourists to Doolin. The solution was to create a trail system. Pat, as well as 39 other farmers allowed hikers to pass through their land, making the trail accessible through all of the different farm properties. Now tourists visit Doolin specifically to hike and when the trail system is complete, it will be 20k long.
An Incredible Hike
Pat set us up with two guides, Charlie and Beth. Our group set off to hike the three hour, 8k section which is now complete. The fee was a 10 euro donation at the end of the hike, to help support more work on the trail, as well as maintenance of the existing section.
Charlie and Beth kept a fast pace for us and told stories along the way. Our hike began in the main village of Doolin and took us along the cliffs which overlooked the ocean. We stopped to take many pictures along the way. It began as a sunny morning and the trail was between rolling green hills of farmland and the wild, Atlantic ocean. We saw a few cows and even a castle off in the distance!
Every step of the way we enjoyed the most gorgeous views. As we looked back we could see Doolin in the distance. Far out in the ocean we could see the Arayan Islands. The trail turned to single track along the cliffs edge. I felt a bit anxious to be so near the edge, especially with the powerful winds. The ocean was so rough, the boats weren’t even going out to the islands.
The group we hiked with was very diverse, with people from around the world. A few of us were equipped with hiking boots, trekking poles, and were mentally prepared for the mud from the trail which would be ahead. Scott and I had hiked in Ireland for weeks, we knew the wet, muddy bog situation, which was sure to come.
Some people in our group wore denim jeans, sweatshirts and regular tennis shoes and were still able to hike just fine.
One Hour In
After an hour it began to rain. It had been perfectly sunny and then the clouds rolled in. The weather in Ireland constantly changed and it was best to be prepared for anything. Luckily, Scott and I were already in our rain jackets. They were light weight and kept us dry.
Charlie stopped the group and explained how we would see a reverse waterfall, a few minutes up the trail.
The water fell dramatically into the ocean but the wind picked it back up and threw it onto the trail. Straight at us! If we weren’t soaked by the rain we sure were after that! What a crazy experience, as I have never seen a waterfall blow back before.
Two Hours In
In the second hour of the hike, it rained off and on. The trail was wet with many creek crossings. I was thankful for my trekking poles, which helped me balance in the wind and were like a third foot going over creeks. We hiked a section of muddy bog farmland and one person even fell. Her entire backside was covered in mud. I remember those days of falling in the mud as we hiked the Bearra Way. Not very fun. Still, we felt lucky the farmer allowed us to cross through his land.
Our last hour, the sun began to shine. We were thankful to dry out a bit, but there were still areas where the ocean sprayed us with water.
We joked about how we were getting the “Irish Baptism.”
At one point as we had paused to take pictures and chat with the other hikers, we noticed one of the couples off to the side near the edge of the cliff. The man went down on his knee and proposed to his girlfriend, we all clapped and cheered after she said yes. What a special memory they will always cherish.
Slowly, we made our way higher and higher. Charlie and Beth let us know where it was safe or unsafe to take pictures from. Scott liked to get a bit too close to the edge for my taste, so I stayed by myself, far back from the cliff’s edge. Eight people had died in 2017 so far from falls off the cliffs (some suicides) and we didn’t want to be added to those statistics.
Cliffs of Moher
After our last climb we arrived at the highest point of our hile, 700 feet above the churning sea. There in front of us were the world famous Cliffs of Moher. They were beautiful and dramatic with the Atlantic ocean below.
We spent time in the tourist area atop the cliffs. There were plenty of pictures to be taken, although it was a huge challenge in the strongs winds. I could see how someone might easily be blown off the cliffs.
At the prearranged time, we met our guides and boarded a bus which returned us to the village of Doolin.
Scott and I absolutely enjoyed our Doolin Cliff hike. For me, it may have been one of my favorite experiences in Ireland.
Everyone in our group enjoyed themselves, even the people who were not dressed properly for the elements. I would definitely recommend hiking boots and rain jacket, just so you will be able to focus on the beauty of the area and not just being wet.
We would highly recommend this hike. There is so much hard work which goes into maintaining the trail, as well as the expansion of the rest of the distance. We hope you will hike it as a group, meet some new people and contribute to their trail project.
For more information please check out the Doolin Cliff Walk page.