Why did I do it? I certainly knew better.
Years ago nine of my new best mates and I headed to the Cliffs of Moher. At the time, I didn’t realise that the two Irish locals in our group were worth their weight in gold because of their local knowledge…. and looking back, they saved us all a bit of dosh and world of pain because we avoided the visitors centre amongst other things…
Here’s why I think the Cliffs of Moher visitors centre isn’t worth it :
Just recently I headed on an epic road trip that included, haunted castles, ancient Celtic stuff, graveyards and some seriously wet and rainy farmers fields. This adventure also included a detour to the Cliffs of Moher. Now, I’m normally a pretty savvy traveller, but with all the driving – I’ll be the first to admit it – I got lazy.
Earlier in the week, I did some research on the Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre. Their main webpage stated that entry was the bargain basement price of only 4€ per person. Why should I drive another fifteen minutes for slightly cheaper parking if it’s only 4€? Why not pay for the upkeep that’s pretty much for a good cause – plus, there’s only two of us, not ten. That’s what I thought until we arrived…..
We followed the parking signs and drove around to the carpark on the left. Thoughts like, “Meh. Why not?” crossed my mind, so we pulled in and that’s when we were stuck. There were cars in front and behind us and a big ‘FUCK YOU TOURIST!’ sign that said entry 8€. Y tho?
I was confused. My researched said 4€. Why the sudden price jump?
We knew that that we had to get cracking. As savvy travellers, we were destined to outsmart the outsmarters, so out came our phones and attempted to book tickets online. As we clicked ‘continue,’ the next page showed the TRUTH. The cost of the cliffs DEPENDS on the time you go to them. What the ACTUAL?
The car in front of us rolled up and we were now committed. We were greeted by a super chirpy agent where he answered our questions.
He explained to us what the 8€ entry covered – parking, the visitors centre, bathroom and the cliffs. It seemed legit and we paid the entry but basically just got ‘YeahNAAAH’d’ when he followed up his script with “but keep your tickets with you at all times, you’ll need them to enter.”
Actually…. we later found out that we didn’t need the tickets at all because we casually strolled right into the Cliffs of Moher centre without one bat of an eye. Nobody was manning the doors of the visitors centre or the actual cliffs.
The visitors centre was a zoo. Tourists darted in every direction as kids playing tag flew around corners. The lines for both the downstairs and upstairs bathrooms were unbelievably long and as we tried to exit the centre, the upstairs labyrinth lead us to a dead end.
After glancing through the info area, we found our way out of the cave-like hobbit hole and power walked up a paved incline to a much calmer area. This is where we were able to take in the view with a collective sigh…..
Light rain pelted our heads under the blue sky as waterfalls were blown up the cliffs. There were even Puffins floating at the bottom of the cliff. The view was simply breathtaking.
We climbed higher for a better view though a very narrow walk way up the hill. Eventually we reached out destination but not until we conquered a massive bottleneck of bodies.
Impatient tourists hopped the slate fence for a faster, closer and riskier view. One slip or random burst of wind would send any tourist flying over the edge. I actually watched one tourist dart for a plastic bag on the wrong side of the fence and he nearly went sailing over the edge. He was lucky enough to stop in the nick of time, but I have read articles of those taking selfies, losing their footing and falling over the edge.
It’s interesting to note that at the time I was there, I noticed a total lack of security and first aid attendants. Perhaps they weren’t there or maybe I didn’t recognise their clothes or maybe because I was out of the cliffs area. We did find this sign that said we were leaving the visitors centre and a majority of the tourists were hanging out in this section.
It’s worth noting that when I was at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland a year earlier, they had a lot of guides stationed at different locations, answering questions and carrying first aid bags.
Back to my thoughts on the Cliffs of Moher visitors centre… it’s a natural phenomenon and you can’t really put a price on it but somebody did and by the looks of the amount of visitors to the area, they’re raking it in. Are there better places to go and see the cliffs? You bet! I wrote how you can avoid it and you can read about it here. It also might be a good idea to see the cliffs from the water. Book a boat tour and see how massive they are. It’ll definitely give you a different perspective.
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!