We have limited time in Ireland. We are still deciding the route but we probably won't have time for both the Antrim Coast and the Cliffs of Moher. Which do you recommend we go to? I know the Cliffs are super famous but do you get the same kind of experience from both (views)? Going in June.
We went to both and I have to admit I found the Antrim coast to be my preference. But that’s what it comes down to, preferences. The Cliffs of Moher are impressive but crowded. However, they are strung along the Cliffs’ walkway and not terribly intrusive. Lots of tour buses on the narrow roads. But, leaving the car park and turning right towards Doolin, crowds are lighter. Doolin is the ferry port for the Aran Islands and the car park at the end can be full of cars and camper vans. Antrim Coast a week later was not nearly as crowded (but get to Giant’s Causeway early in the morning around 10:00 or 10:30 and you’ll likely be heading out 1-2 hours later as the crowds appear). We drove to Dunluce Castle (an impressive ruin right on the coast), Bushmills, and best of all Ballintoy Harbor (scenes from Game of Thrones were shot there as the Iron Islands). The latter is not touristy, no buses because they can’t handle the narrow, twisting road to the harbor, a small free car park, public toilets and a small cafe come with beautiful scenery. If you go there and you’re hungry, stop at the Red Door Cottage cafe...very good food and service in a whitewashed cottage (outside in the garden if the weather is grand, which it was on the day we were there). You’ll see the signs on the road down to the harbor. Whichever you choose, have a good time. We did!
The Cliffs of Moher are just one stretch of coastline. They're absolutely worth the visit, but only if you plan on exploring more of Clare while you're there.
If you're asking where to visit Clare or Antrim, personally I'd visit Clare (the Antrim coastline is still incredible, don't get me wrong).
Many people that visit Clare only do so to visit Moher and the Burren.
Which is a shame, as there's plenty more to see (the cliffs at Kilbaha, for example are fantastic).
You can also do a great little trip to Inis Oirr Island from the little village of Doolin in Clare.
On the return trip they take you below the cliffs of Moher. A very unique way to check them out.
Hello from Wisconsin,
Ah, the Green Glens of Antrim. Absolutely lovely. But you know where they are? Almost the northern most part of the island. Only Donegal is nearby and that is a long drive measured in hours. Bushmills distillery can keep you interested for a while and it is a good jumping off location for Oban in Scotland. I guess you also have the Antrim Coast road.
Cliffs of Moher. Yeah, they sure are cliffs. Lots of people. Lots of wind. Has rained every time I have been there. But the good thing is, you are in County Clare. The limestone rocks with their fissures can keep you busy for hours. Each is its own terrarium. Plants native to Arctic and Mediterranean Sea are found here. The city of Ennis. And so much more. Plus Connemara is about 2 hours away tot he north. Again a lovely place featuring Clifden. The other direction are the pennisulas of Dingle and Beara. So a lot of other things to see reasonably close.
But if it is only Cliffs and Glens. I vote for the glens.
Both are incredible. I have been to cliffs of Moher twice and it was sunny both times! You will always have quite a few people near the visitors center, but as you walk away you will see less and less people. I was at the Cliffs in July about 6:00 in the evening; there were not many other people. Truly a magnificent sight.
I went to the Antrim Coast about a week later. There is some spectacular hiking. It’s about 11 miles from Ballintoy harbor to giant’s Causeway. Spectacular hiking! I may have like this better by a slim margin. It has various sights such as the harbor, beach, rock scramble, etc. it was A moderately difficult hike but we were by ourselves for most of day. Long drive from the west coast so you need to figure that into your calculations.
Assuming you’ll have a car, my vote is for the Antrim coast because there are more sights; Giant’s Causway, Carrick a Rede bridge, Dunkuce castle, and old Bushmills distillery. The cliffs are just that, and the Burren you drive through to get there.
Antrim Coast! This area is also quite easily accessible by public transport.
Antrim coast is my preference. I felt Antrim was not only scenic but had a lot of sight options. There are fewer tourists everywhere I went (except the giants causeway) in Antrim.
Short answer: Cliffs of Moher over Antrim. They’re massively tall, the interplay with the sea is fascinating, and their visitor center is worth a short stop, as well.
Longer considerations: Antrim Coast has lots of scenic views out to sea, and beautiful rock formations, and dangerous wind on the walk we did, last September, which took several hours. The Giant’s Causeway is a remarkable geologic phenomenon, and it was pretty packed with people when we reached it after our hike from the east.
But with your limited time, are you deciding on the country of Northern Ireland versus western Republic of Ireland? With having to choose between those two, and if you have the time to get over to the west, I’d pick it (and the Cliffs of Moher that come with the region) over N. Ireland, with the Antrim Coast at its northern edge.