Unusual rock formations at Kilkee Cliffs in Ireland

Ireland is renowned for its dramatic coastal landscapes, and the Cliffs of Moher rightfully take the spotlight. However, our island nation harbours another equally breath-taking stretch of cliffs that deserve attention: the Kilkee Cliffs of County Clare. Lying along the Loop Head Peninsula, these cliffs offer a more intimate and unspoiled cliffside experience, boasting staggering natural beauty without the crowds! While the Cliffs of Moher unquestionably deserve the attention they get, Kilkee Cliffs offer an equally stunning but more authentic experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into why Kilkee Cliffs deserve your attention, how to explore them, and the wonders that await along the way.

Dramatic cliffscape of Kilkee, Ireland's coastal masterpiece.

Unveiling the Beauty of Kilkee Cliffs

Nestled along the rugged coastline of County Clare, the Kilkee Cliffs boast dramatic vistas and unspoiled natural beauty. What sets them apart is the absence of barriers or visitor centres, allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the raw majesty of nature. Unlike the bustling crowds at the Cliffs of Moher, Kilkee offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a more intimate encounter with Ireland’s coastal wonders.

Nicola Lavin, Irish Travel Blogger, wears a pink coat and stands at the edge of Kilkee cliffs in County Clare Ireland overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Serene coastline along Kilkee Cliffs, offering peace and solitude.
Legs wearing star studded boots hanging over a cliff edge on the Irish coast.

Why you should Visit Kilkee Cliffs Over the Cliffs of Moher

  • Authenticity: Unlike the Cliffs of Moher, Kilkee Cliffs lack barriers or visitor centres. You can explore as you wish and fully immerse yourself in the raw splendour of these natural formations with an authentic and unfiltered connection to the elements. Kilkee Cliffs are about 70 feet high, which is somewhat shorter than the Cliffs of Moher, but you are very close to the water, able to see the rock strata along the coast, and can have a close-up look at the seascape.
  • Breathtaking Views Without the Crowds: Don’t let their lesser-known status fool you! The Kilkee Cliffs are one of Ireland’s most hidden gems and are every bit as awe-inspiring as their famous counterparts. They offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, unique geological features, and ample space to soak up the scenery without throngs of people.
  • Accessibility: Kilkee Cliffs are easily accessible, especially for those with limited mobility. A quiet road runs alongside them, providing viewpoints perfect for those who prefer to enjoy the views at a comfortable pace with minimal walking. Having struggled with limited mobility after Lyme disease, it was amazing to be able to enjoy the scenery without having to exert too much energy.
  • It’s Free:  At the Kilkee Cliffs, there is no cost to visit or park your car!
Dramatic cliff face at Kilkee Cliffs in County Clare on a stormy day.
Irish woman with red hair wearing a pink coat and looking out to the Atlantic Ocean from a cliff in Ireland.
Crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean on The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland.

Exploring Kilkee Cliff Walk

Embark on a journey of discovery with the Kilkee Cliff Walk, a scenic trail that winds its way along the edge of the cliffs, offering unrivaled views of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond. The 5km route begins at the Diamond Rocks Cafe in Kilkee’s West End, leading you on a captivating adventure through rugged terrain and picturesque landscapes. Along the way, you’ll encounter the haunting shipwreck site of Intrinsic Bay, the tranquil shores of Foonagh Bay, and the awe-inspiring vistas from Moveen Hill.

Tranquil waters against the backdrop of Kilkee Cliffs, a scenic escape.

For the more adventurous souls, there’s the option to tackle the full 8km looped walk, which promises even more breathtaking scenery and exhilarating challenges. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, the Kilkee Cliff Walk offers something for everyone, making it a must-do experience on any trip to Ireland’s west coast.

How to Enjoy the Kilkee Cliff Walk

  • The Kilkee Cliff Walk: The best way to experience the Kilkee Cliffs is to set off on the Kilkee Cliff Walk. This scenic 5km (extendable to 8km) trail takes you on a magnificant journey along the clifftops.
  • Starting Point: Park your car at the Diamond Rocks Cafe in Kilkee’s West End to begin your walk. This is also a wonderful place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy sweeping views of Kilkee Bay before or after your hike.
  • The Route: The path is clearly marked out for you. The well-maintained cliff path hugs the coastline, providing breathtaking vistas at every turn.
  • Things to see on the Kilkee Cliff Walk: Keep a lookout for Bishop’s Island, a majestic sea stack that stands sentinal over the coastline. Although the Bishop’s Island stack was isolated from the island more than a millennium ago, it still has remnants of the original monastery beehive cottages and the foundations of a church. The church ruins, with their corbelled style, bear resemblance to Dingle’s Gallarus Oratory. You will also pass the shipwreck site of Intrinsic Bay and the charming Foonagh Bay. Intrinsic Bay is named after the ship Intrinsic, which sank along with all 14 passengers in 1836. The ship was headed to New Orleans with passengers and cargo but was caught in the terrible Atlantic storms and the rocks of the Wild Atlantic Way. If you have the energy, climb to the top of Moveen Hill for even more sweeping views.
  • The Full Loop (8km): If you are up for a longer adventure, you can extend the walk into a full loop, adding another 3km to your journey. This route offers even more diverse scenery and hidden gems along the way.
Spectacular panorama of rugged Kilkee Cliffs against the Atlantic Ocean.
Iconic Kilkee Cliffs showcases Ireland's wild and rugged terrain.

Accessibility and Convenience at Kilkee Cliffs

One of the standout features of Kilkee Cliffs is their accessibility. Unlike the Cliffs of Moher, which can be daunting for those with mobility issues, Kilkee offers a more inclusive experience. A quiet road runs alongside the cliffs, allowing visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy the stunning coastal scenery with ease. Whether you’re traveling with young children, elderly relatives, or someone with limited mobility, Kilkee welcomes all with open arms, ensuring that everyone can experience the magic of Ireland’s wild Atlantic coastline. Just bear in mind that there are no guard rails, so always be extremely careful when exploring the cliffs with children, and make sure that they are supervised at all times.

Irish woman with red hair and wears a pink coat looks out over the Irish coastline.

Discovering Nearby Gems

Beyond the Kilkee Cliffs themselves, the surrounding area is teeming with hidden gems waiting to be explored. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the charming town of Kilkee, with its pristine beaches, quaint cafes, and welcoming locals. The horseshoe-shaped beach is famous throughout Ireland and beyond. It’s a Blue Flag beach, indicating high environmental standards, and is very popular in the summer months. Lifeguards patrol this beach during the summer months.Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, soak up the sun on the sandy shores, or sample some delicious seafood at one of the town’s many eateries. This charming seaside town is a quintessential Irish escape. Indulge in an ice cream, try some surfing, or explore the Pollock Hole rock pools, perfect for taking a summer dip.

Horseshoe-shaped beach at Kilkee in County Clare Ireland.

The Pollock Holes are a local secret and a well-known local swimming area with some of the best snorkelling in Ireland. Named after the pollock that hides in the rocks of the Duggerna Reef.

Pollock holes, rock pools that are used for swimming in summer at Kilkee cliffs in County Clare, Ireland.

For those craving more adventure, the Loop Head Peninsula beckons with its rugged beauty and rich history. Embark on a scenic drive around the peninsula. Explore the iconic Loop Head Lighthouse, marvel at the stunning sea caves of Dunlicky, or meander along the scenic coastal drive, soaking in the breathtaking views at every turn. You may even get lucky and spot some dolphins frolicking in the waves. With so much to see and do, Kilkee and its surrounding area offer endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Lush green fields meet the rugged cliffs on the Kilkee Cliff Walk.

Visit the Bridges of Ross and witness the power of the ocean clashing with the unique rock formations at this fascinating natural sight. Located 8km west of Carrigaholt on the western side of Ross Bay’s natural harbour, the Bridges of Ross are the names given to three magnificent arches sculpted by the waves. There’s just one ‘bridge’ that has withstood the test of time, but it remains a visitor favourite and is conveniently located on a pathway that leads to the Bridges of Ross car park.

Rugged coastal landscape at Bridges of Ross in County Clare, Ireland.

Admire the bridge’s natural beauties while feeling the cool sea breeze on your face. Make sure to also visit in the autumn to witness the stunning seabirds soaring over the bridge before they head south for the winter.

Be sure to check out our full travel guide on visiting County Clare.

Tips for Visiting the Kilkee Cliffs

  • Weather: Always be prepared for Ireland’s unpredictable weather. It can change quickly, so wear layers and bring a rain jacket.
  • Footwear: Wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, as the path can be uneven in sections.
  • Safety: Only admire the views from a safe distance, and exercise caution near the cliff edges. If you tackle the loop or the longer linear Kilkee Cliff Walk, you’ll have to walk along the road for a chunk of the walk. Care is needed, as you’ll be sharing the road with vehicles.
  • Best Time to Visit: Opt for the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) for fewer crowds, but the best weather to visit will always be in the summer.
  • Respect the Environment: This pristine environment is precious, so practice the principles of Leave No Trace.
Rainbows in the spray of the ocean at Kilkee Cliffs Ireland.
Rainbows at Kilkee Cliffs

Getting to Kilkee Cliffs

The Kilkee Cliffs are located on the Loop Head Peninsula, about 7.5km southwest of Kilkee in County Clare. They are a 2-hour drive from Galway and about a 3.5-hour drive from Dublin. Alternatively, you can take public transport, with regular bus services operating from Kilkee town. From there, the cliffs are easily accessible by car, taxi, or via the scenic clifftop walk. The best option is to rent a car, and then you can either drive the Loop Head Peninsula Route and head to the Kilkee Cliffs parking lot and do the walk from there.

In a country renowned for its natural beauty, the Kilkee Cliffs stand out as a true hidden gem. Offering a more intimate and authentic experience than their famous counterparts, the cliffs invite visitors to immerse themselves fully in the raw majesty of Ireland’s west coast. From the exhilarating Kilkee Cliff Walk to the charming town of Kilkee and beyond, there’s something truly magical about this corner of County Clare. So, why not step off the beaten path and discover the wonders of Kilkee for yourself? Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

Book your stay to Explore the Kilkee Cliffs


About us

We are Nicola and Ronan Lavin experts in finding unique accommodation all over the world. Voted as the Top 6 Travel Bloggers in Ireland by Stellar Magazine and the Top 10 Travel Influencers in Ireland by readers of the Irish Independent we are dedicated to helping you find authentic and immersive travel experiences to help you plan your perfect vacation.

**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you book through one of our links, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us create the wonderful travel guides that we do.**

Irish Woman with red hair wearing a pink coat has her hands up in the air as she stands on a clif edge as the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash below her.

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