A small island with a big heart, Ireland’s breathtaking landscapes and friendly, welcoming people leave visitors floored but looking for more.
The Wild Atlantic Way, 1600 miles (2600 km) in length, is one of the longest coastal routes in the world.
The Wild Atlantic Way starts in the very north of the Inishowen Peninsula.
In many places you pass fabulous beaches and views that will take your breath away. You reach the most northerly point of mainland Ireland at Malin Head, an isolated place. The coastline show its wild and and craggy side at this most northerly position and the determination of the Atlantic to make and leave its mark on the country.
After a night in Letterkenny the Wild Atlantic Way winds its way along the Donegal coast. Here you can observe how the interaction of the elements of nature has been laid bare for all to see.
The power of the ocean is clearly visible in the bizarre shaped cliffs. From the old signal tower atop the cliffs you have stunning views from Fanad Peninsula to Tory Island. Tory Island which lies 14 km off the coast still continues its old tradition of electing a king.
Day 3 – 4
The Wild Atlantic Way continues to twist and turn in a southerly direction. You pass through the strange but wonderful region called The Rosses with its bogs and lakes. The ocean is dotted with uncountable small islands but also with Ireland’s second largest island – Arranmore.
The steep sloping cliffs of Slieve League belong to the highest cliffs in Europe. A night in Donegal town breaks up the journey before continuing south.
Mullaghmore Head is the perfect example to display the wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way. On the west, the Atlantic is demonstrating its prowess and on the east a wonderful beach and a picturesque harbour nestle in the protection of the bay. The ferry for the magical island of Inishmurray departs from here. A visit to the old monastery settlement will transport you directly back to long forgotten times.
Ben Bulben, also known as Irelands version of the Table mountain, looms over the ocean.
To Sligo’s west there’s a lovely mystical region with traces of the dim and distant past. The largest and one of Europe’s oldest cemetries of megalithic tombs is to be found here at Carrowmore. The site includes chamber tombs, ring forts, cairns and passage graves.
Day 5 – 6
After a night in Ballina you will enter one of the most impressive stretches of coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way is just a stone’s throw from Downpatrick Head. Dún Briste, the lone sea stack, 50 metres high, stands bravely in the roaring Atlantic. A wonderful sight.
The Mullet Peninsula, an area of unspoilt beauty, is completely exposed on the Atlantic side but Blacksod Bay protects it on its easterly side. A night in Belmullet and you continue into pirate country along the shores of Granuaile’s or Grace O’Malley’s pirate kingdom. The Pirate Queen’s home of Carraigahowley Castle is well worth exploring.
Achill Island is Ireland’s largest island and it is accessible from the mainland by bridge. The island represents the west coast in miniature form: majestic mountains, clear lakes, expanses of bogs, long unspoilt sandy beaches, picturesque villages and the highest sea cliffs of Ireland. The Atlantic Drive, boasting some of the most impressive views of the Atlantic, goes along the south west coast of Achill. This coast road along the cliff edge has fantastic views of Clew Bay. On Achill’s west side lies the secluded Keem beach, a sight to behold coming down the cliff-top road.
Continuing the journey from Achill to Westport you pass along Clew Bay which, according to tradition, has 365 islands – one for every day of the year.
Day 7 – 8
Spectacular mountain ranges dominate the next stage of the Wild Atlantic Way between Clew Bay and Killary Harbour. Croagh Patrick – Ireland’s sacred mountain – was a place of great importance in pre-christian Ireland. Ireland’s only fjord – Killary harbour, extending 15 km inwards, sheltered on all sides by lush green meadows.Majestic mountain peaks, magic sandy beaches and continuously changing landscapes are the landmarks of the Connemara National Park. Clifden, the capital of Connemara and the aptly named Sky Road offer stunning views over the Atlantic and the islands lying off the coast. A night in beautiful Clifden will stir the spirits before continuing southward along narrow roads with the powerful Atlantic on one side and the rocky landscape of the Twelve Pins and the Maamturk Mountains on the other side through the wild heart of Connemara. The strong howling winds coming in from the ocean accompany one along this exhilarating drive. You will pass through a gaeltacht area where the locals still use the Irish language, finally arriving in Galway City, the west coast city of culture.
Day 9 – 10
This stage of the Wild Atlantic Way has the effect of making you wonder if you have been beamed on to another planet. The reason being the fascinating karst landscape.
The world renowned Cliffs of Moher are over eight km long and tower imposingly over the mighty ocean at the highest point with 214 metres. They are especially dramatic when seen from the water. Spend the night in seaside town of Kilkee, before travelling across the Shannon Estuary into North Kerry finishing in Tralee.
Day 11 – 12
Leaving Tralee the Wild Atlantic Way on its way to Dingle town goes over the Connor Pass, Ireland’s highest mountain pass. This pass road is an adventure in itself. The very narrow road in parts twists and turns, rises and falls but always with breathtaking views.
If you manage to arrive in Dingle, then the next adventure begins with the Slea Head Drive. This way goes through another Gaeltacht area. Some of the most enchanting scenery in Ireland is found along this drive. Day 12 will be spent on the iconic Ring of Kerry and the smaller Skellig Ring. The scenery here is breathtaking. You finish up in the pretty little town of Kenmare.
Day 13 – 14
From Kenmare head inland and spend the day in Killarney and it’s beautiful national park. Sample the lively nightlife and delicious local cuisine before leaving on the final stage of your trip. The Mizen Peninsula encapsulates all the special elements that makes the Irish west coast so unique – wonderful beaches, dramatic cliffs, magical fishing villages and a lighthouse majestically standing watch over a raging Atlantic.
You will finish your journey in the coastal town of Kinsale, a charming fishing village and gastronomic delight.
Discover the Wild Atlantic Way where 2,500km of spectacular coastline with white sands and glittering waves awaits you. Head inland to experience some of the signature discovery points and amazing activities in this incredible region.
Feel the power of the Atlantic Ocean as it crashes into the base of towering sea cliffs, wander down vast beaches and watch flocks of birds dance in pastel skies as the sun sets on another magical day. Discover the wild side of Ireland in this active holiday, which travels down the rugged west coast and includes hiking, horse riding, surfing and boat trips.