Exploring Ireland, wild Atlantic way
Wild Atlantic way is an amazing way and a must see in Ireland.
This road or more like group of roads are all connected with each other an following western coast of Ireland from the south and follow for over 2500 km up to the very north. Green fields, dark, rocky cliffs combining with clear oceanic water, amazing contrast of waves crushing on the rocks are bringing some true magic in this place.
There is a very good video, describing the whole way very deeply called Wild Atlantic Way in 13 Minutes I do really advise to see it, while planning a trip along this way. However lots of places along the coast have much more stunning views than authors showed. Which is great as there will be lots of space for the landscape to truly surprise and impress us.
Where to start?
Personally I would suggest to start on a very south – western coast, near cork, and follow the way as much up as we can. 2 days might not be enough to drive it through and even quickly see its main attractions. A wise decision might be to split the trip across several days to have even better and more unforgettable experience. I also tried one day trips to certain locations, and I must say all of them were really well organized.
Top places to see along Wild Atlantic Way
Mizen Head, most South west point of Ireland, County Cork.
Ring of Kerry, a circle of around 180 km starting and ending in Killarney, following partially wild Atlantic way. This ring is so big and so full of amazing places it could be taken as a separated trip. Let me only mention a few places along the ring. While having a break we should think about Sneem, small seaside town, Portmagee, Caherdaniel bay or Kenmare. Continuing the trip through Cliffs of Kerry, the second famous cliffs in Ireland, where we can also make a great photo shoot. We should be a heading towards Ross Castle, located in Killarney near National Park.
Continuing Wild Atlantic way, we should not miss City of Limerick. There is a good reason to drive into the city. In Limerick, beside having a walk in the old town, we can find King Johns Castle. A stunning castle from 13th century with a great view from the walls and quite big and modern museum inside.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This location is very close to my heart. As it is not just a castle, but a whole castle village build up and specially prepared for locals and tourists. Variety of events and festivals, make this location a point on map we should not miss or even plan this as a separated trip one day trip heading for one of the events.
We also need to mention famous Clifs of Moher, City of Galway or Giant causeway, the last one is located on very north part. Those locations will require a little bit more of driving. I personally advise considering a one day bus trip to those locations. Although following wild Atlantic way we will discover some more amazing places. Driving the whole distance without proper rest will make you extremely tired. There are several offices making one day trips from Dublin or other cities in Ireland. One of the best offers I found on O’connel street in Dublin or online.
Renting a car vs going with a bus trip
Although prices of bus trips are relatively low and we can find trips from 30-35 Euros up to 50 Euros per person for a full day trip, we will not be able to see as much as we can with a car. There for the best way to explore the Atlantic way is by car. Cork, Limerick, Galway or Dublin would be the best places to look for a rental.
Where to stay for the night?
Over the whole way we can find lots of hotels, hostels and home stay places. Online Booking websites are working pretty well here. When out of season, waiting for the last minute or late evening will guarantee us very low prices. We can also try couchsurfing or facebook groups.
Food and drinks
We have to try a Guinness beer or other beer in local pub, it is a must do in Ireland. However Ireland is also famous from its great whiskey, tea and cafe. From Food menu, lamb, steaks and other meat dishes is what locals recommend the most. Bot no worries Vegans or fans of salads will also find some great meals and places to eat, it only might be a bit harder than in other European countries.
Windy, can be rainy as rain is quite common in Ireland. A nice rainproof jacket might save your day.
Quoting a good friend of mine.
“Doing the Wild Atlantic Way is not ticking next places on the list, to be honest; it is the opposite of that. On your way you will come across a lot of spectacular unknown spots, small sandy or rocky beaches between dark and terrifying cliffs, mysterious abandoned ruins and tiny villages. Take a break to discover them and make your voyage an unforgettable travel like we did! 🙂 ”
Over all note
Stunning views, amazing experience. Absolute fabulous photo shoots if only weather will let you. And yes, this is the only minus I found so far.
Enjoy your trip.