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Visit Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

March 2014

The longest defined coastal driving route in the world

Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry

Ireland’s wild and rugged west coast has been captivating visitors for centuries, from the breathtaking cliffs of Slieve League in north Donegal to the charming harbour town of Kinsale in County Cork. Now visitors can experience the very best of this epic coastline with a journey along the Wild Atlantic Way – at over 1,500 miles it is the world’s longest defined coastal driving route.

The route is divided in to five sections, each with its own magnificent scenery, unforgettable experiences and rich history. Whether taking your car and travelling by ferry or flying into one of Ireland’s ten airports, the Wild Atlantic Way is no more than a few hours’ drive, so your journey of discovery can begin as soon as you set foot in Ireland.

For a snapshot of each of the route’s five sections, read on – but know that much more awaits along the Wild Atlantic Way. For more detailed information visit

County Donegal

Slieve League cliffsRoute length: 346 miles
Malin Head – set at the tip of the Inishowen Peninsula, Malin Head is mainland Ireland’s most northerly point. This rugged spot is a haven for bird species including gannets, shearwaters and even the elusive corncrake.
Fanad Head – Experience the romantic beauty of the wildly exposed Fanad Head, known for its iconic lighthouse as well as its incredible beaches, including the second most beautiful beach in the world, Ballymastocker Bay.
Slieve League – marvel at the magnificent scenery from atop some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs at Slieve League, or take a boat beneath the cliffs for an alternative view.

Sea stack at Downpatrick Head, Co MayoDonegal to Mayo

Route length: 388 miles
Mullaghmore Head – renowned for its giant Atlantic waves, this area attracts surfers from all over the world. If you don’t fancy your chances on the surf however, you can cosy up by a turf fire in a local pub and listen to tales of legendary swells.
Downpatrick Head – steel your nerves to stand atop the dramatic Sheep overlooking Keem Strand, Achill Islandheadland of Downpatrick Head, standing 125 feet above the sea.Later go foraging for cockles, mussels and clams along the shoreline at Killala Bay in County Mayo.
Keem Strand – Achill Island is a place of towering sea cliffs, exposed mountains and sweeping sandy beaches including Keem Strand, one of five blue flag beaches on Achill Island.

Mayo to Clare

Cliffs of MoherRoute length: 327 miles
Killary Harbour – marvel at the tranquillity of the Killary Harbour fjord. Visit in May to sample the celebrated shellfish at the Connemara Mussel Festival in Tullycross.
Derrigimlagh Bog – explore the wild and mysterious blanket bog of Derrigimlagh by bicycle from nearby Clifden. Venture further south to the Burren in County Clare, an incredible karst landscape that boasts incredible flora and fauna.
Cliffs of Moher – the iconic Cliffs of Moher are a must-see along the Wild Atlantic Way. Experience the views from both land and sea by taking a cruise from Doolin.

Clare to Kerry

Beehive huts on Skellig MichaelRoute length: 336 miles
Loop Head – Climb to the top of Loop Head Lighthouse for spectacular panoramic views from Kerry to the Cliffs of Moher.
Blasket Islands – discover the unique literary heritage of these rugged islands and see the remains of the settlements that still stand since being abandoned in the 1950s.
The Skelligs – Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a sixth century monastic settlement perched on a remote and craggy island. Little Skellig is home to the second largest gannet colony in the world.

Kerry to Cork

Dursey island cable carRoute length: 287 miles
Dursey Island – take a ride on Ireland’s only cable car across to Dursey Island and experience ‘Europe’s last sunset’.
Mizen Head – when you can drive no further south, you’ve arrived at the dramatic Mizen Head. Cross the arched suspension bridge above crashing waves to ‘Ireland’s teardrop’.
Kinsale – they say the best way to see Kinsale is by sea. Take a tour on the Spirit of Kinsale and listen to stories of Vikings and German U-Boats. Visit in October to catch the Kinsale Gourmet Food Festival.


For more articles on Ireland click here

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