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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 1°C
wild atlantic way

Best Irish road trips: The Wild Atlantic Way

Take a walk on the wild side and drive the longest coastal touring route in the world.

THE WILD ATLANTIC Way is 2,500km of pure driving joy that stretches from Kinsale in Cork all the way up the west coast to the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal (where it connects to the Causeway Coastal Drive).

Shutterstock / Kanuman Shutterstock / Kanuman / Kanuman

This grand route, the longest coastal touring route in the world, offers rugged seascapes, wild landscapes and the dramatic coastlines of nine Irish counties: Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.

Shutterstock / PhilDarby Shutterstock / PhilDarby / PhilDarby

The Wild Atlantic Way can be enjoyed by motorists, cyclists and walkers. It avoids main roads and highways, meaning it is closer to the communities who live locally.

The roads are pretty narrow and windy… very very windy… so make sure you take it slow and allow yourself plenty of time to drive the route as you will inevitably get stuck behind cyclists, tractors, horse and carts, and cattle. And other tourists.

Shutterstock / Chris Seddon Shutterstock / Chris Seddon / Chris Seddon

Speaking of stopping off, there are plenty of things to see along the route including 16 signature ‘Discovery Points‘:

  • The Old Head of Kinsale, County Cork
  • Mizen Head, County Cork
  • Dursey Island, County Cork
  • The Blasket Islands, County Kerry
  • Skellig Michael, County Kerry
  • Loop Head, County Clare
  • Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
  • The Aran Islands, County Galway
  • Derrigimlagh Bog, County Galway
  • Killary Harbour, County Galway
  • Keem Strand, County Mayo
  • Downpatrick Head, County Mayo
  • Mullaghmore, County Sligo
  • Sliabh/Slieve League Cliffs, County Donegal
  • Fanad Head, County Donegal
  • Malin Head, County Donegal

Shutterstock / PhilDarby Shutterstock / PhilDarby / PhilDarby

The coastline itself offers angling, cycling, horse riding, golf, walking and loads of different types of water sports including surfing and sea kayaking.

Along the way, you can pitch a tent for the night, stay in a caravan park, spend the night on a farm or in a local bed and breakfast or sleep in the lap of luxury in a first class hotel.

Shutterstock / Ocskay Bence Shutterstock / Ocskay Bence / Ocskay Bence

You can drive the route end-to-end as one epic road trip or there are plenty of shorter itinerary suggestions available from Tourism Ireland. If you drive South to North you will be on the ocean side of the road so it will be easier to pull in and take photos.

Have you driven the Wild Atlantic Way? Do you have any road trip tips?

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