Tours of Ireland featuring the world-famous Wild Atlantic Way route. To see our full range of Ireland tours, click here.
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The Wild Atlantic Way is a long-distance touring route, the first of its kind in Ireland. It runs the length of Ireland's western coast, facing the Atlantic Ocean, from County Donegal in the northwest to County Cork in the southwest. The initial aim of the Wild Atlantic Way was to give greater visibility to Ireland's west coast in overseas markets. The Wild Atlantic Way is 2,500 km (1,553 miles) long and passes through 3 provinces of Ireland (Ulster, Connacht and Munster). It has given a huge boost to the tourism industry of the region since its launch in February 2014.
The Wild Atlantic Way, if you were to begin in the north and travel south, starts in the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal and finishes in Kinsale, County Cork. This route would see you passing through counties Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork.
The Wild Atlantic Way was officially launched in 2014 but the strategies and plans leading to its opening date back as far as the 1960s.
To drive the whole of the Wild Atlantic Way would take an estimated 20 hours. And, that's in one go with no breaks. We would not advise this for any journey, especially not one where the majority of roads are narrow and windy. To travel the entire Wild Atlantic Way, stopping at all the main points of interest and to travel at a relaxed pace, 2 to 3 weeks would be ideal.
For anyone interested, it would take about 174 hours (that's just over a week) to walk the Wild Atlantic Way without stopping. Again, this is not advisable. The Wild Atlantic Way is marked as a driving route but it would be possible to walk it in its entirety. Obviously, taking it in smaller sections with regular breaks would be a safer and more enjoyable experience.
Finding accommodation along the Wild Atlantic Way is relatively easy. There is an endless supply of Bed & Breakfast, Hotels and Hostels dotted throughout. The best places to stay along the way, depending on your plans, might be the cities of Limerick and Galway or the larger towns in Cork, Kerry and Donegal. These would at least be the best places to stop off and stock up on supplies. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of busier areas, then you can find numerous Bed & Breakfast, Hostels and Campsites in the smaller villages along the way too. It is always worth making a plan of your stops and booking ahead, regardless of what type of accommodation you choose.
There are signposts throughout the route, as well as numerous tourist information points.
Find out the tricks of the Irish distillery trade from a newcomer to the genre.More info
A place of Christian pilgrimage & one of Europe's highest sea-facing cliffs.More info
The Wild Atlantic Way showcases Ireland's most scenic locations, rugged landscapes and picturesque villages. Seeing these places in person is a breathtaking experience, and so is looking back at the photos you've taken in years to come. Around every corner of the Wild Atlantic Way, there is a photo-worthy scene. Here are just a few examples!
Adare is a small town in Co. Limerick, known for its quaint and colourful thatched cottages. Adare is considered to be one of Ireland's most beautiful towns so stop and take in the view. Don't forget your camera today - the perfect chance to capture the essence of old Ireland.
Explore Adare Village along the Wild Atlantic Way
Originally built in 1823, Blarney Woollen Mills was mainly used for the spinning and weaving of wool. After it closed in 1973, it reopened in 1975 — as an Irish heritage shop.
A limestone plateau covering 250 square kilometres, The Burren takes its name quite aptly from the Gaelic for "rocky land" or "great rock". While in one sense very fitting, the name does not do justice to what experts have more justly termed "
one of the world's most stunningly unique natural heritage regions".
The Burren runs alongside the Wild Atlantic Way.
At the southern-most tip of Summer Cove, on Kinsale Harbour in Co. Cork, awaits the unyielding presence of Charles Fort, a star-shaped stronghold protecting the harbour from sea invaders since its completion in 1682. In recent decades, Irish heritage organizations have restored the fort to the impressive standards it now displays.
Kinsale marks the beginning of the Wild Atlantic Way, if you are starting in the south, and the end if you are starting in the north.
One of the most popular and most eagerly anticipated attractions on any Ireland Tour, and the views will not disappoint. They rise to a height of 702ft (214m) and 9 miles (14km) long, these sheer vertical cliffs hold a steady, undulating line against the tireless advance of the Atlantic below. A better view of the sea and setting sun you will not find.
The Cliffs of Moher are a Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way. For more information click here.
Producing whiskey on a modest scale to keep their production at a specialist level. Having manufactured whiskey, gin & vodka since 2012 and bringing hundreds of years of tradition to their methods. Their single malt whiskey has a deliciously unique finish that comes from being matured on the moist, mild south-west coast of Ireland.
Find Dingle Whiskey Distillery along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Kylemore Abbey is not only one of Ireland's most attractive buildings; since 1920, it has also been home to the Sisters of the Benedictine Order in Ireland. Even today, Kylemore continues to operate as a working Abbey: here, the sisters live, work and pray, as well as welcome visitors from across the globe. Kylemore Abbey's greatest attraction is its location. Nestled at the base of Duchruach Mountain on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, in the heart of the Connemara Mountains, it is regarded as one of Ireland's most romantic locations.
Kylemore Abbey can be viewed along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Slieve League Cliffs are found on the South-West coast of County Donegal. Known to be one of the highest sea-facing cliffs in Europe. Take in the stunning view, depending on the clarity of the day, of course, along Donegal Bay and the Sligo Mountains.
The Slieve League Cliffs are also included on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Pubs (public houses) play a huge part in the culture of Ireland and have done throughout the ages. Sometimes busy, often noisy, but always friendly and welcoming places to meet the locals. In a pub, you will see a full cross-section of Irish society — its a place where people from all classes, ages, interests and backgrounds can mix.
The Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre commemorates the last pitched battle fought on British soil, in April 1746. Learn more about the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and return the House of Stuart to the British throne.
About Highland Folk Museum is a museum and open-air attraction located in the Scottish Highlands. It is designed to showcase the domestic and working lives of the early highland people.
Located close to the Killarney National Park, Moriarty's is an Authentic Irish Gift Store and Restaurant. Hand crafted Irish jewellery, Waterford Crystal and classic and modern tweed fashions and furnishings are all on offer at the gift store. The restaurant is an 85 seater offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Located on the shores of Belfast Lough in County Antrim, Carrickfergus Castle is a Norman castle dating back to 1177. First used as a headquarters for John de Courcy after he took control of eastern Ulster, where he ruled as a petty king until 1204. Over the years, the castle was Besieged by the native Irish, the Scottish, the English and the French. Today it stands as one of the best preserved structures from the medieval era in Northern Ireland.
Located within Glenveagh National Park, Glenveagh Castle was built by Captain John George Adair between 1870 and 1873. Having made his fortune through land speculation in America, Adair return to Ireland and began large amounts of land in County Donegal. The castle was built in the Scottish Baronial style and is surrounded by a garden and commands stunning views of the nearby mountains, lakes, woodlands and valleys.