Here’s ten terrific ways to have 2,500km of family fun on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Head for the hills in the saddle of an electric bike and enjoy the sweeping vistas and weather-beaten landscape of County Donegal. Environmentally friendly and perfect for helping tired legs last a little longer, hire your gang some electric bikes from one of Grassroutes’ three bases in Donegal.
Map in hand, family in the saddle and pedal power behind you, set off from the bike rental shop in Glenveagh to explore the magical and lush Glenveagh National Park, or pick up a bike on Arranmore and cycle along the dramatic coastline.
Throw on your wetsuits and have some wave-splashing fun in Strandhill, County Sligo. Zipped up and armed with a sense of adventure, take your pick of surfing or stand up paddleboarding and dive into the swells.
Strandhill Surf School has lessons to all ages and the team may even take you out to Culleenamore Bay, a stunning tidal reserve and seal sanctuary.
Join a guided kayak tour along the pristine waterways of the River and Lough Corrib and see this enchanting coast from a whole different perspective. Paddling the day away with is a pretty serene way to admire County Galway and Kayakmór makes water lovers out of even the most stubborn landlubbers.
Board the ‘Dolphin Discovery’ in Kilrush Marina for a cruise along the north shore of the Shannon Estuary, home to Ireland's only known resident group of bottlenose dolphins. The kids will love sailing alongside their newfound friends as they jump and play in the waters beside the boat. With a 98% success rate of encountering those flippers and fins, squeals of delight from your little skippers are highly likely, too.
Discover a different era, and pace, of communication on Valentia Island in Kerry. Hop on the ferry to the idyllic island and visit Valentia Heritage Centre, housed in a 19th-century schoolhouse, to learn all about island life and discover tales of the transatlantic telegraph.
The island was the base of the very first attempts to lay a transatlantic cable under the sea in the 1850s and is home to the oldest Atlantic Cable Station in the world. Stop off at the Cablemaster’s Residence and have fun explaining to your internet-era children how every message crossing the Atlantic passed through the island’s station.
Wind your way down to Baltimore Harbour in lively West Cork and watch your kids faces when the meet the Atlantic’s most characterful creatures. Clamber on to Whale Watch West Cork’s vessel ‘Voyager’ and keep eyes peeled to spot inquisitive dolphins, cheeky seals and beautiful basking sharks, as well as majestic minke and fin whales.
On a clear summer night, take the evening sailing and huddle up together out on the water as the sun sets over Cape Clear Island.
Is there a better feeling than cuddling up with your brood, all snug as bugs under a blanket of stars? Luckily, there are all sorts of camping options on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Book a stay in a caravan park just a few minutes walk from a Blue Flag beach with Wave Crest in County Kerry. If you are visiting the otherworldly Burren, Aran Islands or the Cliffs of Moher, try Nagles Camping & Caravan Park in Doolin, County Clare. Prepare for a treat if your family prefers glamping for a yurt, bell tent or pod in your pick of scenic spots along the coast.
Lose yourself in wildlife and woodland in the many gorgeous parklands dotting the coastal route. With five of the country’s six national parks located on the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll be spoilt for choice between Glenveagh, Ballycroy, Connemara, the Burren and Killarney National Parks spanning counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry.
Brimming with exceptional walking routes for all ages and abilities and home to bats, badgers, foxes, deer and rare wildlife, prying yourselves away from the nooks and crannies of these natural havens will be your only problem.
Can’t decide where to start or what to include on your family road trip? With 15 Signature Discovery Points scattered across the coastline, ticking some must-see spots off the list is a great way to enjoy the most unique places along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Visit sandy seascapes, windswept clifftops, salty-aired headlands, and island hideaways with glorious edge-of-the-world vistas. Get the gang a special Wild Atlantic Way Passport and even mark each stop on your journey with customised stamps.
As beautiful as it is, a touring route that encompasses 2,500km of Irish coastline is bound to have its share of rainy days. But there’s still plenty to entertain families of all ages indoors on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park in County Mayo will amaze the kids as they learn all about Connaught pirate queen Grace O’Malley. Experience the pleasures of life as a lighthouse keeper at County Cork’s Mizen Head Visitor Centre as you gaze out at the stunning, panoramic views.
Would-be pilots, marine enthusiasts and Irish coffee-lovers will enjoy Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum in County Limerick. While at the Galway City Museum you can learn all about the history of the City of the Tribes and see an iconic boat, the Galway Hooker, hanging in the atrium.
Whatever way you discover it and no matter what age your family is, the memories you’ll make on the Wild Atlantic Way will spur a lifelong love for adventure.
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