Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about this magical part of Ireland.
Encounter nine counties, three provinces and the country’s tallest peak along the expansive 2,500km-long coastal stretch. Magnificent Carrauntoohil in County Kerry is a true highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way and you can’t miss Europe’s highest sea cliffs at Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) in County Donegal, kayak along the water and look up at the incredible views.
Head to Prowlers, 2km from Mullaghmore in County Sligo and watch the waves reach dizzying heights of 30 to 40ft, it’s a secret spot for experienced surfers. See daredevil sports enthusiasts board jet skis to climb the soaring swells, the waves are so high here, it’s impossible to reach them by man power alone.
Kerry is known as The Kingdom and one jewel in its crown is the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, one of the only gold-tiered reserves in the northern hemisphere. Due to a lack of artificial light in this rural area, you’ll see that the stars appear exceptionally bright and on clear nights, the sky is simply stunning. Visit the Mayo Dark Skies Park for more stargazing, find it between the beautiful Nephin Beg mountains and the Atlantic coast.
There are thirty spectacular islands on the Wild Atlantic Way, why not take the time to veer off the beaten track and plan a trip to an island haven. You can travel back in time with a visit to Galway’s Aran Islands and discover an unspoiled part of Ireland. Live life like an islander on Achill Island in Mayo, marvel at the clear blue water and golden strands. Head to Dursey Island in Cork and take a ride on Ireland’s only cable car for an adrenalin rush.
Venture out by ferry to Inishmore (Inis Mór) off the Galway coast where you’ll find the evocatively named Serpent’s Lair. Experienced divers somersault and dive from three times the Olympic height into this natural pool at the bottom of a soaring cliff, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Drop by the picturesque village of Annascaul in County Kerry, where legendary seaman and Antarctic explorer Tom Crean was born. Find an exhibition dedicated to his incredible Antarctic expedition alongside Ernest Shackleton in the Kerry County Museum in Tralee. Make a trek to lovely Dingle and see the brewery named in Tom Crean’s honour.
While you may be aware that the 1952 John Ford classic The Quiet Man was shot in Mayo and Galway, did you know there are two replicas of its iconic cottage? The crumbling Connemara cottage featured in the film was granted protected status, journey to Cong in Mayo and Maam Cross, Galway, to find replicas of it. The Academy Award-winning film starred John Wayne and Irish actress Maureen O’Hara, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 95.
Follow in some famous footsteps and visit County Donegal for a touch of tinseltown. Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe holidayed at Glenveagh National Park’s exquisite 19th-century castle during Hollywood’s golden era.
Bask in the outstanding natural beauty of The Burren in County Clare, check out the limestone pavements and curious rock formations. Wander around its lunar-like landscape and learn about the distinctive ecosystem. Detour to Doolin Cave and see the Great Stalactite, the longest free-hanging stalactite in Europe measuring 7.3 metres.
You’ve probably spotted County Kerry’s iconic Skellig Islands in the recent Star Wars blockbuster movies. In real life, in 2021 you’ll be able to take a trip to the remote islands and discover the history of an ancient monastic settlement. Walk along the stone paths and experience the extraordinary cinematic landscapes (note: they remain closed to visitors in 2020).
Explore the enchanting Wild Atlantic Way and take in its spine-tingling scenery, discovering the fascinating facts of this unique route. Visit some of its most famous sights, plan an epic adventure now.
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