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10 fantastic facts about the Wild Atlantic Way
Gazing through telescopes in Ballinskelligs Dark Sky Reserve in County Kerry
Wild Atlantic Way colour logo
Hollywood icons, ancient sites, unbeatable scenery and mythical Irish folklore - the Wild Atlantic Way is a fascinating place. Travel the length and breadth of this scenic route, you’ll uncover some amazing stories along the way.

Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about this magical part of Ireland.

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1Peaks aplenty

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. 

2Sensational surf

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.

3Dark sky delights

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.

4Islands on the Wild Atlantic Way

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.

5Where divers dare

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.  

6An Antarctic icon

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. 

7Oscar-winning scenery

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. 


8Hollywood meets Donegal

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.

9The Burren’s lunar landscape

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.

Doolin Cave
10Ancient monks and Jedi knights

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).

Skellig Micheal
Skellig Micheal
Get to know even more about the Wild Atlantic Way

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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