Here’s the 15 best places to stop along the way.
Ireland’s most northerly point, rugged Malin Head in Donegal is like nowhere else on earth. There’s wildlife, striking rock formations and history in spades here, and you can explore it all first-hand. Check out the watchtower at Banba’s Crown; the lookout tower was built in 1805 to keep watch against an invasion from Napoleon. The tower is named after the patron goddess of Ireland and is our country’s most northerly structure.
Fanad Head in Donegal has miles of golden, sandy beaches lapped by turquoise waves and capped by a gorgeous lighthouse. The sweeping Blue Flag beach at Ballymastocker Bay was voted the second most beautiful in the world by Observer magazine, and after you visit you might wonder why it wasn’t number one.
Sliabh Liag (Slieve League)
The highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe, Sliabh Liag in Donegal is one of the most gorgeous places in Ireland, with some of the finest views out across the wide expanse of ocean. Experience the rugged coastline from atop its sheer granite faces or visit by boat from Teelin for a totally different perspective.
Big wave surfers head to Mullaghmore in Sligo, where massive sets of 50ft waves barrel just off the coast. It’s a favourite for extreme watersports enthusiasts as well as those who simply like to look on in awe at the brave surfers out at sea.
History lovers adore this jagged Mayo headland that’s named after St. Patrick. Downpatrick Head looms an astonishing 126ft above the crashing Atlantic and it was here in the fifth century that St Patrick’s Church was founded and the ruins of which still stand today.
Keem Bay is a peaceful, golden stretch of secluded, sandy beach on Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland’s largest island. Stroll along the nearby cliff walk for incredible views of the bay and discover the Deserted Village which was abandoned in the early 20th century.
One of only three glacial fjords in Ireland, Killary Harbour is one of the most striking and stunning landscapes in the country. In the wild and dramatic Connemara landscape, Killary Harbour stretches for an impressive 16km and is over 45m deep at its deepest point.
The stark and otherworldly blanket bog of Derrigimlagh in Galway has an unusual claim to fame. The pioneering pilots Alcock and Brown crash-landed to safety here after completing the world’s first transatlantic flight in 1919. The patchwork landscape of small lakes and peat bog make you feel as though you’re on another planet.
Cliffs Of Moher
Looking out at the wild Atlantic from the top of the towering Cliffs of Moher in County Clare takes your breath away. Head to the spectacular O’Brien’s Tower, and gaze out to sea towards the Aran Islands, or, if the conditions are right, keep your eyes peeled for thrill-seeker surfers trying to conquer the powerful Aileen’s Wave at the base of the cliffs.
Find panoramic cliff views, picturesque seaside villages and a lighthouse that’s served as a beacon for those at sea since 1670 on Loop Head peninsula. It’s an invigorating place, perfect for capturing an iconic photo of the huge Atlantic swell as it crashes into the cliffs, or the vibrant purple fields of heather that paint the landscape in the summer months.
Out on the very edge of Europe, off the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry, lie the tranquil Blasket Islands. After many years of hardship and emigration, the last inhabitants of this unique island community finally packed up for the mainland in 1953, leaving behind a way of life full of courage and intrigue. Today, you can discover their story at the Blasket Centre and learn all about this lost community.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Skelligs is made up of two sandstone rocks cutting a striking silhouette as they rise steeply out of churning Atlantic Ocean. Just seven miles off Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula, on a clear day they’re close enough to see from the shore, while at certain times of year you can take a boat out to visit them.
As famous for their sacred 1,300-year-old pilgrimage site as they are for their starring role in the Star Wars films, they’re an unmissable addition to your trip along the coast.
Dursey Island off the Cork coast is the most westerly of the county’s inhabited islands and home to just three families. You can visit via Ireland’s only cable-car service, where you might just find yourself sharing the cable-car with sheep and cattle as farmers and their herds join you for the trip.
The craggy clifftop of Mizen Head in Cork is Ireland’s most southwesterly point and is an ideal place to begin your journey north along the Wild Atlantic Way. Catch sight of the imposing Fastnet Lighthouse, perched on a rock known as ‘Ireland’s Teardrop’. For many emigrants during the Great Famine, this was the last part of Ireland they saw as they sailed away to America.
Old Head of Kinsale
The scenic Old Head of Kinsale in Cork juts more than two miles out into the Atlantic and is marked by a picturesque 17th-century lighthouse. Nearby, there’s plenty to do in Kinsale, from getting a round in at the world-renowned golf course to strolling the vibrant streets of the town and trying some of the amazing food that makes this town so well-loved.
These stunning Signature Discovery Points create breathtaking experiences in the most beautiful locations in the country. Plan your scenic short break along the Wild Atlantic Way now.
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