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Secrets of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way revealed

By Doug Bardwell

The Cliffs of Moher are just one of the many treasures along the Wild Atlantic Way
The Cliffs of Moher are just one of the many treasures along the Wild Atlantic Way
by Doug Bardwell -

If you have ever dreamed of a ‘big’ adventure, but never followed through on it, now may be the time to make it happen. How about the roadtrip of a lifetime, through some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth? It’s all mapped out, with helpful signage, in a foreign land where just about everyone speaks English. It’s called the Wild Atlantic Way.

Travel Ireland

Experience the forty shades of green, the freshest seafood imaginable, dramatic sea cliffs and surf that has traveled thousands of miles – uninhibited – until it crashes against the western Irish shores. This is the Wild Atlantic Way, and you can experience it alone, with your significant other or with your entire family.

Sights and activities abound for all ages along the entire western coast of Ireland that makes up the Wild Atlantic Way. Special blue and white signposts mark the entire 1,550 mile (2,500 km) route and special “Discovery Points” have been designated and published in a handy guide: 50 Secrets of the Wild Atlantic Way.

You could sign up for any number of special tour packages that would take you to see some of the Wild Atlantic Way, but this travel writer wants you to consider traveling independently to really experience the country, the people, and the adventure that’s within your reach.

Big tour buses are NOT the way to travel Ireland

Big tour buses can’t get you into the little towns and tiny pulloffs you’ll want to stop at. Group tours don’t let you spend as much time as you’ll want to spend at some of the quaint little shops you’ll discover. Consider a private tour or better yet, driving yourself over as much of the Wild Atlantic Way as you have time to experience. It will be the highlight of the year – I can guarantee it.

Over the next 30 days, I’ll be adding tons of content, covering things to see and do all along the Wild Atlantic Way. Click here to be added to a special mailing list that will let you know what content has been posted each week, or bookmark this page and stop back when you are ready to start planning your trip.

I recently spent two weeks exploring much of the length of the Wild Atlantic Way – first as part of a small tour group, then driving a rental car – staying at some super interesting off the beaten path accommodations and then in a small motorhome from Bunk Campers, camping along the way. I’ll share the rewards and cautions about each method of travel, so follow along as we touch on all the following areas I visited.

Sections of the Wild Atlantic Way:

Northwest Section

County Donegal

  • Leo’s Tavern in Crolly [website]
  • Horn Head
  • Arnolds Hotel [website]
  • Dunfanaghy Stables along Killahoey Beach [website]
  • Rosapenna Hotel in Downings – Vardon restaurant [website]
  • E-Biking with Grassroutes [website]
  • Fanad Head Lighthouse
  • Portsalon Beach on Ballymastocker Bay
  • Rathmullan House Hotel [website]
  • Letterkenny
  • Donegal Town
  • Donegal Craft Village [website]
  • Donegal Castle [website]
  • Mill Park Hotel [website]
  • The Olde Castle Bar & Restaurant [website]
  • Killybegs
  • Slieve League Cliffs [website]
  • Ti Linn Visitor Center
  • Studio Donegal [website]
  • Castle Murray House Hotel [website]
  • Creevy Experience at Ballyshannon [website]

County Sligo

  • Drumcliffe
  • Diamond Coast Hotel in Enniscrone – Coral Restaurant [website]

West Section

County Mayo

  • Ceide Fields at Ballycastle [website]
  • Mulranny Park Hotel [website]
  • Bike trip on the Greenway [website]
  • Achill Island
  • Murrisk - famine sculpture
  • Croagh Patrick

County Galway

  • Killary Harbor
  • Station House Hotel in Clifden [website]
  • Abbeyglen Hotel – Clifden
  • Sky Road via Cleggan
  • Ballyconnely
  • Roundstone
  • Galway City
  • McDonagh’s Fish
  • Walking tour with Conor O’Riordan

Mid West

County Clare

  • Doolin Cave
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Aran Islands [website]

County Limerick


County Kerry

  • Ring of Kerry
  • Killarney National Park
  • Campground
  • Torc Falls

County Cork

  • Walking the Sheeps Head Peninsula at Kilcrohane
  • Arundels by the Pier
  • West Cork Camino from Lighthouse to St. Finbarrs Pilgrim Way
  • Top of the Rock Pod Pairc
  • Glenilen Farm
  • The Snug Pub in Bantry
  • Bantry House
  • Mannings Emporium Ballylickey
  • Ferry to Whiddy Island
  • Gougane Barra – St. Finbarr’s Oratory
  • Waterfall Alpaca Farm
  • Kinsale

Next article: Seeing Ireland in a campervan from BunkCampers

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