Discover west of Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way - www.freestyletraveling.com

Discover west of Ireland – Wild Atlantic Way – one of the longest coastal route in the world!

In Destinations, Europe, Ireland, Wild Atlantic Way by FreestyleLeave a Comment

Wild Atlantic Way covers 2600 km on the west of Ireland coast and it is one of the most dramatic and longest coastal route in the world. There are many fascinating trails in the old continent but every part of Wild Atlantic Way is simply magic and bring totally different landscape to what you get to see in the mainland. Wild Atlantic Way is a fantastic idea for exploring west of Ireland. The road trip takes you along the west coastline of Ireland starting form the Donegal city on the north of the country, along the west coast of Ireland, down to West Cork, uncovering the wildest spots of the oceanic side of the island. The eEasiest way to explore the west coast of Ireland is to drive by car along the Wild Atlantic Way. We started in County Kerry, exploring the Killarney National Park, hiking the highest peak in Ireland-Carrauntoohil. From charming Dingle, located in County Kerry, we drove to Tarbet to get a ferry to Killimer, which takes you directly into the heart of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, and let you save 137 kilometres and an hour and a half of driving. The ferries are cheap (around 5 euro/per person), running every half an hour or an hour depending on a season. From Killimer there’s about 45 minutes drive to Loop Head – one of the most remote and beautiful places in Ireland. It stands out on the cliffs at the most south west point of County Clare with a lighthouse located at the tip of the Loop Head Peninsula. This is the place where you get to see famous Cliffs of Moher, which is one of the top attractions known in Ireland. But this wasn’t a thing I liked most about west coast of Ireland, it was the wilderness, the nature, simple green fields and hills covered with sheeps pained in blue, red or orange to spot the herd.

Here is a list of plenty great and free activities you can enjoy in the west coast of Ireland.

  • Killarney National Park cycling tour will take you around stunning National Park scenery, explore ancient woodlands and Torc Waterfall.
  • Cycle the great Western Greenway
  • Hiking advantures – climb Carrantoohill, the highest peak of Ireland.
  • Enjoy water activities – Go Surfing! Beaches around Dingle will not only remain out of crowds but also serve super waves. But what’s more important this is an ideal place for advanced surfers as well as for beginners.
  • Swim with Fungi – the most famous and talented dolphin living near Dingle, who went missing in 2020, which was a big thing for whole Ireland. Fungi took all the headlines after nobody saw him for number of days, which was unusual due to his confident interaction with people on a daily basis.
  • Spectacular walks on the Wild Atlantic Way
  • Connemara National Park

County Kerry – the most scenic county in west coast of Ireland.

Ring of Kerry is one of the most popular 180 km loop route, taking you through majestic landscapes of the region. County Kerry is well know for its Irish-language speakers and plenty of attractions including Killarney National Park with the highest peak of Ireland – Carrauntoohil, Dingle Peninsula, incredible Skellig islands adventure, stunning beaches and unforgetable seaside villages.

Dingle in Co Kerry.

County Kerry is considered by many people the most beautiful region of Ireland. There are certainly stunning spots and adventures you can explore but what makes it so special. Dingle is a small port town with stunning Atlantic Ocean views, and only town located on the Dingle Peninsula. The place greeted me with an amazing atmosphere, colourful architecture and artistic look. You can’t miss local bars for some drinks and fresh fish.

Discover west of Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way - www.freestyletraveling.com
Discover west of Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way - www.freestyletraveling.com

Killarney National Park, hike the highest peak of Ireland – Carrauntoohil.

If you are into hiking adventures – Carrantoohill is an absolut great destination. Although it is only 1038 metres high don’t ever understimate Irish mountains! There are few trails to the summit of Carrauntoohil. The one we did is called Devils Ladder and it’s most challenging. No special equipment is needed to climb the mountain but be careful, the route has become more dangerous in recent years due to loose stones. On the way to the top you pass two beautiful lakes, which look like human lungs from the top view. The landscape of National Park is breathtaking. The scenery is very different to what you get to see in Europe. These green, unregular hills are everything what nature has to be. Full information from our Carrauntoohil hiking adventure read here: https://freestyletraveling.com/hiking-carrauntoohil/.

Ballybunion beach to visit on the Wild Atlantic Way.

This is probably one of the most amazing beaches in Ireland. Ballybunion is known for one of the cleanest regions in Ireland, it’s free from polution and industry. The beach uncovers another scenery of Ireland’s west coast, the colourful rocks of the surrounding cliffs.

Visit the islands.

While taking the west of Ireland road trip one of the top attractions are the islands. Skellig Islands – the trip you will never forget, visit the islands while driving through Wild Atlantic Way. They are wild, uninhabited and one of the most dramatic looking and islands in Europe. The most famous ones are Skellig Islands for number of reasons: the unusual scenery of Skellig Michael, which is known for its well-preserved early Christian monastery /from the 7th century!/ situated on the tiny island, with a tiny steep stairs leading to the top of it. But Skellig also gained their world popularity after ‘Star Wars’ were filmed there couple years ago. The name of the island is taken from an Irish language word ‘sceilig’, which means a splinter of stone. Remember to book a tour way in advance! This attaraction is so popular that sometimes you need to book tickets few months ahead. Now, there is limited number of boat operators and only one type of trip brings you to the island where you can explore the monastery. Eco trips take you around the island but does not give you a possibility to visit the island.

Visit the Blasket Islands. The Great Blasket Heritage Center, located in Dunquin, tells the island’s moving story.

County Clare – most spectacular walk along ocean cliffs.

Cliffs of Moher.

We took a ferry from Tarbet to Killimer. As mentione on the beginning the ferry runs every half an hour and costs about 5 euro. County Clare is another region where you can explore amazing beauty of the west coast of Ireland. Cliffs of Moher is most famous attraction there and you’ll probably should visit it once in your life. The entrance is quite expensive and be prepared for hundreds of tourists. If you plan to spent more time around Cliffs of Moher, take a walk along the cliffs to explore and anjoy this fantastic scenery from different perspectives. The cliffs are beautiful indeed but I would still choose Slieve League, it’s incomparable.

The Loop Head Peninsula.

Loop Head is probably one of my favourite walks in the west coastal of Ireland. It is marked with a lighthouse built in 1670 and a fascinating history is linked to this building. The lighthouse is the main landmark on the northern shore of the Shannon River. Loop Head offers dramatic views from 90 metre high cliffs of the sea down to Kerry Head and Dingle to the Cliffs of Moher in the north.

Discover west of Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way - www.freestyletraveling.com
Loop Head

Galway – a must stop on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Galway is a charming city and it should be your stop in the Wild Atlantic Way. With only 80 000 inhabitants it is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy local pubs for Irish music, tiny busy streets for Irish crafts and general for an unforgetable atmosphere.

Coastal walks near Galway – explore Connemara National Park.

Glencoaghan Horseshoe Loop hiking adventure!

Connemara National Park contains more than fifty magnificent mountains offering one of the most spectacular landscapes and hiking experience in Ireland. Glencoaghan is a valley in the Twelve Bens, Connemara. This caldera contains 6 peaks. Glencoaghan Horseshoe Loop should be done anticlockwise, as there are few steep rocky sections and it’s much easier to it this way. This was probably one of the toughest expeditions I did in my entire life. You definitely need to be prepared for a challenging adventure heading this caldera, especially if the weather is not on your side, which happens quite often for Glencoaghan. Plus good fitness level is required! Weather, as in all mountains, is unpredictable, so you should always be prepared for bad, cold and wet conditions. Glencoaghan Horseshoe peaks are usually covered with clouds, so the visibility might be very limited. But once the sky clears surrounding landscape you’ll be amazed!

Ultimate guide to hike Glencoaghan Horseshoe Loop in Connemara National Park check here!

Glencoaghan Horseshoe Loop - freestyletraveling.com

Slieve League – why you should visit!

Slieve League are the highest cliffs in Ireland, almost three times higher that Cliffs of Moher. That’s one of the places you simply can’t miss. The cliffs are located in County Donegal, if you reach the area early enough there will be no tourists. The gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean and Sligo Mountains gives you a feeling you’re on the edge of the world.

There is plenty of free attractions you can do on the Wild Atlantic Way:

  • Killarney National Park cycling tour – will take you around stunning National Park scenery to explore ancient woodlands and Torc Waterfall.
  • Cycle the great Western Greenway
  • Hiking advantures – climb Carrantoohill, the highest peak of Ireland and explore Killarney National Park.
  • Enjoy water activities – Go Surfing! Beaches around Dingle will not only remain out of crowds but also serve super waves. But what’s more important this is an ideal place for advanced surfers as well as for beginners.
  • Swim with Fungi – the most famous and talented dolphin living near Dingle, who went missing in 2020, which was a big thing for whole Ireland. Fungi took all the headlines after nobody saw him for number of days, which was unusual due to his confident interaction with people on a daily basis.
  • Connemara National Park – great experience for hiking lovers!

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