Wild Atlantic Way for Your First Driving Adventure
By now, you probably have heard of the Wild Atlantic Way as it continues to gain recognition for Ireland’s wonderful scenery, people, heritage and it’s easy to understand why.
Let’s start with a little bit of information on the route-
Wild Atlantic Way or also known as WAW is a 2500km route along the West coast, starting from Kinsale to Donegal. Driving the entire Wild Atlantic Way drive from south to north would take you through some of the rugged landscapes against the open sea, exploring some of Ireland’s best regions complete with a rich heritage.
This marketing initiative was developed by Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority in 2014. Since launching Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, it has gained recognition globally winning awards such as ‘Best International Self-Drive Route’.
For more information, Car Rental Ireland has a page on the Wild Atlantic Way route and places to see.
Driving the touring route
Don’t fear, you do not have to drive the entire route! You can easily slip in & out at any time along the route and these are some of the highlights on the route-
The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry was the most popular touring route in Ireland before Wild Atlantic Way launch and however it is still a very popular drive to do. The route loops around County Kerry taking in some fantastic highlights on Valentia Island, Skellig Michael, Killarney National Park. This region offers something for everybody and it’s a great place for families.
Take it from someone who has visited in April 2017 –
“The Rhine Valley, the California Coast Highway, the Cote D’azur – some of the great drives my limited experience has had the pleasure of navigating. To which must be added the Ring of Kerry – when the sun shines its the closest you’re gonna get to California with it’s twists and turns and spectacular Atlantic vistas. We went anti clockwise from Agadhoe via Killorglin. Fabulous views at every turn of the road – at points stunning. Mountains to one side, the ocean to the other.
We took a detour off to the tiny harbour at Ballinskelligs to take a stroll and an alternative view of the Skelligs and were stunned at the solitude, beauty and sheer peace of the area. Back on the road it just gets better as the road curves, twists, turns and throws up view after view across a wonderful coast with gained height giving sightlines for miles and miles on a clear day – both out to the islands and along the shoreline.
It’s all breathtakingly beautiful and not over even when one diverts inland back to Killarney with Moll’s Gap, Ladies View, the Torc waterfalls and Killarney lakes all on the pass road home.
Put it on your bucket list – but don’t tell everyone! A totally wonderful experience.” Review link
The Burren drive
The Burren is an area of the unusual landscape of Karst limescale covering the North of Clare. This was formed 340 million years ago and offers a different landscape to most of Ireland.
The 257km circular route starts from Limerick City towards Ennis and then south-west to Kilrush taking in views of the Shannon Estuary. From here, head towards Lahinch for water sports activities and a recovery lunch! Continue towards the world famous Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s number one natural attraction.
The Achill Drive
The quieter explored area, Achill Island is a part of the Wild Atlantic Way with a signature point on Keem Bay and it’s worth taking a trip here. Think, white beaches and blue/green ocean and mountainous backdrops – you’ll find that here. Seriously.
If basing yourself in Westport, take the N59 road to Newport and onwards to Mulranny village for the local fishing culture. I would recommend taking the Atlantic drive which hugs the coast giving you some fantastic photography opportunities of the Atlantic Ocean and islands as far as the eye can see.
The Sky Road
Rated as number one thing to do in Clifden and situated in Connemara region, a home to Ireland’s largest Irish-speaking region. Here you can experience traditional music and culture which the Irish language plays a large part. The Sky Road is a popular route to take when visiting Connemara taking you through the country’s wilderness and coves along the coast.
This route is a short 11km west of Clifden with spectacular views. Should you want to turn this into a longer trip, check out Killary Habour and do a spot of kayaking!
This is a guest article submitted by mydiscoverireland.com