Ok, you got us- this isn’t our typical Walk of the Month, and certainly not one for a lazy Sunday. But stick with us, as we’re here to let you know about a brilliant new walking route that has recently been unveiled on the West Coast of Ireland: the majestic Wild Atlantic Way.
The official Wild Atlantic Way logo- Via Flickr
Follow in the footsteps of St Patrick on your next trip to Ireland with a jaunt along the newly inaugurated Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest coastal touring route. Covering over 1,500 miles of rugged sea cliffs, exposed beaches and vibrant heritage towns, this epic pathway can be tackled on foot, by bike or behind the wheel. The Wild Atlantic Way was designed to highlight the beauty of Ireland’s Atlantic Seaboard, as well as to draw more visitors to the West Coast’s lesser known areas. The route follows the coast from Malin Head on Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula to the charming fishing village of Kinsale in County Cork, taking in famed beauty spots, historic sites and some of Ireland’s best surf beaches along the way.
Without boring you with a blow-by-blow account of every inch of this remarkable route, we wanted to demonstrate just how marvellous the Wild Atlantic Way is. So, we’ve compiled a gallery of images which capture some of the best bits from the trail. Feast your eyes on a selection of delectable landscapes from all seven counties which feature along the length of this magnificent pathway, from the remote heathlands of Connemara in County Galway to the stunning Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
Slieve League, County Donegal
Located on Donegal’s rugged south west coast, the Slieve League cliffs are regarded as some of the finest sea cliffs in Europe. Clinging to the cliffs 600m above the roaring Atlantic, this stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way isn’t for the faint hearted, but the plucky will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama from the summit.
Benbulben, County Sligo
Standing proudly beside Sligo Bay since the ice age, Benbulben is an imposing rock formation that’s shrouded in Irish mythology. Some say Benbulben was the homestead of the Fianna, a band of celtic warriors who lived in the 3rd century, whilst others claim the mountain was the battleground of a bad tempered giant and an enchanted boar- all we know is, it’s great for rock climbing and will make an excellent backdrop for a family selfie.
Keem Strand, County Mayo
Go off piste on your tour of the Wild Atlantic Way and you’ll find Keem Strand, an award-winning blue flag beach on the remote Achill Islands. Tucked between Croaghaun mountain and Moyteoge Head, this stunning bay is great for swimming thanks to its horseshoe shape and wonderfully calm waters- bear it in mind if you’re looking for somewhere to lay down the beach towels!
Connemara, County Galway
Already home to some of Ireland’s best walking routes, Connemara is a natural playground of mountains, heathlands and lakes on the west coast of County Mayo. The Wild Atlantic Way reveals only a snapshot of the natural beauty on offer here, so if you’d like to see it all, rent a holiday cottage in Connemara and have your camera at the ready!
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
The Cliffs of Moher: jewel of the west coast. These world-renowned cliffs are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction, so they had to make our short list of Wild Atlantic Way must-sees. Though three times shorter than Slieve League (214m), The Cliffs of Moher are home to some truly spellbinding vistas as well as a wealth of marine life. Put simply, they’re an Irish icon!
Kenmare, County Kerry
As Ireland’s first heritage town, Kenmare is a great place to while away a day or two on your tour of the Wild Atlantic Way. This colourful settlement can be found on the shores of Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, an area renowned for its award-winning fairways and peaceful landscapes. The town itself is home to an array of gourmet eateries where you can enjoy a welcome seafood meal after a day in the walking boots.
Beara Peninsula, County Cork
Just when you think you’ve seen all of the beauty that the Wild Atlantic Way can offer, there’s the Beara Peninsula, an uninhabited region of archaeological sites, rare flora, hidden lakes and some of Ireland’s best angling spots. Beara’s magical coastline is teeming with things to see and do, but the majority visit simply to witness the region’s untamed, wild landscapes.
Walk in the wild on your next cottage holiday!
The Wild Atlantic Way is a long distance touring route of epic proportions, so chances are most people won’t have the time or the stamina to see it all. Luckily, we have lots of holiday cottages to rent near the Wild Atlantic Way that provide the perfect base for exploration and discovery on the west coast of Ireland.
For more information about the Wild Atlantic Way, or to download a map of the route, click here.
Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.