The Wild Atlantic Way is a 1,500-mile driving route along Ireland’s scenic west coast, stretching south from the wind-whipped tip of Malin Head to the safe haven of Kinsale Harbour. Here are some of the highlights
Stand on the dramatic cliffs of Donegal
They don’t call it the Wild Atlantic Way for nothing, and to see it at its most dramatic – all crashing waves and windswept scenery – Donegal is top of the list.
Standing at the tip of the Slieve League cliffs feels like being at the very edge of the world, with sweeping sea views from 600 metres above Donegal Bay. From there, head south to try a spot of salmon fishing or surfing at cool coastal town Bundoran.
Meet the locals in Westport
The west coast is full of charming towns and villages, and Westport – voted the Best Place to Live in Ireland by The Irish Times – is just such a place. Browse its small, independent shops, stop for afternoon tea, or sip a pint of Guinness with a side of Irish music at traditional pub McGing’s.
The surrounding area is just as inviting: cycle the Great Western Greenway to the white sands of Keem Bay on Achill Island, or visit Westport House, a grand estate that’s now home to an adventure centre and woodland trails.
See the real Ireland in Connemara
If you could distil the essence of Ireland down to just one place, it would be Connemara, where you’ll still hear Gaelic spoken and nights in local pubs like Lowry’s in Clifden end with an old-fashioned sing-song.
By day, hike the Diamond Hill Loop Walk through Connemara National Park, with the Atlantic on one side and Twelve Ben Mountains on the other; or visit Kylemore Abbey, home to a tragic Victorian love story – it was built by Mitchell Henry for his wife, Margaret, just three years before her death.
Visit the true star of Star Wars
The Skellig Ring is as thrilling a drive as you’ll find anywhere in the world, extending the famous Ring of Kerry to the weather-beaten islands of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig.
It was their remote location that drew a group of sixth-century monks to make their home on Skellig Michael, carving out 600 rocky steps from the sea up to beehive-shaped stone huts at the summit. These days, though, it’s more famous as the haunting location for the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Spend time in southern city Cork
As visitors head to Kinsale, the southernmost point of the Wild Atlantic Way, they’ll come across the spirited city of Cork, encompassed by the scenic River Lee.
It’s a real gem with a flourishing food scene – not least at the English Market – yet all just moments from some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery and rugged coastline. The famous Blarney Castle is just a short drive from the city.
Getting to Ireland will remain as easy as ever
The Common Travel Area, which allows the free movement of people between the United Kingdom and Ireland, will remain in place post-Brexit. Therefore, there will be no travel restrictions between the UK and Ireland.
There are five airports along the route – Donegal, Knock, Shannon, Kerry and Cork – all with direct access from Great Britain
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