This Wild Atlantic Way Tour is accessed through Dublin airport and is an 8 night tour.
The Wild Atlantic Way driving tour is based on the most captivating ,longest defined coastal route in the world and stretches for 2500km along Ireland’s western seaboard. This tour will allow you to track the rugged coastline of the West of Ireland where you will experience the Irish culture andtraditions and maybe even pick up a word or two –as Gaeilge!
Out at the very edge of Europe, this breath- taking route encompasses stunning headlands,beautiful beaches, jagged cliffs and also some of Irelands most famous driving routes such as the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry.
Overnight Locations :
Arrive Dublin airport
- Night 1: Dublin
- Night 2: Sligo
- Night 3: Mayo
- Night 4: Galway
- Night 5: Dingle
- Night 6 : Killarney
- Night 7: Cork
- Night 8: Dublin
Arrival in Dublin
Welcome to Ireland and to Dublin, the capital City! Upon your arrival in Dublin, make your way to your overnight accommodation. Dublin is the capital of Ireland and one of Europe’s most vibrant cities , it is knee deep in history and has its own unique sense of humor.
The Dublin Hop on Hop Off Bus is an excellent way of visiting many of Dublin’s most historic locations .The all day ticket means you can hop on and off as often as you wish throughout the day allowing you explore the history and culture of Dublin at your leisure.
This evening, why not spend some time in the Temple Bar area. This small area boasts a dazzling choice of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops to suit all tastes and pockets, all within easy walking distance of Temple Bar’s many cultural centres and galleries. Its narrow cobbled streets are pedestrianised and are ideally suited to a leisurely stroll through the quarter. There is also the opportunity to experience an evening’s entertainment at any one of a number of excellent traditional Irish shows.
Other attractions you may want to see in Dublin ( time permitting) :-
Trinity College and The Book of Kells
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Overnight & Breakfast in Dublin
Dublin to Sligo – 330km approx
Today cross the country via Clonmacnoise in the midlands to the beautiful county of Sligo. Clonmacnoise is wonderfully sited on River Shannon and remains one of Ireland’s holiest places. An early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon, the site includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight churches (10th-13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs. Even in ruin, this monastic city of St. Ciaran, with its cathedral and churches, its high crosses and round towers is a must for all visitors.
Mullaghmore is a village on the Mullaghmore peninsula in County Sligo in Ireland. It is a noted holiday destination, characterised by ocean views and a skyline dominated by the monolithic shape of Ben Bulben mountain. It was a favoured holiday retreat of Admiral of the Fleet – the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of India, who had inherited Classiebawn Castle, a baronial style house standing on the peninsula.
Drumcliffe, County Sligo is set against the striking backdrop of the Benbulben Mountains. It is best known as the final resting place of W.B. Yeats. Found in the churchyard, his grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription, “cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by.” This was Yeats’ self penned epitaph together with the instructions that the grave consist of “no marble, no conventional phrase”. The graveyard also contains a high cross and nearby is the site of a 6th Century Columbian monastery.
Overnight & Breakfast Sligo
Sligo to Westport – 280km approx
Enniscrone, Co Sligo, is regarded as a traditional coastal tourist resort but it also has a wealth of archaeological remains which display a rich heritage possibly dating back to the megalithic era, some 4000 to 5000 years ago. The oldest archaeological sites in Enniscrone are the ruins of two possible passage tombs, thought to date from about 2500 BC – however research of similar sites estimate that some such tombs may in fact be much older – possibly dating from about 5000 BC.
Downpatrick Head just 3 miles north of Ballycastle village is a striking headland standing 126ft above the sea. Admire the fantastic views of the Atlantic, the Staggs of Broadhaven to the west, and the high cliffs along the shore. The small stone building at the top of Downpatrick Head was used as a lookout post during the Second World War. It is now used to view the many species of birds on ‘Dún Briste’. The Sea Stack known as ‘Dún Briste’ (The Broken Fort) can be seen at Downpatrick Head. It was separated from the mainland in 1393 as a result of high seas and the people were taken off using ships ropes. It is 63 metres by 23 metres, 45 metres high and 228 metres from the shore.
Achill Island in County Mayo is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, and is situated off the west coast. Keem Bay is a perfect horseshoe bay containing a popular blue flag beach at the head of a valley between the cliffs of Benmore to the west and Croaghaun mountain on the east. At the southern end of the valley, the beach is sheltered to the west by Moyteoge Head, while at the northwestern end of the valley the cliffs of Benmore connect with the spectacular mile long promontory of Achill Head. This spar is the most westerly point on Achill and tails off with two sea stacks called Gaoí Saggart and Carrickakin. Keem is accessible for cars via a clifftop road that was constructed in the 1960s along the route of an older track.
Westport is a town in County Mayo in Ireland. It is at the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland. The town centre was designed by James Wyatt in 1780, in the Georgian architectural style. Amongst its many outstanding features are the elegant tree-lined streets along the river known as The Mall, bustling Bridge Street, the main shopping street with cheerful shop and pub fronts. Westport attracts visitors of every age and nationality and they love what they find – a unique blend of old and new, living memories of a bygone era mingling happily with the lively, busy town of today.
Overnight & Breakfast Westport
Westport to Galway – 160km approx
Today travel south via Leenane and Connemara to Galway. Why not take a cruise from Killary Harbour today and tour the spectacular Killary – Ireland’s only fjord. During the 90 minute sightseeing trip you can listen to a history of the Leenane area, eat lunch or sip an Irish Coffee in our warm and spacious viewing lounge. Or simply sit on deck and watch the Connemara scenery pass by. If you are lucky, a school of dolphins may come to join us for a time!
Visit Kylemore Abbey – a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I.
Travel onto the village of Roundstone, lies on the western arm of Bertraghboy bay in Connemara, Co. Galway, 48 miles (77km) north-west of Galway city. This Connemara village is beautifully set on one of the most spectacular coastal drives in Ireland overlooking the Atlantic at the foot of Errisbeg Mountain
Galway City is known as Ireland’s Cultural Heart and is renowned for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events. The city also bears the nickname “The City of the Tribes” because “14 Tribes” of merchant families led the city in its Hiberno-Norman period. The term tribes was often a derogatory one in Cromwellian times. The merchants would have seen themselves as Irish gentry and loyal to the King. They later adopted the term as a badge of honour and pride in defiance of the town’s Cromwellian occupier.
Overnight & Breakfast Galway
Galway to Dingle – 307km approx
The most direct route will take you via Bunratty castle in County Clare, Limerick City of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ fame and the pretty Village of Adare in County Limerick followed by the town of Killarney. The longer more scenic route will take you to killarney via the west coast of County Clare where you will encounter the lunar like Burren Region, the ancient megalithic tombs at Poulnabrone and of course the truly spectacular Sea Cliffs at the Cliffs of Moher. The Burren, from the Gaelic word Boireann is an area of limestone rock covering imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. The Cliffs lay claim to one of the most astonishing views in Ireland, on a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of the Connemara region. The Cliffs of Moher rise from Hag’s Head to the south and reach their highest point (214 meters) just north of O’Briens Tower. Before the cliffs however is the village of Doolin. Doolin is a small fishing village on the northern end of the Cliffs of Moher. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals or ‘fleadhanna’ of Irish and international music. We recommend the Ferry from Kilrush in County Clare to Tarbert in County Kerry. This is just a 20 minute ferry trip (car ferry). Continue from Tarbert via Listowel and Tralee to Dingle a town full of surprises and supremely unique – a precious gem waiting to be discovered. – The Dingle Peninsula is the northernmost of the major peninsula in County Kerry. It ends beyond the town of Dingle at Dunmore Head, the westernmost point of Ireland.
Overnight & Breakfast Dingle
Dingle to Killarney – 100km approxKerry
The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry. Rising majestically from the sea, Skellig Michael towers 714ft. (218 metres) above sea level. On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock you will find a remarkably well preserved sixth century monastic settlement. Next stop is the village of Annascaul. This small village is the birth place of Jerome Connor, the famous sculptor, and Tom Crean, a local hero who accompanied Scott and Shackleton on three Antarctic expeditions, including Scott’s doomed attempt to reach the South Pole. On his return to Annascaul, Crean opened the “South Pole Inn”, which is still in business today. Close by is Inch Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. The Ring of Kerry is a journey through some of the country’s most outstanding scenery around the Iveragh Peninsula. Stunning mountain and coastal scenery combined with colourful towns and villages will make this one of the highlights of your tour. For those who wish to take a break from driving we can arrange a bus tour through this route. Following the peninsula drive, you then arrive at Muckross House. Muckross House is a magnificent Victorian mansion completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert. The location of the House is spectacular, close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake and set beneath the impressive backdrop of Torc and Mangerton Mountains. As an alternative to the Ring of Kerry tour you may prefer to take a wonderful tour by pony and trap that takes you through the Black Valley in the Gap of Dunloe. After a snack at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you will return to Killarney by boat via the beautiful lakes of Killarney.
Overnight & Breakfast Killarney
Killarney to Cork – 300km approx
Today the journey goes through the Beara Peninsula – The most westerly of West Cork’s inhabited islands, Dursey lies across a narrow sound and is a great getaway from the fray of modern living. This rugged island is accessed via Ireland’s only cable car, which runs about 250m above the sea and takes six people or one large animal at a time! The journey takes about ten minutes crossing the infamous Dursey Sound where strong tides make travelling by boat hazardous. The island is part of the Beara Way walking trail and having no shops, pubs or restaurants offers the day visitor a unique experience of calm with spectacular views of the Beara peninsula. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise with rare birds from Siberia and America to be spotted there.
Continue to the next peninsula to Mizen Head and visit Mizen Head Signal Station, built to save lives off the treacherous rocks at Ireland’s most south-westerly point, five miles from Goleen, is open to the public. – An award winning Maritime Museum and Heritage Attraction, this authentic all-weather experience is a must-see with its spectacular location on high cliffs with swirling Atlantic Ocean tides. From the Car park and Visitor Centre, the Signal Station is a ten minute walk along the path, down the 99 steps and across the Arched Bridge, the Mizen is famous for its wildflowers and sightings of wildlife, dolphins, whales, seals, gannets, kittiwakes, choughs – the bird migration north-south flight path is just a mile off shore. South, the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, Ireland’s Teardrop, was the last landfall seen by many emigrants to America and one of Marconi’s first telegraph stations. Continue along the coast to Kinsale – a delightful harbour town that has retained its old world charm and character despite beign well developed from a tourism point of view with its beautiful waterside location, local facilities including a yacht marina and historic buildings such as Desmond Castle and Market House as well as Charles Fort overlooking the sea and town. Kinsale styles itself as the gourmet capital of Ireland, boasting numerous excellent restaurants and atmospheric traditional pubs
Overnight & Breakfast Kinsale
Kinsale to Dublin – 180km approx
The direct route to Dublin will take in the region of 3.5 hours to drive (stops not included). An alternative route would be to travel via Blarney Castle where a climb to the Castle ramparts will allow you the opportunity to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’ for the ‘Gift of Eloquence’ in County Cork. Next stop is Cahir Castle, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, which retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure. It is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. 10 miles further on and you arrive at the Rock of Cashel. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. Kings of Ireland as well as Munster came to this spot and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock and converted the local King, Aenghus, here in the 5th Century. Brian Boru was also crowned King of Ireland on this spot in the early 11th Century. King Cormac built his superb Royal Chapel in the 12th century. From Cashel you will travel north to Kildare where you will have the opportunity of visiting The Japanese Gardens. The Japanese Gardens are situated in the grounds of the Stud Farm and were created between 1906 and1910. You can also visit The National Stud. The National Stud is home to some of Ireland’s finest thoroughbreds. In fact the winner of the 2003 Californian ‘Breeders Cup Mile’ race is a National Stud horse, the 3rd in the last 9 years.
Continue your sightseeing in Dublin today visiting the many historical and modern attractions that this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Other attractions include Christchurch Cathedral which was founded in the year 1030 by Sitric, King of the Dublin Norsemen, the James Joyce Centre & the Dublin Writers Museum. Of course, you may wish to take time out to shop in Grafton Street or any one of a number of narrow and quaint streets that the café strewn city centre has to offer.
Overnight & Breakfast Dublin before departure flight