<big> Wild Atlantic Way Tour </big>
This 14 night Wild Atlantic Way tour can be accessed through Shannon airport and covers the entire scenic coastal road.
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. The West of Ireland and beautiful scenery go hand in hand. From Sligo to Cork you’ll find towering mountain ranges, vast beaches of golden sands and sheer cliff face. This self drive tour will allow you to track the rugged coastline of the West of Ireland where you will experience the Irish culture and traditions .This tour will take you off the beaten track and allow you discover for yourself the true beauty of Ireland’s west coast. Explore and experience a whole new world as you journey through the west of Ireland and enjoy part of the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland’s 2,500km coastal driving route!
Out at the very edge of Europe, this breath- taking route encompasses stunning headlands, beautiful beaches, jagged cliffs and also some of Ireland’s most famous driving routes such as the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry.This has been said to be said to be the most beautiful coastal road in the world.
This tour is perfect if you want to take things at your own pace, see all of southern Ireland’s most loved attractions and maybe even find a piece of hidden Ireland for yourself.
Overnight Locations for you 14 night Wild Atlantic Way Tour:
Kinsale for 2 nights
Kenmare for 2 nights
Dingle for 2 nights
West Clare for 2 night
Connemara for 2 nights
Westport, Mayo for 2 nights
Donegal for 2 nights
<big> Tour Pricing </big>
|Low Season||B&Bs||3 * Hotel||4* Hotel|
|Bed & Breakfast for 14 nights and Rental of an Economy Manual car||€765 pps||€1,035 pps||€1,209 pps|
|High Season||B&BS||3* Hotel||4*Hotel|
|Bed & Breakfast for 14 nights and Rental of an Economy Manual car||€1,019 pps||€1,299 pps||€1,565 pps|
*pps=per person sharing
Tour package Includes :
- Economy Manual vehicle eg., Ford Fiesta with unlimited mileage based on a minimum of 2 people travelling together. Inclusive of: Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), theft protection (TP), government tax (VAT) and Location Service Charge (upgrade rates for larger or automatic transmissions are available on request)
- Full breakfast daily except on day one
- All local taxes and hotel service charges
- Confirmation documents for each of your accommodations including driving directions
- All rates above are per adult sharing, child and single supplements apply
- Low Season- November-March
- High Season- April-October
<big> Tour Itinerary </big>
Day 1- Shannon to Kinsale
Travel to Kinsale via Limerick City, Blarney and Cork City with optional detours to the Tipperary towns of Cahir & Cashel and Cobh in Cork. Among the most interesting attractions in Limerick are King John’s Castle and The Hunt Museum. From there, the direct route to the small coastal town of Kinsale will allow you to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’ at Blarney Castle. You could also visit the Cobh Heritage centre near Cork. Cobh, situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbours, was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic in 1912 and was the closest port to the site of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. The Heritage centre also recounts the story of those Irish who left Ireland during ‘The Famine’. An optional detour includes visits to ‘The Rock of Cashel’ and ‘Cahir Castle’, both in Tipperary and both are amongst Ireland’s premiere historic attractions. Kinsale is a delightful harbour town that has retained its old world charm and has a myriad of old Irish pubs and excellent restaurants. It is also laden with attractions such as the Desmond Castle Museum and the star shaped ‘Charles Fort’ from the 17th century.
Day 3- Kinsale to Kenmare
Today you will travel the scenic coastal route which includes visits to Mizen Head, the southernmost point in Ireland, as well as Bantry House and Gardens and the French Armada Centre, also in Bantry. From Bantry, you will be heading north to Killarney via the Healy Pass. Have your camera’s at the ready for some breathtaking scenery across the Caha Mountains that divide Cork from Kerry. After the mountain pass, you come to the town of Kenmare. The town was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty and has a history of lace making, demonstrations of which can be seen at the town’s Heritage Centre.
Day 5- Kenmare to Dingle
We travel to the fishing town of Dingle today as well as the dramatic Dingle Peninsula. The Dingle Peninsula has more interesting antiquities, historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland. Dingle is the most westerly town in Europe. It attracts large numbers of visitors each year, many of whom come to learn the Irish language in the surrounding ‘A Flor-Gaeltacht’ – Irish speaking district. On route stop in the village of Annascaul, 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. Minard Castle is also well worth a visit. The castle is said to have been built by the Knight of Kerry and is the largest fortress on the peninsula. Continue on past Dingle and visit Dunbeag Promontory Fort. What makes it one of the most dramatic archaeological sites on the peninsula is that results show that it was begun in the late Bronze Age, 800 BC. continue on to Slea Head and here you will see Dun An Oir (Fort of Gold). Here in 1580, after three days siege, over 600 Irish and Spanish soldiers surrendered to Lord Grey only to be massacred by his troops. Nearby is the Gallarus Oratory, one of the best preserved early Christian church buildings in Ireland. Back to Dingle for the evening. Here you will find among other great pubs and restaurants, Dick Macks, possibly Dingle’s most famous pub, which is half a leather shop and half a pub so you can buy a pint and a purse at the same time! Foxy John’s is a hardware store and pub combined – an unusual arrangement to say the least.
Day 6- Day Trip to Killarney from Dingle
The journey from Dingle to Killarney can take as little as 90 minutes without stops. However, we suggest the following route and stops. If you decide to get an early start and forego stops at some of the initial locations, then you will be able to commence the Ring of Kerry section of the tour instead of heading straight to Killarney. First 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. It is 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.
Day 7- Dingle to Clare
After an early breakfast depart Dingle in the direction of Brandon to drive over the renowned Conor Pass, Ireland’s highest mountain pass (No 14 night Wild Atlantic Way tour is complete without the Connor Pass). At the summit Brandon and Tralee Bays can be seen to the north, with the sandy Castlegregory peninsula separating them and to the south lies Dingle Bay. Continue to Tralee and Tarbert where you will take a ferry crossing on the Shannon Estuary to County Clare. Continue north to the Cliffs of Moher. The majestic Cliffs of Moher are without doubt one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and overlook the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of West Clare. You then arrive at the village of Doolin. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions in any one of its excellent pubs. Just north of the Cliffs you then have the lunar like Burren region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs as well as the Aillwee Caves.
Day 9- Doolin to Connemara
From there travel west of Galway to the hauntingly beautiful Connemara Region. Situated on the most western seaboard of Europe, this unspoilt region boasts breathtaking scenery. The characteristic features of Connemara include; rugged, unpolluted coastline, dramatic mountains, numerous lakes and rivers and woodlands and the renowned Connemara National Park. Visit Kylemore Abbey and the Lough Inagh Valley as well as the spectacular Sky Road near the town of Clifden. You can also visit the fishing village of Roundstone and see how a ‘Bodhran’ (traditional Irish Drum) is made. Alternatively, you may prefer to take the ferry to the Aran Islands. Aran will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians. Take a pony and trap, or a guided tour from the pier up the island to the stone fort of Dun Aengus. Dún Aengus fort is located on top of a 300ft high sea cliff and is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe.
Day 11- Connemara to Westport
Touring north from Connemara, you will also be able to walk along the fjord at Killary harbour or indeed take the catamaran cruise through Ireland’s only fjord. From there travel just south of Westport to see Croagh Patrick, otherwise known as Ireland’s ‘Holy Mountain’,where St. Patrick (according to Irish folklore) spent 40 days fasting. The area around Croagh Patrick is rich in archaeological remains which provide an interesting insight into life in times past. Findings date back to 200 B.C. Just north of the town of Westport in the county of Mayo is Ireland’s least populated region where you can walk the open countryside for miles with no company other than the local sheep. The amazing geology, archaeology, botany and wildlife of this region of North Mayo is interpreted for us at The Céide Fields Visitors’ Centre with the aid of an audio-visual presentation and exhibitions. You may also wish to visit Westport House. It was designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century. Westport House is located west of the Shannon and is one of Irelands’ most historic homes open to the public.
Day 12- Day Trip from Westport to Galway City
Heading south from Westport, you reach Galway, the ‘City of the Tribes’ also known as Ireland’s Cultural and festival capital. With its street entertainers and traditional pubs with great music, Galway and in particular, the Quays area of the city centre will enthrall you particularly in the evening time. Other sites in Galway include Ireland’s largest medieval parish church, the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra dating back to 1320. Christopher Columbus reputedly worshipped in this church in 1477. Also nearby are Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square.
Day 13- Mayo to Donegal
On route to Donegal you will travel by Ireland’s most visited pilgrimage location, the Shrine at Knock. Shortly after this, you can take a slight detour to the Coleman Irish Music Centre is a celebration of Irish Music, Culture and Heritage as expressed in the South Sligo style of music played by Michael Coleman and other musicians of his time. Southwest of Sligo Town you will find the Ancient Tombs of Carrowmore. Over 60 tombs have been located by archaeologists to date. Dating back to nearly 5,000 B.C. and centuries older than the Pyramids of Egypt, Carrowmore is Ireland’s largest megalithic cemetery and is considered to be one of the most important in Europe. Shortly after leaving Sligo on route to County Donegal you will arrive at Drumcliff Churchyard, perhaps the most visited graveyard in Ireland. William Butler Yeats is buried here under the epitaph that he penned, “Cast a Cold Eye on Life, on Death. Horsemen, pass by!”. The Churchyard stands in the shadow of the magnificent Benbulben. Continue north until you reach Belleek home to Belleek Pottery, where there is an excellent visitor centre that is open from April to October. Set up in 1857, the factory is famous worldwide for its ornate fine Parian China. Other major touring attractions in Donegal include the Railway Heritage Centre, Donegal castle and Donegal Craft Village in Donegal town.
Day 14- Donegal
Donegal boasts a vast rugged coastline softened regularly by a succession of beautiful beaches with golden sand and clear fresh waters. Inland, Donegal is wild and unspoilt with winding roads leading to never-ending spectacular vistas. Golfing and fishing are popular activities in County Donegal and there’s no shortage of facilities available. Other major attractions include Glenveagh National Park and Castle, Tory Island, Glebe House and Gallery, Colmcille Heritage Centre, Fort Dunree Military Museum and Abbey Mill Wheels. Donegal also has some interesting archaeological sites; around Ballyshannon, for example, you’ll find ruined castles, religious sites and celtic raths.
Heading west from Donegal Town, on the edge of the Atlantic is Ireland’s premier fishing port of Killybegs. Nearby are the magnificent Slieve League Cliffs which at over 1,000 ft (300 metres) the cliffs are the highest marine cliffs in Europe. Why not take some time out to explore Donegal with a trip to Glenveagh National Park . It covers almost 10,000 hectares of mountains, lakes, glens and woods. The park was opened in 1986 and boasts beautiful lakes amidst breathtaking mountain scenery
Letterkenny, County Donegal’s largest town, has a vibrant atmosphere. It’s a great place to shop for everything from high street fashions to quality handcrafted goods and designer clothes – alternately, you can relax and enjoy a coffee in one of Letterkenny’s many continental-style cafes. Seaside resorts like Bundoran provide a change of mood – if you’re looking for lively nights filled with music, song and dance, then Bundoran is the place to go..
Day 15- Donegal to Dublin for your departure flight
Time to travel south to Dublin. However, if you wish to prolong the return to big city life, a slight detour by way of Ireland’s most visited attraction, the megalithic tombs in Newgrange. One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt. Also in this historic county of Meath, you will find the seat of the ancient kings of Ireland at the Hill of Tara as well as the splendid Trim Castle, just north of Dublin. The quandary that you will be faced with when you reach Dublin is, not what you should see but that you should leave out. Knee-deep in history and with it’s own unique sense of humour and wit, Dublin is an invigorating city. Take the opportunity to visit some of Ireland’s most history laden locations. Check out Trinity College, the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, The National History Museum and not forgetting The Guinness Brewery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral & why not finish up the day in Dublin’s Temple Bar section and enjoy the wonderful pubs and music it is famous for.
<big> Tour Highlights</big>
What can you see during a 14 night Wild Atlantic tour?
Kylemore Abbey is the ideal destination for a day out in majestic Connemara at any time of year. Located about an hour’s drive from Galway City, a visit to Kylemore will rank as an unforgettable memory. The dramatic landscape and iconic image of a gothic castle reflected in a Connemara lake has made Kylemore Abbey world-famous and it is now the largest tourist attraction in the west of Ireland. The Benedictine nuns invite visitors to experience the Victorian atmosphere of the Abbey’s restored rooms, miniature gothic church, head gardener’s house and garden boy’s house. Learn of the tales of tragedy and romance, the engineering initiatives, model farms, royal visits and the Abbey’s former role as a girls boarding school. Kylemore’s many nature trails, woodland walks and the magical award-winning walled garden offer a wonderland to explore. Discover the Victorian heritage of the walled garden, where only flower and vegetable varieties from that era are grown. ) Enjoy refreshing walks and scenic views as every season has something different to offer at Kylemore. Mitchell’s café and the tea house offers home-cooked food made from recipes perfected by the Benedictine nuns and using fresh vegetables and herbs from the walled garden. The craft shop has a wide selection of design-focused Irish giftware including artisan food products, knitwear, pottery, art and handcrafts made by the Benedictine nuns at Kylemore. Choirs travel from around the world to Kylemore Abbey to sing in the Gothic church with its superb acoustics. All are welcome to attend the choral performances and admittance is included in the Kylemore entry fee.
Muckross House & Gardens
This magnificent Victorian mansion – one of Ireland’s leading stately homes – is situated amidst the spectacular scenery of Killarney National Park in County Kerry. The elegantly furnished rooms portray the lifestyles of the landed gentry, while downstairs in the basement you can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the House back in the day.
Muckross House is also home to a number of skilled craftworkers, who can be seen using skills in the crafts of weaving, pottery and bookbinding. Many exotic trees and shrubs flourish in the mild climate and sheltered location of the Muckross gardens. Attractive features include a fine collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, an outstanding rock garden on a natural rock outcrop and beautiful tree-fringed lawns.
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 also 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. Mizen Signal Station had the first Radio Beacon in Ireland, 1931; the history of Safety at Sea communications is here, Wireless Signals, Racon, GPS and DGPS. Displays about the lives of the Irish Lights Keepers who left the Mizen in 1993.
In Galway Bay lie three rocky limestone outcrops that make up the Aran Islands. They are a bastion of traditional language, culture and music, unique in their geology and archaeology and unrivalled in their potent sense of history.
Each of the three islands, Inishmore (Árainn), Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) and Inisheer (Inis Oírr) have their own distinct atmosphere and character. The dramatic landscapes and endless sea form a backdrop to a labyrinth of meandering stone walls and tiny, tightly packed fields. In between, a network of narrow winding roads and grassy lanes sweep from pristine beaches and craggy shores to the dizzying cliffs that mark the edge of Europe.
The islands have lured legions of writers, artists and visitors over the centuries, their enigmatic ancient monuments, early Christian remains, holy wells and historic lighthouses adding to their sense of timelessness and mystery. Take a pony and trap, or a guided tour from the pier up the island to the stone fort of Dun Aengus. Dún Aengus fort is located on top of a 300ft high sea cliff and is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe.
And so much more…
No trip to Ireland is complete without seeing it’s amazingly scenic coastal road. This 14 night Wild Atlantic Way tour is the best way to soak in all their is to see without being rushed from one place to the next. Soak in all you can during your dream trip to Ireland.