Spectacular scenery, wild dolphin watching, toe-tapping trad and so much more. Take a tour of the Wild Atlantic Way in 59 seconds and find out what adventures you can have on your next break.
Hit the road
Fancy a road trip? You’re in for a treat with the Wild Atlantic Way. Making your way from one landmark to another is an event in itself, especially when you take sky-high routes like the Conor Pass. Look out for safe places to stop along the way and soak in panoramic views.
Packed with colourful buildings and colourful characters, Dingle is a lot of fun. Nestled within rugged County Kerry scenery, the town’s most famous former resident Fungie the dolphin lives on in a waterfront statue. Don’t miss the Dingle nightlife, including Foxy John’s, which is a pub, a hardware shop and a bike hire all in one. Multitasking at its finest!
The Star Wars star
Kerry’s Skellig Islands have an impressive global reputation. Home to an ancient Christian monastery that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these islands featured in two Star Wars films. Get up close and personal with the islands on summer boat tours. And if you have a sweet tooth, keep an eye out for local brand Skelligs Chocolate.
Wave hello to the dolphins
Want to meet some of Ireland’s friendliest creatures? Hop on a boat to meet the wonderful bottlenose dolphins who live in the Wild Atlantic Way. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale! Set sail from Clare, Kerry, Cork and many other piers along the coast.
Living on the edge
The Cliffs of Moher rise dramatically from the Atlantic Ocean. Walk the paved paths along the County Clare cliffs and take in awe-inspiring views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and more. Nature lovers will love the viewing platforms that overlook the puffin colonies of Goat Island.
On the rocks
Carved by huge glaciers during the last ice age, the Burren looks like it belongs on another planet. This rocky terrain is surprisingly fertile, with unique flora seemingly springing out of nothing. Lace up your walking boots and explore at your leisure – there are trails to suit every fitness level.
Everyone loves Galway. This city is casual and cool, yet friendly and inviting. With talented buskers performing on every corner, walking the medieval streets is a delight. For more music, duck indoors for some trad in a local pub like Tigh Neachtain. And while you’re in town, tempt your tastebuds with a mouthwatering meal in Michelin-starred Anair.
All wrapped up
The Aran jumper is an icon of Irish fashion. It hails from Connemara, in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way. Admired the world over, the knitwear was arguably the star of critic’s favourite The Banshees of Inisherin. Pick up a traditional knit on your trip or opt for a contemporary take on the classic.
Saint Patrick’s stack
Downpatrick Head in Mayo has some of the most picture-perfect views in the country. The awe-inspiring Dún Briste sea stack stands strong among the crashing Atlantic waves. Long associated with Saint Patrick, legend has it that he caused the stack to break away from the mainland when he struck his staff into the ground.
Catch sight of a castle
At the foot of Benbulben Mountain, Classiebawn Castle is a landmark on Sligo’s Mullaghmore Peninsula. Originally built for the 3rd Viscount Palmerston, it’s widely known as the former summer house of Lord and Lady Mountbatten. Although it’s not open to the public, this 19th century castle is easy to spot on walks, cycles or drives in the nearby area.
Seaweed baths and stunning views
Sligo’s Strandhill is a surfers’ paradise, with one of the best beach breaks in the country. But there’s a lot to enjoy beyond the waves. Visit the quirky Strandhill People’s Market, held in an airport hangar every Sunday. Enjoy brunch and a browse in the hip Shells café. Or walk on the beautiful beach and indulge in a restorative seaweed bath afterwards.
Along with the dynamite Strandhill Beach, there are plenty of other perfect surfing beaches along the Wild Atlantic Way. Head to Lahinch in Clare, Donegal’s Bundoran and Ballybunion in Kerry for some amazing beach breaks. If you’re new to surfing, simply head to a local surf school and you’ll be riding the waves before you know it.
Lighting the way
Voted one of the world’s most beautiful lighthouses, Fanad Lighthouse in Donegal is an icon at the mouth of Lough Swilly. A working lighthouse since 1817, you can take a tour of the structure or stay overnight in one of the former lighthouse keeper’s homes. If wedding bells are in the air, you can even tie the knot on site!
A chip off the old block
Nothing beats tearing open a bag of salty, tangy fish and chips after a long day exploring the Wild Atlantic Way. With some of the best seafood in the country, this is a great place to indulge. Head to McDonagh’s if you’re in Galway City and pop into The Fish Basket in West Cork. Or simply ask a local for their favourite chipper – you can’t go wrong.
Visit aerlingus.com to book your Wild Atlantic Way adventure today