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Wild Atlantic Way, Clare and Connemara

Enjoy a self-drive adventure touring Clare and Connemara on Ireland’s lengthy Wild Atlantic Way, including boat trips and a guided tour of the Burren.

The Wild Atlantic Way has captured the imagination of travellers from across the globe, eager to find out for themselves what makes Ireland’s western coast so special. This carefully designed self-drive tailormade holiday brings two of Ireland’s most scenic regions, County Clare and Connemara in County Galway, into focus, with excursions to outlying islands and a guided walk on the enigmatic landscape of the Burren. This week-long Irish holiday also features two of our favourite special places in which to stay and relax after a full day’s exploring.

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Day one – across Ireland to Connemara

Take your time on the drive across the island of Ireland, stopping along the way to experience the endless hospitality and wealth of attractions all across the country. As you approach the west coast and the Wild Atlantic Way, prepare to draw breath as the quite sublime beauty of Connemara comes in to view, with the Atlantic Ocean endless and shimmering in the distance. It’s hard to disagree with the maxim that posits when you visit Connemara you ‘experience the real beauty of Ireland’.

Your accommodation in Connemara

Set within 14 acres of gardens and grounds, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this family-owned guest house is a rare jewel where guests’ comfort is the top priority. Just 10 minutes’ drive from Clifden, yet secluded in a world of its own, the inviting bedrooms are elegantly furnished with carved wooden beds and stylish soft furnishings. The traditional Irish breakfast and expansive seaviews set you up for a day in the bracing air, exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.

Day two – across the sea to Inishbofin

Take just a short drive to the ferry port at Cleggan for the eight-mile crossing to the island of Inishbofin. This tiny island, seemingly drifting on the sparkling Atlantic, boasts some of the best beaches in Europe, littered with shells and lapped by crystal-clear waters. Three superb walking loops are defined around the island, while there is a number of excellent dining options for lunch. The views of the Connemara coast on the return trip are not to be missed, and you might be lucky to see an unforgettable west of Ireland sunset.

Day three – Connemara touring at leisure

Enjoy a day exploring the wild peninsula of Connemara, by car, on foot or even by hiring an electric bike. You’ll discover open sandy beaches, single track roads across the bog, plus the town comforts of galleries, pubs and restaurants in nearby Clifden. If social history is your thing, spend a couple of hour’s at Derrygimlagh, the evocative spot where Alcock and Brown safely crash-landed their plane in July 1919 on completion of the first non-stop Transatlantic flight. News spread fast about their pioneering feat, since this same place happened to host Marconi’s experimental communication station. Nowadays, boardwalks and interpretation boards help your imagination to recreate the scenes of a century ago.

We’ll provide plenty of recommendations to help you make the most of your Connemara holiday time.

Day four – along the Wild Atlantic Way to County Clare

You’re in for a terrific day on the road today, along some of Ireland’s most spectacular coastline, as the Wild Atlantic Way winds its way south-east through Co Galway and south-west in to Co Clare. With endless bays, coves, cliffs and beaches to tempt you, you’ll want to make the most of this route, taking your time to discover its people and places, and delve into this superb landscape.

Your hotel in County Clare

Perched on a clifftop by the pretty tourist village of Lahinch (or is it Lehinch? Even the locals can’t decide) your hotel in Co Clare is one of our long-standing favourites and a place to which we never tire of returning. Saved from ruin by a dedicated local family, the proprietors have worked tirelessly to create perhaps the perfect place to stay, situated right beside the pebbly shoreline. The relaxed atmosphere of the guest lounges perfectly complements elegant and inviting rooms, and a quite superb menu and wine list in to the bargain.

Day five – take a boat to the alluring Aran Islands

After a superb Irish breakfast, take a 20-minute drive to the picturesque village of Doolin, stepping-off point for the ferry to Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran islands. World famous for its importance to Christian and Celtic culture, mythology and tradition, Inis Mór is home to around 50 monuments of historical interest, with many more sites of archaeological significance. With cliffs rising 100 metres from the ocean, hosting ruined forts and churches, some of Europe’s most picturesque ruins exist here on this island. Beautiful beaches, more towering cliffs and charming villages dot the island, ideally experienced on foot or on a rented bicycle, available close to the ferry port. Another quite breath-taking journey awaits upon your return to the mainland, as the setting sun illuminates Co Clare’s Cliffs of Mohr – yet another unforgettable sight in this most beautiful country.

Day six – the enigmatic landscape of the Burren

This morning, drive 30 minutes north to Ballyvaughan on the south shores of Galway Bay and meet with our specially chosen guide for a fascinating day on the Burren. This vast limestone pavement is one of the most mysterious landscapes in Europe, home to a host of unique wild flowers and rare fauna. Your guide is a man of the land here, born and brought up in the midst of this fascinating location – there is simply no-one better to guide you through the science, myths and legends that exist and thrive here. Full of stories and the craic, you’ll come away enriched and entertained having had a fabulous day on the Burren.

Day seven – onward journey home

Enjoy one last sumptuous Irish breakfast, before taking to the road for your return journey across the island of Ireland to catch your ferry home.


Enjoy three nights in Clifden followed by three nights in Lahinch.


£895 per person for departures in April & October, £925 per person in May and £955 from June to September.

Price is based on two adults sharing a double or twin en-suite room for six nights on a bed and breakfast basis in our hand-picked selection of small hotels and guest houses, and return ferry crossings to Inishboffin and the Aran Islands. A guided walk on the Burren as part of a small group is also included.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

On a nostalgia trip to the west of Ireland

On a nostalgia trip to the west of Ireland

As a child I spent a very memorable holiday in Connemara, in the west of Ireland. Although we had explored many parts of Ireland and Scotland before, ...

Check availability for Wild Atlantic Way, Clare and Connemara

This holiday can be arranged from March to October.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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