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Explore Ireland's beautiful Wild Atlantic Way, from Cork to Kerry.
The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s first long-distance driving route. The whole journey runs from Kinsale in County Cork, all the way up the west coast to the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, showcasing the drama and scenery of the west coast.
Our Wild Atlantic Way – Discover Cork & Kerry self-drive tour takes a leisurely approach to the first section of the route, exploring the south-west of Ireland with its many peninsulas “pointing” to the open Atlantic, creating sheltered bays, small islands to explore, sandy beaches and small coastal villages, with great food and lots of live music. A great touring area – from the famous Ring of Kerry and Dingle peninsula, to many, often overlooked, alternatives – such as Mizen Head and Ring of Beara. This holiday features hand-picked accommodation in delightful guest houses and coastal hotels. Wherever you travel, you will encounter moments of magic, moments to treasure and experiences that you will want to return to, again and again.
Your first destination in this tailor-made Wild Atlantic Way touring holiday is the colourful village of Kinsale, within 30 minutes’ of Cork City. Now firmly established as one of Ireland’s premier destinations for foodies, you’ll find a host of restaurants covering all styles and preferences. With its coastal setting, mouth-wateringly fresh seafood is particularly worth sampling.
Things to see & do in Kinsale
Time to explore the cobbled streets and quirky shops of this historic and very colourful village, or take a trip along the coast, where you’ll find plenty of beaches and welcoming villages. Perhaps head into the nearby city of Cork and visit the world-famous English Market.
Your accommodation in Kinsale
In a splendid harbourside location at the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way, your accommodation in Kinsale is a quietly stylish hotel, blending contemporary flair with an old-world nautical charm.
Subject to recent extensive refurb, there’s a bright and cheerful feel throughout, with whitewashed timbers setting off the splashes of colourful fabric, with exposed masonry adding a touch of brawn here and there.
One of the most delightful aspects here is that every room treats guests to a harbour view, the decor and layout of each designed to take full advantage of the floor-to-ceiling glass. Perched in the oversized bed with a morning brew, looking out across the River Bandon towards watchful James Fort is a perfect way to start the day.
Breakfast is unhurried, and served in the first-floor restaurant overlooking the harbour, while in the evening the in-house tavern – planned by an acclaimed local yacht designer – brings a new twist to the traditional Irish pub, a cocktail on the terrace the perfect precursor to dinner in the well-regarded in-house restaurant.
Now continue into West Cork, where your base is the village of Baltimore, with its bustling natural harbour a haven for yachts and ferries to local islands. You’ll find a range of excellent restaurants and friendly bars.
Your accommodation in West Cork
Just on the outskirts of Baltimore, this traditional inn features a bar area crammed with memorabilia of years gone by leading into a bright and airy restaurant. Eat sumptuously-fresh seafood as you gaze out to the boats bobbing on the water, or chat over a Murphy’s with the locals. Rooms are extremely spacious and neatly decorated with splashes of cheery colours. A feeling of being beside the seaside pervades the place and the welcome is every bit as friendly as you’d expect.
Time to explore on your own, maybe heading further west to the village of Schull with its colourful craft shops. Take a drive to Mizen Head, visit the imposing Bantry House and estate, or enjoy one of the numerous coastal walks in the Baltimore area, including a visit to the dramatic white beacon that stands sentry over the lough entrance.
Your journey now takes you further west with options to explore one or more of the fingers of land at the south of Ireland – including the Bere peninsula – before reaching the famous Ring of Kerry and your next base in the colourful town of Kenmare.
Your Hotel in Kenmare
In the vivacious little Kerry town of Kenmare, this hotel simply oozes relaxed comfort and easygoing Irish charm, with a distinct twist of fun thrown in for good measure.
Family owned and run for many years, there are just 22 rooms here, each of which is a stylish haven from the town’s natural fizz, with bespoke fittings skilfully set alongside handcrafted creations commissioned from local artisans.
One of our favourite things here is the dining; take as long as you wish over a traditional Irish breakfast as it’s served till 11am, the homemade bread, pastries and preserves serving as tempting accompaniments. Perhaps enjoy a light tapas-style lunch in the bar, or a more substantial evening meal in the restaurant – an allowance for dinner on your first night is included. Should you wish to dine out, Kenmare’s streets are awash with choices mere moments from the front door.
By night, the bar comes alive, attracting locals and visitors with traditional music helping create a uniquely Irish atmosphere.
Many will take this chance to drive the famous Ring of Kerry, the 120 mile circular drive and one of the country’s most popular tourist trails. Although busy, there are plenty of options to avoid most of the crowds and still enjoy the open views of the mountains, coast and islands of the area. Weather-permitting, the boat trip to view the dramatic island monastery at Skellig Michael is highly recommended and there are also plenty of walking trails around.
Today you will make your way to your final stop on your Wild Atlantic Way adventure.
Your accommodation in Dingle
This family owned guest house sits in a prominent location near the centre of town. Spacious rooms, a patio with sea views and beautifully presented garden combine to make a wonderful place to stay. You are a stone’s throw from all of Dingle’s many attractions, and the family and staff are only too happy to give any information you might need, to help you get the most from your visit to this colourful and fascinating corner of Ireland.
Peace and tranquillity are synonymous with the Dingle Peninsula. Life moves at an unhurried pace in this Gaeltacht area (with Irish spoken widely), but the local people are quick to offer you the opportunity to share their unique culture and heritage. The Dingle Peninsula or Corca Dhuibhne stretches 30 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and is dominated by the range of mountains that form its spine, running from the Slieve Mish range to Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest peak. The coastline consists of steep sea-cliffs, broken by sandy beaches, with two large sand spits at Inch in the south and the Maharees to the north. There are colourful villages, ancient historic sites, great beaches and crafts a plenty to enjoy.
Your return journey could be from Shannon airport, or cross country to Dublin or the ferry ports of the east coast. This tour of the southern section of the Wild Atlantic Way works equally well in reverse.
Kinsale and Baltimore in County Cork, Kenmare and Dingle in Kerry.
£760 per person for March, £815 per person for April & October and £885 per person for May to September.
Prices for seven nights on a bed & breakfast basis, with dinner allowance included for one night in Kenmare, in a double or twin room ensuite.
We would be delighted to book your travel to Ireland for this holiday.
The most convenient ferry routes are the Pembroke or Fishguard to Rosslare day time services.
There are direct flight connections to Cork from many UK airports including London airports, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Luton, Southampton and Edinburgh, and we can help with car hire if preferred.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions and recommended routes from your specified starting point, 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.
You are requesting availability for
This holiday can be arranged from March to October.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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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.
While it’s true that the hotbed of Irish traditional music arguably lies further North in Co Clare, with its myriad week-long festivals and whole vi...
It was excellent because you took us to small hotels with really lovely staff...places we might never find ourselves and we enjoyed them all.Val & Michael, Amersham, England
We really enjoyed our visit...rugged coastline, lush valleys, barren hills and of course the wonderful Irish hospitality.Bernard & Mary, Suffolk
Great accommodation, clear instructions and good recommendations about what to see and do.Jane & Mark, Northampton, England
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