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Wild Atlantic Way

Experience the untamed west coast of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way: an adventure you will want never to end.

Meandering 1,500 miles (2,500 km) from Cork in the South to Donegal in the North, you will be overwhelmed by choices on a self-drive tour of the Wild Atlantic Way. Our in-depth local knowledge – we won’t send you anywhere we haven’t been ourselves – will help you discover the real Ireland. We’ll advise on which of the profusion of Wild Atlantic Way squiggly signposts are really worth the detour, helping you find beautiful yet deserted beaches, recommending the best spots for great sunsets and suggesting where to leave the main roads behind and continue by bike or on foot. Bring your own car if you wish from the UK, or fly into Ireland and we’ll arrange a rental vehicle for you.

Often it is better to take your time and explore a smaller section of the Wild Atlantic Way in detail, uncovering hidden gems, or relaxing on a boat trip to an Irish island, rather than rushing along the main tourist route. Let us know what you prefer and we can pace your holiday to suit.

If the thought of driving and navigating your own way along the Wild Atlantic Way is a little daunting, why not explore car-free instead? We also have a variety of other Irish train holidays that take in part of the route: we are expert in planning rail trips, linking in local guides, experiences and authentic accommodation, so you don’t need to miss out.

Top Tips for your Wild Atlantic Way Holiday

Galway is famed for its oysters. Order them in a city pub along with a pint of Guinness for an authentic taste of the West of Ireland.

Visit Doagh Famine Village in County Donegal for thought-provoking, very quirky and often humorous insights into Irish life across the ages.

Look out for bogwood sculpture – beautiful creations combining nature’s power over thousands of years with creative artistry.

Learn about Neolithic times, fairy myths and legends at Carrowkeel and Carrowmore in County Sligo, and spot the cairn of Queen Maeve atop Knocknarea.

Treat yourself to a cup of fresh barista coffee and home-baking at mobile Caffe Banba at Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head.

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Things To See & Do

Explore the Wild Atlantic Way and its many peninsulas of the west of Ireland, pointing like fingers out into the ocean. You’ll find foaming seas, craggy coastlines, end-of-the-road viewpoints to offshore islands and quaint towns and villages, such as Schull on the Mizen Peninsula, packed with local craft shops and super cafés. The Ring of Kerry is the most famous, of course, though that also means it can be rather crowded and busy. Set off early or linger late to avoid the main tourist traffic yet still enjoy the magnificent scenery.

Don’t miss the barren, rocky landscape of the Burren in County Clare, with its limestone pavement and petrified springs. It’s like nowhere else on earth. Look closely and you’ll find signs of life everywhere, from wild flowers clinging in crevasses to cows seemingly grazing on stone.

Connemara is still a hidden delight, often referred to as Ireland’s last wilderness. In the summer it is bursting with colourful hedgerows of wild flowers. Make the most of long, light evenings by wandering along sandy beaches or rocky shores. Keep an eye out for seals and perhaps even dolphins, then cosy-up in a local pub and hum along to traditional music.

McKinlay Kidd puts time and effort into hunting out the best places to stay so you don’t have to: we seek out the friendliest, best-value small hotels, guest houses and charming restaurants that Ireland has to offer.  Many have a fascinating history of their own, having been family-run for five, six, seven or even eight generations! Or if you are looking for somewhere very special to stay, perhaps for a celebratory occasion, we can include a magnificent tower house right on the shoreline in County Clare, or an Irish castle nestling within a glorious 1,000 acre lakeside estate. Whether you are looking for a self-guided journey of discovery, or would prefer to relax and explore the acclaimed touring route in a small group guided tour, we have a variety of holiday options in this special part of Ireland that are sure to be unforgettable. Please ask us: the possibilities are endless – just like Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way!

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