The Wild Atlantic Way has a multitude of possibilities for sightseeing and excursions and some of them cost nothing at all! We’ve picked out some of the best here.
Donegal: Rock and Roam
Donegal is without doubt one of Ireland’s most beautiful counties, with often contrasting landscape of green and stark rock. One great way to experience Donegal and indeed some of this amazing scenery is with a ‘Rock & Roam’ tour. Here you can experience the crisp clean air and dramatic landscape of the Donegal Gaeltacht (a Gaeltacht is an area where the Irish language is spoken primarily) and get a guided tour from a native Irish speaker and get a chance to try rock climbing. Part of the tour takes in walk in Poisoned Glen, Dunlewy, where there are two resident Golden Eagles.
Sligo: Follow the Spanish Armada Trail
If fresh air and brisk walks are your thing, then why not try the Spanish Armada Trail in Sligo, named after the ill-fated attempt to invade England which ended up with over 25 Spanish ships ending up wrecked off Ireland’s coast. There are some fascinating stories from this time which can be relayed during the tour which is €20 for adults and €10 for children
Galway: Cycle a bike around the Aran Islands
Located just off the Galway coast, the Aran Islands are a must-visit if you’re on the Wild Atlantic Way. Composed of three islands: Inishmore (Inis Mor), Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) and Inisheer (Inis Oírr) and the 1,200 or so inhabitants speak Irish primarily. A great way to see the Islands is by bike and Aran Bike Hire is located on Inishmore and they have a wide variety of bikes available and can also cater for groups.
Galway: Pony trekking in Connemara
Connemara has some spectacular beaches and coastline and a great way to explore them is on horseback. There are a handful of operators who can provide pony trekking for a variety of abilities and this is an amazing way to experience what is some simply incredible scenery.
Clare: Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular and enchanting sites (and sights!) and certainly one you need to dress properly for (because it can be very wet and windy here) but when you get here it’s very well laid-out, it’s easy to navigate, the views are nothing short of spectacular and there is a great visitor centre which has lots of interactive displays. As you might expect it’s busiest during the summer months, although this is no guarantee of sunshine. The cliffs themselves stand 214m (702 feet) at their highest point and they stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic Coast. From here on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. A tour of the Cliffs for groups costs around €45. Alternatively you can take a trip at the bottom of the cliffs by boat. These one hour cruises generally cost around €15 per person, although there are special rates available for groups.
Sligo: Surfing in Strandhill
Sligo is often regarded as the surfing capital of Ireland and in Sligo, Strandhill is where all of the major surfing activity takes place. Strandhill Surf School is a great place to learn to surf or to improve existing surfing skills. There are a variety of options here in terms of lessons and they are also happy to cater for groups of varying sizes.
Kerry: Experience breathtaking views along the Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a 179 km long circular tourist route in County Kerry. Beginning and ending in Killarney, the Ring of Kerry traces the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. The route is peppered with beautiful mountains, villages and beauty spots such as Killarney, Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville and Killorglin. The ‘Ring’ itself can be done in a day but it’s better if you can stretch it over a few days to really take in the beauty of the place.
Donegal: Walk to Ireland’s most northerly point in Malin Head
Malin Head is Ireland’s most northerly point, situated on the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal and it is renowned for its rugged coastal landscape. This is a great place for walks, fishing and exploration of wildlife. Here you will find some of the largest sand dunes in Europe. There’s a plethora of quaint villages along the route too.
Cork: Catch a magical kayak trip
You might not have considered kayaking as a way to see some of Ireland’s beauty spots but that is exactly what’s on offer from Atlantic Sea Kayaking. You can enjoy a half day or full day ‘Kayaking Marine Safari’, exploring the beautiful coastline around West Cork, Cork City and Harbour.
Clare: See the Ailwee Caves
You will find the Ailwee Caves in County Clare and they are a cave system that contains a kilometre of passages leading into a mountain and features an underground river and a waterfall, but the most spectacular sights are the stalactites and stalagmites and these are formations caused by deposits (such as limestone). You can enjoy a 35 minute stroll through the caves and there is also a Birds of Prey Centre here too.
20 July 2017
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