The Wild Atlantic Way
There’s no better way to explore Ireland than by car. Hit the Wild Atlantic Way, which at 1,500 miles long from start to finish is world’s longest sign-posted coastal drive. You could try to do the entire drive on one trip, but many prefer to return time and time again to savor the sights in more bite-size travel chunks. In addition to some of Ireland’s most visited spots such as the Cliffs of Moher and Galway, you’ll also want to make time to stop off in towns along the way with the onomatopoetic names of Knock, Gong, and Dingle.
Find out all the places you need to see in 2018.
Slieve League Cliffs
The spectacular Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are justifiably among the most visited attractions in Ireland, with well over a million visitors each year. But, for fewer tourists and more elbow room, stop in County Donegal, along the upper reaches of Wild Atlantic Way to visit Slieve League Cliffs. They are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe and are about three times higher than the more famous Cliffs of Moher. Stop at the Slieve League Cultural Center before you go up to the Cliffs. Here you can have a snack, learn about the area and book guided hikes if you don’t want to go it alone. Your breath is sure to be taken away as you hike (or stroll) along the 1,998-foot drop into the swirling Atlantic below. Among the remarkable things you will encounter are the remains of an early Christian monastic site with a chapel and stone beehive huts.
The Aran Islands
These islands look like three chunks of the Cliffs of Moher broke off and drifted out to sea—and they probably did. Located just off Galway and Doolin, about midpoint on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Aran Islands and are reachable via ferries or a very quick five-minute flight. The smallest is Inis Oirr, medium is Inis Meain, and the largest is Inis Mor Island. If you’re in the area, a stop at Dún Aonghasa, an ancient fortress dating back to 1500 BC, on Inis Mor is an absolute must. On these magical isles, you can stay in truly authentic Irish places—hotels, hostels, beds and breakfasts, or spend the night glamping; dine on very tasty locally grown produce, and shop for legendary Aran Island sweaters. No matter which island you’re on, you’ll get jaw-dropping views at every turn. Here are more glamping trips to pique your interest.