We recently took off on an adventure on the Wild Atlantic Way and what struck us was the amount of beautiful places you can visit along the way that won’t cost you a thing! We live in a beautiful country and spotted along the Wild Atlantic Way are breath taking places waiting to be discovered. Although it’s great fun to hop on a plane and explore exotic places half way across the world… more often than not we forget to explore what’s right in front of us.. so that’s exactly what we did! We picked up a car from Car Rental Ireland and headed on our road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way. Having your own car doing the Wild Atlantic Way is the best way to explore it. It allows you to stop whenever you want and spend as long as you want in a location. Trust us, during the drive you will come across an array of hidden gems and it’s the places you stumble upon along the way that you will remember the most. Car Rental Ireland has 9 pick up locations in Ireland so whether you are flying in from abroad to go on the road trip or you are from Ireland and want to explore whats on your doorstep… there really is no excuse. Although the route starts in Kinsale, you don’t have to start there. You can do as much or as little of the road trip as you like and join it anywhere along the way.
Recently, we shared a blog post 40 Things To Do along the Wild Atlantic Way but while writing this post, I realised many of the beautiful spots that stood out from the trip were completely free so below are some of the places that stood out to us along the way.
Visit Father Ted’s House
Everybody loves a bit of Father Ted. This famous house became the location for the very popular ‘Fr. Ted’ television series. Located near to Lahinch, Co. Clare, we would highly recommend a little detour to catch a glimpse of the famous Father Ted’s house! Now this is a house that is very off the beaten track and was a difficult find but we can honestly say that it is worth getting a tad lost for! As we drove down the winding, grass filled country road, our eyes were peeled waiting to see the famous house! We have to smile when we think of all the fun times and laughs ‘Father Ted’ has given us!
Galway & Salthill
Galway is a city that won our heart. A vibrant city bursting to the brim with culture, arts, music and fun! Be sure to schedule in some time to wander through the pretty streets and the Latin Quarter. We would also highly recommend a visit to Salthill, a seaside resort on the northern shore of Galway Bay. The promenade is the perfect spot to enjoy the views of the nearby harbour city of Galway and the Aran Islands.
There are so many beaches spotted along the Wild Atlantic Way but a few of them stuck out to us. Inch Beach in Kerry was one of them. Inch beach is a Blue Flag long sand spit beach backed by dune system reaching into Dingle Bay, popular with surfers, anglers and swimmers. Be sure to pack your swim suit and don’t be afraid to park up and go for a refreshing dip in the sea. You will feel amazing afterwards. Inch beach is an excellent surfing spot with its perfect waves, also great for walks with a long open stretch of powdered sand, and you can even drive your car onto the beach which is a great novelty!
Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is a great place to stop with the kids. Perfect for young explorers who are begging to get out of the car! Glenveagh National Park lies northwest of Co. Donegal and is one of six national parks in Ireland. It’s beauty lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. Entry to the park is free, charges only apply to services. Glenveagh allows you to explore nature and the beautiful wilderness by bike or foot.
Bundoran, Co Donegal
Through the surf board in the car or even a boogie board for our next destination! Bundoran in Co. Donegal is known as the surf capital of Ireland and has lots of amazing surf, beaches and surf schools. Travel along the coast for some big waves, clean waters and great surfing.
The Beacon, Baltimore
Baltimore is a beautiful spot along the Wild Atlantic way. Located in the heart of West Cork lies The Beacon in Baltimore. Located at the entrance to Baltimore harbour, the iconic Beacon is a sight that has warmed the hearts of many sailors and fishermen returning to shore! You can admire the spectacular views of Sherkin Island, Cape Clear and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean!
Portmagee is a beautiful seaside town located on the Iveragh Penninsula south of Valentia Island. Although you can access the island by ferry if you wish to – you can also access Valentia via a bridge from Portmagee – (which is great fun to drive over!). Successfully capturing everything that is beautiful about rural Ireland in one village – it is a definite hidden gem you must visit! Beautiful cafes, a book store brimming with novels, fantastic 99s in the summer, a port with several pretty sailing boats, gorgeous walks… it really has it all!
A swim was an absolute must during your trip! Nestled in a fold of hills, 5km south west of Skibereen in West Cork, Lough Hyne is Europe’s first marine reserve, a saltwater lake connected to the sea by rapids! The perfect swimming spot!
Cycle the Greenway in Mayo
Why not hop on your bike and enjoy the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in the country. The Great Western Greenway should be on your bucket list during your road trip. – The Great Western Greenway. The Greenway traverses Ireland’s Atlantic coast between Westport town and Achill Island. The 42km Great Western Greenway is the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland. The World Class Great Western Greenway is a traffic free cycling and walking trail which follows the route of the renowned Westport to Achill railway which closed in 1937.
Malin Head is one of the most spectacular locations on the West Coast of Ireland. It is a must on your Wild Atlantic Way road trip. When you get there, you will have reached the most northerly point in Ireland. Malin Head this located on the Peninsula on the Northern part of Ireland called Donegal and is one of the most beautiful destinations in Ireland.
Stop off at Ballinskelligs Beach. Although most beaches in Ireland are beautiful, there are some beaches that just capture your heart as soon as your toes touch the sand. Ballinskelligs beach is definitely one of them! There are also numerous rock pools to keep the children entertained while they look for sea creatures, along with McCarthy’s castle which stands proudly on the west end of the beach!
The Kilkee Cliff Walk
The Kilkee Cliff Walk is a scenic walk along the beach and cliffs. The walk begins at the Pollock Holes car park at the west end of the town and follows a cliff path along the coastline, passing the truly stunning coastline. The scenic walk talks about 2 to 3 hour and is approx 8km in length along the Kilkee Cliffs. It is defiantly a beautiful walk to do during your Wild Atlantic Way road trip.