15 Secrets of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Malin Head

Located in County Donegal,Malin Head is the most northerly point of the island of Ireland.

The spot was previously used in World War II as a base for  surveillance over the Atlantic. Today, the base is used by the Irish Meteorological Service.

Malin Head is a notable vantage point for observing the southward migration of seabirds such as gannets and auks.

Fanad Head

Fanad is a peninsula in County Donegal that lies between Lough Swilly and the Mulroy Bay. There are approximately 700 residents on the peninsula, 30% of which are Irish speakers.

Fanad Head has a rich geological history. The landscape has been visibly shaped by glaciers and the changing temperatures. It is thought that the name “Fanad” comes from the Irish word “Fana” which means sloping ground.

Slieve League

Three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League’s cliffs are less famous but some of the tallest cliffs on the island of Ireland.

Paths along the ridge of the mountain are said to be some of the most magnifcent walks in all of Ireland.


Mullaghmore Head

Mullaghmore Head is the top of the Mullaghmore peninsula.

Notable for its beautiful ocean views and spectacular skyline accented by Ben Bulben Mountain, Mullaghmore is a popular visitor destination.

Mullaghmore Head also attracts surfers from around the world because of its big wave reputation.

Downpatrick Head

Downpatrick Head is easily recognizable by its sea stack named Dun Briste, which means “Broken Fort.”

Some legends attribute the sea stack to St. Patrick, who is said to have split the ground with his staff to isolate a rogue chieftain.

Over 120 feet above sea level, Downpatrick Head offers a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Keem Strand

Keem Strand offers yet another stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean from the point of Westport.

Tour beautiful Achill Island, which features the best beaches in Ireland. There are five total Blue Flag beaches on the island, one of which is directly on the path of the Wild Atlantic way.

Here, you can marvel at the quaint fishing villages and the grand beauty of the Atlantic.

Killary Harbour

Killary Harbour is a fjord located in the west of Ireland in the heart of Connemara which forms a natural border between counties Galway and Mayo.

It is 16 kilometres long and in the centre over 45 metres deep. It is one of three glacial fjords that exist in Ireland, the others being Lough Swilly and Carlingford Lough.

Aquaculture is important locally with a salmon farm based at Rossroe while mussel rafts are a common sight more to the east.


Rent a bike in Connemara’s ‘capital’ Clifden, and ride out across the starkly strange blanket bog where you’ll pass a myriad of tiny lakes and peat on a single narrow road. Stay on the Bog Road, and soon you’ll pass the scattered remnants of the world’s first permanent trans-Atlantic radio station built by Marconi more than a century ago, and burned to the ground during the Irish War of Independence. At its peak it employed several hundred people, transmitting world news across the ocean.

Close-by is a white aeroplane-wing-shaped memorial to Alcock and Brown, who crash-landed – uninjured – into Derrigimlagh Bog in 1919 at the end of the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic.

Cliffs of Moher

Not so much of a secret, the Cliffs of Moher are perhaps one of the most famous and spectacular of all attractions on the West.

Travel by bike or horse and carriage along the narrow roads of Inis Oirr. When you are finished exploring the island, catch a ferry back to Doolin for some music.

On the way to Doolin, the ferry will pass beside the Cliffs of Moher during sunset offering perhpas the best view of the famous landmark.

Loop Head

This narrow peninsula at the mouth of the Shannon offers an elemental
experience: huge Atlantic swells smash into miles of sheer granite cliffs, kicking surf high into the air. Then comes the sun – catching the airborne spray and forming countless rainbows.

Out at the very end of the peninsula, the white letters E-I-R-E are cut into the grassy clifftop, a relic from WW2, to be seen from the air. You can climb the Loop Head Lighthouse for panoramic views – from Kerry to the Cliffs of Moher; there has been a lighthouse here since 1690.

Blasket Sound

Out on the very edge of Europe, as far west as you can go in Ireland, lies a deserted village with a poignant past. These are the mystical Blasket Islands – an archipelago off the Dingle Peninsula – famous in Ireland for its storytellers.

At the beginning of the 20th century, J M Synge was the first of many writers to visit in search of the undiluted traditional culture that could be found in this isolated, far-flung community, living simply and frugally off the land and sea. Their stories were transcribed, and the islanders themselves were encouraged to record their own lives. These became the first written works to be published from an oral Gaelic culture, revealing a lyrical, poetic style.

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael is the larger of two Skellig Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The Islands are off the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula, which is in County Kerry.

A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century, and was continuously occupied until its abandonment in the late 12th century.

The remains of this monastery, along with most of the island itself, were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1996.

Dursey Island

Dursey Island, one of over 100 islands off West Cork – seven of which, including this one, are inhabited. Three families live and farm on this tiny island, and you can take a 10-minute ride – above the waves, on Ireland’s only cable car – to explore it on foot.

There’s a lighthouse, castle ruins, a signal tower, standing stones, and stunning sunsets – known locally as “Europe’s last”. But do take note of the cable-car etiquette in this corner of the world: the residents – with or without their sheep – take priority
over visitors in the queue for a crossing.

Mizen Head

Mizen Head is located at the extremity of a peninsula in the district of Carbery in County Cork, Ireland. It is one of the extreme points of the island of Ireland and is a major tourist attraction, noted for its dramatic cliff scenery. One of the main transatlantic shipping routes passes close by to the south, and Mizen Head was, for many seafarers, the first (or last) sight of Europe.

The tip of the peninsula is almost an island, cut off by a deep chasm, now spanned by a bridge; this gives access to an old signalling station, a weather station, and a lighthouse. The signalling station, once permanently manned, is now a museum housing displays relating to the site’s strategic significance for transatlantic shipping and communications.

Old Head

Old Head is a headland near Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland. An early lighthouse was established here in the 17th century by Robert Reading. It is notable for being the nearest land point to the site of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915.

Today the Old Head of Kinsale is popular with golfers who come to play on its 18 Hole golf course that opened in 1997.

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