The Wild Atlantic Way is just that – wild. The raw and untouched landscapes paint a picture you will never forget. Rolling green hills, bustling creeks and moon-like rock formations carve along the western coast, creating adventure at every bend.
When you hear a name like the Wild Atlantic Way, certain imagery may come to mind. Thrashing waves greeting a rugged coastline, tall grass blowing in the wind, chimes ringing as they sway in the distance, horses galloping on the sand. Anyone who visits can attest to the Wild Atlantic Way’s reputation certainly preceding it.
Whether you desire to explore sparse coastline or lively cities, this region of the Emerald Isle has something ready and waiting. Perhaps you’ll discover small villages around the beautiful Connemara area. Noted as one of the most stunning scenic parts of Ireland, this is a place you won’t want to miss. With lovely valleys and charming Irish cottages, Connemara exhibits postcard-perfect Ireland with amazing views and much to explore. On a summer day, Connemara National Park can be simply majestic.
Another spot of particular beauty is Kylemore Abbey, also located in Connemara. Formerly home to Mitchell Henry and his family, the Abbey is now the residence of Benedictine Nuns, who are said to be “the fabric of today’s Kylemore,” as they have been around for many years. As one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions, the Abbey has maintained its pristine walled gardens, and beautiful gothic structures. The castle itself allows visitors a peak into 4 rooms, where every nook and cranny is decorated in the most elegant of ways. There is a Gothic Church and Mausoleum that also sit on the property, and it is said the body of Margaret Henry, wife of Kylemore founder Mitchell Henry, rests in the Mausoleum – however, out of reach to visitors.
Just south of Connemara, is a “must” for anyone who visits Ireland – Galway city. This cultural pub really does have it all, and it’s where the Irish, themselves, go to get away. With shops and pubs around every corner, there is plenty to see and do. Take a stroll down Quay Street, and it isn’t hard to see all there is to offer.
If you’re up for a drive, rather than a stroll, Sky Road is the route for you. This path features beautiful scenic landscapes. Old dirt roads lead to secret lookouts, a beach, and more sheep than you’d ever dare count. The ruins of Clifden Castle overlooking the water make for a fantastic sight and are truly the epitome of Irish beauty.
But we can’t mention Irish beauty without paying homage to the likes of the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle Peninsula. All of these iconic spots are along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way; each just as unique and spectacular as the last.
History buffs will appreciate the region’s connections to the Potato Famine. Scattered throughout the Wild Atlantic Way are ghost villages, left over from the times of this tragic disaster. Remnants of the dead’s cottages and belongings remain in places like Slievemore on Achill Island and Port in Co. Donegal. Many with Irish ancestry find these deserted villages to be of particular interest during their heritage search and discoveries. No matter your relation, all who visit the areas of Ireland affected most by the Famine can take much away from the experience.
Whether you are looking to get in touch with your family roots, wanting to try something adventurous, or simply want to admire the beautiful country of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way has everything you could want and need. No matter who you are, you will find what you want in Ireland, and there is no better way to begin your experience than along the Wild Atlantic Way.