10 Days / 9 Nights
Starts at Dublin Airport / Ends at Shannon Airport
Doolin's Singing Pubs & Cliffs of Moher
Donegal to Kilkee Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Western waves and Weary Waterfalls
Travel to Donegal town to start your Journey on the North West Wild Atlantic Route. Take a stroll along the harbor and have a feed of Donegal Bay oysters, fresh from the trawlers. Head south along the coastal drive to begin your breathtaking experience. Stop off at the beautiful Mullaghmore Head which is a surfer’s haven with monster waves reaching up to 30 feet. For a more relaxing day try stopping off for a hot bath of Atlantic seawater seaweed at the local Pier Head hotel.
Having left the rushing waves of Mullaghmore, its time to experience the tranquil landscape of lovely Leitrim. In Leitrim the Glencar waterfall is well worth the visit and one can recharge the batteries with a cup of Irish Tea and a home made treat from its adjacent tourist center. The end of day one concludes in the inviting town of Sligo where you can unwind and sit-down to enjoy some of Sligo's traditional cuisine. This town is known as Yeats country. The Nobel Laureate WB Yeats (son of a Sligo-born mother, who brought her children back to grow up in her home county) is celebrated both in the town and countryside for his well-known and beautiful Poetry.
Day 2: Catch the waves or a historical walk
Upon leaving Sligo, and perhaps the sun has come out to play, make an exit towards the ocean and head for yet another surfing haven of Strandhill Beach. Beginners are welcome, with local surf schools offering a warm welcome and lessons for all abilities. On leaving Sligo town, head west along the Wild Atlantic Way, and arrive at Aughris. Aughris is part of the Dunmoran/Aughris coastal walk, which takes you to a nearby deserted village where you’ll find the remains of booley huts.These simple stone dwellings were built for herdsmen who needed to be close to their cattle during summer months. Historically, entire families used to call these places home.
Continue on the coastal drive of the North West until you reach the the seaside resort town of Enniscrone where you will spend your second overnight stay. Enniscrone offers a family-friendly supervised playground and amusement parks. Enjoy the 18 hole championship golf course, sand skiing, pitch 'n' putt, boating and surfing. There is also fishing from the shore or on local lakes. In the evening why not join in the singing lounges and dancing or watch the sunset over Killala Bay.
Day 3: Rejuvenate in Majestic Mayo
Head South towards Ballina. You will now enter into your forth and final county on this strip of the Wild Atlantic Way, Co. Mayo. Stop off in Ballina for a mid-day stroll along the River Moy and a lunch- time snack can be enjoyed in any of the local restaurants in the town. Every July the town relishes its location on the banks of the River Moy by hosting the Ballina Salmon festival.
The final stop of the day will be in the beautiful town of Westport Co. Mayo. This Irish town, has been voted the best place to live in Ireland. Once you arrive, you will not be surprised as to why it got this title. The charming coastal town buzzes with warmth and the locals’ are extremely welcoming to visitors from all over the world. There is much to see and do in and around Westport, from the culture of Westport House & Clew Bay Heritage Centre to cliff jumping into the wild Atlantic and all things in between, such as, soaking in the atmosphere of the bars & restaurants, cycling the Great Western Greenway or tracing the footsteps of our Patron Saint to the top of the Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick. It is certain that you will not run out of entertainment in Westport.
Day 4: Achill Island
From Westport, you’re ideally placed to keep on exploring the rest of the Wild Atlantic Way. Why not drive further west and visit Achill Island. With its Atlantic location, five Blue Flag beaches and breath taking mountain landscape, Achill provides the perfect arena for out-door activities and water sports of all types. Achill's romantic setting has also proved to be an inspirational creative retreat for artists and writers including Paul Henry, Heinrich Boll and Graham Greene. Water sports available on Achill Island include windsurfing surfing, kayaking and canoeing. All beginners are welcome as lessons are available from a number of local school providers. Having visited the west of the west its time to head back to Westport to relax for the last night of the trip. Put your feet up, relax and unwind with a fine pint of traditional, creamy Irish Guinness.
Day 5: Clew Bay & Killary Fjord
From Westport, the splendor of Clew Bay dominates this stretch of coast, and a cruise around Clew Bay is a graceful way to explore its scattering of islands and curious seals. Head west and the road weaves its way to the pretty town of Louisburgh, the village of Leenane and the fjord of Killary Harbour. One of only three fjords in Ireland (and the only one on the Wild Atlantic Way) Killary is nature’s playground. All sorts of adventure tours can be organized here from hiking and biking to canoeing, gorge walking, and archery.
Leave the imposing fjord in the rear-view mirror and travel on wards to Letterfrack through switchback roads and around a landscape peppered with lakes. Approaching Letterfrack, you will find the final resting place of pilot, surgeon, poet, politician, novelist and all-round wit, Oliver St John Gogarty, in the graveyard at Ballinakill. Then at last it’s on to Clifden where great food, great drink, plenty of places to stay and – even more importantly, perhaps – great music awaits.
Day 6: Derrygimlagh Bog & Beautiful Connemara
Leaving Clifden, it’s along this the stretch around Derrygimlagh bog that many transatlantic firsts were recorded. Guglielmo Marconi established the first-ever commercial transatlantic wireless station here, and pilots Alcock and Brown landed the first-ever transatlantic flight in 1919. The landscape of this part of Connemara is utterly unique. Simply take a deep breath and immerse yourself in silver lakes, purple mountains and orange fields.
Rossaveal is your gateway to the Aran Islands if you wish to spend the day there. The Aran Islands are a special place, where Irish language, culture and traditions have been preserved in a manner almost without equal. Back on the mainland, travel through small villages that are a joy to have dinner in before you arrive in Galway city for the night.
Day 7: Galway City (or Aran Islands)
Today is one of the few days on the Wild Atlantic Way when you can leave the car idle so take full advantage of this and explore Galway city this morning. In the morning you might like to walk the Promenade in Salthill and breath in the gorgeous sea air. When Irish people want to have a good time, they head for Galway. This pocket-sized medieval town is a microcosm for all that’s best in Ireland. From lively pub sessions, to choice city shopping, you’re going to want to get to know this bohemian spot.
If this isn't to your taste and you didn't take the day to explore Aran Islands yesterday, that would be a excellent way to spend the day. From Rossaveal (Ros an Mhíl) you can catch a ferry to any of the three islands for a day trip.
Day 8: The Burren & Doolin
Leaving Galway city centre, continue your journey west along Galway Bay to Balllyvaughan, with its picture-postcard thatched cottages. Botanists and naturists make this pretty village their base as they roam the Burren for the Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants that blossom across this lunar-like landscape. The Burren takes its name from the Irish for “rocky place” – but despite this, it’s home to one of the most unique eco-systems in Europe.
For those keener on history than botany, take a detour from your coastal drive to the Burren in county Clare, and visit the Neolithic Poulnabrone Dolmen. Dating back to 4200BC, it’s a chunky slice of the past. Renowned for its incredible legacy of rousing traditional music sessions, settle yourself in one of the singing pubs in Doolin that are only a stones throw away from your accommodation.
Day 9: Cliffs of Moher & Kilkee
Heading south from Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher are your next big stop. Plunging into the Atlantic, these gigantic cliffs stand watch over the wild Atlantic. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre tells the story of the cliffs, as well as introducing you to the thriving wildlife that calls them home. Continue south and before long you’ll hit one of Ireland’s surfing capitals: Lahinch. If riding Atlantic waves isn’t your idea of fun, you’re more than welcome to just watch those paddling into the surf offshore. Heading south again takes you to a poignant spot in Ireland’s maritime history: Spanish Point - where the Spanish Armada was wrecked in 1588.
You’re on the final leg of your route to County Clare’s Kilkee now. A picture-perfect seaside town, its charm has attracted some of history’s best-known figures, including actor Richard Harris, revolutionary leader Che Guevera, and Charlotte Bronte, who chose to spend her honeymoon here. Whether you’re taking a stroll along the golden sands of Horseshoe Bay, diving or dolphin watching, you’ll find the Atlantic at your side at every turn.
Day 10: Return Home (or next stage)
This is the last day of this stage. Go to the airport after breakfast or continue on to the next stage.