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14 Day Donegal to Kenmare | Wild Atlantic Way

Program Includes

Accommodation

  • Clarion Hotel Sligo (1 night)
  • Diamond Coast Hotel Enniscrone (1 night)
  • Clew Bay Hotel Westport (2 nights)
  • Abbeyglen Castle Hotel Connemara (1 night)
  • Park House Hotel Galway (2 nights)
  • Hotel Doolin (1 night)
  • B&B Kilkee (1 night)
  • Dingle Benners Hotel (2 nights)
  • B&B Kenmare (2 nights)

Breakfast each morning except day of arrival

Transport

Hertz manual compact car with unlimited mileage, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), theft protection (TP), value added tax (VAT), third party liability and location service charge (LSC)

Other Inclusions

  • Travel wallet, luggage tags and driving map.
  • Expert travel assistance throughout.

Optional Extras

  • Visitor Attractions
  • Room Upgrades
  • Car Upgrade
  • Chauffeur Driver
  • City Tours

Price is per person based on double occupancy during low season and is subject to availability at the time of booking.

14 Days / 13 Nights
Starts at Dublin Airport / Ends at Shannon Airport

Highlights

Achill Island

Aran Islands

Galway City

Doolin's Singing Pubs & Cliffs of Moher 

Picturesque Kenmare

Scenic Dingle Peninsula

 

Donegal to Kenmare 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: Ferry, Foynes & Fenit

From your accommodation, make your way all the way out to Loop Head. Stand in the shadow of its famous lighthouse as you gaze out at the angry Atlantic lashing against the cliffs below. On the way back to Kilrush and Killimer where you will take the ferry, stop off at Kilkee Cliffs and the Bridges of Ross (this is a little out of the way but will not disappoint). The ferry will take you across the Shannon Estuary into County Kerry where you will continue your coastal journey - but not before taking a detour to Foynes for a lesson in the history of aviation and an Irish coffee in the place it was invented.

From Foynes, head due west to Fenit. Along the way, you can enjoy the golden beaches and stunning cliff walks at Ballybunion. In Fenit, explore the story of one of the most famous Kerrymen: Saint Brendan the Navigator whose story encompasses encounters with sea monsters and devils. It has been a long day at this point so make your way to Dingle and settle in to your accommodation for the evening.

Day 11: Dingle, Dunquin & the Conor Pass

Blessed with an arty bohemian vibe (local weavers, cheesemakers, potters and jewellers call the town home), Dingle at the same time maintains a traditional heart that never seems to erode - unparalleled traditional pubs and friendly locals speaking beautiful Irish are two of Dingle’s claims to fame. Stay on the peninsula today or take a boat from Dunquin out to the Great Blasket - the biggest of the deserted Blasket Islands - and explore immaculate, sandy beaches.

Back on the mainland, creep along the north of the peninsula, before winding through the stunning Conor Pass road. The views along the Conor Pass are arguably without equal in Kerry, but some narrow passages will require strict concentration. Return to Dingle after a stop at The South Pole Inn, home of the Antarctic explorer, Tom Crean.

Day 12: Inch Beach, Killarney & Kenmare

Leave Dingle today and journey along the south coast of the peninsula to Inch Beach - three miles of beautiful white sandy beach that is perfect for a mid morning stroll. Stop off in Killarney for a couple of hours. The incredibly beautiful surrounding countryside makes Killarney a very special place. Explore Killarney National Park, the focal point of which is Muckross House and Gardens. The house is presented as a late 19th century mansion featuring all the necessary furnishings and artifacts of the period. For the active, walking and cycling are the best ways to see the National Park. There is a network of surfaced tracks in the Muckross, Knockreer and Ross Island areas of the park which are ideal for both cyclists and walkers.

After some time in Killarney, make your way to Kenmare where you will stay tonight. Kenmare's vibrant streets are lined with colorful knitwear shops, delis, cafés, pubs, and a gourmet fish and chip shop and is essentially a more cosy Killarney. Framed by beautiful estate hotels, and with a lively atmosphere throughout the year, Kenmare is a great place to linger for a few days.

Day 13: Ring of Kerry

Follow the twisting, turning Ring of Kerry through Sneem with its two picture-postcard little village squares. Your next stop is Derrynane and the ancestral home of lawyer, statesman and “The Emancipator” Daniel O’Connell, Derrynane House. Derrynane’s effortless beauty will lull you into wanting to stay around, maybe even forever. Continue along the peninsula towards Ballinskelligs Bay and the village of Waterville, where you’ll come across a bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin. The cinema legend enjoyed countless summers here with his family.

The next port of call is the Skellig Islands. The story of the monks who made Skellig Michael their home is engagingly told at the Skellig Experience on Valentia Island (connected via a bridge to the mainland) where exhibitions unravel the mystery of the monastery as well as introducing some of the island’s winged residents. You can take a boat to the Skelligs from Portmagee, but it’s always weather dependent due to the rocky nature of where you dock on the island. Return to Kenmare for the night.

Day 14: 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.

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