Kick-back, relax and just soak up what lies before you. Leenaun is hands-down one of my favourite little (and I mean ‘little’) villages in Ireland. Thanks. // Diamond Hill to Kylemore Abbey – 7-minute drive (Allow yourself 1.5 to 3 hours to climb Diamond Hill. Keep driving until you come to the little parking area that’ll be on your left as you drive up an incline. But packed in the best possible way. Love attractions that are a little bit quirky? Walk at your leisure and soak up the sights, smells and sounds. The magnificent stone-walled fields, which extend over thousands of acres, are a whopping 6,000 years old. I took this route very recently (see the video below for some clips towards the end) and it’s just special. Stretch the legs. Flying in to Dublin (think it’s the cheapest) and wanting to visit the Southwest side of Ireland. // Louisburgh to Westport – 26-minute drive (arrive around 15:25) //. The view from the top is one of those scenes that paints itself upon your mind forever. You can park your car at the highest point of the road and step out and soak of the glorious scene that lays in front of you. This is one of those places that makes you really aware of how powerful mother nature is. We’re heading straight for the café in Kylemore Abbey in Connemara for coffee and cake (if you’re feeling peckish). If the weather is good, grab a seat outside and watch the world pass you by. Originally opened in 1969, the Dursey Island cable car remains, to this day, the most used means of transport across the choppy waters of the Dursey Sound. But wild in the best possible sense – it’s exactly as nature intended. // Valentia Island to Rossbeigh Beach (aim for the car park) – 50-minute drive (leave Valentia at 10:20, arrive at the beach for 11:10) //. Expect to see the Twelve Bens mountain range, Tully Mountain and Mweelrea to the North. You’ll be treated to panoramic views of Sligo from the top. You’ll see a statue of him in the center of the village in his memory. It’s hard not to admire the sheep and cyclists battling their way up the steep hillsides as your car (mine did anyway) struggles against the incline. Conor Pass runs from Dingle out towards Brandon Bay and Castlegregory, and is one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland, standing a whopping 410 m above the sea level. And just be curious and inquisitive. You can access the grounds of the castle for free or you can take a guided tour for €3 euro per person. M2208: The Wild Atlantic Way marker at Ballyvaughan Pier. Hop back into the car and head in the direction of the Doolin Cave. The place he referenced was none other than Glencar Waterfall, stop #6 for today. If you’d like some more guidance on what to do here, hop into our guide to the Slea Head Drive stops. We’re going to grab a spot of lunch in Gilroy’s Bar in Enniscrone. Experience Ireland by foot or bike, following a range of wonderful trails along the west of Ireland. Then over to Dublin for one night, fly out next morning. The Caramelised Brown Bread and the Dingle Sea Salt are both ammmmmmmmmmmazing! 6,000… mad stuff! Follow the direction of the road behind the castle, taking the path uphill just outside the garden gates. The Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland's spectacular coastal route The Wild Atlantic Way, 1600 miles (2600 km) in length, is one of the longest defined coastal route in the world. For any fans of the movie ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, you may recognise Coumeenoole Beach as it was one of the locations used in the film. Get an early night and bask in the happiness that accompanies a day of exploring like the one you’ve just had. But… We have a mobile home 7,5 meters long and, after looking the pictures, I´m not sure is it possible to drive on those roads with such a large vehicule. Our next stop takes us to Doolin Pier – the departure point for the ferry to Inis Oirr Island. // You should arrive to Portmagee for around half six or so. Day 2 sees us hop aboard Ireland’s only cable car, before moving into Kerry and taking one of the best road trip routes in the world, according to Lonely Planet). Great as a base to explore the surrounding countryside and cracking for a weekend with friends. ... At the next way marker take a right over a timber stile and continue off-road uphill along a path. You’ll find the Maghera Caves beneath Slievetooey mountain and some of the 20 caves are accessible when tides are low from Maghera Strand. Inspired designs on t-shirts, posters, stickers, home decor, and more by independent artists and designers from around the world. ICONIC MARKERS OF THE IRISH LANDSCAPE Peat bogs cover over a sixth of the island’s land and provide fuel, wildlife habitat, and water management. You’ll also happen upon the remains of four ring forts together with a holy well and a mass rock. Literally. For those that want to walk it, John O’Dwyer provides a fantastic guide in the Irish Times here. Yes, I had a semi oh-shit moment when I met a van coming towards me with no intention of stopping and I had to reverse back around the mountain on a road barely wider than the car, but it was amazing. For those of you that have watched ‘The Field’, you may recognise Gaynors pub in Leenaun as the pub that featured so frequently in the movie. The 3-hour walk kicks off from Fisher Street in Doolin, just outside O’Connors Pub. // The Fungie tour takes around an hour, so your feet should be safely back on dry land for 18:00. Just soak up the magic of Connemara. The Wild Atlantic Way marker at Ballyvaughan Pier. I looked at exporting to a PDF for you, but I couldn’t figure it out, sorry! You’ll have built up an appetite after the stroll, so we’re heading to Shell’s Café for fish and chips by the sea. Enjoy the drive on the way from Newport and then drop into the Céide Fields visitor centre for a ramble around. According to these lads, the stone fort is said to date back to the 1st century on the site of an early Iron Age multivallate hillfort. Keep an eye out for a plain stone cross – it stands as a memorial to the Doolough Tragedy which took place in 1849. Remote. Check-in and chill for the evening. // Allihies to Dursey Island Cable Car – 22-minute drive (leave Allihies at 9, arrive at 9:22) //. Known as the Doolin Chocolate Shop, it’s actually a sister company of Wilde Irish Chocolates where they’ve been perfecting their craft since 1997. The one stop-off point I’m going to recommend is the Kerry Cliffs. ... After completing the Wild Atlantic Way you will come across the city of Galway, a picturesque Victorian city. Our 4th stop of the day takes us out of Kerry, and on to the next coastal county that we’ll be diving into – Clare. We’ve another adventure-packed day planned for today as we start to really explore the Dingle Peninsula. Once you reach the summit of Mamore Gap it’ll immediately become evident why this is one of the best things to do in Donegal. And we wouldn’t have changed a thing. // Kylemore Abbey to Leenaun – 20-minute drive (spend 40 minutes – longer if you do the tour – at Kylemore Abbey and get to Leenaun for 12:27) //. If you’d prefer to avoid the walk (which we’ll be doing for this trip), the drive around Horn Head is also fantastic. I never need to plan a visit to Waterville. This is another one of those places that tends to rock you a little bit (the best places to visit in Ireland generally do). The rugged coastline along with all the visitor attractions are beautiful and should almost be the 8th wonder of the world. Armed with a chunk of chocolate that’ll knock you sideways, grab a cup of coffee in the little café in the visitor center first, and rest your legs a little. I have a question, what would be the best time to go on this trip and where would you fly in/out of to start and end this trip. // This isn’t a stop – you’ll do it on the return leg of the ferry back to Doolin. I hope you’ve found the above guide useful. Colleen is back in Ireland, but this time she is taking a family friendly tour of the Wild Atlantic Way! We aren’t spending long here on this trip, but take a little time to admire the mountains that surround the town as you walk through. The final stretch of our day takes us on a lovely little drive that’ll take you through a part of Sligo that has graced many an Instagram feed. // The Slea Head Loop will get you back to Dingle for around 13:00 if you take 4 hours to drive it. We’ll be squeezing in many of the best things to do in Galway over the next day or so. Keep driving up along the Healy Pass (keep going past the café) until you reach the brow of a hill and you see a ‘Welcome to Kerry’ sign. Kick-back. The best parts of this drive aren’t the stops, they’re the ever-changing landscape that engulfs it. Relax. The cliffs, which are over 1,000 feet (305 meters) high, offer spectacular views of the Skellig Islands and Puffin Island. Everything you need to plan your trip with speed. Finish off your trip with a creamy pint of Guinness in the pub near the pier. Here’s a quick look at the route that this guide follows. Time for a bit of R&R in a town called Newport. // Portmagee to Valentia Island – 2-minute drive (leave Portmagee at 9, arrive to Valentia for 9:02.. handy or what) //. You may have seen videos from this pub back when Star Wars was being shot in the area (Mark Hamill was shot pulling a pint at the bar). We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This is a beautiful place to spend some time listening to the music of the water as it tumbles into the water from above. at gazing at 350 years’ worth of exposed rock layer. We need one day to find my Grandmother’s homestead in County Roscommon (Cloontowart). This mountain dominates the Sligo skyline from many angles, so you should get a good look at it from the distance as you approach. // Doolin to Kinvarra – 1-hour drive (we’re going to allow for 3 – Leave Doolin at 10:30, arrive in Kinvarra for 13:30) //. Doe Castle is one of those structures that looks like it was plucked straight from a Disney movie. Of course, if you’d rather skip the maps, you can follow the signposts. Follow your nose. I’m going to recommend that you stay in The Moorings Guesthouse, which is at the heart of the lovely little village of Portmagee. On the day that I visited, I took a book with me and chilled for an hour or so. As the car will be back in Doolin, we’ll need to take a shuttle bus back. This article is amazing, its got me fired up to do this as soon as possible! The next two hours are going to be special. From Doe Castle, you want to point the Batmobile in the direction of ‘Downings’ and continue on to ‘Tra Na Rossan view’ (it’s marked out on Google Maps). The wind crashes against you from every angle and the thunder of the waves smashing against jagged cliff is like music to the ears. At this stage, you should be still buzzing from your early morning ramble. Or would you have a better idea for us, to adapt this route along the Irish coast ? There is a military museum and a separate cafe. For those in need of a feeding, the beef and Guinness stew is a hearty bowl of pure and utter goodness that’ll warm the coldest of cockles. The mountainous, ever-changing landscape that you’ll pass through over the course of this stretch of road is simply superb. You can clearly see how defensible a position this fort could be, remove the plank and no one is coming in! Since then, I’ve received a fair few emails with questions about the Wild Atlantic Way. I love this! // Derrynane Beach to Waterville – 20-minute drive (leave the beach at 15:35, arrive to Waterville for 15:55) //. Driving the Conor Pass was one of my highlights from my last trip to Kerry. // The Quiet Man Bridge to Clifden – allow an hour with stops, but take longer if needed (leave the bridge for 17:10, arrive in Clifden at around 18:10) //. The quick answer is no. We’re heading to McDermott’s Bar for food (bar food served until 21:30), drinks and a dollop of live music tonight. Is the Wild Atlantic Way signposted? // Conor Pass to Kilbaha – 3-hour drive (leave at 14:25 and arrive for 17:25) //. Healy Pass is 2nd craziest road that I’ve ever driven on in Ireland. You’ll have gotten to bed early the previous night, so get up for 7, eat, and take a little stroll to check out Benbulben. Tonight, you’re glamping in Portsalon Luxury Camping, which is nestled on a hillside and enjoys spectacular views of Lough Swilly, Mulroy Bay, Knockalla mountain and the Inishowen Peninsula. As I stood and gazed out at the jagged rocks that jutted from the water nearby, I was half deafened from the whistle of the gales that whipped over the Atlantic coupled with the sound of water clattering against rock. It’s been a long productive day. // Fisher Street to the Doolin Cave – 9-minute drive (arrive for 12:00) //. Make sure and stock up on coffee before leaving – we’ve a long, lovely journey before we reach our final destination for the night. // The Singing Pub to Lough Salt – 20-minute drive (leave the pub at 14:40, arrive to Lough Salt for 15:00) //. The waterfall looks like something that you’d find on a prehistoric island from a land that time forgot. Downpatrick Head is also the location of one of the World War 11 stone aerial markers that were placed along the Irish coast to identify the land below as neutral Eire during World War 11. We’re going to skip Keel beach on this occasion, but here’s a picture I took on a recent trip to give you a sense of what it’s like (feel free to stop here if you like). The first half of today is mighty! Check-in and then take a stroll to Danny Mac’s for dinner. Loop Head and Bridges of Ross, Dingle and Slea Head again, and down to Portmagee area again to finish off with another Skellig Michael Landing (fingers crossed) to see puffins this time! Beneath the boglands of North Mayo lies the Céide Fields – the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world. Get fed and then head to Enniscrone Beach for a stroll to let the food settle. The beach is to the left, down the little winding hill, and then to the right you have a path that, if you take it, will offer spectacular views of the surrounding area. So, I’ve never known what this drive is called – I’ve spent time Googling it, but I can’t tell if it’s officially called ‘the Burren Drive’ or not. For those looking to get a lungful of fresh air, there are several walks you can choose from. Point your car in the direction of Dursey Island and get ready to board the only cable car in Ireland. // Clifden village to the Skyroad viewing point – 11-minute drive (arrive at the viewing point for 18:22 – allow plenty of time to stop… it’s amazing) //. You’ll enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding Connemara countryside, coastline and islands over the course of the 1 – 1 and a half hours that it takes to complete. When I visited here last, I literally just walked along the edge of the lake and took it all in from afar. // Dingle to Conor Pass – 8-minute drive (leave Dingle at 14:00, arrive for 14:08) //. For this trip, we’re going to go for the ferry that cruises beneath the Cliffs of Moher on the return journey from Inis Oírr. Mamore Gap will take your breath away. // Benbulben Farmhouse to Slieve League – 1 hour and 45-minute drive (leave the b&b at 7:00, arrive for 8:45) //.