The Wild Atlantic Way
From the wind-whipped tip of Malin Head to the safe haven of Kinsale Harbour, wrap yourself in the wilderness of the west coast of Ireland on the world's longest defined coastal touring route. The Wild Atlantic Way is a sensational journey of soaring cliffs and buzzing towns and cities, of hidden beaches and epic bays. So whether you drive it from end-to-end, or dip into it as the mood strikes, it's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Aran Islands
The Aran Islands are located about 48km (30 miles) from the mouth of Galway Bay. Inishmore (or Inis Mór) is the largest of the three islands which measures just 14km (9 miles) in length and 4.8km (3 miles) at its widest point. The islands are famous for their prehistoric and Christian monuments including the spectacular Dún Aengus fort that is one of the best examples of this type of fort in all of Europe. Other ancient stone forts worth visiting include Dún Eoghanachta and the crumbling Dún Dúcathair. The unique landscape of the islands exhibit a crosshatch of thousands of miles of stone walls and visitors flock to the islands to enjoy the cliff-top walks and spectacular coastal scenery.
The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are is one of Ireland's most visited tourist attractions. Situated in North-West Clare between the villages of Liscannor and Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most spectacular natural wonders. Over 700 feet tall at their highest point, the shale and sandstone cliffs drop almost vertically to the Atlantic ocean far below. From the top there are views, on a clear day, to the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, the Maum Turk and Twelve Bens mountains in Connemara to the north and Loop Head in Co Clare to the south. The grass roofed Visitor Centre is set into the hillside and offers an all weather experience. The Atlantic Edge Exhibition Area brings to life the story of the Cliffs of Moher. The themed zones of Ocean, Rock, Nature and Man present the setting, geology, wildlife and human stories associated with the cliffs.
A trip to the West of Ireland is not complete without experiencing the beauty and tranquility of Kylemore Abbey and Gardens. It has an abundance of nature trails, woodland and a beautiful walled garden that will bring you back to the Victorian era. Facilities include a visitor centre, an exhibition housed in the main reception rooms of the house and a video which takes the visitor through the history of the house and its occupants. Open all year round.
The distinct region of Connemara is located in the north west corner of County Galway. Connemara's breathtaking landscape is a mixture of unspoilt rivers, lakes, woodlands, rich meadowlands, rugged hills, dramatic mountains and stunning coastline of sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. Connemara is a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area, rich in Irish culture, heritage and traditions. The main town in the Connemara region is Clifden. It has lots of quirky shops, restaurants and traditional Irish pubs to explore. Throughout the region there are many very interesting attractions like Kylemore Abbey, Connemara History & Heritage Centre in Clifden, Glengowla Mines in Oughterard, the 40,000 acre Connemara National Park and the set of the film 'The Field' in Leenane, which was directed by Jim Sheridan in the 1990's. Connemara is the ideal place to visit if you want to experience all things Irish.
The Burren, in County Clare is a barren place, famous for its unique rock formations and exceptional diversity of flora and fauna. There are also large number of historic sites contained within The Burren, making it a popular visitor attraction for the region. Covering an area of approx 300 km2, its boundaries are clearly defined to the north and west by Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, with the villages of Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna situated at it's edge. Among the archaeological sites of importance are tombs, burial chambers and the celtic high cross in Kilfenora. The well-preserved Corcomroe Abbey is one of the most popular sights in the area. Many visitors also come for the walking, sea-angling, photography and caving that make this corner of Ireland such an attraction.