What is the Wild Atlantic Way?

The Wild Atlantic Way is a relatively new initiative in Ireland, having been officially launched in 2014. However, the route itself follows a coastal road that has been used for centuries, connecting small villages and towns along the western coast of Ireland. Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating route and its cultural impact on the Emerald Isle.

The idea for the Wild Atlantic Way was first proposed in 2008 by Fáilte Ireland, the country’s national tourism development authority, as a way to promote tourism in the western region of Ireland. The project was inspired by similar coastal driving routes in countries such as Australia and the United States, and aimed to showcase the stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality of the western coast of Ireland.

The Wild Atlantic Way Route

Over the next several years, Fáilte Ireland worked with local communities and tourism stakeholders to develop the Wild Atlantic Way, which spans 2,500 km (1,500 miles) along the western coast of Ireland, from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork. The route was officially launched in 2014, and since then has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, drawing visitors from all over the world.

But it’s not just all about road trips, it’s a journey into the heart and soul of Ireland! As you wind your way along the coast, you’ll be treated to a rich tapestry of traditional music, dance, and storytelling that have been passed down through generations. You’ll also have the chance to explore historical gems like ancient ruins, castles, and museums that give you a glimpse into Ireland’s fascinating past. The Wild Atlantic Way is also a celebration of Ireland’s natural beauty! From pristine beaches and soaring sea cliffs, to rolling hills and lush forests, the route highlights the importance of protecting our environment and preserving the unique wildlife that calls Ireland home.

In addition to promoting tourism in the region, the Wild Atlantic Way has also helped to support local economies and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the western coast of Ireland. The route has been praised for its sustainable approach to tourism development, which seeks to balance economic growth with environmental and cultural preservation.

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

Since its launch, the Wild Atlantic Way has become a must-see attraction for travellers from all over the world, and for good reason! The stunning scenery, friendly locals, and vibrant culture make it an adventure you won’t soon forget. So what are you waiting for? Let’s hit the road and discover the magic of the Wild Atlantic Way! Join us at Irish Experience Tours for your own tailored holiday that takes you along the Wild Atlantic Way where you’ll discover dozens of Ireland’s national treasures.

The Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points

Along the Wild Atlantic Way, there are numerous Discovery Points, which are pointed out by signs with the WAW logo.

Among the many Discovery Points, there are only fifteen, which have been chosen as Signature Discovery Points. These places are especially unique and shape the image of Ireland’s remarkable west coast.

Here are some key discovery points along the Wild Atlantic Way:

  1. Malin Head, County Donegal:
    • The northernmost point of Ireland.
    • Stunning cliffs and rugged coastline.
  2. Fanad Head, County Donegal:
    • Lighthouse with panoramic views.
    • Beautiful beaches and coastal scenery.
  3. Slieve League, County Donegal:
    • One of Europe’s highest sea cliffs.
    • Hiking trails with breathtaking views.
  4. Mullaghmore Head, County Sligo:
    • Beautiful beach and seaside village.
    • Classiebawn Castle overlooking the bay.
  5. Downpatrick Head, County Mayo:
    • Sea stack, blowholes, and historic ruins.
    • Unique geological formations.
  6. Achill Island, County Mayo:
    • Ireland’s largest island.
    • Keem Bay, a stunning horseshoe-shaped beach.
  7. Clare Island, County Mayo:
    • Historic castle and abbey.
    • Scenic hiking trails.
  8. Connemara, County Galway:
    • Mountains, lakes, and picturesque landscapes.
    • Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden.
  9. The Burren, County Clare:
    • Unique limestone karst landscape.
    • Cliffs of Moher, a famous natural attraction.
  10. Loop Head, County Clare:
    • Lighthouse with views of the Atlantic.
    • Birdwatching and coastal walks.
  11. Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry:
    • Slea Head Drive with stunning coastal views.
    • Fungie the Dingle Dolphin.
  12. Ring of Kerry, County Kerry:
    • Spectacular scenic drive.
    • Killarney National Park and Muckross House.
  13. Skellig Islands, County Kerry:
    • UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Ancient monastic settlement on Skellig Michael.
  14. Beara Peninsula, County Cork:
    • Remote and unspoiled landscapes.
    • Dursey Island cable car.
  15. Mizen Head, County Cork:
    • Ireland’s southernmost point.
    • Signal Station with suspension bridge.
  16. Kinsale, County Cork:
    • Historic harbor town with colorful buildings.
    • Gourmet restaurants and seafood.
  17. Old Head of Kinsale, County Cork:
    • Dramatic headland with a golf course.
    • Lighthouse and stunning views.
  18. Copper Coast Geopark, County Waterford:
    • Geological and historical significance.
    • Cliffs, coves, and abandoned copper mines.

Choose from our easy-going and flexible small group tours, from a 10-day Wild Irish Experience Tour to explore Irish culture and history to a full 13-day Irish Experience that will truly take you beyond the guidebooks. For everything in between, check out our other immersive multi-day tour options, and contact us today to arrange a private tour experience for you and your family.