The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2,400 km (1,553 mile) drive along the stunning West Coast of Ireland. It is officially the longest fully signposted coastal route in the world.
It stretches all the way from Co Donegal, Ireland’s most northern county, to Co Cork, the most southern. As you would expect, it takes in some striking scenery along the way.
It is the perfect alternative for visitors who want to avoid the crowded tourist areas and take in the majestic natural beauty that Ireland has to offer.
Fabulous views and hidden gems
There are great views of the rugged cliffs and the vast Atlantic Ocean. There are no fewer than 157 ‘Discovery points’ for people to get out of their car, stretch their legs and learn more about some lesser known areas along the route.
As well as the hidden gems, the route takes in some of the most famous and beautiful sights in Ireland.
The Wild Atlantic Way passes through seven counties and three of the four provinces; Munster, Connacht and Ulster.
Some of the best known sights include the Ring of Kerry, Skellig Michael, the Hills of Connemara, the Cliffs of Moher and Portsallon Beach, which has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
There are several more beaches and places to stop and try a bit of surfing, fishing or horse riding.
It is such a long route that it has been separated into five sections, starting in the north in Co Donegal.
Section One – Donegal to Sligo
The route from Donegal to Sligo is around 530 km (330 miles) and takes in the Inishowen Peninsula, which is the most northerly part of mainland Ireland. Birds from various parts of the world flock here and there are sights such as ‘Hell’s Hole’ which is a huge chasm caused by the sea waves crashing against the rocks.
There are great views of the Inisowen Peninsula from the Knockalla Coast Road. As the road continues there are more great views including Ballymastocker Bay and Portsalon Beach, which has been voted the second most beautiful beach in the world.
Along the way, visitors will see Sliabh Liag, which are some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs. The cliffs are nearly three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher. Near the cliffs is Silver Strand, which is a beach only accessible on foot. Visitors have to walk down a number of steps. However, in keeping with Ireland’s air of mystery, nobody is ever able to count the same number of steps twice.