Wild Atlantic Way - advice

Hi All, I am looking to drive the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Eire next year. I have started my “Google research” but I was wondering if any member has driven this route and can make personal recommendations on best parts of the route / highlights / places to stay / downsides (hard to believe!) etc.
Currently I plan to do the whole route from Londonderry/Derry to Cork and sail from the UK to Dublin, but would Belfast be a better option? I live in Cumbria, so departing from Liverpool or Cairnryan is possible. Any help gratefully received and many thanks in advance.

The Burren is a lovely area, it is to the SW of Galway. Worth dipping inland a little here from the (spectacular) coast. Wild and empty limestone scenery.



I’ve driven all the west coast over many years, work & play.
Its all spectacular, great places & times to dwell awhile & take your time. A taking your time is my advise, don’t be in a rush. That begs the question of how long have you got planned for this, and what time of the year?
As for ferries … think about going into Belfast & leaving out of Dublin.
Or maybe better for you as you live in Cumbria, the Cairnryan - Larne ferry. And if you do go that route, Larne begs a tour up the beautiful Antrim coast on the way to Derry.
Then on your drive from Cork to Dublin, take a day to detour around the Wicklow Mountains.


Parts of it, at various times. The parts of Donegal, I was on around the Glenveagh National Park, are just spectacular. Was then close to The Burren, during a quick over to Galway, Salthill, Spiddal in September.

Watch the Harry’s Garage YouTube for his trip to the Northern parts in his Jag XJC V12, for some interesting commentary on the roads and the scenery, though his understanding of the division between North and South Ireland is a little off (i.e. it isn’t a geographical split, but a political one)

In terms of ferries, not sure it matters. Limerick to Dubin is 2-hours, Cork to Dublin is about the same etc.

Only advice is don’t rush just to claim the completion of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, like a mad American tourist seeing Europe in 3-days (no disrespect intended, but you meet them in Dublin regularly!!).

You want the time to stop frequently, stand and take in the scenery & breathe the air.


Don’t skip the Northern Ireland part. Giants causeway and the whole north coast of NI is spectacular.

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@BruceW @Mike-B @simon.pepper @Dan360 - many thanks for your comments and suggestions.
I dont want to rush this trip and my initial thoughts are 2 to 2.5 weeks in late May to early June. I will check out the Harrys Garage video as this is about the drive as well as the beautiful scenery. The suggestion of the NI coast has also piqued my interest!
Again, many thanks.

Perfect time of the year, maybe 3 weeks ??

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I’d second the suggestions of the East Antrim Coast road. If the weather is favorable it’s a stunning drive. Larne is a good starting point of you get the ferry from Cairnryan.
If you can fit it in the Gobbins Cliff Path ( 20 minutes drive south of Larne) is also worth a visit.



If you want a city fix at the end of your journey I would go to Dublin and get the ferry back to Holyhead. If you don’t, I would take the Rosslare to Fishguard ferry and spend a day or two trundling up the West coast of Wales.


Dublin certainly deserves a visit- good idea! Going back via Wales is also a brilliant idea but I think time will be a limiting factor here. Plus, maybe taking my Porsche through Wales with the new 20mph limits could be a challenge!!! :rofl:

I watched the Harrys Garage YouTube video…I am even more fired up now! Not sure I would have liked to have done it in his Jag with broken wipers though!

On the contrary, Wales has lots of relatively quiet roads that sweep through open hilly countryside, it’s a great place to drive. Yes, there are 20mph limits in built up areas, but those are not the fun areas to drive through at any speed.

I once drove home through the night from the south coast in Pembrokeshire to the North coast near Caernarfon, and overtook a milk tanker near Aberystwyth. It was the only other vehicle on the road for the entire journey. I don’t think there are many countries where you can drive their entire length without seeing any traffic like that. But yes, maybe do that another time, Dublin is a great place to visit although the traffic is no fun to drive in.

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I just came across this post. A short while ago someone asked me for tips on highlights to see on an Ireland trip. I have extended it for the Wild Atlantic trip you have in mind:

If you get to Belfast the Titanic Museum is a must-see. The Crown Bar for a swift half and the Cathedral District for lots of good pubs.

From Larne take the Antrim coast road by the sea and through the glens to Ballycastle and on to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Giant‘s Causeway, Bushmills (Distillery visit?), Dunluce Castle Portstewart Strand (3 km long)

Donegal - The Atlantic Drive - Fanad Head Lighthouse - Narin-Portnoo Strand - Slieve League

Achill Island - narrow approach road but worth it to visit the beautiful Keem beach

Westport - lovely wee town with magnificent pubs

Connemara National Park
Roundstone Harbour and a pint / seafood meal in O’Dowds

Cliffs of Moher
The pubs in Lisdoonvarna and Doolin for some of the best folk music in the country.

Dingle Peninsula - beautiful beaches at Inch and Camp. Boat trips from Dingle Town.

The Ring of Kerry and Killarney National Park.
Caherciveen (C.V.) is worth a stay over if you want to hang out with the hip young people in the evening or go (wind/)surfing during the day.
Boat trip to the Skellig Islands (e.g. from Valencia Island). Skellig Michael was a film location for Star Wars and Game of Thrones.

The south coast between Bantry and Kinsale is quieter and slightly off the main tourist track. Baltimore and the islands of Sherkin and Cape Clear are worth a day trip.

P.S. If you are interested in castles, there are over 30.000 in Ireland, the most famous of which are Blarney Castle in Co. Cork, The Rock of Cashel and Dublin Castle

Hope this helps. Enjoy!


Many thanks @William - what a brilliant list of things to see and do! Very much appreciated. :+1:

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Hello ManLad, could I recommend a short series of videos from YouTube? There is a professional married couple whose channel is called ‘midlife motorcycle diaries’ who have travelled this very route, the route was covered over two series. They do,as their channel name suggests travel on motorcycles but always on main roads, their routes are always well planned and include stop offs for sightseeing and overnight accommodation, might be worth a try!

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Many thanks for the suggestion @Nickd I will check them out. I am a four wheel man myself but the routes will work just fine I am sure!

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Yes, the routes are always good for cars and bikes, their main ingredients are careful planning and really nice overnight stays etc.

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