With longer days, brighter weather and an inviting landscape now in full beautiful bloom, spring has definitely sprung along the Wild Atlantic Way. Looking for ways to get out and enjoy the west coast’s scenery and sunshine?
At 2,500km there’s quite a stretch of coast to discover, whether exploring a whole region (there are six to choose from) or taking a mini-break in just one town or county. Prepare for walks on sandy shores that work up deservedly big appetites, mountain trail cycles, island vistas, sensational surfing, lively local chat and an otherworldly UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot.
Read on for a taste of the activities and attractions that’ll put a spring in your step.
The beautiful Blasket Islands, County Kerry
That winning combination of sea, sky and sand here, quite simply, equals paradise found. Take your pick of enchanting islands to get a taste for life off the mainland. Stroll, surf, swim and even horse-ride along salty shores on any number of Blue Flag beaches.
Experience the changing hues of the landscape’s palette and listen out for spring birdsong on a coastal walking loop over the likes of Inishowen Peninsula and Sliabh Liag Pilgrim Path in County Donegal, or Rosses Point in County Sligo. And after all that invigorating sea air don’t forget to indulge in a fabulous feast or two as well.
Epic strolls on Dooey Beach, County Donegal
With the weather now a little warmer perhaps you’re feeling brave enough to dip a toe, oar or more into those Atlantic swells… try a laid-back day’s kayaking out to Inishturk Island, County Mayo or go offshore canoeing on County Cork’s marine marvel Lough Hyne. Splash down with some adventure-fuelled coasteering too, around wave-lapped coves and mighty sea stacks.
And if you’re hoping to stay on dry land, why not traverse the lunar landscape of the Burren, County Clare by biking or pedaling around County Mayo’s stunning sights via the Great Western Greenway.
Taking a cycling break on the Aran Islands
History, Heritage & Culture
Keen to roam historic terrain? Visit the sites of warring clans, literary revivals, lavish banquets and even the odd haunting at any number of the Wild Atlantic Way’s majestic castles, all of which are nestled among that famed picture postcard scenery.
For 12th century history, Hollywood trivia and exceptional views, a tour of County Kerry’s incredible Skellig Coast is a must. This impressive 18km route was recently included in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 regions to visit in 2017. Encompassing idyllic islands, coastal towns and mesmerising scenery, it also boasts shoreline and cliff-edge views of the Skellig Islands.
Feeling ‘The Force’ on Skellig Michael, County Kerry
A monastic settlement on a remote and jagged outcrop 12km from the coast, Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also doubles as Jedi Luke Skywalker’s home in the latest Star Wars film series. Visit Valentia Island with its historic lighthouse, transatlantic telegraph and tetrapod trackway or hike up to Bray Head to view the Skelligs and the Blasket Islands in all their glory.
Bray Head, Valentia Island, County Kerry
Showcasing museums, galleries and heritage centres detailing every topic from Irish language culture to maritime life to art inspired by the coast itself, along the Wild Atlantic Way you’ll quickly find yourself lost in thought and deep in culture. And if you want to get truly hands-on with that craft and culture? There are a variety of creative workshops that teach you how to throw pottery, make traditional shoes, learn an instrument and much more.
Whether you’re looking to find the ultimate panorama to post on Instagram or the ideal spring festival to let loose at, the Wild Atlantic Way, with its unique local rhythm, expansive landscape and wave-rippled shores extends an irresistible invite. With our suggested itineraries by location or duration, you can embrace all of its wonder this spring.