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Encounter Unrivalled Beachside Beauty



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In the salty, breeze-blown stretches between untamed Erris and sparkling Galway Bay, the Bay Coast beckons.

Boasting a landscape as diverse and inviting as its delightful inhabitants, the region truly has it all - from edge-of-the-world tranquility to action-packed thrills. Home to Galway, where you can soak up the vibrant culture of the ‘City of the Tribes’, as well as Connemara, where vast stretches of uninhabited wilderness rub shoulders with towering mountains and buzzing towns and villages, it’s a Wild Atlantic Way wonderland. It’s a place to cast out a line, head off down a trail, or settle in for a night of comfort food and craic. 

Experiencing the Bay Coast means embracing the unexpected in order to discover the extraordinary; once you set eyes on its otherworldly scenery and meet the people who call it home, you’ll know just what we mean. 

In Mulranny, book a room with a view of Ireland’s holiest mountain, or in Newport, why not hunt for constellations in the night sky on a wild camping adventure? Elegant and bustling, the seaside town of Westport invites you to visit the former home of a pirate queen, or if getting the lay of the land is more your speed, you can enjoy an effortless spin atop an electric bike with your very own tour guide.

 

On Clare Island, adrenaline seekers will find just the right activity, with cliff-jumping, rock-climbing and adventure swimming all on offer, while in Clifden, you can tour the Wild Atlantic Way from the waves on a kayaking excursion or get cycling on a rental bike.

 

There’s history and culture too; at Derrigimlagh Bog, you can visit the spot where Alcock and Brown landed after the first transatlantic flight in 1919. The Bay Coast is where you’ll find Galway City, one of Ireland’s most historic and happening hubs, with its Spanish Armada links and vibrant events like the Galway Arts Festival, Oyster Festival and annual races.

 

Further south, near Kinvara, you can banquet in the 500 year old Dunguaire Castle, from where you can look west across the great sweep of Galway Bay and watch the sun go down on the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) Aran Islands and south Connemara, while enjoying a night out to remember.

 

See the best of what the Bay Coast has to offer by reading on:

 
  • Derrigimlagh
    Clifden, Co Galway
 
Achill Island Hotel

Good for the Soul
Achill Island Hotel, Achill Sound, Co Mayo

Achill Island is home to five picture postcard Blue Flag beaches. Swimming here is good for the soul but it’s not just a dip in the Atlantic that has healing powers; so too has the seaweed that’s been hand harvested from these pristine shores.Immerse yourself in the seaweed baths and avail of bespoke healing treatments with ancient roots at the Achill Island Hotel. The Bio-Energy Clinic restores balance, health and vitality. So come and experience Achill’s magic and leave feeling transformed.
 

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Achill Isle House

A Patchwork of Perfection
Achill Isle House, Keel, Achill Island, Co Mayo

You might not have thought of combining craft with hillwalking, but that’s what’s on offer at Achill Isle House on the magnificent Achill Island. Try your hand at traditional quilting with your host, Sheila, and on days when you’re feeling more active, head out hillwalking with host and qualified guide, Gerard. Visit the Deserted Village, which consists of up to 100 ancient stone cottages in an area rich in archaeological artifacts, including megalithic tombs dating from the Neolithic period some 5,000 years ago.

With your trusted guide, you will go on to reach the summit of Slievemore, taking in breathtaking views of the entire island. If you have energy left after the climb, drink in the spectacular cliff views, the wild Atlantic Ocean and the hills of Achill from the golf course in
Keel and stay up late stargazing with Sheila, a Dark Sky Ambassador, who will point out stars and constellations along with some of the myth and magic attached to them. 
 

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Mulranny Park Hotel

Room with a View
Mulranny Park Hotel, Mulranny, Co Mayo

Imagine looking out at the wild Atlantic Ocean with Ireland’s holiest mountain beyond. Do just this from the comfort of the 19th-century Mulranny Park Hotel. Uniquely located on the Great Western Greenway, it’s blessed with spectacular sea and woodland views. If you are feeling adventurous, why not leave the luxury behind and take on the challenging terrain of the West of Ireland with one of the hotel’s experienced walking guides? Or make it more leisurely with a stroll along the causeway and over Lookout Hill. Watch the waves crashing on the shore and seals and dolphins playing in the surf. You’ll get back to the hotel with just enough time to soak in the hot tub or swim before joining the group for a whiskey tasting and dinner, all overlooking the dramatic Wild Atlantic.

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Terrafirma Ireland

Rewild Yourself
Terra Firma Ireland, Newport, Co Mayo

Discover your wild side in the rugged landscape of mountain, bog and lake. Terra Firma Tours will take you gallivanting through the county’s magnificent mountain and moorland landscapes. Touch the stones of history and walk on the ancient paths of pilgrims while on this cultural walking tour. Get away from ‘civilisation’ by going for a hike in the most remote hills or stretch your legs on a stroll over the sandy expanses of a deserted beach. Experience the true awe of nature by going wild camping overnight, stargazing under the darkest skies and waking up to the spectacular vista over the many islands of Clew Bay.

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Westport House

Living History
Westport House, Westport, Co Mayo

For a stunning example of the buzz and charm of a modern Irish heritage town, head to Westport. On the edge of an Atlantic inlet, it is a highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way. To understand its soul, immerse yourself in its history at Westport House, one of Ireland’s best-loved heritage attractions and considered the most beautiful house in Ireland. With over 30 rooms on show, visitors are transported to the 16th century, when Grace O’Malley (Granuaile), the Pirate Queen of Connacht, ruled the land and seas around the west coast. The stunning house is built upon the foundations of one of her many castles, which can still be toured via the dungeons today. You can even emulate her unique military prowess at the nearby Pirate Adventure Park, a treasure trove of family fun and winner of Best Family Visitor Attraction in Ireland.

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We certainly live in a busy world, but there are still places in the world where you can find calm and contemplation

 
Electric Escapes

Electric Escapes
Electric Escapes, Westport, Co Mayo

Unlock the secrets of the Wild Atlantic Way with a three-day electric bike tour through some of the Irish coast’s most scenic locations. Aimed at the intermediate cyclist, the tour kicks of from the buzzing town of Westport and spins through the Sheeffry hills and valleys to Killary Fjord. This 16km-long border between Galway and Mayo is one of just three glacial fjords that exist in Ireland. On its northern shore lies Mweelrea Mountain, Connacht’s highest, while to the south are the Maumturk Mountains and the Twelve Bens. The area contains some of Ireland’s most awe-inspiring and dramatic scenery. From there, you’ll follow a famine route to catch the ferry to Clare Island at the mouth of Clew Bay. Stunning views, salty spray and the freshest of Atlantic air are the order of the day as you overnight in a lighthouse, hear about Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley, and explore an island carved out by glaciers 10,000 years ago. Day three sees a return to Westport via a secret scenic route known only to your guides!

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Clare Island Adventures

Coastal Close-up
Clare Island Adventures, Clare Island, Co Mayo

For the thrill-seekers among you, coasteering is sure to get your heart pounding. Combining the art of rock-scrambling, cliff-jumping and adventure swimming, it’s an outdoor activity suitable for those accustomed to swimming in the sea and with a head for heights. Even complete beginners are welcome to give it a go. It’s an exhilarating way to experience the Wild Atlantic coastline along Clare Island, and one you won’t forget in a hurry. When your heart gets quieter and your stomach noisier, you can relive your adventure over a delicious, freshly-prepared meal at Sailor’s Bar & Restaurant. Here, your tales of bravery will get taller as you drink and dine, enjoying dramatic scenery that’s in keeping with your day’s adventure.

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Glenkeen Farm

Tea and Traditions
Glen Keen Farm, Louisburgh, Co Mayo

Behold an age-old tradition being played out firsthand on Glen Keen Sheep Farm at Mayo’s gateway to wild and gorgeous Connemara. With its natural beauty, unique habitats and diverse wildlife, it is a truly unique spot. Experience an immersive sheepdog herding display, followed by a wool spinning demonstration brought even more vividly to life through stories of traditional sheep farming from the 1600s through the seven generations of farmers at Glen Keen. Enjoy a warming cup of Glen Keen hot tea with scrumptious homemade scones. There is a restaurant onsite where visitors can absorb the historical landscape and connect with this special area of conservation.

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Delphi Lodge

Delphi Delights
Delphi Lodge, Leenane, Co Galway

Delight in the treasures of the sea in Delphi Valley in Leenane, but not just by eating them. Climb aboard a brand new adventure at Delphi pier to visit mussel and oyster farms along the stunning Killary Fjord. While the focus is on explaining and demonstrating what is involved in harvesting the delicious treats, fresh oysters, of course, are yours to sample along with a glass of chilled white wine. With a little extra spring in your step, take a scenic walk to a traditional farm to watch a demonstration of sheep-shearing, working sheepdogs and turf cutting. On returning to the boat, enjoy a cruise along the fjord before stopping of at a scenic spot to enjoy a special Delphi picnic lunch before returning to the luxury accommodation of your 1830s country house and fishing lodge, Delphi Lodge.

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Killary Adventure

Live the Adventure
Killary Adventure, Leenane, Co Galway

How does crossing a rope suspension bridge and then free falling 40 feet through the air sound to you? Will your nerve hold and will your stomach stay strong? There’s only one way to find out! Banish boredom from your life by visiting Killary Adventure Company in Leenane. With over 20 activities to choose from, from hillwalking to high ropes and the unique Turf Warrior challenge to kayaking on the fjord, every interest and activity level is catered for. If you catch the adventure bug and want to stay on, accommodation is available, along with a fully serviced kitchen on site that can cater for groups of between 4 and 200.

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Leave relaxed, inspired, and probably heading to the nearest bookshop to buy a book written by your new favourite poet

 
Tommy Burke

Walk Through Time
Tommy Burke, Inishbofin Community Centre, Inishbofin, Co Galway

Walk in the footsteps of pirates and parliamentarians on the sacred Inishbofin island. Historian and archaeologist Tommy Burke will enlighten you on the tactics used by the famous pirate queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) to wield control over Inishbofin harbour. The parliamentarian forces of Oliver Cromwell subsequently fortified the site with the star-shaped barrack,s which remains to this day. Explore this stunning 17th-century stronghold and learn of its dark history. Cultúr na nOileáin Island Walking Tours is a Gold Certified EcoTourism Ireland experience, with all guided walks adhering to the Leave No Trace codes of conduct. So come and discover where the name ‘The Island of the White Cow’ originated and how it came to be the fascinating and beautiful place it is today.

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Real Adventures

Escape to the Sea
Real Adventures, Clifden, Co Galway

Experience the rugged Connemara coastline from a different perspective on a kayaking tour with Real Adventures. A kayak is the only way to properly explore the remote and majestic sea caves, sea arches and the magnificent cliffs near Cleggan Head. While you’re taking in the stunning scenery, the enthusiastic and experienced guides will share their local knowledge of the area’s history and how the ocean has shaped the life and land along the coastline. Along the way you’ll hear stories about the old famine villages, meet the local fishermen working in their traditional currachs and, if you’re lucky, come across a pod of dolphins or whales. 

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All Things Connemara

Feel the Wind in Your Hair
All Things Connemara, Market Square, Clifden, Co Galway

Whether you want to meander along coastal paths or challenge yourself on the rugged hills of Connemara, doing it by bicycle is the way to go. Clifden Bike Hire Shop at All Things Connemara has a fleet of bikes, from electric and hybrid to children’s bikes, buggies and tandems, allowing access to some of the most famous routes in Connemara. Starting in the delightful market town of Clifden, it’s the perfect way to explore one of the Wild Atlantic Way’s most scenic areas. Against the breathtaking backdrop of the Twelve Bens and with the tranquil coastline at your side, you might even catch a glimpse of the wild seals and leaping dolphins out to sea, or the Connemara ponies roaming the rugged landscape. Whether you want to explore the mountains, cruise along the ancient bog road, strike out for those quiet, secluded beaches or discover islands and inlets steeped in history, Connemara will satisfy your thirst for discovery and adventure. 

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Connemara Wild Escapes

Living History
Connemara Wild Escapes, Letterfrack, Co Galway

What was it like to be the doomed leader of Ireland’s 1916 Rising? Or the first pilots to fly non-stop across the Atlantic? Find out on the Connemara Wild Escapes tour to Patrick Pearse’s Cottage at the Connemara Cultural Centre in Rosmuc. Situated in the heart of the Gaeltacht, it’s a truly immersive experience of the Irish language and culture. In Derrigimlagh, pass the remnants of the world’s first permanent transatlantic radio station, which sent out the inaugural transatlantic signal in 1907, on this guided walk through an area of special historical significance.

On the way to Pearse’s cottage, take in the memorial to pioneering aviation and enjoy the great outdoors on the looped walk with your guide. Explore the wonderful bogland landscape studded with lakes, and, when it’s time for a break, relax at a nearby castle for a marvellous lunch and reflect on the rich history at your fingertips. 

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Wild Atlantic Adventures

Gone Fishing
Wild Atlantic Adventures, Connemara, Co Galway

Sail into Ireland’s past on the 120-year-old Galway Hooker ‘Bláth na hÓige’ (Flower of Youth). Banter with the Gaelic-speaking crew, who will be more than happy to share their knowledge and passion for the boating tradition and stunning surrounding landscape. They might even let you take the rudder for a while! Explore Fínis Island, one of the many deserted offshore islands dotting this rugged coast.

Take a swim in the clear waters and chill out with a tasty picnic. Do a spot of fishing with the chance to haul your own lobster pot with a local fisherman; your fresh catch will be cooked up at Tigh Mheaic, the local bar in Carna. Whether it’s walking along the coastline, through the bogs, or up into the hills, Wild Atlantic Adventures guides will interpret the rugged landscape and how it shaped the history, traditions, language and culture of the Connemara region and the lives of its people.

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The great outdoors opens out in front of you along the rugged coastline of County Mayo

 
Cnoc Suain

Rejuvenating Cultural Retreat
Suain, Moycullen Road (L1320), Spiddal, Co Galway

You might know about the healing powers of seaweed for your skin, but you might not know how tasty and versatile it is to eat! For a true cultural immersion in the Gaelic way of life, including sampling seaweed bread and carrageen moss, visit Cnoc Suain, an award-winning creative retreat in the pretty seaside village of Spiddal. Situated in the Connemara wilderness, this international cultural experience is the perfect place from which to explore the magnificent Wild Atlantic Way. Enjoy a uniquely personal insight into daily life into the local Gaeltacht community, letting the Gaelic language, customs and traditions seep into your blood to the point where you will be getting up of your seat to dance an Irish folk dance.

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Áras na Gael

Lady of the Dance
Áras na Gael, 45 Dominick Street, Galway City, Co Galway

Your imagination, as well as your feet, will be swept away during a lesson at Emma O’Sullivan Dance in Galway City. Dance and music have helped sustain Irish people over generations, whether at home  or wherever they settled around the world. Emma, who has performed with some of the most influential acts in traditional Irish dance music, including Sharon Shannon, Lúnasa and Altan, has experience dancing in the US, Europe and Asia, and now brings these years of experience and expertise to you. One of the leading lights in the resurgence of sean nós or ‘old style’ dancing, Emma will take you through the basics of this most musical form of Irish percussive step dancing. After your lesson, you can watch Emma giving her daily street performance on the city’s medieval cobblestone lanes and let her point you in the direction of the city’s liveliest traditional Irish music sessions where you might join her and a host of musicians for a well-deserved pint of Guinness and, of course, a dance.

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Woodquay

Anchors Aweigh
Woodquay, Galway City, Co Galway

Follow the trail of fearsome Viking invaders and Victorian steamboats alike along the majestic River Corrib in Galway. Travelling in luxury onboard the Corrib Princess is a one-of-a-kind experience, where you’ll hear all about Galway’s ancient past, its Celtic mythology and feuding families as you cruise the placid waters. The castles you’ll see along the route were once home to some of Galway’s most intriguing characters; hear the stories of their daring exploits as the river opens out onto Lough Corrib, Ireland’s largest lake. This stunning body of water is in a special area of conservation and is a UNESCO-designated wetland. The crystal clear waters are home to courting swans, hunting herons and jumping salmon. On your return to Galway City, sit back, relax and enjoy a heart-warming Irish coffee or a local craft beer while enjoying an Irish dance performance from one of the enthusiastic crew members.

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Wild Atlantic Food Tours

A Feast for the Senses
Galway Food Tours, Galway City, Co Galway

Treat all five of your senses on the Galway Food Tour, a culinary walking tour of rugged and remote Connemara. Take the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route with its beaches, dunes, rocky shores, a fjord, cliffs and tidal islands to Connemara Abalone and Seaweed Farm to see shellfish in their natural habitat. Later, savour them in your own natural habitat – Coyne’s Bistro – enjoying the warmth and cheer as you look out over the stunning views of Kilkerrin Bay. Make your way deeper into Connemara, stopping at the prestigious Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, with a backdrop of the beautiful Twelve Bens mountain range. Sample local crab paired perfectly with a glass of wine to hold you in good stead till you reach Oughterard, a small town on the banks of the Owenriff River close to the western shore of Lough Corrib. Hole up in the cosy Power’s Thatch pub, where you can sample award-winning air-dried meats, paired with locally brewed beer. For something stronger and more authentic to the area, head to Potín Micil Distillery to try the famous brew, one of the oldest alcohols produced in Ireland.

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Katie’s Claddagh Cottage

Get Carried Away
Katie’s Claddagh Cottage, Galway City, Co Galway

Walk in the footsteps of saints and kings on the Claddagh Experience, where you’ll meander through Galway’s old city with cultural historian and storyteller, Brian Nolan, recounting tales of Alexander Nimmo, St Brendan the Navigator, Christopher Columbus, the Vikings and Normans. Join local skipper and real-life nephew of a long line of Kings of the Claddagh for a trip on Galway Bay. From the calm waters of the bay, you’ll see the rolling Clare hills and lunar landscape of the Burren, with its vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone, with cliffs and caves, fossils, rock formations and archaeological sites. Lastly, curious minds will be sated with 100 years of history explained through facts and folklore in Katie’s Claddagh Cottage, a traditional thatched heritage and design centre. Discover how generations of Claddagh villagers made their living. Enjoy stories, tea, scones and a real turf fire in one of the oldest fishing villages in Ireland.

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Cáis Gabhair Árann

The True Taste of the Islands
Cáis Gabhair Árann, Oughill, Aran Islands, Co Galway

Sample the freshest flavours of the Aran Islands on a tour with Aran Goat’s Cheese, makers of simply divine artisanal food products you have to taste to believe. Gabriel Faherty, owner of Aran Goat’s Cheese, will introduce you to his herd and take you through the process of making his award-winning cheeses before inviting you to sample and experience the delectable range for yourself. Faherty’s beautiful Nubian and Saanen goats graze contentedly on the unique pastures of the Aran Island, where the climate, served by the Gulf Stream, is perfect for growing the grass herbs these lucky goats love so much. This ideal diet gives the cheese its unique, irresistible favour – a taste that will have you coming back for more. Meet the goats, learn about the workings of the factory and the history of the island, and, of course, lose yourself in a taste sensation.

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