Did you know that we can use your current location to help you choose what to do and where to stay?

Use My Current Location No thanks, I'll do it later
Location detection is - OFF

The Wild Atlantic Way: 10 Fantastic Facts

Share This Article

print image

From Hollywood icons to ancient, mythical sites and even a reigning king, the Wild Atlantic Way is a fascinating place that does a fine line in unexpected delights.

Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about this pretty magical route...


1. Peaks Aplenty

Along this expansive 2,500km-long coastal stretch, you’ll encounter (deep breath) nine counties, three provinces, the country’s tallest peak - 3,406ft-high Carrauntoohil in County Kerry. Europe’s highest sea cliffs are here, too, at Sliabh Liag in County Donegal, standing 1,972ft above the Atlantic.

2. Ancient Monks & Jedi Knights

The Skellig Islands, an arresting UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of County Kerry have also doubled as an intergalactic outpost. Fans of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the next instalment, 2017’s The Last Jedi, can spot the islands, particularly the larger Skellig Michael, as it cameos in these space age blockbusters. In real life, majestic Skellig Michael is the site of an ancient monastic settlement that begs to be explored.

Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne in The Quiet Man. Credit @ReadMedia.com

3. Oscar-Winning Scenery

While you may be well aware that the 1952 John Ford classic The Quiet Man was shot in rural Counties Mayo and Galway, did you know that there are two replicas of its iconic cottage? The actual crumbling Connemara cottage featured in the film was granted protected status a number of years ago, however, you’ll find replicas of it in Cong, County Mayo and at Maam Cross, County Galway. The Academy Award-winning film starred John Wayne and the late, great Irish actress Maureen O’Hara, who sadly passed away in 2015 at the impressive age of 95. 

4. Hollywood Meets Donegal

Care to follow in some very famous footsteps? A touch of tinseltown hit County Donegal when the likes of Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe each vacationed at Glenveagh National Park’s exquisite 19th-century castle during Hollywood’s golden era.


Feeling brave? In County Sligo, Mullaghmore’s ‘Prowlers’ reach such dizzying heights - 30-40ft - that surfers generally can’t catch them by man power alone and must be towed into the mighty swell by jet ski. Yikes! 

  • The night sky in County Kerry

6. Kerry by Starlight

There are plenty of reasons why County Kerry is known as The Kingdom, but just one jewel in its crown is the fact that it’s home to the only gold-tiered reserve in the northern hemisphere. An accolade awarded by the International Dark-Sky Association, it means that due to a lack of artificial light in this rural area, stars appear exceptionally bright, with all manner of captivating astronomical delights visible to the naked eye.


Fancy rubbing shoulders with royalty? The artistic community living on remote Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) Tory Island off the Donegal coast elects an island king! 


The inventor of the modern submarine, John Philip Holland, was born in 1841 in the village of Liscannor, just a few kilometres south of the 320 million-year-old Cliffs of Moher, where his father was actually a coast guard. The mariner way of life was clearly in the blood.

A cliff-diving event on Inis Mór island

9. Where Divers Dare

This one’s not for the faint-hearted. Venture out by ferry to Inis Mór off the County Galway coast and you’ll find the evocatively named Serpent’s Lair - a perfectly rectangular pool carved out by the elements at the bottom of a soaring cliff where experienced and daring divers plunge three times the Olympic height.

10.  An Antarctic Icon

Finally, legendary seaman and Antarctic explorer Tom Crean was born in Annascaul on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry. You’ll find an exhibition dedicated to his incredible Antarctic expedition alongside Ernest Shackleton in the Kerry County Museum in Tralee and a brewery named in his honour in Dingle, too.

Invigorating, enchanting and with scenery that’s never less than spine-tingling, the Wild Atlantic Way is an unforgettable place to visit. With so many untold delights to be found around every corner, isn’t it time you started planning your own unique adventure? Get working on your itinerary today with our handy Trip Planner or explore the route in full right here.

We use cookies on this website, some of which are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set.
By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device.
More details can be found in our cookies policy.