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Winter Ways to Enjoy the Wild Atlantic Way



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Cooler breezes, wilder surf and the days drawing in don’t curb any of the fun you can have on the Wild Atlantic Way in winter.

Whether you’re wrapping up to brave a day in the invigorating elements or cosying up to a roaring fire and the sparks of great conversation, everything you could want is yours for the taking.

Here are some winter ways to truly enjoy the Wild Atlantic Way.

 
  • Snowcapped Mount Errigal, County Donegal
 

gET Outdoors

You know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing… so layer up and get out among just what the Wild Atlantic Way is renowned for – its incredible scenery. Some of the route’s natural gems are at their most enigmatic in the winter months and with five national parks to choose from, you can get lost among the country’s highest mountain range, encounter ancient abbeys, spy stunning wildlife roaming free and wander the Burren’s 350-million-year-old limestone plains.

And that’s just on foot, imagine what you’d see from the saddle of a fat bike, the groove of a kayak or the peak of a sea stack! For those feeling brave enough to take on an Atlantic dip, there are endless beaches to take to the waves from. And of course, you can always enjoy the views from dry land and simply ramble the shoreline or breathe in that salty air.

Wherever you spend your time outdoors, be sure to capture it all as the light changes quickly on the route – making for some seriously captivating photos.

 
  • Festive cheer at Galway's Christmas Market
 

Festive Fun

The festive season comes with a special kind of charm along the Wild Atlantic Way, where better to wrap your hands around a hot tipple, work up an indulgent appetite or simply embrace the good cheer? The City of Tribes does a fine line in all things yuletide thanks to its lively annual Christmas market in Eyre Square. Pick up crafts, jewellery, artisan foods and more, while the fanfare of traditional amusements and fun turns the Christmas spirit right up to 11. Over in County Kerry, the Christmas in Killarney festival boasts markets, parades, ice skating, musical entertainment and even sleigh rides!

Christmas and New Year spent on the route are known for bringing their own unique traditions. In Dingle on St Stephen’s Day (26th December), watch out for a curious crew known as the Wren Boys. An ancient Irish tradition, they parade the town dressed in rustic straw costumes and masks, play music and spread merriment as they reenact an old custom of hunting the wren (thankfully, with a fake wren!). Dingle’s also a great place to ring in the new year, as the Dingle Fife and Drum Band keep the music flowing on the pier in the lead up to the big countdown and the spectacular fireworks.

 
  • Serenity among stunning scenery
 

Treat Yourself!

As idyllic as winter on the Wild Atlantic Way can be, those blustery breezes and fresh-air strolls can put you in mind for some indulgent pampering. Sink into the ancient practice of a rejuvenating seaweed soak at your pick of locations like Connemara Seaweed Baths in County Galway, Voya and Kilcullen in County Sligo, or Bundoran in County Donegal.

Or go all in on some serious spa time with exceptional views at County Cork’s Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, a mountain escape at County Galway’s Delphi Resort, or County Kerry’s nature-inspired spa at the Parknasilla Hotel. Embracing some relaxation on the Atlantic’s edge? Now that’s a fast-track to total zen.

 
  • A trad session is always on the cards in Dingle!
 

Terrific Trad

A traditional music session at any time of year is a joy to behold, but there’s something about nabbing a spot in a cosy pub snug during winter that makes the music that much sweeter. No two trad sessions are ever the same, especially as the styles and repertoire vary from region to region, this means you’re almost always on to a winner no matter where you settle in. In Westport, County Mayo, Matt Molloy’s Bar lends itself the cosiest of atmospheres thanks to its many nooks and crannies. Renowned for his flute playing with Emmy award-winners The Chieftains, Matt himself often joins in the session, so a dash of magic may be on the menu.

Páidí Ó Sé's family-run pub in Ventry, County Kerry, is another great spot and one you’re as likely to have a knees-up with a celebrity in, as a local. Known for its famous visitors (Dolly Parton’s been known to stop by), the sessions in this Kerry corner are never less than roof-raising!

On beautiful Inis Mór (Inishmore), County Galway, Tí Joe Watty's sessions get the whole island under its rhythmic spell. One of the oldest pubs on Inis Mór, its trad nights are the stuff of legend and take place at weekends during the winter months.

 
 

These are just a handful of ways to experience and embrace the Wild Atlantic Way of life in all its winter glory, find out other ways to enjoy the route here.

 
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