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17 of ‘17: The Wild Atlantic Way Year in Pictures



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More than half a million images capturing the dancing lights, shifting skies and ebbing tides of Ireland’s west were posted to Instagram with the #wildatlanticway hashtag in 2017.

Snapped on smartphones and DSLR cameras alike by holidaymakers from around Ireland and the globe, these photos make up a captivating chronicle of the route’s six distinct regions – season by season, moment by moment.

Each one is a story. Each one is unique. And each one is a window into a breathtaking world right on our doorstep and the people, places and perspectives to be found there.

With all of these talented Instagrammers happily sharing their shots for the world to see, it’s little wonder many of them proved exceedingly popular with users; some of the top performing images on our channel last year garnered upwards of 7,500 likes, making their power to move and delight simply undeniable.

We hope they inspire and encourage you to capture your favourite moments on the route, too, because embracing the Wild Atlantic Way of life is so much more fun when you have the snaps to share it.

 
 

1. MAGIC AT GLENIFF HORSESHOE, CO SLIGO

 
   

Snap happy traveller @nita601 captured this dramatic shot of the view up to Diarmuid and Grainne's cave on towering Benbulben, the jewel in the crown of Yeats Country. Steeped in drama and folklore, the cave is one of the highest in Ireland – the perfect hideaway for two lovers fleeing from the jealous warrior Fionn. Here, Diarmuid met his tragic end, and this shot, showing the moss-covered crag dwarfing the winding road and pine thickets below, evokes the compelling mythology this mountain is so well known for.

 

2. SUNRISE AT FANAD HEAD, CO DONEGAL

 
   

With a picture postcard blue sky and the sunrise over the Atlantic casting a dazzling golden glow across the waves, photographer Rory O'Donnell’s shot of the lighthouse at Fanad Head was too good not to share. Snapped in December 2017, it captures a view of this craggy shoreline that is simply sublime.

 

3. WAITING FOR A WAVE AT THE CLIFFS OF MOHER, CO CLARE

 
   

South African surf photographer Tyler Walker recently spent a late autumn weekend out in the waves of the Wild Atlantic Way with Irish surf champ Conor Maguire. A Donegal native, Maguire was keen to introduce Walker to the photographic power of the region’s heart-stopping surrounds. When conditions are right, these can include the monstrous Aileen’s Wave – the stuff of legend in the surf world.

 

4. SUNSET AT EASKEY, CO SLIGO

 
   

Denise K Images shared this stunning sunset shot of the Easkey coastline in Sligo. The crashing waves, dynamic clouds and jagged outlines of rock and ruin all combine to bring this epic photo to vibrant life.

 

5. GOLDEN AFTERNOON, KILLARY FJORD, CO GALWAY

 
   

This bewitching image of a gold-draped peak in the late afternoon light was scored at Killary Fjord by award-winning photographer George Karbus. One of only three fjords in Ireland, Killary cuts deep into the countryside of northwest Connemara, forming a 16km-long natural border between counties Galway and Mayo that is framed by stunning peaks like this.

 

6. END OF THE ROAD, ALLIHIES, CO CORK

 
   

If ever there was an image to spark the wanderlust in all of us, it’s this. Heather-covered hills tumble down toward a green valley dotted with colourful houses. Radiant in the sunshine, the white sand beach at the edge of Allihies town – the last stop on West Cork’s Beara Peninsula – coaxes with its deep blue waves and the promise of that ‘leave your cares behind’ feeling. This collaborative carousel of images includes pics from Chris Hill and Valerie O’Sullivan.

 

7. NIGHT SKY AT BALLINSKELLIGS, CO KERRY

 
   

Millions of celestial bodies pepper an inky black sky at St. Finian’s Bay in Kerry, but the real star of this show is this dazzling display of the core of the Milky Way Galaxy, snapped here by BG Landscape Tours. Visible thanks to Ballinskelligs’ location within the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve Buffer Zone, this unobstructed view of the Milky Way, taken near the end of summer, is an astronomy photographer’s dream.

 

8. TRAFFIC ON THE GAP ROAD, GAP OF DUNLOE, CO KERRY

 
   

Traveller Victor Castillo captured this not-uncommon shot of Kerry’s Gap of Dunloe, where rush hour means competing for space with commuters of the furry variety. The recently rain-slicked road winds like a silver ribbon up through the Gap, inviting those who truly want to get lost for awhile.

 

9. YOU ARE HERE, LOOP HEAD, CO CLARE

  
   

Believed to have been placed during World War II to help pilots identify the land below as belonging to Ireland, the iconic ‘EIRE’ sign at Loop Head makes for a powerful and heartwarming image when taken from the air. And that’s just what Irish UAV specialists Aerial Eye decided to do as part of their Wild Atlantic Way Instagram #takeover in November.

 

10. INTERSTELLAR SUNSET, SKELLIGS, CO KERRY

 
   


When Star Wars™ film set rescue guides @mikeosheaadventurer and @cianoninsta were invited to #takeover the Wild Atlantic Way Instagram feed, the duo turned their focus from celebrity safety to stunning scenery. This shot of Little Skellig (Sceilig Bheag), taken from Skellig Michael (Ahch-To) captures the out-of-this-world beauty of this sacred and soul-stirring spot.

 

11. 100 VIEWS OF THE REEK, CROAGH PATRICK, CO MAYO

 
   

Irish artist David Smith’s latest project, 100 Views of the Reek, uses the exact same vantage point to capture the ever-changing light, contrast and colours that, hour by hour, paint Ireland’s sacred mountain Croagh Patrick an infinite number of ways. This particularly dusky vignette flaunts the ethereal light play of the Wild Atlantic Way for a watercolour-esque scene we just can’t tear our eyes from.

 

12. SEA CAVE EXPLORER, BUNDORAN, CO DONEGAL

 
   

Seized by photography enthusiast Felan Dubh, this moment an intrepid explorer ventured into one of Donegal’s enchanting sea caves makes for a simply unforgettable image. Framed by a fiery sunset, the stranger’s silhouette, mirrored in the peaceful rock pool, is a striking reminder of the need for adventure.

 

13. SLEEPING GIANTS, DUNQUIN PIER, CO KERRY

 
   

Although it may look like ruins, the dramatically winding path to Dunquin Pier is actually part of Ireland’s most westerly settlement – Dún Chaoin. A Gaeltacht village, it overlooks the now-uninhabited Blasket Islands at the edge of the Dingle Peninsula. This image, captured by Patrick O’Donnell, depicts the path to the pier framed by an unusually calm, velveteen sea.

 

14. REFUGE, KEEM BAY, ACHILL ISLAND, CO MAYO

 
   

Tucked away at the western end of Achill Island, the fine white sands and protective cliffs of the Blue Flag-designated Keem Bay are some of the most photographed in Ireland. A Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point, its crystal blue waters are just as inviting as it looks in this photo from Instagram user @mish_ele; visitors make their way here year-round to find some of the country’s best snorkelling and scuba diving.

 

15. FOR THE FANS, CO KERRY

 
   

A little self-promotion never hurt anyone, and sea celeb Fungie the Dolphin, a Dingle Bay resident, knows that it’s all in the pose when it comes to making a splash. With 5,215 Instagram followers, his is obviously a winning formula; Flipper, eat your heart out.

 

16. DOLPHIN BEACH HOUSE, CONNEMARA, CO GALWAY

 
   

Surrounded by rock-strewn, cobalt waters and accessed via a narrow footbridge, this fisherman’s hut in Belleek, Connemara, is the picture of peaceful seclusion. You can nearly feel the chill of evening settling over the landscape in this gorgeous image from Aerial Eye. Scored in early winter, it captures the luminous glow of the sunset as it casts the day’s last rays across the long grasses to the house’s west-facing side.

 

17. STORM CLOUDS AT MIZEN HEAD, CO CORK

 
   

Home to Ireland’s most southwesterly point and the evocatively named Ireland’s Teardrop signal station, West Cork’s Mizen Head is a Wild Atlantic Way must-see. Visitor @littleorangesquare made the journey in summer, where she nabbed this moving image of its rough-hewn cliffs and restless blue waters cloaked by a moody August sky.

   

Want to see your own #wildatlanticway holiday snapshots featured in our 2018 roundup? Join our community of travellers, visionaries and adventurers by following us on Instagram and showing us how you embrace the Wild Atlantic Way of life.

 

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