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19 in 19: The Wild Atlantic Way Year in Pictures



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Thousands of stunning images of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way were shared on Instagram over the past twelve months.

These pictures tell the story of a land that's marked by breathtaking landscapes, thrilling cliffside walks and majestic ancient castles, with spectacular photo opportunities at every turn.  

Here, we've picked out 19 of the most incredible images taken along the Wild Atlantic Way so far this year. We hope these will inspire you not only to visit these exquisite sites, but also to take fantastic pictures of your own and create some unforgettable memories of this very special corner of the Emerald Isle. 

 
 

1. bridges of ross, co. clare 


Although there were once three of these natural sea arches at this haunting location, two subsequently fell into the sea – today, just one remains. When viewed from above, as in this image, you can truly appreciate the strange beauty of this formation, carved out of the shoreline by the Atlantic.

2. DERRYNANE BEACH, CO. KERRY

Derrynane Beach is just one of Kerry's beautiful white sandy beaches. Its crystal clear waters are perfect for taking a dip in during the summer months. Just two miles away is the village of Caherdaniel along with Derrynane Abbey and burial ground. 

3. MALIN HEAD, CO. DONEGAL 


A beautiful Malin Head cottage with a rocky shoreline as its backdrop. Located on Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula, picturesque Malin head is located at the most northerly point of the island of Ireland. The head has its own weather station with reports that are featured in the BBC Shipping Forecast.
 

4. NUN'S BEACH, CO. KERRY 

Nun's Beach, Kerry

Nun's Beach in Ballybunion: This beautiful natural bay has been carved out over the centuries by the rough Atlantic waves. Located under an old convent, the beach was used as a private bathing spot by nuns in the local area and is accessible by boat only. It's part of a clifftop walk that includes the famous Nine Daughters' Hole and scenic views of sea stacks.

5. Doolin village, co. clare 

Doolin village, Co Clare

The village of Doolin holds a special place in Ireland's heart. Known as the gateway to the stunning Aran Islands, the village is also situated on the edge of the historic Burren. Beautiful clifftop walks, rugged landscapes and a thriving traditional music scene are just some of the reasons why visitors flock to Doolin in their droves.

6. GLENCOLUMBKILLE, DONEGAL  

GlencolombkilleGlencolumbkille (or Gleann Cholm Cille, as it's known in Irish) is a pretty coastal area in the southwest of Donegal. This Gaeltacht, or Irish speaking, area is a great place to go if you want to hear the locals speaking their ancient and beautiful language. Nearby are more stunning attractions such as the Slieve League cliffs, The Silver Strand at Malin Beg, and Glen Head itself.

7. DUNQUIN PIER, CO. KERRY 


Viewed from above, this steep winding road leading down to the Dunquin pier looks nothing short of eccentric, making it a fantastic photo opportunity. Perched on the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula, it's surrounded by craggy cliffs, giving it an otherworldly feel. The pier is the departure point for ferries to the Blasket Islands, another place to put on your must-see list.

8. SKELLIG MICHAEL, CO. KERRY

The Skellig Islands rise majestically from the sea 8 miles off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry. Skellig Michael stands at 218 metres above sea level and was featured in Star Wars: A Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, making it a very popular attraction in this part of the world.

9. Dingle, Co. Kerry 

Dingle is a small port town on the famously scenic Dingle Peninsula. The surrounding area is known for its breathtaking scenery, winding trails and white sandy beaches. In the harbour itself you'll find Fungie the dolphin, along with Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium which has penguins, otters and sharks.

10. CARAUNTOOHIL, CO. KERRY 

Carauntoohil is the highest mountain in Ireland standing at 1,038.6 metres or 3,407 ft above sea level. Climbing the mountain will take you a strenuous 4 to 6 hours via the Devils Ladder route, during which you'll be rewarded with some of Ireland's most stunning scenery.

11. Grianan of Aileach, Co. Donegal 

The Grianan of Aileach (or Grianán Ailigh in Irish) is an ancient fort on the top of Greenan Mountain at Inishowen in County Donegal. Built in the 6th or 7th century AD, it's thought to have been the seat of the Kingdom of Ailech and one of the royal sites of Gaelic Ireland. There are just forty to fifty of these hillforts in Ireland; they may have been defensive sites or ceremonial enclosures. 

12. Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Donegal 

Ireland's highest sea cliffs, Sliabh Liag, are part of the spectacular rugged coastline of County Donegal and an impressive sight to behold on the Wild Atlantic Way. Sliabh Liag itself is a sacred Christian pilgrimage route with a long and rich heritage. Visitors will enjoy sweeping views of Donegal Bay, 600m above the wild Atlantic ocean.

13. Boyeeghter Bay, Co. Donegal 

Located on the Rosguill Peninsula, Boyeeghter Bay has two beaches when the tide is in, and these merge into one when the tide is out. Rather ominously, this spot is also known to the locals as "murder Hole" due to the strong tides that prevail. The wild and relentless Atlantic sea has carved jagged shapes into the rocks aswell as a cave. 

14. Great Blasket Island, Co. Kerry 

Great Blasket Island is the principle island of the picturesque Blasket Islands. On this very special island you'll find over 1,100 acres of unspoiled mountainous landscapes and a wide range of native flora and fauna. This island is 4 miles long and just half a mile wide, and it's situated just 3 miles off the tip of the stunning Dingle Peninsula. 

15. Beara Peninsula, Co. Cork

With more prehistoric monuments than any other region on Ireland, the beautiful Beara peninsula is the perfect place to stop and enjoy some wonderful scenery on the Wild Atlantic Way. The peninsula is also home to the tallest standing Ogham (inscribed with ancient script) stone in Europe, at Ardgroom. This 137km route mainly follows the coast and threads its way through a series of picturesque seaside fishing villages. Pictured above is a location near Allihies and Dursey Island, home to the only cable car in Ireland, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

16. Salthill, co. Galway  


Salthill is a picturesque seaside area in the vibrant city of Galway. With 2km of promenade to stroll along, visitors can take in panoramic views of Galway Bay and, on a clear day, the gently rolling hills of Clare can be seen across the glistening water. In the summer months, Blackrock diving tower (pictured) is the perfect place for an invigorating dip into the Atlantic sea. 

17. Slea Head, Co. Kerry 


One of Ireland's most scenic drives, the route around Slea Head is a veritable feast for the eyes. Slea offers up stunning vistas of the famous Blasket Islands, and the Skelligs, along with beautiful Irish speaking villages and historic sites. The bravest tourists can be spotted cycling, not driving, along the narrow cliff road - a slower and more eco-conscious way to take in the views.

18. Loop Head, Co. Clare 

Wild and windswept Loop Head lies north of the mouth of the River Shannon in County Clare. The head is home to a lighthouse which is operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights. Look closely at the very tip of the headland and you'll see an important relic: an original "Eire" sign left over from World War 2 during the Emergency in Ireland. 

19. Galley Head, Co. Cork 

Galley Head West CorkOur last stunning image of the Wild Atlantic Way: the rocky tendrils of Galley Head reaching out into the Atlantic sea. The head is home to Galley Head lighthouse, an active 19th century lighthouse outside of Rosscarbery, County Cork. Visitors to the area can enjoy dolphin and whale watching as well as the famous and delicious black pudding from nearby Clonakilty.

For more breathtaking photos of the Wild Atlantic Way, follow our Instagram account @thewildatlanticway

 

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