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IRISH WEATHER ON THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY IN OCTOBER



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“You’re going to Ireland in October!?” people exclaimed as they shook their head and contorted their face into something resembling a tornado.  

This was the typical reaction I received when I told them of my plans for a two-week solo road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. But sometimes you don’t have control over when you can go, and I refuse to let things like being solo or weather stop me else I may never go anywhere! The truth is, the best time to go to Ireland is whenever your heart desires to. So I heeded the warnings, packed my waterproof gear for me and my cameras and took off from Mizen Head to Malin Head on my own – determined to not let the weather get me down. 

 
 
So I heeded the warnings, packed my waterproof gear for me and my cameras and took off from Mizen Head to Malin Head on my own – determined to not let the weather get me down. 
 

I find that traveling in the ‘bad weather’ seasons can be the most rewarding as you get exposed to the local culture and how they deal with the weather in their daily lives. You also get a different perspective on the landscapes rather than the pristine views that normally grace our screens beckoning us away from our desks. And finally, you get fewer tourists, which means more attention for you and more real-life exposure. 
 
In fact, there were a number of great by-products of traveling the Wild Atlantic Way in inclement weather.
 

MORE ADVENTURE 

It’s easy to go kayaking and hiking on breezy, sunny days with blue skies and idyllic fluffy clouds, but your adventures definitely get amped up a notch with bad weather.  I found myself electric biking in the rain in Connemara, and getting practically blown off a cliff on the Ring of Kerry.  However my favourite adventures on the Wild Atlantic Way happened to be in the worst weather.

Hiking the Burren Way was soggy – really soggy. But the beauty of it was I was the only one out there on the trail – me and the cows. It gave me a special connection to the landscape that I never would have had on a crowded trail.

I never felt worried as I always had the ability to call the hiking company who had set up this self guided hiking itinerary and they would also regularly check in with me ensure all was ok.

I not only enjoyed the views of the wild Atlantic – I also got a real feel for its power when I got on the wild Atlantic on a kayak.

Clare, my guide from Real Adventures Connemara, had nerves of steel on the water. The water was churning wildly the day we put the little yellow kayak in the water and things seemed to get worse from there. Storms were lined up on the horizon like planes waiting to land at Heathrow. Yet we paddled directly into them being pelted by wind and rain giving me one of the wildest rides I can remember. However, as we were bobbing around in the water being jostled in every direction and water crashing up into the kayak, Clare remained calm. So calm that she even served me tea. Clare lived up to her company name – it was a real adventure.  

 
  • I found myself electric biking in the rain in Connemara, and getting practically blown off a cliff on the Ring of Kerry.  
 

CULTURE

You really learn what a culture is made of in the bad weather.

On one of the absolute worst weather days on my trip with whistling winds and sideways rain, I saw people out running in a 5km race. I beeped my horn to give them encouragement, as I was astonished at the crowd and participants and how resilient they were. The weather didn’t seem to stop anyone in the small towns along the Wild Atlantic Way, people were out going about their days as normal.

I also quickly learned the most important part of an Irish wardrobe is rain pants and a raincoat. I normally always just travel with a poncho for rain protection, but when I was introduced to the gale force winds along the Wild Atlantic Way, I knew a poncho wouldn’t do. Luckily, I learned every local has a pair of rain pants and normally some extra ones they were more than willing to share!

So when they offer you the rain pants – take them.

 
 

FIREPLACES AND HOT DRINKS

Who doesn’t love snuggling up by a fireplace on a chilly wet evening with a hot toddy? 

Most evenings that’s where you could find me – in a pub cuddling up to the fireplace talking to locals, or being pampered by an over attentive B&B owner able to shower you with hospitality because you may be the only person there in the off-season - making it truly the best time to travel to Ireland. 

One of my favourite days of my trip was finishing my 14km Burren Way Blackhead Walk in Ballyvaughan in the pouring rain, and walking into my B&B where Breda, the owner, greeted me like a worried mother. She immediately had me out of my wet clothes and was doing my laundry while simultaneously placing me next to the roaring fire serving me warm tea and homemade scones.

 
 

MOODY PHOTOGRAPHY

My favourite byproduct of travelling in bad weather is by far the photography opportunities. On stormy days it seemed as if the sunlight and clouds were doing an intimate tango in the sky creating some of the most stunning and moody photography I’ve done.

I loved having my own car as there were days where I went off-plan and off-GPS to chase the rain clouds in search of rays of light breaking through illuminating a scene. Photography is all about light, and storms create the best light muse you can ever ask for. And don’t forget the resulting rainbows!

It doesn't matter what time of year you travel the Wild Atlantic Way as no matter the weather conditions, it's always the best time to go. It certainly didn’t dampen my experience on it. I hope you consider the upsides to the inclement weather months – for me they outweigh the prime weather months any day. You won’t melt, and you might just enjoy it more.

Just remember to pack your rain pants.    



Sherry Ott is a long-term traveler, blogger, and photographer with one goal in mind: to make you wish you were somewhere else.  She seeks out unique travel experiences and writes about her around the world adventures on Ottsworld.com.  She’s also a co-founder of Meet, Plan, Go!, a website and travel event teaching you how you can take your very own travelling career break or sabbatical.

 

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