An epic adventure along the 2,500 miles of Ireland’s Eastern seaboard is simply a breathtaking experience, certainly one destined for the bucket list. It’s not just knowing that the nearest landfall is some 3,000 miles away in Newfoundland, across the vastness of the grey Atlantic ocean, which captivates the imagination no, visitors are notably awestruck by the unfolding drama of mighty cliff faces (battered relentlessly by centuries of wild storms) together with the array of delightful fishing towns seeking shelter beside them, that makes this particularly journey so special.
Your nearest point of arrival into Ireland is of course through Shannon Airport, whose very own history tells the story of the first commercial Atlantic crossings by Sea Planes back in 1939. Located on the Shannon Estuary at Foynes, Pan Am, TWA and BOAC began services which would then, as fixed wing aircraft developed, re-locate to where the present airport operates across the river. Travellers today can discover much more than just the origins of the world famous Irish Coffee, at the new purpose built museum in Foynes, visitors can also step on board a full sized replica of a Boeing 314 Sea Plane!
So what are the main features to consider when planning your tour along the Wild Atlantic Way?
To begin with there are four distinct regional areas, all accessible by transfers from Shannon Airport, by car hire, rail, or organised tour. You could if your group is family sized, arrange to travel privately by Limousine, or hi-spec MPV, together with a qualified Bord Failte Chauffeur /Guide at quite competitive rates. Booked through www.shannoncorporatetransfers.com or our parent company www.carrigcoaches.ie you can really begin to enjoy discovering both the rich heritage and natural beauty of this great Island, as you sit back and relax.
If you are on a short trip of approximately a week it is possible, at a pace, to whistle stop the 2,500 kilometers (1550 miles) between Counties Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. Our suggestion to travellers is to take in the Ring of Kerry, The Dingle Peninsula, The Cliffs of Moher, Galway City, The Connemara, Sligo and Donegal Town. Following the coastal road, and using the Ferry between Tarbert and Killimer, you can travel the coastal road most of the way though Co.Clare and along the UNESCO World heritage site ‘The Burren’. Using Galway City as a second or third stopover, you can then reach The Connamara, County Mayo, and the most northerly reaches a couple of days beyond.
One thing has to be said when tour planning for holidays in Ireland (and maybe why a longer stay is advisable) is that what appears to be a short Google distance between major towns is in fact far more time consuming, given the roads are very rural and more over a lot narrower than normal carriage ways. Likewise, prevailing traffic conditions can add time. But, you will enjoy weaving your way through the green and pleasant Irish countryside discovering small villages enroute, and there’s plenty of public houses with well-appointed guesthouses to distract you. If you’re looking for something a little more up market, then a stopover in Dromoland Castle, or Ashford Castle may be on your wish list !
Again, working plans around the four main centres of Killarney, Limerick/Clare, Galway, and Sligo, you may ultimately choose to take in just two of these regions, leaving one section for another holiday to Ireland. Many find it helps to incorporate a stay in the capital city of Dublin or Irelands second major city Cork, as a further holiday highlight. Indeed nearby Cobh on the south coast of County Cork and the Howth peninsula in County Dublin are places you might also want to add on your itinerary. What’s certain is getting to the far reaches of Malin Head in North Donegal, and Mizen Head in south County Cork, which are absolutely mighty destinations of incredible coastal beauty becomes more possible, when either you’ve chosen to stay for a two week vacation, or created a split vacation which focuses on either
north or south. Indeed one place on my own bucket list is to take the short four mile boat trip to the Fastnet Light House, which towers 54 meters off the Coast of Mizen Head. If you want to truly experience the Wild Atlantic, what better way than re-living the first sight of a safe haven sailor would have experienced, having traversed the great Atlantic Ocean!
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