From jagged sea cliffs and grand medieval castles to windswept beaches and traditional Gaelic-speaking villages, Ireland’s west coast seems tailor-made for exploring. Its winding seaside roads just scream “road trip,” which was made all the more likely in 2013 when the Wild Atlantic Way was launched to link the coast’s many sites. The road traces the Atlantic coastline all the way from West Cork to Donegal as Ireland’s first long-distance driving route.
Visitors can set out from Dublin (Ireland’s capital) on an eight-day adventure in the Irish Wild West, taking in highlights like the scenic Ring of Kerry, the rugged Beara Peninsula the Rock of Cashel and Blarney Castle in County Cork. The 2,500-kilometer Wild Atlantic Way features 159 ‘Discovery Points’ that mark can’t-miss attractions such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael, Europe’s westernmost point at Slea Head and the 15th-century Listowel Castle.
Short on time? Opt for a three-day drive along Ireland’s west coast to take in highlights like the mighty Cliffs of Moher, the quintessentially Irish city of Galway and the sweeping landscapes of Connemara National Park. You can also tack on a few more days to visit the top sites in Northern Ireland as well.