15 Fantastic Stops Along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

While at Mizen Head, look for dolphins, whales and seals in the ocean below
While at Mizen Head, look for dolphins, whales and seals in the ocean below | © Michael Mantke / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kate Phelan
24 August 2020

An unmissable road trip, the Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail is 2,500km (1,553mi) long and features 157 discovery points and 1,000 attractions along the western, southern and northern coastlines of Ireland. Culture Trip has picked the 15 must-see places along the way.

Fanad Lighthouse

Historical Landmark
Map View
© imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

The crowing point of County Donegal’s Fanad Peninsula is a lighthouse dating back to 1817; it was built in response to the sinking of a warship in Lough Swilly, in which the sole survivor was a parrot. Still a functioning lighthouse, it’s one of 12 that make up the Great Lighthouses of Ireland – a new initiative allowing visitors the chance to visit or stay in an Irish lighthouse.

Malin Head

Natural Feature
Map View

Looking out over the North Atlantic from mainland Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head feels a bit like reaching the end of the world, with little separating you from the Arctic other than the ocean – you can even see the Northern Lights from here if you time it right. This area is also home to the popular mobile coffee shop Caffe Banba, where you can enjoy a warm beverage while you take in the view.

Glenveagh, Letterkenny

Map View
Donegal’s largest town, Letterkenny, is known as the Cathedral Town, for having the county’s only Roman Catholic cathedral. It is also home to the Donegal County Museum, set in a former famine workhouse and officially recognised by the Irish government as the best of Ireland’s county museums.

Kylemore Abbey

Map View
Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.
© imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
A Benedictine monastery based in a 19th-century castle on a picturesque lakeshore, Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is well worth visiting. As well as exploring the abbey itself, you can tour the entire 405ha (1,000-acre) estate, including 2ha (six acres) of Victorian walled gardens.

Inis Meáin

Natural Feature
Map View

The smallest of Galway Bay’s Aran Islands in terms of population, Inis Meáin is described as “one of the most important strongholds of traditional Irish culture”. An extension of the Burren’s karst landscape, this beautifully remote area is also home to the celebrated Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites – a wonderful place to rest your head for the night.

These recommendations were updated on August 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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