The Wild Atlantic Way - Highlights Part One
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 15th of May 2014 at 08:44:01
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The Wild Atlantic Way has many jewels along its 2,500km route. With an impressive coastline offering some of the best sea views around, along with a history that seems to stretch back through the mists of time and all combined with the heritage and traditions of the locals, there is simply an abundance of things to see and do whther your interest lies in crafts, sightseeing, culinary, history or absailing!
In the coming weeks, I will be looking at some activities you can do along the route and also at some culinary treats you can indulge in too, but firstly I have picked out some of my personal highlights which I will look at this week and next!
Travelling along the route Donegal to Mayo, make sure you include these places into your Wild Atlantic Way itinerary!
Portsalon Beach, County Donegal – For me, Donegal is one of Ireland’s most beautiful counties and certainly one of Ireland’s most overlooked. But hopefully the Wild Atlantic Way will change all that! With this in mind, pay a visit to this wonderful beach – voted as the world’s most second most beautiful beach by The Observer. It is just stunning and offers great views of the Inishowen Peninsula yet another must see in Donegal. With a sandy beach and unparalleled views of Donegal’s epic coastline, make sure and bring your camera!
Grianan Ailigh, County Donegal
– Being a bit of history nut this was on my bucket list for a long time and it certainly did not disappoint! Located close to the city of Derry and overlooking Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly, the site is thought to date to the 5th century BC with the current circular structure dating to the 6th or 7th centuries. Indeed, it is one of only five Irish locations found on Ptolemy of Alexandria’s map of the 2nd century world. Walking around this site there seems to be a tangible energy vibrating through its historic walls, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside adding to the power and prestige of this once important site.
Mullaghmore Head, County Sligo – This small peninsula lies close to the Donegal boarder, proudly jutting out against the wilds of the Atlantic. Surrounded by the mountains of Ben Bulben and part of the Dartry Mountain range, the beauty of this area knows no bounds. It is also well known as a surfing paradise with surfers from around the world braving the cold of the Irish seas. Look out for waves called the “prowlers” which can reach up to 100ft high!
Sligo Bay, County Sligo – Take a cruise of this gorgeous bay which has an abundance of attractions from the islands of Coney and Oyster, to the Metal Man – a 14 foot tall statue of a man in the bay since 1821, Blackrock and Oyster Island lighthouses and a whole host of marine life from gulls and puffins, to dolphins and grey seals. A lovely trip where you can just sit back and relax, letting someone else do all the work!
Achill Island, County Mayo
– I have been to Achill several times and it has a steadfast place in my heart. Ireland’s largest island it is a mix of moorland, cliffs, mountains and beaches - 5 of which are blue flag. Take the Atlantic Coast Drive a circular route around the island - or take one of the many great walking tours. The coastal views will simply blow your mind! And of course a visit to one of the local pubs for some good old Irish hospitality and craic is a must!
Westport, County Mayo
– This pretty market town is located in the south-east corner of Clew Bay – yet another stunning bay found along the Wild Atlantic Way. It is a planned town – having been commissioned by the local landowner in 1780. Pretty and compact it has lots of shops, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs. It is also a great base from which to tour the local vicinity including Clew Bay itself, Westport House and Gardens and the pilgrimage spot of Croagh Patrick. Charming and full of Irish character make sure you pop into Matt Malloys’ for some raucous traditional music sessions and a great pint of Guinness!
For more on the Wild Atlantic Way have a look here
Rugged and authentic – this is the Wild Atlantic Way!