About The Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way

2,500 km Route Along the West Coast of Ireland

Wild Atlantic Way

Seen from the sky: The Wild Atlantic Way by a drone

The Wild Atlantic Way is a new and exciting tourism project in Ireland.

It is, at its core, a driving route of unprecedented length, tracing 2,500 km of Ireland’s western seaboard. The project aims to take tourists on a journey of discovery through the Irish countryside, through hidden places and secret worlds from Donegal to Cork. It cuts through the heart of Ireland’s Gaeltacht, where strongholds of traditional culture persist. In these areas, you can take a seat at a pub and hear locals conversing in the real Irish language. It’s a rare and authentic treat. 

The Way is punctuated by ‘Signature Experiences’ – discovery points that highlight impressive views or once-in-a-lifetime experiences. For example, you might have an opportunity to celebrate the summer solstice at Féile Grianán Áiligh in Donegal, ride a Connemara pony across the sands of Killary Harbour or meet the popularly elected King of Tory Island. It’s all in a day’s experience on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Many tourists will need to use a car hire service once they land in Ireland. CARHIRE.ie has located dotted along the Wild Atlantic Way including airports, car rental Cork airport, Dublin airport, Shannon airportKnock airport and Kerry airport, as well as Galway, Cork and Sligo. And remember, we have a vehicle for every road trip, no matter the demands. For a road trip of this length, it is important to focus on comfort, and hire a car that you will enjoy spending time in, ideally with a fantastic music system.


Western Ireland’s Atlantic coastline is rough and rugged. The sea churns relentlessly against the shore, carving out fluted cliffs and coves. Islands populate the seascape, and many are accessible through a short ferry ride. There are also several places along the way where drivers can stop to view migrating seabirds in their seasons. Puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and guillemots are commonly sighted. 

Ireland’s Atlantic frontier is a place of raw, wild beauty. The land’s struggle against the sea here is palpable, and it become even more pronounced when you consider it through the lens of the Iron Age civilisations that once held this land. The Wild Atlantic Way is without a doubt – the single greatest way to experience western Ireland.

Wild Atlantic Way Highlights

Circle the far north at Malin Head

Malin Head is Ireland’s northernmost peninsula features a stark seascape complete with a craggy coastline, windswept sand dunes and hints of Iron Age culture. A cycling tour introduces tourists to birdlife, geology and the history of the peninsula.

Forage for wild food along the Killala Shoreline

At Downpatrick Head, a local tour operator takes visitors on a foraging tour of Killala Bay. You’ll cross mudflats, collect edible seaweed and capture cockles, mussels and clams. At the end of the tour, you’ll prepare and feast on the edibles you’ve collected.

Immerse yourself in the Burren

The Burren is a rock garden, of sorts – a vast landscape of karst (limestone) outcroppings. It’s riddled with megalithic ruins, many of which are older than the Pyramids of Giza. Local tour guides are on hand to take tourists on informative walks along the limestone pavements.  

Ride a cable car to Europe’s last sunset

The remote Beara Peninsula offers views of the distant Skellig Islands as well as the mountains of the interior. Land’s end is at Dursey Sound, and the waters are too rough for safe travel. From here, a cable car whisks tourists to Dursey Island – home to three farming families. On the island, you can appreciate castle ruins, prehistoric stone monoliths and one of the finest sunsets in all of Ireland.