The Wild Atlantic Way is a tourism trail along the west coast of Ireland. The 2,500 km (1553 miles) driving route takes in nine counties stretching from Donegal’s Malin Head in the north to Mizen Head in the south.
We are proud to say that Ireland is home to the longest defined coastal drive in the world. The breath-taking Wild Atlantic Way route has some of the most stunning coastal views in the world. Along the route there are places and attractions which have been designated as points of interest for travellers from stunning beaches to colourful villages and towns combined with the history, heritage and tradition of this rugged coastline.
The Wild Atlantic Way is broken down in to four main regions: North-West, The West, Mid-West and South West. There are also 14 different routes giving you the choice to discover all or parts of the Wild Atlantic Way. In the West region close to Galway you have many points of Galway tourism to stop and view the beauty it holds.
First off you have Rossaveal or “the peninsula of the whale” which is a gorgeous fishing village in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht. An Spidéal, or (Spiddal as it is commonly known) is a pretty seaside village set in the Gaeltacht district. Its charming Gothic church, pier side setting, sandy beach and spectacular sunset and Burren views are just some of the attractions Spiddal has to offer. Nestled on the southern shores of Galway Bay, the enchanting fishing village of Ballyvaughan is the perfect base to explore the spectacular Burren region. Here you can cast off for some sea angling, have the craic in traditional local pubs, or step it out for some mind-blowing coastal walks.
There are many hidden gems along the way also, such as Roundstone (also known as Cloch na Rón meaning ‘Seal’s Rock’) which is named after a distinctly round rock which can be found at the entrance to the bay. Roundstone is also where the Arts in Ireland are held as many famous Irish figures have painted here. It is also known for their vibrant traditional Irish nights which are held in the months of July and August, during which they offer music, songs and dancing from the Connemara Area. You will also pass through a vibrant town called Ballyconneely where the beaches of this region offer many edible goods from the sea which is available at a low tide, such as shellfish, molluscs, clams, mussels, and shrimps and even with some knowledge of the locals, the odd lobster.
If you’re interested in botanical wonders, you may also visit Derrigimlagh which has an especially boggy landscape and in those kinds of conditions you are sure that you’ll find breeds of plants you’ve never seen before!
For those of you who love historic towns and stories, be sure to visit Cleggan (also known as An Cloigeann, meaning head). Its historic roots and exquisite scenery are sure to attract many tourists along the Wild Atlantic Way. As you continue on your journey you will reach a spectacular town named Killary Fjord which has formed a natural dived between Galway and Mayo. If you do stop by, make sure to hop on one of the cruises for some tea and coffee, maybe if you’re in luck, the dolphins may make an appearance too.
The beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way is that it can be explored at leisure allowing a true appreciation of all it has to offer. No matter which side you start your journey on, it is guaranteed that you will have an unforgettable experience.