Traveling by car is the best way to get around in Ireland. It allows you to stop and check out the beautiful landscapes or camp whenever you find the right spot.
The only problem is deciding where to go when travelling around Ireland by car, which is why we’ve created the following itinerary.
Our itinerary showcases the best destinations along the Wild Atlantic Way. The Wild Atlantic Way covers over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles) of coastline, from County Donegal in the north to the southern tip of County Cork. Here are a few of the best places to visit during a trip around Ireland by car.
Itinerary of Places to Visit During Your Tour Around Ireland
With over 150 locations to visit along the Wild Atlantic Way, you can’t see everything during a short trip, but the following itinerary covers the best destinations.
1. Fanad Lighthouse
Built-in 1817, Fanad Lighthouse is one of 12 that make up the Great Lighthouses of Ireland. The iconic landmark provides the perfect starting point for a tour around Ireland, as it is at the northern edge of County Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way.
The lighthouse is a functioning lighthouse and tours are available to the public. You can even stay the night inside the lighthouse if you book far ahead.
2. Slieve League Cliffs
Located about a two-hour drive southwest of Fanad Lighthouse is the Slieve League Cliffs. While the West Coast of Ireland is known for its steep cliffs with sheer drops, the Slieve League Cliffs are among the tallest. Several points are 2,000 feet over the water.
The surrounding area also includes a lake, beaches, and many miles of hiking trails. However, most people visit for the sweeping views of the ocean from the cliffs.
3. Kylemore Abbey
The historic sites are part of the reason why the Wild Atlantic Way is the best way to get around in Ireland. It takes you past many old buildings, including Kylemore Abbey in the Connemara area. The abbey was built 100 years ago on the grounds of Kylemore Castle and is surrounded by a walled garden.
The trip takes a little over three hours after visiting Slieve League and includes many other interesting sites, including the coastal cliffs in Mullaghmore Head and Achill Island off the coast of Mayo.
4. Historic Castles of Connemara
Along with the abbey, the Connemara region is home to several historic castles, including Bunowen Castle and Aughnanure Castle. Bunowen Castle sits on a hill looking over the southwest region of Connemara.
Aughnanure Castle was built in the 16th century and includes a preserved Irish tower house and the remains of a banquet hall. Several other castles dot the landscape, so keep an eye out as you travel south along the Wild Atlantic Way.
As the best way to travel around Ireland, the wild atlantic way route also takes you past Clifden, which is just a 20-minute drive from Kylemore Abbey. Clifden is a coastal town and a popular tourist destination. It contains many small pubs, restaurants, and shops.
Due to the variety of activities, Clifden is a great place to stop for a night during your trip across Ireland. You can fill a day with side trips, including a visit to the Connemara Heritage & History Centre, which includes preserved historic buildings and a small museum with old artifacts.
6. Doolin Cave
As you continue south on your road trip around Ireland, you will reach Doolin. It is a four-hour drive south of Clifden and home to the Doolin Cave. The cave includes the longest free-hanging stalactite in all of Europe.
The limestone cave was discovered in 1952 and opened to the public in 2006. The cave now has a small visitor centre and a café for refreshments before navigating the narrow underground passages.
7. The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are a short drive south of Doolin Cave. As with the Slieve League Cliffs, the Cliffs of Moher offer panoramic views of the surrounding coastline. While the cliffs are shorter in Moher, they tend to attract more visitors. The nearby villages are used to catering to tourists, giving you access to a variety of shops and cafes.
8. Mizen Head
When travelling around Ireland, you’ll pass dozens of peninsulas that lead to various small villages and towns, including Mizen Head. Mizen head access to many fun activities, including bird watching and kayaking. The area also includes several lighthouses and sandy beaches.
Kinsale is directly south of the city of Cork and is a historic port town and one of the more heavily populated areas on this itinerary. It includes all the amenities of a city, including hotels, restaurants, and a large marina near the centre of town.
Use this itinerary to start plotting your route. However, before you leave on a road trip around Ireland, consider getting a car rooftop tent. A rooftop tent is the most convenient option for getting around in Ireland, as you can camp almost anywhere. They are also quick to set up, comfortable to sleep in, and keep you off the ground. Contact us here