When National Geographic hailed The Wild Atlantic Way one of the most beautiful places in the world it was without doubt with good reason. This famous 2,500 km tourist trail stretches along the entire west coast of Ireland and passes through 9 counties and 3 provinces.
Typically the route begins on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and finishes in Kinsale town in County Cork or vice versa. You will pass through counties Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry. Top Gear’s Chris Evans considers it the best road he has ever driven on.
The route is signposted from start to finish with plenty side routes and activities. This unmissable road trip has a thousand attractions so get ready for this journey of a lifetime.
Castlefreke Forest Recreation Area
The Castlefreke Forest recreation area has beautiful walks and scenery along its pathways. The main woodland carpark is near Castlefreke castle.
The woodlands covers almost 114 hectares. It was planted with a mixture of broad leaves and conifers in the 1950’s.
Parts of the land that were planted in those years were adjacent to Long strand. It is believed that a tsunami occurred in 1743 and created the sand dunes. That area is now clear and preserved for biodiversity.
We finished the trail along the sand dunes. There is a sandy pathway overlooking the sea😍 Saturday had a stunning sunset 🌅
Castlefreke Old Church Ruins
Our latest trip was to Castlefreke Old Church Ruins. It is not on the roadside so the van stayed parked up in our overnight spot.
The pathway leading to the church is beautifully surrounded by forest, it gets dark along the way for a short while as it’s covered by trees.
The Church dates back to 1885 and was built by the Freke family. It’s got fences at the doorways now for safety but you can still wander around and easily see through the windows. The inner wall at one side still has mosaics with some writing.
It is approximately 15 mins stroll from Rathbarry.
Lord Carberys High Cross
Lord Carberys High Cross in County Cork is Ireland’s tallest memorial high cross. It stands at 9.2 metres overlooking Long Strand with views of Galley Head in the distance.
Long Strand & Owenahincha beach
We stayed near Owenahincha beach with stunning sea views to wake up to. There are great walks and a little coffee shop. We will be back to finish the trails we had no time to do 🙌
We are learning more with every trip. This weekend we realised how important levelling blocks are 🤔 They will be purchased this week 😂 It was not ideal on an uneven surface without them.
It’s great to be back on the road 😊🚐
The Old Head Of Kinsale
The Old Head of Kinsale is a Wild Atlantic Way discovery point. The headland extends 3km out into the Atlantic. The loop walk is approximately 6.5 km. There is a carpark with no height barrier and a coffee shop.
It is the nearest point to the site where the Lusitania ship sank in 1915. The signal tower has been restored and there is now a beautiful memorial garden and museum dedicated to the victims.
The Old Head castle and wall closes off the tip of the headland from the mainland. There is a small road down here with a few parking spaces too.
Charles Fort was one of Ireland’s largest military installations with some of the most momentous events in history.
We parked here for one night and there was lots of space. In the morning a mobile coffee shop arrived and was open all day 🚐
We would also recommend the Charles Fort Walk along the coast with stunning views.
The Fort is a massive star shaped structure and is well preserved despite its history. OPW now offer free access to all their sites. The tour guides are so helpful and give great information to visitors.
There are spectacular views over the parapets towards Kinsale harbour!!
Drombeg Stone Circle
We visited Drombeg Stone Circle in County Cork on our recent trip in the van. It is located approximately 10 minutes drive from Roscarbery. The roads get narrower as you get near (we had to reverse quiet a distance for an oncoming car🤣) but it was worth it.
There is a height barrier in the small carpark but if it’s quiet there is enough space to leave 1 or 2 vans at the entrance.
Drombeg stone circle is also known as The Druid’s Altar. It consists of seventeen pillar stones that are graded from two large portal stones that are two metres in height. The pillar stones are local limestone. It was excavated in 1958 and the cremated remains of an adolescent were found in a pot the centre of the stone circle.
At Winter solstice the sun sets on the horizon and aligns with the axial stone and portal stones.
The Fulacht Fiadh is a cooking pit with trough and a hearth. Experiments at the site have shown 70 gallons of water could be heated up in 18 minutes.
It is considered one of Ireland’s most famous stone circles ☘️
Derreenataggart Stone Circle
We visited Derreenataggart Stone Circle. It is located 2 km from Castletownbere and is open to the public, a lovely little trip if you are exploring this area. It is on the roadside 🙌
As you travel nearer to it the road narrows but there is a place to park across the road just before you get there. It is marked with little ribbons on trees ☺️
Dunboy Castle Ruins and Puxley Mansion
We went castle hunting after 1 night wild camping in Castletownbere 🚐 We explored Dunboy Castle Ruins and Puxley Mansion from a distance.
Puxley Mansion is a 19th century manor building near Dunboy Castle ruins. After it was redeveloped it opened as a 6 star hotel in 2007. There is supposedly a glass footbridge connecting the main house to luxury suites. After its brief reopening the recession caused it to close down once more. Now it magnificently and eerily stands fenced up and unaccessible facing Bantry Bay.
Dunboy Castle ruins is just a few minutes walk from here. It was built to guard and defend the harbour of Berehaven. The ruins are open to the public. After attempting to drive up the narrow road we ended up reversing quite a stretch because the car park was full and no space to turn 🤣 If it’s busy it’s best to leave the van at the waterside!!
Kinsale 9/11 Garden of Remembrance
We visited The Kinsale 9/11 Garden of Remembrance. It was established by a local Kinsale woman who worked as a nurse for over 30 years in New York.
The beautiful well kept garden is dedicated to all the firemen that died at that time and their Chaplin, with a tree planted for all those that died so tragically.
It is located approximately 4 km from Kinsale town 🌳
Altar Wedge Tomb
Altar Wedge Tomb is a point on the Wild Atlantic Way approximately 27 km from Bantry town in County Cork.
It is believed Bronze Age families worshipped their ancestors here. The findings of bones suggest the tomb was sacred for many centuries.
A fern pathway leads to stunning views of Toormore Bay.
There is a small carpark with a few spaces at the edge of the roadside. The Wild Atlantic Way point and the wedge tomb is right next to the carpark.
Carraiganass Castle Ruins
We stopped off at Carraiganass Castle ruins They are located near Kealkill Village approximately 11km from Bantry in County Cork. There is great walking loops there also.
It dates back to the 16th century and has now been beautifully restored. It stands overlooking Ouvane River. The main gate was in the 14 ft north wall and had four corner towers.
There is now a motorhome park open there with lovely views of the castle. We did not stay here but had to check it out ☺️ An overnight stay is €15 with water disposal and fresh water available. It’s called The Castle Field Motorhome Park.
Allihies Village On The Beara Peninsula.
Allihies is the last village on the Beara Peninsula way. We explored around this area the last few days.
We walked up the hill to see the engine house ruins, the first was built in 1830. In the early days mining was done using manpower and later they used tools and gunpowder. The mines closed in 1882. They had by then reached a depth of 421 metres.
We parked the van in the village because we were not sure how narrow the road got. It’s a lovely trail to the top. The tower is fenced off for safety reasons.
Afterwards we visited a wonderful little museum that’s dedicated to the copper mining in the area. There is also a small cafe onsite. Entry is €6 and a family ticket is €12.
The Old Barracks in Caherciveen
We visited The Old Barracks in Caherciveen. It is a must see if you like history and it is ideally located on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Our guide Tony was very informative. He has so much knowledge of the local and surrounding area and all of its tales.
This wonderful building overlooking Caherciveen has been restored. It has displays of very interesting archaeological objects and a cafe that also sells local crafts.
Admission is free this year but we gave a donation towards the upkeep of the building as we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. This is optional 😊
Hope everyone is having a wonderful week.💛🚐
Ballybunion castle was constructed in the 14th century. It was built on an elevated point above the cliffs and overlooks a beach to the right and to the left facing the Atlantic Ocean.
The castle destroyed in the Desmond wars and all that is left is the East wall. It is in the care of the OPW since 1923.
When I saw this castle a few years ago there was an arch forming a window like shape on the top but it collapsed in a storm since then.
It is free to view and a short walk from the street where we parked the van. The main car park has height restriction barriers 🚐
We stopped to see the magnificent Carrigafoyle Castle. It is approximately 17km from Ballybunnion beach. At high tide the water sometimes surrounds it.
Once it was considered the strongest of Irish fortresses. It was known as The Guardian of the Shannon because of it’s strategic command of the shipping lanes that supplied Limerick city 32 km up the river. At high tide it is sometimes surrounded by water.
Towards Ballybunion beach we saw a sign for Beale Strand. When we got to the end of that narrow road we chickened out and had to reverse the van back up because there was a lot of cars and no parking 😅🚐
Rossbeigh beach is approximately 3.6 km from Glenbeigh village. Unfortunately there was no blue skies when we visited but it is beautiful. An ancient Viking ship was once found here after a storm exposed it in the sand.
The car park has a barrier so we could not park there in the van. A lovely little ice cream shop and a restaurant overlook the beach, there is a barrier free car park there for customers.
We passed Glenbeigh Tower along the way. We could not get up close to see the stunning ruins as it is located on private property 😌 If you look closely at our photo of the ponies you can see the castle peak. Pity it is not accessible because we do love castles!! It was once a prestigious mansion but burned down in 1922.
Fairy Forest Walk Glenbeigh
We wild camped for 1 night near Glenbeigh and came across this lovely little Fairy Forest Walk.
It’s a short magical trail through the woods with beautiful coloured little fairy houses along the way. There is no entry fee.
There is a car park at the road side and a picnic area. We parked the van here there was plenty space. Afterwards we sat out and bought some coffee at the upcycle mobile cafe van it was delicious.
Well worth exploring here if you are in this area, such a cute stop off 😊
We visited the lovely Rosacroo Wood in County Kerry. It is located approximately 10 km from Kilgarvan Village towards Killarney town.
There is a car park at the roadside and it is signposted from here. A wooden bridge crosses over the river Loo into the forest. There are two trails, one is a shorter option.
A local told us the old railway from Kenmare to Headford once ran right through the woods parallel to the river. Beyond the railway there is a plot of millennium oak trees. We could not find that track so we will revisit.
Spot the 🐸 on photo 8
The Kerry Cliffs
We parked overnight at the Kerry Cliffs. It is a Wild Atlantic way viewing point. The views are absolutely stunning from the top with well maintained walkways around the cliffs. It can get quiet steep and there are handrails for use in windy conditions. A passerby even asked us was it difficult to drive up the hill 🤣
We paid €28 for three of us for the overnight stay. There are toilets at the carpark and you can top up your water there too. It’s probably a ten minute walk from the park up. It is €4 each for the cliff walk. But that was included in our overnight fee.
There is also a coffee and snacks van in the carpark. A mini beehive village example is along the walk similar to one found in Skellig Michael 🚐 🏔
This point is just a few minutes drive from Portmagee ✔️
Leacanabuile and Cahergal Stone Forts
We visited Leacanabuile and Cahergal Stone Forts. They are located approximately 3.4 km from Caherciveen and are close together with separate walkways that are signposted.
There is a small car park at the roadside entrance, spacious enough to park the van. Vehicles are not permitted beyond this point.
There is a well maintained walkway to the top of Leacanabuile. This fort has walls 10 ft In depth. Excavation on this site produced Iron and Bronze Age objects.
Cahergal Stone Fort is just a short walk from the roadside with some stone steps at the end leading into this stunning 600 AD site. The walls are approximately 6 m high.
There is no entry fee. They are well worth a visit 💚
Kilmakillogue is a lovely little Wild Atlantic Way stop off on the Beara Peninsula. It is approximately 20 km from Eyeries village.
We parked up here for a while and admired the stunning scenery. There’s a stone picnic area overlooking the sea.
The car park is small and could accommodate a few vans 🚐
Staigue Stone Fort
oday’s trip took us to Staigue Stone Fort on the Iveragh Peninsula in Co. Kerry. It is believed to have been built in the late Iron Age as a kings defensive structure.
Valentia Island Car Ferry
We took the Valentia Island car ferry from Knightstown to Renard Point.
From April to September there is a continuous shuttle service every 10 minutes. We paid €8 to cross over with the van. Alternatively you can drive to Valentia island from Portmagee via the bridge.
The beautiful Island is on the Wild Atlantic Way and located on The Skellig Coast on the Iveragh Peninsula. It is approximately 12 km by 5 km in size.
Mountain Stage is a very scenic viewpoint on the Wild Atlantic Way. We stopped off during a trip to County Kerry. There are great photo opportunities here.
Swipe to see the view ➡️😍
Some of our drone footage of Ballycarbery castle, Co.Kerry. Built in the 16th century, legend says there is a tunnel to the nearby Leacanabuile and Cahergal Stone Forts. It is approximately 1.5 km from the forts✨
Due to its deterioration it is not accessible to the public so we improvised ☺️
The Slea Head Drive
We went on The Slea Head Drive. It is a 30 mile circular route starting and finishing in Dingle. The views are absolutely unbelievable.
It is recommended to drive Slea Head in a clockwise direction. The roads can get very narrow and there is a lot of bends. There were times we did not think we could pass with the van when others were coming towards us 😅
There is small little coves along the way. We visited one that was so quiet and swimming in the sea was not permitted. There is a few Wild Atlantic Way stops to see also.
The historical site of Cashel Murphy is on this route, a collection of stone huts dating back to medieval times. It is approximately 16 km from Dingle. It’s a short walk from the roadside and again the views from here are stunning. Free parking and admission is €3. 🚐
Prehistoric Beehive Huts
We visited a lovely little pet farm and fort ruins. We were on our way to see the prehistoric beehive huts approximately 15 km from Dingle and saw this on the side of the road.
There is a €2.50 admission fee and you get a carton of treats to feed the animals. The goats knew this and one jumped on the honesty box to get them first 🤣 There is a small carpark across the road 🚐
Next stop was the bee hive huts. They are a short steep walk from the road with unbelievable views.
This group of huts are said to be one of the most remarkable in the country. They were built without using mortar and stacked stones on top of each other. There is also a free carpark across the road. The admission fee there is €3 and €2 for a student.
Dunquin Pier – This is the most westerly point of the Dingle peninsula. It is a lovely walk, a little steep but well worth stopping off here. Huge cliffs frame this beautiful coastal stretch 😍
Ferry From Tarbert To Killimer
That car totally matches my hat 🤩 We took the ferry from Tarbert to Killimer to explore County Clare.
The crossing took approximately 20 minutes. There is a little snack shop onboard also selling tea and coffee.
You can climb up the stairs to the top deck to see stunning views of the Shannon.
The Bridges of Ross
The Bridges of Ross are a stunning point on the Loop Head Peninsula on the Wild Atlantic Way.
There was originally 3 rock bridge formations but 2 have collapsed into the sea. As old bridges crumble, new ones are being formed. In one hundred years there may be 3 again.
The road gets quiet narrow just before the car park but it is quiet short. It is also on park4night, there was a few campervans here but we did not stay overnight.
There is a beautiful walk along the cliffs with stunning scenery.
Loop Head Lighthouse
Loop Head lighthouse is located in West Clare on the Loop Head Peninsula. It is a major landmark on the northern shore of the river Shannon.
Unfortunately it was closed to visitors due to renovations.
We wild camped here for one night, it is a carpark and on the park4night app. The views are just amazing and people arrived to see the stunning sunset from there too. Spot it on photo 1 🌅
Loop Head lighthouse on a foggy night 🤍 It is pretty magical to watch.
The fixed light was changed to flashing in 1869. The white light flashes 4 times every 20 seconds.
What a scenic park up 🚐
There are so many wonderful stops and viewing points on the Burren, County Clare. It covers several hundred square kilometres.
It has a distinctive karst surface. The rocks were formed up to approximately 350 years ago!
➡️ Swipe to see the rock formations
Poulnabrone Portal Tomb
We visited Poulnabrone Portal Tomb at sunset 🌅 It is located 25 km from Doolin village in County Clare. There is a large car park on the roadside. It is just a short walk from here.
It is believed to be the best preserved tomb in the country. This is one of two that were constructed in the Burren. It is situated on one of the highest points in this area.
During excavations carried out between 1986 and 1988 the remains of at least 33 individuals along with their possessions were found in the chamber.
There are 3 information boards along the trail.
Cliffs Of Moher
We visited the Cliffs of Moher on the Wild Atlantic Way. The sea cliffs stand over 200 metres above the ocean. The maximum height is 214 metres at O Briens Tower (photo 4).
From the cliffs you may see a host of seabirds, including puffins! Unfortunately we didn’t spot any puffins on this trip. In the afternoon they go out to sea fishing so morning may be the best time to see them.
There is a large car park on arrival with spaces on the front row for campervans. The pay booth is at the barriers. Here you will receive an information booklet. Entry fee was €10 per adult and €9 for a student. It is just a short walk across the road to reach the starting point to the cliffs.
The visitor centre building is eco friendly. It has a glass roof set into the hillside. There is also shops and restaurants inside. The cliffs exhibition and museum is on the ground floor. It is a self guided tour that brings the experience to life 👏
➡️ Swipe to see some beautiful butterflies on the cliff top and a clip of virtual waves inside the visitor centre 🦋