Passing a majestic white horse perched high on the Spiddalcliffs overlooking the morning ocean I feel as though I’m transformed into some mythical land that even the hands of time have forgotten.
Forsaking the overhead powerlines, a narrow gravel road and a few tourist filled cars you start to wonder if even the industrial revolution bypassed this mysteriously beautiful part of the world.
Western Ireland is a must see for all travellers. Whether you decide to take bus, bike or car you are guaranteed to see some of the most amazing sites. From the handmade rock fences to the sheer facing cliffs, this is a medieval feast for the senses.
If, like me, you’re taking the lone route and travelling by car, here is a four-day scenic route (courtesy of knowledgeable locals) guaranteed to excite.
Day 1 – Galway to Clifden and back
Head to Clifden from Galway along the coastal road. You’ll pass through some quaint little villages, have a near-miss with some wandering cattle and donkey and marvel at the hand-made rock walls, aka fences. You can do this in a few hours and still have time to take in the sites of Galway.
When time comes to rest your head, Galway and Salt Hill are filled with B&Bs. Try Forster Street, Galway or Whitestrand, Salt Hill. You’ll have no trouble finding a vacancy.
Day 2 – Galway to Dingle via Cliffs of Moher
Leaving Galway take the N67 toward Cliffs of Moher. You will find plenty of viewing spots along the way that you won’t want to pass without taking a few happy snaps – Fishing piers, sheer cliffs, oceanic views & even a few rock climbers. Also many little villages you can view while passing or find a café or pub to stop and recharge.
Take the R477 toward Doolin. If you have the time, Aran Island ferries leave from here or there are some cute little shops to visit in Doolin.
Give yourself at least an hour at the Cliffs of Moher. Recently shortlisted for the new Seven Wonders of Nature, this is well worth a look. Will cost 6 euro for adults and 4 for seniors and students.
For the surfers, those learning to surf and beach lovers, your next stop should be Lahinch. Coming from Qld, Australia it was unimpressive as far as beaches go, brown water and rocky, but as a surfing village the atmosphere was fun and inviting reminding me of home **long sigh**. Stay a night here if you can – if you do let me know how it went.
Take the ferry (18 Euro per car one way) from Killimer across to Tarbert and make your way down the N86. You will pass some more coastal scenery, well worth a stop, and make your way through the mountains to a little fishing town called Dingle.
You can see all of Dingle in a 20min stroll including a fishing pier and watching real fisherman gut freshly caught fish, serving as dinner for the seagulls. To end your day there are many traditional pubs littered around town where you can take in a pint of Guinness or Murphy’s, a hearty meal and some traditional music.
Again, there are many B&B’s and hostels and plenty of parking around town. Try Hideout Hostel on Dykegate Street.
Day 3 – Dingle to Killarney via Ring of Kerry
Take the coastal road from Dingle to Killarney. Some of the most spectacular sights of the trip – not to mention some of the scariest roads. Well worth it though.
In Killarney, you can take many walking trips through the Killarney National Forest and spend the day stopping at the many seaside towns along Ring of Kerry. Some beautiful seaside views and stops – take some of the out of the way tracks to the beach entrances.
Day 4 – Killarney to Dublin via Kilkenny
Before heading home it’s time to take in some of the many castles open for viewing in Ireland. Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle and Blarney Castle are some of my picks. Don’t forget to kiss the stone!
For nature lovers, you cannot leave without visiting the Wicklow Mountains and National Park. Many nature walks and hiking tracks are available. Even a Monastic City in Glendalough built in the 6th Century and later abandoned by the monks. Plan ahead if you intend on spending some time here. There is much to see.
Whatever your tastes or speed, there is something for everyone in Ireland. What are you waiting for – discover Ireland.