Over the years, I have travelled along every part of the Wild Atlantic Way route, many times. Through my work here at IrelandWays.com, as part of the many cycling events I have been involved in and during my leisure time I have been able to narrow down my favourite parts of the route. Today we will take a look at my top 4 epic roads on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Coomakista – Kerry
This climb is located on the Ring of Kerry between Caherdaniel and Waterville. As you make your way out of Caherdaniel the road begins to climb straight away. By international standards it is not a particularly long climb, but at 5.9 kilometres it is one of the longest on the entire Wild Atlantic Way. It climbs steadily at an average gradient of 2.9% with a maximum gradient of 7.8%. As you make your way up the climb, you will see the stunning blue waters and pristine sandy beaches of Derrynane Harbour on the left. Once over the top you will see straight down the long valley which leads to Waterville. Keep an eye out in the valley for some of the many Iron Age stone forts which are synonymous with the area. The descent also offers stunning views out over Waterville Bay and across to Ballinskelligs. On a clear day, you may catch a glimpse of the Skellig Islands out on the horizon.
Coomakista is located on Section 3 of our Wild Atlantic Way itinerary.
Black Head – Clare
As you make your way north along the Wild Atlantic Way from Doolin you will travel along a road which hugs the rugged coast of this part of Co. Clare. The road travels through and alongside the distinctive karst limestone landscape of the Burren. The Burren is an area of great biodiversity and is one of the few places in the world where arctic, Mediterranean and alpine plants grow side by side. With the waves crashing along your left-hand side the road will offer views out to the Aran Islands. At Black Head the road curves around to follow the southern edge of Galway Bay, with views across to the hills and mountains of Connemara.
Black Head is located on Section 5 of our Wild Atlantic Way itinerary.
Doo Lough – Mayo
After you make your way around Killary Harbour the Wild Atlantic Way turns inland once again and soon you will find yourself on one of the most stunning sections of road in the country. After passing through Delphi, the valley opens up, as the road hugs the edge of Doo Lough. The road climbs a little as it moves away from the lake and you will come to a small stone cross which was erected as a memorial to the victims of the Great Famine. It is also a great spot to stop and admire the scenery of the valley you have just passed through.
Doo Lough is located on Section 6 of our Wild Atlantic Way itinerary.
Port Salon – Donegal
After you pass through the village of Port Salon you will pass the wonderful Ballymastocker Beach. It may look unassuming from sea-level but once you make your way up the following climb you will be presented with one of the icon views of the entire Wild Atlantic Way. Just after the beach the road begins to climb. At 1.3kms in length, it is quite a short climb but it is quite steep with an average gradient of 9% and a maximum gradient of 14.1%. The exertion of the climb is good enough reason to take a breather at the top and admire the vista over the beach you have just passed. Once over the top the road descends slightly and offers yet more views across Lough Swilly to Fort Dunree and the highlands of the Inishowen Peninsula.
Port Salon is located on Section 11 of our Wild Atlantic Way itinerary.
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