Your first day will be spent travelling to the coastal town of Kinsale, where you will check into your accommodation and explore this picturesque port town ahead of your Wild Atlantic Way cycling trip. Regarded as the gourmet capital of Ireland, there is no shortage of restaurants, cafés and pubs to suit every taste and budget. Only 30 minutes drive from Cork City, Kinsale marks the gateway to the famous, scenic area of West Cork; and the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way.
2 Kinsale to Clonakilty - 45km
5H | +546m / -596m
You will set off from Kinsale this morning on the first day of your Wild Atlantic Way cycling trip. Crossing the Bandon River, you will cycle to the ruined watchtower on the Old Head of Kinsale. Leaving Old Head Peninsula, you will continue along the coast until you reach the seaside village of Laherne Hill, which marks the half way point of today’s cycling. Turning inland for a while, along quiet boreens (meaning small country roads in Irish) you will cross the River Arigideen at the village of Timoleague, home to a beautiful ruin of a 13th century Franciscan Abbey, positioned by the water’s edge. Just a few more kilometres to cycle today before you reach your destination for the evening: Clonakilty.
Clonakilty is well known for its local black pudding, so do not be surprised if it features in some way on most menus in the town. On an international front Clonakilty is best known as the birthplace of the Michael Collins (1890-1922) Irish revolutionary and chairman of the Provisional Government of Ireland.
3 Clonakilty to Skibereen - 63km
5H | +648m / -651m
From Clonakilty, having tried its famous black pudding, the Wild Atlantic Way cycling trail follows the coastline past Inchydoney Island to a sandy beach outside Dunowen and then on to the village of Rosscarbery, the site of prehistoric dolmens and remnants of ring forts. Rosscarbery is roughly the half-way point of your cycle today. A few kilometres outside the village on the way to Glandore, you will pass the Drombeg stone circle. A short detour is needed to reach the site which is open to the public all year round. From Glandore to your accommodation in Skibbereen you will pass the Shreelane Lakes and cycle along roads flanked on either side by lush farm land, predominantly grazing land for cattle.
Skibbereen was a thriving industrial town, well known for the production of woollen and linen cloth, but the industry was severely damaged during the Irish famine (between 1845 and 1852). There is a famine trail starting in the town square and leading to a memorial in the grounds of Abbeystrewry Church, where it is estimated that roughly 10,000 victims of the Irish famine are buried. There is also a heritage centre hosting a permanent famine exhibition.
4 Skibereen to Schull - 50km
6H | +517m / -477m
Today, you will continue on this first section of the Wild Atlantic Way cycling from Skibbereen and heading for the charming fishing village of Baltimore. Originally settled by a colony of Normans around 1169, the village still maintains remnants of this past including Dun na Sead Castle. It is now a private residence but open to the public on selected days of the year.
Returning to the saddle once more you will make your way back to Skibbereen, crossing Meem Bridge and Sealaclare Bridge on the way to Ballydehob. A magnificent 12-arched railway bridge dominates the estuary of Ballydehob, this pretty village is a few kilometres from your accommodation in Schull.
5 Schull to Mizen Peninsula - 39km
4H | +292m / -314m
After a hearty breakfast you will depart from Schull heading for Toormore Bay. The area is home to an impressive 4,000 year old alter tomb. Leaving the coast once more, the Wild Atlantic Way takes you to Barley Cove cycling on quiet rural roads, among sheep farming land to Mizen Head, Ireland’s most Southerly point. Here you will have the option to explore Mizen Head visitor centre, signal station, Fastnet Hall, arched bridge and cafés (Admission €6 Adults. No charge to enter the café). Barley Cove has a beautiful sandy beach, where you can go for a swim.
6 Mizen Peninsula to Kilcrohane - 58km
5H | +347 / -355m
Leaving your accommodation you will cycle back to Toormore along the southern coast. Outside Toormore you will cycle across the Mizen Peninsula to the Northern coastline, with its spectacular views of the Sheep’s Head Peninsula on the left. When you reach the charming village of Durrus you will then turn to travel along the southern edge of the Sheep’s Head Peninsula to your accommodation for tonight in the village of Kilcrohane.
8 Kilcrohane to Glengarrif - 41km
5H | +419m / -449m
The Wild Atlantic Way takes you today from Kilcrohane, following the Northern coastline of the Sheeps Head Peninsula to Glengarriff. Enjoy stunning views of the Beara Peninsula, Whiddy Island and Glengarriff Bay to your left as you return to Bantry. Bantry will be the half-way point for the day and an ideal location for a leisurely lunch before continuing on your journey to Glengarriff and your accommodation for the evening.
9 Glengariff to Castletownbere - 33km
4H30 | +282m / -285m
Today is a short day cycling giving you an option to leave Glengarriff to visit Garinish Island (trip usually takes 2-3 hours). Garinish Island benefits from a sheltered location and combined with the warming effects from the Gulf stream it enjoys a sub-tropical climatewhere plant life thrives.The island has world famous manicured gardens, beautiful walks and a stunning range of plants which are extremely rare in this latitude.(trip to island not included).
Leaving Glengarriff you will be cycling on country roads (boreens in Irish) with magnificent views of Bantry Bay and the Sheeps Head Peninsula on your left and Sugarloaf Mountain (574m) on your right. The cycling today will be fairly relaxed with only one major ascent along the way taking you from 11m to 127m. Your accommodation tonight is in the lovely fishing town of Castletownbere.
10 Castletownbere to Eyeries - 51km
4H30 | +541m / -505m
Leaving Castletownbere behind, the Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour takes you towards the tip of the Beara Peninsula. Here you can take a short detour (6km each way approx) to the cable car station at Dursey sound.
Crossing the mountainous spine of the peninsula you will catch your first glimpse of Scarriff Island, Caherdaniel and the Ring of Kerry. If you have time as you cycle through Allihies check out the Allihies Copper Mine Museum. After one hundred years of being mined, the copper mines in Allihies are so deep and extensive that they go under the sea. Highlights of this area include an animal sanctuary/rehab, beautiful sandy beaches and a selection of bars and cafés to help you rest and recharge.
The cycle section from Allihies to your accommodation in Eyeries is along scenic rural roads overlooking Coulagh Bay.
11 Eyeries to Kenmare - 42km
5H | +404m / -441m
Today, the Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour sees you pedalling from Eyeries to Kenmare following the coastline on rural roads. You will pass an area called Ballycrovane, where you will find one of the tallest standing stones in Ireland (4.7m dating back to the 5th or 6th century). This is one of the top destinations for megaliths and attracts historians from all over the world.
Just after you pass Lauragh you will cycle inland for a few kilometres to a mountain road flanked on either side by grassy fields, used for grazing sheep. The Wild Atlantic Way route brings you through the mountain pass that contours around Knockanoughanish (386m), between the mountains of Cummeenbaun (500m) and Knockagarrane (414m). The highest point of this mountain pass will offer you fantastic views of the bay and the Ring of Kerry. Descending from this high point down to Cloonee Lough (lower) and the coast, you will find the quality of the roads improve the closer you get to the heritage town of Kenmare.
12 Kenmare to Caherdaniel - 47km
6H30 | +501m / -475m
The Wild Atlantic Way takes you from Kenmare to Caherdaniel today along relatively flat and well maintained roads; with ocean views and a selection of small islands including Rossmore, Sherky and Scariff to your left. You will be passing the lively tourist town of Sneem on the way to your accommodation for the evening in Caherdaniel.
13 Caherdaniel to Portmagee - 43km
7H | +624m / -664m
Leaving the village of Caherdaniel this morning you will climb steadily until you reach the viewing point at Coomakista where you can take in panoramic vistas of Scariff Island, Valentia Island and the Skellig Islands. From here, the Wild Atlantic Way route takes cyclists downhill all the way to the town of Waterville, with the beautiful Lough Currane on your right. Lough Currane is 2 miles wide and 3 miles long and is famous for its salmon and sea trout fishing.
The cycle from Waterville to Portmagee will once again be coastal, along the edge of sandy beaches such as Reenroe and Ballinskelligs. From Ballinskelligs to Portmagee the area is more exposed to the elements and the power of the Atlantic Ocean with sandy beaches making way to rocky sea cliffs. Your accommodation in Portmagee is a short walk from Valentia Island.
14 Portmagee to Glenbeigh - 42km
6H30 | +335m / -315m
This stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour from Portmagee to Glenbeigh will be fairly flat along good quality roads, with stunning vistas of the Dingle Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean to your left. You will find viewing points dotted at key locations along the route, allowing you to get off the road and take pictures safely. The market town of Cahersiveen is a nice place to stop for a coffee or a treat before continuing on your journey.
Between Cahersiveen and Glenbeigh, the Ring of Kerry moves away from the coast taking you to a low level mountain pass for a few kilometers, before linking up with the coast once more as you descend into Glenbeigh, your stop for the evening.
15 Glenbeigh to Annascaul - 50km
5H | +165m / -165m
The first half of today’s journey between Glenbeigh and Killorglin will be on flat good quality roads. Killorglin is best known for hosting the traditional ‘Puck Fair’. This three-day event which is held in August, is the oldest fair in Ireland, dating back over 400 years. Leaving Killorglin you will cross the head out onto the Dingle Peninsula, past impressive Inch Beach (which is actually 3 miles long!) and on to Annascaul village. Annascaul was the birthplace and final resting place of the Arctic explorer Thomas Crean. His bar ‘The South Pole Inn’ is still open and displaying photographs and mementos of his adventures.
17 Annascaul to Dunquin - 40km
5H45 | +434m / -414m
Leaving Annascaul you will cycle on good roads with the mountains on your right and great sea views on you left to the bustling fishing port of Dingle, home to delicious local food and a vibrant music scene. Dingle harbour has been home to Fungie the bottle-nose dolphin since 1984. From Dingle you will continue along the coast around Ventry Harbour, past the prehistoric Dunbeg Fort and Slea Head to your accommodation in Dunquin.
18 Dunquin to Dingle - 35km
4H30 | +242m / -268m
After the village of Dunquin, the Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour takes you to Ballyferriter (home to the famous potter Louis Mulcahy) and around Sybil Head and Smerwick Harbour. At the hamlet of Feoghanagh (believed to be the launching point of St Brendan when he supposedly crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered North America in the 6th Century) you will cross the peninsula, in the shadow of Brandon Mountain as you return to Dingle for the evening.
Dingle once served as an important hub for trade with Spain and France but in more recent times, people come to Dingle for its vibrant social scene, traditional Irish music and numerous restaurants, many of which specialise in seafood for which the town is famous.
19 Dingle to Tralee - 46km
7H15 | +527m / -525m
Today you have a challenging but spectacular cycling section of the Wild Atlantic Way ahead, as you ascend the Connor Pass (400m), crossing the mountain range that forms the spine of the Dingle Peninsula. The views from this high point more than make up for the effort it takes to get there, plus the descent on the far side will leave you free wheeling half way to Brandon Bay. The northern side of the peninsula tends to be more sheltered than the southern side and you will cycle along flat well paved roads, through Castlegregory and on to your accommodation in Tralee. Enjoy the mountain views to your right and stunning seascapes to your left.
20 Tralee to Ballybunion - 69km
6H15 | +267m / -237m
Your Wild Atlantic Way cycling adventure continues from Tralee, following good country roads heading north towards the coast and Ballybunion, your stop for the night. Along the way you will pass Rattoo round tower and church outside the village of Ballyduff. This 27-metre tall round tower dates back to the 11th century. Ballybunion is a popular destination and known for its excellent golf courses, sandy beaches, cliff walks, tidal sea caves and blow hole. Outside the Garda Station in Ballybunion there is a statue of Bill Clinton, commemorating his visit to the area for a golf trip on September 5th 1998.
21 Ballybunion to Kilrush - 42km
5H30 | +229m / -246m
Leaving Ballybunion this morning you will follow the coastline to the village of Tarbert by the Shannon Estuary. A short detour from your route, between Ballybunion and Ballylongford, will bring you to Carrigafoyle Castle, a 15th century stronghold and main residence of the O’Connor clan. When you arrive into Tarbert, The Bridewell Courthouse and Jail is worth a visit, offering tours daily. The coffee shop & gift centre hosts many events like musical evenings and art exhibitions. From Tarbert you will take the ferry across the Shannon Estuary, keep an eye out for the famous Shannon dolphins! Your stop for the night is the heritage town of Kilrush, across the Shannon in County Clare.
22 Kilrush to Kilkee - 67km
From Kilrush, your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour continues along the beautiful coast of County Clare and you will have the chance to explore Loop Head, one of the most spectacular capes of Ireland. If you wish to have a reduced distance today, there are a number of shortcuts you can take. Tonight you will stay in the beautiful Victorian seaside town of Kilkee.
23 Kilkeee to Doolin - 62km
6H30 | +339m / -341m
Today is quite a short days cycle as you make your way up the coast of County Clare and past some of the best beaches in the region. The first half of your cycle today will hug the coastline through Spanish Point and Lahinch (this resort village is one of the foremost surfing locations in Ireland) and on to Liscannor. From Liscannor you will make your way westward along quiet rural roads to the world famous Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher stretch along the coast the for over 8km and tower 214m above the Atlantic Ocean at their tallest point. There is a visitor centre (entrance fee €6, not included) which offers information about the area, a café, souvenirs and restrooms. Close to the Visitors centre, is O’ Brian’s Castle (recently restored, entry fee is €2, not included) where entry allows you to explore the castle and access to a viewing platform on its roof. Leaving the visitor centre behind, you will follow rural roads northwards parallel to the Cliffs of Moher, until you reach the small village of Doolin, renowned for it ‘Craic agus Ceol’ (Fun and Music in Irish).
24 Doolin to Kinvara - 50km
6H30 | +404m / -413m
As you cycle the Wild Atlantic Way from Doolin to Black Head you will be following one of the most beautiful coastal roads in Ireland where the bare limestone plateaus of the Burren meet the Atlantic. You will enjoy panoramic views of the ocean, the coastline and out as far as the Aran Islands. The halfway point of today’s cycle will be Black Head, where you will find a small lighthouse perched on the clifftop and from this vantage point you will have spectacular views of Galway Bay. Leaving Black Head, heading towards Ballyvaughan and on to Kinvara, the Wild Atlantic Way cycling route will be flanked by cattle farms, woodland and rocky outcrops. Between Ballyvaughan and Kinvara, a short detour from your route will take you to Corcomroe Abbey, built in the 13th century.
25 Kinvara to Galway - 29km
4H | +135m / -130m
The Wild Atlantic Way from Kinvara is a nice short cycle along good roads to Galway City. Dunguire Castle is just outside Kinvara and worth a wander around as you will be passing its front gate (open 10am-4pm March-October). Built in the 16th century this tower house and walled enclosure has been restored and hosts evening banquets during the summer months. Continuing along the edge of Galway Bay you will pass Cregganna Marsh, an area of conservation for the Greenland White-fronted goose before arriving into Galway City. Galway is known as Ireland’s Cultural Heart and renowned for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events.
26 Galway to Carraroe - 45km
6H15 | +210m / -207m
Today you will leave the hustle and bustle of Galway City and head for quieter rural roads as you leave Galway behind. You will cycle through Spiddal village on the shore of Galway Bay which is a popular tourist destination with a scenic beach, harbour and craft village. You are also entering the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region).
Leaving Spiddal you will continue along coastal roads to the village of Carraroe, your stop for the evening.
27 Carraroe to Carna - 45km
6H15 | +232m / -236m
Leaving Carraroe this morning on your way to Carna, you will cycle further into rural Galway, with barren bogland and lakes on either side of quiet country roads. The landscape on this section of the Wild Atlantic Way is picturesque, thought-provoking and serene.
28 Carna to Clifden - 56km
7H | +330m / -321m
Today’s cycle from Carna to Clifden will be busier by comparison with yesterday. You will continue your Wild Atlantic Way cycling adventure following small country roads (boreens in Irish) through small villages such as Roundstone and Ballyconneely; and past sandy beaches as you make your way to Clifden, home to an important horse and pony showr each Summer. Ballyconneely is famous for breeding Connemara ponies, legend has it that the breed originated when Arabian horses swam ashore from a Spanish shipwreck near Slyne Head and bred with the small native pony. In 1919, the first transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown ended two miles from Ballyconneely in Derrygimla Bog.
Clifden is a popular destination for cyclists, hill walkers and sightseers alike, close to the Twelve Bens Mountain range, Connemara National Park and stunning bays.
29 Clifden to Renvyle Peninsula - 48km
7H30 | +474m / -431m
Leaving Clifden behind you will cycle west along scenic peninsulas, with stunning beaches and coastal views. Dotted along this coastline there are a selection of tidal islands and headlands, perfect locations for a picnic lunch. Cycling around Lough Aughrusbeg at the head of the peninsula, Inishbofin (8km off shore) will come into view, then continuing along the coast you will reach the village of Cleggan.
Cleggan was traditionally a fishing community but in recent years tourism has made a bigger contribution to the local economy. Leaving Cleggan you will pass Cloon, Laghtanabba and Tooreen Bogs (areas of natural heritage and conservation), on your way to Letterfrack and the Renvyle Peninsula.
30 Renvyle Peninsula to Leenane - 21km
3H | +166m / -212m
Today is an intentionally short cycling day, giving you two options:
A. Visit Kylemore Abbey (admission not included) on the way to Leenane. Kylemore Abbey was originally a hunting and fishing lodge, it was bought by Mitchell Henry in 1867 and over the next four years he developed Kylemore Castle, walled gardens, woodlands, school and walks. In 1920 a community of Benedictine Nuns settled here after their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed during World War I. The nuns opened a world renowned boarding school for girls and began restoring the abbey, Gothic church and Victorian walled garden to their former glory.
B. Enjoy a lazy start to the day and continue with your prearranged route, to Tullycross and along the coast of Killary Fjord (Ireland’s only fjord) to the village of Leenane. Killary Fjord is an important area for muscle farming and it is possible to take a 90 minute sightseeing cruise from Leenane to the mouth of the fjord.
31 Leenane to Louisburgh - 36km
5H | +266m / -265m
Leaving Leenane this morning you will cycle along beautifully scenic roads around the edge of Killary Fjord. From here you will travel through the stunning Delphi Valley which separates Ben Cregan and Ben Lugmore, before heading inland to your accommodation in Louisburgh. Although the village of Louisburgh is small, the townland covers an area of 450 square kilometres and contains over 700 known archaeological monuments.
32 Louisburgh to Westport - 22km
3H | +141m / -135m
Today you have a short cycling day ahead along fairly flat, well paved roads from Louisburgh to Westport. The Wild Atlantic Way route takes you past Oldhead Woods, sandy beaches and possibly the most famous mountain in Ireland: Croagh Patrick. Legend has it that Croagh Patrick is the site from which Saint Patrick banished snakes from Ireland. An annual pilgrimage on the last Sunday in July sees thousands of devotees from all around the world travel to Croagh Patrick for what is known as ‘Reek Sunday’, a day of worship in honour of Ireland’s patron saint. Some people even climb the mountain barefoot, as an act of penance. Your stop for the night is the lively town of Westport.
33 Westport to Achill Sound - 55km
6H30 | +288m / -303m
From lively Westport, you will be following the Great Western Greenway to Mulranny. The Greenway is 42km long and follows the route of the Westport to Achill railway which closed in 1937. It is the longest off-road cycling trail in Ireland and gloriously traffic-free for most of the way.
As you enter Newport you will find it hard to miss the fine cut-stone seven arch railway viaduct over the Black Oak river. From Mulranny you will follow the Wild Atlantic Way along the ‘Spanish Coast’ road to Achill Sound, one of the most stunning coastal roads in the country and is perfect for cycling. *Alternatively you can follow the Greenway all the way to Achill, saving you 10kms.
34 Achill Sound to Keel - 50km
6H30 | +673m / -678m
Leaving Achill Sound this morning you will cycle on quiet rural roads with breath-taking coastal views, as you follow the southern coast around Knockmore Mountain (340m), before travelling inland to the village of Cashel. You will continuing cycling the Wild Atlantic Way on regional roads through Keel and Dooagh on your way to Keem Bay, an absolute must-see in Achill Island. From Keem you will cycle back to your accommodation for the evening in Keel.
Picturesque Keem Bay is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Keem Beach, nestled in the valley between the cliffs of Benmore and Croaghaun mountain. Mid-way between Keel and Dooagh you will encounter a modern Stonehenge-like structure, built over a weekend amidst much controversy by a local property developer. It is over 4 meters high and 100 meters in circumference. It consists of a circle of 30 concrete columns topped by a ring of stone.
35 Keel to Mulranny - 37km
7H00 | +378m / -358m
Today, you will start cycling back to Westport. You will leave Keel across Achill Island taking the Slievemore road. Along a one mile stretch of the Slievemore road you will find a deserted village, consisting of 80 – 100 stone cottages on the southern slopes of Slievemore Mountain (640m). Local field systems and site remnants give us an insight to life on Achill in days gone by.
From the deserted village you will cycle along quiet rural roads to the Northern coast of the island, through the Doogart East Bog (a protected natural area), back to Achill Sound. Crossing the bridge back to the mainland you will follow the signs to join the Greenway back to Mulranny (*if you followed the Spanish Coast Road scenic route on your way to Achill).
36 Mulranny to Bangor Ellis - 67km
4H30 | +224m / -222m
Cycling the Wild Atlantic Way from Mulranny you will head north to Bangor Erris following quiet country roads, with the Atlantic Ocean to your left and Ballycroy National Park to your right.
Bangor Erris is your stop for the night, located on the banks of the Owenmore River, it is a well-known destination for its wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout fishing.
37 Bangor Ellis to Belmullet - 46km
6H30 | +295m / -317m
From Bangor Erris, you will continue your Wild Atlantic Way cycling adventure following the Owenmore River West to the coast, and touring the Bangor Erris Bog and Tulaghan Bay and Bog, both natural heritage areas. Cycling the peninsula north of Achill Island, these flat sheltered roads will lead you past sandy beaches and rocky headlands back to the village of Gweesalia. From Gweesalia you will travel north to the bustling town of Belmullet, in the heart of the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region).
38 Belmullet to Ballycastle - 56km
7H | +397m / -380m
Departing Belmullet this morning your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour takes you past Carrowmore Lake and Pollatombish Bog as you cross to the northern side of the Peninsula.
The highlight of today’s cycle is a visit to the Ceide Fields (admission not included), discovered in the 1930s by a local schoolteacher; while cutting peat for fuel he noticed piles of stones which were uncovered as he dug. Investigations over the next four decades, revealed the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, a complex of fields, houses and megalithic tombs. Thought to be over 6,000 years old, this settlement was concealed by the growth of blanket bogs over the course of countless generations.
Your accommodation for the evening is in Ballycastle, very close to the Ceide Fields.
39 Ballycastle to Ballina - 37km
5H30 | +241m / -260m
Today, the Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour takes you along quiet roads hugging the picturesque northern coastline, as you make your way to the fishing village of Killala. Killala has a wide range of archaeological treasures such as friaries, an ogham-stone, ring forts, megalithic tombs and other monuments.
On the last stretch of cycling, you will follow flat rural roads, flanked by agricultural fields to Ballina and your accommodation for the evening.
40 Ballina to Aughris - 40km
6H | +263m / -263m
Today you will leave Ballina following the River Moy Northwards until it reaches the North Atlantic Ocean near the lovely coastal village of Enniscrone. In Enniscrone you will cross the Bellawaddy River, cycle up the main street and travel inland slightly to Easkey. Easkey is a famous surfing destination and roughly the mid-point for today’s cycling, it is an ideal location to stop for lunch and enjoy the views.
Continuing from Easkey to Aughris, you will be cycling along quiet rural roads (‘boreens’ in Irish), raising slightly to give you fantastic views of the flat farmland below. Aughris is a small country village on a quiet headland, it remains repetitively untouched by modern development and boasts rugged coastline walks and stunning views.
41 Aughris to Sligo - 39km
6H30 | +334m / -336m
Leaving Aughris this morning you will cycle along flat boreens again, flanked on either side by traditional dry stone walls, before joining a well paved regional road for a few kilometres to Ballyadare. As you enter Ballyadare you will pass the natural heritage area of Slieveward Bog on you right; Ballyadare is the mid point of your cycling day.
The Wild Atlantic Way then takes you to Sligo town, along well maintained regional roads, by Knocknarea Mountain (381m) and through the energetic seaside town of Strandhill, known for its seaweed baths and also a trendy surfing destination. On the road from Strandhill to Sligo you will pass the village of Searden, from here it is possible to access Coney Island (Inishmulclohy in Irish) via a marked causeway at low tide. Even if you don’t make the crossing, the causeway is worth a look.
Lively Sligo town, your stop for the evening, is only a few kilometres away.
42 Sligo to Bundoran - 37km
7H30 | +396m / -394m
From Sligo town you will take a marked cycling trail all the way to Bundoran. You will follow parts of this cycling trail to some of the key heritage points in the area like Lissadell House and Gardens, W.B. Yeats grave and Carrowmore megalithic cemetery just a short detour from the trail.
For most of the day you will be cycling along quiet coastal roads in the shadow of Benbulben Mountain (579m), this mountain owes its unique shape to centuries of erosion during the last ice age. You will be cycling around Benbulben to the village of Grange and then on to a looped cycle around the picturesque Mullaghmore Head on a road that skirts the water’s edge.
From Mullaghmore you will follow quiet boreens to your accommodation in the popular seaside resort of Bundoran.
43 Bundoran to Donegal - 36km
5H30 | +380m / -379m
Today you will keep following the marked cycling route to your destination: Donegal. Leaving Bundoran you will cycle to Ballyshannon, across the river Erne and continue on to Rossnowlagh, the mid point for today’s cycle. You will have two access options to Rossnowlagh either descending a slip way and cycling for 1.5km along the beach OR cycling on regional roads for 2km.
From Rossnowlagh you will cycle inland, past Durnesh Lake, around the village of Ballintra, through Laghery village and finally on to your destination in Donegal. Donegal Town is the former home of the O’Donnell Clan, who ruled Tír Chonaill in west Ulster through the 15th to the 17th centuries. In town you can visit Donegal Castle, on the banks of the River Eske, and the remains of a Franciscan Abbey on the Southern shore of the Bay, dating back to the 15th century.
44 Donegal to Killybegs - 27km
5H | +380m / -379m
Your Wild Atlantic Way cycling adventure takes you today from Donegal Town and along mainly flat and well paved coastal roads around Donegal Bay. Outside the village of Mountcharles, you will take rural roads (boreen in Irish) to Mountcharles Pier, a scenic viewing point where you will enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Donegal Bay. From Mountcharles Pier you will pass Salthill House and Gardens (open to the public excluding Fridays and Sundays) before rejoining the Wild Atlantic Way. Continuing on your way to Killybegs you will cross the Eany River, cycle through the small village of Inver and on to Dunkineeley the largest village you will pass before reaching Killybegs. Killybegs is the largest fishing port in Ireland due to its naturally deep sheltered bay, so expect to dine on the freshest seafood in town this evening.
45 Killybegs to Glencolumbkille - 48km
6H | +724m / -691m
Leaving Killybegs and its busy harbour this morning, you will continue your Wild Atlantic Way cycling trip along quiet rural roads following the Donegal coastline to the village of Carrick, the mid point of your route today. From Carrick you will cycle south through Teelin to a trail head giving you the best views of the Sliabh League sea cliffs and Sliabh Liag Mountain (595m). These are the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe, reaching a height of 601m, nearly three times the height of the more famous Cliffs of Moher and almost twice as high as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. When you have had your fill of these spectacular coastal views, you will return to Teelin and cycle on towards Glencolumbkille, your stop for evening. Glencolumbkille, in the heart of a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) is the valley of Saint Colm Cille or Columba one of Ireland’s patron saints.
46 Glencolumbkille to Ardara - 25km
Today the Wild Atlantic Way takes you to the village of Ardara. You will start your cycle heading south to the quiet village of Mallin Beg, famous for its stunning sandy beaches, protected from the harsh Atlantic Ocean by high sea cliffs. From Mallin Beg you will cycle through the villages of Mallin Mor, Doonalt and Cashel before turning inland along a mountain pass to Ardara. The scenic mountain pass to Ardara is on a quiet boreen flanked by Croaghloughdivna (313m), Meenaneary Hill (207m), Cnoc Onna (454m) and Common Mountain (555m). Although this section is the hilliest section of your tour, it is a shorter day and the views more than make up for the effort of getting there. Ardara is a designated Heritage Town and also a well known centre for the manufacture of Donegal homespun tweeds. The area boasts a thriving tourist trade and social scene, and has been dubbed ‘The Festival Capital of Donegal’.
47 Ardara to Dungloe - 34km
A shorter flatter section from Ardara to Dungloe awaits on your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour today. Leaving Ardara you will cycle North across the River Owenea, through Kildooney and over the Gweebarra River. The first half of today’s cycle you will be spoiled with fantastic coastal and mountain views, while for the second half of the day you will be cycling on well paved regional roads, with flat bog land stretching out for hundreds of acres on either side of the road. Your accommodation will be in the small coastal village of Dungloe, famous for its great sandy beaches and many offshore islands.
48 Dungloe to Gortahork - 54km
Today’s cycling day on the Wild Atlantic Way is slightly longer than your past two days, but the road is well maintained and fairly flat for the entire journey from Dungloe to your destination in Gortahork. Leaving Dungloe you will follow the Wild Atlantic Way around the North Donegal coast past Arranmore which is the second largest inhabited island in Ireland (there is ferry access to the island from Burtonport every two hours). Continuing along your cycle today you will pass by many small beaches, islands, rivers, bog land and over a dozen rural villages. This is the most remote, scenic cycling day of this tour, the highlight is near the end of the day when you cycle around Cnoc Fola (367m). The road raises slightly giving you an impressive panoramic view of Arranmore, Gabhla, Tory Island and Horn Head. These great vistas are, in themselves, are great reward. Cnoc Fola is just a short cycle to your accommodation in Gortahork.
49 Gortahork to Downings - 42km
Your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour continues from Gortahork following a mixture of regional and rural roads (boreens in Irish). You will cycle through the town of Dunfanaghy on your way to Croaghnamaddy (305m). A narrow boreen traverses the base of Croaghnamaddy 185m above the Atlantic Ocean, if you have time and are feeling adventurous, scramble the extra 120m to the top of Croaghnamaddy, the view at the top is worth the effort.
Dunfanaghy, the mid point of today’s tour, is an ideal stop for lunch, before continuing on to Creeslough and your accommodation for the evening in Downings, which is a lovely seaside town. The cycle from Dunfanaghy to Downings follows the coastline of Sheepshaven Bay and past Ards Forest Park.
50 Downings to Ramelton - 63km
Another long distance day cycling the Wild Atlantic Way awaits today, but the terrain is flatter than yesterday and the roads are well maintained as you cycle from Downings to Rathmullan. A few kilometers outside of Carrickart you will cross the Harry Blaney Bridge (named after a local politician). The bridge connects the Rosguill Peninsula to the Fanad Peninsula, locally the bridge is called the ‘Mulroy Bridge’ as that is the area where it joins the Rosguill Peninsula.
Crossing to the Fanad Peninsula, cycling on quiet rural roads you will make your way to the tip of Fanad Head where there is a viewing point and a lighthouse build in 1817 and redeveloped in 1880. Leaving Fanad Head you will travel to Portsalon, the mid point of today’s trip. From there, you have an easy coastal stretch cycling to the seaside village of Rathmullan before your destination for today, Ramelton.
51 Ramelton to Buncrana - 53km
Today you will continue on your journey around Lough Swilly. Once you pass Letterkenny, which is the largest town in Donegal, you will turn northwards once again. Along the way, you will pass the impressive hilltop stone fort of Grianan of Aileach. After passing Inch Island you will reach your destination for today, the busy market town of Buncrana.
52 Rathmullan to Ballyliffin - 29km
Leaving Rathmullan this morning you will travel to the pier and catch the ferry to Buncrana (ferry ticket not included), once ashore you will follow the coast of Lough Swilly. Your route will take you to Fort Dunree, open to the public since 1986, a must see for every visitor to the Inishowen Peninsula. Leaving Fort Dunree, you will slowly ascend to the Mamore Gap a mountain pass between Croaghcarragh (453m) and Mamore Hill (467m). As you make your descent from the Mamore Gap you can take a short detour to Leenan Fort, this fort is in a derelict state and less impressive than Fort Dunree, but in the past the two forts would have worked together to defend Lough Swilly.
From here your Wild Atlantic Way cycling journey becomes fairly flat all the way to Ballyliffin, your stop for the night. If you arrive there early you could cycle or taxi out to the Doagh Famine village, a beautifully restored village, highlighting the rural life, heritage and traditions of years gone by.
53 Ballyliffin to Culdaff - 55km
Today’s route will see you leave Ballyliffin and cross over to the Inishowen Peninsula and cycle to the most northerly point of Ireland: Malin Head before returning to Culdaff. Malin Head has a viewing point with spectacular vistas, weather station, lighthouse, signal tower and a metal cross known as Banba’s Crown, marking Ireland’s most northerly point.
Cycling the Inishowen Peninsula, the roads are surprisingly quiet and rural, many following the same routes set down centuries before. Turning South from Malin Head you will arrive in the coastal village of Culdaff and your accommodation for the evening.
54 Culdaff to Moville - 38km
Today, your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour takes you from Culdaff to Moville, following quiet boreens and coastal roads, with only one major hill to climb from Ballintroohan (200m) over the mountain pass on Crockaulin (295m). The views from this high point are fantastic, stretching from Stroove, over to Portrush, Portstewart and down to Moville. Descending from this viewing point you will cycle to the coast in Stroove. You will be free wheeling most of the way!, a great end to the cycling day. You will be stopping in Moville for the night.
55 Moville to Derry - 30km
Your very last cycling day on the Wild Atlantic Way! you will be following the shoreline from Moville to the lively city of Derry, passing the official start/finish point of the Wild Atlantic Way in the village of Muff. Today’s cycle will be on quiet rolling roads, with a height gain and descent of 30 meters at a time, you should make it to your destination of Derry around lunchtime giving you the afternoon to explore this historic city. Well done!
PLEASE NOTE: The Official Wild Atlantic Way route finishes in the village of Muff, which is 9kms from Derry City.
After breakfast your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour with IrelandWays.com finishes. Talk to the reservations team if you would like to add an extra night to your itinerary, giving you time to explore Derry or rest and relax before making your onward journey home.
Derry City highlights include:
- The Derry City walls were completed in 1619, are 8m high and 9m thick, they stretch for over 1.5km, and are the only city walls in Ireland to survive almost intact.
- St Columb’s Cathedral, built between 1628 and 1633 from the same grey stone as the city walls, is Derry’s oldest surviving building.
- Tower Museum is this award-winning museum, housed in a replica 16th-century tower house. It is generally advised you head straight to the top floor to take in the views then make your way down through the museum at your own leisure.
- Craft Village, established in a renovated courtyard, housing a collection of craft shops selling Derry Crystal, hand-woven cloth, ceramics, jewellery and other local craft items. A must see for all your souvenir shopping.