You can’t say you have seen Ireland if you haven’t visited the West. There are many reasons, big and small, to love the West of Ireland and that fantastic route following the Atlantic Ocean: the Wild Atlantic Way.
After many years living in Ireland, the West particularly the smaller towns and villages remain one of my favourite places to escape to. Whether cycling or walking, the Wild Atlantic Way is a great travel compass to explore ‘the West’. These are a just a few of the many reasons you will love the Wild Atlantic Way and the West of Ireland:
You might have heard a rumour: sometimes it rains in Ireland. You might have even heard we could get all four seasons in one day. That means you are quite likely to get a touch of rain during your visit but it also means you’ll get to experience amazing light, colour changes and the most unexpected rainbows, even double rainbows!
As a visiting friend put it: Ireland is the country of the fast running clouds so who cares about the rain? it can be easily escaped with a break to enjoy a good cup of tea, a couple of scones or why not? a sneaky visit to the closest pub.
You might be walking or cycling along your route: quietly progressing one foot in front of the other… when a magnificent panoramic view suddenly surrounds you. How did that happen? whether you are taking in the coastal views of an ever-stretching beach in Cork or the Dingle Peninsula, the vastness of the Burren or the bog lands of Connemara you are now part of the landscape and its raw, untouched beauty.
The West of Ireland seems to be a never-ending source of inspiration. If you are cycling or walking the Wild Atlantic Way you will find artist studios, pottery workshops and other crafty little shops around the most unusual corners (or bends on the road). The increasingly popular artisan foodie movement also means you are quite likely to find delicious little producers along some of the ways. Bring your backpack.
Unusual traffic jams
You might also be surprised every now and then with busy ‘going about their business’ sheep crossing the road. This is the kind of traffic jam life should be full of. If you are cycling: just ring the bell! hopefully they’ll move and let you past.
Two sides to every story
There are always two sides to every story: there’s history and then there’s the legend. Ireland is a land of story tellers so you are likely to find even a combination of both. You will encounter many castles, abbeys, impressive forts, passage tombs along the way… but check with the locals: they might have a more interesting secret story to tell.
Irish to your ears
Whoever invented the expression ‘music to my ears’ hadn’t been to the West of Ireland or heard Gaeilge (Irish) being spoken. The Wild Atlantic Way criss crosses many Irish-speaking areas (Gaeltachts) from Kerry to Mayo and Donegal. It is in these communities where Irish language is still part of every day life. While all residents will speak perfect English, make sure you practice your cúpla focal (a couple of words in Irish).
What are your reasons to love the West of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way? Let us know!