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BlogTravel stories5 reasons why you’ll fall in love with Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way
cliffs along the wild atlantic way in ireland
Travel stories

5 reasons why you’ll fall in love with Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Jul 26, 2022 by Jamie Gallerani

The beauty of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way may speak for itself, but 17-time Go Ahead travelers Ron and Dorothy can’t help but sing its praises. Just some of the ways they’ve described it? “Beautiful beyond description.” “Mind-bending.” “A land of alien beauty.” “Dazzling vistas that can leave you stunned into silence.”

Here are some of the reasons why they fell in love with the region on our Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way tour (and why they immediately signed up to go on the same exact trip when they arrived home!).

Westport, Ireland, Wild Atlantic Way The village of Westport is a charmer on all fronts

1. The itinerary is a hidden gem that always becomes a traveler favorite

When it comes to our more than 175 guided trips, we don’t usually like to play favorites—they are all expertly designed and absolutely stellar. But, our Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way tour is truly worth writing home about! It’s got it all: scenery, Irish charm, culture, music, you name it. It’s a combo that makes this trip top-of-the-list worthy. Get a feel for this unforgettable destination on our virtual sightseeing tour of the Wild Atlantic Way, and then plan to see it with your own two eyes.

What our travelers had to say

Dorothy: “The Wild Atlantic Way was our 17th trip, including four previous trips to Ireland with Go Ahead, and it stands out above all the rest. Anyone who is not familiar with the Wild Atlantic Way should Google it, but no matter what you see, it is nothing in comparison to the real experience. The itinerary far exceeded our expectations. … It’s difficult to express exactly how great this trip is, but there’s one sure way to find out, and you should do it. … We’re so excited about this trip. I don’t know any other tour companies that offer this trip.”

Ron: “It is a land of alien beauty. The land of Cú Chuclainn, of mists and faery, of stone cliffs hundreds of feet high, of gentle breezes and harsh winds blowing spray up from the boiling sea below, of dazzling vistas that can leave you stunned into silence, of presences unseen but vibrant and alive in the rushing air. You can look at hundreds of photos online and be amazed, and you may be convinced by my few words, but you won’t really comprehend the Wild Atlantic Way until you go stand among it and let it breathe you in!”

Visit the Wild Atlantic Way

Aghadoe Heights, Killarney, Ireland
Traveler Dorothy and Ron “walking around inside an emerald,” as Ron would say!

2. The Wild Atlantic Way is really (really) green

Do emerald fields spring to mind when you imagine Ireland? That’s exactly what you’ll find as you go from Donegal to Connemara to the Cliffs of Moher on our Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way tour. This coastal route offers ocean views that will stop you in your tracks, and those are nestled right up against the green landscapes that make Ireland so inviting. Long story short: Get your camera ready.

What our travelers had to say

Ron: “Everywhere your eyes turn, your mind is stunned. It’s just beautiful. It’s like walking around inside an emerald.”

Dorothy: “It’s really mind-boggling. It hits you. They benefit from the fact that they have these coastal winds bringing in moisture all the time, so it makes everything green, and it really looks green. And the mountains are also beautiful. And the beaches, and the cliffs... oh goodness.”

Killarney, Ireland The natural beauty of Killarney National Park, captured by travelers Ron and Dorothy

3. The stops along the Wild Atlantic Way are magically remote

Picture one of the prettiest places on Earth, and then imagine having it all to yourself. Yep, that’s basically what you’ll find as you explore the Wild Atlantic Way, which winds past some of the most scenic spots on the western coast of Ireland, but is miraculously uncrowded. That’s just one of the perks of having so much countryside to explore.

What our travelers had to say

Dorothy: “There’s something magical, particularly about this trip, about the remoteness and silence of it. Have you ever been on a trip where you feel like there is so much hurrying and carrying on going on that it stands between you and the experience? You don’t get that in Ireland. It’s a more personal feeling. It feels like you really belong there.”

Ron:Donegal is one of the most remote parts of Ireland. You don’t have crowds. You don’t have big cities. You don’t have noise. You don’t hear rap or rock and roll coming from the stores. You just have Irish music. We’re both retired musicians, and to me, the traditional music of Ireland is the most beautiful music in the world. Their language sounds musical. Sometimes it almost doesn’t sound like human speech. It’s just lovely.”

Visit the Wild Atlantic Way

Group at Ladies View, Killarney, Ireland A shared group moment at Ladies View in Killarney (There’s Ron and Dorothy on the left!)

4. Seeing such amazing places will bond you with your group

Magical travel moments just have a way of bringing you even closer to the people you experience them with—and our Wild Atlantic Way tour is full them. Plus, this remote part of the Emerald Isle is an area Ireland-lovers have to intentionally seek out. That means you can enjoy every minute knowing that your fellow travelers are counting their lucky stars right alongside you.

What our travelers had to say

Dorothy: “When you go, if there’s any way you can possibly do it, go with Mansel David. He’s the best Tour Director we’ve ever had. We’ve been going on tours for decades. He’s got it all down—the culture, the art, the history, the politics. And he plays Irish music. We have two friends who travel with us from time to time, and we’re bringing them with us on our next Go Ahead Tour of the Wild Atlantic Way. You’ve really gotta go there... it was the best group we’ve ever been with, the best bus driver we’ve ever had, and the best guide we’ve ever had.”

Ron: “It’s like we had an inter-group communal experience. We were all disparate people, but the lines disappeared. And I think a great deal of that has to do with what Dorothy said: These people were there because they wanted to be there. And our Tour Director Mansel just made an Aran sweater out of all of us. Knitted us together.”

Keem Bay, Achill Island, Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland Ron and Dorothy taking in the scenery at Keem Bay on Achill Island

5. This is our only trip that visits Achill Island, a beach lover’s paradise

Looking for some of the best beaches in Europe? Don’t count Ireland out—the country has some truly lovely coastlines, and Achill Island offers the best of the best. “Scenic” isn’t even a strong enough word to describe how pretty the place is, which is why it’s one of the top sites to see along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. So, if spending free time at the beach is on your radar, this spot’s for you.

What travelers had to say

Dorothy: “We always do research before a trip. I look up everything. But, there are two things on this trip I was not prepared for, even though I saw a lot of pictures. One was Slieve League cliffs, which are about 2,000 feet high. But, the thing that totally knocked me out was Achill Island. Oh my God. It’s just got everything. Do you know what a Blue Flag beach is? It’s a United Nations designation for a place that’s ecologically and environmentally pure. Achill Island’s got villages, it’s got cliffs—it’s just unbelievable. You can look it up until you’re blue in the face, but it will still knock your socks off.”

Ron: “It’s a beautiful place. There are breathtaking beaches.”

Visit the Wild Atlantic Way

Travelers at Slieve League Cliffs, Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland Travelers Dorothy and Ron were blown away by the Slieve League cliffs—literally!

6. Every moment is good craic

All the things travelers love most about Ireland are only magnified along the Wild Atlantic Way. The friendly locals are always ready to raise a pint with you in traditional pubs. The views will stun you no matter where you turn. And you’re guaranteed to have good craic—that means fun and lively conversation—on every day of your journey.

What our travelers had to say

Dorothy: “This is just a magical trip. If you go, you must take the extension. On our tour extension, we went to the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum in Limerick. It was one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been in in my life. It’s about the history of the airline industry and its importance during the war years, and it’s just absolutely fascinating. ‘Riveting’ is a good word.”

Ron: “Every time I leave Ireland, I feel glad to be coming home, but I’m saddened by the fact that I’m leaving a part of me there. I think if I keep going there, there’s going to be a time I won’t be able to come back! The people are so warm and friendly. The Irish have everybody beat hands down for friendliness. It’s just good food and good music. If you like beer, the beer’s great. There’s a word in Gaelic: craic.”

Giant's Causeway_Ireland Travelers Ron and Dorothy on an excursion to Giant’s Causeway

Is traveling along the Wild Atlantic Way on your bucket list? Tell us why this part of Ireland is calling you on our Facebook page!

Traveler stories
About the author | Jamie Gallerani
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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