subhero image
Pick up location
Add dates
< Blog

Wild Atlantic Way 2023 Guide

Explore the Wild Atlantic Way with Irish Car Rentals - a 2,500km road trip along the West Coast of Ireland.

Have you heard of the Wild Atlantic Way?

The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland's first and only long distance driving route, which stretches along the Atlantic coast from Kinsale, County Cork to Irelands most northernly point, Malin Head, County Donegal. This 2,500km route features 157 discovery points, 1,000 attractions and more than 2500 activities. It has become the European equivalent of the Great Ocean Road: Australia, Pacific Coast highway: USA and The Garden Route: South Africa. Obviously, it doesn’t matter which way you go, but arriving in Cork airport, hiring a car and beginning from the town of Kinsale is the most popular way to make this trip. The Wild Atlantic Way is travelled by thousands of Irish Car Rentals customers every year.

2024 Guide

Wild Atlantic Way - See and Do

The Wild Atlantic Way is vast in scope, and choosing what you would most like to see, what order to visit where, or even a place to begin your adventure can seem daunting. That being the case, when we asked our customers which parts they loved in particular, we found several places being mentioned time and again.

  • Mizen head - the most southernly point of Ireland,
  • Ring of Kerry - 179km-long circular route,
  • Skellig Islands - Go behind the scenes of Star Wars,
  • Dursey Island - to see Europe's last sunset,
  • Slieve League - the highest sea cliffs in Europe.

Near Slieve League in Co. Donegal

Near Slieve League, Co. Donegal

Wild Atlantic Way Itineraries

This is an 2-3 days Itinerary, exploring Dingle taking in the Slea Head drive and the not to be missed Ring of Kerry. This route is ranked as some of Ireland’s most dramatic countryside, while trips to Slea Head, Valentia Island and the Skellig Islands are well worth the effort.

Slea Head Coumeenoole Beach, Slea Head

Day 1: Dingle to Killarney - Slea Head Drive

In Dingle, the Slea Head loop scenic drive is a 46km on cliff top roads around the coastal landscape. Slea Head drive allows you to view the remote islands and rich with heritage history – megalithic tombs, Dunbeg Fort and 6-9th Century Gallarus Oratory.

Starting from Dingle, drive towards Ventry and Dunbeg Promontory Fort for a stop, continuing onto the beehive huts used by early Christian settlements. From here, drive to Dunquin where you’ll find a unique Dun Chaoin Pier and scenic view of Blasket Islands. Finishing up the day and drive to Killarney for the night.

Day 2: Killarney to Portmagee - Ring of Kerry Drive

Starting in Killarney and head towards Killorglin stopping at Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass between MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain – wonderful views! Continue towards Caherciveen – Valentia Island lying off the Iveragh Peninsula, stopping at Portmagee overnight.

Day 3: Portmagee to Killarney - Ring of Kerry Drive

Skellig Ring where you get breath-taking clifftop views of Skellig Michael. The Skellig Ring Drive is a small section south of the Ring of Kerry drive with beautiful views. Continue on to BallinskelligsbeachSneemKenmare to view Molls Gap, Torc Waterfall and Ladies view panoramic viewpoint. Completing the trip at the Muckross House and Lakes in Killarney.

For more itineraries along the Atlantic route, read the full road trip in Ireland guide.

Free complimentary Wild Atlantic Way eBook - Download

Wild Atlantic Way route

The map below show's the full route of the Wild Atlantic Way route, the length of Ireland!

The Wild Atlantic Way proposed route

Wild Atlantic Way Sights

Mizen Head, Co Cork

Mizen Head, the most southerly point of mainland Ireland, is about two hours’ drive from Kinsale, the Wild Atlantic Way’s official beginning

Mizan Head, Co Cork

Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare

The Cliffs of Moher drop suddenly and dramatically into the Atlantic from a height of around 200 metres and, in the 1987 fantasy movie The Princess Bride, they became the infamous “Cliffs of Insanity”.

Cliffs of Moher

Kylemore Abbey, Co Galway

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden is located about an hour’s drive from Galway City. The famous image of a gothic castle reflected in a Connemara lake has made Kylemore Abbey popular.

Kylemore Abbey

Wild Atlantic Way Tourism

The main aim of Wild Atlantic Way scheme is to produce a long distance driving course that will enable greater recognition for the west coast of Ireland to international tourists, while luring them to the main attractions and minor destinations the entire way along the west coast. The project exposes a large number of towns and attractions to visitors and display the unique culture and magnificent scenery of the western coast.

Where to rent a car?

There are many car rental companies that offers car & van service in Republic of Ireland. Irish Car Rentals has 16+ locations, collect a car from any of these locations; Cork, Kerry Airport, Shannon Airport, Galway or Sligo and start your epic journey!

Irish Car Rentals is a registered member of Car Rental Council of Ireland; renting from a company listed under CCI means you are using a company committed to providing a high quality car rental service.

Header image : Image credit to © James Greer | Ireland content pool

< Blogs