Comprising 2,500km of winding road, the Wild Atlantic Way is a breathtakingly beautiful route along Ireland’s magnificent west coast. It starts on the Old Head of Kinsale in Cork and passes through nine counties before concluding at Ireland’s northern-most point at Malin Head in Donegal. The route takes in 157 discovery points, 1,000 attractions and over 2,500 activities.
“Along the way, there is just about every coastal feature you could imagine – lofty cliffs alive with seabirds, great sweeps of golden sand, lushly green peninsulas, rocky islands sprinkled across a shining sea and deep bays protected by silent mountains. Spread among the natural spectacles are traditional villages with welcoming accommodation, pubs and restaurants serving super-fresh food. You can also add romantic castles, ancient historical sites and glorious gardens – and you’re never far from a scenic golf course.” – The TelegraphKerry is part of “Southern Peninsulas” portion and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery that you will see along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The picturesque villages of Kenmare and Sneem are located along the Iveragh Peninsula’s southernmost edge. Bounded by woodlands, rivers and mountains, these towns are particularly well-positioned for avid hikers due to their close proximity to some of Kerry’s best walking routes including the Sneem Loop, Gleninchaquin Park, and the Lomanagh Loop. Sneem and Kenmare are also highly-regarded for their rich food scenes and offer visitors an abundance of award-winning restaurants, cafés, and gastropubs to enjoy.
A haven of tranquility, the picturesque town of Kenmare links the world-famous Ring of Kerry with the rugged Beara Peninsula. With plenty of shops, restaurants and excellent accommodation, it's the perfect pitstop to plan your Kerry adventures! #wildatlanticway #wildatlanticwaykerry #kenmare #ringofkerry #bearapeninsula
3,512 Likes, 73 Comments - Wild Atlantic Way (@thewildatlanticway) on Instagram: "A haven of tranquility, the picturesque town of Kenmare links the world-famous Ring of Kerry with..."
2. The Lakes of Killarney
Following your trip to Kenmare and Sneem, travel inland along the scenic Old Kenmare Road to Killarney where you can visit Ireland’s most famous national park. Killarney is most well-known for its three lakes - Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and the Upper Lake. Encircled by mountains, woodlands, and rich vegetation, this area boasts some of the most beautiful scenery that the Emerald Isle has to offer. We recommend dedicating at least a day of your trip to exploring the lakes of Killarney by bike, foot, or even by boat.
The island-studded Upper Lake is the highest of the three lakes. The lake offers the perfect starting off point to explore the Gap of Dunloe and the Black Valley.
Standing at the very tip of the Iveragh Peninsula, the secluded village of Caherdaniel is most well-known as being the ancestral home of one of Ireland’s great heroes, Daniel “The Liberator” O’Connell. O’Connell’s homestead, Derrynane House, is now a heritage site and the surrounding plantations and garden walks have been transformed into Derrynane National Historic Park. During your trip to Caherdaniel, be sure to walk along the scenic Blue Flag beaches and sand-dunes. It is also well-worth visiting Abbey Island, where you can wander through the ruins of Derrynane Abbey while enjoying views of the Skellig Rocks.
Nestled between Ballinskelligs Bay and Lough Currane, Waterville is the only village on the Ring of Kerry that is located right on the coast. This picturesque seafront town was a favourite of Charlie Chaplin who visited it every year for over a decade. The town celebrates this connection with the Annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival which takes place in August. Waterville is well-known as a golfing destination and boasts one of the finest links courses in all of Ireland and the UK. It is also famed for game angling and keen fishers can choose from lake, river, shore and deep sea angling. The area is rich with heritage, and history buffs can explore many historical spots including Church Island and Loher Fort.
“The search for solitude has led pilgrims to the edges of the known world – and beyond – throughout history. But few final destinations rival the remoteness of Skellig Michael, a lonely, storm-lashed rock off the west coast of Ireland that doubles as a Jedi sanctuary in the latest Star Wars films.” – Lonely Planet
The Skellig Islands are one of the biggest draws along the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry. Comprised of two jagged rocks, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig, these islands were inhabited by a tiny community of early Christian monks from the 6th until the 13th century. You can still see the well-preserved beehive huts of this quiet monastic settlement on Skellig Michael, provided that you are willing to scale the 618 steps that have been carved into the rock face. The Skelligs are also home to colourful colonies of Puffin birds, who live on the islands during the summer months as they rear their Pufflings. You can arrange a boat trip to the Skelligs from the nearby villages of Ballinskelligs and Portmagee.
One of Ireland’s most westerly points, you can access Valentia Island by crossing the bridge at the Portmagee Channel. An ideal spot for hiking and biking, give yourself plenty of time to uncover the island’s many natural delights including Bray Head, Geokaun Mountain and the Fogher Cliffs. You can also gain an insight into Valentia’s rich history by visiting the heritage centre and Glanleam House.
Affectionately known by locals as "The Jewel in the Ring of Kerry", Glenbeigh enjoys enviable proximity to mountains, beaches, rivers and lakes. Most visitors to the village come to see the stunning Rossbeigh beach – an unspoilt six-mile stretch of golden sands offering fantastic views of Inch beach and the Dingle Mountains. The surrounding area boats magnificent mountain scenery, and keen hikers will relish the challenge of the “Glenbeigh Horseshoe” circuit which takes in the hills from Seefin to Drung Hill.
Wild Atlantic Way on Twitter
Stunning picture of Rossbeigh Beach Glenbeigh Co Kerry! Pic by IG/kierandalton99 #Ireland #Kerry #WildAtlanticWay #Travel
You can find Inch Beach nestled between outer Dingle Bay and inner Castlemaine Harbour. Inch has the distinction of being one of the longest uninterrupted sand beaches in Western Europe. It is a Blue Flag beach and offers a variety of water sports such as surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, and hang-gliding. There are also several beautiful walking routes available for those who simply want to drink in the breath-taking views of the Iveragh and Dingle Peninsulas.
The lively fishing village of Dingle has long been one of the most loved spots along the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry. The town boasts a wide array of activities including the OceanWorld Aquarium, the Dingle Distillery, and a number of boat tours. The town is sure to delight visitors with its buzzing musical and foodie culture. It is also the launching off point for trips around the spectacular Slea Head. Read our dedicated blog for more ideas on the best things to see and do in the Dingle Peninsula.10. The Blasket Islands
The Blasket Island archipelago is made up of seven main islands and roughly 363 islets, rocks and reefs. The most westerly island group in Europe, the Blaskets are totally unique in their blend of fascinating history, rich cultural heritage, and breath-taking natural beauty. We recommend taking a tour of the Great Blasket Island so you can learn all about the island’s tumultuous history and its enormous contribution to Gaelic literature. The Blasket Islands have also been designated as a Special Protection Area due to their unspoilt landscapes and fantastically diverse flora and fauna. Simply unmissable!
If you are planning a trip to the “Kingdom” and would like to learn more about the best spots along the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry, please don’t hesitate to ask our team for advice. We would be more than happy to offer up our top recommendations on the best things to see and do during your holiday.