The Wonders Of The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Glenveagh Castle and Loch in Glenveagh National Park along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way tourism trail.
Glenveagh Castle and Loch in Glenveagh National Park along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way tourism trail.
  • The Wild Atlantic Way is a trail in Ireland.
  • Over 1,000 attractions can be found in Atlantic Way.
  • A cable car operates in Dursey Sound and is one of the only European cable cars spanning across the sea.

Ireland is home to a tourism trail known as the Wild Atlantic Way, complete with discovery points, attractions, and activities. The trail extends for 1,553 miles from the Inishowen Peninsula in Ulster, Donegal County to Kinsale situated in County Cork. The route passes through three provinces and nine counties, and it boasts a total of 1,000 attractions, 157 discovery points, and over 2,500 activities. The trail was formally commissioned in 2014 by Michael Ring who was the Minister of State for tourism and sport.

The Northwest

County Donegal’s beautiful scenery makes it among the most popular destinations along the trail. The Glenveagh ranks as Ireland’s second-largest national park. It is home to a network of majorly informal gardens that exhibit numerous exotic and delicate plants acquired from places like Tasmania and Chile. Glenveagh Castle sits at the heart of the park. Red deer, as well as the golden eagle, are among the park's most notable residents. The Lough Foyle is the River Foyle's estuary lying between County Donegal and County Londonderry. Sea lamprey, allis shad, and smelt are some of the fish species that have been recorded in the estuary, and it also supports multitudes of wintering waterfowl, including bar-tailed godwit and whooper swan. The Derryveagh Mountains are also included in the trail, and they account for much of the land area of County Donegal. The Blue Stack Mountains lie in the southern region of County Donegal. The towns and villages included along the route in this region include Ramelton, Buncrana, and Donegal Town in Donegal; Enniscrone, Aughris, Mullaghmore, and Easky in County Sligo; and Tullaghan in County Leitrim. Bundoran, in Donegal, is popular with surfers from all over the world.

The West

The western region of the trail includes the counties Galway and Mayo. One of the region's attractions is the Céide Fields in the northern part of County Mayo. This archaeological site prides itself as the world's oldest known field systems. The establishment and development of the fields are estimated to date back some five and a half thousand years. After excavation procedures, the way of life of the communities who had resided in the site 200 generations back was discovered. These communities were farmers who concentrated on cattle rearing, but there were also builders and craftspeople skilled in stone and wood among them. Another attraction in County Mayo is Achill Island which is 87% peat bog. The island features forts and Megalithic tombs which attest to its rich history. Also located on the island is the Deserted Village which has an estimated 80 ruined houses. The houses were constructed using unmortared stone and consisted of one room each. The inhabitants abandoned the village during the 1845 Famine. The Doolough town in Mayo is renowned for its Geesala Festival. The week-long festival features a variety of events including dog racing, deep-sea fishing, horse racing, and showjumping. Tourists flock to Salthill in Galway City all year round. The seaside area has a 0.62-mile-long promenade that overlooks Galway Bay and which features hotels, bars, and restaurants.

The Midwest

The Midwest region includes the counties Limerick and Clare. The Burren region in County Clare features a karst landscape that measures at least 250 square miles. The region is formed by a thick sequence of sedimentary rocks, majorly limestones but also siltstones, mudstones, and sandstones. The Burren was significantly impacted by the last glacial period such that it is one of the best examples of the world's glacio-karst landscapes. The Burren ranks as one of the major breeding territories of the European pine marten in Ireland. Stoats, foxes, badgers, and all of Ireland's seven bat species reside in the region. One million visitors troop to the Cliffs of Moher every year which is situated in the Burren. The cliffs' maximum height is 702 feet, and visitors can view the Aran Islands situated in Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and Maumturks mountain ranges. Located in County Clare is a headland named Loop Head which is characterized by a prominent lighthouse. The Shannon Estuary borders the Loop Head Peninsula on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, with only a mile of the land saving it from acquiring island status.

The Southwest

This region incorporates the counties of Cork and Kerry. Garnish Island, situated in Bantry Bay, is renowned for its gardens. The management of the gardens is overseen by the Office of Public Works. The garden's design was the work of Harold Peto who was commissioned by the owner, John Annan Bryce. The garden is walled, and it features an Italian casita, a clock tower, a Martello Tower, and a Grecian temple. The Great Basket Island situated in County Kerry is home to ruined cottages, which include the homes of the writers Muiris Ó Súilleabháin and Tomás Ó Criomhthain. The island had been inhabited until 1953, and the residing population had been requesting to be relocated since 1947. Safety concerns necessitated the relocation of the island's community. The inhabitants had been fishermen who constructed primitive cottages on the northeast shore. Dursey Island attracts multitudes of walkers and day-trippers in summer. A narrow stretch of water called Dursey Sound separates the island from the mainland.

The only cable car in Ireland operates across Dursey Sound, and it is among the small number of cable cars that span across the sea in Europe. The Beara Way on the island serves as the beginning point of the E8 European long-distance path, which after crossing Europe, ends in Istanbul, Turkey. A headland named the Sheep's Head lies between the Dunmanus and Bantry Bays in County Cork. It is 54.7 miles long, and it consists of trails that guide walkers through old tracks and roads through the Sheep's Head peninsula. The trail is characterized by low and rugged hills, cliffs, and coastline. The route is subdivided into eight stages, and each represents a half-day's walking. The route is straightforward, and visitors are welcomed any time from April to October. The peninsula consists of three villages namely Kilcrohane, Ahakista, and Durrus. Durrus is a main staging post along the Wild Atlantic Way, and it is the home of Durrus Cheese.


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