Off-the-beat Wild Atlantic Way: how to really get away from the crowds 5 years ago

Off-the-beat Wild Atlantic Way: how to really get away from the crowds

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There’s nothing quite like Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

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Taking a trip along the 2500km stretch of road is a sure way of getting a glimpse of the most scenic and picturesque areas in Ireland.

Of course, with the Wild Atlantic Way comes heaps of coaches, cars, tourists and swamps of crowds in certain parts. So how do we make the most of this wondrous trip but avoid the hustle and bustle of a tourist trap?

Here’s a few tricks to help out.

Get off the beaten track

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Often times the main roads are the ones carrying the most traffic. Sure, they might allow you to reach that destination sooner, but it could be worth considering that rugged, narrow country road especially if it means truly seeing what Ireland’s landscape has to offer and… you’ll avoid the queues on the way to your destination. They can be rather bumpy though, so make sure that trusty vehicle of yours is in good shape.

There’s SO much choice

When people think of the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s often just Kerry that springs to mind. Although we’re huge fans of the Kingdom, the world’s longest coastal touring route has oodles on offer throughout the 9 counties, making up the Northern Headlands, the Surf Coast, the Bay Coast, the Cliff Coast, the Southern Peninsulas and the Haven Coast. Don’t forget to think outside the box and explore the less popular parts – they’re just as majestic.

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Ideas to avoid the clichés

Particular spots visitors often forget are also some of the most beautiful. Why not head to the Inishowen 100 in Donegal, Derrigimlagh Bog in Galway or the Skellig Ring in Kerry.

The Inishowen 100 is part of the Inishowen Peninsula which offers true escapism while driving along a calm and tranquil coastline. You can stay in your car and enjoy the ride or you can stop off at various sign posted views that will not be so crowded, allowing for plenty of space to relax.

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We tend to think of bogs as enormous wetlands of plain nothingness, but they aren’t always what they seem. Derrigimlagh Bog, in County Galway is truly magnificent. You can enjoy the beautiful small lakes and rustic views on offer by renting a bike and cycling around the area for the perfect excursion.

Kerry is undoubtedly an extremely busy spot, with countless hotels and reams of buses touring about. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be peaceful. For one, Cahersiveen has some popular and outstanding views, but if you’re looking for an undisturbed spot to drive to, head for Ballycarberry Castle. It’s far from luxurious – it is in fact an old ruin on the water’s edge, but nonetheless, it’s an amazing sight for sore eyes thanks to that extraordinary shoreline view, and it’s steeped in history.

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Where to find adventure

Climb sea stacks in Donegal. Okay so it will undoubtedly get busy at times, but luckily, plenty of people fear heights. Yippee! So why not get climbing those rugged rocks as they soar 500 metres from the bed of the Atlantic Ocean. The Realms of the Senses stack is super impressive and climbing experiences are well organised with safety being a priority. Climbing these miraculous pieces of rock makes for an all-round incredible experience.

Surfing on beaches such as Carrownisky Strand (Mayo) and Streedagh beach (Sligo) are all accessible by car but not so easily by bus which means you won’t be getting busloads of people setting off with their beach bags on a hot sunny day. These beaches are famed for their epic surf and we’d recommend them any time of year, just don’t forget that life-saving thick wetsuit! If you're in the mood for a more tranquil swim, head to Eyrephort, Clifden. You’ll be mesmerised by the surrounding beauty.

Overall, the Wild Atlantic Way is the perfect escape from it all, just be wary of popular towns and peak visiting times.

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