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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
The Wild Atlantic Way, Republic of Ireland

The Wild Atlantic way – One of the finest driving routes in Europe

I have always been fascinated by epic road trips and spectacular driving routes such as Route 66 and the Great Pacific Way; I like the freedom, the fantastic scenery, and the exhilaration of the unknown and the drive itself. In 2015 I was lucky enough to travel down a section of the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way on the West Coast of the Republic of Ireland, which has renowned scenery and is considered one of the most dramatic routes in the world.

Clare Island - A beautiful stop off on the route

The route spans approximately 2500km of road from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, down to the Celtic Sea in County Cork and passes through nine counties. The route is highly documented and draws many tourists due to the various attractions on the way such as the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, the Aran Islands and Connemara.

One of the stunning stretches of road on the Wild Atlantic Way



My route – Westport to Doolin

The Route - I traversed a small stretch of the Wild Atlantic way from Westport in County Mayo, down to Doolin in County Clare, stopping off at Letterfrack & Galway on the way and covering approximately 150m of winding roads and breath taking scenery. I hired a car from Knock Airport (A brand new Golf TDI!) and basically made the route up as I went along, with several pre-planned stops; It was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again, through other parts of Ireland or up in the Scottish Highlands.

I was the only person on this road for miles! Sharp turn road sign The route is scattered with scenery like this

The roads - The actual roads were fantastic to drive on, with long winding stretches of smooth tarmac that opened up to dramatic landscapes and passed by pristine blue lakes, rolling golden hills and fields bursting with livestock. The Irish countryside is wonderful to behold and I stopped off at several places to take photos and just admire the view. It was great to just drive at my own leisure, make random stops and enjoy the whole experience and not be on a tight time schedule or be worrying about catching the bus or re-joining the tour group etc.

Beautiful lakes and golden rolling hills

The Scenery - Aside from the idyllic driving roads, the scenery that I passed on the Wild Atlantic way was truly beautiful too. The Irish countryside is quite stunning and if the whole of the route is anything like the stretches of landscape that I witnessed, then I can see why it is considered one of the most dramatic driving routes in the world.

I stopped at this Lake to take some photos and admire the scenery

Notable stops - Along the route there are a huge range of different points of interest, villages, sights and activities that you can partake in and visit. On my journey I visited the following places - Westport (A small town in county mayo on the topside of the west coast). Clare Island (A small island west of Westport with a daily ferry service, beautiful scenery and some stunning biking routes). Letterfrack (Another quaint village in County Galway with good access to Connemara). Kylemore Abbey and Walled Gardens (A brilliant historical grounds with a huge lake and archaic Abbey, church and Walled Gardens near Letterfrack). The bustling, lively and cultural city of Galway. Inishmore (Largest of the Aran Islands, famed for its wool, and great for a day trip). Doolin (A tiny village famed for it's traditional live music). And finally the Cliffs of Moher (Absolutely huge and rugged cliffs that dwarf everything and stand proud against the lashing of the Atlantic sea).

Brightly coloured building in Doolin The immense Cliffs of Moher The barren landscape of Inishmore

There is much more to see than the list above, and I would strongly recommend doing some research beforehand and finding out what you would like to see and do. Plan a rough route that compliments the various sights you want to visit and have an idea of what you want to achieve, however don't stick rigidly to a schedule - If you see something interesting on your journey, don't pass up the opportunity, part of the fun of a road trip for me is embracing the unknown.

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