10 Best Scenic Views on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Written By: The Planet D

The Wild Atlantic Way scenic drive of Ireland will take a while. You will find that you end up pulling your car over every chance you get to take in the incredible scenic views.

We had the opportunity to drive the entire Wild Atlantic Way from South to North. For 2500 km, we took in the beauty of the Atlantic coast having our minds blown with each turn.

Wild Atlantic Way – Best Scenic Views

While I’m sure we missed a few, here are our choices for top scenic spots on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. For easy driving, get your Wild Atlantic Way Road Atlas on Amazon for just $12.41

1. Mizen Head in County Cork

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Mizen Head in Co Cork.

Mizen Head in County Cork was our first real scenic lookout stop on the Wild Atlantic Way. Its massive sea cliffs made for the perfect spot for a lighthouse.

Situated in the most southwesterly point of Ireland, this was a strategic station for early cross Atlantic communication. You can explore the museum showcasing life in the lighthouse and the Marconi radio room.

There are pathways, viewing platforms, and a pedestrian bridge spanning a deep gorge. It’s not overrun with tourists either. We highly recommend stopping here and its a great place to grab a bite before you head on around the Ring of Kerry.

2. Clogher Head on Slea Head Drive in Dingle

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Clogher Head with the Three Sisters in the background on the Slea Head Drive near Dingle

From Dingle, a day trip around Slea Head Drive is a must. There are several stops along the way, but our favourite scenic lookout was looking over at Clogher Head. The Atlantic Ocean was pounding against the coast as we looked out over the sea cliffs.

It was a beautiful day and we spent a good hour hiking through the trails carved out in the area taking in different vantage points of the coast. For another great 10 Best, visit The Best Things to do in Dublin

3. Cliffs of Moher in County Clare

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Sunset over the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher may not be the tallest sea cliffs in Ireland, but they are the most impressive. Jagged cliffs reaching a height of 214 metres plunge into the raging sea below.

You can walk along clifftop paths for different viewpoints, but the best view is from the lookout point at the visitor’s center. There’s a reason they built it here. Go at sunset when the crowds are less and admission is free for one of the best scenic views on the Wild Atlantic Way. Read more: Tips for Visiting The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

See Offbeat Things to do on the Wild Atlantic Way

4. Dun Aengus – Aran Islands 

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The view from Dun Aengus on the Aran Islands.

A trip along the Wild Atlantic Way wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the islands. For a true sense of local living, choose an island to spend a night or two exploring.

We made our way out to Inismor on the Aran Islands to view the remarkable two-thousand-year-old fort Dun Aengus. It’s mostly a pile of rocks and ruins but you can see the foundation of what was once a great empire. But what is the most impressive part of the fort? The View of course.

Located on the Atlantic Ocean it stands tall on sheer cliffs. There aren’t any safety fences here, so be careful when you walk to the edge. Tip: rent a bike and ride out to the fort to enjoy the day at your own pace. Rentals at Aran bike hire

5. Kylemore Abbey in Galway County

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Looking over Killary Harbour is a stunning view.

Connemara in County Galway houses the impressive Kylemore Abbey. We stopped to visit our friend Fearghus at the Dolphin Guest House and wished that we spent more time in these parts. Luckily we’ll be back in October because we’re going to be spending a lot of time in Connemara for sure!

The Abbey is set in a picturesque location just waiting for people to photograph it in all its splendor. Compared to other castles and ruins in Ireland, this is just a baby. Built in 1867 as a private home for a wealthy doctor from London. Note: make sure to try their apple pie and cream in the café, it’s to die for. Read more: Kylemore Abbey – The History of Ireland’s Lavish Castle

6. Killary Harbour in Connemara

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Looking over Killary Harbour is a stunning view.

Just a bit farther north from Kylemore Abbey is Killary Harbour, on Ireland’s biggest and brightest fjord. Connemara tourism claims that it is Ireland’s only fjord,  but when we put that note out there on Twitter and Facebook, we received many an angry reply. We’ve found conflicting reports and found Lough Swilly, Carlingford Lough listed as fjords as well.

7. Slieve League in County Donegal

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Slieve League are the highest sea cliffs in Europe

In County Donegal, you’ll find the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe. These cliffs are more of sloping hills than the jagged cliffs of Moher, but they are no less spectacular.

There isn’t an entry fee here and there are walking trails along the top to take in various views. We enjoyed the peace and quiet of the place but felt bad for the guy trying to sell his photos and the kids trying to earn a few bucks busking.

Nobody was giving them a second look. Don’t listen to the recommendations of leaving your car at the parking lot at the bottom. Pay the kid holding the gate a Euro or two to drive up. It’s a long way to the top. Read about Tips to Drive the Wild Atlantic Way

8. Horn Head in North West Ireland

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A beautiful sunset from Horn Head in Donegal, Ireland

From the town of Dunfanaghy, it’s a short drive to sunset at Horn Head. You can take a hike out to Horn Head or you can do as we did, pull off on the side of the road (there’s a spot to park your car) and take a photo of Horn Head. I think that is the more impressive view.

You can also visit Northern Ireland without having to go through passport control, It’s just a short drive from Ireland. Check out our Best Things to do in Northern Ireland. 

9. Fanad Head Lighthouse – Donegal

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Sunset from Fanad Head in Donegal

A little farther drive from Dunfanaghy is Fanad Head. We took the winding road out there for another sunset and found that nobody was around. Save for three other photographers, we were the only people standing on the huge sea rocks waiting for the sun to light up the sky behind the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse was built in 1811 after frigate Saldanha sank while seeking shelter from the storm. An interesting fact was that the sole survivor of the ship was its parrot. See Where to Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way

10. Malin Head – Inishowen Peninsul 

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The view from Malin Head, Irelands most northern point

We finished off our Wild Atlantic Way drive at Malin Head, the northernmost tip of Ireland before making our way back south towards Dublin. This is yet another stunner of a scenic lookout.

It’s windy here and we can’t imagine it ever being a calm day at Malin Head. It’s worth spending some time in this area. Not a lot of tourists make it to Malin Head and you’ll have most of it to yourself as you explore the villages and beautiful coastline.

Have you driven the Wild Atlantic Way?

What are your favorite scenic lookouts?

There are plenty more sights, after writing our list, we found National Geographic’s Best of the Wild Atlantic Way and we barely had any views overlap!


You May Also Like These Ireland Travel Tips

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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45 thoughts on “10 Best Scenic Views on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way”

  1. Incredible pictures!
    How many days have you been there?
    I am planning to visit Ireland for 2 weeks and i Need a hint what is possible to see. How many km can i solve ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It took us two weeks to drive the entire Wild Atlantic Way. You can do portions of it. It depends on what area you are visiting, but you can choose an area and see some good sites in a day or two.

  2. Wow, what fantastic photos. I want to go to Ireland one day. I have been to England, but did not make it over to Ireland. I hope to go there on my next trip. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ireland was the first country I ever traveled overseas to. The beauty of the landscape had a big impact of me, and helped turn me into the traveler I am today! Great post, and photos you guys!

  4. The Mizen Head is definitely worth seeing and the nearly Barleycove Beach is simply stunning. Stop off for some lunch in Crookhaven in West Cork on route back also- just my recommendations!

  5. Wow! The scenery off the coast of Ireland is truly amazing! I didn’t know there could be so much beauty condensed into one place! I think Ireland will have to be in my vacation plans in the near future.

  6. You guys went on this trip right after I did. Failte Ireland was, and still, forwards all of your tweets to me on your posts along the WAW. It was really neat to see your perspective on this journey. This is one of those trips that changed me. I had just finished up the international press trip for St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin and my spouse and son flew in to join me for the WAW. We drove straight to Galway and went up the coast to Achill Island then back south along the coast to Dingle. Every stunning sight was more amazing than the last. I was of course going for the scenery, but also for the sacred sites. I was on a fairy hunt lol! I was seeking those mystical places that are thought by storytellers, mystics and modern day Celts to be the entrances to the otherworld. I found most of this energy in Achill Island and in the Burren. I know this all sounds crazy, but it’s still quite interesting with a hint of enchantment. We slept in haunted castles and explored caves and tombs. We were guided by archaeologist, storytellers and historians. It was something I will never forget. I loved watching all your photos pop up in twitter, and I really enjoyed this post.

    • We saw the Burren indeed! We have it in our post about things to do on the Wild Atlantic Way. This was more of a coastal scenic view. The Burren is definitely a must see though!

  7. You guys are fantastic, what a pity we never hooked up. We are heading off on Tuesday to SUP the Cliffs of Moher, stay tuned for some killer media and come SUP with us in October!

  8. Beautiful photo of Slieve League. When I went, it was overcast but still gorgeous. We did a little hiking around and watched the waves crash against the coast!

  9. The shots looks stunningly surreal! I couldn’t imagine those places when I see them in person. Gorgeous Ireland!

  10. wow its really amazing and and its very clean will preserve by watching the photo i cant wait to visit this kind of place so relaxing views good for eye sight

  11. Really amazing pics. I can’t stop myself saying wow. Thanks for the share. I specially like Kylemore Abbey, Killary Harbour and Slieve League.

  12. the picture of the cliffs of Moher is absolutely stunning. Though I haven’t been there yet Ireland reminds me a lot of Scotland. I am looking forward to more photos from you October trip! Enjoy.

  13. The highest sea cliffs in europe are not Slieve lEAGUE which are we know accesible , but they are on Achill Island at the back of Croaghaun mt . Please correct this contiuing mistake please

  14. Wow, really stunning photos! It’s bad that even though my partner and I are from England, we’ve never been to Ireland. I think I need to rectify that.

  15. Just gorgeous. I hate that I haven’t been to Ireland yet, especially since I have Irish ancestors on my dad’s side, but this is making me want to go even more. And I’m usually not in favor of renting a car when I travel, but it looks like in Ireland it’s a must!

    • I think it is a must for sure to rent a car. We saw groups on tour busses and I couldn’t imagine having to share the views with the masses. We could go at our own pace and explore free of people. It’s amazing. Get yourself to Ireland girl, you’ll love it!

  16. The shots are great, is the weather stays that cool all time of year. I would love to know how much time you spent at each site aside from taking great pics

  17. I really loved roadtripping around the Ring of Kerry and through Killarney’s national park — both outstandingly beautiful areas!

    • We agree. WE didn’t get enough time in Killarney, but will definitely be back in October to explore it more. WE can’t wait!

  18. Oh thank you! I have been waiting for this post, I just knew that you two would do a fantastic job of showcasing Ireland, your photographs are always amazing! We really enjoyed following your travels along the Wild Atlantic Way, and now we’re even more excited by the idea of heading to Ireland later in the year with our children, we think they’ll love it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for your kind words Gina! We had an amazing time on the Wild Atlantic Way and are now excited to tell people all about it giving tips, tricks and guides to what we liked best. So excited for you to be heading to Ireland later this year! We’r heading back in October as well!.

  19. Oh wow! I am totally blown away. These shots are amazing and make me want to get to Ireland now. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Jen! So glad you liked them. Ireland is one photogenic country and we just loved stopping to take photographs. It was one extraordinary view after another!