Unique Things to Do on the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland

The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s newest attraction. Officially launching in March 2014, they connected existing roadways to make one continuous route along the West coast of the entire country. Spanning 2500 km it is the longest defined coastal drive in the world.

There are many sights to see and stops to make along the way. We’ve already told you about the incredible scenic views on the Atlantic coast. Well, now it is time to tell you about the things to do on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Things to Do on the Wild Atlantic Way

We rented a car in Dublin and then worked our way to the south of the country to begin our journey.

For Dublin ideas before or after your trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, check out The 10 Best Things to do in Dublin

1. Skellig Michael in County Kerry

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On our way up to Skellig Michael.

Located in County Kerry, Skellig Michael requires a boat ride out to the Skellig Islands, but it’s worth it. This island was home to monks dating back to the 6th century. They built stone beehive houses at the top of the island and it’s a steep climb up the stone path.

There are signs warning people to climb at their own risk, but if you take your time, you’ll have no problem. It’s hard to imagine the hardships the monks went through over the centuries to build this monastery. They were seeking solitude and solitude is what they had.

It was inhabited until the 12th century and the ruins are in remarkable shape. The views are out of this world including the Irish coast and neighbouring Little Skellig.

Tours out to Skellig Michael can be booked by www.skelligexperience.com

It’s a good idea to base yourself in Port Magee for a couple of nights as landings are unpredictable. Excellent accommodation and hospitality can be had at The Moorings

2. Poulnabrone Dolmen in County Clare

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The beauty of the Burren and Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone dolmen is a portal tomb in the Burren of Co Clare dating back to somewhere between 2500 BC and 4000 BC. The site was excavated in 1986 where they found the ancient remains of humans. The tomb consists of a capstone sitting atop 5 stones standing upright. Known as

Known as dolmen, these stones mark the entrance to the tomb. It is a striking formation that has made it one of the most photographed places in Ireland. One thing we were taken by was the pattern in the surrounding limestone rock eroded away over centuries, it was like a puzzle pieced together.

3. Nightime Kayak in County Cork

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Night Kayaking on Lough Hyne in Co. Cork, Ireland

Dave and I have done a lot of kayaking in our day, but this was a first for us. When we saw that we were to meet Jim Kennedy owner of Atlantic Sea Kayaking, at 7:00 pm, we thought it had to be a mistake on the time. It must be a typo right?

As it turns out, this is what his kayaking experience is all about. Starting at the boat launch of Loch Hyne, in county cork, we loaded into our two man kayak to follow him around the lake. It was quiet and the animals were settling in for the night. He told us that he doesn’t use flashlights, instead, we let our eyes get used to the dark while enjoying a paddle using our senses taking in the stars.

We spread out in the darkness and sat in silence, it felt like we were completely alone. When it was time to go in, Jim and his son turned on their red lights so we could follow their lead. It was truly a unique experience.

4. Doolin Cliff Walk to the Cliffs of Moher

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Hanging out with Pat in Doolin from Pat’s Cliff Walks

If you are looking for a unique way to see the Cliffs of Moher, the Doolin Cliff Walk with Pat Sweeny is the way to go.

Ireland was made for walking and a trip there wouldn’t be complete without taking a walk. Pat is a friendly local farmer filled with stories and will keep you entertained and interested.

His family has run his farm for generations and he came up with the idea of opening up farmland along the coast to allow tourists to walk from Doolin to the cliffs offering a different perspective than just a stop at the visitors centre.

Tours meet in front of Gus O’Conners Pub.

Also check out Things to do in Northern Ireland

5. Horseback Riding in Dingle

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Horseback riding in Dingle, Ireland

There is no better way to experience the quiet Irish countryside than to ride a horse into the hills. While visiting the town of Dingle, There are several operations on the Wild Atlantic Way to ride horses. It’s a good idea to be able to ride English as that’s all you’ll get in Ireland.

There’s riding for all levels, just let them know what your skill is and they’ll set you up on the right trip. Make sure to go to the mountains though, because you don’t want to miss views like this!

Also see our list of the top Wild Atlantic Way Accommodations

6. Listen to Traditional Music on the Aran Islands

traditional music
We had a blast listening to traditional Irish Music…while drinking Guinness of course.

If you go into an Irish pub in the evening, chances are they will have a live band playing. This isn’t like the live bands you have playing in other parts of the world. In Ireland, the band sits at the table, sips on a beer and plays traditional Irish music that is lively and entertaining.

The musicians are talented and passionate and we could listen to them all night. It’s not invasive at all. You can easily talk amongst yourselves, enjoy a pint of Guinness and even get up and dance if you wish.

Our favourite spot to listen to music was at Ti Jo Watty’s in Inishmor in the Aran Islands.

Check out The Best Things to do in Dublin

7. Seaweed Bath in Sligo

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Dave enjoys a seaweed bath

In Sligo County, you will find the famous Voya Seaweed baths. At the beginning of the 20th century, seaweed baths were plentiful and popular. As the population moved out of the west coast, seaweed bath houses started to fade and in the 60’s they all but disappeared.

Voya rejuvenated the Seaweed bath experience in 1996 and since then they attract 40,000 visitors a year. Dave and I were two of them. The experience takes you into a room housing a tub filled with water and seaweed. You start off in the steam room letting your pores open up so you can truly get the detoxifying effects of the seaweed.

You then sit in the tub for 50 minutes letting the seaweed smooth your skin and heal your body. I don’t know if it worked, but I sure felt relaxed afterwards. Although I think the Guinness we had later on erased all the healing effects from the bath.

8. Stay in a Castle in Donegal

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You have to stay in a castle like Lough Eske.

Ireland is filled with decaying and ruined castles, but many are starting to be renovated into five star resorts.

We stayed at Lough Eske Castle in Donegal and had the most decadent experience of the entire Wild Atlantic Way. Lough Eske Castle has done it right.

While you are staying in an old castle, the rooms are renovated with pure luxury and modern comfort.

We felt like a King and Queen as we walked the grounds and enjoyed fine dining in their dining room before heading to the castle pub to listen to traditional music and enjoy a pint of Guinness.

9. Go Surfing at the Beach

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Yes, there are beaches here!

Ireland isn’t the first place I think of when going to the beach, but we were completely blown away by their beautiful sandy beaches. People were out surfing.

Many beaches offer surfing lessons for beginners but Ireland is world-renowned for its advanced surfing.

Where to go surfing in Ireland:

  • Bundoran in Donegal County
  • Lahinch in Co. Clare, Strandhill
  • Enniscrone in Sligo

Ireland has 2500 km of coast on the Wild Atlantic Way so there is plenty of surfing for all levels.

But you don’t have to surf, these beaches are made for walking and sightseeing, we enjoyed walking to the shipwreck of Rossbeigh Beach.

Coasteering

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Coasteering!

With all the cliffs and caves on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast, it was made for coasteering.

Coasteering involves climbing, jumping, scrambling and swimming around the rock pools, cliffs and caves of the intertidal zone.

You wear full-body wetsuits, life jackets, and a helmet as you explore caverns, gullies, caves and rock formations. This is

This is hardcore but you can go as tame or as crazy as you like!

For more information on Coasteering, visit Loophead Irish Holidays

things to do wild atlantic way
Things to Do on the Wild Atlantic Way

Also see our Tips for Driving the Wild Atlantic Way

Have you driven the Wild Atlantic Way? What are your favourite activities to do?

For more information on visiting Ireland check out Ireland Holidays and for information on the drive visit Wild Atlantic Way. Flights provided by Aer Lingus, now offering direct flights from Toronto to Dublin.

READ MORE ABOUT IRELAND AND THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY:

Traveling to Ireland – See our Complete Ireland Travel Guide

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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20 thoughts on “Unique Things to Do on the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland”

  1. I really like kayaking and have done it for years but I have never experienced night time kayaking. The experience must have been incredible and the feeling of not knowing what is in the water with you is even more intensified by the darkness.

    Reply
  2. What an inviting selection of things to do – you just pushed Ireland even higher on our ever-growing “must see” list! I want to do every one of them (except maybe the coasteering, which scares the heck out of me). I’m so glad you included listening to live music. We try to do this wherever we go in the world because it’s such a great way of diving into traditional culture and meeting local people.

    Reply
    • Thanks Eliza. We’re hoping to get coasteering in when we go back. It was at the top of our list, but we just didn’t have time. We still wanted to include it in the list though because it sounds like so much fun and so unique! I agree, there’s no better way to immerse in the culture than to hit a pub and listen to music.

      Reply
  3. nice post…….i liked hotel the most thank for ur beautiful blog.I will share it with my friends. and here i want to share, if anyone is in search of adventurous travel then please visit to Guest House in Kathmandu with its unbeatable service in Nepal “the country of 8 highest peak” .

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  4. When staying at a B&B, other guests (ages 14 and 16) played traditional Irish music for us. They were extremely talented and were competing in Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry. Experiencing the music and culture is a must!

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  5. Great post. I agree the Wild Atlantic Way is a paradise for outdoorsy and adventurous minded people but the individual in the image is not wearing the correct Coasteering equipment or PPE. PPE is defined as: a wetsuit, appropriate footwear, helmet and buoyancy aid. All good Coasteering providers should supply PPE as standard to all that participate in this amazing sport.

    Reply
    • Ah yes, if you read the article, we tell you that we didn’t get a chance to do coasteering because of our schedule, but we did have the chance to do it in Jordan. It’s tops on our list when we go back to Ireland. That’s the pitfalls of people just skimming articles these days. Reading is becoming a lost art.

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  6. I like to try horseback riding there. I hope I can visit Ireland soon before I turn 27 years old. That’s my goal and I am crossing my fingers to make it happen!

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  7. Really helpful post, being a “Kiely” I am planning a trip back to the homeland with my father and these are great ideas… I also did not know about the opening of the Wild Atlantic way.

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  8. I love the photo of the horse riding in Dingle! Amazing shot!

    Do they cater to very advanced riders too? I always struggle to find places that are willing to accept on faith that you are an experienced rider! I sometimes feel like I need to carry around a resume signed off by my instructor 🙂

    If you like riding, you might be interested in my recommendations of best riding experiences around the world?
    http://sarahalexandrageorge.com/2014/01/30/year-of-the-horse/

    Would love to get your feedback!

    Sarah

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, it’s actually better if you are an advanced rider. They had us all ride in the corral to put us into groups. If you can handle a horse they sent you out to run on the beach and in the water. So they definitely cater to advanced riders. You’ll love it.

      Reply
  9. Great post! I did the night time kayaking as well recently, the bioluminescence really lights up, it was spectacular! Love travelling around West Cork and there are plenty of hotels in west cork to choose from as well! I would love to try the seaweed baths too!

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  10. Lovely! Atlantic way is fantastic. Stunning landscapes! I guess, it’s a photographer’s piece of cake. 🙂 Isn’t it?

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  11. Hi! Long time reader, first time commenter . I love how you found so many adventurous things to do in Ireland! Wish I knew about some of them when I was there. Now I have a good reason to go back!

    Reply
  12. Some great ideas here. Do you know if this new drive route incorporates the Ring of Kerry? I thoroughly enjoyed taking that drive 11 years ago. The weather may have been highly variable but the horizon and natural sights were breathtaking.

    Great to see traditional Irish music in here. Accessible in most places of Ireland it is a must on any trip there for me.

    Reply
    • It certainly does. We drive the rig of Kerry and talked about it on our scenic views post. We didn’t do anything offbeaton that drive so I didn’t include it in this post. But is was beautiful!

      Reply