The best car routes along the west coast of Ireland


When I received visitors during my trip living in Ireland, I had no choice but to keep a few days of vacation and guide my friends or family. I practically used half of my vacations to discover the country and almost always repeated destinations. But I did not care. Ireland offers one of the best preserved natural settings on the continent, some people able to make you go back a few decades in time and my exercise of empathy with my companions got me to see the stage as if it were my first time again.

Lakes in Killarney

Without a doubt, the west coast was the most requested destination Among my friends and family when traveling in Ireland. And they were not wrong. Apart from enjoying the visit in Dublin and its lively night, we always got into a rented car to cross the island and tour some of the best corners of the wild Atlantic coast of Ireland. Obviously, to avoid overly repetitive trips I always used to give him a special brushstroke by varying the destination along the coast.

Below I detail several routes along the west coast of Ireland with a duration of 3 or 4 days each departing from Dublin. If you have more days you can join several of them to learn more corners of the ancestral magic of the Emerald Country. If on the contrary, you do not have much time to plan the trip independently you can always sign up for some of the great ones offers and routes that Logitravel in Ireland.

Kerry and the three peninsulas of southwestern Ireland: Mizen, Killarney and Dingle

Aerial views of the Dingle Peninsula

On this first route through the west of Ireland we approach the south of the island to discover three peninsulas that will leave you with your mouth wide open.

We start from Dublin to the southwest of the country. Depending on the time we have, we have several stops bound by the road, such as the castles of Kilkenny or Cashel, as well as a lively city full of history like Cork.

We approach the southernmost peninsulas in Ireland. the first of them, the Ivagha peninsula With Mizen Head or, Cabo de Mizen, as a point between the land and the ocean, it is one of the ideal places if you want to escape from the usual tourist route and get to know that amazing mix between ruins, wild nature and fishing villages. If you like the feeling of entering a pub and becoming the center of attention, that surround you and invite you to beers, this place is yours that you are looking for.

Ross Castle in Killarney

A little further north and much more touristy, it opens Killarney Peninsula. Famous among the English proxies since the time of Oliver Cromwell. In this Irish corner you cannot miss a visit to Ross Castle, the circular route by car around Carrauntoohill, the highest mountain in Ireland, named after Ring of kerry (The Ring of Kerry) and stroll through the delicious lakes that surround the city of Killarney.

Gap of Dungloe following the path of the Ring of Kerry

If you want to explore the best places to see in Ireland with freedom, but at the same time with an organized route, be sure to keep an eye on Logitravel offers in Dublin and along the island. You can also make the consultation, in person, in the store that Logitravel has in Kinépolis, within the enclosure of the Image City of Madrid.

The next northernmost peninsula is that of Dingle. Closer than her companions and whose appearance on the map encouraged me to cycle it. It was quite an adventure to cycle from Tralee to Dingle and return through the Conor pass with spectacular views on both sides. The Dingle Peninsula is somewhat less touristy than its sister Killarney but not for that, less spectacular.

The sales of Murphies Among the locals they surpass the Guinness and in the pubs you will enjoy a great atmosphere and excellent food.

Things you can't miss in Kerry

  1. Visit Ross Castle
  2. Stroll through the gardens around Killarney
  3. Enjoy a night of live music in a pub in Killarney, Dingle or Tralee
  4. Drive the Kerry Ring by car
  5. Perching on Conor Pass and enjoy the spectacular views

Clare and Galway: the cliffs of Moher, Burren and the Aran Islands

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

One of the most important claims of Ireland is the spectacular cliffs of Moher. In a previous article we already gave a few practical tips to visit them and we advise you to read them. Even so, the cliffs are a small part of the other wonders we can find in this county of Ireland.

Starting from Dublin by car for this route, the ideal is to approach in less than a couple of hours in Galway, the capital of the west of the country and enjoy a good walk discovering its colorful streets and good atmosphere.

On the way from Galway to Doolin where the Cliffs of Moher, we passed by The burren, an extension of desolate land, one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe. Prepare the camera for the great photographs of spectacular backgrounds.

It should reach Lisdoonvarna or Doolin at sunset and spend the night there. In this way we heat engines in the pub during the night and prepare for a pleasurable morning visiting the Cliffs of Moher. Also, after the visit to the cliffs, where there was no ticket or fence office a little over a decade ago, it is convenient to travel the road between Doolin and Lahinch where you can enjoy other perspectives and contemplate other cliffs not so pronounced but equally beautiful.

We return to Galway to board by ferry to the Aran Islands. One of the most remote places in Europe. These three islands facing the profile of western Ireland are an excellent point of reference if you are looking for traditional Ireland, with a strong weight of the Gaelic language and landscapes that have changed little over time.

Of the three islands, I advise you to visit Inis Mor, the largest of the islands. Upon arrival you will see that you have two options: rent a bicycle and travel the island with your legs or get on a bus with an unused guide that makes the tour through it explaining the history and anecdotes of the islands.

Things you can't miss in Clare and Galway

  1. Hallucinate from the top of the cliffs of Moher
  2. Get lost among the lunar landscape of Burren
  3. The Galway oyster festival if you travel in September
  4. Travel to the past taking a bike ride through the Aran Islands
  5. Take pints until the closing of the pubs in Doolin

Mayo and Sligo: Connemara and Achill Island

Hillary Bay in Connemara

The weather has historically isolated Connemara. The Great Famine lowered the population of this region to unsuspected limits. Even today, following the profile of the Killary Bay you can take a path called Famine's Walk -The path of famine- where we travel an authentic fjord through houses in ruins that have remained so since the day when its inhabitants decided to leave centuries ago to cross the puddle and try their luck in the United States. The clock stopped in the middle of the 19th century.

By Connemara the lakes follow each other continuously, in the mountains the trees barely survive and a green and brown mantle outlines the gentle slopes of the hills, if we were giants we would seem to find ourselves in front of a small model of trains.

Sky Road in Clifden

Places that we cannot miss on this route through Connemara: Maam Cross, Clifden, the mouth of Killary Bay in front of the town of Leenaun or the spectacular staging of the kylemore abbey facing the lake.

If the weather accompanies and you dare with a hiking route, I recommend this madness that I did many years ago crossing the Twelve Bens.

The coastal profile of Achill Island

Further north of Connemara we connect with the county of Sligo, land of the poet Yeats. The fictional enclave of Innisfree takes presence in Lake Gill and pirates seem to board the bay of Achill Island. A place that we can access by car and travel along its cliffs where the grass kisses the rocks and waves of the wild Atlantic.

Things you can't miss in Mayo and Sligo

  1. Try the great ones seafood chowder (fish soup)
  2. Walk on Bridge of the Quiet Man and feel a whole John Wayne in Oughterard
  3. Get on a ferry to navigate the waters of Killary Bay
  4. Contemplate the spectacular Kylemore Abbey
  5. Tour the beautiful scenery of the Sky Road around Clifden

Donegal: the cliffs of Slieve League, Killibegs and Arranmore Island

The cliff walls of Slieve League

From the south we have traveled to the north of the island and we stopped in Donegal. The highest cliffs in Europe await us. With a fall of about 600 meters high the ascent to the top of the cliffs requires a little effort but, without a doubt, the views we get from above will reward us the effort.

In Donegal we not only find the cliffs of Slieve League. Populations like Killybegs will place us in the real Ireland although at some point we may think that we are in a tropical island thanks to the crystalline colors of the beautiful beach of Fintra.

Arranmore Island Lighthouse

And there is also Arranmore. As if it is a separate chapter. Arranmore Island has just one church, a taxi driver, a doctor and a nurse. Of course, it also has the pride of having 6 pubs and a ferry line that connects it with Ireland. The electricity was installed in the mid-fifties and the phone barely reached the end of the eighties. If you are looking for an authentic place, far from the tourist hordes, without a doubt, Arranmore is your place.

In addition to the places cited in Donegal County, do not miss a circular drive from Killybegs, following Ardara, traveling Glenveagh National Park and ending in Letterkenny is a great way to tour the north of Republican Ireland.

Things you can't miss in Donegal

  1. Time travel on the remote island of Arranmore
  2. Climb the highest cliff in Europe in Slieve League
  3. Tour the Glenveagh National Park
  4. Hallucinate with spectacular beaches like Fintra in Killybegs
Images kindly provided by the Irish Tourist Office