The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500km (1600 mile) driving route that runs along the western seaboard of Ireland.

To drive the entire thing would take more than 2 weeks with barely a stop; you would need at least a month to do it justice. Most people choose a section, such as the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry or the remote coast of Donegal. Many tourists just find a sign, with its notable white wiggle on a blue background, and follow where it takes them.

Official signpost for the WAW

The route is twisty, narrow, and hair-raising. To quote Sherry Otts, who drove the route in 2015, “not many tourism offices would decide to take the smallest, single-lane, dangerous roads in the country and market them out to the world to come and drive on them!” The weather is predictably unpredictable; you can get torrential rain storms in June and balmy sunshine in September. The landscape is ever-changing and stunningly gorgeous.

Between those sweeping hills and crashing waves, there are a multitude of stories. Myths of seals turned into women and children turned into swans. Tragedies of shipwreck and starvation. People struggling to earn a living from the rocky soil and the unforgiving sea. Adventurers who turned their hands to smuggling and piracy. Poets and filmmakers inspired by wild beauty.

Connemara. Photo by P.J.McKenna

This blog will introduce a selection of those stories.

I followed the south-to-north route, starting in Kinsale and ending in Malin Head. Well, I didn’t actually travel that route in person (although I live in Galway and I have visited several of the other featured locations), but I virtually followed it through its stories.

Leave feedback in the comments, including ideas for future articles. Please explore – and perhaps be inspired to adventures of your own.