The Wild Atlantic Way
A world class experience which benefits local communities!
The purpose of the Wild Atlantic Way is to entice visitors to the small rural towns along the West Coast of Ireland. Its 2500km of roads travels from the North of County Donegal to the Celtic Sea coast of County Cork and takes in nine counties. The pace is slow and relaxed.
Unlike the “Chemins de Compostelle” in France created in the 9th century to connect Paris, Vézelay, Le Puy en Velay or Arles in France to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, the Wild Atlantic Way is not a spiritual pilgrimage but a celebration of spectacular landscapes and adventurous activities.
The stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way closest to Corralea, (Donegal town to Sligo) is described as Ireland’s “Best Place to go Wild”. With coastal hubs like Bundoran, Mullaghmore and Strandhill renowned for their waves, this fantastic Surf Coast attracts beginner surfers to world class wave-riders.
So around here, The Wild Atlantic Way is all about beaches.
Having been brought up on the seaside in the South of France, beaches are close to my heart...but I have to admit the best beaches of the Languedoc could not rival the 3 wonderful beaches within 30-40mn from Corralea.
Only 22 miles from Corralea, it is considered one of the best surf beaches in Ireland. It stretches for 2 kilometres with sand dunes. It has Sligo Mountains as a spectacular backdrop and offers beautiful views of Donegal Bay. It has a steep path down from the car park to the beach, so not ideal for young children but it is by far my favourite beach and the most picturesque strand on this stretch of the coast. There is a lovely cliff walk from Bundoran town to the strand and you can also go horse-riding in the dunes with Donegal Equestrian Centre.
A popular and very safe beach for swimming and surfing. It has a great surf school (Rossnowlagh Surf School) where you can hire surf boards and wetsuits. It can get very busy in the summer and it is a pity cars are allowed on the beach...but Rossnowlagh offers all the treats of a small seaside place: ice cream van, Tickety Moo super ice cream parlour, bar, restaurant, hotel and coffee shop.
8km from Rossnowlagh and the closest beach to Donegal town, Murvagh Beach is ideal for young children. It has a life guard, the waters are very shallow, waves are virtually inexistant and the sheltered dunes are ideal for little adventures. There is also lots of car-park space and secluded spot for picnics.
If you are looking for a Day Trip, why not head to Slieve League in Co. Donegal. Sliabh Liag has the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe. The views across the wide expanse of ocean and the rugged coastline are breathtaking.
The Wild Atlantic Way Passport
To make your journey unforgettable, record your travel experiences on the special Wild Atlantic Way Passport. This little logbook tracks your adventures and includes stamping pages which will become distinctive mementos of your holiday memories.
Whenever you visit one of the 188 Discovery Points along the route, simply head to a designated post office or tourist information office to get your stamp. The stamps are free, the passport can be purchased in Failte Ireland tourist information office or online.
All the beaches mentioned above as well as Slieve League are Discovery Points.
The Wild Atlantic Way is not only about landscapes.
Sligo’s coast is renowned for seaweed.
Seaweed is a wonderful health giving food and is incorporated in the Gourmet cuisine at award winning Eithna’s by the Sea Seafood restaurant in Mullaghmore Harbour. Eithna sprinkles different varieties of seaweeds into seafood dishes, bread, pesto, even desserts.
To be fair, there is so much to see and do on the Wild Atlantic Way stretch between Sligo and Donegal town, it is impossible to list everything. But for me, the beaches are a definite MUST.
And so close to us!