In March we did the most amazing road trip through Ireland. We picked up a car in Dublin, drove to Galway, and spent a couple days there before setting off to drive down the West Coast of Ireland – recently named the Wild Atlantic Way. There were so many incredible moments along our trip that I don’t think I could list them all (if I did, you might get a bored of it anyway) so I’ve tried to narrow it down to some of my favorite moments along the way.
Sunset and sunrise in Galway
We arrived in Galway somewhat late in the day, so we quickly checked into our B&B and headed out to see a little bit of the town. I’m so glad we did! We didn’t go too far, but we came across the docks that looked gorgeous in the soft lighting with the reflections in the water. It was so beautiful that we decided to get up before sunrise and come back, which may have been the most stunning sunrise I’ve ever seen. (Although I will admit to not having seen loads.) I loved the line of buildings jutting out into the water and all the beautiful colors.
I always love visiting cathedrals while we travel, but this one was especially beautiful. It was actually only completed in 1965, making it the last great stone cathedral to be built in Europe. From the outside it’s a little underwhelming – the exterior doesn’t look as magnificent as many European cathedrals – but once you get inside it’s absolutely stunning. There was a man playing the organ, so we sat and listened for a while. There’s such a sense of peacefulness in cathedrals.
Cliffs of Moher
There are hardly words to describe how magnificent these are. I first decided I wanted to go because they were used in the filming of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (my favorite Harry Potter film). With or without the movie though, they are incredible to see. I was mesmerized watching the waves crash into the cliffs. We decided to visit on a different day than we’d originally planned because of the weather forecast, and I’m so glad we did because the weather was lovely. We stayed long enough to watch the gorgeous sunset; easily one of my favorite moments traveling this year.
Sunset at Flaggy Shore
One of the many beach stops we made along the way, this one was beautiful, moody, and dramatic. Again, we watched the sunset behind the mountains and the crashing waves. The tide was coming in so we ran across the rocks to take some pictures (below) before the water covered it.
Bridges of Ross
This was one of the most awe-inspiring places I’ve ever been to. It’s so difficult to even put into words; they don’t seem to do it justice. There were incredible rock formations; most noticeably the bridge itself, which was naturally formed by the water. There used to be three (hence the plural name) but sadly two have fallen into the sea. Even aside from the bridge, the rocks and the crashing waves were a spectacular thing to see. I certainly felt small standing in the midst of it all.
Diamond Rocks Cafe
This was actually an unplanned stop along the way; we saw it in our Lonely Planet guidebook and decided to check it out. I’m so glad we did! It had a stunning view over the bay, and the food was incredible – possibly the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten. I also had a mint mocha which was truly spectacular. We sat there for a little while just getting some work done and it was such a lovely afternoon.
This was exhilarating to drive through! It’s one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland and although it’s a two way road, parts of it are only big enough for one car at a time. It’s a bit harrowing! Fortunately we made it through without any incidents (although there may or may not be a video that caught me swearing at a car flying around the corner). The views there are absolutely stunning. The pass is relatively short with stopping points on either side, so we actually drove through a couple times to get pictures and videos. We’ll definitely share that once we finally get through all our video content!
This was one of the cutest places we’ve ever stayed! The town of Dingle is really charming and Tower View B&B fit in perfectly. The room was absolutely massive (for European standards anyway) with a big window overlooking the gorgeous view. There was even a bathtub! I definitely enjoyed getting to soak while drinking peppermint tea. There was a cozy living room with a telescope in it; I would have loved to spend a few hours reading in there if we’d had the time.
Possibly the best part though was the breakfast. Oh. My. Goodness. I had the best Belgian waffle I’ve ever eaten – and that’s coming from someone who was in Belgium the month before. I absolutely want to go back and spend a bit more time there one day.
Skellig Islands Boat Tour
The boat tour around the Skellig Islands was truly a surreal experience. The larger of the two islands, Skellig Michael, was used for the filming of Ahch-To in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Joe and I are both massive Star Wars fans, so it was incredible to be able to see it.
The trips are sometimes cancelled due to weather conditions, so we were extremely relieved when the weather was perfect on our day in Portmagee. When we first got to the water, we were shocked at how still and beautiful it looked. This was very misleading – I was not prepared for how rocky the boat ride would be. It turns out that waves in the ocean are pretty massive. I spent a lot of the ride holding on for dear life and worrying about my camera getting ruined if the water came crashing over the sides.
Fortunately there were no mishaps! Along the ride we also saw a bunch of dolphins. I love dolphins. I was so excited I actually cried.
While there were a lot of other amazing sights and experiences along the way, these were my absolute favorites. We’ve already talked about going back to some of these one day, just so we can get a bit more time there.
For a full breakdown of our itinerary and to start planning your own trip, take a look at our Wild Atlantic Way Travel Guide.
What’s the best road trip you’ve ever been on?
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