Clare to Kerry

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Experience Loop Head, Blaskets View and Skelligs Viewpoint.

Journey from Clare to Kerry, taking in Loop Head, Blaskets View and Skelligs Viewpoint. Total distance for this route is approximately 541 km (336 miles). The closest airports are Kerry, Shannon or Cork. If you're travelling by ferry, sail into Dublin or Belfast from Great Britain.

Landscapes steeped in history
Loop Head

While driving around Loop Head in County Clare you’ll discover an incredible journey of contrasts, from peaceful roads and deserted beaches to more elemental experiences.

Picture huge Atlantic swells smashing like giant grey fists into miles of sheer granite cliffs, right smack in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way.

At the tip of the peninsula is Loop Head Lighthouse, where you can climb to the top for some spectacular panoramic views from Kerry to the Cliffs of Moher. And if you can’t get enough of this watery windswept retreat, why not stay in the lightkeeper’s house.

This leg of your journey is a great mix of incredible cliff views, fresh local seafood, picture postcard beauty spots and plenty of aquatic activities. Not only did Loop Head become a European Destination of Excellence in aquatic tourism in 2010, but it was also named Best Place to Holiday in Ireland by the Irish Times in 2013.

“It's the sea it's the sky, it's the space, it's the air”
Land meets sea

Take a RIB Tour and explore Ireland’s largest estuary. The Foynes Island Tour takes in Foynes Island and parts of the Fergus Estuary with unspoiled coastline and ever-changing scenery. The Estuary Historical and Wildlife Tour explores the outer estuary, its wildlife, and historic Scattery Island, which contains the ruins of a 6th century monastery, several medieval churches and a unique 10th century round tower.

Dancing in the waves

The Shannon Estuary is home to Ireland’s only resident group of bottlenose dolphins. There are about 160 in total, and with new calves being born this figure is growing every year. You can watch these intelligent, playful creatures in their natural habitat on a guided boat trip. Geoff Magee, skipper of the purpose built Dolphinwatch boat Craíocht, will introduce you to them personally. He knows many of the dolphins from the unique markings on their dorsal fins.

Watch the skies

The Bridges of Ross were once a trio of sea-arches but the fierce Atlantic has worn them away over the years, leaving just one remarkable ‘bridge’ still standing. Today the area is an internationally renowned seabird-watching site. In the late summer and early autumn, seabirds such as shearwaters, skuas and petrels pass by close to shore, sometimes overhead, as they follow Ireland’s western shore on their migration south.

Loop Head

GOOD TO KNOW

  1. Approximately 2 hours’ drive from Shannon airport
  2. In 2013 it was named the ‘Best Place to Holiday in Ireland’
  3. Loop Head Lighthouse was built in 1854
  4. Lighthouse is open from May to early September: entry €5 per person, under 12s free
  5. Bring your binoculars to spot an impressive range of seabird
Writing in the sand
Blaskets View

Just a boat ride away from the tip of the Dingle Peninsula you’ll discover the Blaskets, a group of islands rich in history.

Emigration and isolating seas led to their population dwindling until they were officially evacuated in 1953. However, remainders of the life left by the farmers and fishermen who once inhabited the islands still stand to this day.

With a little digging you’ll uncover a rich and celebrated literary history. In fact, the islanders published many books during the 1920s and 1930s that are considered classics today. ‘Twenty Years A-Growing’, by Maurice O’Sullivan in 1933, became an international bestseller and was translated into several different languages.

“You’ll always find someone with a story.”
Captured in clay

Visit Louis Mulcahy, one of Ireland’s leading potters, with a studio, factory, shop, and café at the far end of the Dingle Peninsula. Louis’ work is inspired by the mystical Blasket Islands, the rapidly changing colours of the landscape, and the might of the crashing sea.

Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow, picturesque mountain pass between Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain. Within the pass are five lakes, and between the first two lakes is an ancient arched bridge known locally as ‘Wishing Bridge’. Make a wish while you’re standing upon it and legend says it’s sure to come true.

Beaches by horseback

Imagine galloping along 7 miles of sand through plumes of spray from the wild Atlantic at Rossbeigh Beach. This is an experience that riders of all levels will never forget. Due to popularity, it’s a good idea to book in advance.

Fish for your supper

You’ll find some of Ireland’s best shore and rock fishing in the Dingle Peninsula. There’s a variety of species throughout the year, including bass, flounder and small turbot from Inch Beach. If you fancy trying your luck in deeper waters, Dingle Bay Charters can organise boat trips and activities. Or if you like the idea of fresh seafood but don’t want to go fishing, pop into one of the charming local restaurants.

Blasket View

GOOD TO KNOW

  1. Kerry airport is closest at 50km (31 miles) from Dingle town
  2. At its most populated, Great Blasket was home to nearly 200 people
  3. When it was finally abandoned in 1953, only 22 people occupied the island
  4. 20 minutes from Dún Chaoin Pier or 40 minutes from Dingle to reach Blasket by boat
  5. The Blasket Centre tells the islands’ story: €4 entry for adults, children are free
A personal journey
Skellig Viewpoint

Take a short boat trip, weather permitting, from Portmagee, Valentia or Ballinaskelligs to one of the world’s wonders, 12 km (8 miles) from shore.

Towering 218m (715 feet) above sea level is the breath-taking Skellig Michael. In the 6th century Christian monks built a remote hermitage on this jagged crag.

Climb the steep steps carved into the rock to the summit, where you’ll find a collection of beehive-shaped monastic retreats. Remarkably well-preserved, these solitary retreats for contemplation were deliberately built as far from civilisation as possible.

Once described by the author George Bernard Shaw as “part of our dream world”, Skellig Michael is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of those who’ve visited on their own personal pilgrimage have described it as a life-changing experience. What might a visit do for you?

Take in the view

Walk or drive to the peak of Geokaun Mountain, Valentia Island's highest point, for spectacular views of Kerry and west across the Atlantic as far as the eye can see.

Discover more about the Skellig monks, and the community they created over 600 years ago, at the award-winning Skellig Experience Centre.

Feathered friends

You’ll see a broad spread of seabirds around the Skellig coast, with Little Skellig being home to nearly 70,000 gannets. It's the second largest gannet colony in the world.

If you’re a keen ornithologist, or just love nature, there are plenty of seabirds to spot: puffins, arctic terns, black guillemots, herring gulls, razorbills, fulmars, and many more.

Swing into action

The Wild Atlantic Way is the backdrop for many of Ireland’s most spectacular golf courses. So while you’re in County Kerry, why not marvel at the views while you hit the green at the beautiful Dingle, Tralee or Ballybunion golf clubs.

Skellig Michael

GOOD TO KNOW

  1. Skellig Michael has 2 peaks and 670 steps to the monastery
  2. It’s a 12 km (8 mile) journey by boat from Portmagee, and the trip takes around 1 hour, weather permitting
  3. The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre is open from March to November
  4. Shannon is the closest international airport, then it’s a 196 km (122 mile) drive
  5. Little Skellig is home to many seabird colonies, so don’t forget your camera
Planning and booking

Preparing for your trip is simple. We’ve created pre-planned itineraries, or you can plot your own route by using the map. So what are you waiting for? Your Wild Atlantic Way adventure starts here.

Itineraries

Pick a pre-planned route with accommodation and activities mapped out.

Map

Plot the route, plus accommodation and activities you want, using an interactive map.