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Home > Ireland > Ireland Itineraries > Ireland The Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way


June through August


14 Days


Cork, County Kerry, County Clare, County Mayo


Through centuries-old fortresses, magnificent gardens, eclectic museums, and sweeping national parks, this two-week Wild Atlantic Way adventure across Ireland delivers the depth and breadth of all the nation stands for. Get to know Cork City and the port of Cobh, experience the medieval Blarney Castle, head through Kenmare and Killarney, and along the Ring of Kerry. Take in the resort town of Waterville and the Cliffs of Moher. Your trip is a cinematic journey filled with charming fishing villages, boat rides through island inlets and mountain passes, lively pubs, and gourmet meals.

Itinerary in Detail

    DAY 1 – Cork

    Upon your arrival in Cork City, you will collect your luxury rental car and continue to Hayfield Manor Hotel, approximately a 20-minute drive. You will then enjoy an afternoon tour of the city, taking in the English Market, the Cathedral of St. Mary, and St. Anne at Shandon, Crawford Gallery, and Glucksman Museum. The rest of your day is at leisure.

    Hotel: Hayfield Manor Hotel

    Hayfield Manor Hotel

    DAY 2 – Cork - Cobh - Cork

    Enjoy an Irish breakfast at the hotel before your morning visit to the port of Cobh, about 25 minutes east of Cork City. This attractive town overlooks the second-largest natural harbor in the world and was the last port of call for the RSM Titanic. Next, visit the Cobh Heritage Centre and take a boat ride to Spike Island, known as the Irish Alcatraz. Here you will meet captains and convicts, sinners and saints, as they uncover 1,300 years of Irish history. In the afternoon, you will visit the nearby town of Midleton and enjoy a tour and tasting in the old Jameson Distillery, which dates back to the 18th century.

    Hotel: Hayfield Manor Hotel

    Hayfield Manor Hotel

    DAY 3 – Cork - Kinsale - Kenmare

    After checking out of your hotel, you will make the 20-minute drive to Blarney Castle, a medieval stronghold of the MacCarthy clan in Blarney. Explore the ruins, including the stone at the very top, which is meant to convey eloquence to anyone who leans backward to kiss it! From there, you will drive to lunch in the lovely fishing town of Kinsale, known as the foodie capital of Ireland. Two 17th-century fortresses overlook the River Bandon here – the vast, star-shaped Charles Fort to the southeast and the smaller James Fort on the opposite bank. In addition, the 16th-century courthouse contains the Kinsale Regional Museum, which has a variety of displays of local history. Later this afternoon, you will drive to Kenmare and check into the Park Hotel for three nights.

    Hotel: Park Hotel Kenmare

    Park Hotel Kenmare

    DAY 4 – Kenmare

    Today brings a full day of exploring the Beara Peninsula south of Kenmare. Drive over the Tim Healy Pass, and upon reaching Glengarriff, take a boat out to Garinish Island to see the incredible garden created by Henry Peto more than 100 years ago. Next, continue south to visit the magnificent Bantry House and Gardens, home of the Shelswell White family. Finally, return to Kenmare for the evening to enjoy its excellent restaurants and pubs.

    Hotel: Park Hotel Kenmare

    Park Hotel Kenmare

    DAY 5 – Kenmare - Killarney - Kenmare

    The schedule for today is more relaxed, beginning with a drive to Killarney, through mountain pass Moll’s Gap and the scenic Ladies View. You will visit Muckross House and Gardens to learn more about the area, spend some time in the shops of Killarney, then take a boat ride on Lough Leane.

    Hotel: Park Hotel Kenmare

    Park Hotel Kenmare

    DAY 6 – Kenmare - Waterville - Tralee

    This morning, you will depart Kenmare and take the road to Sneem and on to Waterville, a lovely holiday resort overlooking the Atlantic. Waterville was a favorite holiday retreat of Charlie Chaplin and his family for many years. This is a stretch of the Ring of Kerry, a 111-mile tourist route in Kerry County. The amazing Skellig Islands are visible on a clear day from Ballinskelligs. Continue on the Ring until the end, taking the road to Tralee.

    Hotel: Ballygarry Estate Hotel and Spa

    Ballygarry Estate Hotel and Spa

    DAY 7 – Tralee

    The town of Dingle is filled with artisan shops and great restaurants, many offering excellent seafood. The road around the peninsula offers yet more stunning views. Visit the Fahan Beehive Huts – a fascinating collection of ruins, some of which are underground and others that have been standing for more than 1,000 years. Return to Ballygarry for the evening.

    Hotel: Ballygarry Estate Hotel and Spa

    Ballygarry Estate Hotel and Spa

    DAY 8 – Tralee - Adare - Limerick - County Clare

    Depart County Kerry and head north to the pretty town of Adare with its thatched-roof cottages and three churches for a coffee and a wander. Next, stop in Limerick to visit the eclectic Hunt Museum before continuing to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This medieval castle is surrounded by an Irish village constructed to tell the story of Ireland in the 19th century. Finally, you will arrive at Dromoland Castle Hotel in the afternoon and check in for three nights.

    Hotel: Dromoland Castle Hotel

    Dromoland Castle Hotel

    DAY 9 – County Clare

    This is a day to enjoy at your leisure.

    Hotel: Dromoland Castle Hotel

    Dromoland Castle Hotel

    DAY 10 – County Clare

    Today, you will explore the Cliffs of Moher, which drop dramatically into the raging Atlantic Ocean below. Next, explore the town of Ennis before continuing to the Burren, a UNESCO Global Geopark. Stroll through the beautiful caverns – over bridged chasms, under odd formations, and along the thunderous waterfall, which can occasionally spray the unsuspecting visitor. A local guide can be engaged to help you get the most out of this fascinating region. Finally, return to Dromoland for one more night.

    Hotel: Dromoland Castle Hotel

    Dromoland Castle Hotel

    DAY 11 – County Clare - County Mayo

    After checking out this morning, you will drive north, stopping at Caherconnell for a demonstration of working sheepdogs and to visit a unique stone fort. Next, continue north to the lively city of Galway for a tour, exploring its narrow streets. There are lots of fun restaurants to pop into and artisan shops to visit here. Finally, you will reach the stunning Ashford Castle in County Mayo after a 45-minute drive farther north.

    Hotel: Ashford Castle

    Ashford Castle

    DAY 12 – County Mayo

    Today, you can enjoy the grounds and superb facilities of the castle – including the amazing hawk walk, which requires bookings in advance. Should you wish to continue exploring, you can tour the surrounding area of Connemara. Purple heather, dark lakes, moody mountains – the rugged countryside of Connemara National Park is a dramatic scene. Drive along the shore of Ireland’s only fjord from Leenane to Kylemore, arriving at Kylemore Abbey in time for lunch. We also recommend visiting the nearby town of Clifden before you return to Ashford Castle.

    Hotel: Ashford Castle

    Ashford Castle

    DAY 13 – County Mayo

    Enjoy an Irish breakfast at the hotel before driving north into Mayo County and its capital town of Westport. You will drive down to the harbor for the fantastic view over Clew Bay with its hundreds of islands and learn more about the amazing Grace O’Malley, head of the Ó Máille dynasty in the west of Ireland in the 1500s. Return through the Doolough Valley to learn about the Great Famine before returning to Ashford Castle.

    Hotel: Ashford Castle

    Ashford Castle

    DAY 14 – County Mayo - Shannon

    Today, you will depart Ashford Castle for Shannon Airport for your return flight home.

Speak to our Travel Designers about combining this itinerary with a pre or post-luxury cruise.

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