Earlier this year Fáilte Ireland has launched a new tourism initiative called the Wild Atlantic Way. It is geared both for international tourists and the domestic tourist and you may have seen the sign posts – a jagged line representing waves on a blue background which are dotted along the western coast of the country. The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest signposted coastal road in the world covering over 2500km from the most northern point in Ireland, Malin Head, Co. Donegal, all the way along the west coast ending in Kinsale, Co. Cork.
Donegal, which I first visited over two years ago, has captivated me ever since with its expansive beaches and incredible scenery and in fact, in the first issue of ISLE magazine, it was the focus of our travel feature. We worked with Donegal native, John Ward, to write the piece from a local perspective. He has developed a range of apps that can be used to plan your travel to the region. Check out his website www.Racontour.com while he does great tours in Donegal he also covers many other areas of Ireland.
The most northern point of the Wild Atlantic Way, Malin Head is located on the Inishowen Peninsula. As you work your way south, Lough Swilly which is actually a glacial fjord or sea inlet, lies between Inishowen and the Fanad Peninsula.
Dunfanaghy has a bustling summer community with surfers, golfers and holiday makers. For an amazing experience, set off on horseback with Dunfanaghy Stables. Drive up to Horn Head and take in the views looking back onto Dunfanaghy and out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Further south you can choose to take a ferry out to Tory Island which lies 9 miles off the coast. As you drive south, you are now entering the Gailtacht region of the county and an area called the Bloody Foreland or Cnoc Fola (The Hill of Blood) named because the sun in the evening lights rocks to a reddish hue. Inland one should not miss Glenveagh National Park, Ireland’s second largest National Park, or the Bluestack Mountains further to the south, where you can walk the Blue Stack Way.
In July I went to the first ever Swell Festival which was held on Arranmore Island – it ran the 11-13 July and was a great small music festival with an intimate setting in an amazing location. It gave me a chance to get out and see Arranmore which is a great little island and was a great inspiration for me in regards to photography.
Photograph by Lisa McGee
For more on the Wild Atlantic Way - www.ireland.com/en-gb/wild-atlantic-way
or Discover Ireland site - www.discoverireland.ie/Wild-Atlantic-Way.
For more on Donegal please read the Premier issue of ISLE magazine on our website - in the archive - www.islemagazine.com/2013/04/issue-1/
* This post is excerpted from the Travel column, our Founder and Creative Director writes for the Nenagh Guardian newspaper in North Tipperary. This is only a small aspect of what can be found along with Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal.
The next issue of ISLE magazine will be on-line by late October, 2014 - Our travel feature will be on the Wild Atlantic Way. www.IsleMagazine.com
Top photograph by Eddie Cleary