The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s longest coastal route. 2,600 km (1,600 miles) of uninterrupted scenic, jaw dropping beauty of western Ireland. Three to four weeks would be ideal to explore the full Wild Atlantic Way and its 188 discovery spots, (marked my the rugged WAW signposts). But if that sounds a bit too overwhelming, worry not! This route will focus on all the best spots from each county along the west coast, from north to south. Winding roads, hills and valleys, nooks and crannies, and of course, the Atlantic. Sounds like perfection to me!
This depends on how “wild” you want it! But Ireland is the Emerald Isle, after all. Our green landscape is thanks to lots and lots of rain. So to avoid wet and dreary weather, the summer is the safest time to go, with blue skies and temps of up to 30C (86F). Late spring or early autumn is also a safe enough time. Between May and September is really the goldilocks period.
If you want to experience a bit more of the Irish culture while on your route, you may want to time your trip to coincide with some of the various festivals here. Apart from Christmas markets, the biggest festivals take place during the summer, such as the Galway Arts Festival (July), the Rose of Tralee (August), and the traditional Irish music festival, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (August). More on these later!
Yes, Ireland is known for its welcoming, friendly and helpful people, so it’s safe to travel alone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity etc – and many people do!
English is the co-official language of Ireland. Irish (Or Gaelic) is also an official language, but due to past colonial occupation, the use of it has declined sharply over the years. While many people understand Irish, it is no longer the first language for the majority of Irish people. There are, however, a few pockets of spoken Irish left in Gaeltacht areas. In these places, Irish is the first language, and English is spoken secondly. In these Gaeltach areas, street signs will be exclusively in Irish, but otherwise, you will see both languages on display.
Irish people have incorporated lots of words from Gaelic into English, to form a unique dialect. One word you’re sure to hear thrown around like confetti during your trip is “craic” It sounds identical to the English word “crack”, but means literally “fun”. Irish people still use it in the sense of ‘fun’ (e.g.”the party was great craic’), but also to ask people how they are, or if they have any news: (“Hey, what’s the craic?/Any craic?”). As visitors to the country, the quickest way to a local’s heart is by incorporating Irish slang words into your conversations with them.
Mask wearing is obligatory on public transport and in healthcare facilities. There are no requirements for people to present proof of vaccination/recovery/negative test. Life is pretty much back to normal, with little to no restrictions. Updates on the covid situation in Ireland and possible entry requirements for foreigners can be found here.
Though some often make this mistake, Ireland is not a part of Britain (and it’s a rather touchy subject in the republic, so remember that!). This means we are still part of the European Union. However, we are not part of the Schengen Area, so there will be passport control for all arrivals into Ireland. The airports are very well-organised, so don’t worry – you shouldn’t be stuck in any queues for long.
Also, because we share a small island, there is no hard border between the Republic of Ireland, which is known as just Ireland, and Northern Ireland, which is technically a separate state and is a part of the UK. This means, once on the island, you can cross the border freely between the two states without hassle.
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