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Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route, Ireland’s West Coast

Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route, Ireland’s West Coast

Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

The Wild Atlantic Way is a designated section of the West coast of Ireland. It’s tagline is that you can ‘Explore 9 counties along this unforgettable coastal touring route to enjoy breathtaking scenery and exceptional experiences.’ I first traveled this part of Ireland around 1984, when we drove from Waterford, through Cork, Kerry, Clare and into Galway before heading home east via Dublin. I remember areas like Scull, Garnish Island, the Tarbert Ferry and the amazing Cliffs of Moher. This post outlines a decent Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route which takes in some of the key areas and sights in the area. This is also a driving route which I have recently done myself in November 2017.

This Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route will bring you from Kenmare to Doolin (or vice versa). The drive , according to Google Maps would take you around 6h 15 minutes but in reality with Irish roads it will be more than that. Don’t forget you will want to stop off and see these places. With this in mind, I suggest stopping overnight somewhere of your choosing along the way. You are quite close to Adare and also Limerick if you feel like venturing off-route momentarily for hotels.

Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route from Doolin – Top 10 places to see

I’m going to presume that you are starting in Doolin, Co. Clare and driving south. If you are starting my Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route in Kerry then just reverse these instructions and start in Kenmare. The Top 10 places to see and do will be outlined below as headings, working from Doolin south.

The Cliffs of Moher

I first saw the cliffs of moher when I was 10 and I can recall a big field where everyone parked and a basic café with a castle nearby. Things have really changed. Now the cliffs of moher has a proper car park and a full experiential interpretive centre. If you have the time you should walk a section of the cliff top route. It is breathtaking. There is a charge for parking here.

Cliffs of Moher, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Spanish Point

This is a very scenic area, often overlooked. It is on the way between the two endpoints on this journey and great as a stopping off point to stretch the legs and enjoy the view of the wild Atlantic. We stopped at a local hotel, got tea and used that as a base / car park to wander the local routes for an hour or so.

The Bridges of Ross, Near Spanish Point, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Kilkee

This was a new one on me. I only discovered it in 2017. There are cliffs near the golf course with parking nearby and it is worth parking and taking a walk down to the sea shore. You get a great view of the sea and cliffs from here. Following on from here you can, if you wish, go straight on and visit Loop Head and the Bridges of Ross.

Kilkee, Co. Clare, Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

The Tarbert Ferry

This ferry will bring you across the River Shannon at one of the widest points. The Journey takes around 25 minutes and gives you great views of the river and the surrounding countryside. The Tarbert Ferry is a paid for service and costs around €19 per car. There is a 10% discount if you buy the Tarbert Ferry ticket online.

Tarbert Ferry Crossing, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Ballybunion

Ballybunion is a beautiful coastal town and seaside resort in County Kerry, Ireland. It’s 15 km off-route from the town of Listowel. If you are a golfer, bring your clubs as there is a very good links course here.

Tralee

I was here many times in the 80s and it is most famous for the Rose of Tralee festival which takes place every August. The town goes into really party mode for this event. Note, if you intend getting a hotel in Tralee during the festival it is best to book ahead as availability can be tight and prices can be out of the ordinary.

Blennerville Windmill, Tralee, Co. Kerry, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Dingle

This town is famous for one very special visitor and that is Fungi and dolphin. If you have the time you might take a boat trip and you could get to see him as he leaps from the water. I was there in 1992 and we went on a wetsuit swum where you could meet the dolphin but it was so cold that we ended up going in as far as our knees. Apparently he was feet in front of me but I couldn’t see him. Anyway it’s a lovely town and worth seeing.

Inch

The key feature of Inch is Inch Beach. This is an impressive three mile stretch of sandy beach, ideal for bathing, surfing and many other water sports.

Killarney National Park & the Ring of Kerry

The area around Killarney National Park and the Killarney Lakes is some of Ireland’s most iconic and spectacular scenery. There is also the Ring of Kerry which, if you have time, you could also do as it forms a looped drive. Most hotels in the area have maps of the various areas you can visit on the Ring of Kerry.

A Sheep from Ireland

Kenmare

This is a lovely little town with many areas around to walk and explore. If you are staying here for any length of time I recommend eating at the restaurant No. 35. This restaurant sources local ingredient and creates dishes which are homely in taste but with an unusual twist. I eat here every time I visit Kenmare.

Just a note regarding driving these roads, if you go off road, i.e. down to a remove viewing point etc, you might find that the roads are not the best maintained. Some of the roads have bad potholes and soft margins so make sure you have decent tyres on the car and you know that your vehicle can make it on the terrain required. It’s worth ensuring your insurance covers for emergency callouts and things like windscreen protection. If you are looking for good insurance and a comparison of policies the Chill Insurance website has a good tool which might help you.

I hope you have enjoyed my Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route along Ireland’s West Coast. It is a route I have done many times in different directions. I love stopping at the smaller towns as well as visiting abandoned areas of the coast. Next up, I might try write a post for driving routes on Ireland’s Ancient East.

Map

I hope you enjoy your journey on this Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route.
You can Follow the various accounts Wild Atlantic Way Tweets and Social Media posts
with the hashtag #WILDATLANTICWAY

Support Solas Cancer Care Waterford – Film for Life 2018

Support Solas Cancer Care Waterford – Film for Life 2018

Film for Life 2018

Film for Life is in it’s second year. This year, I decided to give it a go; not in the area of photography (being the camera) rather as an actor. Over the past 6 weeks rehearsing and filming, I have been involved in acting out a scene from a famous movie.

This years movie is The Hangover and I play Phil, the Bradley Cooper character. 

Over a 6-week training programme we were tutored by a professional actor. And at the end of May we shot a few scenes from The Hangover. The Film for Life premiere will take place at a red carpet themed event in the Tower Hotel, Waterford on Saturday 16th June. The inaugural 2017 Film for Life event was great fun and seemed to be enjoyed by all who took part.

Tickets for Film for Life 2018 has now passed and is over – but check out the Solas Cancer Care website for details of the next events This exciting Film for Life event helped to fund the activities and services that will be provided by the Solas Cancer Support Centre in 2018.

I have really enjoyed bring involved and I hope you can support my sponsorship to raise funds for Solas Cancer Care – click here for details.

Solas Cancer Care - Film for Life 2018

About Solas Cancer Care, Waterford

The Solas Cancer Support Centre offers free cancer support to those affected by cancer, their families and carers in the South East. These services are available in their centre at Williamstown in Waterford City and in their West Waterford service based in the Alternative Health Clinic in Dungarvan.

Support my "Film for Life" Fundraising event

If you wish to donate to my “Film for Life” fundraising event please click the button below. Any amount will make a difference and I appreciate all donations to this worth cause.

Everyone who supports the event will be mentioned later on shanemcdonald.ie !

Total € Donations So Far including Offline Contributions

Thank You …

I would like to thank the following people and businesses who have donated so far.

Maria McEvoy

Vera McEvoy

John & Caroline Duggan / Hawkeye Falconry

Greg Porter

Fergus McDonald

Mary Murphy

Sarah McGrath

Kay Murphy

Maria McDonald

Karen McDonald

Elaine O’Sullivan

Carol McGrath

Brian Kavanagh

Valerie Leahy

I will add the names of individuals and businesses here as donations are received

Inside Loftus Hall. The Loftus Hall Tour – Visit Irelands Most Haunted House

Inside Loftus Hall. The Loftus Hall Tour – Visit Irelands Most Haunted House

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe that the devil himself visited Loftus Hall? Did you know the Devil exited through the roof of Loftus hall and that hole in the roof cannot be repaired?

Loftus Hall – Ireland’s Most Haunted House

If not, (or even if you do) then a visit to Loftus Hall in Co. Wexford, Ireland just might change your mind. Ireland’s Most Haunted House, Loftus Hall is  open and running very well organised hour long tours which bring you through the history, and horrors of the haunted house. You may even catch a glimpse of the ghostly Lady Anna or one of the other ghostly demons.

I had known of Loftus hall for many years. As a child living in Waterford, you get told the stories of the devil and how he left the building. Loftus Hall is visible from Dunmore East so it was always in the focus of the young inquiring mind. At one point in the mid-90s it reopened as a bar, and I remember visiting it. The place had an un0ease about it, not just an old abandoned building but a sense that it lacked peace.

Even with my previous visit in mind, older and wiser, I was a small bit sceptical. I wasn’t sure how this old house could be the setting for a tour but I was proved very wrong within the first 5 minutes. The tour guides are very well prepared and give you a lot of history and facts to digest. I’m not going to give anything away are there are a few interactive elements to the tour also. For me the highlight (if you can call it that) was the visit to the tapestry room which is the most haunted room in the house, as I felt a real drop in temperature in this room, apparently associated with spirits. One story of what a child on the tour said to her mum, brought chills to my being.

It was a very well run tour and I might even be tempted to return for the more sinister adult only tour which is a lot darker and guided only by candlelight (which often goes out I was informed). Shortly after writing this post, one person took an unexplained photo with a potential ghost. The news story hit national press and went viral online so if you are interested in the paranormal, Loftus Hall is certainly one for you.

Admission to Loftus Hall : Tickets are €5 for children (who must be accompanied by at least 1 adult) and €9 for adults.

A great tour, my only gripe is that if you do the tour, your parking should be validated as it is €2 to exit the car park otherwise. (at the time of my visit, maybe this has changed now)

Website : http://www.loftushall.com/

Location of Loftus Hall

Loftus Hall, Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford

Littlewoods Ireland Christmas Commercial

Littlewoods Ireland Christmas Commercial

Normally, the first Christmas commercial I see comes with a cry of ‘No, its far too early for this’. But this year, the first Christmas commercial I saw was for Littlewoods Ireland and I actually liked it.

Now, part of the reason why I liked it was because they used the Queen song, “Those were the Days of Our Lives”. The song was written by Roger Taylor about his kids and it was on Queen’s album Innuendo. It’s a very emotive song and therefore fits perfectly, as it is all about looking back. (As an aside, the video for that song was the last time Freddie Mercury was on camera, and today 24th Nov is the anniversary of his death).

Anyway, I really liked this commercial because it focused on the real joys of Christmas. The soft lighting, cheeky grins from kids stealing chocolate, everyone decorating the Christmas tree, putting out mince pies for Santa and of course the excitement coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. There is also a flashback moment when mum and dad are seen as kids. The tagline ‘You never forget how it feels…. to be a child at Christmas’.

I know John Lewis every year has a great Christmas commercial, this year’s dog is no exception. But I think Littlewoods Christmas commercial has given them a run for their money,

Take a look at the commercial below. What do you think?

Cigarette Butts are Irelands Biggest Litter Problem

Cigarette Butts are Irelands Biggest Litter Problem

In a recent survey of litter in Ireland, it was found that Irelands cities and towns are now cleaner than they have been for many years – thanks to better awareness from the public, more bins and a huge effort from city and town councils. However, some pedestrians and motorists ignore bins and drop cigarette butts and food on the streets.

Cigarette Butts mentioned in Litter Reports

The 2008 National Litter Pollution Monitoring System report found that cigarette butts and cigarette-related litter formed 46% of street litter and food packaging & Sweet wrappers making up 17% of all litter.

The 2015 National Litter Pollution Monitoring System report found Cigarette related litter was at 59.8% – up over 13% on 2008, while packaging litter & sweet related litter combined was around 19% up a small amount on 2008.

For some reason, cigarette smokers have some sort of ignorance when it comes to litter. Cigarette Butts also contain over 4,000 toxins which can kill birds and fish – so why, when finished a cigarette do smokers flick their butt into the streets – in a “F**k it, someone else will clean  that up!” attitude.

Smokers should be fined for doing this – after all it is litter. If they are not fined then there should be an extra tax on each cigarette in a packet to pay for cigarette butt clean up.

Naming and Shaming

I think Ireland may have to Name and Shame pubs, restaurants or outlets which don’t encourage smokers to bin their butts when finished smoking. Perhaps there may also be a law which allows fining smokers who flick their butts into the street after they are finished smoking. This seems to be a habit amongst many smokers rather than finding a bin.

My Cigarette Butt 10 Step Challenge

I have observed a huge number of cigarette butts on the streets of Ireland. I have come up with a cigarette butt challenge. Basically, try walking 10 steps in any town or city in Ireland, observing the ground. See if you can walk those 10 steps without seeing a cigarette butt on the ground – it is almost impossible. If you do find a street or town let me know in the comments below.

I do have to reiterate that there are conscientious smokers out there who do place their finished cigarettes in bins provided. However, there has been an increase in this sort of litter, so it seems these smokers are in the minority.