5-day tour around Ireland, part 2

Yeldar Kurmangaliyev
8 min readJul 16, 2019

Russian language version is available here.
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If you missed the part 1, then it is available here:

Day 3. Glenbeigh — Lahinch

The next hotel on our path is in Lahinch, County Clare. There is a Dingle peninsula on the way, where we spent the most of the day.

Dingle is a Gaeltacht, which means that Irish language is still dominating as the first communication language in this region. You can explore some real Irish culture and hear Irish language here.

Inch Beach

Just across the bay from Rossbeigh Strand, there is another Atlantic beach — Inch Beach.

The water is slightly warmer than in the Irish sea, so you can swim or rent a surf for €5 per hour.

Dingle town

Dingle is a town with population of 2 000 people. In my opinion, it is the most picturesque town in our trip. Apparently, there are many people sharing my opinion, because the town is full of tourists and tourist buses.

Dingle is where the main character of “Leap Year”, Anna, gets when her plans are destroyed by a storm. It is an inaccuracy in the plot, because all filming are happening on Aran islands, in County Galway.

Dunmore Head & Blasket Islands

Dunmore Head is the westernmost point of Ireland.

This place and Skellig Michael became very popular as filming location for “Star Wars: Episode VIII”. If you are a fan of Star Wars series, then check this article about filming locations in Ireland.

If you climb a hill, you will have a great view on Blasket Islands, and you even can take a ferry to it.

There is also a rocky beach with clear azure water.
Just imagine yourself waking up every day in one of these houses!

Tarbert — Killimer Ferry

We have left Dingle peninsula and are heading to the North. There is a Shannon river between County Clare and County Kerry. We used Shannon Ferry to cross it.

The ferry crosses the river in 30 minutes and it costs €20 per car. There is a shop with coffee, snacks and soft drinks, as well as toilets and Wi-Fi on board.

Sorry for the vertical video, it was filmed for an Instagram story:

An alternative route — by the mainland, through Limerick — the third largest city in the Republic. It will be 130 km, so considering the cost of petrol, it is probably not worth it.

After leaving the ferry we went all the way to Lahinch, without stops. There are lots of nice viewpoints and towns on the way, though.

Lahinch

Lahinch is a very small town, even by the standards of Ireland. There are only 650 people living in the town.

We reached our B&B and it turned out that the host is the kindest and nicest Irish man, who was worried about us taking too much time to come. He told us some stories about the town.

Day 4. Lahinch — Sligo

The latest hotel in our trip was in Sligo.

Main points of interests that day were Cliffs of Moher and Galway, so we had to skip most of County Galway and part of County Mayo.

There are two things that definitely worth a trip or at least a day or two:

  • Croagh Patrick — mountain, 764m, very important piligrimage destination. There is a tradition to climb the mountain in the latest Sunday of July, to honor Saint Patrick
  • Connemara — national park and the largest Gaeltacht of the country

And again, if you have more time, then you can spend it here.

Cliffs of Moher

After the breakfast, we went to the most recognizable natural monument of the Republic of Ireland — Cliffs of Moher.

This is the place of an incredible energy — you need to hear the sound of the Atlantic waves, breaking on the kilometers of rocks.

Just near Cliffs of Moher, there are two other popular tourist destinations: Doolin village and Aran Islands.

Galway

We spent the morning at Cliffs of Moher and came to Galway to for a lunch.

Galway is a musical capital of Ireland, the home town for the best singers and best festivals of Ireland, the fourth largest town in the Republic.

You could hear its name many times: in the Irish folk songs, in the speech of Grace of “Peaky Blinders” TV series, or in the songs of Ed Sheeran.

While we were in Galway, it started to rain and stopped 4 times, but it didn’t spoil the impression from this gorgeous city.

After the lunch, we spent all the remaining time at Achill Island. This is a small, but picteresque island.

Sligo

Sligo is surfing capital of Ireland. Surfers from across the world come to the surf coast of Ireland. We have checked in the hotel and fell asleep.

There is a free parking on the territory of the County Council.

Day 5. Sligo — Dublin

We waked up and started to explore Sligo.
It turned to be very cozy and nice town.

Not that far away, there is also a coastal village Strandhill.
We visited it before going back to Dublin.

In Strandhill we discovered that this is also a home town for the best ice cream in Ireland. There is a cafe “Mammy Johnston’s”, on the coast of a village of 1753 people. In 2016 it won a medal on the competition of ice cream makers in Italy for its honeycomb gelato.

This was a great way to end the trip and we headed to Dublin.

What did we miss?

To the North of Sligo, between the Atlantic Ocean and Northern Ireland, there is County Donegal. Perhaps, it is the most authentic region of Ireland.

It would be an ideal continuation of the trip: Donegal, cross the border of the Northern Ireland, Derry, Belfast, and then back to Dublin. However, it would take 2–3 more days and we would also need a UK visa.

Besides, I would recommend to spend much more time in County Kerry, County Galway, County Mayo, Cork and Galway.

In general, people say that you need 10 to 20 days to complete Wild Atlantic Way. So, if you think that you have seen most of the Way after reading this post, then don’t worry. There are lots more of things to explore :)

Summary

The trip left a very deep and good impression about Ireland and Irish people on me.

The first findings was that every county and every island is different — different architecture, different nature, different people.

There is only thing which doesn’t change — the sheeps. They are literally everywhere, even on the roads.

The second observation is that, I didn’t notice much difference in the quality of life across the country. There are no “poor villages” and “rich capital”, like in many countries.

Even in small towns, there are many tourist sights and interesting history. There are small businesses and craft in every region, from Wexford strawberry to Donegal wool. And there are people, who would never trade their beautiful town for a noisy capital. There are reasons for these, indeed, each of the places is fascinating. You want to stay some time in every small town on your way.

And, of course, the roads — good condition, fresh markings and infinitely beautiful nature.

That’s it! After coming back home, we had a felling that we spent a month in the trip.

Finance

The total for the trip is €1 300, which is pretty good, I think:

  • Car — €504
    I used carsharing. It is pretty expensive, because I needed a car with automatic transmission, which is pretty unusual for Ireland. It also was a hybrid crossover. So, you could save much money if you get a small car with manual transmission.
  • Hotels — €468
  • Food — €260
  • Ferries — €30
  • Museums and sights, entrance tickets — €65

Links

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Yeldar Kurmangaliyev

C# Software Engineer from Kazakhstan, lived in Ireland now living in New York City. More info: https://kurmangaliyev.kz