The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500km driving route, stretching from Kinsale in County Cork, along Ireland's rugged and spectacular coastline, to the Donegal village of Muff on the Inishowen peninsula. Launched in February 2014 by Junior Tourism Minister Michael Ring, it traverses the entire west coast of Ireland from Cork through counties Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, ending in Donegal and is expected to become one of the country's main tourist attractions. At the launch, the Minister said the Wild Atlantic Way was a wonderful way of discovering Ireland's key attractions of "beauty, infrastructure and people". The initiative is seen as a fresh approach to repositioning the west coast of Ireland to overseas visitors.
Set to be one of Ireland's first long-distance touring routes, one of the plus factors about the Wild Atlantic Way is that it is a tourist attraction that can be sampled in parts, travelling in either direction, allowing the visitor enjoy any of the shorter side loops along the way. Given this freedom and flexibility it encourages and enthuses people to make repeat visits to different areas along its route. It promises stunning scenery at every turn of the road with dozens of attractions and activities.
There are route maps and guides for each county along the Wild Atlantic Way including Mayo. Attractions in Mayo include Clare Island and Clew Bay near Westport and Louisburgh, Croagh Patrick Mountain, Keem Strand, Achill Island, the Great Western Greenway walking and cycling route and the historic Céide Fields.
The Wild Atlantic Way caters for visitors of all ages and tastes. It is a golden opportunity to slow down, meet the people and experience the scenery, culture, folklore and tradition of the real Ireland. In Mayo, as in all other parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, you can experience hidden places and relatively unexplored villages where all sorts of enchantments lie waiting for you. You might hear a few words of Irish spoken along your journey in Mayo's Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region) or quench your thirst with the best-tasting pint of Guinness ever to cross your lips. Discover all sorts of artisan foods and indulge your passion for good foodand great wine in delightful cafes and restaurants in little coastal villages.
Spend an afternoon fishing, collecting seaweed, walking, hiking or just lazing on a quiet beach with a good book. Whatever your fancy in holiday terms, this astonishingly beautiful coastal route will fascinate your heart and mind, long after you have returned home to the ordinary routine of day-to-day living.
It is envisaged that in time the Wild Atlantic Way is set to become one of the world's great tourism routes comparable to the Pacific Coast Highway in the US and the Great Ocean Road in Australia. This long-distance touring route has had a euro10m investment in its development including euro3m on 3,850 road signs. Its total span along the Atlantic seaboard encompasses approx 500 visitor attractions, over 500 festivals, 17 trails and 50 looped walks, as well as more than 50 Blue Flag beaches, 26 offshore islands and 120 golf courses.