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Five unmissable Ireland road trips


From coast to coast, the island of Ireland offers some stunning landscapes, exploring them by car is a fabulous way to take it all in at your own pace. 

 

 

Wild Atlantic Way

Stretching more than 2,500 km along the length of the island of Ireland’s west coast from Kinsale to Malin Head, the world’s longest defined coastal touring route, the Wild Atlantic Way is exactly what it sounds like - windswept, untamed and uniquely Irish.

Spectacular highlights include some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, the magnificent Slieve League Cliffs, Ireland’s only cable car on the Beara Peninsula; the majestic Cliffs of Moher, the dreamy Glencar Lake, wild surfs and more.

 

Game of Thrones®

From the Dothraki grasslands to the Kingsroad, George RR Martin’s epic landscapes are brought to life throughout Northern Ireland – and there is a lot to pack in.

 

Explore the 400-million-year-old caves at Cushendun (where Melisandre’s shadow-baby was born) or peek past Mussenden Temple to Downhill Beach (Dragonstone) below. And it’s not just the natural attractions that’s on offer. Visitors can join guided tours, practice their archery skills, and even meet "direwolves" at a range of Game of Thrones® experiences throughout Northern Ireland. And for the ultimate immersive experience, the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge is a must.

 

Ring of Kerry

One of the island’s most lauded spots, the Ring of Kerry sits in the beautiful surrounds of Killarney National Park. Beginning and ending at Killarney, this is also the heartland of quintessential Irish villages, such as the vibrantly coloured Sneem, Waterville and Derrynane. And then there’s is the Bog Village, home of an authentic thatched village.

 

Ladies View (named for Queen Victoria and her ladies), with its sprawling vistas of the Lakes of Killarney, stands in stark contrast to the craggy Atlantic coast and the dramatic spikes of the Skellig Islands, and both are jaw-dropping.

 

Causeway Coastal Route

Known as "one of the world’s great road journeys", the Causeway Coastal Route curves around the northeastern coast from Belfast Lough to Lough Foyle. The journey meanders along imposing cliffs, crystal-clear waterfalls and characterful castles.

 

 

Along the way, visitors should make time for the Gobbins cliff-walk, the Glens of Antrim, and the geological marvel of the Giant’s Causeway, where remnants of an epic legendary battle and its 40,000 basalt columns have created some spectacular landscape.

 

Ireland's Ancient East

Spanning 5,000 years of history across 15 counties, Ireland’s Ancient East boasts every facet of the island. Dotted across this lush landscape and rolling down to panoramic seascapes are megalithic tombs, medieval castles, holy treasures, ghostly gothic architecture and tombs that predate the pyramids.

 

Exploring the 6th century monastic retreat of Glendalough is a must, so is gazing across the Irish Sea from the world’s oldest lighthouse at Hook Head. The one thing visitors can take away from a visit here is that Ireland’s ancient history is still very much alive.

 

All images supplied by Tourism Ireland - www.ireland.com

 

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Published: 18 May 2022

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