Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way: Rain, Cliffs & the Lucky Charms Leprechaun.

Updated: Jan 27

Ryanair and Aer Lingus are currently running promotions on flights from #London to Ireland. and a great time of year to visit #Ireland.


If blessed with a love of travel and a sense of the dramatic, one should pack a cable-knit jumper, a notebook, a pen and sit atop a rocky outcrop on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. Observe and write poetry.



The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500 (1553miles) kilometer driving route along the west coast of Ireland; from Co. Donegal, Irishowen Penninsula, Ulster to Kinsale, Co. Cork, Munster.

My daughter, sister and I traveled to Galway to climb Croagh Patrick for Reek Sunday.



After climbing a mountain on hands and knees for five hours, our only goal for the evening was to have take away pizza and watch a hotel room movie. As Irish luck would have it, the box was playing the quintessential Irish romantic comedy, Leap Year.


Amy Adams travels to Dublin to ask her boyfriend to marry her. With her flight diverted to Wales she hires a boat which delivers her to Dingle. Here she meets surly bartender, Matthew Goode, and hires him to drive her to Dublin.


"What are you? The Lucky Charms Leprechaun?" (number one quote from the film, not stereotypical at all)

One look at a map discredits this entire plot, but there is lovely photography of both Ireland and Matthew Goode, so it's forgivable.



Inspired by the film's closing scene that featured the stunning cliffs of Dun Aengus, Aran Islands, we had to explore the Wild Atlantic Way.


We didn't have time to miss the Aran Island ferry (as I always miss ferries), so we visited the Cliffs of Moher en route to the airport.






The Cliffs of Moher run 14 kilometres and rise 214 meters above the Atlantic Ocean at their highest point. From the top you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, Maumturks, Twelve Pins mountains and Loop Head.


We saw nothing.





Our beautiful Irish summer day clouded over as soon as we reached the parking lot. By the time we parked it was sprinkling with rain. By the time we crossed the lot, it was bucketing. I refused to turn back, not even allowing Phyl to return for her rain poncho. This was Ireland after all, and one must expect the rain.



Reaching the visitor's centre, visibility was about 1/2 meter. Still we pushed on. Anyway, we were already soaked. Finally we reached the path to the viewing platforms. Still bucketing. Never attempting the climb to the cliff's edge, we saw the view, clicked the photos and turned to run.



On our return to the parking lot, the rain stopped. Approaching the car, the sun was out. Leaving the lot, turning left for our drive to the airport, we realised that everyone else was dry. What is this witchcraft? How were we the only ones wet?



Our adventure on the Wild Atlantic Way totalled a one hour drive, ten minute walk through a parking lot, five minutes view of a Unesco recognised view. Another 40 minutes drive to the airport and five minutes spent changing our soaked clothes in the Avis bathroom. Nearly dry, we arrived at the airport three hours early, and set about finding libation. At this point, can anyone doubt out resolve to sample the famed Irish coffee near the place of it's inception?


Throughout the 9 county route, there are 157 discovery points, 1000 attractions and 2500 activities. High points include:



Malin Head

Slieve League

Carrickabraghy Castle

Downhead Patrick & Ballycastle Village

Killary Harbour

Cliffs of Moher

Aran Islands

Shannon Estuary with dolphins and whale watching

Dingle (and Fungi, the bottlenose dolphin that has been visiting Dingle since 1983).

Skelling Islands



Ireland and Northern Ireland are lands of enchanting beauty. If you enjoy stunning scenery, buzzing cities, picturesque villages, jamming bands and good alcohol, You cannot go wrong with a trip to the Emerald Isles. For my next trip, I plan to visit all 157 discovery points on the Wild Atlantic Way, and pack an umbrella. I may also write some poetry.


Yeats was most definitely sitting on a cliff top in the rain when he wrote this one.


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Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.

 

I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 

 

 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!

 

 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 

 

So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.

-Beth

When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 

 

From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 

 

Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!

-Phyl

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As we are all not traveling much, now would be a great time to share favourite travel, wellness, and food stories. We would love to include your best tales on this blog. If you would like to collaborate, please email us here at oldbagonaplane@gmail.com