Updated: Jan 27, 2020
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.
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:
Downhead Patrick & Ballycastle Village
Cliffs of Moher
Shannon Estuary with dolphins and whale watching
Dingle (and Fungi, the bottlenose dolphin that has been visiting Dingle since 1983).
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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