Exploring The West Coast of Ireland and Planning the Perfect 10-Day Itinerary

West Coast of Ireland

Updated On: February 04, 2024 by   Maha YassinMaha Yassin

We get you! Planning a trip to Ireland can feel like trying to choose your favourite star in the sky—there’s simply too much that shines! We remember when we were prepping for our first-ever visit; the sheer wealth of stunning landscapes, charismatic towns and riveting historical sites left me gobsmacked.

However daunting though, fear not! We have painstakingly researched and wandered about the glorious West Coast of Ireland to gift you an unforgettable road trip. Let’s set off on this thrilling adventure together—bet we’ll uncover hidden treasures that will leave us both spellbound! We will also give you a perfect itinerary for a 10-day trip to the West Coast of Ireland so you don’t miss any attractions!

Top Attractions on the West Coast of Ireland

Welcome to the enchanting world of Ireland’s West Coast, a region that seamlessly blends breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. The West Coast is a treasure trove of must-visit attractions, from towering cliffs to historic abbeys and lively cities.

Join us as we explore the top destinations that define the allure of this captivating region, offering a perfect mix of natural wonders and cultural experiences. Whether you’re drawn to dramatic coastal vistas, charming towns, or ancient landmarks, the West Coast captivates every traveller’s heart.

Cliffs of Moher

Nestled along the enchanting west coast of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher emerge as a must-see destination for tourists seeking a truly mesmerising natural spectacle. Towering proudly at heights up to 214 meters above the mighty Atlantic Ocean, these iconic cliffs command attention with their rugged beauty and crashing waves.

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is thoughtfully crafted, seamlessly blending into the coastal landscape and providing visitors with an immersive encounter. Strolling along the well-maintained cliffside pathways, one can absorb the sheer magnificence of the cliffs while the distant calls of seabirds echo in the background. On clear days, the cliffs unveil breathtaking vistas of the Aran Islands and the distant Connemara mountains, offering an unforgettable Irish experience.

Whether drawn to geological wonders, the allure of the ocean, or simply the tranquillity of the Atlantic panoramas, the Cliffs of Moher stand as an enduring and enchanting escape for all who venture to the west coast of Ireland.

Kylemore Abbey

West Coast of Ireland: Kylemore Abbey
West Coast of Ireland: Kylemore Abbey

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of the West Coast of Ireland as you explore Kylemore Abbey. This Benedictine abbey, gracefully situated along the shores of Kylemore Lake, provides a captivating glimpse into the grandeur of the Victorian era. Roam through opulently adorned rooms, each boasting intricate details that whisper tales of bygone days. The meticulously landscaped gardens, teeming with vibrant blooms, serve as a tranquil oasis that transports you to a world of serenity.

Embark on a boat trip across the lake’s crystal-clear waters for a magical perspective of the abbey nestled amidst the mountains. Let Kylemore Abbey be the unique chapter woven into your unforgettable Irish adventure on the West Coast, where the charm of history and nature converge perfectly.

Galway City

Elevate the excitement of your adventure along the West Coast of Ireland by immersing yourself in the vibrant charm of Galway City. The cobblestone streets pulse with electrifying energy, filled with lively chatter and the contagious melodies of buskers wafting through the air. Discover the city’s historical tapestry at Galway Cathedral, a stunning testament to medieval artistry. Traverse the bustling Eyre Square, the vibrant heart of Galway’s social scene, and absorb the lively atmosphere.

Uncover the unique cultural heritage at the Galway City Museum, where tales of pirates, poets, and Gaelic traditions spring to life. As dusk settles, let the pubs come alive with lively music sessions, capturing the warmth and friendliness that define Galway City. Indulge your taste buds with fresh seafood delights and surrender to the infectious charm—Galway City ensures an unforgettable experience on your West Coast Irish escapade.

Westport

Nestled on the enchanting West Coast of Ireland, Westport emerges as a captivating gem, combining the allure of a charming harbour town with historical elegance and an adventurous spirit. Meander through cobblestone streets adorned with vibrant shops and lively pubs, immersing yourself in the welcoming atmosphere.

Discover the grandeur of Westport House, an 18th-century mansion surrounded by stunning gardens, providing a window into Ireland’s aristocratic heritage. Embark on a hike along the scenic trails of Croagh Patrick, a sacred pilgrimage site boasting panoramic views, or paddle through the turquoise waters of Clew Bay, brimming with marine life. Westport caters to outdoor enthusiasts, offering horseback riding on the golden sands of Bertra Beach, exhilarating boat tours to uncover hidden coves, and cycling adventures through the lush countryside.

As the evening descends, indulge in fresh seafood at harborside restaurants, relish traditional Irish music in cosy pubs, and bask in the warmth of Westport’s hospitable community. This vibrant town guarantees an unforgettable escape on your West Coast Irish adventure.

Achill Island

Exploring The West Coast of Ireland and Planning the Perfect 10-Day Itinerary
West Coast of Ireland: Achill Island

Embrace the untamed beauty of Achill Island, a gem on the West Coast of Ireland, where rugged cliffs plunge into the Atlantic and pristine beaches beckon exploration. Let the wind whip through your hair as you hike the trails of Slievemore Mountain, savouring panoramic vistas stretching across the wild landscape.

Discover hidden coves and rock pools at Keem Bay, one of Ireland’s most stunning beaches, where turquoise waters lap against the soft sand. Immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture and heritage at the Achill Island Museum, and delve into the captivating tales of its inhabitants. Hike along the Atlantic Drive, a scenic route offering dramatic cliff views and charming villages like Dooagh and Dugort.

In the evenings, cosy up in a traditional pub with a pint of Guinness, listening to lilting Irish tunes and soaking up the warm hospitality of the islanders. Achill Island awaits to unveil its wild beauty and authentic charm, promising an unforgettable chapter in your West Coast Irish adventure.

Connemara National Park

Nestled on the west coast of Ireland, Connemara National Park beckons with a captivating tapestry of mountains, shimmering lakes, rugged coastlines, and vast expanses of boggy landscapes. Hike the majestic Twelve Bens mountain range, where trails weave through valleys carpeted in emerald green and lead to summits offering breathtaking panoramic views.

Kayak across the glassy surface of Lough Inagh, keeping an eye out for playful otters frolicking in the reeds. Explore the lunar-like landscape of the Connemara Marble Quarry, where veins of green and purple marble shimmer in the sunlight. Delve into the secrets of the past at the ruins of Aughnanure Castle, a 16th-century Gaelic stronghold standing guard over the park. Don’t miss Kylemore Abbey, a majestic Benedictine abbey nestled amidst the park’s beauty, offering a glimpse into Victorian grandeur.

Whether you seek outdoor adventure, historical intrigue, or simply a chance to commune with nature, Connemara National Park promises an unforgettable experience on your Irish expedition.

Aran Islands

Escape the mainland bustle and delve into Ireland’s authentic heart on the Aran Islands, a captivating trio perched off the west coast. Step back on car-free Inis Mór, the largest island, where Gaelic language and traditions reign supreme. Wander amongst ancient stone forts like Dún Aengus, a prehistoric marvel clinging to dramatic clifftops. Unearth local craftsmanship at knitwear workshops, watching skilled hands create timeless garments.

Explore Inis Meáin, known for its serenity and artistic community, where stone walls whisper tales of a bygone era. On Inis Oirr, the smallest island, uncover the ruins of a 7th-century monastery, its weathered stones standing silent witness to centuries of faith. Hike along windswept cliffs, breathe in the salty air, and listen to the rhythm of the Atlantic waves crashing against the shore.

Immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture, savour fresh seafood caught right off the coast, and experience the warmth of the islanders’ hospitality. The Aran Islands promise a journey beyond compare, weaving a memorable thread into your West Coast Irish adventure.

The Ring of Kerry

West Coast of Ireland: The Rings of Kerry
West Coast of Ireland: The Rings of Kerry

Unwind on a scenic journey along the Ring of Kerry, a captivating loop hugging the west coast of Ireland. This 177-kilometer route reveals a tapestry of dramatic landscapes, charming villages, and historical gems. Wind through the vibrant town of Kenmare, boasting colourful storefronts and delicious local fare.

Witness the raw beauty of Kerry Head, where rugged cliffs plunge into the Atlantic, offering breathtaking seascapes. Stop at Ladies View, a panoramic lookout showcasing the majestic peaks of McGillicuddy’s Reeks and the sparkling Lakes of Killarney. Immerse yourself in the Irish spirit at traditional pubs in Sneem and Waterville, savouring fresh seafood and lively music.

Delve into history at Cahersiveen’s medieval monastery and wander through the charming fishing village of Glenbeigh. As the sun dips towards the horizon, capture the fiery hues painting the sky over Dingle Bay, a perfect end to an unforgettable adventure on the west coast of Ireland.

10-Day West Coast of Ireland Adventure Itinerary

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the West Coast of Ireland’s captivating landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. This 10-day itinerary blends iconic landmarks with hidden gems, offering a taste of adventure, culture, and relaxation. Remember, this is just a suggestion, and you can tailor it to your interests and pace.

Day 1: Arrive at Shannon Airport & Galway City

  • Touch down at Shannon Airport and pick up your rental car.
  • Drive to Galway City, a vibrant hub with live music, friendly locals, and cultural gems.
  • Explore Galway Cathedral, wander through Eyre Square, and delve into the Galway City Museum.
  • Enjoy fresh seafood in harborside restaurants, soak up the lively atmosphere in pubs, and experience traditional Irish music sessions.

Day 2: Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey

  • Journey to Connemara National Park, a wonderland of mountains, lakes, and rugged coastlines.
  • Hike amidst the Twelve Bens mountain range, kayak on Lough Inagh, or explore the lunar-like Connemara Marble Quarry.
  • Visit Kylemore Abbey, a majestic Benedictine abbey in the park, and wander through its Victorian-era gardens.

Day 3: The Aran Islands

  • Take a ferry from Rossaveal to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, known for its Gaelic language and traditions.
  • Explore ancient stone forts like Dún Aengus, experience local crafts, and soak up the island’s unique atmosphere.
  • Considering your schedule and interests, consider visiting Inis Meáin or Inis Oirr, each offering distinct experiences.

Day 4: Cliffs of Moher & Doolin

West Coast of Ireland: Cliffs of Moher
West Coast of Ireland: Cliffs of Moher
  • Travel south to the iconic Cliffs of Moher, towering giants overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Walk along the clifftop path, hike down to the beach, or take a boat tour for a different perspective.
  • Spend the night in the charming village of Doolin, renowned for its traditional Irish music pubs.

Day 5: The Ring of Kerry

  • Embark on the scenic Ring of Kerry, a 177km loop showcasing Kerry’s dramatic landscapes and charming villages.
  • Stop at Kenmare, Sneem, and Waterville to enjoy local shops, fresh seafood, and traditional pubs.
  • Witness the breathtaking views from Ladies View and Kerry Head, and delve into history at Cahersiveen’s monastery.

Day 6: Dingle Peninsula & Slea Head Drive

  • Explore the Dingle Peninsula, known for its stunning scenery, including mountains, beaches, and cliffs.
  • Drive the scenic Slea Head route, stopping at charming villages like Dingle and admiring beehive huts.
  • Hike along the cliffside trails, try surfing the Atlantic waves, or simply relax on the pristine beaches.

Day 7: Killarney National Park & Muckross House

  • Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of Killarney National Park, known as “Ireland’s Yosemite.”
  • Hike amidst the mountains, witness the cascading power of Torc Waterfall, and boat across the crystal-clear waters of Killarney Lakes.
  • Explore Muckross House, a grand 19th-century mansion, and discover its hidden gardens.

Day 8: Westport & Croagh Patrick

  • Journey north to Westport, a charming harbour town with vibrant streets and historical elegance.
  • Explore Westport House, a grand 18th-century mansion, and wander through its stunning gardens.
  • Hike the pilgrimage trail of Croagh Patrick, a sacred mountain offering panoramic views.
  • Kayak the turquoise waters of Clew Bay or cycle through the lush countryside.

Day 9: Achill Island

  • Take a ferry to Achill Island, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
  • Hike the trails of Slievemore Mountain, explore hidden coves at Keem Bay, and discover the island’s unique heritage at the Achill Island Museum.
  • Enjoy horseback riding on Bertra Beach and boat tours to hidden coves.

Day 10: Farewell Flight & Souvenirs

  • Enjoy a final breakfast at a local cafe, savouring the flavours of Ireland one last time.
  • Relax at Shannon Airport before your flight, browsing the selection of Irish souvenirs to commemorate your trip.
  • Reflect on your unforgettable experiences, from the towering cliffs to the warm hospitality, and cherish the memories you created on the west coast of Ireland.

The west coast of Ireland isn’t just a place; it’s a feeling. It’s the refreshing sting of sea spray on your face, the lilting melody of traditional music that lingers in your ears, and the warmth of a shared smile with a stranger in a cosy pub. It’s the sense of wonder awakened by the sheer beauty of nature, the connection forged with a land steeped in history and folklore, and the discovery of a culture that embraces laughter and resilience.

West Coast of Ireland
West Coast of Ireland

As you depart, carrying a suitcase filled with souvenirs and a heart brimming with memories, remember that the west coast of Ireland isn’t just a destination you’ve visited; it’s a piece of you that you now carry with you. And who knows, perhaps someday, it will beckon you for another unforgettable adventure. So, share your stories and inspire others to embark on their Irish odyssey. With its wild beauty, rich heritage, and warm spirit, the West Coast awaits to weave its magic on every willing soul.

FAQs

What is the best time to visit the West Coast of Ireland?

The best time to visit the West Coast of Ireland is during the late spring to early fall (May to September). This period offers milder weather, longer daylight hours, and a chance to enjoy outdoor activities. However, the region’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s advisable to pack layers and be prepared for rain.

Are there any unique cultural experiences on the West Coast?

Absolutely! The West Coast is rich in Irish culture and traditions. Attend a traditional music session in a local pub in Galway, explore historic castles and abbeys, and immerse yourself in the warmth of the local communities.

What outdoor activities are available on the West Coast?

The West Coast offers many outdoor activities, including hiking along the Cliffs of Moher, exploring the Connemara National Park, kayaking in Clew Bay, and horseback riding on the beaches of Westport. The region’s diverse landscapes cater to various adventure enthusiasts.

What is the local cuisine like on the West Coast?

The West Coast is known for its delicious seafood, hearty stews, and traditional Irish dishes. Freshly caught fish, locally sourced produce, and charming seafood restaurants along the coastline make for a delightful culinary experience.

Are there accommodations with scenic views along the West Coast?

Yes, the West Coast offers a variety of accommodations with stunning views, ranging from coastal hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts. Many establishments are strategically located to provide guests with breathtaking vistas of the rugged coastline and picturesque landscapes.

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