Standing on the pier in Doolin, Mom and I watched as the sunset slipped down on the horizon. There were still surfers paddling along in the water. The waves still crashing against the rocks. It was quite simply: magical.
Our Wild Atlantic Way journey has so far been full of adventure. We’ve travelled 597km from Cork to Clare, staying in various types of accommodations from a B&B to a caravan, to a hostel by the river.
If you follow us on social media you’ve probably gotten a good flavour of what we’ve been up to, but for those tuning in, an update is definitely needed!
Note: Full review pieces for where we stayed and places we loved will be written up later. I’ll also be including far more photos in those pieces.
Day One: Tralee to Goleen (151km)
Knowing that we would be back in our hometown of Tralee in a few days meant that we didn’t have to prep too much ahead but despite this, we still managed to fill the car to the brim! Goleen in our rival county, Cork, was our destination for the evening and after a hefty drive in the fog and an accidental detour down Healy Pass, we finally made it. We stayed in The Heron’s Cove on the recommendation from Alastair Sawday and the place really lived up to its name. The location was pure tranquillity, far away from any bustle of city life. The B&B itself was very comfortable and we had a brilliant view, the breakfast great and the dinner just ok (more on that later). We would come back for sure, though – ask for room three if you can!
Day Two: Goleen to Allihies (183km)
Up bright and early to make the most of day, we zipped over to Mizen Head and then onto Sheep’s Head. A glorious day for both headlands, we admired the Atlantic as it crashed below us but by the time we headed for Allihies, the sun was beginning to set.
Admiring the sunset on the way was all fine and good but this is where things started to get pretty hairy. In unfamiliar territory and navigating our way in the dark, we couldn’t find the campsite. It wasn’t signposted and we ended up going down several incorrect roads, asking two people where we were to go and still got no progress. We were also getting pretty hangry (hungry and angry) by that stage, so you can imagine what the final leg of our journey was like.
We’ll give a full review of Anthony’s caravan park when we finish our trip, but in a nutshell, despite its minimum facilities, quirks and faults, we would come back. Below, the view from our caravan:
Day Three: Allihies to Tralee (160km)
If you ever want to conquer your fear of heights, then Dursey Island cable car *might* just do that for you. Before we headed back to Tralee, we drove to Dursey Island, a place only accessible by cable car or boat. Not the most stable looking but surprisingly sound, for a person like me with a fear of heights, the Psalm and holy water that was randomly in the cable car was quite a welcome addition. More on that later…
Arriving back at Tralee at around four, we had quite a stressful evening because there was so much left to plan. First off, trying to find accommodation in Mayo in our budget was torturous, so we ended up splashing out a bit on a hotel for two nights in Westport. At the same time, we also needed to unpack and repack our food (we’re staying with family and friends for some nights) and we wanted to pre-cook a meal for the hostel in Doolin. We could have cooked something in the hostel but we didn’t want to spend too much time slaving away in the kitchen after exploring Clare! We had a garden to look after too, so we got that watered and picked the latest tomatoes, cucumbers and raspberries that were growing (I’ve two large jars of cucumber pickle on the go). By the time we finally sat down to relax we were exhausted and while I had full intentions of blogging, what readers would have gotten would have been MUSH. A good long sleep was needed.
Day Four: Tralee to Doolin (103km)
With new-found energy and restored batteries, we hopped into the car, jammed everything in and made our way to Tarbert to catch the ferry to Co. Clare.
Our aim was to get to the Cliffs of Moher and explore the natural wonder in all of its glory. The good thing was that the sun was firmly on our side and even though there were hordes of tourists, there still felt like there was a lot of space to wander around. After all, the cliffs are HUGE. I was getting a mild case of call of the void as we walked along the edges, though. The Cliffs of Moher are definitely something I want to elaborate on when we get back to terra firma.
Finally, it was time to head to Doolin and thankfully it’s just around the corner from the Cliffs of Moher so we didn’t have far to go. The Aille River Hostel is where we are tonight, but before we settled down, we ate dinner (thankfully pre-cooked), walked to Doolin Pier and headed for a drink in the local.
To see the sun setting at Doolin Pier was quite the experience. The rays spread themselves across the horizon and we walked back to Doolin with a sense of calm.
So here we are in the hostel. I’m currently writing this from the comfort of my bed. Hopefully it won’t be too loud because we could do with a good sleep.
[Update: it was incredibly loud because of really ignorant other guests and I ended up yelling at them at 4.30am]
We’re making our way to Malin Head and top of Ireland, spending two nights in Westport, one in Sligo, two more in Leitrim and the final few days in Donegal. We’ll then be making our way all the way back down to Kerry. A lot more to pack in, but brilliant so far.