Travel plans might be put on the backburner for now, but if you need somewhere to dream about for when you can safely travel again, consider the a visit to the West of Ireland. While the entire country is a must-visit for culture, road trips, hiking, discovering castles, eating seafood and sipping on whiskey, there’s some extra magical about being out ‘Wesht’.
Whether you follow the famous Wild Atlantic Way driving route which winds for 2,500km through nine counties or simply pick one town or county to explore, here’s what you can look forward to…
Reasons to Visit the West of Ireland
1. You can discover scenery like this…
From the Cliffs of Moher to winding roads and ancient monasteries in Kerry or golden coves with turquoise waters on Achill Island, the scenery in the West is – simply put – pure perfection.
2. There’s incredible food!
Ireland is home to plenty of incredible local, artisan products & fresh seafood and the producers out West are some of the best in the country. Feast on smoked salmon from The Burren Smokehouse, freshly shucked Galway oysters, farmhouse cheese and so much more.
3. Some of the country’s finest hotels are here
You may as well go all out, right? You can pretend you’re royalty with a stay in Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo, immerse yourself in island life at Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites or enjoy sea views and seaweed baths at Inchydoney Lodge & Spa in Cork.
4. Hiking routes are on your doorstep
Ireland has plenty of walking and hiking routes, but the trails along the West Coast are extra special. Must-do hikes include the more leisurely Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, in Liscannor or the strenuous (but rewarding!) Carrauntoohil Hike in Co. Kerry.
5. Surfing? The West has that too!
From the big swells of the north right down to Aileen’s Wave and the gentle swells of Cork, the West Coast of Ireland is a surfer’s playground.
6. Music is part of daily life here
Pop into most local pubs in the evening and you’ll likely happen across a Trad session of some sort. The feeling of listening to expert musicians letting loose and playing Irish tunes as you sip from a pint of Guinness is unbeatable…
7. And locals make Ireland extra special
Everyone says that Irish people are friendly, and honestly? They really are. Whether it’s personally showing you the way when you’re lost, the bus driver letting you on for free because you’ve no change or a warm welcome to a hotel, you’ll find that Irish charm almost everywhere.