Follow us on:

The Wild Atlantic Way

  • Ireland
  • OVERVIEW
  • ITINERARY
  • HIGHLIGHTS


The Wild Atlantic Way

10 days

An inspiring ten-day journey, specially designed to showcase the very best of Ireland’s spectacular south-west corner, taking in the splendour of the world’s longest coastal drive; The Wild Atlantic Way.

 Your expert chauffeur-guide will take you off the beaten track, ensuring you are immersed in the rugged beauty of three great peninsulas – Beara, Iveragh and Dingle.

 Encompassing towering cliffs and twisting roads, helicopter flights and access to imposing stately homes, this is a once in a lifetime experience.

 Accommodation is intimate, luxurious and welcoming throughout, ensuring that on your departure from the Emerald Isle, you will leave with wonderful memories to treasure for years to come.

GET IN TOUCH
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •   

HOLIDAY ITINERARY



Day One: Arrival in Cork

Day Two: Bantry and Garnish Island

Day Three: The Beara Peninsula

Day Four: Killarney National Park

Day Five: The Inveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry)

Day Six: The Dingle Peninsula

Day Seven: Via Ferry to Co. Clare

Day Eight: The Cliffs of Moher and The Burren

Day Nine: Galway and Aran Islands

Day Ten: Homeward Bound – Shannon Airport

VIEW ITINERARY DETAILS


HIGHLIGHTS

VIEW ALL HIGHLIGHTS


Day One: Arrival in Cork

On arrival at Cork Airport, be met and welcomed by your experienced local chauffeur-guide who will provide a safe and comfortable journey to your first accommodation. Spend the remainder of the day resting and relaxing following an international flight.

Your home for two evenings is an award-winning property which enjoys a stunning waterside location, sitting on a promontory jutting into Dunmanus Bay a little south of the Beara Peninsula.

 

 

Day Two: Bantry & Garnish Island

A short drive north of your accommodation takes you to your first visit of the day, Bantry House, a stunning stately home perfectly positioned on the Wild Atlantic Way overlooking the bay from which the estate takes its name.

The house is the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry, and is still owned and lived in by the direct descendants of the 1st Earl of Bantry today.

An exclusive private guided tour will take you inside the mansion, which is home to a fabulous display of furniture, art, antiques and artefacts, much of it from the 18th century. Of particular interest are fireplaces from Versailles, tapestries made for Marie-Antoinette, Russian icons and tile panels from Pompeii. Following your tour, step outside to explore the gardens and grounds which were created between 1844 –1867, while in the ownership of the 2nd Earl of Bantry.

To follow, travel further north, taking a short ferry ride, passing colonies of basking seals and a nesting site for white-tailed eagles, to arrive at Garnish Island, also known as Ilnacullin (“island of holly”).

Located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff, the island is renowned for its beautiful gardens designed by Harold Peto, and former owner John Annan Bryce. The island was bequeathed to the people of Ireland in 1953, by Annan Bryce’s son, Roland.

Day Three: Beara Peninsula

The Beara Peninsula route is considerably less travelled than its more famous northerly neighbours, however it delivers stunning scenery at each and every turn of the road. It is an area of rugged and dramatic landscape with finger-like promontories stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean.

At the furthermost tip is Ireland’s only cable car.  Running just 250m above the sea and carrying no more than 6 passengers at a time, it travels to the island of Dursey, the most westerly of Cork’s inhabited islands. Without any shops, pubs or restaurants, this peaceful little island offers day-trippers an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern living, and is an excellent place for viewing wildlife. Dolphins and whales can frequently be spotted in the waters surrounding the island.

Day Four: Killarney National Park

Spend the day discovering Killarney National Park, Ireland’s first National Park. It is a place renowned for its beauty; Ireland’s highest mountains raise a jagged edge to the sky while at their feet rest three still lakes (Upper Lake, Muckross Lake and Lough Leane), studded with small islands. The atmospheric water scenery is subject to subtle changes of light and colour; the area has attracted writers, poets and painters for centuries – it is easy to see why.

You will find a nature-lover’s paradise, featuring fauna and flora of national and international importance. Home to the first White-Tailed Sea Eagles in Ireland for over a century, the free-roaming Red Deer have had a presence here since the last Ice Age.

Later, visit Muckross House, an imposing mansion built in 1843 in Elizabethan style. Upstairs the elegantly furnished rooms are decorated with period features, portraying the lifestyles of the landed gentry, while downstairs one can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the House.

Day Five: Inveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry)

This is possibly Ireland’s most famous scenic drive encountering some of the country’s finest landscapes. Weave around a breath-taking mosaic of rugged coastline, steep mountains, medieval ruins, slate-coloured glacial lakes and welcoming towns and villages.

As you might expect, there are numerous wonderful photo opportunities and recommended stopping places, including the charming town of Sneem, where brightly painted cottages line the streets, and Staigue Fort – an Iron Age dry stone fort that is the best preserved in Ireland.

For many, the “absolute must-see” detour is a trip to the spectacular rock island of Skellig Michael, named by Lonely Planet as one of the top regions in travel for 2017. One of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country, this inhospitable rock rising out of the Atlantic covers an area of less than 50 acres. Monks settled on the rock during the 6th century; perched on a ledge and reached by an amazing 1,000-year-old stairway is an isolated early Christian monastery. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens it served as the film finale where Rey with Chewbacca, R2D2 and C3PO meet a silent Luke Skywalker. (Note: boats trips are very weather dependent and a visit here requires a longer daytrip to be planned)

 

Day Six: The Dingle Peninsula

The Wild Atlantic Way stretches 2500 km from the very north of Donegal to West Cork, and showcases Ireland’s magnificent coastline.

Perhaps it is never more spectacular than on the Dingle Peninsula, which claims Ireland’s most westerly point.  Thrusting out 30 miles into the sea the peninsula delivers a coastline consisting of lofty cliffs broken by numerous sandy beaches and coves. It was described by the National Geographic Traveler as the most beautiful place on earth”. 

Sight-seeing highlights include Ireland’s highest mountain pass – the narrow road is an adventure in itself with twists, turns, rises and falls and breathtaking views – and Slea Head Drive, a circular route following the western most tip of Ireland, surrounded by some of the most enchanting scenery in the country. From here admire great views of the now uninhabited archipelago of the seven Blasket Islands.

 

 

Day Seven: Co. Kerry via ferry to Co. Clare

This morning, enjoy a scenic drive through County Kerry to the ferry crossing of the River Shannon estuary. Sail to County Clare, an area of Ireland renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty and spectacular rugged coastline.

Here, check into your final accommodation. Originally built in the mid-18th century as home to Sir Augustine Fitzgerald, this majestic white-washed house dominates the breath-taking Lahinch Bay, set on 15 acres of grounds adorned by mature woodland and a picturesque river.

Following an extensive refurbishment, this 10 bedroom property is very much a ‘home away from home’, combining a mix of contemporary and classical elegance.

Day Eight: The Cliffs of Moher and The Burren

Travel north-east to the Cliffs of Moher, a breath-taking Discovery Point selected as one of the Signature Experiences of the Wild Atlantic Way. They are the crowning glory of the Co. Clare coastline. Like a viewing platform for prehistoric giants who wish to peer over the edge of Europe, they provide an unrivalled view across the vast boiling wildness of the Atlantic Ocean.

Looking west, you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. To the north are the Twelve Pins and the Maam Turk Mountains in Co. Connemara.  In the south, see Loop Head and beyond to the Kerry mountains. The rock face which rises to a height of nearly 700ft provides sheltered ledges and is home to one of the major colonies of cliff nesting Sea Birds in Ireland and designated a Special Protection Area.

To follow, head west to visit The Burren, which takes its name from boireann, meaning ‘rocky land’ in Gaelic.  It truly is a special place – full of wonder, beauty and discovery that will be brought to life by your private local guide.

This amazing landscape is made up of an extraordinarily rich geological, botanical and archaeological heritage and as a result parts of the region have been deemed a National Park.

 

 

 

Day Nine: Galway & Aran Islands

On your final day, experience the sounds, sights and tastes of Connemara and the Aran Islands as your private guide takes you through one of the most natural regions of Ireland on a culinary trail. Taking the Wild Atlantic Way out of Galway, visit some of the best producers, brewers, farmers in the region.

Located in the mouth of Galway Bay are the Aran Islands.

Collectively, called the “Islands of Saints and Scholars”, they are for some considered to be an unmissable visit when in Ireland.  Gaelic Irish is the first language of the islanders and is still spoken in everyday life. They are known for their geological formation, historical monuments, cultural heritage and of course, knitwear. The off-white jumpers are highly recognisable due to the cable patterns on the chest.

Day Ten: Homeward Bound - Shannon Airport

Your chauffeur-guide will provide a safe and comfortable journey to Shannon Airport, where you will arrive in plenty of time to board your outbound flight.

  •   
  •   
  •   
  •   

HIGHLIGHTS

VIEW ALL HIGHLIGHTS

THINGS TO DO

KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK

As you travel on horse-back, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding scenery.

MUCKROSS HOUSE

Muckross House is an imposing mansion built in 1843 in Elizabethan style. Upstairs the elegantly furnished rooms are decorated with period features, portraying the lifestyles of the landed gentry, while downstairs one can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the House. The gardens are renowned world-wide, with much work having been done in preparation for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861.

THE SKELLIGS

Skellig Michael is named by Lonely Planet as one of the top regions in travel for 2017. One of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country, this inhospitable rock rising out of the Atlantic covers an area of less than 50 acres. Monks settled on the rock during the 6th century; perched on a ledge and reached by an amazing 1,000-year-old stairway is an isolated early Christian monastery.

GARNISH ISLAND

Garnish Island is known as the “Garden Island” – it is a delightful and peaceful place to reflect and wander, and see the charming Italian gardens, pool, miniature temple and towers.

 

BLASKET ISLANDS

Discover the literature, language and way of life of the inhabitants of the Blasket Islands.  Scene of many shipwrecks over the centuries and once the home of a close-knit fishing and farming community, they have been uninhabited since 1953.

BANTRY HOUSE

Perfectly positioned in the Bay from which it takes is name is the palatial Bantry Estate. The gardens and grounds were created between 1844 –1867, while in the ownership of the 2nd Earl of Bantry.

PLACES VISITED

ARAN ISLANDS

Located in the mouth of Galway Bay. Collectively, called the “Islands of Saints and Scholars”, they are a ‘must-see’. Gaelic Irish is the first language of the islanders and is still spoken in everyday life. They are known for their geological formation, historical monuments, cultural heritage and of course, knitwear. The off- white jumpers are highly recognisable due to the cable patterns on the chest.

CLIFFS OF MOHER

Selected as one of the Signature Experiences of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher are a breath-taking Discovery Point. They are the crowning glory of the Co. Clare coastline. Like a viewing platform for prehistoric giants who wish to peer over the edge of Europe, they provide an unrivalled view across the vast boiling wildness of the Atlantic Ocean

CORK

Cork is Ireland’s second largest and southernmost city with a history dating back to the 6th century; Founded on islands in an estuary, waterways circle the city centre crossed by over 20 bridges. Hilly neighbourhoods climb the river banks, stacked with colourful houses. These along with the Georgian architecture give the city a Continental feel. It is a creative and exciting city, renowned for learning, with a world class university and specialist colleges. It has a rich musical traditional and is home to no less than 24 festivals running throughout the year.

THE BURREN

The Burren is truly is a special place full of wonder, beauty and discovery. It is a karst landscape made up of an extraordinarily rich geological, botanical and archaeological heritage with parts of the region classed as a National Park. This limestone plateau resembles a lunar landscape; in the spring and summer months, great colour abounds against the stark landscape. Ruined forts and castles and numerous prehistoric sites dot the landscape; the region has been aptly described as ‘one vast memorial to bygone cultures’.

THE RING OF KERRY

Is possibly Ireland’s most famous scenic drive. It encounters some of the country’s finest landscapes, weaving around a breath-taking mosaic of rugged, storm-bashed coast, steep mountains, medievalruins, slate-coloured glacial lakes and welcoming towns and villages. As you might expect, there are many wonderful photo opportunities.

GALWAY

Galway is the official European Region of Gastronomy 2018. The region stretches from green fields and rich farmlands to the unique karst landscape of the Burren and into Galway city, the trout fishing capital of Europe, and along the wild, rugged Atlantic coast. Galway has one of the highest densities of restaurants in Ireland and includes two of the country ‘s Michelin Star restaurants: Aniar and Loam. Galway is a city with a proud seafaring tradition and Galway Bay is one of the most celebrated oyster fisheries, where the native Irish oyster is widely prized as a delicacy in the later months of the year.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • "Lovely suite. Fabulous private tours. Everything has exceeded our expectations. "

    William A Heim, Client

  • "I had the most wonderful time with you and learned so much...What you offer is rare and much needed in the truly exclusive travel world. "

    Jean Newman-Glock Signature Travel Network

  • "You were the heart and soul of the trip….I truly admired your sunny personality, sense of humor, organization and professionalism.  You also demonstrated  that a guide’s work is never done as you were constantly researching….. Did you ever rest??? "

    Sharon Delano Frosch

  • "We want to thank you and the team from Dream Escape.  All six of us in our group had a wonderful time, and we all agreed we owed that in large measure to the work of Dream Escape. From the onset of working with you, you demonstrated a tremendous knowledge about all the activities we wished to pursue —from playing golf to dining at excellent restaurants to seeing historical sites and the Tattoo and Fringe Festival.  And, then you executed "

    Thomas Cohen, Client

  • "THANK YOU a zillion times over for choosing/assigning Rosie to be with this family.  She MADE the trip for them – there’s no other way to put it! "

    Jill Jergel, Frontiers International Travel

  • "Our holiday in Scotland now tops their lists of best trips…… To their growing list of amazing and memorable first-time experiences, our sons may add fishing for trout and salmon on the River Tay; steering a motor boat on Loch Ness; and taking private guided tours on Culloden Moor Of the eight full days we were in Scotland, Alex and Mattie thought each and every day was the best"

    Michael Guadarrama & Trammi Nguyen clients of Peter Carideo. CRC Travel

  • "All six of us were deeply moved by the whole experience. Bravo Dream Escape "

    Max Levy, Direct client

  • "Thank you Karen and all of the staff and guides affiliated with Dream Escape…..the Flemings are having an awesome tour of Scotland. You all have made me look like a star! "

    Joni Gerace, The Travel Society, LLC

  • "Thanks for all your help and we can chalk this one up as a big success!   Our anniversary celebration was all we could have hoped for "

    Clients of Courtney Regan Affiliate of Brownell Travel

  • "Rosie was MORE than outstanding – she went out of her way to help us in every regard...She was so knowledgeable – we all loved her"

    Jill A. Jergel, Frontiers International Travel

  • "I cannot thank you, Nicola and all the Dream Escape “clan” for the wonderful care & attention you have provided, and are providing for my clients"

    Cindy Evans, Travel Consultant

  • "I hope I have another opportunity to work with Dream Escape in the near future. The company is so professional, yet approachable and easy to work with. It has been a pleasure!"

    Carole McFarland, Universal Travel

  • "Dream Escape is delivering in a superb manner. Jim Johnston is a great driver and one of the best guides we've had - I wish to very much thank the Dream Escape Team for fulfilling a Dream…"

    Donald M. Davis, President, Luxury Travel, Inc.

  • "Thank you all so much it's great to have trusted friends on the ground to take care of our clients!"

    Peter Carideo, CRC Travel

  • "The trip was great.... Dream Escape is the name of the game"

    Ann Lipschitz, Worldview Travel

  • "Your level of service is just outstanding"

    Debra Fini, VWTI

  • "Dream Escape don’t just organise trips – they create adventures"

    Financial Times, How to Spend it

  • "It was, without doubt, one of the most spectacular weekends I have ever had"

    Country Life

  • "David Tobin’s an ace at getting inside private castles and estates and he’s well connected.... "

    Conde Nast Traveller Magazine

  • "The level of service they provide is outstanding. They truly care about every aspect of the trip to ensure you have a fantastic stay. Rosie is a hidden gem of a tour guide. Just fabulous."

    Yvonne Malka, Signature Travel Network, April 2018