The Bay Coast
The breathtaking Aran Islands, guarding Galway Bay, truly put the ‘wild’ in the Wild Atlantic Way. The largest of the islands, Inis Mór, is a brooding landscape of limestone plateaus and dramatic cliff faces, masterfully sculpted by fierce Atlantic waves.
Travelling north beyond these islands, we reach the district of Connemara. It is a majestic tapestry of rugged coastal inlets, rolling craggy hills and tranquil fishing villages. There is a darkness to Connemara that is hauntingly beautiful. Whispering waterweeds rise up through glassy black lakes, whilst misty grey clouds rest upon the lofty peaks of the Twelve Pins mountain range. The wild aesthetic of this rural land is mirrored in its local Connemara Pony.
Whether it’s stumbling across a traditional boat along a pebbled strand, or journeying out to Inishbofin Island to explore time-worn ruins, the peninsulas of Connemara offer a wonderful taste of Irish history. Home to ancient stone walls and sprawling bogs, this land is a snapshot of an older, more primitive life.
Oscar Wilde once described Connemara as a 'savage beauty'. She is a vision of contrasting textures with jagged mounds of turf and still pools of water. She is not polished or filtered. She is authentic and raw. Her landscape is harsh and imperfect. Connemara has a wildness that refuses to be tamed, and that is where her true beauty lies.
Crossing the border into Mayo, voyagers on the Wild Atlantic Way are welcomed with a spectacular view of the Aasleagh Falls. Home to the sacred Croagh Patrick mountain, this western realm is a land of timeless riches steeped in Irish history. Her intimate coastal inlets are unspoilt treasures that offer a pure escape from the modern urban world.
This wild and remote county experienced mass migration and human suffering during the Great Famine, and no site better captures this loss than the Deserted Village on Achill Island, where countless stone cottages lie abandoned as derelict ruins. The Blackface sheep, with their ominous horns, remain guardians of this ancient island, watching over her coastal villages and glorious beaches.
Mayo’s weathered landscape tells a story of strength and resilience. Her tortured past prowls this rural terrain, seeking refuge in the shadows. There is beauty to be found in this darkness, waiting patiently to be discovered by explorers of the Wild Atlantic Way.