Travel Tales from The Hub
A few Highlights Along The Wild Atlantic Way: Part 1. Galway to Doolin
By Ken Hubbard
Ireland is an amazing country to visit and everything good you’ve heard about it is true, from the beautiful landscapes to the amazingly gracious residents that call it home. I was fortunate enough to spend some time there a few months back and I did my best to see as much as one could in a 10-day visit. This seems like a long enough time but once you start your journey you soon realize you will need to come back to see and experience more of this wonderful country.
Since there are just way too many things to write about from the entire experience in one article I am going to give some highlights to one part of the country that is an absolute must for anyone going to Ireland for the first time, The Wild Atlantic Way. This scenic coastal highway stretches more than 1500 miles from Derry in Northern Ireland to Kinsale along Irelands southern shore. Along the way there will be more than 1000 places of interest, an uncountable number of pubs and memories that will last a lifetime.
The Burren: TAMRON SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2 – 45mm, f/16, 1/80 sec. @ ISO 64
First stop along my trip on the Wild Atlantic Way was Galway City a harbor town on the west coast of Ireland. This is a great starting point because of it’s location and the ability to take many different day trips plus it’s abundance of good restaurants and pubs. When picking places to stay in Galway consider whether or not you are looking for a livelier setting (In Galway itself) or a quieter setting (just outside the city center.) I opted for the later, The Clybaun Hotel outside of the downtown area in a quiet neighborhood and only a few minutes from downtown Galway. You’ll have your choice of restaurants and types of food but one stand out was Pearla Na Mara (www.pearlanamara.ie) on the West side of the River Comb. Specializing in local seafood and produce, they create some truly fantastic dishes.
Galway TAMRON SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2 – 24mm, f/16, 1/50 sec. @ ISO 320
Galway TAMRON SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2 – 32mm, f/16, 1/10 sec. @ ISO 64
One of the most visually stunning day trips out of Galway is driving north out of town heading into the Connemara. This part of your drive along the Wild Atlantic Way will consist of small fishing villages, tiny coves and bogs. If this is your first time driving on the smaller side roads of Ireland, be aware, they are very narrow and do not have shoulders to pull off onto when larger vehicles are coming from the opposite direction. So, take your time, take it slow and stop often along the way to take in the beautiful scenery. Be on the look out for the majestic Connemara ponies, they make for a great photo op as well. This will not be a fast drive up the coast but make time to stop in the fishing village of Redstone for a few images and a coffee break. As for a destination for this day trip, try to make it up to the town of Clifden for dinner and some authentic live Irish music.
Connemara Ponies: TAMRON SP 70-200mm Di VC USD G2 – 200mm, f/4, 1/800 sec. @ ISO 100
Redstone: TAMRON SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2 – 24mm, f/16, 1/80 sec. @ ISO 200
Doolin and The Cliffs of Moher
After a couple days in Galway it was time to move on and head south to one of the most Iconic locations in all of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher and the small town of Doolin. Located in the South-western region of the area known as The Burren in county Clare, the Cliffs of Moher rise above the Atlantic Ocean reaching nearly 400 feet in height. With more than 1 million visitors a year, the cliffs are one of the most visited sites in all of Ireland. Give yourself some time here and take the hike along the knee knocking cliffs all the way to the end at Hags Head and Moher Tower, the different views along the way are jaw dropping.
Since this was my first trip to Ireland I was looking for more of the small-town experience so I decided to stay in Doolin, which was just a short distance from the cliffs. Consisting mostly of Bed and Breakfasts and only a few restaurants and pubs, this was the perfect fit. I ended up staying at Roadford Restaurant and Accommodations (www.roadfordrestaurant.com). The owners were fantastic and even though they had their own restaurant they advised going to one of the local pubs called McGann’s (www.mcgannspubdoolin.com) for some true local Irish music and special guest musicians that were playing that night.
Cliffs of Moher: TAMRON SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2 – 50mm, f/16, 1/160 sec. @ ISO 125
Cliffs of Moher: TAMRON SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2 – 30mm, f/16, 1/60 sec. @ ISO 125
Cliffs of Moher: TAMRON SP 24-70mm Di VC USD G2 – 50mm, f/16, 1/60 sec. @ ISO 125
Part 2: The Ring of Kerry to Kinsale
Tamron Lenses used for this article
SP 24-70 Di VC USD G2
SP 70-200mm Di VC USD G2
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