A Brief History of the Wild Atlantic Way

In the last decade, visitors and quite possibly residents of Ireland may have been bemused at some stage on their car travels to see road signs featuring a squiggly white line on a backdrop of blue.

It may not be obvious at first glance, but this is in fact the motif that illustrates a route or stage on the Wild Atlantic Way (the squiggle represents the letters WAW). However, pre-2014, these signs didn’t exist.

Recognising the stunning landscape, rugged coastline and various attractions of interest along the western edge of the country, Fáilte Ireland – the National Tourism Development Authority, launched a new coastal drive in early 2014. And so, this previously scattered, often rural and sometimes hard to reach grouping of locations in Ireland became known as the Wild Atlantic Way, with an outline to make them much more accessible to the public.

Adventure and Excitement Awaits

It is Ireland’s first long-distance touring route and stretches along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork. The 2,500km (1,553 mile) route passes through nine counties and three provinces. There has been significant capital invested in the project over the years to ensure the terrain and roads are navigable. 

As is often the case with coastal routes, there are the temperamental seasons to deal with especially considering the distance covered and plenty of planning went into making the experience world-class. Infrastructure and businesses including shops, cafes, restaurants and other amenities now dot the trail, ensuring that visitors are able to enjoy the sights and delights along the way.

Choose Your Adventure

Visitors to the west of Ireland are often pleasantly surprised at the abundance of activities and attractions along the coastline. 

Galway, marks the halfway point on the Wild Atlantic Way and is a favourite among tourists. Whether you are here to shop, eat, stay, sightsee or play, the city has you spoiled for choice. At Galway Tour Company, we have a range of half and full day tours for those who want to explore the trail. 

The stark beauty of Connemara, the charming village of Cong – scene of 1950’s classic movie, ‘The Quiet Man’, the fishing village of Doolin, the picturesque Aran Islands, the unique landscape of the Burren, and how could we not mention Ireland’s #1 tourist attraction on the West Coast, the jewel of our isle, The Cliffs of Moher.

We have daily tours departing from Galway city centre. Our knowledgeable coach drivers offer plenty of anecdotes, stories and cultural insights to make your bus and coach journey as enjoyable as possible.

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