If you have started researching a trip to the Old Sod, you have probably come across the term, The Wild Atlantic Way. A creation of Failte Ireland (http://www.failteireland.ie/) , which is the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way stretches from Donegal in the North to Cork in the South.
The Wild Atlantic Way (http://www.thewildatlanticway.com/en/) is a coastal driving route that brings you to the far corners of the west coast of Ireland. Stretching more than 1500 miles the WAW will be the world’s longest driving route with dozens and dozens of towns, vistas and unique places to stop and explore. Although the signature appeal of the route will be the natural beauty that you experience at every turn in the road, it is the people that you’ll meet along the way that will bring you back to the WAW again and again.
The length of the WAW should not to be driven in one trip. To do so would be to miss the point of going to Ireland in the first place. The WAW is meant to be experienced, not just seen and experiencing this magical place can only happen one stop at a time.
Let’s consider the distance involved. 1500 miles is roughly the distance from Boston to Miami. With no stops, it would take you 22 hours. But you’re going to have to stop for gas several times, not to mention sleep. In college I made the trip with friends, rotating the driver and making sure the stops were quick ones. It still took 25 hours. And I am not in college anymore.
The drive from Boston to Miami is almost entirely on Interstate 95 which means at least 60 miles an hour. In college it meant much faster than that but it still took 25 hours. Consider that in Ireland you will not be on Interstate 95. In fact the picture below is part of the Wild Atlantic Way. While it is possible that you might be able to drive 60 Miles per hour on this stretch of road, the climb ahead maxed out at about 15 MPH. Certainly not all, or even most of the WAW will look like this but it also doesn’t look like I-95.
The main point of traveling the WAW is to stop, gawk at the scenery, wander around and talk to the locals. The Irish are the most welcoming people on earth. When you travel the WAW you will get into some of the most out of the way unhurried places you will ever visit. Talk to people about what they do and what you should see and experience while you are in their little corner of heaven.
Talk about getting off the grid! You might forget the way home.