This is arguably the finest section of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way - from Cork City around the southwest coast to Dingle and north up the west coast to County Clare. This self-drive holiday will allow you time to stop at inviting hand-picked hotels and enjoy guided tours of some of the country’s most tempting culinary experiences along the way.
Your tour begins in the harbourside town of Kinsale in County Cork. Famed for the quality of its seafood, served in any number of superb restaurants with façades painted in vivacious colours, Kinsale is one of the prettiest towns in Ireland and home to a number of fine historical attractions. As you’ll find across Ireland, the quality of the welcome and friendliness of the people are simply world-class.
Following a fine Irish breakfast in your hotel’s water-side restaurant, you’ll be met by your locally based private guide and taken on a half-day walking tour around some of Kinsale’s best foodie hot-spots. You’ll experience freshly caught seafood and wonderful produce from Ireland’s best artisan craftspeople, while meeting many of the town’s food-folk and learning a little of the fascinating history of this most charming part of the country.
Next head west towards the famous Ring of Kerry. At Caherdaniel, just a 30km drive from your next hotel, you’ll be met by the infectious host of your Atlantic seaweed walk. Your host will teach you about the health-giving properties and sheer deliciousness of Duileasc sea-lettuce and Carrageen moss, learning as you go how to get the best from this most natural product, all amidst the breath-taking scenery of the Kerry coastline. A real foodies’ day out!
The next day, drive along the Ring of Kerry and on to the spectacular Dingle peninsula to the town of Dingle itself. The term ‘picturesque’ could have been coined with Dingle in mind, enclosed by its fishing port and with its meandering streets featuring shopfronts and pubs painted in bright colours. The town is a magnet for artists, musicians and tourists from across the globe, and has often seen itself on-screen as a backdrop to Hollywood movies and TV dramas.
There are a number of fascinating attractions nearby, not least of which is Dingle Distillery, one of Ireland’s newest, where the first bottled drop of malt whiskey was released in November 2016. We also love the Slea Head Drive, a superb loop starting and ending in Dingle and part of the Wild Atlantic Way. As we do for the whole journey, we’ll provide a host of recommendations to make sure you get the most from your day whatever you choose to do.
Crossing from Kerry to Clare by short ferry trip, you’ll have the opportunity to drive the Loop Head Peninsula, perhaps stopping at an ocean-side inn for catch-of-the-day lunch and ‘the last pint of Guinness before New York’, before heading north along the coast to your next hotel.
The next day, you'll get to experience the long-misunderstood, mysterious and magical landscape of the Burren - a must-see for visitors to this part of Ireland. It’s a vast, rocky, limestone pavement, peppered with petrified springs, seemingly barren and like nowhere else on Earth. But look just a little closer and you’ll discover life at every turn; wild flowers cling to rocky outcrops and cattle seem to graze on rock.
Moreover, the Burren has become something of a foodies’ Mecca, with excellent restaurants cropping up in the towns and villages at its periphery, as well as a staggering range of artisan farmers and cottage-industry manufacturers creating some quite superb produce, much of which can be sampled directly at source.
On day nine, following a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, you will begin the journey home.