Exploring The West Coast Of Ireland

As long as sunbathing isn’t on your ‘must-do’ list for your next holiday, there’s a lot to be said for a tour of the west of Ireland. With beautiful landscapes, an impressive wealth of cultural tradition and a friendly, welcoming attitude, Ireland is a very popular tourist destination with people from all parts of the world, many of whose ancestors will have set sail from her shores in the mid-nineteenth century.

Boundless Beauty

It’s with good reason that Ireland has been dubbed ‘the Emerald isle’, as the moderate but often wet climate helps to produce lush foliage and to promote the growth of the diverse crops that fuel the country’s agricultural industry. Much of the west coast can boast of its striking landscapes, from the country’s northernmost county of Donegal, where the rocky outcrops are popular with walkers and climbers, down to the far south-eastern corner where the beautiful Ring of Kerry offers sweeping mountains, sparkling Atlantic coastal waters and a host of winding, picturesque roads that cut a swathe through sleepy villages.

RiverShannon
RiverShannon – Taken by Katie Homan

 

Sights and Sounds

If you start in the south and travel north, the first county is Kerry, which features many natural attractions such as the breath-taking cliffs and beaches of the Dingle Peninsula and the Lakes of Killarney. But it also has a working windmill and a busy and exciting water park called The Aqua Dome, both in Tralee. Further up the coast, as you pass through Limerick and on into Clare, you can drive alongside the River Shannon, the longest in the British Isles. If you fancy getting a little closer, you can hire a boat for a few hours and enjoy the peace of being on the water, unless you have the children with you, in which case you can enjoy the river but not the peace. From Galway up to Donegal you’ll encounter a lot more

DinglePeninsula
DinglePeninsula – Taken by Steve Carter

 

Gaelic speakers as there are Gaeltachts in these areas, where English is a second language. Wherever you go along the west coast, you should stop off at some of the many pubs you’ll inevitably come across, where you may be lucky enough to hear local people playing traditional Irish music and singing along.

Events

When you reach County Galway, you should make a point of visiting the famous market, which is open at weekends and has stalls of locally-made craft items and fresh food. From the middle to the end of October, there’s a treat in store for families at the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children and Families, with performances, workshops and exhibitions of theatre, puppetry, music and singing, making it a very creative occasion for those lucky enough to attend. Many festivals take place on the west coast, including the Kerry Féile na Casa, the Kilkenny Arts Festival and the Willie Clancy Festival in Clare. Whether you manage to time your visit with an organised event or simply happen upon some friends gathered together, you can be sure that the craic will be good.

Taking It Easy

There can be few countries as laid back as Ireland, so you might as well soak up some of that atmosphere and enjoy a less hurried way of life for a while. The only thing you really need to be strict about is getting a suitable car, which you can organise ahead of time by researching online for car hire from Dublin Airport. Once you know you have a reliable car that’s big enough for you and your possessions, you can be like the Shannon and ‘go with the flow’.

If this post does not convince you to go and fall in love with the country, check out Julika’s unique Instagram photos of Ireland and we are sure you will changed your mind immediately!

Have you ever been to Ireland? What was your first impression of the country?

Get insured

Accidents and mishaps are often a part of travelling abroad, and so you shouldn’t forget to cover yourself and your belongings for any eventuality. Jump over to our budget travel insurance page and get clued up on who we use as our vital travel safety net.

And while we’re at it, we have a special, dedicated etramping page over at Agoda for booking hotels and hostels. Our readers get 10% off! Just follow the link, and enter the code AGODAETR10 (you need to enter this code before payment, case-sensitive). Honestly, we’re really too good to you!

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30 Comments

  • I love Ireland. And I’d love to go to the Kerry area. I skipped it on my trip, thinking I’d save that one area for a whole trip another time. Instead, after flying into Shannon, we drove north along the coast. Such a beautiful area with so many random surprises.

    • Thanks Jason for sharing. I also love Ireland, although I have never been there. I can only make my judgement based on other people’s experiences and photos I’ve seen on fellow travel bloggers. If I ever make it there, I definitely want to go to Shannon and Kerry area, it’s so beautiful!

  • I LOVE the west of Ireland- one of my favorite places on earth. If it wasn’t so wet we might consider living there. We actually have an Ireland section on our blog so we can share the wonders with readers. I saw dolphins at the mouth of the Shannon while taking the ferry from Kerry to Clare. Memorable!

    • I’m glad you liked the west part of Ireland, it’s stunning indeed. This is the first post on Ireland on eTramping. If you want to share the link in the future, let us know. We actually think of accepting more posts from fellow bloggers on Ireland.

  • My parents are from Dublin so I grew up going to Ireland every year (if not twice a year) for holidays.

    In more recent times I’ve visited the west coast and it is stunning. Donegal and the Diamond have fond memories for me.

    Galway is a party city with a great nightlife.

    The ring of Kerry is a stunning drive and best done driving north to south.

  • Agness and Cez, this is sooooo spooky! My aunt (my life best friend) literally just got back from Ireland and Poland! She had shopped for houses for me last summer in Germany and Austria last summer. Her #1 choice for me was Salzburg. But, she emailed me last week from overseas, “Honey, I have an addendum. Ireland might actually be more beautiful and the people may be nicer than last summer. Just sayin’….Love you!” True story…:)

    • Wow, that’s awesome Mike. I’m glad she enjoyed Poland and Ireland so much!! I’m sending some love to her. Did she try some Polish pierogi (traditional dumplings filled with cottage cheese, mushrooms, mince or potatoes served with fried chopped onion)? Real yum!!

  • Agness, what a great post! I’ve never visited Ireland, but it seems so beautiful and interesting. I’ve only heard it rains a lot there.

    • So nice to hear that Stef :). Unfortunately, I never made it even to Dublin but I’m planning to change that soon :) (next year).

  • Hello Agness, I love Ireland! I haven’t been to the West Coast but I definitely love to return and explore that area. I love Ireland’s greenness. I went during autumn and the trees had beautiful foliage colors but the grass was still so so green. I also enjoyed the friendliness of the people and, of course, the beer!:)

  • Wow, some beautiful photos. It’s amazing just how many places there are in Ireland with such dramatic cliffs. The Dingle Peninsula looks amazing, but so are the Cliffs of Moher and the Cliffs of Dooneen. So much to see. Thanks for the great post and photos!

  • Thanks for linking to my post, Wish I was in Ireland travel memories. I wrote it when I was feeling a bit nostalgic about the west of Ireland several years ago just before St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish sea coast is one of the most compelling and wild places I’ve ever been. There’s great food, lot of ancient sites and traditional music most nights. The great thing about the music is most of it’s free in the pubs. Buy a glass of Guinness and nurse it all night.

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