Wild Atlantic Way
At the very edge of Europe, the Wild Atlantic Way stretches for 2,500 km (1,500 miles) along Ireland’s western seaboard from Malin head in Co. Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork.
Travelling around County Donegal takes in Malin Head, Fanad Head and Slieve League. This route is approximately 557km (346 miles).
Experience one of the wildest, most enchanting and culturally rich coastal touring routes in the world. Wherever you travel along the Wild Atlantic Way you’ll find magic, adventure, history and beauty in abundance.
Divided into five main sections each one offers you memories that will last a lifetime. Start exploring now.
Malin Head is at the very tip of the Inishowen Peninsula, which is mainland Ireland’s most northerly point.
Over millions of years the wild Atlantic has carved dramatic crevices into the rugged headland, such as Hell’s Hole – a long, deep, narrow chasm where the swells below churn and roar.
Birds flock to this remote but beautiful place, blown in on the Atlantic winds. These regular visitors from Iceland, Greenland and North America include gannets, shearwaters, skuas, auks and others on their southward migration flights. Malin Head is also one of the few places in Europe where it’s possible to hear the elusive corncrake.
About 16km (10 miles) north of the village of Malin is Banba’s Crown, which offers magnificent panoramic views. Banba was one of the mythical queens of Ireland. Banba’s Crown on Malin Head was the spot where loved ones waved goodbye to their families and friends as they set out across the sea on the long voyage to a new life in America.
Fanad Head is a wildly exposed, romantic headland. It’s also the most northerly point of the beautiful Fanad Peninsula.
Known for the iconic Fanad Head Lighthouse, as well as stunning scenery and incredible beaches. The lighthouse was built in the 1800s in response to the tragic sinking of the frigate HMS Saldanha. Only the Captain’s parrot survived the sinking, and the ship’s bell graces the church tower in Portsalon to this day.
There’s so much to see when you walk along the head’s heavily indented coastline, with its magnificent elevated views over the shoreline below.
You’ll spot grey seals bobbing in the sea, pretty coves and powerful waves crashing across the rocks, maybe even a breaching whale in the distance. While there, you could also look out for the sea arch at Pollaid, an amazing natural arch carved out of the rocks just off Fanad
The Slieve League Cliffs (or Sliabh Liag in Irish), on the south west coast of County Donegal, are said to be some of the highest and best examples of marine cliffs in Europe.
To really appreciate the magnificence of the Slieve Leagues, leave your car in the car park and walk the few miles to the cliffs so as not to miss the incredible scenery.
Take in fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you head towards the top, where the cliff face of Bunglas rises over 600 metres (1968 feet) above the roaring ocean. Experienced walkers might want to venture beyond the viewing point onto One Man’s Pass, which loops around onto Pilgrim’s Path.
The sacred Slieve League Mountain has drawn Christian pilgrims for over 1,000 years, and the award-winning Slieve League Cultural Centre will reveal all about its significance as well as local culture and crafts.