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Ireland LogoIn 2013, Ireland unveiled what would become a cornerstone of its tourism and cultural identity—the Wild Atlantic Way. Today, a decade later, this 2,500-kilometer stretch remains a beacon of the nation’s natural grandeur, showcasing some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. From the rugged cliffs of Donegal in the north to the serene shores of Cork in the south, the route has enhanced Ireland’s appeal as a top global destination and revitalized its local economies.

Aughris Head County Sligo on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Aughris Head County Sligo on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Reflecting on its profound impact is essential as we mark the 10th anniversary of the world’s longest-defined coastal touring route. Annually attracting nearly two million visitors, the Wild Atlantic Way has been instrumental in supporting approximately 121,000 jobs and injecting an estimated €3 billion into the Irish economy annually. Its success underscores the synergy between nature’s endowments and human hospitality, creating an enriching and sustainable tourist experience.

The route winds through nine counties, each with unique charm and history. Travellers can explore 188 Discovery Points, where the raw power of nature and the subtlety of Irish culture blend seamlessly. The journey offers many activities—cycling through the windswept landscapes, walking along secluded beaches, or enjoying the lush greenery of Ireland’s national parks.

The Burren in County Clare on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

The Burren in County Clare on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Film enthusiasts might recognize scenes from significant productions like “Ryan’s Daughter,” the “Star Wars” saga, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and “Normal People,” all of which used the mystic and wild backdrop of the Atlantic Way. Such global exposure has only heightened the allure of these locales, drawing both filmmakers and tourists seeking to capture a piece of this cinematic splendour.

Beyond the visual feast, the route tastes Ireland’s renowned cultural heritage. From the heart-stirring melodies of traditional Irish music sessions to the fresh flavours of locally sourced seafood, the Wild Atlantic Way is a conduit for genuine Irish hospitality. The path is dotted with award-winning whiskey distilleries, Michelin-starred eateries, and rustic pubs that glimpse the soul of Irish communities.

A lone hiker at Belderrig, County Mayo on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

A lone hiker at Belderrig, County Mayo on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way does not disappoint those pursuing knowledge and adventure. The route is home to historical treasures such as the ancient monastic site of Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 6th century. The journey also includes modern marvels like the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum, the birthplace of Irish coffee.

As the Wild Atlantic Way enters its next decade, the journey continues to evolve, yet its essence remains unchanged. It’s a celebration of Ireland’s enduring beauty, a testament to its resilient communities, and a beacon for travellers seeking authenticity. Director J.J. Abrams perhaps summed it up best while filming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in the region: “It’s sort of a miracle this place… we could not be more honoured to be here.”

For more information and to plan your journey along the Wild Atlantic Way, visit www.ireland.com.




Written by: Yves Thomas