Road Trip through Ireland – Awesome Surprises Along the Way

This past December we spent two weeks in a Flower-Power themed Wicked Camper named Florence (the Machine) as we worked our way around Ireland. We meandered through Irish country side – national parks and the rugged peninsulas to the west – and quaint villages, sticking as much as we could to the Wild Atlantic Way. We’re not very good with sticking to a plan, or really even forming one, so there were lots of detours. We started our two-week journey knowing that we had to see a few things – the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, Kilkenny, Glendalough, and Malin Head. Oh yeah, and distilleries, breweries, castles or ruins and whatever else we could find along the way (we still haven’t made it to Blarney).  Our trip slowly formed itself around these points of interest, with new sights getting added everyday and some popping up out of nowhere.

It was these surprises that really made the trip amazing though.

This forest somewhere on the same peninsula as Lamb’s Head

We found this forest somewhere on the northern side of the Lamb’s Head peninsula along the Wild Atlantic Way.

There was a sign that said there was a stone circle (kinda like Stonehenge, but way smaller probably), so we pulled over and spent some time wandering through this beautiful forested area looking for it. We never found the stone circle, but the forest alone was worth the stop.

We even saw some sheep wandering through the trees, and there was a waterfall.




Ruins

Ok so ruins aren’t really a surprise when you’re driving through a country that has thousands of years of history, however they are pretty flipping awesome to spend a couple of hours exploring.

Friary in Ireland

These are from the Ross Errilly Friary near Galway and it was a perfect morning – frost-bitten and moody – for taking pictures and wandering around some ruins.

Friary near Galway

We found another one a couple of days later that was right off the Wild Atlantic Way. There were cows just outside the fence at this one whom Cody tried to befriend.

monestary in ireland

Glencar Waterfall

glencare waterfall ireland

We found this place while looking for a campsite. It popped up on Google Maps with the little picture icon and after a quick search we decided that we had to check it out. Once you get close enough there are signs for it everywhere, a little cafe and, and to our surprise, toilets.

glencar waterfall ireland

We didn’t end up camping here because the road was super busy, but it was a great little surprise and an awesome place to get out of the car for a couple of hours.

This beach and overlook before we made it to Malinhead

A storm was coming in and the wind was blowing like crazy, but it was so worth the visit.

I think we found this one by following a sign. Sometimes signs with weird symbols on them would pop up along with the sign for the Wild Atlantic Way so we would follow them until we couldn’t find the signs anymore. Sometimes it would lead to really awesome stuff like this, sometimes the signs would just disappear and we’d keep going on our way.

Irish beach overlook

This campsite

Irish skies at night

Down a one lane road somewhere near the Gap of Dunloe. I’m not sure how, but we had really great weather – albeit pretty cold – for most of the trip.

Irish Landscape

And this one

Irish Wild Camping

I honestly don’t have a clue where this is. It’s an empty parking lot type thing that pulled up when we googled wild camping sites in Ireland.

It was one of our first campsites so we were still a little wary of pulling in just anywhere and parking for the night.

We didn’t get here until after dark and were very pleasantly surprised when sunrise rolled around the next morning.

And this one

Again, we pulled in after dark and really had no idea what to expect.

We just knew it was next to a golf course (or something), and that it was about half a mile away from the one we’d pulled up on the Wild Camping map.

Sunrise here was beautiful and totally worth getting up early for.

We really do try to plan things and make sure we hit the big attractions, but really it was these unexpected and last minute adventures that really made this trip amazing.

You can check out some of our other favorite adventures here and read all about our first day in Iceland here.

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EDIT: Previously I had the forest at the beginning of this post listed as on the Dingle peninsula when it is actually on the same peninsula as Lamb’s Head (Lamb’s Head Peninsula?). Sorry, my bad.

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7 comments

    1. Definitely get a camper van if you can! You can camp pretty much anywhere in Ireland and it’s much cheaper than renting a car and hotel rooms every night. We rented a Wicked camper that we camped in most of the time and it was wonderful!

  1. We like to hit the road without too much of a plan as well. It makes the trip so much more interesting. You never know what you might find. And I like the freedom of going with the flow.
    Ireland is such an interesting countryleprechauns and all – one day I will get there. I have a friend who lives in Dublin. I’m expecting a personal guided tour 🙂
    BTW I can’t find your like button 🙁

  2. I’ve been trying to organise a trip to the west coast of Ireland for a while now and this has really enthused me to get my act together! I was in Texas last month so I can imagine you enjoyed the contrast. Both are beautiful places.

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