And we’re back for part two of the Road Trip Through Ireland – the Can’t Miss List. If you’ve already checked out Part One of this list, great! If not, you can find it here. It contains some of my favorite spots that we discovered that should be on any Ireland Road Trip Itinerary, as well as some of my favorite pictures.
In case you did miss the first part of this post, I had to make some rules for myself while writing this. The first is that there are no cities on this list. I took almost no photos in any of the cities or villages that we passed through, and thus cannot confidently write about them. The second is that I’m sticking to bigger places for the most part.
Anyways, on with the rest of the list:
Cliffs of Moher
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Literally no trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. I’ve done a photo journal for the Cliffs already, but anyone who has been to Ireland knows that you absolutely cannot miss this place on a road trip through Ireland.
I love it here. I love the feeling of being on the edge of the world looking into the abyss that is the Atlantic Ocean. It sounds dramatic and maybe a bit desolate, but you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean. The Cliffs themselves are stunning, but knowing there’s nothing out there for hundreds of miles is kind of a harrowing and awe-inspiring feeling. Even when there are loads of people here, it’s easy to just hang your feet off the sides of the Cliffs and stare out into the ocean.
As the lesser known cousin of the Cliffs of Moher, this place took me completely by surprise and became on of my favorite places in all of Ireland. I think we heard about it in a small blurb on a blog somewhere and then saw it in a brochure at a hotel. The problem is that we only had a general idea of where Slieve League was and the GPS on our phones wasn’t exactly sure either. There are a couple of different ways to get to Slieve League. One involves parking your car in a nice parking lot, walking several meters on a clearly marked trail and then taking in the beautiful sights that are the Cliffs of Slieve League. The one our GPS ended up taking us to involved driving down a single lane gravel road on the side of a hill, parking next to a small waterfall and then hiking ten miles (give or take) up hill through rugged terrain. As much as I love hiking, we were not prepared for a ten mile hike, at two in the afternoon, in December, with a storm rolling in. We hiked maybe a mile and a half of it before it started getting late and then turned around and headed back. The thing is that this area was so beautiful I honestly wasn’t upset that we missed the cliffs.
We did finally get to see the cliffs the next morning. Our host at our hostel gave super detailed instructions on how to get there and where to park. Unfortunately, we had the worst weather we’d seen in our whole three months abroad up to that point so didn’t get to spend much time there.
What we could see looked beautiful though, and you should definitely consider adding it to your Ireland road trip itinerary.
First of all, they filmed a bit of Star Wars Episode 8 here, which is only half the reason we knew we had to make it this far. The other half is that I saw it online somewhere and the pictures were stunning and I knew I’d kick myself later if we didn’t check it out. There’s a tiny village here and in the middle of winter absolutely nothing is open. There are also winding roads that lead you all the way to the tip of the peninsula and – if you’re not up for intense hiking – some really nice walking trails that allow you to soak in the beauty of the rocky shoreline.
Also, once you hit the tip of Malin Head you’ll find the start and finish of the Wild Atlantic Way clearly marked on the ground. I had a picture but it seems now that I’ve lost it, but it was really cool to know that we made it all the way to the end of this famous road. This place was absolutely stunning. Even Cody; who is usually impossible to impress; was glad we made it, and I’m just telling you now, my pictures don’t even come close to doing Malin Head any kind of justice.
The Little Things
Keep your eyes peeled, the beauty of Ireland is so intense that you will constantly want to pull over to take a picture or just admire the landscape around you. I’ve been to Ireland twice now and know that I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this place has to offer. From rolling hills dotted with villages, to mountains that careen into valleys with single lane roads twisting around lakes, magical forests covered in moss with hidden streams and waterfalls, and stunning beaches and cliffs that overlook the never-ending Atlantic. There are overlooks and view points and pull outs along the road all over the place and you’ll want to stop at every single one of them.
And trust me, it’s worth it.
That’s it for the Irish Road Trip Can’t Miss List Part Two. Just like with Iceland, I’m already planning on how I can get back here to explore more of this beautiful place (preferably in a warmer month). Be sure to check out Part One of the list and see just a few of the Awesome Surprises Along the Way!