A Day Trip on the Wild Atlantic Way from Galway

One of the best things to do in Ireland is take a road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way.  You can spend a couple weeks doing the entire coast but given we only had a few days, we only had time to do a day trip from Galway and thus had to maximize what we could see in a short period of time.  I spent a decent amount of time mapping out a day trip so I wanted to lay it out for anyone in the future.  All in all, we spent 8 - 9 hours on the road including stops but you could adjust pending if you wanted to spend more time at a given location.  On the flip side, if you can manage more than a day trip, you could break this drive up into 2 days or so and really enjoy the Irish countryside. 

We started off in Galway and headed out around 7:30 in the morning.  One thing to note is there aren't
many breakfast options at this hour in Galway so you need to plan in a breakfast stop, which we did. 

We could have opted to go north to Kylemore Abbey first but given we wanted to stop for breakfast and the opening hours of the Abbey, we decided to start out by driving through Salthill towards Bothar Na Scratog. 

After an hour or so of gorgeous countryside and seaside views, we got to Pearse's Cottage.  The cottage was on a
beautiful piece of property on a lake which makes it worth the stop.  

After we left the cottage, we headed towards Roundstone.  From Pearse's Cottage to Roundstone, there is a shortcut
through the countryside that I would opt for (instead of the longer seaside route).  We actually got stuck at this cow crossing. on this road. 

We were literally the only ones out here and may have only seen one or two other cars on the road. 

Out in the countryside, you will come across herds of sheep perfect for a photo opp.  

After not too long of a drive from Perase's Cottage, we finally arrived at the small fishing village of Roundstone. 

Knowing we couldn't eat in Galway, we purposely planned on eating at Roundstone which ended up being perfect. O'Dowds Cafeis pretty much the only place in town and it had a mouth watering breakfast with freshly baked scones and this view.

We then spent 20 - 30 minutes walking around which is all you really need to take the tiny village in. 

But even if you aren't going to stop for breakfast, you should make sure you stop in Roundstone for a bit given it's picture perfect.  

A few minutes past Roundstone is the White Sandy beach of Dog's Bay that is worth a quick stop. 

We then drove for a little bit more and came to Derrigimlagh Bog.  We hiked up a small hill to this view and again, we were
the only ones around. 

At the top of this hill was a massive stone wall with great views and perfect for a photo opp. 

We then started a drive again towards the town of Clifden which could be another great pit stop for a beer
or for lunch.  We only drove through because of time but if you can take your time or split it up into a few days, this would be a good stop. 

Right past Clifden, we ended up taking the Sky Road which is a must on the Wild Atlantic Way.  

If you are coming from the direction of Clifden, you need to make sure you don't miss the first left so you can do the full loop so you can put Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in your GPS and then do the entire road. 

Towards the top of the road is a look out where you can stop for pictures.  It's also overlooking what is
the most western part of Ireland. 

You then loop around to the other side of the road where you head towards Kylemore Abbey. 

Kylemore Abbey is one of the highlights not only of the Wild Atlantic Way but also usually one of the top
spots to go in all of Ireland. 

The estate is massive and realistically you could spend a whole day here if you wanted to walk all over the grounds and do a hike. We spent a little less than two hours here and was able to go in the Abbey, go to the Church as well as the gardens.  The pro move is get a quiche at the tea spot by the garden if you are on a time crunch for lunch. 

Upon leaving the Abbey, you start your trek back to Galway but you can also spend some time driving through
Connemara National Park which is right by the Abbey.  On the way back to Galway, you can also stop at
Old Man's Bridge to break up the drive. 
Finally you'll make it back to Galway for plenty of time for sunshine (if you go in May - Sept) and a beer on water.  If you
really don't have a ton of time, you could even continue south past Galway to the Cliffs of Moher which is a must.
We did this the next morning but if you start at 7AM and do the route above, you probably could make it to the Cliffs at 5ish to see it towards the end of the day or even for sunset. 

Given the Wild Atlantic Way is the entire coastland, it continues south of Galway was well.  On the way to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway, one of the highlights will be Dunguaire Castle. 

You'll also come across some pretty amazing countryside views on the way where again you feel pretty desolate. 

Right before the cliffs, you will see rolling hills of green. 

And then finally you will get to the Cliffs of Moher which are stunning and a must see on a trip to Ireland.  I'll mention a few other things about the Cliffs in another post but you'll want to spend 90 minutes or so here. 

Continuing on the Wild Atlantic Way, you can head towards Doolin.  We came across this farm that sold amazing Jam. 
Finally you will get to Doolin which is a great pit stop for lunch if you do the Cliffs in the morning like we did
but if you do everything in one day it would be a great spot to end your day and stay here over night heading to
one of the local pubs for Irish music.  

Here is our map from the day trip we did.  It does not include the southern part of the Cliffs of Moher. 


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