10 Places You Must Visit on the West Coast of Ireland!

September 17, 2017

Updated 2019: The West Coast of Ireland is a beautiful part of Ireland. I spent 3 days doing a solo Ireland road trip driving up as much of the West Coast as I could and I couldn’t believe the beauty of it! The scenery on the West Coast of Ireland changes so dramatically between the South, Mid and North of the Coast and a long the way there are lots of places to stop off at and visit.

Here are 10 places I recommend you visit on your West Coast of Ireland trip whether you are doing a road trip around Ireland or using public transport and doing tours around Ireland!

If you’re doing a road trip, these 2 posts will give you more information to help you out:

3 Day West Coast of Ireland Road Trip Itinerary – View here!

Helpful Tips To Prepare You For Your Ireland Road Trip! – View here!

1. Cliffs of Moher

No West Coast of Ireland trip would be complete without a trip to the iconic Cliffs of Moher. They are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction and they’re popular for a reason. This area of coastline is simply stunning and the visitor centre, although touristy, gives you the chance to get up close to the cliffs edge.

I would highly recommend going but if you are driving go as late as possible in the day (3pm-7pm depending on the time of year) as the morning is when the coach day tours visit the Cliffs of Moher and ideally you want to avoid these.

cliffs of moher west coast ireland

blonde girl cliffs of moher west coast ireland

If you’re staying in Galway without your own transport, do not worry! There are plenty of tours leaving Galway to the Cliffs of Moher, I would recommend these and they start at a great price, you see a lot and they are stress free!

2. Galway

Galway is Ireland’s most famous City after Dublin, however it’s much smaller in size than Dublin so it’s a lot easier to navigate and get a good feel for in a small amount of time. It’s full of colourful buildings, plenty of local Irish Pubs and is situated on the water. There are street performers day and night giving you a taste of traditional Irish music and generally, its just a good craic!

I stayed overnight in Galway and I’m really glad I got to see Galway in the evening and in the day time because it seems like a different city when it gets dark. Last year I went on a girls trip toDublin but if I was to recommend a City in Ireland for a girls or guys trip I’d actually say to go to Galway over Dublin!

galway west coast of ireland

galway west coast of ireland

3. Limerick

Limerick is the third biggest city in Ireland however its a city that isn’t centered around tourism like Galway is. I would suggest visiting Limerick for a few hours if you are passing by it on a road trip to visit the castle and have a walk along the River Shannon.

For more information see – How to Spend Half a Day in Limerick.

limerick west coast of ireland

limerick west coast of ireland

4. Killary Fjord

The Killary Fjord was a complete surprise to me! It’s Irelands only Fjord which extends 10 miles from the Atlantic. I drove past and along the Fjord when driving from Kylemore Abbey to Westport and every turn and corner provided a completely different view of the fjord, it really was incredible.

It’s a mix of New Zealand and Norway on the West Coast of Ireland! Boat tours are available from Killary Harbour which would be brilliant if you can find the time! If not, just making sure you drive that road North will be enough.

You definitely need to hire a car to see all of these places, for Car Hire check out Rental Cars, they work with the biggest car hire companies including Budget who I hired my car from for this trip!

killary fjord west coast of ireland

killary fjord west coast of ireland

5. Achill Island

Another surprise for me on the West Coast of Ireland and along the Wild Atlantic Way was Achill Island. It’s the largest Island off of mainland of Ireland, connected to the mainland via a bridge. It’s a remote, rugged and unspoilt island! I felt like I was uncovering a gem as I drove towards and around the Island.

I used Keel on Achill Island as my end point on my satnav and just before I reached the village I saw signs for the beach. The beach was so remote and quiet, it filled me with peace and calm so I would definitely recommend heading up there to see a completely different side of the West Coast of Ireland.

achill island west coast ireland

achill island west coast ireland

6. Connemara National Park

The Connemara National Park is a big area of land in West Ireland and one of the most popular places to visit in Ireland. The scenery here is very mountainous and rugged with lots of lakes. You can drive through it, taking in the beauty surrounding you, stopping when you feel like it to take pictures and have a walk, and you can go to the main visitor centre and walk a suggested walking route around the Connemara National Park from there which is what I did.

There are 3 walks available ranging from 30 minutes to 90-120 minutes, I did the Lower Diamond Hill Walk which was 3km and took about 45 minutes, it wasn’t particularly strenuous but it gave amazing views from a high part of the mountain overlooking the lakes and countryside.

connemara national park west coast ireland

blonde girl gopro connemara national park west coast ireland

Helpful Tips To Prepare You For Your Ireland Road Trip! – View here!

3 Day West Coast of Ireland Road Trip Itinerary – View here!

7. Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey is an iconic place to visit in Ireland, it’s a 10-15 minute drive from the Connemara National Park visitor centre so if you visit one you should visit both. Kylemore Abbey was built in the 1800’s and it’s had a lot of love, care and money put into it. It’s been a hotel and a girls school and experienced a fire or two that could have ruined the castle but luckily didn’t.

The Abbey is beautiful to view from the lake and up close. I would suggest buying a ticket so you can get closer to it and go inside to read more about its history. There is also a gorgeous walled garden a mile from the Abbey which is accessible via foot or a shuttle bus that runs every 10-15 minutes to take you between the two areas.

kylemore abbey west coast ireland

Again, do not worry if you do not have your own transport, you can still reach the Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey on day tours from Dublin and Galway like this, click through to check availability for when you’re there!

8. The Burren

I didn’t get to visit The Burren due to time constraints but I wish I had visited. It’s located close to the Cliffs of Moher and is famous for its limestone landscape. From the photos’s I have seen it looks quite other worldly and a really unique place to visit in West Ireland.

It’s also popular because you would think this landscape is barren with nothing growing it in but actually, come spring The Burren blossoms into a rock garden of wildflower so Spring is a great time to visit this part of West Ireland.

9. Aran Islands

This is another part of the West Coast I didn’t visit as I only had 3 days in Ireland but would have loved to visit. Sat in Galway Bay mouth are 3 islands known as the Aran Islands. It’s possible to visit the Aran islands on a Day trip from Doolin or Galway and there are regular ferries running to take you and your car. There are also many coach tours or boat trips around the Aran Islands if you’d prefer to see the islands from the water.

The islands are known for their ancient sites, beaches and Irish speaking locals. If I didn’t have a car for my trip and had done my Ireland trip via public transport I definitely would have gone on an organised day trip to the Aran Islands from Galway like one of these:


10. Donegal

Donegal was a bit too far North for me to visit on this trip but if I had had the time then I definitely would have gone! It has recently topped National Geographic’s Cool List for 2017 and for good reasons. Donegal appears to be the place that makes you feel like you’re really ‘off the beaten path’ in Ireland, escaping the rest of the world with it’s wild landscape, country roads and incredible coastline!

Flights to Ireland

Have I made you want to visit Ireland now? I’m a total Skyscanner addict and find some great deals through their site. Why not look up some flights on Skyscanner now!?

To look on their app instead, click here!

Accommodation in Ireland

Ireland has some great Airbnb options, If you’re new to Airbnb, join up using this link and we’ll both get credit towards our future bookings!

If you’re more of a hostel or hotel kind of person, Booking.com has loads of options too!

Car hire in Ireland

For Car Hire check out Rental Cars, they work with the biggest car hire companies including Budget who I hired my car from for this trip!

Travel Insurance in Ireland

Remember to get insurance before you go on your trip! It’s something I know a lot of us forget or think isn’t important but it is! If you still need to purchase travel insurance I’d recommend World Nomads. They offer 24/7 emergency assistance, trip cancellation, protection of gear, and a lot more. Plus they’re flexible and simple! Just what we need! Get a quote here!

Helpful Tips To Prepare You For Your Ireland Road Trip! – View here!

3 Day West Coast of Ireland Road Trip Itinerary – View here!

How to Spend Half a Day in Limerick, Ireland – View here!

5 Pubs in Dublin to visit for a great Craic! – View here!

This post contains some affiliate links but at no extra cost to you.

pinterest west coast ireland

Why not pin this to refer to later?






5 responses to “10 Places You Must Visit on the West Coast of Ireland!”

  1. This area of Ireland has been on my wish list for years – I definitely want to do more road trips in 2018 if I can – to Ireland, Scotland and Wales! The pictures are just sublime, you’ve made me want to book right now!

  2. Ooh, I’d definitely recommend visiting Doolin! It’s such a gorgeous little village with the coolest Irish bars. The Burren is also pretty cool too, it’s so wild there. I remember when I visited a few years ago, The Cliffs of Moher were covered in fog but it made the scenery really atmospheric! Hopefully I’ll make it back again on a clearer day!

    Emma | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles

  3. Rachel says:

    Pictures are lovely! In some it looks like you were the only person there which must have been pretty special, or maybe just clever camera timing! Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

  4. Liz Kerr says:

    We just did the Wild Atlantic Way and I have to say its been one of the best holidays ever…the weather was sublime too. 28 degrees and sunny, just beautiful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

My Name's Ellie Quinn.

I'm a complete travel addict and have been since I took my first backpacking trip in 2010.

Since then I've visited 50+ Countries on various trips! I created this blog to share my travel tips to help you travel better!






plan book wander - trip planning service

Videos From My Favourite Places!

Want To Get Travel & Wellness Goodness in Your Inbox?