The West Coast of Ireland is a beautiful part of Ireland and there are so many places to visit on the West Coast of Ireland. I did a 3 day West Coast of 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 as you drive along the Wild Atlantic Way and go between the South, Mid and North of the West Coast.
Here are 10 places on the West Coast of Ireland to visit which are also the best things to do on the West Coast of Ireland and the best things to see on the West Coast of Ireland.
Whether you are hiring a car in Ireland and doing a West Coast Ireland road trip as I did, planning on driving the Wild Atlantic Way, or using public transport and doing day tours around Ireland, I give you options below to suit all trips to Ireland!
Places to Visit on West Coast of Ireland!
West Coast of Ireland Map
Here’s a map of all of the best places to visit on the West Coast of Ireland to help you plan your trip whether you have 3 days in Ireland or 1 week in Ireland!
Car Hire in Ireland
In this list of places to visit in the West coast of Ireland I have given group day trip options in case you don’t have a car, however for the best way to see Ireland, I recommend hiring a car as I did.
I hired a car for Ireland through Rental Cars who work with all the big car rental agencies in Ireland.
1. Cliffs of Moher
No West Coast of Ireland trip would be complete without a trip to the iconic and famous Cliffs of Moher, this is the top Ireland tourist attraction.
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 cliff’s edge.
If you’re hiring a car in Ireland, the best time of day to visit the Cliffs of Moher is as late as possible (3pm-7pm depending on the time of year and what time it gets dark) as the morning is when the coach day tours visit the Cliffs of Moher and ideally you want to avoid these.
In fact, when I went in August there were signs well before getting to the Cliffs, and in Shannon Airport, advising people to go after 4:00 pm in the Summer, so keep this in mind when you’re thinking about what to do in West Ireland.
If you’re staying in Galway without your own transport, do not worry! There are plenty of Cliffs of Moher Tours leaving Galway and even tours leaving Dublin! I would recommend one of these. They start at a great price, you see a lot and they are stress-free!
I use Skyscanner to book all of my flights! I’m a huge fan of Skyscanner because I love how easy it is to compare different dates and routes to help me find the best flight at the best price!
Open Skyscanner by clicking here and search for the best flights as you read this post.
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 so it should be on your West Coast of Ireland itinerary.
Galway is 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!
Things to do in Galway include taking the Galway Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus to see the city in a quick and easy way!
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.
If you want a place to go out for some drinks on the West Coast of Ireland and for a few Guinness’s, Galway is the place to go and stay for a night or two.
Limerick is the third biggest city in Ireland however it’s a city that isn’t centred around tourism like Galway is but it’s still a good place to visit when thinking about where to go in Ireland.
I would suggest visiting Limerick for a few hours if you are passing by on a road trip to visit the Castle and have a walk along the River Shannon. Here are some things to do in Limerick!
4. Killary Fjord
The Killary Fjord on the West Coast of Ireland was a complete surprise to me! It’s Irelands only Fjord which extends 10 miles from the Atlantic.
I drove 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, you can book a 1.5-hour boat tour here!
If not, just make sure you at least drive alongside it.
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 the 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 endpoint 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 less visited place on the West Coast of Ireland.
6. Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park is a big area of land in West Ireland and one of the most popular places to visit in Ireland and one of the most popular things to do in West 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 which is what I did.
There are 3 walks available that all start at the Connemara National Park Visitor Centre 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.
If you don’t have a car, you can book on a day tour to the Connemara National Park from Galway like this, or from Dublin like this!
7. Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey is an iconic place to visit in Ireland and one of the best places to see 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 1800s 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.
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 and thought about what to see in Ireland in advance of my trip.
It’s located close to the Cliffs of Moher and is famous for its limestone landscape. From the photos I have seen it looks quite otherworldly 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, The Burren blossoms into a rock garden of wildflower in the spring, 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 and boat trips around the Aran Islands if you’d prefer to see the islands from the water which sounds like one of the fun things to do in Ireland.
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:
How to get the best flights??
I use Skyscanner to book all of my flights! I’m a huge fan of Skyscanner because I love how easy it is to compare different destinations and different dates for the best price and route!
For example, I type in ‘everywhere’ in the destination if I have fixed dates and want to find the best flights on those dates on Skyscanner.
And if I have a set destination I’ll look at the ‘month view’ to check the cheapest days to fly in that month!
Donegal topped National Geographic’s Cool List of What to See in Ireland 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 its wild landscape, country roads and incredible coastline so make sure you visit on your West Coast of Ireland trip!
FAQs about the West Coast of Ireland
What is the best way to see the West Coast of Ireland?
Driving yourself on a road trip is the best way to see the West Coast of Ireland. I suggest hiring a car via Rental Cars who work with all the top rental car agencies in Ireland! Search here!
What is the prettiest part of Ireland?
The West Coast of Ireland has many of the top prettiest places in Ireland like the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara National Park, the Wild Atlantic way.
Is Galway on the West Coast of Ireland?
Yes, Galway is part of the West Coast of Ireland and a brilliant place to stop when travelling along Ireland’s West Coast.
What is the West Coast of Ireland called?
The West Coast of Ireland is also known as the Wild Atlantic Way because it runs all the way along the West Coast from the South to the North and is the longest coastal route in the world at 1600m / 2600km.
Friday 29th of June 2018
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!
Saturday 30th of June 2018
That sounds amazing!! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Tuesday 7th of November 2017
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 :)
Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles
Thursday 12th of October 2017
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
Monday 18th of September 2017
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!