Ireland's new "Wild Atlantic Way" showcases the West Coast

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2014 marks the unveiling of Ireland’s “Wild Atlantic Way”, the world’s longest sign-posted scenic drive. The 2500km route winds along the country’s west coast, from the northern tip of County Donegal to Kinsale in Country Cork, providing travelers with lasting impressions of Ireland’s wild coastal beauty.

A highlight of the drive is sure to be the Ring of Kerry. There’s a reason why it’s one of Ireland’s most popular traveler destinations! Here to tell us a bit more about what to see and do around County Kerry is our local Killarney guide Gerard.

The Southwest of Ireland, particularly County Kerry, is world renowned for spectacular landscapes, rugged beauty and friendly locals. Touring this region combines endless photo opportunities and all the Irish history, folklore and fun a visitor can imagine. Basing yourself in and around Killarney gives you unlimited access to top notch accommodations, sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife while not sacrificing what you really came for - the natural beauty of Ireland. As was so eloquently stated by beloved Kerryman and author John B. Keane, “only in Kerry, with its magical retreats, can one experience such peace.”

In County Kerry, home to the most western point in all of Europe, one of Ireland’s most beloved peninsulas and breathtaking drives, the Ring of Kerry, awaits. Jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, the Ring of Kerry is ranked as one of the top 50 Drives in the entire world! On the route you’ll look out to one of Ireland’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Skellig Michael, where centuries ago monks made their home at its peak.

The Ring of Kerry is a national wonderland of forest, blanket bog, rivers, lakes and sandy beaches, and includes terrain as varied as Ireland’s highest peak, Carranuntoohil, and as lush as the warm, gulf stream washed lands. This magnificent coastal drive, starting and ending in Killarney, is a beloved part of the West coast of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

The glacial formed Gap of Dunloe is full day trip in and of itself. Choose to hike, cycle, take a pony ride or enjoy a traditional jaunting car through “The Gap” as it’s often called and then relax on a boat trip floating through the Lakes of Killarney, ending your day at Ross Castle.

And then there’s the dramatic jewel of the County, a must see for the nature lover - Killarney National Park. The largest National Park in Ireland, it invites you to explore and linger within to truly appreciate its splendor and wildlife.

While the immediate Killarney area delights, it’s the breathtaking, but often entirely missed North Kerry Region that will likely beckon you back. From the literary heartbeat of the County and home of John B. Keane in Listowel, to the jagged rocks of the Atlantic Coast in Ballybunnion, you won't want to miss this area.

A visit to the Southwest wouldn’t be complete without a day spent touring the Dingle Peninsula. Guided day tours are highly recommended as many find it difficult to appreciate the views while attempting to squeeze by tour buses and negotiate the winding roads from the "left" side. Enjoy the Great Blasket Islands, the site of the Spanish Armada's fateful route, and spectacular Slea Head. Be sure to find time for a bite to eat and a pint or two in the art and music hub of the County, Dingle Town.

The endless options in the Southwest of Ireland offer all that visitors envision when they plan the Irish vacation of their dreams. Join me!
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