If there is one thing my home country knows how to do, it’s a mean road trip. For a country so small, it has an incredible amount of diversity and natural beauty that could rival any other destination. While our country roads are often scarily narrow and you might even spot a few patches of grass growing here and there, they also make for some of the most beautiful drives in the world.
From the rugged cliffs of the Wild Atlantic Way and the green fields and mountains in Ireland’s Ancient East, to the beautiful beaches of County Cork, driving through Ireland is an experience you will never forget.
Personally, I think one of the most beautiful drives in Ireland is following the coast road through West Cork, stopping off at the many beautiful fishing villages and coastal towns along the way, and then heading out to any of the hundred carry isles. Then again, being Corkonian, I am bound to be a little biased.
Here’s a look at what some fellow Irish bloggers had to say when asked about their favourite drives by Chill.ie (an Irish travel insurance provider….trust me, you never want to take a road trip without the all important travel insurance!!).
1. The Military Road, County Wicklow
One of the most popular drives in Ireland, thanks to its proximity to Dublin city centre, wild and barren Wicklow is by far one of the most beautiful drives in Ireland. Stopping off at the famous Guinness Lake and the round tower at Glendalough, this drive is a perfect one dat trip from Dublin’s fair city. Swimming in the lake or hiking and mountain biking the Wicklow mountains are optional, but highly recommended for the adventurous at heart!
2. South mayo Scenic Drive
While much of Mayo is famous for its islands and world-class surfing, there is also an undiscovered side to the county in the form of perfectly formed lakes, rolling hills and rugged mountains. Home to Ireland’s most famous mountain, Croagh Patrick, a days hiking after a long drive is sure to clear the air.
3. Atlantic Drive, Achill Island
Chill Island has to be one of my favourite places in Ireland. A new addition to this part of Ireland is the Mayo Greenway, something I listed in my top 50 unique things to do in Ireland. The Greenway is an amazing cycle route, allowing tourists to take a break from driving and discover Ireland’s West coast on 2 wheels instead of 4. Once you make in to Achill, be sure to check out Keem Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland.
4. The Giants Causeway to Belfast
I only did this drive myself for the first time late last year and was blown away my the beauty of the Causeway Coast. We actually took a slight detour and spent one day on Ratlin Island, famous for its Atlantic Puffins and the fact that you can see as far as Scotland on a clear day. Highlights of this drive were walking across the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge and watching the sun set at the Giants Causeway. an experience that will stay with you for years.
5. Clonakilty to Old Head of Kinsale
This is by far one of my favourite drives in Ireland, if not the world. When a drive starts in a town as picturesque as Clonakility and ends in a town known as the gourmet capital of Ireland, you can’t really go wrong! That said, I would also suggest going a little further West to places like Schull and Baltimore to see the real beauty of West Cork.