It’s at the stage where you’re beginning to lose hope. Your “helpful” back-seat drivers start to shift in their seats and mumble about trying their phones or asking someone for directions. In my case, male pride kicks in and just as I begin to state my case and insist on my unwavering sense of direction, it’ll appear. The sight for sore eyes. The beacon of hope. The reassurance you need. It can almost be heard to say “You’re all right, lads. Stay going”. The Squiggle. Follow The Squiggle.
Whether driving, cycling or walking sections of the Wild Atlantic Way along Ireland’s West Coast, you are going to see sights that will stop you right in your tracks. The beaches in Sligo, the spectacular coastline of north Mayo, the iconic and stark Downpatrick Head, the awesome Croagh Patrick and the heartbreaking mountains and lakes of Connemara in Galway will all take your breath away. Pictures and words cannot do them justice! But we’ll have to try…
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As you travel along this incredible roadway you will at times have your sense of adventure tested! You can take in the surf at Mullaghmore in Sligo, Lahinch in Clare and countless other beaches along the way. You can hike through the mountains and trails of Connemara, Louisburgh, Achill, Slea Head and the Burren. You’ll see cyclists enjoy the spin from coffee shop to coffee shop as they make their way along the Wild Atlantic Way. There are jaw-dropping heights to reach and conquer whether on the Liscannor to Doolin Cliff Walk, at Downpatrick Head or taking on Croagh Patrick! There’s coasteering, zip-lining, SUP Boarding, swimming, music sessions, flight-displays, caving and much, much more adventure around every corner of Ireland’s coastal roadway!
But along the road you will also have your sense of direction tested!! And at times you’ll feel as though you’ve gone wrong! You took the wrong turn down some backroad with the quiet beach or you strayed off towards some little pub, known only to the locals. You’ll curse your bad luck and despair at the thoughts of doubling back on yourself to find the Wild Atlantic Way again. But then, a moment of clarity; This is it. This quiet little beach is the perfect place for an impromptu dip in the ocean. This charming, little pub just so happens to be a highly recommended sea-food spot – and you were feeling kind of hungry anyway! You’ll soon realize, that this is the Wild Atlantic Way! This is what it’s all about, getting off the beaten track, saying goodbye to the motorways and the dashboard dining, forgetting about how quickly you can get from A to B and slowing down to take everything in along the way!
So, trust your sense of direction, safe in the knowledge that a white, jagged little line will guide the way. Pack up the surfboards, rack up the bikes, roll up the tent or grab the camper and throw in a few snacks and get ready for the roadtrip of a lifetime…just follow the squiggle!
– Enda (April ’15)