Hidden gems and popular stops along the Wild Atlantic Way
Local photographer John Eagle gives us some insider information on the hidden gems of the Wild Atlantic Way.
See the Wild Atlantic Way through the eyes of John Richard Eagle (61), a local photographer and lover of the Irish lands. He lives near the Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula in Cork County and his interest in these Irish landscapes is an epic love story. He has spent the last 50 years immortalising the dramatic sea landscapes with his beloved Canon camera and has some magical photos to share. John has previously been featured in “an Eagle’s View of Irish Lighthouses” in 1999 and ‘Ireland’s Lighthouses a Photo Essay by John Eagle” in 2010.
“I have seen all the coast from Kinsale to Fanad, at one stage or another. I have photographed much of it from the air.”
Explore one of the rather rare fjords of Ireland, separating Galway and Mayo. The glacial fjord is located in the heart of Connemara giving you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the lovely scenery from the back of the Irish pure-breed Connemara Pony. If this is not your preferred choice of transportation, we recommend you to see the views from one of the Killary Fjord tour boats.
“I have been round the head of Killary Harbour many times and found the views spectacular.”
This is the first viewpoint of the three official viewpoints between Clare and Kelly. This is the most western point of County Clare and offers stunning view of both nature and wildlife. Whether you enjoy a nice walk along the waters or a longer bike ride, make sure to be on the lookout for the frequently seen dolphins relaxing in the waters near this peninsula.
“Those cliffs … are breathtaking and the views from the lighthouse balcony up the Clare coastline are fabulous… you also have that ‘island’ off the north shore where you think if you gave it a good run up you might just make it across the gap. Heart goes to my mouth just thinking of it (the drop between the mainland and the island is massive.)”
These wonderful Islands are located in Dingle and are the second official viewpoint of the route. The previously inhabited island was abandoned in 1953, with only 22 remaining inhabitants due to the emigration of its young. Today you can explore the beautiful and mysterious islands and see the remains of this lost community. For the adventurous traveler there are several Blasket island tours to try, where you will get all of the fun and interesting historical facts.
«Blaskets, I love the Blaskets. First time I went to Slea Head was on a day trip with my mother in the 60’s and the fog was so dense we couldn’t see..
I think we went twice and couldn’t see them, so they had that romantic notion like did they really exist?
“Seeing it from the air is amazing, this double pyramid rising up out of the sea. One of the most dangerous places in all of Europe; people have died there.”
This beautiful island located in Kerry is the third and final official viewpoint of the trip. It was once home to a group of ascetic monks where parts of the monastic remains can still be seen. In 1996 the Skellig Michael was rightfully added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for its outstanding universal value.
“I used to go there in the 80’s before the red tape restricted where you can walk.”
You find this incredible and inhabited island on the tip of the Beara Peninsula in County Cork. Historically, there were three villages on the Dursey island and visitors can still see and explore the mystical remains.
“The only cable in the country, you get whisked over in a few minutes and you step back in time. Very few cars there, you walk at your leisure, and there is so much to see.
I take workshops in photography on the island because there is no-one to disturb us and the scenery is so captivating.”
Cliffs of Moher
The cliffs of Moher are the most visited attraction in Ireland, and with good reason. The stunning views from the top of the steep cliffs in combination with the atmosphere, and live music performances, promise an unforgettable experience.
“I personally they look best from the sea looking up from a boat, then you that amazing spike of rock at the Doolin end of the cliffs.”
As you can see, there is no reason not to start planning your adventure along the Wild Atlantic Way. There are exciting places one should visit, and the lighthouses make for great photos surrounded by stunning and dramatic backdrops. If you wish to see these lighthouses and parts of the Wild Atlantic Way from John’s point of view, he offers special Irish Lighthouse Tours following the Irish coastline. This is perfect if you want an exclusive look at both the well-known attractions and the hidden gems along the Irish coast.
Start your journey in Belfast and stay at the comfortable Park Inn by Radisson, Belfast, This makes for a great starting point around the coast.