Updated: Apr 19
We've always wanted to do this trip but never wanted to leave our little couch potato behind, so last summer we decided to pack up, bring Cooper and take on the tourism trail of the
WILD ATLANTIC WAY!!
(We started off from Dingle so the Cork leg is TBC!!)
A converted Landrover Defender, double bed inside with bikes and kayaks on the roof. We also had a pop up tent at the back so we could cook/chill while in the camping parks.
All camping sites we stayed at were dog friendly and on a first come first served basis (€25 max per night). If you have a campervan I would ring up in advance for availability as you have to hook up to the water and electricity units. We also stopped off at 2 dog friendly hotels on our journey for a bit of pampering.
To get the most out of the trip, we began by looking up blogs/websites on the Wild Atlantic Way and wrote down all of the must see spots. At each location we would type in our next destination into google maps. We would then follow the coast roads along our way, sometimes going off route to explore something new, so do leave extra time! (There are Wild Atlantic Way signs all along the route whichever way your doing it North or South- so you won't get lost).
Dublin (Started off our journey)
Dingle, Co.Kerry (The Conor Pass & Slea Head Drive)
Loophead Lighthouse, Co.Clare
Doolin (Cliffs Of Moher)
Flaggy Shore (The Burren)
The Twelve Hotel, Co.Galway
Derrigimla + Connemara
Clifden (Sky Road)
Westport, Co.Mayo (Croagh Patrick)
Achill Island (Keem Bay)
Lough Eske Castle/Hotel
Slieve League Cliff View
Malin Head-Final Stop
We stayed 2 nights in 'Campail Teach An Aragail' which was a very friendly family run campsite (13 min drive from Dingle town).
The Conor Pass - This road into Dingle set us up for the amazing trip ahead, it's like a scene from Lord of the Rings!
Slea Head Drive - A scenic circular loop of the western Dingle peninsula starting and ending in Dingle. Views of the Blasket Islands and distant views of the Skellig Islands. You can get out at Dunquin Pier for a short walk or chill out on the most beautiful beach - Coumeenoole).
Dingle Town - A small buzzing town full of foodie spots and definitely the best pubs in Ireland. We stopped off in the famous Dick Mack's for a drink. You can cosy up in the snug on a rainy day or on a sunny day chill in the beer garden out the back and soak up the atmosphere with some furry friends.
Cooper could not wait to catch a glimpse
of Dingle's most famous resident Fungi the dolphin. We got the kayaks out and left Dingle Bay to try see him but unfortunately we were unsuccessful this time ( It could of been Coopers shark lifevest - lol). If you don't have your own kayaks, a sunset Fungi and cave trip with 'Irish Adventures' is a definite!
1 night in Nagles Campsite, Doolin. It is one of our top campsites along the west coast. They are very welcoming, facilities are clean and the view is amazing! You look directly across to the Cliffs of Moher. It's also situated 100m from Doolin pier where you can catch a ferry to the Aran Islands (weather depending).
Loophead Lighthouse - We didn't go inside as we had Cooper but we walked the grounds behind it and the view of the cliffs are unreal.
Lahinch - If you love your watersports then this is the town for you. You can learn how to surf/sail/swim/kite surf & lots more!
Cliffs of Moher - Views on views on views! You can go inside the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre if you want to get information on the attraction but if you want to get straight to them, you can walk straight up and around the cliffs with your pooch in tow.
Doolin - The cutest little village where there was a gorgeous restaurant 15min walk from our campsite called The Ivy Cottage. We ate outside in the courtyard with Cooper where they had a canopy over for when it rained so it was perfect, food was delish!
For most of the other days & nights we cooked from a portable gas stove which you can buy from any camping or hardware store (They're very easy & safe to use). At the back of the jeep we had a drawer with all of our kitchen utensils and we would stop off now and again to stock up on food from local stores.
1 night in 'salthill caravan park'. All of the campsites we went to have all the facilities you need...hot showers, clean bathrooms, plugs for your hairdryers etc, cooking facilities.
1 night in 'The Twelve Hotel'(dog friendly).
Drive through Derrigimla & Connemara - Pure Irish scenery with sheep becoming a regular addition to the roads.
Sky Road, Clifden - Panoramic views of the rocky Connemara coastline.
Take a trip out to the Aran Islands - Inis Oirr being my favourite, you can visit the famous MV Plassy here.
The Twelve Hotel in Galway is where we stayed one night with Cooper.
They made us all feel so welcome and lived up to the 5-star service of their pampered pet program. Our nugget was gifted with a ‘doggie bag’ (A toy, treat and poop bags). A pet menu/doggie room service and a dog bed were also provided for his stay. We got ourselves some yummy pizza from one of their restaurants and for breakfast we could bring Cooper down with us and all dine together. We went for a stroll down to a nearby beach in the evening.
Note: Email them in advance to book into their luxury pet-friendly suite!
2 nights in 'Achill Seal Caves'. The host here was super friendly, giving us a map of the area and all of the activities we could do whilst there. They also have mobile homes here to rent if you didn't want to camp.
Croagh Patrick - One of the most climbed mountains in Ireland. I don't think our Cooper would have made it to the top so we headed to the viewpoint.
Keem bay - This beach is by far my no.1 beach in Ireland.
Mullaghmore Head, Co.Sligo - A beautiful walk with views of Donegal Bay and Slieve League in the distance, it's also a famous surfing area.
Achill Island - There are plenty of activities to do in Achill. You can explore the blueway sea kayaking route by venturing in to the caves. You can cycle a popular greenway route or you can learn how to surf at Keel beach. We had our own bikes so we cycled our own route, with Cooper getting a front row seat of the magical scenery in Achill.
1night in 'Lakeside camping' Bundoran. Its a 7min drive into the town and had a beautiful lake.
1 night in 'Lough Eske Castle' (Dog friendly).
1 night in 'Wild Atlantic Camp'. (If you don't have a tent/campervan they also have cool bell tents or wooden pods available).
Murder Hole Beach, Boyeeghter Bay - A secret beach (not so much of a secret anymore) surrounded by cliffs, hills, dunes, and small caves (If your heading here, look this up on google of how to get to it as it's off the road and through a field - no doggo's allowed so we took turns to see this spot)
Slieve League Cliff View - More amazing views of the Atlantic Coast.
Fanad Head Lighthouse - As we had Cooper, we went over a small fence to the side of the lighthouse that looked like many people had done the same and walked out getting a full view of the lighthouse across the cliffs.
Malin Head - The most northerly point of mainland Ireland and the last stop of our unbelievable, unforgettable trip of Ireland's west coast.
Lough Eske Castle was our 2nd dog friendly hotel of the trip.
In this hotel your pooch is not allowed through the main lobby and your allocated a courtyard room.
That being said we did enjoy a night off from traveling and took a trip to the spa. Cooper also enjoyed a night off, pampering himself in his DIY doggy spa whilst drinking some WOOF beer.
I would highly highly recommend this trip to anyone, it was SO much fun with SO much to see and even better we got to bring our little cutie patootie Cooper along with us,
he's here for a good time not a long time!
(To be continued... with Cork!)