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DAY 1 Donegal to Sligo town: 100km (62 miles)

Set off from Donegal town and journey southbound to Mullaghmore with its spectacular headland walk, unspoiled beach and sleepy fishing harbour. Continue on to Yeat’s country and discover why the Nobel Laureate winning poet was inspired by this wildly beautiful landscape. Visit his grave at Drumcliff under the dramatic backdrop of Benbulben Mountain and hire a boat to relive his famous poem ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree.’

DAY 2 Sligo Town to Downpatrick Head: 125km (77 miles)

First stop is Strandhill beach for a morning’s surf with the local surf school. When you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a delicious breakfast in The Beach Bar, an award-winning restaurant in a quaint thatched cottage. From Augris, follow the Wild Atlantic Way to bustling Ballina where the Ballina Salmon Festival is hosted in July. Meander from Downpatrick Head to Killala Bay and on to the Staggs of Broadhaven, a popular spot for deep-sea-diving and kayaking.

 

DAY 3 Downpatrick Head to Belmullet: 169km (105 miles)

Voyage west to the Céide Fields where the first Celtic farmers settled 5000 years ago. From the blanket bog, their stories emerge and are brought to life in the interpretative visitor centre. Drive on to the Erris Peninsula and Belmullet, a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area. In the summer you can visit the tiny island of Inishkea or enjoy sea angling all year round. Finish the day with a pint of the black stuff and the legendary traditional music of McDonnell’s Pub.

 

 

DAY 4 Belmullet to Keem Strand: 133km (82 miles)

Head south to Ballycroy National Park, a hiker’s paradise exploding with an abundant range of flora and fauna. Adventurous souls will love the Wild Nephin wilderness experience, 11,000 hectares that has been designated as Ireland’s first wilderness area and a first for Western Europe. Devote the afternoon to Achill Island and the horse-shoed Keem Bay with its pristine Blue Flag beach. Brave the Atlantic Ocean in your swimsuit for a refreshing end to the day.

 

 

DAY 5 Keem Strand to Westport: 97km (60 miles)

Start your day at Clew Bay, dotted with 365 islands, one for every day of the year. Hop on the ferry and keep your eyes peeled for Dornish island, where John Lennon meditated back in the swinging sixties. The bay was also the local haunt of Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s famous Pirate Queen. Discover her extraordinary story at Westport House and relish a delicious dinner in Westport, arguably Ireland’s friendliest town.

 

 

Route Map