12 Feb AA Roadwatch’s Guide to Valentine’s Day Coastal Drives
Words by Doireann Garrihy
It’s no secret that Ireland has some of the most fantastic coastal scenes in the world. Being a small island nation, few of us are much longer than two hours away from the breath taking views that our coastlines have to offer. Frankly, we are spoiled for choice!
When it comes to leisurely driving, Sundays have a reputation for being the most popular day to get out and about. This Valentine’s Day, AA Roadwatch’s Doireann Garrihy takes you through some of the most romantic routes our country has to offer. Who knows, you might find the perfect backdrop to pop the question!
The Burren Beauty
This 68km route gives a truly unique perspective of the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay. The drive takes in Kilfenora, Lisdoonvarna, Fanore, Black Head and Ballyvaughan, eventually looping back to Kilfenora through Carran. There are a number of safe places to park along the route to take in the fresh air and amazing landscape. Look out for the little lighthouse below the road when driving around Black Head, not to mention the Aran Islands and the distant hills of Connemara across the bay. With the Cliffs of Moher just a stone’s throw away, this romantic route is a must. If you’re coming from Galway, drive along the N67 and join the coast road at Ballyvaughan. For those travelling from Limerick, take the M18 Limerick/Galway Rd northbound and exit at J12 Killow, take the N85 Ennis/Lahinch Rd. When you get to Ennistymon, turn off for Kilfenora (R481).
West Coast Wonders
The Wild Atlantic Way stretches along the Atlantic coast from Donegal right through to West Cork. You won’t cover all 2500km and nine counties on Sunday but even a small section of this beautiful stretch is enough to trigger the romance. One of these winding and wonderful routes stretches from Sligo to Galway taking in Mullaghmore Head, Downpatrick Head and Achill Island. This 643km drive takes in Ireland’s largest island, Achill Island which boasts rugged sea cliffs, unspoilt mountains and sweeping, sandy beaches. If you and your partner are into the active lifestyle, why not take an hour or two to experience the water sport activities the island has to offer?
Exquisite East Coast
This east coastal drive stretches over 30km and stops at the picturesque towns of Greystones and Bray. You can take a break in Greystones for beautiful cliff walks, a spot of boutique shopping and fine dining while Bray is a bustling town with attractions including bowling, an arts centre and an aquarium. If you’re travelling to Greystones for a day out, the town is home to two sweeping beaches, north and south, but the real gem is nestled between them. Ladies’ Cove offers a relaxing and picturesque beach walk at low tide. Afterwards, pop up to The Happy Pear or Cafe Grey for a well-deserved bite to eat.