Driving Ireland’s Dramatic West Coast – The Ginger Abroad
Europe, Ireland, Travel

Driving Ireland’s Dramatic West Coast

Ireland would have to be one of the most beautiful countries, showcasing some of the most incredible landscapes from lush green forests to rugged coastlines. I first fell madly in love with Ireland when I was 14 years old because of just how breathtakingly beautiful it was. I remember sitting in the back of a coach driving along the Ring of Kerry and my mind was just completely blank because I was so entranced by what I was seeing that my mind couldn’t even form thoughts. I look back on my first time in Ireland with such fondness and contentment as there is no way that one could visit this small island without feeling peaceful or serene. Coming back to this place that touched me so much when I was a teenager, I was curious to see how Ireland would affect me as a young adult, and it’s safe to say that I couldn’t help but fall in love again, it was just as overwhelmingly gorgeous as I remember it being. Though my first visit we orientated ourselves around the cities and major attractions like Dublin and Cork, this trip I wanted to focus more on Ireland’s west coast, travelling along the sea and seeing some of the sights behind the rolling green hills that Ireland is most famous for.

To say that Irelands coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world is definitely not an understatement, I stood dumbfounded at the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, climbed to the top of the western-most point of Ireland and felt true contentment, and saw some of the finest beaches that this little island has covered in a thin layer of fog that only added to the mystique of the atmosphere. If that isn’t enough to entice you enough to come and visit, then I implore you to visit the legendary Dingle Peninsula.

Situated on the south-west end of Ireland the Dingle Peninsula is a 30 mile (or 47km depending on what side of the world you’re on) stretch of coast that is truly magical all year round. When I first came upon the little town of Dingle I couldn’t have imagined anything more charming in my wildest of dreams, with little multi-coloured buildings that lined the shore with pubs, ice cream stores, and souvenir stores filled with homemade unique trinkets. It was impossible for me to bypass this ridiculously cute town before heading off to uncover what the actual Peninsula had to offer. Driving along the coast line I felt the most peaceful I have ever felt. My mind was clear, my thoughts were pure, and my body at ease. I have never experienced that sort of serenity before, and I am still waiting to find somewhere that will give those sort of emotions again. However, I think that Ireland will always have that power and ability to be the only place that allows me to feel that tranquil. It definitely took me by surprise how calm I felt standing on the edge of the world looking out over the ocean and watching the waves crash beneath me.

Venturing further along the Peninsula away from the town, I first came upon the Slea Head Drive. This was exactly what I imagined those rural Irish country roads to be like. Windy and narrow, this road was a surprise at every turn, and I began taking guesses with myself as to what I would come across around each new bend. I think one of my favourite surprises was Coumeenole Beach, this was the epitome of the rugged, dramatic west coast that I was looking for. I could not have stumbled upon anything better, it was absolutely incredible, from the rolling mists to the sun just peeking through the clouds shining down on the water. With little, quaint cottages dotted randomly along the patches of land that cover the cliffs above the beach, Coumeenole Beach was postcard perfect and I could not have wished for a more beautiful surprise location.

On I went until I reached the western-most point of mainland Ireland and again was shocked at how otherworldly this place is, it’s no wonder that they film Star Wars here, you really feel as if you have been transported to a whole other planet full of mythical creatures and tales as old as time. As I climbed to the top of the hill and looked out upon the Atlantic Ocean I felt as free and open minded as I had ever felt and I couldn’t help but smile and laugh as surely this kind of beauty couldn’t really exist? Behind me fields of lush green hills, that had maintained their greenery through autumn and into the winter, before me the deep blue ocean with its white foaming waves rolling into one another, and everywhere I looked there was something even more beautiful than the sight before.

The Dingle Peninsula along Irelands west coast changed my life and opened my eyes to what is some of the most incredible scenery that I have ever seen. It is the place that I learnt what serenity truly meant. This short trip was something straight out of my dreams and I will never forget how the effect of nature changed the way I feel contentment and pure serenity. It was a magical time and place, and I highly encourage anyone who wants to experience this kind of peacefulness to head straight to the dramatic west coast of Ireland, and especially the Dingle region. Who knows maybe I’ll see you there, I will definitely be back there again soon!

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