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Things to do in
South West Ireland

Our most recommended things to do in South West Ireland

Cork: Fastnet Rock Lighthouse and Cape Clear Island Tour

1. Cork: Fastnet Rock Lighthouse and Cape Clear Island Tour

Take the ferry from Baltimore or Schull and cross the beautiful waters of Roaring Water Bay. Arriving at the north harbor on Cape Clear Island, spend some free time exploring this Gaeltacht Island, learning about the island’s culture, and the island life, including old traditions and traditional farming. Discover the island’s ancient standing stones, Napoleonic Tower, Dún an Óir Castle, 12th-century church and visit the memorial on the Island to the 1979 Fastnet Yacht Race Disaster. Spend some time exploring the island and its walking trails, stop at the spectacular lookout points, and spot the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse in the distance. Be sure to enjoy some fresh island produce during lunch at one of the island’s bars and restaurants. After lunch, re-board the ferry and sit back as the experienced captain takes you further into the real Wild Atlantic Way. You might even catch a glimpse of whales and dolphins in the water. As you circumnavigate the tallest and widest rock lighthouse in Ireland and the UK, learn its history and importance from the onboard audio system. Hear about the “Teardrop” of Ireland, the last glimpse of the country that the immigrant ships saw before they headed over the horizon to the New World - America. Once Fastnet Rock has been circled twice (so that all passengers can get the perfect photo), head for home and enjoy the spectacular scenery until reaching the final port.

Baltimore Harbor: Sunset Cruise to Fastnet Rock Lighthouse

2. Baltimore Harbor: Sunset Cruise to Fastnet Rock Lighthouse

Embark on a cruise to the Fastnet Rock lighthouse from Baltimore Harbor. Pass by Sherkin island and circumnavigate the Fastnet Rock. Look for local marine life as you venture into the open ocean aboard the Wave Chieftain, a fully licensed vessel.  Meet at Baltimore pier for a short safety briefing prior to your departure. Venture out of the harbor and snap pictures of the white-painted Baltimore Beacon. Journey along the southwest coast passing Sherkin island and the remains of the Franciscan Friary of Sherkin Abbey.  Sail by Gascanane Sound and Cape Clear as you keep a lookout for whales, dolphins, seals, and aquatic birds. Go around Fastnet Lighthouse and get pictures from every angle. Return to your starting point at Baltimore pier. 

Ireland's North Atlantic Coast 5-Day Tour from Dublin

3. Ireland's North Atlantic Coast 5-Day Tour from Dublin

Day 1: From Dublin, journey north to Belfast, known for its industrial history and tumultuous past. Explore the city's highlights on a short tour covering its triumphs, tragedies, and essence. Afterwards, enjoy lunch and discover the Titanic Quarter, where the famous ship was constructed in 1911. Explore the Titanic museum, board the HMS Caroline, or take a black cab tour. Leaving Belfast, marvel at the breathtaking scenery of the Antrim Coast and Glens, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Continue along winding roads to reach the awe-inspiring Giant's Causeway, where history and myth collide amidst stunning geological formations. Conclude the day in Portrush, a picturesque fishing village where you'll spend the night. Day 2: Go to the walled city of Derry, designated a UK City of Culture in 2013. Enjoy some free time to explore the old city center, and visit one of the many museums or galleries. Then cross the border to the Republic of Ireland, traveling into one of the most remote and unspoilt areas of the country. Explore County Donegal’s dramatic scenery and Gaelic culture. Pass through Glenveagh National Park and the Errigal Mountains, before following the coast through traditional fishing villages. Stop for nature walks along the way, and soak up the local culture before checking into your overnight accommodation in Donegal. Day 3: In the morning, head south along the coast near Donegal into County Sligo, known for its stunning views of the majestic Benbulben mountain. Just outside Sligo Town lies Carrowmore, home to the largest collection of megalithic tombs in Ireland, some dating back over 6000 years. Continuing westward into County Mayo, a region marked by the Great Potato Famine, you'll navigate winding roads through picturesque farmlands, bogs, and open moors, with glimpses of distant hills and the Atlantic coast. Stop at Achill Island to soak in its rugged sea views and tranquil beauty before a short drive to Westport, your base for the next two nights.. Day 4: Today’s itinerary is weather dependent, and your guide will advise the best things to see. Explore the beautiful house and grounds of Kylemore Abbey, or marvel at the wilderness of Connemara National Park. Go to Clifden to see where the first transatlantic flight landed. Other options include the scenic Sky Road and 12 Bens of Connemara. Return to Westport for an evening at leisure, and the chance to sample some local seafood in one of the many excellent restaurants. Day 5: Enjoy a leisurely start to the day, before leaving Westport and going inland through the heart of Connemara. Visit the village of Cong on the shore of Lough Corrib to see where the classic movie “The Quiet Man” was filmed. Explore Cong Abbey, or the Quiet Man Museum, before driving through the Maam Valley to Galway City. Enjoy free time sampling the town's seafood before heading to Kilbeggan Distillery, Ireland's oldest licensed distillery, for a tasting and museum visit. Return to Dublin.

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Frequently asked questions about South West Ireland

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What people are saying about South West Ireland

Overall rating

4.8
(14 reviews)

Exciting experience for sea lovers. The island of Clear Island is interesting even if it is absolutely scarce and poorly organized to welcome tourists. The circular walk (little signposted) which starts from the marina is recommended. Fascinating the lighthouse of Fastnet and its seals. Pay attention to the weather and sea conditions.

Excellent! Boats were clean and as comfy as possible. Staff were all very professional, helpful and informative. Got to see some dolphins which added to the experience and crew took their time for this.

We had the good fortune of a day of good weather in rainy Ireland, and we thoroughly enjoyed the tour of both the island and the trip to the will. Advised

it's a must visit place in Ireland. It's a amazing Engineering experience. and good part of it's it's really value of money. Shouldn't miss at any cost.

The commentary was very good. Fastnet was the best part of the day. The 3 hours or so allowed on Cape Clear Island gave time to see a lot