A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.

Where to stay along the Wild Atlantic Way

From camping to five-star luxury, there’s something to suit every taste, and pocket, all along this beautiful coastal route


It might be camping by the ocean, catching the surf by day before tucking into some local crab claws and a pint that you are after for your summer break. Or you might be dreaming of a luxury escape with fluffy bathrobes and long and lazy lunches with spectacular landscapes and sea views. There are many ways to enjoy the Wild Atlantic Way this summer, with something to suit the holiday you have been yearning for. There is a superb selection of accommodation all along this beautiful coastal route, with everything from glamping to guesthouses, bed and breakfasts to five-star hotels.

If you fancy posh camping on the northern Donegal shores, try Portsalon Luxury Camping. They have five yurts with beautifully finished cosy interiors featuring king-size beds and wood-burning stoves. If you are after a modern retreat, Breac.House on the dramatically beautiful Horn Head, Dunfanaghy, Donegal, is the ideal holiday. This exceptional guest house was designed to be part of the landscape, inside and out, and show off the incredible views of the Atlantic at every point possible. There is even a silent hatch from which you will get your homemade breakfast on a tray every morning to ensure maximum relaxation.

Donegal town is an ideal place to explore the south coast of the county and take an easy day trip into Sligo. The Abbey Hotel is a three-star hotel in the centre of this historic town on the banks of Donegal Bay and offers a range of accommodation to suit every kind of break. There is lots to do in the town itself, with the castle, gift shops, a nearby arts and craft centre, and plenty of good restaurants. The Abbey is renowned for its entertainment and hosts regular concerts with some top Irish country and Irish folk stars.

Five-star luxury haven

If you are after something unique, visit Clare Island’s lighthouse. Located off the coast of Mayo, at the mouth of Clew Bay, this listed building has been transformed into a five-star luxury haven that is a sanctuary from the stresses of modern life. There are spectacular views, naturally, and the ethos here is to make guests feel relaxed from the moment they arrive, starting with freshly made scones and tea or coffee when you check in.

The deluxe Mayo hotel, Mount Falcon Estate, located on the west bank of the River Moy between Foxford and Ballina, is perfect for a romantic getaway – in fact, this sensational Victorian Gothic manor house was originally constructed as a wedding gift. The Falconry Experience at Mount Falcon Estate is ideal for those interested in this ancient tradition.

For an ideal family break this summer, visit Breaffy House Resort, which is in the heart of Co Mayo and a short drive from Castlebar. The resort comprises Breaffy House Hotel and Breaffy Woods Hotel. On-site facilities include crazy golf, two playgrounds, a GAA pitch, a fairy garden, a swimming pool and a paddling pool. Children can also try the Breaffy Breakfast Train, where they are collected by the Kids Club team for breakfast before lots of activities, including arts and crafts and their “Pool Splash”.

If you are keen for some adventure as well as luxury, visit the Ice House Hotel, which sits on the banks of the Moy river in Ballina, Co Mayo. This luxury hotel is known for its excellent food, bubbling hot tubs and relaxing spa. And the hot tub is the perfect way to wind down after a water sports adventure like paddle boarding. This summer, the hotel is offering a package that includes a booking for Rachel’s Irish Adventures, with hiking, tours, water sports and other adventures.

Galway’s islands have long been one of the west coast’s most popular tourist destinations, but for something a little different, and very special, try Inis Meáin Suites on the smallest of the Aran Islands. You get the best of both worlds– the pure, unspoilt, panoramic views and experience of island life, with all the modern luxury you could desire for your accommodation. The food is excellent. For something on the mainland, try family-owned and run Galway Coast cottages. These self-catering cottages are conveniently located close to Barna and Galway city. Each cottage is individual with its own little “quirks” and they have some dog-friendly cottages available.

Family break

Galway’s Clifden Station House Hotel is a fantastic choice for a family break on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is located close to Connemara National Park and within 20 minutes of the hotel you will find Kylemore Abbey and Killary fjord. The hotel also has a spa and leisure centre and offers a variety of family rooms, as well as four-star self-catering apartments. A free kids’ club runs throughout the school holidays and children under 12 stay free (bed and breakfast) when sharing with adults.

In the heart of the Burren, the Wild Honey Inn in Co Clare is the first Michelin-starred pub with rooms in Ireland. Here, you will enjoy all the warmth and craic of a great Irish pub, with some of the finest cooking in the country by chef Aidan McGrath. The best of fresh, local, seasonal ingredients are used in his delicious menu. Relax in this charming Victorian inn before retiring to the beautifully appointed bedrooms.

For a five-star experience, visit Muckross Park Hotel and Spa in the heart of Killarney’s National Park.

Its award-winning Yew Tree restaurant in the original Victorian lounge features a menu full of the best of local Kerry produce. There are a number of packages available throughout the year, including one that includes a boat trip with bubbles for you and your beloved on the Lakes of Killarney.

For seafood lovers, Kinsale is the ideal place to visit and the Blue Haven is a nautical boutique hotel centrally located in this gorgeous seaside town. It is renowned for its excellent food and hospitality, and is a tourist favourite, particularly during the summer. The focus on the menus is fresh, seasonal and local. And if there is lobster on the menu, be sure to order it.

For more, visit wildatlanticway.com/plan-your-trip/where-to-stay