Scotland North Coast 500 is one of the world’s iconic road trips. Certainly in Scotland, there’s not much that comes close to the breathtaking route along the rugged, rocky coastlines. For the budding Scottish road trip enthusiast who conquered the best of what Scotland has to offer, you might not have been aware of the untapped trove of incredible driving routes a stone’s throw across the Irish Sea.
Some of Ireland’s drives feature all the charm, scenery and length to rival the famed North Coast 500 in Scotland. From sea-soaked coastal meanders to lush green landscapes, we’ve compiled the great Irish road trips you need to check out.
Wild Atlantic Ways: Ireland’s West Coast Marvels
Stretching along the western coastline, the Wild Atlantic Way is a weaving route that really showcases the rugged beauty of Ireland’s Atlantic coast. With cliffs, beaches, and charming villages dotted along the way, this drive is as much about pulling over and just taking in sights and scenes as much as enjoying the drive. Don’t forget to explore the Cliffs of Moher, one of the highlights of this route.
The Ring of Kerry is another truly iconic, classic Irish drive that loops around the Iveragh Peninsula. As you navigate this one, you’ll encounter sweeping landscapes, ever more charming villages, and some ancient, historic sites incredibly preserved. From the serene Lakes of Killarney to the majestic Muckross House, the Ring of Kerry offers a diverse range of things to see as you progress.
For those seeking tranquillity and a less challenging drive overall, the Connemara Loop is an ideal choice. Nestled in the west of Ireland, this route heads through the Connemara National Park, where mountains, lakes, and bogs create a unique, almost eerie landscape well worth witnessing. We recommend booking tickets for Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful manor on the water, and one of the most impressive in Ireland’s quiet countryside.
The Causeway Coast: Northern Ireland’s Gem
While the North Coast 500 is renowned in Scotland, Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route is possibly its Irish counterpart. Starting out in the bustling city of Belfast, this drive guides you along the stunning Antrim Coast, famed for its displays of the very best Ireland’s countryside has to offer. You’ll see the famed Giant’s Causeway, a natural wonder of basalt columns, and discover the wild coastlines of Ireland are every bit as untamed and raw as Scotland’s own.
Extended Stays and Extenuating Circumstances
If your road trip through Ireland sparks a desire for an extended stay, perhaps to work and fund further travels, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, make sure you have adequate navigation especially if you’re planning on camping anywhere remote. You’ll also need to take some legal considerations into account. While visitors are entitled to stay for a few months without a visa, those planning a more prolonged stay or intending to work should consult immigration solicitors in Ireland.
They can guide you through the process of extending your stay for medium or longer terms, especially if you plan to take employment or make significant investments like a property purchase during your time in Ireland. Whether it’s immersing yourself in the local culture or seizing employment opportunities, a bit of planning and consultation is recommended to make your road trip adventure as smooth as possible.
Ireland’s scenic drives centre on bold landscapes and an untouched natural world. These experiences really can rival the North Coast 500, with their own unique Irish charm. Soak in the dramatic cliffs of the Wild Atlantic Way or wander through the ethereal beauty of the Connemara Loop, every route mentioned promises a memorable road trip.