These are some of the best kept secrets as you travel along the Wild Atlantic Way at night.
The Dingle Peninsula is a special place to start your trip with unique experiences like Tinteán Ceoil in Cloghane, at the foot of Mount Brandon. This traditional fireside session takes place in a replica Irish cottage kitchen every Monday from 7.30pm. If you've ever sat and listened to stories about life in Kerry from your parents, grandparents or their peers, this is a proper, authentic trip back in time. It’s a spellbinding experience and you don’t need to book in advance.
Staying in Kerry, you won’t find a better way to view the stars than the International Dark Sky Reserve on the Skellig coast. On a clear night you’ll be able to see constellations and planets with a clarity that just doesn’t exist in Ireland’s busy towns and cities. The sound of gently lapping waves nearby makes the Dark Sky tour a quiet, yet powerful, experience.
Join Instructor Jim Kennedy as he leads groups out on the lake at Lough Hyne in West Cork for a paddle under the stars. The lake is the only inland saltwater lake in Europe and is magical at night as you gently kayak or stand-up paddleboard on still waters. It’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels. You’ll look forward to this all day, particularly if you love spending time in nature.
It’s not often you get to witness a world-renowned pianist perform in the warmth of his own home, but that’s what you’ll find when you visit David Syme and his wife Suzanne. David, who has played for former US President Bill Clinton and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, lives close to the picturesque seaside town of Castletownbere. A visit to his home, where he plays both classical and popular favourites, is a great finish to a day in beautiful, rugged West Cork. Be sure to book your place in advance as this unique event fills up quickly.
A restaurant synonymous with extraordinary local food since it opened its doors in Galway City, Aniar - led by chef patron JP McMahon - uses produce exclusively from the west of Ireland. Try the tasting menu and enjoy a dining experience you’ll talk about long after you leave. Aniar also runs a boutique cookery school with one-day workshops to do during your short break.
The drive north to Donegal is worth the stunning sunset over the Bloody Foreland, overlooking the sandy beaches of Gweedore. Stop for a bite to eat or stay for a short break in Teac Jack, in Glassagh just outside Gweedore, where the best of the local Gaeltacht culture is celebrated through song, céilí dancing, Irish lessons and delicious local food. With beautiful views of the islands of Gola, Inis Meain and Inis Oirthir, this marks the perfect end to a special trip.
Take the time to enjoy your visit to the Wild Atlantic Way by day and after dark – there’s many more surprises to discover during your short stay in the west.