A stranger to the outdoors and caught up in the hustle and bustle of weekday life? It’s time to stop, take note and consider just how easy it is to get away from your desk come 5PM on Friday. It will work wonders for you…
In partnership with Berghaus and Tourism Ireland, Sarah Rodgers was joined by fellow adventurer Callum Thompson, who took off to Ireland for a weekend of exploring The Wild Atlantic Way – to see what kind of magic they could create in a few days away!
Sarah tells us more about the trip below.
Bucket List No Brainer
Ireland had been a bucket list destination of mine for a while – with its ever-appealing coastlines and rugged rock formations – I knew I had to get myself there as soon as I could. So, when the opportunity arose to finally go, it was an absolute no brainer!
Getting there was pretty simple…one quick and easy plane ride later and we were in the most beautiful area of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way. Callum and I couldn’t resist our first destination being the famous Cliffs of Moher; it’s an incredible view that takes your breath away, but more than anything we were here for the hidden gems.
Saturday Sea Stacks
On our first full day, we set off early to photograph sunrise at a spot that Callum found on Instagram – Dun Briste Sea Stack. It did not disappoint. With incredible coastlines, crashing waves and a gigantic stack; it was no wonder that this place was part of the Wild Atlantic Way. You can find the stack off the coast of Milltown, Co. Mayo.
With the sunrise beaming through, the whole morning was atmospheric, definitely one to remember.
With the stack ticked off the list early, we made our way to Ballycroy National Park for our next adventure, hiking around the Letterkeen Loop.
As we arrived, we spotted a lovely little bothy that I fell in love with. Inside; a beautiful map that showed us the local area, an old fireplace and a really warm feel. After admiring the bothy, we set off on our walk. The whole way had beautiful views; trees looming over, rolling hills and a winding river that we followed along the way. Of course, no walk is complete without midges and a good bit of bog. That’s because a recent downfall had places extra boggy, and the midges were out to get us! Callum’s bright yellow jacket acted as a beacon for the midges which worked well for me!
We didn’t realise just how much West Ireland had to offer. After 2 picturesque locations, the next was Achill Island.
Achill Island Awaits
We went to Achill Island completely blindsided, not knowing what to expect, and we were blown away. After a quick lunch at the Bayside Bistro, indulging in a lovely fish and chips we headed toward Keem Bay.
Keem Bay was the hidden gem we were looking for, completely secluded and quiet. We drove down a windy road to get to the bottom, adding to the surrealism of the coastal cliffs. The water was a turquoise blue with white sand beaches that made you think you were on holiday in the tropics. Being a dog friendly beach, we were surrounded by lovely pups running about and playing in the water with their kind owners stopping to have a chat.
Our final destination of the day was Keel Beach. The cliffs towering over and feeling like they came out of nowhere. It was nearing sunset, and with a subtle reflection in the sand, Callum and I were in awe of how beautiful our surroundings were.
We started the next day a little later, enjoying a buffet breakfast at the hotel preparing us for the adventure ahead. A cold start, but our Berghaus layers kept us warm until the car heated up and we made our journey to the next destination.
Amongst the Lough Easkey Ox Mountains was a 6km walk around a lake that was both serene and calming. With sheep surrounding us, we couldn’t help but feel truly immersed in the Irish wilderness as we walked around.
We made our way towards Crockets, where we would be having lunch for the day. Steeped in culture, there was live Irish music playing, filling the whole town with a vibrant energy that could only make one happy. After having yet another incredible seafood dish at Crockets Quay Bar we made a point to walk around and take it all in. With boats in the harbour, fairy lights all around with the music playing, it felt like we were in a scene of the happiest movie.
The versatility of West Ireland is pretty desirable. It’s along the West Coast you are wowed with panoramic views from atop with the coastlines most dramatic cliff edges!
We loved it so much. So much so, we decided to finish our weekend back at Keel Bay. This time the weather had turned, so it was time to put on our Berghaus waterproofs to keep dry! The rain and wind had brought out the kite surfers and we enjoyed watching them ride the waves as the rain fell down on us. It was amazing to see just how many people were still around despite the weather!
Leaving the island we decided to stop at McLoughlin’s Bar as there was live music and we were intrigued by the beautiful décor. We were treated to some Irish songs and local ciders and it was the most relaxing way to end the trip. Authentic!
We all need the chance to escape. To forget about our to-do-lists, chores and pressures at work. To live in the moment, explore and feel alive. Moments to do this are vital in our demanding, fast paced, modern lives.
As a must, you need to ditch the working week and head to the West of Ireland. Make sure these are the only things on your to-do list that weekend:
- Dun Briste Sea Stack
- Ballycroy National Park
- Achill Island
- Keem bay
It’s safe to say we will both be back soon!
What kit to wear:
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