Be Our Guest 2018

30 Be Our Guest BUCKLE UP  The Wild Atlantic Way has become Ireland’s most famous route for an unparalleled scenic drive. However, not everyone has the flexibility to complete the full 2,500km route in one trip. There are a number of shorter driving or cycle routes which can be tried without having to over exert the distance you travel. You'll still feel exhilarated from these routes, you simply won't need to book new accommodation every night. Copper Coast – Dungarvan to Tramore, Waterford (166km)  This route is perfect for both driving and cycling and many opt to complete the journey over 2 or more days so they can really take time to absorb the beauty of the route. The trip will take in the entire Copper Coast European Geopark where you will get the chance to visit the iconic Hook Head Peninsula and Lighthouse. Sheep’s Head Peninsula, Bantry – Durrus, Cork (40km/70km)  There are two options for the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, a shorter journey which will take you in a loop of Sheep’s Head Peninsula and then finishing up in Durrus or you can explore further and drive right to the edge of the peninsula making your way back to Bantry via Durrus. At only 40km, the shorter journey can be comfortably done in an afternoon with time for plenty of pit-stops along the way while an additional two hours may be needed for the full experience. Ring of Kerry, Kerry (179km)  This is one the most common routes for walkers, cyclists and drivers in the whole country. There are few who visit the region without taking in some part of the drive. It is difficult to pick one highlight on this trip, for some it will be the stretch along Kenmare Bay, sleepy villages like Sneem, Waterville and Cahersiveen or driving through Killarney National Park. Comeragh Mountain Loop, Waterford/Tipperary (230km)  The loop of the Comeragh Mountain may not be as straight forward as some of the other drives on the list so a map or GPS is advised. The loop can begin and end in the seaside town of Dungarvin but along your journey you will pass Mahon Bridge where there’s a chance to take in Mahon Falls if you have your walking shoes, further on the Nire Valley will provide views of the Comeragh Mountains and from there you can head deeper inland and take in the history of towns like Clonmel, Cashel and Cahir. As you head back south towards Dungarvin, The Vee will offer up some breath-taking panoramic views of Bay Lough and will give a challenging climb for cyclists. Dingle Peninsula, Kerry (135km)  The Dingle Peninsula is one of the most scenic drives in Ireland and would easily rival any route around the world. This drive, on Ireland’s most westerly point, will involve high mountain passes, coastal views and endless stretches of beaches. The route was used by BBC show Top Gear in 2016 with presenter Chris Evans dubbing it the best road he’s ever driven, and it’s not surprising why. Some of the top highlights include views of The Blasket Islands, Inch Beach, the villages of Ventry and Annascaul (famed for being the home of explorer Tom Crean) and of course the magical town of Dingle. The peninsula can be tackled in a number of ways but beginning from Tralee and going in a figure 8 direction is suggested for maximum enjoyment.