How to get to the Wild Atlantic Way

[We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more information go to Privacy Policy & Disclosure.]

How to get to the Wild Atlantic Way?

How to get to the Wild Atlantic Way? Where you start your WAW journey and which direction you go in, North or South, depends on where you are coming from, and hence which airport or ferry port you are arriving at.

So how do you get to the Wild Atlantic Way? Well, realistically there are only a couple of ways to arrive on the Island of Ireland – by plane or by boat.

Go to Ireland by Plane: Flying to Ireland

There are a number of airports in Ireland, not all of which are near the Wild Atlantic Way.

But which destination you fly to depends on your departure point and which part of the Wild Atlantic Way you wish to explore.

Dublin airport, for example, is a 3-hour motorway drive from the Wild Atlantic Way and really not the ideal place from which to start your journey. It is also one of the only airports in Europe without a train connection to the city.

But if you want to visit Dublin anyway, then it would be the logical place to start and finish. Dublin also has many more flights from the USA and elsewhere than other Irish airports.

flights to dublin, flying to ireland, map of the wild atlantic way, map wild atlantic way, wild atlantic way time, ireland wild atlantic way map, west coast of ireland road trip, wild atlantic way map, wild atlantic way route, the wild atlantic way map
Flying into Dublin

Those of us who live in the West of Ireland think that you are probably better off avoiding the expense of Dublin these days. We would recommend travelling straight to the WAW if you can, especially if that is your end destination. But this will depend on where you are flying from and to.

It may be more economical to get a connecting flight to Donegal from Dublin, or to one of the other regional airports from the UK, for example. You may find that car hire is also more favourable.

Flying Options

Although flight paths are changing rapidly these days, the flight options when I wrote this article were as follows:

Arrival IrelandDepartures from and toNotes
Cork Airport (ORK)Internal, UK, EuropeSouth of Cork
Kerry Airport (KIR)Internal, UK, EuropeClose to Killarney
Shannon Airport (SNN)Internal, USA (Boston), UK, EuropeClose to Limerick City
Galway Airport (GWY)ClosedClosed for commercial flights
Connemara AirportAran IslandsOnly local flights
Ireland West Airport Knock (NOC)UK, EuropeAbout 1 hr drive to Westport
Donegal Airport (CFN)DublinOn the WAW
Derry Airport (LDY)UK, MallorcaIn the UK, close to start of WAW
Belfast City Airport (BHD)UK, Mallorca, Italy1,30 -1,45 hr drive to Muff (start/end of WAW)
Belfast International Airport (BFS)USA (Orlando), UK, Europe1,20-1,40 hr drive to Muff (start/end of WAW)
Dublin (DUB)USA (several), UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa2,3 hr drive to Sligo, 2,15 hr drive to Galway
List of Airports in Ireland

From the airport to Wild Atlantic Way

So if arriving in Dublin I would be tempted to hire a car and drive straight to Galway. I would then head North or South from there on the WAW, depending on which areas I would want to see first.

If arriving in Belfast the logical route is to follow the Causeway Coastal Route to tie up with the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal and then work South.

From Derry or Donegal airports, I would head down South along the WAW.

From Knock, I would travel to Westport then turn North or South.

And for the Southern airports, you are pretty much already on the Wild Atlantic Way. Just choose a direction of travel!

Why not try using this amazing App below to find suitable flights to Ireland?

Going to Ireland by Boat: Ferries to Ireland

Another way to come to Ireland is of course by ferry. The following table shows a summary of the ferry journeys you can take to get to the Emerald Isle.

The advantage of taking a ferry is that you can bring your own wheeled transport with you of course (car/bike/camper etc). But often the journey times will be longer than flying.

Larne Port, wild atlantic way route google maps, wild atlantic way google maps, flight paths ireland, waw ireland, belfast ferry to uk, cork ferries to uk, cork to england ferry, cork to wales ferry, dingle ferry, ferry from ireland to wales, ferry ports in ireland, ireland to wales ferry
Larne Port

Obviously, the duration depends on the crossing. Most of the journeys are from the UK, but now that the UK has left the EU there are some direct ferries opening up to the continent.

The new DFDS line from Rosslare to Dunkirk for example. Hopefully, the number of these routes will increase as time goes on.

Ferry Lines to Ireland

Arrival IrelandDepartures from and toFerry Company
Belfast, NICairnryan, ScotlandStena Line
Larne, NICairnryan, ScotlandP&O
Belfast, NILiverpool, UK, IOMStena Line / Steamboat
RosslareCherbourg, FranceStena Line / Brittany Ferries
RosslareFishguard, WalesStena Line
Rosslare Pembroke, WalesIrish Ferries
RosslareDunkirk, FranceDFDS
RosslareBilbao, SpainBrittany Ferries
DublinHolyhead, WalesStena Line / Irish Ferries
Dublin Cherbourg, FranceIrish Ferries
DublinLiverpool, UKP&O
CorkRoscoff, FranceBrittany Ferries

As you can see from the map below, all the ports are on the East Coast of Ireland so whichever ferry you take you will have a bit of a drive to get to the Wild Atlantic Way, unless you arrive in Cork.

So follow the tips given above. And if you arrive in Rosslare then just head on over to Kinsale to start your WAW journey.

Rest assured, it will be worth it!

If you want to book a ferry try using the app below :

Book your ferry here:

So once you have booked your trip to get here, now you can book your travel method and accommodation.

Maybe these companies can help you out with your bookings?

Book Car or Bike Hire

Care Hire

Motorcycle or bike hire

Book Accommodation on the Wild Atlantic Way

Accommodation – just fill in the location and your dates:

Click here for the ROUTE MAPS.

Last Updated on October 23, 2023 by Gav

waw logo new

Disclaimer: may participate in various affiliate programs. This means that we may get paid if you click on links that lead you to other sites selling goods or services.