Wild West: Make a trip back in time to the rugged Irish coast

The 1,500-mile coastal route (abbreviated WAW) stretches from County Donegal to Kinsale, County Cork, along the Emerald Isle’s western seaboard.

It takes in some of the most fabulous scenery that Ireland or, for that matter, the world has to offer.

My four-day road trip began in County Clare at the towering Cliffs of Moher as I and my partner escaped the city.

The splendid views of lush paddocks, sparkling water and a stunning blue sky never got tiring as we walked the five-mile stretch.

The cliffs are also home to the largest colony of seabirds on mainland Ireland, so if you’re a nature lover this is a trip you simply cannot afford to miss.

We then headed for nearby Bunratty Castle & Folk Park.

This castle was built in 1425 and is the most complete and authentic medieval structure in Ireland.

As we entered we were greeted by costumed “ladies of the castle” serving a delicious mead (old fashioned name for beer) before listening to the musicians in the great hall.

Meanwhile, The Bunratty Folk Park is a reconstruction of the homes and environment of Ireland in the 19th century.

The main village street comprises charming shops, pubs and houses, furnished as they would have been in Victorian times. Some of them are still inhabited by villagers who gladly demonstrate how life and work was organised in the past.

We were lucky enough to taste some home-made products, including Irish stew made with lamb, potatoes, carrots and onions. History really comes to life here! We then drove south to Killimer and took the ferry across the Shannon to Tarbert, Co Kerry and chilled at the Fels Point Hotel in nearby Tralee.As always in Ireland, we received a warm welcome from everyone from the porter to the girl in the bar. Any trip to Ireland would not be complete without a visit to the Dingle Peninsula at the very west of Europe. Famed for its rugged beauty and cultural heritage, the area has long been a holiday destination.

When reaching the peninsula’s main hub at the colourful fishing village of Dingle, we jumped on a boat to see Fungie the dolphin who regularly escorts the town’s fishing boats to and from port.

Our next stop was the Blasket Centre in nearby Dun Chaoin.

This fascinating heritage centre/museum honours the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953 and tells how tough island life was for the inhabitants.

While we were in the mood for exploring, what better place to visit than the South Pole Inn, at the village of Annascaul?

The area is the birthplace of famous Antarctic explorer Tom Crean who enlisted in the British Navy, aged 15, and was a member of Captain Scott’s team which raced to reach the South Pole.

Upon leaving Annascaul, we took the road south to Killarney and the scenic National Park where we explored the lakes, picturesque castle ruins and easy walking paths.

Next day we drove to the sheltered harbour village of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay and caught the 15-minute ferry to the small island of Ilnacullin. We then continued our non-stop trip to Co Cork and the must-see attraction at Mizen Head Signal Station Lighthouse.

The lighthouse is better known as The Teardrop of Ireland, which for millions of Irish people who emigrated to America was a final glimpse of home and the Emerald Isle.