Ring of Kerry
This 179km circuit of the Iveragh (pronounced eev-raa) Peninsula winds past pristine beaches, medieval ruins, mountains and loughs, with ever-changing views of the island-dotted Atlantic, particularly between Waterville and Caherdaniel in the peninsula's spectacular southwest.
The Mourne Mountains dominate the horizon as you head south from Belfast towards Newcastle. This is one of the most beautiful corners of Northern Ireland, with a distinctive landscape of grey granite, yellow gorse and whitewashed cottages, the lower slopes of the hills latticed with a neat patchwork of drystone walls cobbled together from huge, rounded granite boulders.
The name Connemara (Conamara) translates as 'Inlets of the Sea' and the roads along the peninsula's filigreed coast bear this out as they wind around the small bays and coves of this breathtaking stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way. From Galway city, a slow coastal route passes some stunning hidden beaches and seaside hamlets.
Stretching across northern Clare, the rocky, windswept Burren region is a unique striated lunar-like landscape of barren grey limestone that was shaped beneath ancient seas, then forced high and dry by a great geological cataclysm. It covers 250 sq km of exposed limestone, and 560 sq km in total.
As you leave Dublin and cross into Wicklow, the landscape changes dramatically. From Rathfarnham, still within the city limits, the Military Rd begins a 40km southward journey along the spine of the Wicklow Mountains, crossing vast sweeps of gorse-, bracken- and heather-clad moors, bogs and hills, dotted with small corrie lakes.
The Skellig Islands (Oileáin na Scealaga) are impervious to the pounding Atlantic. George Bernard Shaw described Skellig Michael as the most fantastic and impossible rock in the world. Its otherworldly landscape made it a perfect double as Luke Skywalker's Jedi temple in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.