Ambitions for the route are high with the intention that it will rival Australia’s Great Ocean Road, South Africa’s Garden Route, California’s LA to San Francisco coastal route and various coastal routes in Norway.
The purpose of the marketing exercise (it’s not expected that any new roads will be built) is to develop a long-distance driving route that will achieve greater visibility for the west coast of Ireland in overseas tourist markets. Opening up and linking the destinations in such a way will, it is hoped, develop the tourism sector in areas where there are precious few other economic drivers.
The project is currently in the midst of a consultation phase. This 2 minute video gives an overview:
The Wild Atlantic Way has been broadly well received so far, although publicity to date has been scant.
The trial project of The Wild Atlantic Way in Connemara announced earlier this summer was funded to the tune of €1.8 million of government money but, with Irish citizens bracing themselves for another budget in early December, it’s not sure where the funding will come from for the remaining investments proposed.
Other downers to the project include fierce local debates about the precise route and whether a speedier and possibly newer road is preferred to a more scennic one. There discussion of the route has also opened up an already heated debate in Donegal about wind turbines and where they can be situated.
The current public consultation exercise includes a social media campaign as well a face to face roadshow culminating in an event in Letterkenny on Wednesday 5 December.
The public consultation exercise closes on Friday 14 December and responses should be made in writing to Wild Atlantic Way Project, Fáilte Ireland, 88-95 Amiens Street, Dublin 1 or can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.