Wild Atlantic Way Signature Points
Located all along the route are highlighted 159 'Discovery Points'. These will be distinct sites, large and small, each chosen for their potential to offer visitors an authentic and intimate experience of the natural and wild landscape and seascape. 15 Discovery Points have been identified as being “Signature Discovery Points” – in other words, iconic must-see sights along Ireland’s west coast.
Within easy reach of the Harlequin Hotel are 2 breath-taking Signature Points, Keem Bay and Downpatrick Head as well as 23 Discovery Points.
Just a few miles north of Ballycastle village outside Ballina County Mayo, is the windswept outcrop of Downpatrick Head. This is the perfect place to park up and stretch your legs with an invigorating coastal walk.
Looking out to sea on this magnificent headland as it juts out into the Wild Atlantic Ocean you will spot the small collection of islands called the Staggs of Broadhaven, but you’ll also see a lone sea-stack standing close to the edge of the cliffs. This sea-stack is called Dún Briste (broken fort). Local legend says that when a pagan chieftain refused to convert to Christianity, St Patrick struck the ground with his crozier, splitting a chunk of the headland off into the ocean, with the chieftain on top! The sea stack is beautiful to behold because you can see the layers upon layers of multi-coloured rock strata.
Achill Island is at the edge of Ireland, peering into the vast Atlantic Ocean. Its windswept location has given way to a spectacular topography of vast sea cliffs, bare mountains and sweeping sandy beaches.
Achill boasts five Blue Flag beaches alone – a voluntary eco-label awarded to beaches that tick all the boxes for quality and cleanliness – and one of the best is Keem Strand. The strand lies within Keem Bay, a heavenly secluded valley at the very western tip of the island. During warmer months, the strand is a magnet for beach-goers and, when it gets cooler, it’s ideal for laid-back walks. You'll enjoy the views getting there from the stunning cliff-top road, and there’s a car park close to the beach itself.