Explore the Island of Ireland

Journey along Ireland’s scenic drives through the lens and travel journal of photographer Finn Beales. From breathtaking landscapes and mystical castles to vibrant cosmopolitan cities, a visit to the Emerald Isle is the vacation of a lifetime.

Finn’s epic road trip across the Island of Ireland will inspire you to #LoveIreland.

Photographer, Finn Beales

Finn Beales

Finn Beales is an award-winning photographer and director based in the Black Mountains of Wales. Well known for his photography on Instagram he also shoots travel, lifestyle and commercial commissions for a variety of global brands who are attracted by his cinematic style and the narrative he weaves throughout his work.


Discover Ireland

When you think about Ireland, the first thing that usually comes to mind is its beautifully captivating landscapes. You can find everything from rugged mountain ranges which dominate the skyline, to dramatic cliff faces and underground caves, to sandy beaches that fringe the island’s pure shores.

While the Emerald Isle is well known for its 40 shades of green, the island of Ireland is also home to vibrant cosmopolitan cities like Dublin and Belfast which offer limitless opportunities to indulge in the flourishing food scene as well as immerse yourself in the island’s rich history and culture.

A big part of Ireland’s appeal is that it is compact. Within minutes, you can transport yourself from a lively city center to one of the many charming villages which dot the stunning coastline. The best way to explore the coast is to follow one of the well-established coastal routes.

The Causeway Coastal Route is one of the world’s great road trips. Hugging the coast from Belfast Lough in County Antrim to Lough Foyle in County Londonderry, the Causeway Coastal Route is a 120 mile journey of natural wonders and majestic beauty. The newest adventure along the coastal route is The Gobbins, this exhilarating cliff-face path and massive engineering achievement is truly a unique experience along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.

At 1,500 miles, the Wild Atlantic Way is the longest defined coastal touring route in the world and stretches from Inishowen in County Donegal all the way to Kinsale, just 18 miles to the south of Cork City. Wherever you travel along the Wild Atlantic Way you’ll find magic, adventure, history and beauty in abundance. From picturesque towns to spectacular wonders, taking to the road on the island of Ireland reveals surprises at every turn.

If you’re looking for an exciting side trip, then we can't forget the granite peaks and crystalline lakes of the Mourne Mountains. In fact, it’s believed that these mountains inspired CS Lewis to create the magical land of Narnia.

It's no wonder the island is so frequently the source of artistic inspiration.

Forty shades of green? For sure, but there’s a lot more to explore…


Causeway Coastal Route

The stunning landscapes of Northern Ireland inspire classic scenes from Game of Thrones and served as the green for champions in the 2015 Irish Open. Travel with Finn from Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast city and explore the roaring waves of the North Atlantic along the Causeway Coast.

Causeway Coastal Route

Finn's Travel Log: Belfast

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I arrived in Belfast, checked into the perfectly situated Ten Square Hotel, close to City Hall and headed straight up to Cave Hill. Starting at Belfast Castle, I wound my way up to the summit, the view over the city slowly revealing itself. The trail is circular, and after a brief rest at the top headed down the opposite side, dropping into meadows and wooded copses sheltering me from the Westerly winds.

Around Commercial Court, the unique murals of the famous faces of Gerry Adams, Bono, Patrick Moore and Sinead O’Conner, stare down from the walls along the passageway and out into the open courtyard. At St Anne’s Cathedral, mosaic artwork depicting The Creation gleam down from high, arched domes in sparkling gold and emerald blue. From there it was a short drive to Belfast’s epic Titanic Belfast Visitor Experience and The Crum, Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast’s newly opened gaol museum.

I found a friendly bistro in the center of town for dinner and afterwards strolled over to The Crown for a pint of Guinness. This place is a must when in Belfast. One of the most iconic pubs in the city. I tucked into one of the wooden booths, where beautiful stained glass windows and high-backed seats lull you into a timeless cocoon of friendly banter mixed with everyday city life.


Causeway Coastal Route

Finn's Travel Log: The Causeway Coastline

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Spent the day walking and photographing the spectacular Causeway Coastline. Stormy weather made for heaving seas and crashing surf. Reminded me of passages made from Wales to Ireland on my Dad’s sailboat as a kid; often through severe weather. The Latin inscription on the outside of the Mussenden Temple (perched high on the cliffs near Castlerock) made me smile:- 'Tis pleasant, safely to behold from shore the troubled sailor, and hear the tempests roar’. Now editing pictures by a flickering peat fire in the Bushmills Inn, sipping whiskey by the same name, listening to the howling wind outside. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day.


Causeway Coastal Route

Finn's Travel Log: Across the Northern Countryside

January 28th, 2015

On to the inland waterways of Fermanagh where we explored fairy-tale castles and messed about on boats. Later, after a drive to the Mourne Mountains, we walked the endless trails through and forests that decorate their flanks. Reminded me of Yosemite National Park in the US... fresh, crisp air, cool mountain streams, the sweet scent of pine trees. It's a beautiful place.


Wild Atlantic Way

From the hustle, bustle and history of Ireland’s city centers, to the dramatic landscapes and stunning coastlines, there has never been a better time to jump into Ireland.


Wild Atlantic Way

Finn's Travel Log: Sligo

I headed for the West Coast, passing through Dungannon, Enniskillen to Sligo, via Mullaghmore Head. This remote northerly stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way is renowned for some of the biggest surf breaks in the world but the storm force winds lashing the coastline on my visit allowed for only the hardiest of seagulls to brave the spray. I stopped towards sunset and captured some beautiful moments of sunshine and shadows falling from a cliff-top castle, before I headed south to a small seaside town called Strandhill and sank deep into a ‘seaweed’ bath at the Voya spa.


Wild Atlantic Way

Finn's Travel Log: Mayo

I left Augharis Head for Down Patrick Head, another epic surfing spot along the Wild Atlantic Way. On arrival it took all my strength to open the car doors. 35ft waves were berating the rocky shore, sending spray high over the cliffs above. It was spectacular and the sea felt super-charged. I headed to Ballina, the wonderfully named Bogadoon and then Achill Island. The Wild Atlantic Way living up to its name with spectacular views and massive seas. I took a walk across the sandy beach and a relatively sheltered bay, backed with high hills and cliffs. Between here and Castlebar is Atlantic Drive where the road hugs the shoreline, I was rewarded with spectacular scenery as the sun began to set.

Leaving the wild coastline behind, I arrived in Westport and headed straight for The Cobblers Bar on the Octagon near the War Memorial and old Theatre. My hotel, the Wyatt, adjoined the bar. Friendly and welcoming. They recommended Matt Malloy’s for the evening; an authentic Irish music bar just across town. I was rewarded with a long night of music, singing, dancing, limericks and first rate Guinness. A proper Irish session, which left me beaming from the inside out!


Wild Atlantic Way

Finn's Travel Log: Galway & Clare

A stroll around Westport to start the day. A picturesque town, built around the Carrowbeg river with tree lined avenues and lots of independent shops. I stopped to view Croagh Patrick as I pulled away. A high, snow covered mountain and the site of an annual pilgrimage with up to 25,000 people heading for a small chapel balanced on the summit. From here my tour of Co. Mayo continued. I left Croagh Patrick for the Doolough Pass –a stunning road that winds around a lake, cutting through the mountains with breath-taking scenery. Sticking to the Wild Atlantic Way I followed the truly beautiful Lough areas of Mask and Corrib, and onto the N59 around Connemara National Park. I stopped at Clew Bay and then through Galway to Kinvara, right across The Burren Protected Area to the Cliffs of Moher. It was an epic journey, with so many beautiful places, but little time to stop. I arrived at the majestic Cliffs of Moher as the sun began to sink into the Atlantic… jaw dropping and a breathtakingly fitting end to my road trip.

The 1,500 miles of the Wild Atlantic Way is best experienced at a slow pace and in pieces as Finn did. Experience the roadtrip of a lifetime exploring the coast of Ireland county by county and you are sure to start an adventure you’ll never want to end. As you stop along the way, be sure to share your stunning photos with the hashtag #LoveIreland to be featured on the @TourismIreland Instagram/Twitter account!


Follow Finn’s Journey

Experience the beauty of Ireland through a new lens. Whether you are planning a trip to visit one Irish city or an epic road trip along Ireland’s coastal routes, Finn’s photo journal is sure to inspire. Click the hotspots along the green route to see what else awaits you along the Wild Atlantic Way!

Giants Causeway to Belfast: 111 miles, 2 hours and 43 minutes driving Read more
Around Belfast: 20 Miles, 46 minutes driving Read more
Belfast City to Fermanagh, Co. Enniskillen: 131 miles, 2 hours and 43 minutes driving Read more
Fermanagh, Co. Enniskillen to Sligo, Co. Sligo: 58 miles, 1 hour and 29 minutes driving Read more
Sligo, Co. Sligo to Ballina, Co. Mayo: 58 miles, 1 hour and 29 minutes driving Read more
Ballina, Co. Mayo to Galway City: 78 miles, 1 hour and 45 minutes driving Read more
Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare to Dingle, Co. Kerry: 131 miles, 2 hours and 59 minutes driving Read more
Dingle to Kinsale, Co. Cork: 86 miles, 2 hours and 15 minutes driving Read more
Galway City to Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare: 50 miles, 1 hour and 24 minutes driving Read more