How to travel to Ireland’s west coast on a budget? The key to making the most of your time in Ireland without spending a lot of money is to avoid touristy things and do as much free stuff as you can.
There are many things to keep you busy on the west coast of Ireland and you won’t have to pay for anything except food, lodging, and transportation – and there are bargains to be had there too!
The scenery is amazing. We flew into the airport in Shannon and drove north up the island’s west coast from Galway to Donegal.
We must have stopped every 30 minutes to get out of the car and walk around.
The scenery is absolutely stunning and you can spend an entire day just walking around and looking at the cliffs, the beautiful rolling hills, and the thatched-roof cottages that line the west coast.
For a great meal, stop at Monk’s Bar and Restaurant.
For a few Euros, you can get a hearty bowl of superb seafood chowder, Irish soda bread, and a pint of Guinness.
When we say superb seafood chowder we mean it was so thick with clams, salmon, cod, and shrimp that nearly every day we’d stop in small pubs and order seafood chowder trying to top the bowl we’d had at Monk’s but were never able to find its equal.
Use bed and breakfasts instead of hotels. In Donegal, there is a great bed and breakfast called Ardeevin, owned by Sean McGinty.
It’s quiet and out of the way and very beautiful.
We were actually awakened every day by the morning cries of the lambs outside.
They serve a breakfast that will fill you up until suppertime, saving you plenty of money on snacks and lunch.
Explore small towns and meet the locals
One of the best things about Ireland is the people and you’ll do yourself an incredible disservice if you travel all the way there and don’t immerse yourself in the local culture.
While asking for directions to an obscure archaeological site we got to know a few of the local people and found them to be very interesting and more than willing to help.
One lady even got in her truck and drove ahead of us to show where the road to the site was located.
While exploring this small town, we also came upon a man who was leading a heard of cows down the middle of the street.
The castles and history in Ireland were great but nothing was more memorable than our adventure through the tiny town of Boho (pronounced Bo with a long O and not Bo-Ho).
Buy your lunch at the grocery store and be outside
Sometimes we’d buy a small lunch and stop for a picnic in the middle of the day, sitting in the grass near the water or at the edge of a cliff.
It’s an inexpensive way to get a nice meal and catch some amazing scenery at the same time.
Fine free things to do
There are plenty of attractions and historic sites on the west coast of Ireland that do not charge admission and are wideout in the open, allowing you to stumble upon them yourself.
There is Carrowmore, Ceide Fields, Friday or Saturday night in downtown Galway, pub music in Donegal, Aghanaglack, Knocknarea, and nonstop amazing scenery everywhere you look.
See it – it’s free and it’s breathtaking!