The Irish Loop driving route heads south from St. John’s, hugging a coastline called the Southern Shore. It meanders through stunning communities, along sheer cliffs, and across rolling green hills. A significant number of Irish immigrants originally colonized this area, and the Irish brogue is still evident in many of the local versions of the Newfoundland Dialect. Eventually, this drive circles back toward the main highway along Salmonier Line, and thus closing the loop and encircling completely the Avalon Wilderness Reserve, home to the world’s southern-most herd of caribou.
Why is it legendary?
A story 565 million years in the making
The natural history of this area begins over half a billion years ago, at the dawn of complex life. Organisms so different from today’s biota they seem almost alien are preserved in the rocks at Mistaken Point. Today, the waters and land are still populated by creatures as wondrous as their forebears: tens of thousands of whales, the world’s most southern caribou herd, and one of the world’s most important colony of puffins – just to name a few.
A history as deep as the ocean
This coastline has been inhabited for nearly 400 years by a people who have adapted this beautiful but rugged coast. Before modern navigation equipment, the fog, jagged rocks, towering cliffs, and frigid icebergs made this coast treacherous, and each community has its own legends and stories of shipwrecks and heroes. This is the far-eastern edge of the new world, a frontier long discovered, with much left to explore.