We're delighted to welcome you to Extreme Ireland; the gateway for a journey that you will never forget.
Extreme Ireland was founded by Keith McDonnell, an accomplished mountaineer and adventurer.
Extreme Ireland is an adventure for everyone on our tours, including our guides.
Our guides are hand-picked, 100% Irish, all with a sense of adventure and who will dazzle you with their knowledge of Ireland, from the history, topography, even down to the lyrics of Irish ballads.
All the guides are professionally trained, safety being the prime objective. All our guides have first-aid skills and navigation skills.
"You will never feel safer than when you are in the arms of an Irish man"
Our tours offer a unique mix of hiking, with a tour of Ireland that will give you all the information you can never get out of a book.
Going on your holiday's means having a good time. You want to forget about your everyday life, and let someone else take that responsibility. That is what we are about. The minute you jump on our bus, forget about your work, forget about your troubles. Welcome to your new life!
Having the craic is a term we use in Ireland for saying that we are having a good time. Craic is the Gaelic word of fun. One of many that you will learn. By the way, I hope your linguistic skills are good because I will expect everyone to be able to order a pint in Gaelic by the end of the trip and say "Póg mo thóin" in a way someone won't find offensive:
Envision a journey that takes you far from the demands of daily life and into a realm of pure beauty, enveloped in the sights, the sounds, the scents of the natural world. Places where the spirit soars and the soul regains its balance.
Travel with us and experience the gifts of nature in the best possible way: on foot, a vantage point that allows an unmatched intimacy with the earth. From the smallest, most delicate wildflower to the grandeur of a mountain vista, immerse yourself in the beauty that surrounds you at every turn. Trails that wind through deep forest; an endless expanse of beach, where the music of the tide accompanies your every step. The charm of the changing seasons, brilliant foliage, fresh-fallen snow that glimmers, jewel-like, under a full moon. Exotic locales where dazzling flora and fauna await discovery.
We offer rich vacation experiences designed for inquisitive travellers who want to see the world in a different way. Our unique journeys combine challenge and adventure with the finest creature comforts: at the end of each day, you'll rest at charming, cosy inns and enjoy excellent cuisine shared with good company.
Custom walking and hiking vacations are becoming increasingly popular, and we're pleased to offer a range of options for 2011. Guided trips for 2 or for 50 - let us help you design your unique journey with a customized itinerary. Or you can choose to reserve an existing adventure for groups of ten or more, for your private enjoyment. These vacations are ideal for groups - families and friends, colleagues - a wonderful way to bring people together for an unforgettable vacation experience.
Wherever you choose to travel with us, you know you'll be travelling responsibly. We are passionate about nature and dedicated to environmental preservation, and those ideals are reflected in everything we do. No-trace hiking is always practiced, and all of our journeys are designed and carried out with scrupulous attention to conserving resources and protecting the environment.
Keith is one of the founders of Extreme-Ireland. He has travelled and hiked extensively around the world, but his heart remains in Ireland.
Keith is from the royal county of Meath, where once the high kings of Ireland sat on the sacred hill of Tara.
Hiking in Ireland began for Keith when he was just a 'babog', been dragged all around Ireland and up and down the mountains to see his father Thomas compete in mountain races. From an early age, his parents had a terrible difficulty in trying to cope with his adventurous mind. He use to disappear for days on end only for the parents to discover that he had hitchhiked up to the other end of the country and was stuck up a mountain somewhere, with only a pound in his pocket!
When he was growing up, all his holiday's were in Ireland, usually involving squashing all the kids (6 in all, no television in the house back then!) in the car, and sleeping in a caravan. Not like now, where people can afford to travel to exotic places all over the globe. This is where he got his love for Ireland, where he experienced first-hand the diversity this beautiful country has to offer.
Keith was a keen sportsman, representing his county in hurling up to his college years, and also his province Leinster in handball (an Irish sport similar to Pelota in Spain). Keith has lived in all the four provinces of Ireland at some stage of his life, and there is no better man to show you what our emerald isle has to offer. He has worked as a tour guide for numerous years now, but he felt that it was time to blend hiking with a tour. He loves getting mucky when out and about. Tours that have you stuck on a bus all day deny you the opportunity to really experience the land. You may see a lovely mountain but standing on it is a reward will never forget.
Keith can be seen every weekend climbing up some bog ridden mountain in Ireland, the places where most people think they can't go!
- Keith is a certified mountain skills instructor in Ireland.
- 'Mountain Leader' for Ireland and the UK.
- International Mountain leader and member of BAIML.
- First Aid qualifications include 'REC3' First Aid certificates and has completed the ''Wilderness First Responder' and 'Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician Course'.
- He is also a qualified 'Leave No Trace' trainer
- He is a Mountain Skills Trainer for the BOS Syllabus in Ireland
- Studied Business Tourism in college
Keith has been climbing in the Andes Mountains in 2009 where he summated the highest peak outside of the Himalayas - Aconcagua. He has a deep affinity with Ireland, his knowledge of history is pretty amazing and his singing skills, may I dare say it, are to be admired. Keith likes to travel and climb internationally. He has climbed in many areas of the world including Africa, European Alps, Iceland, Norway, Asia, Australia and North and South America.
A true Gaelic warrior!
Soirse is one of the newer members of the Extreme Ireland Team. Soirse has been working with various international mountaineering and walking companies for the past seven years, but we grabbed her at the start of the year and by God is she a hit! Soirse is from Tipperary, the Glen of Aherlow a beautiful region down the South of the country. I am sure you have all heard of the song "It's a long way to Tipperary"?
Soirse is a typical Irish lass. Don't give her any grief because she will eat you alive! She has fiery red hair and a temper to match-She will kill me when she reads this!
She has a voice of an angel so don't be afraid to ask her to sing any Irish songs. I believe her favourite is "The lakes of Ponchatrain" and the "Wild Rose".
Soirse has hiked all over the world and was on a team that went to Mount Everest in 2007. Soirse was on the support and walked to Base Camp and co-ordinated things from below. She has extensive experience of guiding in Corsica, France, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.
We are proud to have such an experienced guide to be part of our team and I know that Soirse is happy to be back on Ireland doing what she loves most. You will be in safe hands with this girl.
From the rocky mountains of Connemara, the wind swept wild coast of the west, the newest member of the Extreme Ireland hails from.
Jenny is from a small village called Carna in Connemara where she grew up with the fantastic Twelve Pins/Bens Mountains directly opposite the living room window.
Jenny was an architect before she seen the light and joined our team. If Keith, Mike and Soirse are the cogs of the wheel, Jenny is most definitely the oil that runs the engine.
Jenny has taken over all the administration and marketing of our company. Since she began in 2008 we have only got bigger and better.
From the bottom of Lughnaquilla mountain hails this fierce warrior. Pat use to work for an international corporate giant before he joined our team in 2009. He is known for his great ideas and great climbing skills.
His main passion is climbing and particularly alpine climbing. He also enjoys his hats, which Keith always seems to rob off him! Every year he spends time in Norway, Scotland or the Alps in search of more exciting challenges. He is a very experienced mountaineer and his calm and collected nature is a welcome that you are ensured to enjoy.
Pat has formed many relationships for Extreme Ireland with numerous outdoor pursuit companies and event management companies. He's a great person to work alongside. If you to have him as your guide, you will be a very fortunate group indeed. He is single at present!
Russell is our main rock climbing instructor and mountain biking man. He is 99% Irish and 1% Australian. Russell came to Ireland a number of years ago and worked on rope safety and event management with numerous companies around Ireland. He has a passion for rock climbing and has climbed some of the most famous routes in Ireland and abroad.
Since he has arrived in Ireland he has taken up our customs and games as though he was born here. More Irish than the Irish themselves! He has even learnt the language of saints-Gaelic which you should ask him about if you have him as your instructor. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to recognise the difference between the ropes he is using and his hair, so before you pull on one just make sure it is the rope!
Russell's work ethic is one that we can all learn from. He puts his all into his work and never leaves a stone unturned when he is on the job. You can be sure to feel safe when you are with this guy. He is also single at present!
Tana is the cutest member of the Extreme Ireland and inevitably gets all the attention when anyone is around which makes the rest of us a little unnerved and inferior. She is one of the toughest workers I have ever met, and doesn't know when to stop. You actually have to tie her down sometimes.
She also has the greatest appetite among us and has been known to eat some strange things. She is also the only member not to have tasted some alcohol, unusual for an Irish lass.
I won't say that she has a voice like an angel cause she doesn't but what she lacks in the vocal arena, she makes up in affection and loyalty.
We bring Tana along on a lot of our walks in the Wicklow area. She is a great hill walker and while the rest of us may be tired at the end of the day she just keeps going, keeping the spirit up for the rest of the group. If you are in Wicklow you may have the pleasure of meeting this charming lady! She is also single at present!