Ireland South Tour - 7 Days around the southern half of Ireland
Explore the spectacular southern counties of Ireland with our ‘All of the South Tour’ where you will experience some of Irelands most beautiful scenery and walks. Highlights of the tour include walking along the famous cliffs of Moher and climbing Irelands highest mountain. You will also walk famine roads and the lunar landscape of the Burren. This really is a fantastic adventure and one of the best hiking tours in Ireland.
Mar 18th | Apr 15 | May 13 | Jun 10 | July 8 | Aug 12 | Sep 9
7 DAYS - €750
Day 1: 8:00 a.m.
Pick up in the city centre Dublin - Dublin Tourist Office. This is where you begin your journey that you will never forget.All people will be introduced to each other on the bus. I like to get each person to sing a song from their country to start things off! Your national anthem will do!
Today is nice and relaxed. We leave Dublin and head towards Glendalough in the Garden of Ireland - Wicklow. We will go up through the Dublin/Wicklow mountains, over the Sally Gap and down to Guinness Lake - which looks like a pint of Guinness.
We will make our way to Glendalough guest house where we will be staying the night. You can get your gear ready and then we can begin our first walk. Glendalough is one of the most important religious centres in medieval Ireland. It is where St.Kevin resided and lived happily with his fellow Christians, well, when the Vikings were not marauding around the monastery. You will see one of the finest examples of a round tower in the country. It is a truly majestic place.
Our first walk is a nice and easy three hour walk around the valley. Afterwards we can relax and have dinner and maybe your first pint of Guinness in the local tavern.
The second day of the tour involves getting you hungry hikers all the way down to the bottom of Ireland, Dingle a little gem of a village in South East Kerry, famous for Fungi and also the gateway town to the internationally famous Slea Head.
We will fit a small walk in on the way down. We will be leaving Wicklow but before we leave I will bring you to a fairy fort the other side of Glendalough where you will learn about Irish folklore and the little people! There is a prize on offer for each person that spots a Leprechaun on the tour. We will go to the medieval city of Kilkenny where you can wander the small streets and admire the castle overlooking the city. From Kilkenny we head towards Tipperary(not so far on this road!) This is the home of hurling in Ireland and once the centre of Ireland where Brian Boru had his fortress before handing it over to the church. You will learn a lot about our early history on this day. Your brain will be so full of information before the end of the tour, you'll be able to dazzle your friends for months when you get home!
We make our way towards Limerick city, where we stop for a break and then onto Tralee, the home of the famous Rose of Tralee.
From their it is only a short hop to Dingle, via the village of Annascaul, where Tom Crean the famous Antarctic adventurer lived, we may even stop for a tipple in the South Pole inn, where you can view the pictures of his epic voyages with Ernest Shackleton.
We will arrive in Dingle in the evening, pack our bags in your rooms and sit down for a nice pot of my Irish Stew! Yup, my mothers recipe. you guess it!
We will be staying in Dingle for three nights before continuing on our adventure.
Today we set out to conquer Ireland's second highest mountain, Mount Brandon.
This mountain is one of my favourites and although under 1000m, it is still a formidable challenge, but the rewards when you reach the summit far outweighs the effort on the way up! From the top you can see down to the Blasket islands on one side and all the way to Tralee on the other. It is one of the most scenic mountains in Ireland.
The walk should take no longer than 4 hours and is not too difficult.
On the way to the start of our trek we will drive over Connor Pass, and maybe stop for a dip in Pedlars Lake, a hidden corrie lake high in the mountains.
When we get back to Dingle, I will bring you around the village and on to see Fungi the infamous Dolphin.
You will have a couple of hours to walk around Dingle and see it many shops, and that evening we will experience some Gaelic music in the local pubs. 52 pubs for a population of just under 4000 people-fantastic. Watch out for the pubs that are also hardware stores!
Slea Head lies ahead of us today. National Geographic has put this peninsula in the top 10 drives in the world. I would put it in the top 3. We will meander slowly through the Fuchsia lined roads of Slea Head and follow the cliffs around to our view point of Great Blasket island. For millennia people have lived on this peninsula in stone beehive huts. There are more megalithic relics on this peninsula that on the whole of the rest of the island. It is an archaeologist's heaven. But the beauty of this area can only be experienced by walking on the bare cliffs and feeling the sea wind on your skins. It is where Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman was filmed! Today's walk will start at the Blaskets interpretive centre and we will follow the cliff line all the way Sybil Head.
It is a nice easy walk with spectacular views out to the Atlantic and dead mans island. This is the closest you can get to America in Europe. The walk will finish in the village of Ballyferriter a Gaeltacht area, where all the locals speak in our native tongue. By this day I will expect everyone on the bus to be able to have a couple of sentences in Gaelic! After this walk, we will stroll down to a little beach where we will take the Hurley's out and have a 'puc' around. Hurling is a sport indigenous to Ireland-It's like a cross between hockey and hell! Probably the most skilful game on the island.
Early night for all tonight as tomorrow is a big day!
Today is an early start. We will be gone by 8 o clock in the morning to make our way to Killarney. Drop our bags and make our way to Carrountohill, Ireland's highest mountain. At 1039 metres tall, it towers over the rest of the Magillacuddy reeks like a caring mother. It is a good trek up this mountain. Thousands of people trek this mountain every year and by the end of the day, you will feel the satisfaction of scaling Ireland's highest peak and you will feel on top of the world. Carrauntohill is dead centre in Killarney National Park, one of the largest national parks in Ireland. Watch out for the wild deer that roam in this park, I believe they have a taste for tourists!
Also on this day we will get to see the Gap of Dunloe and stop for a while in Kate Kearney's cottage at the bottom of the gap.
That evening we will spend in Killarney and enjoy all the festivities on offer in this great town of South West Ireland.
And we're on the road again. After our last few hectic days, we now make our way up the west coast and cross the river Shannon by ferry at Tarbert. Have a look at the schools of wild dolphins that call this estuary their home. Look out in the distant to the highest round tower in Ireland, on Scattery Island. The river Shannon is the spine of Ireland; it divides the land in two. To the east of the river, the land is notably better for farming and grazing. To the west was where Oliver Cromwell sent people if they chose not to go to Hell!
We will be entering County Clare when we depart the ferry. It won't be long before we arrive in the burren and go to see the Cliffs of Moher. On the way, we will stop in Lahinch, a popular surf beach on the west coast and great for picking great deals on periwinkles (tasty sea snails) Just up the road we can stop at Brigid's well before we walk along the amazing cliffs. I know we like to live on the edge but at these cliffs, it is advisable to stay away from the 230 m high cliff edges!
We are in the heart of the burren now, a karst region where we take a walk through time.
This is a limestone area that covers hundreds of square miles. Limestone pavements, klints, grykes appear before you as you walk precariously over the crack in the rock. As limestone is one of the most permeable rocks, there are many subterranean caverns to discover in the area. You could stand on the pavements and feel like you are walking on the moon! This night we stay in Doolin, famous for Gaelic music. We will enjoy a few well deserved drinks in the local this night and listen to the local musicians strut their stuff!
Unfortunately, we will be bidding farewell to some of our brave trekkers today. Galway is the final stop for the people on the Southern Gem tour.
But also the beginning for other adventurers who wish to do the Northern part of the tour. We leave Doolin early this morning and follow the coast all the way to Galway, stopping at Poulnabrene Dolmen, Corcomroe Abbey, a Cistercian abbey dating from the 10th. Century. On to the charming village of Kinvara, home of the Galway hooker and to Clarinbridge, the oyster capital of Ireland. We arrive in Galway around lunch time.
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