Day 1: Wicklow Mountains & Glendalough Monastic Site
Our Adventure Begins! After leaving Dublin, you will travel through the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains, over the Sally Gap, and view the Guinness Lake (where a member of the Guinness family lives). We will make our way to our guest house in Glendalough. Once we have been booked in, we'll get our gear ready for our first walk! Glendalough is a majestic place, a previously important religious centre in ancient Ireland where St. Kevin resided and lived with his fellow Christians. It might have been a happy time here before the Vikings were marauding around their monasteries! After your three hour walk around the valley, you will come back to relax at our comfortable guest house. Relax in your room or get to know your fellow walkers in the lounge. You have completed the first walk of many today, rest up and prepare to walk through more stunning scenery tomorrow.
Highlight of the day: Visit the 6th century Glendalough Monastic Site
Overnight: Laragh Village - Wicklow
Restaurant Suggestion: The Wicklow Heather Restaurant
Day 2: Dingle Village & South Pole Inn
Today we will travel to the south west of Ireland to the county of Kerry. En route we will stop in the cute Irish village of Adare before we head directly for Dingle. On our approach we will drive through Annascaul Village and make a stop for a quick refreshment in the South Pole Inn. This pub was owned by the great Antarctic explorer, Tom Crean. He was an important member of both the Scott and Shackleton South Pole expeditions. There are plenty of photos of his expeditions that are on display at the Inn! Enjoy a drink here before continuing to Beenbane Beach. There, we will stop and you can take the cliff walk into Dingle Village. Take in the sights on this stunning walk and enjoy this wonderful way to arrive to this magical little corner of Ireland!
Highlight of the day: Cliff walk into Dingle
Overnight: Dingle Town
Restaurant Suggestion: An Canteen
Day 3: Mount Brandon & Connors Pass
Today we get ourselves ready for an amazing walk up Mount Brandon. On the way to the start of our trek, we will drive over the famous Conor Pass where you will enjoy marvellous views of the Dingle Peninsula and Mt Brandon. From the peak you can see 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. Enjoy the array of colours in the surrounding landscape. The walk is not difficult with an easy slope to the top. The summit is 1000m and should take no longer than 4 hours to complete. After our great adventure, we will head back to Dingle and you will have the option to see, swim or kayak with Fungi, a wild dolphin that calls Dingle his home.
Highlight of the day: Climbing up Mt Brandon
Overnight: Dingle Town
Restaurant Suggestion: Walkers Bar & Restaurant
Day 4: Slea Head Walk & Views of The Blasket Islands
Slea Head lies ahead of us today. National Geographic has put this peninsula in the top 10 drives in the world and I would put it in the top 3! We will stroll through the gorgeous fuchsia lined roads of Slea Head and follow the cliffs around to our view point of Great Blasket Island. There are more megalithic relics on this peninsula than on the rest of the island; it is an archaeologist’s dream. Our walk is nice and easy today, with spectacular views out to the Atlantic and Dead Man’s Island. Everywhere you turn there are awe-inspiring landscapes, you will have excellent photo opportunities as you walk. This peninsula is the closest you can get to the United States from Europe. Your walk will finish in the village of Ballyferriter, a Gaeltacht area, where all the locals speak in Ireland’s native tongue. Céad mile fáilte! A hundred thousand welcomes!
Highlight of the day: Hike Slea Head
Overnight: Dingle Town
Restaurant Suggestion: The Chart House
Day 5: Killarney National Park & The Gap Of Dunloe
Today you will experience one of the most beautiful walks you will find in all of Ireland through The Gap of Dunloe. The 'Gap' stretches through the highest mountain range in Ireland called the MacGuillicuddy Reeks. To the east, you can also see the Purple Mountain. This spectacular glacial valley simply must be experienced to be fully appreciated. This narrow mountain pass takes you through charming woodland and the famous Lake District. You will finish your walk on the far side of the Gap having seen breathtaking scenery and feeling inspired and energised. From there a river boat will take you for an hour long boat ride through the lakes of Killarney finishing at Ross Castle, a historical tower within the Killarney National Park and just a short walk from Killarney village.
Highlight of the day: The Gap of Dunloe & the lakes of Killarney
Restaurant Suggestion: Bricin Restaurant
Day 6: Cliffs Of Moher Walk
We now make our way up the west coast and cross the River Shannon by ferry at Tarbert. The River Shannon is the spine of Ireland, dividing the land into two. At 360.5 km, it is the longest river in Ireland. It won’t be long before we arrive in the Burren region and see the Cliffs of Moher. Heading just up the road, we may stop at Brigid’s Well before we get a start on our walk along the amazing Cliffs Of Moher. Living on the edge is fantastic but at these cliffs, it is advisable to stay away from the 214m high cliff edges. There is a wall which divides the walking path from the dangerous cliff edges. Stay on that side and enjoy the incredible views. This is one of the most stunning locations in Ireland. The cliffs are simply majestic to see and the ocean crashing onto the coastline below only adds to the rugged beauty of this location. This walk is truly amazing! You can also see O’Brien’s Tower and go inside to see the panoramic views from the top (additional fee paid directly to O’Brien’s Tower if you decide to enter).
Highlight of the day: Cliffs Of Moher
Restaurant Suggestion: The Cornerstone
Day 7: The Burren & Galway City
This morning we will walk through the karst limestone region of the Burren that covers 250 square miles. Because limestone is one of the most permeable rocks, there are many subterranean caverns in the area. The rocky landscape is a surprisingly fertile ground for flowers and plants that grow in the cracks and create a lovely array of colours amongst the karst landscape. You can walk these pavements and feel like you are walking on the moon! After leaving Doolin early in the morning, we will follow the coast all the way to Galway. Unfortunately, we will be bidding farewell to some of our brave adventurers today as Galway is the final stop for the people on the 'Southern Gem tour'. However, it is also the beginning for new friends who wish to do the Northern part of the tour. You will have a few hours to spend in Galway to do some shopping or enjoy the many sights this wonderful city has to offer.
Highlight of the day: Walk through The Burren
Restaurant Suggestion: Ardagh Restaurant
Day 8: Connemara & Kylemore Abbey
We will have a few options today but one we love is a walk up Benbaun and on down to Kylemore Abbey. As we ascend this mountain, you will have unrestricted views of the lakes of Connemara made famous in the song by Marcel Sardou. There are lots of wild mountain goats in this part of the country and you may also be lucky to see a Connemara pony trotting along beside you. This walk is four hours and takes you to stunning Kylemore Abbey. You will then go on a guided tour of Kylemore Abbey, which is seen as one of the most romantic places in all of Ireland. The Abbey standing out against the mountains and lake is one of the most photographed scenes in Ireland and you will understand why when you see it in person. Kylemore Abbey is truly impressive. The chapel in the grounds is a miniature replica of Norwich Cathedral and the gardens are immaculately kept.
Highlight of the day: Visit Kylemore Abbey
Restaurant Suggestion: Guy’s Bar & Snug Restaurant
Day 9: Connemara & Killary Fjord
Today you have a few choices about where you’d like to go. After breakfast, your tour guide will provide two different walk options so you can get the most out of the sights of this magnificent landscape. The 'famine’ walk runs along the shores of Killary Harbour. You will be walking on an old famine road that was built by the starving Irish during the great famine between 1845-1849. On the route, you will clearly see the ruins of famine villages and 'lazy beds', the name given to the potato ridges where the starving Irish peasants tried to provide food for their families. This walk takes you on a journey through the history of Ireland during the time of the famine. This walk finishes at the harbour.
Highlight of the day: Hike the famous famine walk
Restaurant Suggestion: Guys Bar & Snug
Day 10: Sligo & Amazing Beach Walks
After a hearty Irish breakfast, we will visit the Country Life Museum where you will learn all about life in rural Ireland about 150 years ago. This visit gives you a fascinating insight into life in rural Ireland; the challenges and triumphs, and the realities of life during that time period. Then, we will take a relaxing stroll along a secluded beach at Mullagmore. As we travel further north, we will make a stop at the grave of WB Yeats, which lays at the foot of Ben Bulben, a spectacular rock formation and WB Yeats’ final resting place. We will then travel through Sligo and stop in Donegal for a walk around the town, which includes entry into Donegal Castle.
Highlight of the day: Walk along Mullagmore Beach
Restaurant Suggestion: The Harbour Restaurant
Day 11: Donegal & The Mighty Slieve League Cliffs
This morning, we will head to the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League. This is a truly a magnificent sight. Because of the cliffs location and height, winds can get very strong so your guide will make a call as to whether it's safe to walk along the top. If it's not, we have a fantastic alternative at Glen Colm Kill, which will give you spectacular sights of the cliffs from below.
Highlight of the day: Slieve League Cliffs
Restaurant Suggestion: The Village Tavern
Day 12: Glenveagh National Park
Donegal is one of the most unspoiled landscapes in Europe. It is famous for its beautiful scenery and coastline with impressive mountain ranges, glens and lakes. Donegal is filled with rich reminders of a historic past. We will travel to Ireland's most northerly national park: the Glenveagh National Park. It is a wonderful place that is even a breeding ground for wild eagles. If you're lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse of one! After our hike through the national park, we will give you a guided tour of Glenveagh Castle. The castle is a magical place, looking like it belongs in a fairytale. Set on the banks of the lough, it is an impressive sight. It was once owned by an American of Irish ancestry. After his death he donated the castle to the state. This beautiful location is rich with many photo opportunities!
Highlight of the day: Hike through Glenveagh National Park
Restaurant Suggestion: Manhattan Steakhouse
Day 13: Derry & Dunluce Castle
Today, we enter into Northern Ireland for the first time on our tour. As Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, be aware that you will need to use Pounds as Euros are not accepted here. We will first visit the ancient fort at Grianan Of Aileach before visiting a city which dominates the north-western landscape of Ireland - the City of Derry. Meander through the bustling streets of the only completely walled city in the United Kingdom and listen to the echoes of 1450 years of history. Stroll along its 17th century walls, and marvel at the ever-changing skyline of a city which is constant only in the warmth of its welcome. We will travel along one of the most northerly roads in Ireland and stop at Dunluce Castle, once owned by the infamous McDonnell Clan from Scotland who came to Ireland to increase their power. Take in the views of this sprawling castle and absorb the history from its ancient stones.
Highlight of the day: Walk along Derry City Walls
Restaurant Suggestion: The Fullerton Arms
Day 14: The Giants Causeway & Coastal Walk
Get ready to experience the Giant’s Causeway today! The coastal scenery adjacent to the Causeway is some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring that you will find anywhere. You will walk from the harbour at Ballintoy, made famous by the ‘Game Of Thrones’ and hug the coast all the way to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Causeway.
Many ships have floundered below these towering cliffs, but none as tragic as that of Girona, a ship of the Spanish Armada. Carrying the crews from two previous Armada shipwrecks, the Girona was on passage from Killybegs and trying to reach the relative safety of Scotland. As she rounded Inishowen peninsula, heavily over laden and in deteriorating sea conditions, her rudder failed. In the teeth of a full blown north-westerly gale, the crew battled to keep her off the coast but she finally struck Laca Point in view of the Giant’s Causeway at midnight on October 30th, 1588 resulting in the loss of over 1,200 men.
Highlight of the day: The Giant’s Causeway Coastal Walk
Restaurant Suggestion: The Fullerton Tavern
Day 15: Belfast City & Return To Dublin
This is the day everyone dreads for the whole trip, it’s the day our adventure ends and we return to Dublin. However there is still plenty to see! We will stop in Belfast city and do a tour around the centre. We will learn about the divide that exists between the Catholic and Protestant communities that live so close together. It is fascinating to learn about the history of the conflict. After our visit to Belfast we will travel through Co. Meath, where the High Kings of Ireland once ruled the country. We then complete our journey back to Dublin and we hope you enjoyed touring with us, experiencing the best of Ireland’s gems and landscapes! We hope to see you again soon for another amazing adventure.
Highlight of the day: Belfast City
End of Services: Thank You!