Wild West Irish Tours are proud to unveil our new Wild West Atlantic Way Video and Tour, starring 2017 Mayo Rose of Tralee, Sandra Ganley.

We have been bringing “wild westies” to the Wild West of Ireland for years now, and we now present a “best of” tour (along the “Wild Atlantic Way”) of our favorite locations from our four fabulous tours — The Signature Tour, Clare-Connemara, Wild Atlantic Causeway Coast, and our Celtic Pilgrimage.

The Wild West of Ireland

For a brief overview of this 10-day adventure, we begin by meeting you in Dublin, and whisk you away to County Clare, where we combine some of our hidden gems with the iconic Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands and the Burren, just to name a few. We spend three days in Clare and parts of Galway, exploring castles, ancient fort ruins, mystical holy wells, cliffs along the Loophead Peninsula,  and take in some of the best traditional Irish music in the town of Ennis.

We move north to the rugged and mountainous Connemara, in County Galway and take in the stunning and breathtaking “Twelve Bens.” We have the freedom to explore the quaint fishing villages and sail out on Lough Corrib to explore an ancient island and its relics of the past. The famous Ashford Castle is nestled by the Lough and we will have the option to visit. But it is the “great things in simple places” that we love and we bring you to hidden waterfalls and magical glens. Up we go through County Mayo’s Doon Lough Valley, and the majestic Crough Patrick.

It is on to our home-away-from-home, counties Sligo and Leitrim, where you will experience the Dartry Mountain range, Benbulben, one or two boat excursions (depending on sea conditions) sheepherding demonstrations, and a dramatic re-enactment of the Spanish Armada’s fateful meeting with the local Sligo population! This is the area of our Signature Tour and where we love to show off the “what is seldom is wonderful” aspect of our adventures.

We head up to County Donegal for Slieve League, Inishowen, and lovely villages all the way up to Malin Head. We visit the walled City of Derry and visit the iconic Giant’s Causeway, before we  return to Dublin city.

Here are our 2018 Wild West Atlantic Way Tour dates:

  • May 1 – May 10
  • June 7 – June 16
  • July 10 – July 19
  • August 14 – August 23
  • September 5 – September 14

Click here for all of our 2018 tour dates! Please contact us for details about this fabulous new tour!

 

Hello all! Hope you’re enjoying your July thus far. I know it’s early, but it never hurts to start the month off strong & positive.

As an Irish-American company; Wild West Irish Tours has roots in different places – Virginia, Ireland, and the many areas of the world our adventurers come from to join us on our quests (just this year we had Canadian, UK, and Australian visitors!). In celebrating a legacy of independence and immigration this past 4th of July, we thought it might be nice to discuss what the journey means to those who go to Ireland not out of lineage or genealogy, but from the perspective of an “outsider” – though nobody is really an outsider if they’re traveling with us.

Many of our visitors have come to Ireland to experience the history; folklore, traditions, culture, and beauty of the region. There really is no place like Ireland; and no people like Eire’s own. And, as we have highlighted before, the friendliness and openness of the Irish are but a few of their many positive traits – no one ends up feeling left out, and the welcoming atmosphere is pleasantly continuous.

 

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Randy & David Kurjan

Often, our guests leave a distinct impression on us – David and Randy Kurjan; Wild Westies from the South Carolina area, are but a few. Not necessarily Irish themselves; they possess a deep love and enthusiasm for Ireland that propelled them to explore it with us! Randy was kind enough to answer a few of our probing questions about her experience – from how her husband David got to see where his favorite film, The Quiet Man, took place, to Randy’s personal feelings regarding the overall journey.

“David and I never felt like outsiders when we were in Ireland!” exclaims Randy. “It was, in an odd way, like coming home. The closest we have ever come to that feeling was when we went to Israel (we are Jewish).” Many have described visiting Ireland as a “homecoming” feeling – but it seems even those without personal ties to Ireland in the familial sense can find that feeling as well.

“Even though we are not even the tiniest bit Irish (though we are ‘wannabes’ in terms of ancestry),” Randy says, “it just felt right. We  were beautifully cared for by so many kind people, from Michael [Waugh], to our hosts at the B&Bs, to shopkeepers why took the time to chat, to the lovely person at the farm market stand who went home to get an alarm clock for one of our group who had forgotten theirs back in the States, couldn’t find one in a local store and wanted to get up in time for Church!”

When asked about what she enjoyed most about her trip, Randy found it difficult to pinpoint the best parts of her journey.

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Photograph by David Kurjan.

“It’s hard to decide my favorite aspects,” says Randy. “The beauty of the country, the warmth of the people, the great music, lyrical poetry and the fascinating history and culture… From start to finish, our experience was like a dream.” On why they wanted to go to Ireland, Randy states,

“We went to Ireland for several reasons. It was definitely a ‘bucket list’ item for my husband, David – one of his all time favorite movies is The Quiet Man, and he wanted to see Ireland, especially the locations shown in the movie.” She adds, “I’m a romantic, so for me, it was seeing the land that inspired the beautiful, lyrical poetry of Yeats and John O’Donohue. David is a photographer, by avocation, and wanted to capture the beauty of the Emerald Isle.”

david's photo3
Photograph by David Kurjan

There was also a lot of pleasantries exchanged between the others on the tour: “We got to know our trip-mates,” Randy says. “We really bonded. Though we were all different, we just clicked. From then on, one experience was even better than the one before. The countryside was beautiful…just as we imagined! Green rolling hills; so many sheep and flowers. We also really loved all of our accommodations. Our hosts were so warm and hospitable – so many stories! Delicious food! Elderberry cordial one night in the parlor, scones and oatmeal for breakfast…I think I ate my weight in salmon and wonderful tea! We had so many adventures.”

 

david's photo
Photograph by David Kurjan.

Some of those adventures included learning “so much about Ireland-history, culture, geography and architecture”. “There were terrific guides and speakers to inform our experiences,” Randy remarks. “Our boat ride was exhilarating, the music got our feet tapping and the poetry touched our heart…The people we met along the way were so warm! I could go on and on…”

 

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Photograph by David Kurjan

And that’s what we always set out to do – whether you’re redheaded and freckly with lineage through one of Ireland’s many clans, or just a visitor who’s interested in migrating to a foreign world of fantastical stories and rolling countryside, there is a place for you with us at Wild West Irish Tours, and a place for you in Ireland besides.

 

  In conclusion: no, you don’t have to have any direct ties to Ireland to seek her out. It’s as simple as enjoying her films; her poetry, her people, and majesty. It’s the pilgrim soul; the desire to travel, and the enthusiasm to get you there.

                In regards to whether or not she’d go back, Randy was quick to say “absolutely – in a heartbeat.”

                           Follow your hearts to a homecoming in Ireland – all are welcome without question.

Until next time, be well!

-Sam Fishkind

Wild West Irish Tours Chief Scribe