We pick you up at Dublin Airport and whisk you away to County Clare across the River Shannon and into the “wild west.” We start off in style with a visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park to get our first taste of Irish tradition and folklore. We have lunch at the famous “Dirty Nellie’s” and head off to Ennis town to check into our comfortable B&B. You are free to visit the pubs and shops of this ancient, cobblestoned town.
After a full Irish breakfast to set your day off right, we meet our special local guide at the edge of the Burren at Dysart O’Dea Castle and megalithic sites for a fascinating walk in this hidden treasure. We then bring you to the heart of the Burren where our guide shows you holy wells, ancient forts, church ruins, sacred sites, unique places of myths and legends, and of course, the geological marvels of the Burren. To end the day in stunning style, you experience sunset at the iconic Cliffs of Moher. After a day like this, you may wish to rest up in your comfortable B&B, go for a walk in town, or maybe take in a little Irish music.
Brush up on your Irish because we bring you on a boat excursion to the Gaelic-speaking Aran Islands. You are free to roam around, take a horse-and-buggy jaunt, and mix with the local shops and pubs. There are ancient sites to behold as you walk along the stone walls of this mystical island. We journey back toward the Cliffs of Moher and the boat captain brings you to the very foot of these majestic cliffs. We have a stop in the village of Doolin, perhaps have a pint and a little Irish music before heading back to Ennis.
We set our sights on the “Land of Heart’s Desire” of County Sligo via the hills of Connemara, County Galway and County Mayo. We visit the beautiful Ashleigh Falls located on the Mayo/Galway border, the village of Leenane and the wondrous Killary Fjord. We pass through quaint fishing towns such as Oughterard and places associated with the film “The Quiet Man.” In Mayo you see the incredible vistas and landscapes of Doolough Pass. Before leaving Mayo, we look up and see where St. Patrick himself lived for 40 days and nights up on Croagh Patrick. We check into our beautiful B&B upon the Wild Atlantic Way and have a luscious dinner and some Irish music.
We start off with one of our hidden gems, a beach millions of years old that only locals know about. Our guests have said this place feels like another planet. This incredible place is on a peninsula which is full of treasure, history, and local folklorists and historians who relay the stories. From the ocean we go to the Dartry mountain range and walk in a beautiful and majestic horseshoe valley. We show you hidden “famine ruins” and other unique historical sites. Not far away, our friend the sheepherder has his border collie ready to give you a demonstration of sheepherding. This is one of our most favored activities. Off we go to another lovely dinner and pub.
Today we visit the mystical “bright lake” of Lough Gill, known for its association to the Lake Isle of Innisfree. Captain George McGoldrick welcomes you aboard The Rose of Innisfree and regales you with poetry, humor, music and even a cup of tea and a scone. Next stop is Parkes Castle, or as the locals refer to it “O’Rourkes Tower House” where we get the local history provided by the best tour guides in Ireland. The castle sits on the bank of Lough Gill where you have magnificent views of the lake and many islands. There is also an ancient “sweathouse” that you can crawl into, if you like. From here, we head to Dooney Rock Forest for a lovely walk along the banks of Lough Gill and a scenic vista including Ben Bulben. We end the day with a quiet walk at a holy well which has myths and legends associated with it from pre-Christian times and since St. Patrick visited the island.
We start the day learning about one of the most fascinating and unknown episodes of Irish history. Our local folklorist retells the tale of the doomed 1588 Spanish Armada and the fateful journey of Francisco de Cuellar. We visit the beach where at least one ship crashed and retrace the steps of the Spanish sailors as they tried to flee the English soldiers. This story is told in riveting style by our expert and dramatist. Next, we’re off to the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe – Slieve League (which is three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher). We overlook Donegal Bay and see the most majestic and moving sights in all of Ireland. We continue north to visit Glenveigh National Park where you can tour a castle, visit the gardens, or go for a hike. We pass through the hills of Donegal and finish the day at our B&B on the Inishowen peninsula.
We introduce you to another one of our local guides who takes you to Doagh Island Famine Park, for an incredible experience which informs you of one of the most important historic events in Irish history and indeed world history. From there, we go to the Malinhead peninsula – the northernmost point of Ireland—and also the site of some Star Wars filming! Among many places our guide brings you is the Bocan stone circle, the Celtic cross of Clonca, five-fingered strand, and many other roadside relics that our guide is privy to. To finish the day in style we visit the incredible Grianan of Aileach, a megalithic fort overlooking Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle. Home for dinner and music in one of the little charming towns of Inishowen.
We take the ferry over to County Derry to visit one of the last remaining walled cities in all of Europe, Derry (or “LegenDerry”). You have a walking tour of the whole walled city and time to roam the museums and shops, and even cross the Peace Bridge over the river Foyle. Our next stop is the iconic Giant’s Causeway along the Wild Atlantic Causeway Coast. After such an exhilarating experience, we may take in some libation at Bushmill’s Whiskey Distillery. While in the area, we visit Dunluce Castle, which is in Game of Thrones country. As the song goes, we’re then on the “rocky road to Dublin.”
We take you to Dublin Airport for your departure.