Expert Guide on tour for the tour duration.
7 nights stay, 6 days hiking
Moderate Walks each day – Previous Hiking experience required
“Very organised, very relaxed. Brilliant group Leaders. Even enjoyed the “soft rain”. Looking forward to my next walking holiday with IWHB.”
– Margaret, UK, 2016
“How can a country so small have so many different, diverse & dramatic landscapes?”
This is a question you will find yourself asking about Ireland. From the rolling, soft Wicklow Hills in the East to the dramatic & mountainous coastline of the West, the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, the studded islands off the south coast or the awe-inspiring Wild Atlantic Way drive. Ireland offers you more than the average country in scenery, culture, history, warmth & splendour.
To really experience Ireland – you need to feel it – feel its land, its rain, its temperate climate & most of all – its soul. This is a country that cannot be rushed and exploring it on foot is one of the best ways to experience it. This allows you the opportunity to meet the “locals”, come face to face with thousands of years of history and see what it is that makes Irish people so unique.
PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING ANY FURTHER BOOKINGS ON THIS TOUR
Not Included: Personal drinks, medical expenses or gratuities.
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Your holiday starts in Dublin where your guide will meet you on arrival and transfer you to the vibrant town on Ballina. After settling into your room and taking in the magnificent view over the River Moy and Belleek Woods, take a short stroll around the Quay Village and marvel at the Crete Boom, Ballina’s own concrete ship which keeps watch over the quay.
As a welcome to Ireland enjoy a traditional homecooked Irish Bacon and Cabbage dinner around the table with the group in Marjorie’s homely kitchen, washed down with an Irish coffee made with Jameson, Ireland’s favourite whiskey.
After dinner if you have any energy left we will hit the town and visit Pat Rouse’s bar, Ballina’s oldest family-owned pub where a traditional Irish music session and singsong will go on late into the night. You may even get the chance to pull your own pint of Guinness.
After a refreshing sleep enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast. It’s off to hit the trails of Mayo and get our boots dirty for the first time. This region of the Wild Atlantic Way has some of the most dramatic coastline to be found anywhere in Ireland. The hike we will enjoy today was described in Lonely planet as “The finest sustained coastal walk in western Ireland, with a profusion of precipitous cliffs, crags, caves, chasms and islands along the remote North Mayo coast”.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 13kms. Highest point: 270mts. Paved roads, sandy and gravel tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot.
Next, it’s time to visit the beautifully designed Ceide Fields Visitor Centre, which showcases the oldest, most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, which lies beneath our feet! Consisting of megalithic tombs, fields and houses, the relics are softly covered by a natural blanket bog, which itself is a wonder with its unique flora and fauna. Prepare to be blown away at the viewing platform at the edge of the 110-metre cliff across the road.
Now it time to reward you for your days adventure with some delicious home baked treats at Mary’s Cottage Kitchen. The perfect place to stop for some tasty home cooking situated in the coastal village of Ballycastle. Mary’s Cottage Kitchen was built in the early 1800’s and maintains many traditional features such as the stone wall exterior, open loft, exposed beams, flag floors and a good open fire.
Following this delicious stop, you will make your way back to Ballina along the coast with a stop at the iconic Downpatrick head where your guide will bring this place to life with facts and folklore about time gone by.
This evening you can relax and enjoy your evening meal at your leisure. A local bar/restaurant called Crockets is always a favourite.
Today is your day for experiencing a pilgrimage as you hike the iconic mass of Croagh Patrick. No trip to Mayo is complete without a journey to the “Reek” and as it dominates the landscape, so it features in so much conversation around the locality. It is a glorious hike, and those that complete it will have a huge sense of achievement.
Ascending across open mountain, you will be following the main Pilgrim Route that most people use from the northern shores of Croagh Patrick. Taken slowly, this is a wonderful route giving terrific views across Clew Bay. Reaching the top of the mountain, you will find the famous Church there, have time to enjoy your triumph & then continue west to descend along a different route if weather allows.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 14kms. Highest point: 765mts. Gravel tracks, loose scree, rocky & uneven conditions underfoot, muddy trails.
Upon your return to Ballina you will go on an exclusive, intimate tour of the newly opened Connacht Whiskey Distillery, where the ancient Irish tradition of pot still whiskey has been revived. You’ll learn how whiskey is crafted and matured, and you’ll even get to taste some!
Another unique experience you can enjoy will be a visit to a local fish mongers where you will learn the art of smoking fish from the local expert.
Enjoy another relaxing evening in Ballina with dinner at your leisure. A nice option for tonight’s restaurant is Dillions
Other optional experiences today include
After another wonderful breakfast today, we’ll take the opposite path on the Wild Atlantic Way towards scenic Sligo. Together, we’ll climb Knocknarea and add a stone to the thousands adorning the imposing grave or cairn of Maeve, the great warrior queen, which overlooks Strandhill. On our descent, we’ll walk the beach and check out the surfers and windsurfers in one of Ireland’s premier surf destinations. It’s time to enjoy an organic, fair-trade coffee at the outstanding Shells Café which overlooks the strand, enjoying one of their scrumptious homemade treats. We’ll then take the coastal drive through surf haven Easkey towards Enniscrone, and stroll along the pier.
Now it’s time for some luxury as we enjoy a Seaweed bath in Kilcullen’s Bath house which first opened its doors for business in 1912, the year of the ‘Titanic’. The Bath House had been built for the purpose on a site acquired by the Kilcullen family as far back as 1898. The Edwardian building hailed at the time as ‘Kilcullen’s modern Bath House’, an attempt to set it apart from a much older establishment dating from the middle of the 19th century, is today as it was then.
Ironically it is that ‘modern’ building that now gives the bath House its quaint Edwardian charm, a time capsule to remind the bather of the simple elegance of a bygone age. The beautiful Edwardian fittings comprising the original enormous glazed porcelain baths, solid brass taps and panelled wooden shower cisterns which a decade ago would have been considered dowdy, now combine to provide the unique ambience of the Bath House. For almost 100 years and into the fifth generation of ownership the same family, the Bath House has opened its doors for the Summer tourist season
Following your bath, you will be transferred back to Ballina to refresh before dinner.
Your evening begins with a tour of historic Belleek Castle, where we’ll see private dining rooms, decorated in a romantic, opulent style, the Spanish Armada Bar and the Tween Deck, overlooking the magnificent medieval banqueting hall. The highlight will be The Marshall Doran Collection, one of the finest collections of arms and armour, fossils and antiques in Ireland. We’ll also see the Grace O’Malley room and marvel at the last wolf shot in Connacht.
Following the tour, you will enjoy a delicious evening meal in the castle dining room.
Today is Halloween and we have a very special experience for you to expereince the orogins of this Ancient Celebration which was called Samhain. In Celtic lore, the year is divided into two halves associated with the dark and the light. The dark half begins at sunset on November 1st with Samhain and the cycle ends when the light half begins at sunset on May 1st, which is the festival of Bealtaine. Both festivals are closely linked, but in general, Samhain is considered to be the most important.
Your desitnation today is the sleepy village of Slane which is a hugely significant sight in Ancient Ireland.
Before oue eveing of discovery you will enjoy a tour of Slane Castle and the wonderful Slane Castle Whiskey distilery for some dutch courage. Followed by a delicious meal made from locally sorced ingrediants at your accommodation.
This eveing you will learn the ancient traditions that were celebrated by the Druids in Ancient times. A perfectly spooky Halloween, Irish style.
Tonight, you will stay at a beautiful guesthouse situated on an organic farm where you will be able to see the Cattle, pigs and chickens that roam free on the farm.
November 1st was the beginning of the new year in ancient times where the people would be preparing for the Season ahead. Today you will enjoy a day of connecting with nature as you prepare your accommodation for tonight which will be a luxurious Mongolian Yurt situated on the farm. In the afternoon you will take a Farm to Plate tour of the Organic farm where you will source the ingredients for tonight’s meal. Along with this is a river bank walk and time to relax and enjoy the solitude of your location. Tonight’s meal will be a BBQ of local produce paired with local ciders and beers for those who enjoy a tipple.
Today takes you around Dublin City, walking you to many of the highlights & historical places of interest. This walk will incorporate a visit to St. Patricks or Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College & the Book of Kells and the Guinness Storehouse to name but a few. Any that wish to detour off for some personal sight-seeing may do so later in the day as free time will be given for you to do some exploring alone before you return to your accommodation After time to refresh enjoy a brilliant literary pub crawl where in the company of a local guide you will visit the pubs frequented by Irelands best lover Playwrights and authors. A great way to see Dublin vibrant pub culture!!.
Enjoy your evening meal together & afterwards you will have the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful Irish music, song or dance while tapping your feet & humming along to your favourite songs.
Overnight in Dublin City Centre Hotel
Following another delicious breakfast, today you will bid farewell to the Emerald Isle. You will be transferred back to Dublin Airport for your onward flights.