The Wild Atlantic Way – Walking Holiday in Ireland
Tour Start Dates 2019 –
Dates: 2020 – May 11th, Jun 15th, Jul 13th, Aug 3rd, Sep 7th
Departure Location: Suffolk St – Dublin
Group Size: Small (Max 16)
The Wild Atlantic Way Tour – 7 or 15 Day
On this tour we have picked the best of the West of Ireland for you to explore and enjoy.
Our Wild Atlantic Way tour brings you to the most scenic and beautiful places for walking in all of Ireland from the hills of Wicklow to the lakes of Killarney, The trails on the Dingle to the wild of Connemara and into the hills and hidden Gems of Donegal.
There are also many soft adventure options activities you can do along the way such as horse riidng on IUnch beach, Kayak in the Lakes of Killarney or simply swim in the Wild Atlantic Ocean.
We will also visit many of Ireland’s famous landmarks and some not so well known such as old Norman Castles, Fairy rings, Ogham stones, stone circles, Dolmens and other evidence of this Island’s rich and curious past.
Highlights: Dublin, Cork, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Stone, Kerry, Dingle, Doolin, Clare, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Galway, Connemara, Mayo, Westport, Sligo, Donegal, hill walking, surfing, horse riding, kayaking, Coastal Walks, Sacred Hills, Celtic sites, Castles and the Best of Irish Music. It really is the best of Ireland.
Included in Cost:
o 6 or 14 nights in accommodation approved by Irish Tourist Board.
|Optional extras not covered in cost.
Your Guide will organise these for you.
Your adventure starts: 09:30am Pick up the city center Dublin – Molly Malone Statue on Suffolk St.
Day 1: Start of Tour, Visit the Rock of Cashel, Kiss the Blarney Stone, The Wild Atlantic Way, and stay in West Cork.
Morning /Afternoon: We will be traveling south west to County Cork and to the coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way. On the way there we will take one or two diversions to visit the amazing Rock of Cashel (truly one of Ireland’s Icons) and then to Blarney Castle to kiss a very important stone.
Evening: Eventually we make our way to West Cork where we be staying for the next two nights.
When we do arrive we can go for a bite to eat and relax in our wonderful surroundings.
Accommodation: We will be staying at the Seascape Guesthouse for the next 2 nights
Day 2: Walk on Sheep’s Head, West Cork, Guided walk
Glanlough Loop Walk: Walk 15Km, Ascent 350m, approx 5hrs.
Morning / Afternoon: This morning we will be making our way to one of the smaller peninsulas in this area called “the Sheep’s Head” and yes, there are many sheep. The walk is known as the Glanlough Loop and walks from one side of the peninsula to the next, giving you wonderful views of the surrounding coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. The walks on this Peninsula where created by the local farmers to bring more people into this area, they maintain the trails and are very welcoming to all guests in their small part of West Cork.
Evening: In the evening we will return to our accommodation, have a bite to eat and relax for the evening.
Day 3: Gougane Barra, Dingle, County Kerry, Unique Pubs with Irish Music.
Morning / Afternoon: After breakfast we will be traveling to the small town of Dingle in County Kerry. On the way we will visit Gougane Barra the 6th century monastic site of Saint Finbarr. The church sits in the most beautiful valley and we will have time to take a walk in this wonderful area.
“There is a green island in lone Gougane Barra,
Where Allua of songs rushes forth as an arrow;
In deep-valley’d Desmond – a thousand wild fountains
Come down to that lake from their homes in the mountains”.
Evening: Dingle or “An Daingean” which is its Gaelic and original name is a fantastic small village known for its small quaint pubs, live Irish music and relaxed atmosphere. There is plenty to see and do in his small town with great restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, craft stores etc. What it is really well know for though is its friendly dolphin called “Fungie” which has been in Dingle harbour for years and visited by thousands of curious guests. You may also be surprised when you enter a pub in Dingle that you can also buy a new pair of shoes or have your old ones mended.
Accommodation: We will be staying at the Dingle Harbour Lodge close to the center of Dingle town for the next 2 nights
Day 4: Mount Brandon, Irish explorer, Stay Dingle
Walk Mount Brandon Mountain, Visit the South Pole Inn Pub.
Mt Brandon walk: Linear Rtn – Walk 8Km 5hrs Ascent 750m, approx 4hrs.
Morning / Afternoon: After a hearty breakfast we will get ourselves ready for one of my favourite walks in this area, Mt Brandon. Which is named after Saint Brendan the voyager; some think he even got as far as North America.
“Is it right or left for Gibraltar”
“What track do I take for Mizen Head?”
“I’d love to settle down near Ventry Harbour”,
St. Brendan to his albatross he said. (St Brendan’s Voyage)
Mount Brandon is a blessed mountain and there is a pilgrim trail to its summit and is one if Ireland’s holiest locations. It is less than 1000m but even though it is a pilgrim walk it is quite a challenge. The walk will take about 4hrs and the views from its summit are breathtaking. From it you can see the Atlantic Ocean all around you, the Blasket Islands and Ireland’s highest Mountain range on the Iveragh Peninsula.
Alternative morning activity: You can also visit the Blasket Islands or do an ECO Tour in this area instead of the walk:(not included in cost but the guide will organize for you)
Afternoon: We will then take a short drive to Annascaul and visit Tom Crean’s South Pole pub for a refreshing pint. Tom Crean is a very famous explorer and went on expeditions to the South Pole with Shackleton and Scott. The book an “Unsung Hero” about Tom Crean is well worth a read and may help you enjoy the Dingle Peninsula even more.
Evening: In the evening when after we get back you have plenty of time to stroll around Dingle, visit some of the craft shops, enjoy a bite to eat and relax.
Day 5: Dingle, Ferry Across the Shannon and Cliffs of Moher.
Inch Beach, Doolin, Cliffs of Moher coastal walk, County Clare.
Morning: Today we visit one of the finest beaches in all of Ireland “Inch” Beach. There are many fine beaches on the Dingle Peninsula and this is probably the best of them all. Here you try your hand at some surfing, horse riding, swimming or just enjoy a fine beach walk.
Inch Beach is also home to where the infamous “Ryan’s Daughter” was filmed. Dusting off those cobwebs and taking a walk on this beautiful sandy beach, the same spot where Sarah Miles as Rosy Ryan met Robert Mitchum as Charles Shaughnessy, come here and share in their love story.
Afternoon: In the afternoon we will travel to the famous “Cliffs of Moher” and Doolin in County Clare. The small town of Doolin is another small fishing port town made famous by Its charm and Irish Music.
We will be taking a Ferry across the mouth of the river Shannon into County Clare and head north on one of the most scenic coast roads in Ireland with views out across the Atlantic Ocean.
“Take a view o’er the mountains, fine sights you’ll see there;
You’ll see high, rocky mountains on the west coast of Clare,
Oh, the towns of Kilkee and Kilrush can be seen,
From the high, rocky slopes ‘round the Cliffs of Dooneen.”
We will stop at the Cliffs of Moher and you can enjoy a beautiful coastal walk into Doolin approx 2hrs where we will be staying, a great way to arrive.
Evening: Doolin really is the capital of Irish music in the West of Ireland, a small and wonderful little village. So relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Accommodation: We will be staying at The Doolin Lodge in Doolin for the next 2 nights
Day 6: Doolin Co. Clare and the Aran Islands.
Cycle on the Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher Cruise
Today weather permitting we will visit one of the most spectacular places in all of Ireland the Aran Islands. We will take a Ferry from Doolin to Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands. This is a Gaeltacht area where Irish is still the main language. The Island is full of wonder and absolutely beautiful, I’m sure you will not want to leave. We will hire some bicycles, this is the best way to explore this island and we will visit the world heritage site of Dun Aonghasa Fort which stands over a dramatic 300 foot cliff.
After this we will all enjoy a 1 Hour Cruise underneath the stunning Cliffs Of Moher. The Cliffs Of Moher rise to a height of over 700ft/214 meters.
Evening: We will then get the Ferry back and relax for the rest of the evening in Doolin.
Day 7: Clifden, Connemara Co. Galway
The Burren Walk, Galway, Connemara, Clifden.
Walk in the Burren (Selection of Walks)
Morning: This morning we will visit one of the most incredible places to walk or visit in the west of Ireland “The Burren”. The Burren is a limestone karst whose flora are internationally famous, The bloody Cranesbill, mountain avens and spring gentians are among the many plants from the Arctic, Alps and Mediterranean which grow here..
For those of you on the 7 day tour we have to say goodbye and hope you enjoyed your tour with us. You will be brought to the Bus station in Galway where you can get a connecting bus back to Dublin or other location of choice.
For those of you on the 15 day tour some time to say goodbye to new friends you made and your adventure continues.
Afternoon: In the afternoon we will travel to Connemara which is the area that “the Quiet Man” and “the Field” where both filmed in and when you visit the place it will not be difficult to understand why.
We will stay in the unique accommodation; Dan O’Hara’s Homestead near the small fishing village of Clifden. A very unique experience with a local tour of the farm of Dan O Hara, who emigrated to America like so many Irish in the 1800s. This area holds a special place in anyone’s heart that has visited here and it captures the idea of Ireland that many visitors to Ireland have of what they would expect with small cottages, beautiful landscapes and undisturbed beauty. Clifden is renowned for it’s Oysters and holds an Oyster festival every year. So it is the right place to enjoy a few with a pint of Guinness, a very traditional Irish dish.
Evening: You could relax in the small cinema on the side of the guest house in the evening and watch either “The Quiet Man”, “The Matchmaker” or “The Field” which were all filmed in this area.
Accommodation: We will be staying at Dan O’ Haras Homestead in Connemara for the next 2 nights.
Day 8: Kylemore Abbey and Diamond Hill – Connemara
Connemara National Park, Walk Diamond Hill and visit Kylemore Abbey.
Walk type: moderate 3hrs.
Morning / Afternoon: To day we will walk Diamond Hill which sits in the Connemara National Park. It is a 7km loop walk with an ascent of 400m but from it’s summit you get commanding views of the Connemara mountains and it’s coastline.
After our walk we will visit Kylemore Abbey, the oldest of the Irish Benedictine abbeys on a lakeside which is infamous with the area of Connemara. The Benedictine nuns moved here in the 1920s from Belgium to escape the war. They had been in Ireland before but after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and the persecution of Catholics they moved to Belgium. The Castle we see today was or originally built by Mitchell Henry who used to some here for hunting and fishing and fell in love with the area.
Evening: Relax for the evening. Discover Clifden town.
Day 9: Walk Croagh Patrick or Cycle the Green Way. Matt Molloys Pub (Very Famous Irish music bar)
Morning / Afternoon: Today we will visit the town of Westport, voted Ireland’s best town.
You can’t mistake the peak of Croagh Patrick as it hovers above Clew Bay; this is the most sacred mountain in Ireland and legend has it, that this is where St. Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland. Croagh Patrick is walked as a pilgrimage in Ireland on the last Sunday of July and is known as the reeks walk. Don’t be fooled into thinking like many do that because this is a pilgrimage walk it is easy; it isn’t but it is well the effort.
Alternative activity: There are is choice of activities to do today, walk on Croagh Patrick or Cycle the new Greenway Cycle track where you can take a great bike ride all the way to Achill Island if you fancy.
The small town of Westport has been voted one of Ireland’s best locations. So after our walk or cycle we can take some time to relax and enjoy this town.
Evening: We will be staying in Westport this evening and plan on visiting Matt Molloys (former member of the Chieftains) Pub famous for its Irish Music
Accommodation: We will be staying at Achill Lodge on Achill Island for the next 2 nights
Day 10: Rest Day, This is your day to just relax and do whatever you would like to do. There are numerous things to do in Westport, it has also known as the adventure capital of Ireland. If you are not feeling too adventurous there are also many cafes, restaurants and pubs in this small town.
Day 11: County Sligo and Queen Meabh’s Tomb.
Morning / Afternoon: In the morning we move onto County Sligo. Sligo, one of the most scenically beautiful counties in Ireland and offers endless opportunities to walkers. The mountainous landscape, the bog lands, endless stretches of sandy beaches and forests.
We will walk Knocknarea, a tomb which folklore says was built for the mythical Iron Age Queen Maeve, whose father, the high king of Ireland, gave her Connacht as a gift.
We will also visit the Carrowmore Megalithic tombs – This is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also among the country’s oldest, with monuments ranging from five and a half thousand to six and a half thousand years old
Walk type: easy – moderate approx 2hrs
Alternative activity: Surfing in Sligo. There are many fine beaches in Sligo and it is the capital of surfing in Ireland.
You can also relax after your walk in a sea weed bath near the strand beach.
We will be Staying In Mullaghmore
Day 12: Yeats Grave, Lissadelle house, Glencar Watrefall, Walk on Benbulben
Morning: On the way to Glencar Waterfall and our walk on Benbulben we will also visit the grave of W.B. Yeat’s at Drumcliff.
Afternoon / Evening: We will visit Lissadell house the childhood home of Countess Constance Markievicz, patriot and first woman to be elected to the House of Commons at Westminster.
“I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me.” – Countess Markievicz, to the officer at Kilmainham Jail who had just informed her she was not to be executed for the part she had played in the 1916 rising on account of her sex.
Then we can relax after a long day.
Day 13: Donegal and GlenColmcille
Donegal, Slieve League Cliff walk, Glencolmcille.
Morning / Afternoon: We will travel onto Donegal
Walk the Slieve League Cliffs, they are the highest sea cliffs in Europe and an almost sheer drop of roughly 2,000 feet (600 m) separates the highest point of the cliffs from the raging Atlantic Ocean below.
This walk is weather permitting as it can get quite windy up there and if that is the case we will take another safer walk close by. Walk is moderate and approx 4hrs.
We will be staying in the heart of the Donegal Gealtacht (Irish speaking region)
Accommodation: Staying in Donegal Manor just outside Donegal town for the next 2 nights
Day 14: Glenveagh National Park, Glenveagh Castle, Ardra
Morning: Donegal sits in the far north west of Ireland and has some of the most amazing beaches and unspoilt scenery in all of Ireland. This morning we will visit one of the jewels of Donegal the Glenveagh National Park. This is Ireland’s second largest National Park and covers 170Km above Glenveagh Castle. The park also contains approx 100 hectures of natural and semi natural woodland.
Afternoon: After our walk we will take some time to visit the Castle at Glenveagh. Once owned by Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter of Harvard University who came to this area to study Irish archaeology. The castle is ideally located at the lake side and full of history.
Evening: This being our last evening together on the trip we can all go and enjoy a meal and take in some fine Irish music.
Then after a great breakfast we make our way back to Dublin via Derry in Northern Ireland. Derry or Doire is the Gaelic for Oak and was founded by one of our great Saints Colmcille. Today however Derry is a very lively city with great history and also one of the only remaining walled towns in Ireland. Although even with its recent troubles the people of Derry are some of the most welcoming and friendliest in all of Ireland and that’s saying something.
We can enjoy a Guided tour of this “walled city”, the only one in Ireland. before we have a bit to eat and make our way south back towards Dublin.
Sadly it’s time to say Goodbye to the West of Ireland and this wonderful adventure but hopefully you have collected some wonderful memories along the way and some new friends.
Slan agus beanncht
Here is a short list of extras you will need to bring along for this walking holiday.
N.B. Ireland’s climate is of a moderate type and suited to walking all year round. Although it is quite changeable so starting a walk on a fine clear morning may not be the case for the afternoon.
- Hill walking Boots
- Rucksack for walks (25L)
- Walking Trousers (Not Jeans)
- Waterproofs (Just in Case)
- Walking Socks
- Thermal top / T-shirt (Not Cotton)
- Sun Cream
About the walks and fitness levels:
The walks on this tour are of an easy type level with the option of soft adventures also.
All the walks are taken at a pace to suit the group.
The groups can range from 6 to 16 in size with a mixed level of fitness and age usually.
If the weather is to bad on a certain day to do the suggested walk, then the guide will suggest an alternative one.
The Guide will have the final say on the day of the chosen walk for the safety of the group.
We choose our accommodation very carefully and use a mix of quality Guest houses and hotels.
The accommodation we use are well used to us bringing them guests after a days walk and know that they somewhere comfortable to relax and freshen up.
Breakfasts are included and there is a wide selection to choose from including a Full Irish, fruit, cereals etc.
Lunches for the walks: We will stop in the mornings at Delis or shops to get these.
Evening Meals A known restaurant or Pub will be suggested for evening meals in the places and towns you visit.
“We toured the Wild Atlantic Way with Hilltop Treks in June of 2019 and had one of the most memorable experiences of our lifetime. The itinerary to the beautiful countryside gave us a real sense of our Irish heritage. The hikes, cycling and boat rides to well chosen sites as well as the pub visits provided a real Irish experience. Our guide, Hugh, was amazing. He couldn’t have been more knowledgeable, attentive and personable.”
Dick and Sally Lane