I had some trouble navigating the website and didn’t see all available trips in 2021 during my original scouting mission. If my memory is right, you don’t specify year (ie 2021) with your listings. It might help. Also there were some dead links for the East/Sleep pdf’s for Sligo and Dublin, but you know about that. On the other hand, I was very happy with the communications I had with the office.
This was obviously a tricky trip for you all to pull off, with Covid restrictions in flux and still blocking some kinds of interactions. In some ways, things were better than they might have been without the restrictions. Liam Fahy is truly a gifted leader - his sense of humor, great organization and broad knowledge were terrific assets to our positive experience. But we also got lucky in being “relegated” to the 2nd vehicle, made necessary by restrictions. Justin (whose surname I’ve forgotten), Sammy of “Sammy’s Taxi” in Bushmills and most especially Donal Skelly, from Moville, really added to our positive experience by giving extra perspectives. Donal, by the way, is an amazing tour leader himself. If we return to Inishowen in the future, we’d likely sign up to do a driving tour with him for a day or two.
The stay at the Causeway Hotel was a highlight for me - I was able to get up early and visit the beach at sunrise, with no one else there. It was magical, but in terms of group activities I think Malin Head and the beclouded visit to the Slieve League cliffs (sp?) were my favorite walks. Still, I’d do any of them again in a heartbeat and only regret we weren’t doing a 2nd week of walks like a couple of our group-mates.
Accommodation & Food
I do note that we added to the trip late, and that Covid restrictions were also in place, so these comments are made in that context. The quality of the food was generally excellent - I’d put in particularly high praise for dinner at Redcastle. Breakfasts were uniformly terrific. I fell in love with Irish porridge. My one regret is that there weren’t more Irish specialties on the menus - but still we ate very well.
For lodging, all sites were more than comfortable, and I enjoyed staying at the Causeway Hotel and Nesbitt Arms. Given Covid restrictions, they performed extremely well. I wasn’t fond of the Redcastle hotel. “Golf and Spa” didn’t really match my interests, and there wasn’t much to do - the beach was short and suffered from decaying sea walls and trash behind the hotel (and as good as the dinner was, it didn’t need to be that good). The nearby pub was a find, but I’d have enjoyed being in Moville or Greencastle where the Foyle walk would have given some easy access to outdoors.
I can’t say enough in Liam’s favor. It must have been a tricky trip to coordinate, but it went off flawlessly. In the meantime, he was able to rise high above the organizational challenges and make the trip special. His sense of humor and patience are boundless. His storytelling (Finn McCool’s doings especially) and knowledge of Irish/world politics and culture combined to provide a depth to the experience that was a treasure. Oh, and let me say that Liam has inspired me to put more energy into reading poetry. His recitations of Heaney and Yeats were moving. The trip was such a welcome relief from the last many months, but Liam created a lifetime event for us at a moment where much less would still have been a joy. I can’t express my appreciation enough.
The Bottom Line
For this particular trip, I’d recommend it to family groups like ours - with mixed hiking experience. Only the final hike had any real challenge to it (and then, not too severe), but the scenery and varied views provided a big pay off for modest effort. Also, I haven’t mentioned it earlier, but the limited group size is a big selling point. I am confident we’ll do other trips with you all, either in Ireland or Scotland. I don’t imagine we’ll be looking at any one else’s!