Duration: 6 night(s) From €5,250
Trip created by Dawn Rainbolt
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Ireland has a long and storied history, with Neolithic peoples, Vikings, Normans and more calling this little island their home. Ireland’s Neolithic inhabitants, who lived here some 5,000 years ago, had great respect for astrology and the changing of seasons, with many of monuments aligned with the winter solstice or other similar events. To them, as to us today, the journey is just as important as the destination, with ancient pilgrimages to tombs and religious sites an important part of life in Neolithic Ireland. On this winter journey, visit some of the sites and places that these ancient peoples once built and revered.
This private departure trip is ideal for anyone looking to visit Ireland in the off season, preferring to travel with friends and family rather than join a group departure. On this trip you will meet local experts, learn about Irish history, enjoy Irish traditions, and explore the beauty of short, crisp days in Ireland during winter. If desired, it can be adapted for other seasons, though it is designed to take advantage of historic and cultural experiences best suited to winter.
Where else to start your tour of Ancient Ireland but in Dublin? A settlement for over a 1,000 years, wander the streets of Dublin with an expert historian to bring this vibrant city to life from the Celts and Vikings through the Normans, Middle Ages, to more recent rebellions and the War of Independence to modern times.
Optional upgrade: Visit the National Museum of Archaeology with an expert archeologist who will interpret the artefacts housed in National Museum’s extensive collection.
A tour of ancient Ireland wouldn’t be complete with discovering the sacred site of the Rock of Cashel. A fortified monastery built right into the bedrock, there are many stories and myths about this great place. Some say the Devil himself caused the rock underneath Cashel to land there, thrown by Satan from the nearby Devil’s Bit Mountain after St Patrick banished him. After our visit, we continue onwards to the Kingdom of Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry is renowned throughout the world, and can be quite busy in the summer months. However during winter, Kerry’s roads and trails are quiet and peaceful. Today, you’ll head off the beaten path to sites that show some of the world’s best Celtic rock art with the archaeologist who first documented them. With the archeologist, explore these ancient sites and learn how early Christians integrated them into the fabric of medieval churches.
The Beara Peninsula is perhaps one of Kerry’s best hidden gems. Hiking this unspoilt land, you’ll visit some of the lesser-known Neolithic and ancient sites of the Beara Peninsula. In our eyes, some of these little-known sites are even more spectacular ones – be it the tallest Ogham Stone in Europe, one of the spectacular stone circles, or the impressive tombs.
Today, you’ll head north into the beautiful County Clare, home to gems such as the Burren National Park, the Cliffs of Moher, and a stunning coastal landscape. The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most famous cliffs and certainly one of Ireland’s most iconic coastlines. Winter is a wonderful time to visit as few other tourists will be hiking along the cliffs at this time of year, so you’ll be able to marvel at the view on your own without sharing it!
The Burren’s rocky alien landscape is said to be the inspiration for Middle Earth in JRR Tolkien’s world-famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. Meeting with a passionate, world-renowned archeologist, get ready to explore this other-worldly region. Home to a plethora of unique wildflowers, including some 40 species of orchids, you will learn about the human history of the area, dating back thousands of years. Your guide will chose from a number of different routes to suit your preferences and make the most of the Burren’s lunar landscape.
This morning, your guide will take you to the bustling town of Galway, where you can choose to explore Galway or make your way onwards.
This trip features Deluxe standard accommodations chosen for their excellent luxury, location and comfort. Expect high-end, comfortable and characterful lodging in luxurious guesthouses, boutique hotels and historic manor-houses.
Accommodation is a choice of double or twin rooms, which are en-suite with a shower. Evening meals will be taken either in local towns, which offer a good choice of restaurants to suit every taste, or perhaps in a different location along the route depending on the day’s activities
From scuba diving to motorbikes to hiking, Louise is no stranger to adventure! Born and raised in County Sligo, Louise has a love for Ireland’s West Coast u2013 particularly the northwest. Joining the Wilderness Ireland team in 2017 as an Adventure Consultant, Louise is one of the team’s expert trip designers u2013 ready to help you explore Ireland’s wild places! When not at work, Louise can usually be found underwater exploring Ireland’s unique coastlines or else zipping through the countryside on her motorbike!
- Louise KavanaghAsk Louise a Question
At your Own Pace
Private Departures trips are designed with guided activity experiences tailored to your own personal activity level. They allow you to discover Ireland with one-to-one meet ups with local guides, artisans, characters and experts who can lead you through activities and hikes at you own pace. They also include overnight stops at the very best local 4 and/or 5 star accommodations. Though each day’s activity is planned, private trips are meant to be enjoyed at your own pace.
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