Duration: 5 night(s) From €4,695
Trip created by Dawn Rainbolt
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Did you know that that Halloween can trace its roots back to Ireland? Halloween originates from an ancient pagan festival called Samhain (pronounced “saw-when”), which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It’s also the time of year when the ancient Celtic peoples believed that the door between our world and the “other” world was open. So you wore disguises, left out offerings and played tricks to make sure that the spirits didn’t spirit you off to the other world!
Leave the summer crowds behind and visit Ireland at the most fascinating – and spookiest – time of year. This autumn, visit Ireland to discover the origins of Halloween.
Arriving in Dublin, discover the roots of this great city with a historian who will introduce you to all of Dublin’s traditional sights – as well as Dublin’s spookier underbelly. Dublin has a long and troubled history – get acquainted with this cosmopolitan city through those who have called Dublin home, from the Celts, Vikings and Normans, to early Christians and the Middle Ages through the various rebellions, the Victorian era, the finally Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Troubles.
*Optional Upgrade: After-hours visit to the Little Museum. Things are always a bit more spooky after dark – learn the history of the people of 20th century Dublin with a private visit led by the curator.
Egypt’s not the only place for mummies – Dublin has mummies too! From the creepy half-forgotten crypt underneath St Michan’s Church to accidental mummies of a cat and rat in the Christ Church Cathedral or even the ancient but well-preserved bog bodies at the National Archeology Museum, Dublin is full of mummies. Any visit to Ireland near Halloween should include at least one cemetery. With a passionate local historian, wander the rows of tombstones through the massive Glasnevin Cemetery in the oldest section of the graveyard.
*Trips at the end of October: The Bram Stoker festival
Leading up to Halloween, Dublin hosts a spectacular festival centred around Irish horror writer and inventor of “Count Dracula,” Bram Stoker. Combine Dublin’s mummies with the brilliant Bram Stoker Festival and its wealth of Stoker- and Dracula-related events from concerts to readings, films, even séances!
Heading west, leave the city behind to head into the quiet, desolate landscapes of the Midlands. County Roscommon’s ancient site at Rathcroghan are where the ancient kings of Connacht where once crowned. Off the traditional tourist path, head down a tiny laneway to find the entrance to a cave that is reputed to be the Gateway to the Otherworld, or the Gateway to Hell. Spend the rest of the afternoon in fascinating Galway, where we join the festive seasonal atmosphere just in time to experience the famous Macnas Halloween Parade,* full of brilliant costumes, fireworks, music, street food, and dance, creating a magical-realist world brimming with fizzing light, and infusing the streets with spices and aromas.
*Trips at the end of October:
The Macnas Halloween parade is an annual parade that takes place on a weekend preceding Halloween through the cobbled streets of Galway. Time your trip right to join in the festivities of this iconic parade!
Leaving the city behind, we head for the wilds of Connemara. Though a popular place to visit in summer months, by autumn it’s likely that we’ll have much of the wilds to ourselves. Heading to the Connemara seashore, you’ll join a seashore foraging expert to learn about the Atlantic Coast’s edible seaweeds. Later, we visit a shellfish farm to learn about aquaculture in Connemara and taste some of fresh seafood dishes incorporating seafood grown on the farm as well as sea plants foraged along the shore.
*Optional Upgrade: Tour & Taste in a poitín distillery. The first Galway-based distillery to open in 100+ years, learn the history of poitín, whiskey and gin, discovering the traditional roots behind Irish poitín as well as what makes this poitín so unique.
The Hill of Uisneach in the heart of Ireland has played a part in almost all of significant events in Ireland, be it political, cultural, religious, mythological and geographical. In many ways, the Hill of Uisneach is the epicentre of Ireland, and is still revered as an ancient sacred site. The centre of Ireland in many ways, the enigmatic hill is one of the most sacred and historic sanctuaries in the world. The view from the top of Uisneach is both beautiful and far-reaching. Immerse yourself in Ireland’s fascinating ancient history by visiting the Hill of Uisneach with a local expert and archeologist who will bring to life the history of this long-sacred place.
Your final day, enjoy a leisurely morning and breakfast at your accommodation in Dublin before heading home or continuing onwards to your next destination.
While visiting Ireland, expect Deluxe level of accommodation u2013 relax in boutique hotels, stately guesthouses, and beautiful manors. Each Deluxe accommodation has been chosen for its high comfort standards and service, its scenic location and its lovely amenities.
On this deluxe tour, partake in all of the excitement of a hiking adventure paired with the comfort and luxuriousness of deluxe accommodations. More than just a place to sleep, your accommodations play an active role in your Irish experience.
This trip features optional upgrades as well as seasonal activities. These additional experiences are designed to enhance your trip, though bear in mind that they incur an additional fee.
See below for optional upgrades:
An avid cyclist and hiker, Patricia enjoys exploring Ireland’s wild landscapes every chance she gets u2013 she particularly loves the under-appreciated regions of Mayo, Connemara, Sligo and Donegal. Having spent nearly a decade in the hospitality industry, Patricia is an expert on Ireland’s luxury and unique accommodations. As Wilderness Ireland’s General Manager and head of the sales team, Patricia is ready to help make your Irish adventure spectacular!
- Patricia DoeAsk Patricia 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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