Duration: 6 night(s) From €1,400
Trip created by Patricia Doe
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Ireland’s west coast landscapes of Connemara, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher on the Wild Atlantic Way have inspired visitors for generations – including fantasy giant JRR Tolkien, who took inspiration from the Burren’s alien landscapes for Middle Earth.
On this self drive trip on the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll stand at the edge of the world overlooking incredible ocean vistas from the Cliffs of Moher, hike through the fascinating geological landscapes of the Burren, and explore ancient monuments and wild bogs in Connemara. The cheery town of Dingle has been a magnet for artists and craftsmen, creating a microcosm of local artwork.
Not only are Connemara and Dingle beautiful, but their rural communities are also some of Ireland’s last bastions of Irish tradition such as cuisine, music, dance and even the Gaelic language.
On our Self Drive trips, enjoy the flexibility to travel at your own pace as well as benefit from passionate, local guides on certain days (marked G) who will interpret the landscape and introduce you to the culture and history of Ireland. Leave the planning and reservations to us – we’ve identified the very best of each region to get a great sampling of the nature, history and culture of Ireland. Hikes and other outdoor activities are matched to your ability levels. Minimum group size is 2. Prices based on 4 people.
Start your Wild Atlantic Way self drive trip off with a treat, feasting your eyes upon the breathtaking shores of one of Ireland’s only three fjords before heading to the expanses of Connemara. Once described as “a savage beauty” by author Oscar Wilde, explore the wild, windswept region. Stops include a sheep farm and a neo-gothic abbey before hiking in the Connemara National Park. (B)
Explore the ancient mysteries of Connemara with a local archeologist who will bring the landscape, traditions and mythology of the region alive. Our route takes us to a hauntingly beautiful island where you’ll hear tales of pirates and invasions. Be sure to taste some of the spectacular local seafood in an idyllic island pub. (B,G)
With its cobbled pavement and street performers, Galway is the west coast’s most vibrant urban centre and a great place to visit. As you continue your adventure south, visit such places as botanical perfumeries, perfectly preserved historic cottages complete with thatched roofs and turf fires or short hikes to breathe some of Europe’s freshest air right off the Atlantic! (B)
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 – and on your guided hike through this other-worldly region, it’s easy to see why! Home to a plethora of unique wildflowers, you will learn about the human history of the area dating back thousands of years. (B,G)
Start your day off at the beloved Cliffs of Moher before the crowds arrive, enjoying a walk along the dramatic cliff edge on a background of coastal panoramas. Explore one of Kerry’s best-kept secret beaches, and keep an eye out for dolphins and other marine animals. End your day in the colourful Dingle town, an artisan’s paradise. (B)
The best way to discover the best of the Dingle Peninsula? By boat, of course! Spend the day with a charismatic wildlife expert boating around Slea Head and the Blasket Islands, an abandoned archipelago famous for rich literary heritage and unique cultural insight about life in Ireland’s westernmost fringes. Spot seabirds and marine wildlife such as whales, seals and porpoises – or even Dingle’s most famous resident, the dolphin! (B,G)
Today, say goodbye to the wilds of Dingle and the Wild Atlantic Way. From here, you may head straight to the airport – we will provide interesting stops along the way. Alternatively, why not combine this itinerary with Kerry, West Cork & the Haven Coast and enjoy another fantastic week in Ireland! (B)
This self drive trip features classic accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort. Expect small, comfortable and characterful lodgings. You will have the choice between cosy B&Bs or 3-star family-run hotels or guesthouses, with options and in towns or rural communities. Accommodation rooming is a choice of double or twin rooms, which are en-suite with a shower.
This itinerary is designed to start and finish at Dublin Airport, but can be easily be paired with other self-drive trips such as Ireland’s Surf Coast to Westport or Kerry, West Cork & the Haven Coast. Detailed driving directions during the trip will be provided as part of your information pack.
An avid cyclist and hiker, Patricia enjoys exploring Ireland’s wild landscapes every chance she gets – 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!
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At your Own Pace
Discovery journeys are self-drive with personal activity experiences tailored to your own personal activity level. They allow you to discover Ireland with one-to-one meet ups with local guides 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 5 star accommodations. For the days you are self-guided, we will provide you with suggestions of places to stop, eat and things to see along with maps and directions.
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