Duration: 6 night(s) From €2,000
Trip created by Erin Elliott
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Perhaps the Wild Atlantic Way’s least-visited region, the Surf Coast of Sligo and Mayo are as wild and dramatic as they are laid-back and carefree.
Once home and muse to WB Yeats, Ireland’s national poet, Sligo is also home to a plethora of ancient monuments and tombs from the Neolithic era – older than the Pyramids of Giza! Explore the mysteries and mythologies connected with Ireland’s northwest as you travel through this little-known but wonderful region.
On this self drive trip, you’ll hike Ireland’s only roadless hills, paddle the gentle waters of one of Ireland’s most breathtaking lakes and cycle along Ireland’s first greenway. Your trip along the Wild Atlantic Way will end in a bustling market town reminiscent of a bygone Ireland.
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.
It’s easy to see how the windswept landscapes of Sligo captured the imagination of Irish national poet WB Yeats. Explore the hidden gems of this quiet corner of Ireland, such as a hike at the foot of iconic Ben Bulben Mountain or a visit to the childhood home of a famous Irish revolutionary and suffragette. Great local seafood and secret sand beaches are icing on the cake. (B)
The inlets around Sligo Bay make for some excellent kayaking. With your private kayak guide, take to the water to paddle some of our favourite local routes to visit a seal colony with picturesque views of Knocknarea Mountain topped with its enormous megalithic cairn or explore the ancient forests and secluded islands of Lough Gill, nestled in some of Europe’s most ancient mountains. Sligo is a hub of traditional Irish music and it is well worth venturing into town this evening to find a session and a pint! (B,G)
Leave the hub of Sligo behind, heading towards the wilds of North Mayo. We’ll recommend amazing experiences such as an authentic seaweed bath – complete with original cast iron tubs – which will feel all the more indulgent after a hike in the ancient hills of the Ox Mountains. Along the way, learn about how millennia of human interaction have shaped Ireland’s landscapes, visit dramatic blow holes and stand atop wild cliffs in this forlorn but breathtaking region. (B)
With a local guide, explore the area on a day hike through some of Ireland’s most wild and untouched scenery. There are a range of options to suit all experience levels but our favourite is possibly Ireland’s most spectacular coastal walk. Along the way, learn about the fascinating flora of Ireland’s blanket bog landscape and brush up on your Irish mythology with the ancient story of the Children of Lir, who were turned into swans for 900 years. Best part is you’ll have it all to yourself! (B,G)
The vibrant market town of Westport lies at the edge of the Wild Nephin wilderness and on the shores of Clew Bay, known for the hundreds of tiny islands created by glaciers millennia ago. A bustling regional hub and host to some of Ireland’s most musical pubs, you might like to arrive in town early to explore the colourful streets and visit some fantastic shops and artisans! Or opt for the scenic route for a more leisurely journey along the coast and into town.(B)
Part of a project to restore abandoned railway tracks, the Great Western Greenway was refurbished as a car-free cycling track. Learn about the prophecy relating to the “carts on iron wheels” carrying “the souls of islanders on the first and last journey.” Pedal past rushing waterfalls, ancient ruins, megalithic tombs and scenic bridges on a canvas of coastal and mountain views as you learn how this fascinating prophecy came to be true. Enjoy as much of the 42 km Great Western Greenway as you’d like as we’ll arrange a return transfer back to town. (B,G)
Today, say goodbye to the wilds of the west coast of Ireland. From here, you may head straight to the airport – we will provide interesting stops along the way. Alternatively, why not combine this itinerary with Connemara, Dingle and the Cliff Coast and enjoy another fantastic week in Ireland! (B)
This self drive trip is graded Deluxe, meaning you can expect 4* and 5* hotels. This itinerary features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service, amenities and comfort. Expect comfort, character and luxury in some of Ireland’s most beautiful and sought-after castles, manors, deluxe guesthouses and boutique hotels. Each traveller has a choice of double or twin rooms, all of which are en-suite with a shower.
Each morning, enjoy a hearty homemade breakfast of your choice at your accommodation. We’ll provide local recommendations for afternoon and evening meals in each town or region as well as wilderness picnics for those days spent in the great outdoors.
This itinerary is designed to start and finish at Dublin Airport or to be joined up with our other self-drive trips such as the Belfast, Giant’s Causeway & Donegal or Connemara, Dingle & the Cliffs of Moher itineraries. Detailed driving directions during the trip will be provided as part of your information pack.
Originally hailing from the wilds of Canada, Erin was drawn to Ireland’s emerald hills, rugged coasts and big waves in 2014 to surf, practice yoga and travel. Joining Wilderness Ireland in 2017, Erin draws from her own experiences travelling and living in North America and Ireland to create magical Ireland adventures. From Donegal to Clare to Cork, Erin knows all the best spots along the Wild Atlantic Way!
- Erin ElliottAsk Erin a Question
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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