Day 1 – Dublin
Welcome to Ireland’s capital city, Dublin or in Gaelic, Dubhlinn referring to the black pool that lies beneath the grounds of Dublin Castle. The original castle was built during the Medieval period, which forms a significant part of the city’s chequered history from its establishment by the Vikings at the end of the 9th century, through the splendor of the Georgian period and on to the conflicts of the War of Independence and the Civil War. Dublin today is a welcoming intimate city that blends its modern outlook with its colourful past.
Overnight: Dublin (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 2 –Donegal Region
Depart for the North West of Ireland and Donegal from where you will join the Wild Atlantic Way route. This breath-taking county promises wild landscapes blanketed in bog and heather, isolated white sandy beaches and a roughly hewn coastline. Meet the locals and dine in some of the county’s cosy little pubs. Continue on to Inishowen Peninsula, located on one of the most northerly tips of Ireland for overnight.
Overnight: Inishowen Peninsula, Donegal (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 3 – Inishowen Peninsula
Today tour around the Inishowen Peninsula where filming of Star Wars Episode VIII centred around a deep chasm known as Hell’s Hole, which has been carved into the rock over millions of years by the fierce Atlantic, which roars below. Hell’s Hole is located near Banba’s Crown, which is at the the tip of Malin Head. It was from Banba’s Crown that the Marconi Company sent the first commercial message by wireless. From this windy perch you can look out towards Inishtrahull Island and, on a good day, Scotland.
Overnight: Overnight: Inishowen Peninsula, Donegal (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 4 – Sligo
Today, travel south through Donegal and perhaps visit the stunning Glenveagh National Park with its 10,000 hectares of mountains, lakes, glens and woods with a red deer herd. You can also visit Glenveagh Castle, a wonderful Scottish Baronial style Castle, which was inhabited until the mid ’80’s and has welcomed many famous guests such as Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe.
Continue on to Sligo also known as Yeats Country as the scenery inspired many of the great works of W.B. Yeats, the Nobel Prize winning Irish writer. At Parkes Castle you can depart for a cruise on Lough Gill (an inspiration for some of Yeat’s poetry) on the Rose of Innisfree tourboat where the captain will regale you with some of Yeats poems.
Sligo is also famed for its beaches and Surfing at places such as Strandhill and Mullaghmore or you could always indulge yourself by taking a rejuvenating traditional seaweed bath. These therapeutic baths are available at award- winning Voya Seaweed Baths at Strandhill, and the Edwardian Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths at Enniscrone.
Overnight: Sligo / Mayo (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 5 – Galway
Travel South via Leenane to see the unspoilt beauty of Connemara, a place of contrasts, colours, and wilderness that stretches from the bogs and lakes of the Gaelic speaking South Connemara, to the mountain vistas of the Twelve Bens in North and West Connemara. Stop off just outside Leenane and take a spectacular cruise along Ireland’s only fjord aboard Killary Cruises’ “The Connemara Lady “, travelling along the 16 km long inlet with a depth of up to 45m.
Continue to Clifden, the largest town in Connemara and stop off at Kylemore Abbey, set in a dramatic landscape.
Originally built as a private home in 1868, it became home to the Irish order of Benedictine nuns who still live there today. Explore the visitor centre, part of the house and the beautifully restored Victorian walled garden. Nearby Creggan Village you could enjoy a walk on the unique tidal island of Omey which is accessible on foot or even by car two hours before low water & high water (check tides beforehand on sailing.ie). South of Clifden in Ballyconneely the spectacular Connemara Championship Golf Club will test the ardent golfer on its links course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Drop into the nearby family run Connemara Smokehouse where you can find a range of award winning wild, organic, and farmed, smoked salmon & seafood. You could continue to the fishing village of Roundstone to sample some locally caught Lobster or crab. While there check out Ireland’s foremost
Bodhran maker, Malachy Kearns, at Roundstones Musical instruments and learn about the art of creating this unique traditional Irish instrument.
If you are looking for entertainment near Galway City, Trad on the Prom show runs three times weekly during the summer months, one of Ireland’s best known music, song and dance experiences celebrating the passion of Ireland’s past with a contemporary production.
Overnight: Galway (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 6 – Clare
This morning take to the streets of the City of the Tribes, Galway, one of the most popular and lively cities in Ireland. From the centuries old Claddagh area to the pedestrianized streets of pubs and restaurants and the seafront Promenade of Salthill, Galway has so much to offer the visitor. It hosts a myriad of festivals and events every summer such as the Galway Arts festival and the famous Galway Races. Then travel to County Clare and along the Black Head coastal route and discover the unique lunar-like landscape of the Burren. The Burren, is a Karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq. km, which consists of imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. On route why not stop at the Cafe Linnalla where they serve fresh handmade Ice Cream with milk and cream from their shorthorn cows on their family farm. Continue to the world famous Cliffs of Moher.
These impressive cliffs rise to a height of 700 feet above the sea and stretch for a distance of about 5 miles along the coast.
Overnight: Clare (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 7 – Loop Head, Clare
The Victorian Lighthouse at Loop Head is also a filming location of Star Wars Episode VIII. Let your journey take you off the beaten track along Loop Head Drive on Loop Head peninsula to see the views from the Loop Head Lighthouse.Loop Head is a slender finger of land pointing out to sea from the most westerly point of County Clare, on Ireland’s Atlantic coast. Loop Head epitomizes what the Wild Atlantic Way is about: panoramic cliff views, abundant local seafood, your choice of aquatic activities, and plenty of quiet beauty spots where you can pause and wonder at this unforgettable part of the world.
As a real treat, why not stay in the nearby the 19th Century Light keepers House, where 5 people can stay and from where it’s a great place to spot swooping puffins or dolphins bobbing in the waters below.
Overnight: Clare (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 8 – Kerry & Dingle Peninsula
Take the 20 minute Shannon Car ferry ride from Killimer to Tarbert and cross one of Europe’s longest and deepest estuaries.
Twenty kilometres east of Tarbert along the Shannon estuary is the unique visitor attraction, Foynes Flying Boat Museum. From 1939 to 1945 Foynes was the centre of the aviation world for air traffic between the United States and Europe and the museum recalls this era with a comprehensive range of exhibits and graphic illustrations. The museum features the original Terminal Building including the authentic 1940’s cinema; the Radio and Weather Rooms, complete with transmitters, receivers and Morse code equipment. Irish Coffee was invented in Foynes. Chef Joe Sheridan made the first one in 1942 to warm up some damp and miserable passengers. Since then Irish coffee has become one the most popular welcoming drinks in the world.
Continue to Tralee and head west to the stunningly beautiful Dingle Peninsula, a Gaelic speaking area and where you will find some of the finest coastal scenery in Ireland and is also famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savouring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful charming pubs, narrow streets and busy harbour. From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. And continue on to the spectacular Sybil Head (Ceann Sibeal) where parts of Star Wars Episode Vlll was filmed.
The cliff at Sybil Head has a sheer drop of nearly 700 feet and the nearby Sybil Head Tower was built just before 1880, as a consequence of fear of an imminent Napoleonic invasion of England – using Ireland as a back door.
Overnight: Kerry (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 9 – Ring of Kerry & Skellig Michael Heritage Centre
Travelling along the Ring of Kerry stop off at Valentia Island where you can visit the Skellig Experience, a heritage centre dedicated to life on the Skellig islands. The Skellig Islands are found 12km off the coast of Kerry. The larger Island, Skellig Michael, an UNESCO World Heritage site, was a monastic site occupied from the 6th until the 12th century. Boat trips to see Skellig Michael depart from the nearby harbour. For a unique chocolate experience stop off at Balinskelligs to visit the family run Skelligs Chocolate factory on the edge of the Atlantic. Continue to Waterville, home to superb golf courses and excellent sea trout and salmon angling. Further on the Ring of Kerry route, you will find Derrynane House, which was the home of Catholic emancipator Daniel O’Connell (1775- 1847). An impressive speaker, he was Ireland’s first Catholic MP. O’Connell was born into a very old, wealthy Irish family who had made their fortune through smuggling and trading. Ironically, these illegal gains enabled Daniel O’Connell to pursue a career in law and politics. The charming house has been carefully restored and includes many unique pieces of furniture, silverware and possessions. The 120 hectares of parkland around the house form part of the Derrynane National Park and are worth a visit. Kenmare is the next stop, an attractive town associated with the Lace industry in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Alternative Day 9 – Skellig Michael
Weather permitting and subject to availability, why not visit the spectacular Skellig Michael which featured in the closing scenes of Star Wars Episode Vll – The Force Awakens.
The Skellig Rocks, Skellig Michael (also known as Great Skellig) and Little Skellig, are towering sea crags rising from the Atlantic Ocean almost 12 kilometres west of the Ivereagh Peninsula in County Kerry. Located at the western edge of the European landmass, Skellig Michael was the chosen destination for a small group of ascetic monks who, in their pursuit of greater union with God, withdrew from civilisation to this remote and inaccessible place. Sometime between the sixth and eight centuries, a monastery was founded on this precipitous rock giving rise to one of the most dramatic examples of the extremes of Christian monasticism. The well-preserved monastic remains have retained a strong spiritual after-life which appeals strongly to the human psyche. Visitors cannot but be awestruck by the physical achievements of these early monks which, when combined with the sense of solitude, ocean and bird sounds evokes a quiet sense of magic.
Skellig Michael is also one of Ireland’s most important sites for breeding seabirds both in terms of size of colonies and diversity of species.
In 1996 UNESCO inscribed the island of Skellig Michael onto the World Heritage List in recognition of its outstanding universal value.
Note: Currently visitor numbers are limited to 180 per day and boats are only allowed to dock between May and October. You need good quality walking boots and bring your own packed lunch.
Boats leave from Knightstown (Valentia), Portmagee, Ballinskelligs and Caherdaniel, all on the Ring of Kerry. The island is 11.6 km from the mainland and the boat trip takes between 45 minutes and a little over two hours, depending on the point of departure. Sea conditions can be rough and those who suffer from sea-sickness or who dislike open boats should only make the journey in fine weather.
Overnight: Ring of Kerry (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 10 – West Cork & The Mizen Peninsula
This morning we travel further south, passing through the market town of Kenmare and the spectacular Healy Pass road across the Caha Mountain range which runs along the Cork/Kerry border. Driving through Bantry and Durrus and on to Brow Head, just south of Crookhaven Village, around 4km east of Mizen Head where Star Wars Episode Vlll was filmed.
Visit the Mizen Head Signal Station, which is open to the public for the first time since it was completed in 1910. The Mizen Vision Visitor Centre in the Keeper’s House and the Engine Room, the famous Suspension Bridge, the 99 Steps and the views up the South and West Coasts combined with the exhilaration and excitement of the wild Atlantic waves and ancient tortured rocks guarantee a unique and authentic experience.
Overnight: West Cork area (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 11 – Dublin
This morning visit the famous Victorian English Market in Cork City centre which is a covered market for fish, fruit & veg, breads and cheese and much more. The origins of the market can be traced back to James 1st in 1610, but the present building dates from 1786. Before departing Cork why not Ring the world famous Shandon Bells in the tower of St Annes Church. Depart for Dublin.
Continue via Ireland’s Golden Vale region in Cork and Tipperary where much of the country’s cattle heard is reared on the fertile land to produce Ireland’s high quality Beef and Dairy products. Stop in Cashel town to visit the famous Rock of Cashel. One of the most photographed sites in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel towers over the town from its perch on a 200-foot high outcrop of limestone. Once the seat of the Kings of Munster. St. Patrick visited the rock in 450, while Brian Boru was crowned the first high King of Ireland here in the tenth century. Continue to Dublin for the last evening of your tour. Option Irish House Party or Merry Ploughboys
Overnight: Dublin (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Day 12 – Depart Dublin
Slán Abhaile. Transfer to Dublin Airport for your flight.
Star Wars & The Wild Atlantic Way
|11 Nights In Mixed Accommodation (excluding transport)||
Twin Per Person
Triple per person
|January – April & October – December||
|May – September||