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Walking Ireland - Northern Gem - 9 Days

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Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
9 days
From: $ 1,840 $ 204 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Galway City
  • Connemara
  • Moutain of Croagh Patrick
  • Westport
  • Donegal
  • Glenveagh National Park
  • Giant’s Causeway

Short Description

Welcome to our Northern Gem! We meet in Galway where you gather with your fellow adventurers. You will then begin an adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Without delay, you experience one of Ireland’s natural wonders - Connemara. The contrasting scenery of mountains, lakes and the Atlantic Ocean make Connemara one of the most scenic areas in Ireland. You have two days to explore this area. We then move north along the West coast of Ireland stopping in Sligo before heading for Donegal - home to Ireland’s highest sea cliffs, Slieve League. Donegal is Ireland's hidden gem and personally one of my favorite places. We spend a few days here to explore the region. From Donegal, you travel into "the Six Counties". This is a historic area with a turbulent past. No need to worry though, there has been peace in Northern Ireland for 18 years. You will visit Derry city and walk the walls before visiting Dunluce Castle and the scenic area of Ballintoy. Ballintoy was used as the location of Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke in the second season of television series, Game of Thrones. Prepare for fantastic scenery as we hike from Ballintoy to the Giants Causeway. The walk itself is filled with breathtaking scenery which leads to the unique experience of the Giants Causeway. This is a UNESCO world heritage site made of 40,000 basalt columns formed 60 million years ago. View this unique geological phenomenon and learn the local legends. When planning a walking holiday in Ireland you only need to contact Extreme Ireland.

Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Trip Type Vacation / Holiday Package
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic - 2 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City Galway
End City Galway

Trip Includes

  • 8 hearty Irish breakfasts
  • 8 nights of cute & quirky quality accommodation while on tour
  • 9 full days of pure adventure The best & friendliest guides in the business All your tour transport for 9 days Most of your site and attraction entrance fees Experiences, memories, and laughs that will stay with you forever!

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Galway - City/Town Tour

City/Town Tour. You will meet up with your fellow adventurers in Galway city. You will have a few hours to spend in Galway to do some shopping or enjoy the many sights this wonderful city has to offer. Galway is the most bohemian city in Ireland, a magnet for musicians, poets and dramatists all over the world. You can't help but love Galway and you feel the buzz as you walk down Shop Street and down on to Claddagh (after the famous ring!). After strolling the city for a few hours, we move on to Connemara. We will stay in the town of Clifden for the night.

Day 2 - Galway - Hiking

Hiking. We will have a few options today, but one we love is a walk up Beebaun and on down to Kylemore Abbey. As we ascend this mountain, you will have unobstructed views of the lakes of Connemara made famous in the song by Marcel Sardou. There are many wild mountain goats in this part of the country and you may be lucky to see a Connemara pony trotting beside you.Sightseeing at Kylemore Abbey. Afternoon: After our 4-hour walk, we will take you on a guided tour of Kylemore Abbey, one of the most romantic places in Ireland. The abbey is run by the Benedictine nuns, whose order came here from Ypres in Belgium after the First World War. The house itself was built by a business man named Mitchell Henry who, while honeymooning in the area, fell in love with the unspoiled natural charm of the valley and decided to build a home there. The chapel in the grounds is a miniature replica of Norwich Cathedral and the gardens are immaculately kept. As you admire this iconic abbey and the Victorian Walled Garden, the nuns will be glad to talk to you about the abbey and its surroundings. Local Flavor. Evening: In the evening, we may take a trip to the local village and take part in a local ceili - an Irish dance evening, where local musicians get together to teach you how to Irish dance. They will be teaching traditional Irish dancing, as opposed to the flashy Riverdance style. This is great craic and is a must do in Ireland! We will stay in the town of Clifden for the night.

Day 3 - Galway - Hiking at Killary Harbour

Hiking at Killary Harbour. The first walk is the 'famine walk' which runs along the shores of Killary Harbour. You will be walking on an old famine road that was built by the starving Irish peasants during the great famine of 1845-1849. They built the road in exchange for food. On the route, you will clearly see the ruins of famine villages and 'lazy beds', the name given to the potato ridges where the Irish peasants tried to provide food for their families.Hiking. The second walk is over the small mountain Maumean, which offers lovely views of the region and was previously an important Celtic shrine. Later it became a shrine dedicated to Saint Patrick. You will arrive at Lough Inagh Lodge. Here, you can relax with a cup of tea or a pint while you look out onto the lake. Neither walk is difficult and both are very enjoyable. Evening: Relax in Clifden village for the night.

Day 4 - Galway - Local Flavor

Local Flavor. n the morning, after a hearty Irish breakfast, we will visit the Country Life Museum, where you will learn all about life in rural Ireland about 150 years ago.Leisure. Then, we will take a nice relaxing stroll along a secluded beach at Mullagmore!Sightseeing at Donegal Castle. As we travel further north, we will make a stop at the grave of WB Yeats, which lays at the foot of Ben Bulben, a spectacular rock formation and WB Yeats’ final resting place. We will then travel through Sligo and stop in Donegal for a walk around the town, which includes entry into Donegal Castle. We will be staying in the village of Ardra, in Donegal, for the night.

Day 5 - Galway - Hiking at Slieve League

Hiking at Slieve League. This morning, we will head to the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League. This is truly a magnificent sight. Because of the cliffs location and height, winds can get very high so your guide will make a call as to whether it's safe to walk along the top. If it's not, we have a fantastic alternative at Glen Colm Kill, which will give you spectacular sights of the cliffs from below. We will be staying in the village of Ardra, in Donegal, for the night.

Day 6 - Galway - Hiking at Glenveagh National Park

Hiking at Glenveagh National Park. Donegal is one of the most unspoiled landscapes in Europe. It is famous for its beautiful scenery, coastline, impressive mountain ranges, glens and lakes, and rich reminders of a historic past. We will travel to Ireland's most northerly national park: Glenveagh National Park. A wonderful place that even breeds wild eagles. If you're lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse. Afternoon: After our hike through the national park, we will give you a guided tour of Glenveagh Castle. A magical fairytale place set on the banks of the lough. Once owned by a rich American of Irish ancestry, after his death, he donated the castle to the state. Lots of very cool picture opportunities here! We will be staying in the village of Ardra, in Donegal, for the night.

Day 7 - Galway - Archaeological Exploration at Grianan of Aileach

Archaeological Exploration at Grianan of Aileach. Today we enter into Northern Ireland for the first time on our tour. We will first visit the ancient fort at Grianan An Aileach.City/Town Tour. Visiting a city which dominates the North-western landscape of Ireland - the City of Derry, also known as 'Londonderry'. Derry is a centre of culture and creativity, and is now as famous for its modern outlook as it is for its troubled past. Meander through the bustling streets of the only completely walled city in the British Isles and listen to the echoes of 1450 years of history. Stroll along its 17th century walls, and marvel at the ever-changing skyline of a city which is constant only in the warmth of its welcome.Sightseeing at Dunluce Castle. We will travel along one of the most northerly roads in Ireland. We will stop at Dunluce Castle, once owned by the infamous McDonnell Clan from Scotland, who came to Ireland to increase their power. This is a beautiful part of the country, and you are going to get the best out of it! We stay for night in the beautiful hamlet of Ballintoy. This village has one of the most picturesque natural harbours in Ireland and the owners of our accommodation will welcome you with open arms.

Day 8 - Galway - Sightseeing at Giant's Causeway

Sightseeing at Giant's Causeway. Morning: Get ready to experience the Giant’s Causeway today! The coastal scenery adjacent to the causeway is some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring that you will find anywhere. The majestic cliffs and inaccessible bays combine with myth and legend to inspire, but look carefully amongst this breathtaking landscape and you will find echoes of another reality: isolated ruins, kelp walls and shoreline fields bear testament to the hard life of subsistence farming and fishing endured by past generations. Dotted around the coast you will find small sheltered harbours and slipways, fishermen’s cottages, and rock formations that you will never forget. Many ships have floundered below these towering cliffs but none are as tragic as that of Girona, a ship of the Spanish Armada. Carrying the crews from two previous Armada shipwrecks, the Girona was on passage from Killybegs and trying to reach the relative safety of Scotland. As she rounded Inishowen peninsula, heavily over laden and in deteriorating sea conditions, her rudder failed. In the teeth of a full blown north-westerly gale, the crew battled to keep her off the coast but she finally struck Laca Point in view of the Giant’s Causeway at midnight on October 30th, 1588 with the loss of over 1,200 men. Only five are believed to have survived. Local folklore tell of descendants living here and that victims of the wreck, maybe Spanish nobility, were buried in St. Cuthbert’s graveyard near Dunluce Castle. It is known that cannons from the wreck were placed here. Afternoon: Throughout the day, we will be walking all the way from Ballintoy to the Giant’s Causeway. Make sure you have your cameras charged and ready to go for the sights and sounds of the golden beaches and treacherous cliff edges! This will definitely be one of the highlights of your tour! We stay for night in the beautiful hamlet of Ballintoy.

Day 9 - Galway - City/Town Tour

City/Town Tour. Morning: This is the day everyone dreads for the whole trip, it is the day we return to Dublin. En route, we will stop in Belfast city and do a tour around the centre and learn about the divide that exists between the Catholic and Protestant communities that live so close together. It is quite fascinating to learn about! Afternoon: After our visit to Belfast we will travel through Co. Meath where the High Kings of Ireland once ruled the country. Lastly, we arrive in Dublin, where you will be dropped off at your accommodations. We hope you enjoyed touring with the Northern Gem & Emerald tours, experiencing the very best of Ireland’s finest gems and landscapes! We also hope that you enjoyed your tour guide and we hope to see you again soon!

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Price Per Day: $ 204 per day
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Walking Ireland - Northern Gem - 9 Days

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The variety that was offered on our tour suited us very well. The Salar de Uyuni at sunrise was truly a unique place.

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"We arrived back into Australia on Sunday after spending a couple of further weeks exploring some more of South America. I found you through Google searching for tours that included Atacama Desert options.The Good online reviews from numerous other travelers convinced us to work with you. Also the variety that was offered on this tour suited as very well
The 4WD trip through Bolivia was amazing. It's like a different planet up there and was a real experience. The Salar de Uyuni at sunrise was fantastic on the 4WD tour. Truly a unique place.
We really enjoyed the hotel in Purmurmarca - Hotel El Manantial del Silencio. It had real character and drinking Argentinian red wine by the open fireplace was lovely.
All our guides were very good and were friendly and welcoming. Eddie, our 4WD driver did not speak English which made it a bit hard to converse with, but we were lucky enough to be travelling with an Austrian family who were able to relay information to us. The guides for the Tatio geysers and the Humahuaca day tour were very good at relaying everything in Spanish and English. Sorry - but I can't recall their names.
Just one suggestion: It would be worth noting to people that not all services run every day and this needs to be confirmed for the requested dates. This didn't put us out too much as we got to spend an extra day in the North of Argentina, but we may have shifted our internal flights around a bit have we known the bus didn't run on a daily basis.
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Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Trip ID#:

projectexpedition-PE35909

Trip Excludes

  • Lunches & evening meals
  • Some optional entry fees & activity options

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