360 Private Travel – Northwestern Ireland Self-Drive Adventure

September 2024

Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights


Overview

Travel along Ireland’s northwestern coast, taking in some of our famous historic sites and highlights while at the same time exploring more off-the-beaten-path locations and stunning landscapes.  Along the way, you will get under the skin of Ireland, visiting sites associated with the country’s long and complex history from prehistoric times to the recent past.  Meeting local people and learning about life on Europe’s northwestern edge, you’ll uncover the natural history of the varied landscape from verdant green pastures to wild mountain scenery.

Day by Day

Day 1 - Welcome to Dublin

Arriving in Ireland today by ferry, it’s only a short drive into the city to your 5 star hotel in the city centre. Check-in is at 3pm however feel free to leave your bags, freshen up, or have a bite to eat. The afternoon is yours to explore the capital city at your own pace, with some of our favourite activities being: a visit to the EPIC museum, a relaxing stroll through Stephen’s Green followed up with some shopping on the colourful Grafton Street, or of course a trip to the famous Guinness Storehouse to learn how to pour the perfect pint.

Overnight: Dublin | The Merrion
Room Type: 1x Superior King Room
Meals Included: None

Day 2 - To The Causeway Coast

From vibrant Dublin city to the wilds of Antrim, your drive north today is littered with stunning sea-cliff drops, castle ruins, and rugged mountain ranges. The coastal stretch to the north of Belfast city has been designed an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’, and it’s easy to see why! Stop along the way in the small seaside villages for lunch and a coffee, taking time to stretch the legs while taking in a flowing waterfall or ancient castle. Your destination tonight is the town of Bushmills, a charming village at the doorstep of the Giants Causeway made famous for its whiskey distillery. Time allowing this afternoon, stop in for a tour and tasting of their fine selection.

Overnight: Bushmills | The Bushmills Inn
Room Type: 1x Mill House Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - In the Footsteps of Giants

After a relaxed breakfast, head out to hike along the majestic Causeway Coastal Route. Bright in the late summer months with pink thrift and white sea campion, stroll along the cliff tops watching seabirds swoop and dive above the swell. With the landscape growing wilder with each step, the iconic Giant’s Causeway will soon come into view. Return to your hotel this evening for a warming dram of whiskey and a delicious dinner.

Overnight: Bushmills | The Bushmills Inn
Room Type: 1x Mill House Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Mystical Malin Head (G)

At the tip of the vast and wild Inishowen Peninsula is Malin Head, the northernmost point of Ireland. Jutting into the restless Atlantic Ocean, it is so other-worldly that scenes from Star Wars were filmed here! Your local guide today will lead you along the wild, windswept landscape to uncover the ancient archaeological sites, holy wells, and dramatic dropping sea-cliffs which showcase the peninsula’s unique cultural and natural significance.

Overnight: Rathmullan | Rathmullan House
Room Type: 1x Superior Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 - The Wilds of Glenveagh National Park

The full day today is dedicated to exploring the rugged Martian region of Glenveagh National Park. Shimmering lakes, valleys ribboned by dark water, and rocky peaks that shift in mountain mist – this is a wonderful place to explore on foot. For those seeking a challenge, there is the option of summiting Mt Errigal, the highest peak of the Derryveagh Mountains; for those looking for a more mellow afternoon, there are many lower-level scenic routes to choose from.

Overnight: Rathmullan | Rathmullan House
Room Type: 1x Superior Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 - The Towering Slieve League Cliffs

The Slieve League Cliffs are some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, three times the Cliffs of Moher! Explore the little-visited cliffs on one of the several hiking trails – one of our favourites follows a little-known ancient pilgrimage path where the remains of a mass rock (an illicit church) stands, arriving at the top of the cliffs. In the evening, it’s off to bustling Donegal town where fabulous local pubs await.

Overnight: Donegal | Lough Eske Castle
Room Type: 1x Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7 - Seaweed Foraging on the Sligo Coast (G)

Today starts with a 45-minute drive to Streedagh Beach, where you will meet our expert for a day of foraging and cookery on the Sligo Coast. In addition to its reputation amongst archaeologists (the coast is littered with sunken ships from the Spanish Armada), the shoreline here offers some of the best conditions for seaweed foraging in Ireland. You will learn all about the medicinal and nutritional attributes of Irish seaweed (of which there are roughly 570 varieties!), and how they are also used for cosmetic purposes. You will also sample some of your finds along the way. The experience culminates back in the home kitchen of our host, with a hands-on cookery experience featuring a bounty of wild foods and recipes from her cookbook.

Overnight: Donegal | Lough Eske Castle
Room Type: 1x Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 8 - Connemara's Killary Fjord

Leaving the northwest behind this morning, watch as the civilisation seems to disappear entirely as you make your way into the remote Connemara region. Certainly one of Ireland’s most spectacular coastal hikes, a gentle walk along Killary Fjord takes you past rocky outcroppings of sheep-shorn grass with distant ocean views spreading before us. Overlooking a necklace of white sand beaches along the shoreline, sharp eyes may spot pods of dolphins or diving seabirds on the surface of the island-dotted seascape.

Overnight: Clifden | The Quay House
Room Type: 1x Harbour View Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9 - Archaeology on Inishbofin Island (G)

Embark on a morning ferry ride to Inishbofin Island, a remote island which is a distillation of the best of Connemara. Today’s walk is led by an archaeologist who will lead you along Bronze and Iron Age ruins, a crumbling Cromwellian fort and beautiful Atlantic scenery with jagged cliffs and white sand beaches. We recommend stopping for a local seafood lunch on the island before returning to the mainland in the evening, where you will have the chance to sample some of Clifden’s renowned Irish traditional music.

Overnight: Clifden | The Quay House
Room Type: 1x Harbour View Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Relax at Ballyfin Demense

Leaving the shores of Connemara, it’s a 3 hour drive to your final best-for-last hotel, Ballyfin Demesne. A stately country manor set on a vast 614-acre estate in the Midlands, Ballyfin offers a range of onsite activities from archery to falconry to high tea; or perhaps simply unwinding in the quiet countryside or onsite spa is the best way to unwind! Let our team know if you would like any activities booked in.

Overnight: Ballyfin | Ballyfin Demesne
Room Type: 1x Classic Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11 - Return to Dublin

After enjoying a relaxing morning at Ballyfin, it is time to leave the countryside and return to Dublin in time for your ferry home. We hope you have enjoyed your time in Ireland, and we cannot wait to welcome you back to our friendly shores.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • All accommodation from Day 1 to Day 10
  • Breakfast each morning
  • A complimentary lunch or dinner at The Merrion, excluding alcohol and gratuities
  • A $100 USD credit to be used onsite at Ballyfin Demesne, for onsite activities or meals
  • Early check-in at The Merrion and Ballyfin, if available
  • Room upgrades upon arrival at The Merrion and Ballyfin, if available
  • All guided hikes and activities mentioned in the itinerary on Days 7, and 9
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • 24 hour in-country support from the Wilderness Team
Exclusions Read More
  • Flights
  • Car rental
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions (i.e. most lunches and dinners)
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for your guided activities