Aerts Family Ireland Adventure

Saturday 18th May – Wednesday 29th May 2024

Number of Travellers: 4
Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights

Overview

Travel along Ireland’s western 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. 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. With a balance of a self-guided at-you-own-pace perspective followed by the caring leadership of an experienced guide, you’ll learn about life on Europe’s western edge and uncover the natural history of the varied landscape from verdant green pastures to wild scenery.

Highlights

  • Walk the Kerry Camino section of the Dingle Way with a rest day in charming Dingle town
  • Climb Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its monastic huts and seabird colonies
  • Meet a local mussel farmer capped off with a home cooked seafood lunch
  • Stay in one of Ireland's premier castle hotel nestled remotely in Connemara National Park

Day by Day

Day 1 - Saturday 18th May - Welcome to the Dingle Way

Arriving into Shannon Airport this morning, we will arrange a private transfer from the airport directly to your first accommodation set within the rolling hills of the Slieve Mish Mountains on the Dingle Peninsula. Spend a relaxing evening settling into Irish hospitality just off the trail, ready to hit the Dingle Way first thing in the morning.

Overnight: Camp | Camp Junction House
Room Type: 2x Standard Twin Rooms
Meals Included: None

Day 2 - Sunday 19th May - Village of Camp to Annascaul

Your first day on the Dingle Way takes you right up and over the spine of the Dingle Peninsula to the shores on its southern side. With most of today’s walking on country roads and quiet tracks, you will pass Caherconree Mountain while looking out for the impressive megalithic fort perched close to its top. Take in views of the white sands of Inch Beach stretched out below us as we walk towards the teacup-sized Annascaul village. This evening, be sure to stop into the family pub of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, who made attempts at the South Pole with both Scott and Shackleton.

Overnight: Annascaul | The Old Anchor B&B
Room Type: 2x Standard Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 18 km / 11 miles | 270 m / 886 ft elevation gain

Day 3 - Monday 20th May - Annascaul to Dingle

This morning, the trail continues along side-roads to the ruins of an impressive 16th century castle overlooking a picturesque little rocky cove. Continuing along small laneways, take in views across Dingle Bay and the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula to the south and spectacular mountain panoramas to the north. Your final destination today is the colourful coastal town of Dingle, renowned the world over for its pubs, traditional Irish music, and, more recently, its fabulous seafood cuisine. Aim to join the locals in one of Dingle town’s many cheerful pubs to experience some real ‘craic agus ceoil’ (‘fun and music’).

Overnight: Dingle | Cill Bhreac House
Room Type: 2x Standard Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 26 km / 16 miles | 350 m / 1,148 ft elevation gain

Day 4 - Tuesday 21st May - Dingle Town to Dunquin

The Dingle Peninsula hosts some of the richest collections of ancient archaeological sites in the whole of Europe. Every day you will stumble across standing stones, ancient tombs and other remains of prehistoric monuments. On your hike today, trade the liveliness of Dingle town for quieter parts of the peninsula. You’ll get the chance to view some truly amazing clochains – or beehive huts with corbeled roofs that at least 12th century but may be as much as 2,000 years old – as you follow alongside the spectacular outcrop of Slea Head overlooking the eerie Blasket Islands. The hike today will also include a long, beautiful stretch along the white sands of Ventry Bay as you head out towards Ireland’s most westerly point and the tip of the Dingle Peninsula.

Overnight: Dunquin | An Portan Guest House
Room Type: 2x Standard Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 25 km / 16 miles | 370 m / 1,214 ft elevation gain

Day 5 - Wednesday 22nd May - Rest Day in Dingle

Wake refreshed this morning knowing that you can relax and stretch the tired muscles for a full rest day. You have the option of walking the trail in reverse back to Dingle town, or we can arrange for a private transfer to collect you in Dunquin after breakfast and morning stroll. Be sure to check out Dunquin’s unique zigzagging pier before departing! Your hotel tonight is right in the heart of Dingle to ensure you are within walking distance of a well-earned seafood dinner and a traditional music session.

Overnight: Dingle | Dingle Benners
Room Type: 2x Superior Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Suggested Walks Near Dunquin Read More +

  • Dunquin Pier & Harbour: take a stroll down the zig-zagging walkway for an on-the-water view of one of the country’s most unique piers.
  • Mount Eagle from Dunquin: 9km looped hike with panoramic views of the peninsula, easily accessible from your guesthouse and perfect on a sunny day with good visibility.

Day 6 - Thursday 23rd May - Killarney and Ross Castle

With your self-guided portion of your trip wrapped up, your private guide for the next week – David Lawless – will meet you at your hotel in Dingle town. After introductions, make the drive down to the neighbouring Iveragh Peninsula, home to the famous and wonderfully scenic Ring of Kerry. Your home base for the next few days of exploring this region will be vibrant town of Killarney, recently emerging as a foodie hotspot which you can begin to discover over your welcome lunch. Your guide will lead you on a short introductory hike in the national park centred around Ross Castle, regaling its historical and cultural significance including the legend of O’Donoghue and his snow-white horse. Enjoy a seafood dinner in town with your guide this evening to make a toast to the week of adventure ahead together.

Overnight: Killarney | The Lake Hotel
Room Type: 2x Lake View Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 100 m / 328 ft elevation gain

Day 6 - Guide Details - David Lawless Read More +

Name: David Lawless
Contact Number: +353 86 856 2537
Meeting Place: The lobby of Dingle Benners Hotel | Meeting Time: 10:00 am

Your guide David Lawless will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 10:00am, allowing plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

Day 6 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Kitty O'Se's Seafood Restaurant
Reservation Time: 7:30 pm
Website: https://kittyoseskillarney.com

Day 7 - Friday 24th May - Skellig Michael

Ireland’s most famous islands, the Skelligs are two jagged rock pinnacles rising above battering Atlantic waves. It was on the UNESCO site Skellig Michael that the monks of yesteryears once lived and prayed in stone beehive huts which still cling to the island’s rocky slopes. Your skipper will take you from the mainland harbour for the hour round-trip boat road, allowing you the rare opportunity to land on the island and follow in the footsteps of these 7th-century Irish monks to their dramatic island retreat. The small Skellig is equally renowned as a home to 27,000 pairs of gannets, the second-largest colony in the world.

Overnight: Killarney | The Lake Hotel
Room Type: 2x Lake View Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 4 km / 2 miles | 200 m / 656 ft elevation gain

Day 8 - Saturday 25th May - Hike or Bike in Killarney National Park

Your day today is fully devoted to exploring the hidden depths of Killarney National Park, with options for either a guided hike or bike through its lush trails. The hiking option has you join The Kerry Way (a sister trail of the now-familiar Dingle Way) for a looped forest trail up Torc mountain within the national park’s borders which finishes with a descent alongside the serpentine Torc Waterfall. Meanwhile if your legs are itching to change pace and get on two wheels, we will arrange for a local cycling guide to lead you on a 26 kilometre ride along the lakeside trail from the Victorian era Muckross House and Gardens up to the base of Torc Waterfall, taking plenty of time to stop and admire the views.

Overnight: Killarney | The Lake Hotel
Room Type: 2x Lake View Twin Rooms
Walk Details: 12 km / 7 miles | 350 m / 1,148 ft elevation gain

Day 9 - Sunday 26th May - The Cliffs of Moher

We recommend an early breakfast at your hotel this morning to make the most of your transfer day today. Passing through County Clare to start your drive, your midway stop will be the iconic and jaw-dropping Cliffs of Moher, which fall some 700 feet winding in and out of the Clare coast. Your guide will share with you the best way to fully experience the magic of the Cliffs: on foot as you leave the crowds of the visitor centre behind to walk along the cliff-side with the cobalt-blue waters swirling below you. After your hike and lunch on the trail, continue on to the day’s final destination of Galway city, where you will have the evening free to explore the unofficial capital of the west coast’s buzzing streets and lively pubs from the comfort of your hotel located just beside the city’s main square.

Overnight: Galway | The Hardiman
Room Type: 2x Classic Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 11 km / 7 miles | 400 m / 1,312 ft elevation gain

Day 10 - Monday 27th May - Galway City and Connemara

Known as the ‘town of the tribes’, Galway’s small centre of cobblestone streets and colourful store fronts is vibrant, fun and cosmopolitan. A local military historian will meet you at the city’s main square this morning to guide you through the bustling alleys sharing Galway City’s important roles in the clash of the French, Spanish, Russian and British Empires from 1700 to 1922, including in Ireland’s revolution for independence. After your tour and time for a bit of shopping, leave the urban streets behind for the remote paradise that is Connemara National Park.  There is time for your choice of short afternoon hikes in the park this afternoon before making your way to your grand finale accommodation.

Ballynahinch Castle is one of Ireland’s finest luxury castle hotels, set in a private 700 acre estate of woodland, rivers and walks in the heart of Connemara, Co. Galway. This authentic and unpretentious Castle Hotel stands proudly overlooking its famous salmon fishery, with a backdrop of the beautiful Twelve Bens Mountain range.

Overnight: Connemara | Ballynahinch Castle
Room Type: 2x Classic Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 400 m / 1,312 ft elevation gain

Day 10 - Galway History Tour Read More +

Activity: Galway History Tour
Tour Guide: Damien Quinn
| Start Time: 9:30 am | Approx Duration: 1 hrs

Along with being a history expert, your guide is also a prominent traditional music player in the Galway scene.

Day 11 - Tuesday 28th May - Killary Fjord

The hills and mountains of Connemara are defined by the ocean surrounding, and this is particularly evident at the beautiful Killary Fjord. This morning you will visit a family run shellfish farm where you can head out onto the fjord, lift a string of mussels for hauling and harvesting and understand the lifecycle of these delicious shellfish. After, your guide will lead you on a short hike along the shores along the fjord, delving into Irish history at a famine-era abandoned village and bringing to life the rich and ancient histories of the landscape. Head into town this evening for a traditional music session in a local pub after a farewell dinner with your guide, as you make a toast to the week of adventure shared together.

Overnight: Connemara | Ballynahinch Castle
Room Type: 2x Classic Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 4 km / 2 miles | 50 m / 164 ft elevation gain | Approx: 6 hrs

Day 11 - Mussell Farm Tour & Lunch Read More +

Activity: Mussell Farm Tour & Lunch
Farm Owners: Simon and Kate Kennedy
| Start Time: 12:30 pm | Approx Duration: 2 hrs

Website: https://killaryfjordshellfish.com/

Day 11 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: EJ Kings Bar & Restaurant
Reservation Time: 7:30 pm
Website: https://www.ejkings.com/

Day 12 - Wednesday 29th May - Departure

After enjoying a relaxing morning at Ballynahinch, it is time to say farewell to the west coast. Your guide will take you directly to Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport, or to your hotel if choosing another night in the city pre-departure. We do hope your time in Ireland has been memorable and we once again have the opportunity to welcome to our shores.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • All accommodation from Day 1 to Day 12
  • Most meals as indicated in each day’s itinerary summary
  • Services of an experienced and knowledgeable qualified guide from Day 6 to Day 12
  • Ground transportation from Day 6 to Day 12
  • Private transfer upon arrival from Shannon Airport to the Dingle Peninsula
  • All hikes and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips for all included accommodations, meals, and experience providers
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • Snacks throughout the trip while guided
  • 24 hour in-country support from the Wilderness Team
Exclusions Read More
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for the main driver guide
Notes Read More
  • All suggested accommodations and services are subject to availability at the time of booking
  • A 25% deposit is required before any accommodation and services will be confirmed
  • This quote is valid for 14 days from the date quoted, after this time pricing may be subject to revision
Optional Upgrades Read More

The guided bike tour (rather than a hike) of Killarney National Park on Day 8 can be arranged for an additional €125 per person.

Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.

Get in Touch


Meet Your Guide

David Lawless

Contact Number: +353 86 856 2537

Music and the outdoors are my big obsessions. I grew up in Dublin but I took every opportunity to get out into the hills. The mountains of Wicklow provided endless options for hiking and biking, leading small groups of friends in the hills since my teens.

I worked in IT for over twenty years before taking a sabbatical in 2011 to go travelling for a year. Upon returning, I quit in 2013 and moved to the west coast for a change – which turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I’ve been working as a guide since 2016, and now live in Sligo, get to cycle its back roads, walk its hills, swim at its beaches, and play music with a bunch of good friends.