Aerts Family Ireland Adventure FINAL

Thursday 16th May – Friday 31st May 2024

Number of Travellers: 4
Duration: 16 Days / 15 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 - Thursday 16th May - Arrival into Ireland

Arriving into Shannon Airport this morning on flight UA0976, you will be met by a private driver at your arrivals hall to transfer you to your Limerick hotel. You will have the next two days in and around the city to settle into Ireland at your own pace, before beginning your trip along the Dingle Way with us starting with a transfer down to Tralee on May 18th.

Overnight: Limerick | The Limerick Strand
Room Type: 2x Superior Twin Rooms
Meals Included: None

Day 1 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Shannon Airport Transfers
Pick Up Location: The Shannon Airport Arrivals Hall | Pick Up Time: 10:30 am
Phone: +353 61 48 4911

Your private driver will meet you at your arrival terminal carrying a sign with your name on it, and transfer you directly to the Limerick Strand Hotel where you can drop your bags ahead of check-in.

Day 1 - Suggested Stops Read More +

King John’s Castle Located at the heart of Limerick’s medieval quarter, step inside the walls of Limerick’s most iconic landmark! Discover the stories of ruthless King John, the noble knights, and rebellious natives. King John’s Castle brings to life over 800 years of dramatic local history.

Walking Tour of Medieval English Town Discover the oldest parts of Limerick City with a qualified guide leading you on a walk through the medieval quarter to visit landmarks including The Bard of Thomond Monuments, King John’s Castle, The Toll House, The Bishop’s Palace and The Treaty Stone.

Day 1 - Dinner Details Read More +

We recommend Coqbull, Marco Polo or Cornstore

Day 2 - Friday 17th May - Free Day in Limerick

The day is yours to explore Limerick at your own pace – feel free to refer to our ‘Eat, See, Stay’ list of recommendations for city activities, or reach out to our office for additional suggestions on the best way to spend time here!

Overnight: Limerick | The Limerick Strand
Room Type: 2x Superior Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 2 - Suggested Stops Read More +

The Milk Market One of the oldest markets in Ireland, the Milk Market offers a wide variety of local fresh fish, meat, dairy (including local cheese), baked goods, fruits and vegetables as well as locally made crafts, fashion and flowers. Grab a coffee on the way in and wander about the stalls, you never know what bargains you may pick up.

Limerick Museum The small, multi-themed museum features exhibits of local artists from Limerick city and the rest of the country and provides a bit of perspective and history about this little-visited city. Entry is free.

Day 2 - Lunch Details Read More +

We recommend

The French Table (dinner options are available here too)

The East Room (dinner options are available here too)

Day 2 - Dinner Details Read More +

We recommend Off the Bone or The French Table.

Day 3 - Saturday 18th May - Welcome to the Dingle Way

We have arranged a private transfer from Limerick directly to your first accommodation in Tralee, the charming gateway village into the Dingle Peninsula. Spend a relaxing evening settling into Irish hospitality and rest the legs up for the next few days of trail walking coming up. Our ‘Eat, See, Stay’ list of recommendations for Tralee has been attached in this itinerary to help spur ideas for spending your day here, and feel free to reach out to our team for extra advice!

Overnight: Tralee | The Ashe Hotel
Room Type: 2x Standard Twin Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Shannon Airport Transfers
Pick Up Location: The lobby of The Limerick Strand Hotel | Pick Up Time: 10:30 am | Approx Duration: 1.5 hrs
Phone: +353 61 48 4911

Your private driver will meet you in the lobby of The Limerick Stand Hotel this morning at 10:30am, to drive you directly to The Ashe Hotel Tralee to drop your bags.

Day 4 - Sunday 19th May - Village of Camp to Annascaul

A private transfer will collect you this morning from your accommodation in Tralee and transfer you a quick 15 minutes to the trail starting point. 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 4 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Dingle Way Taxis
Pick Up Location: The Ashe Hotel | Pick Up Time: 9:00 am
Phone: +353 87 947 6130

Your driver will meet you in the lobby of The Ashe Hotel at 09:00am, ready to make the quick transfer to Camp village where you will start your day’s walk.

Day 4 - Directions Read More +

Route notes to accommodation: The Dingle Way markers will take you straight to Annascaul village. At grid reference Q 59412 01896 you will be on Church Avenue. Turn right onto the N86/Main St of Annascaul village. Your accommodation will be the third building on your right.

Google maps route from trail end to accommodation: https://goo.gl/maps/jHyFyqXLqV3BdfPj8

Day 4 - Lunch Details Read More +

We recommend pre-ordering packed lunches from your guesthouse for today’s portion of the Dingle Way as lunch options along the route are limited. Don’t forget to fill your water bottles at your accommodation.

Day 4 - Dinner Details Read More +

Recommended restaurants for dinner:

The South Pole Inn, Main Street, Annascaul – +353 (0)66 915 7388

Sammy’s Restaurant on Inch Beach – +353(0)66 915 8118. This would involve a taxi that should be paid locally

Day 5 - 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 5 - Directions Read More +

Route Notes to trail head: As the Dingle Way goes through the village of Annascaul and right past the door of your B&B, you don’t have far to go today to join the trail. Leaving your accommodation, turn left and you’re on the trail, staying on the N86 for around 600m. You will leave the main road for the quieter section at grid reference Q 59002 01577.

Google maps route from accommodation to trail head: https://goo.gl/maps/kGKPD6osvGqqirbL7

Route notes to accommodations: Your guidebook will bring you to Dingles Tourist information centre in Strand Street. Here you will continue straight for 1km, taking the first exit at the roundabout on the R559. Continue walking on this stretch of Slea Head drive for 600m and your guesthouse is on the right.

Google Maps route from trail end to accommodation: https://goo.gl/maps/K8FpQWMyE73DKHoy9

Day 5 - Lunch Details Read More +

Packed lunch can be pre ordered at your accommodation or simply visit a local deli/ supermarket in Annascaul Village for fresh sandwiches and snacks. Don’t forget to fill your water bottles at your accommodation.

Day 5 - Dinner Details Read More +

Recommended restaurants for dinner:

Dingle has some amazing restaurants to choose from. Please see the list attached.

Day 6 - 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 6 - Directions Read More +

Route Notes to trail head: Turn right leaving your accommodation and you’ve joined the Dingle Way in the direction of Ventry. Note: If you feel like it, have a coffee and snack stop at Ventry Post Office. This is located just past the school in Ventry village, you can sit overlooking the beach and enjoy the views before continuing on the trail.

Note: If you need any snacks or essentials stock up before reaching Dunquin as there are no shops there.

Google Maps from accommodation to trail head: https://maps.app.goo.gl/dQgVJRUiPqFcfJSv6

 

Route notes to accommodation: Your guidebook will end at a road junction. From here turn right and continue walking for 650 m, and your guesthouse will be on your left.

Google Maps route notes to accommodation: https://maps.app.goo.gl/CpstPgNg2ML7DEuc8

Day 6 - Lunch Details Read More +

Lunch:

We recommend ordering packed lunches from your guesthouse.

Day 6 - Dinner Details Read More +

Recommended restaurants for dinner:

There’s a bar and restaurant across from your accommodation, Kruger’s, known for being Ireland’s most westerly pub.

Day 7 - 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 7 - 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 7 - Transfer Details Read More +

Suggested taxi numbers for Dingle:

  • Begleys Taxis: +353 87 250 4767
  • Dingle Taxis (driver Pat): +353 87 222 5777
  • Dingle Cabs (driver Sean): +353 87 66 02323

Expect to allow up to 30 minutes for the taxi’s arrival coming into Dunquin.

Day 8 - 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 8 - 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 8 - Dinner Details Read More +

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

Day 9 - 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 9 - Skellig Island Read More +

Activity: Skellig Island
| Start Time: 8:00 am | Approx Duration: 5 hrs

Day 9 - Dinner Details Read More +

We recommend Treyaud’s or The Tan Yard.

Day 10 - Saturday 25th May - Hike in Killarney National Park

Your day today is fully devoted to exploring the hidden depths of Killarney National Park with  a guided hike 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.

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 10 - Dinner Details Read More +

Day 11 - 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 11 - Dinner Details Read More +

We recommend Ard Bia or Sangria.

Day 12 - 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 12 - 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 12 - Dinner Details Read More +

Reservation Time: 7:30 pm

We have booked dinner at the Fisherman’s Pub, located at your accommodation.

Day 13 - 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 13 - 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 13 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Mitchells Seafood Restaurant
Reservation Time: 6:30 pm
Website: https://www.mitchellsrestaurantclifden.com/

Day 14 - Wednesday 29th May - The Holy Mountain of Croagh Patrick

This morning David will transfer you over the to quaint and charming town of Westport, where you can drop your bags at your hotel ahead of check in. He will then transfer you for the short drive over to the trail head of Croagh Patrick, whose tradition stretches back over 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day, where David will say farewell. The hike takes you along the ancient and significant pilgrimage route right up to the tiny white church at the summit. We have provided a range of taxi numbers (and David can absolutely help pre-arrange this in advance) who can collect you from the trail head for the 20 minute drive back to Westport after your hike.

Overnight: Westport | The Westport Plaza Hotel
Room Type: 2x King Rooms
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14 - Hike Details Read More +

Activity: Hike Details

Follow the Pilgrims Path from the Murrisk trail head to the summit of Croagh Patrick: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/ireland/county-mayo/croagh-patrick-pilgrim-trail–2

The trail is incredibly straightforward to follow and well marked, with panoramic views of the Mayo coastline from the top.

Day 14 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Taxis to Westport

We recommend finishing up your hike with a lunch and drink at The Tavern Bar at the base of the mountain.

From here you can call any of the following taxis for a quick transfer back to Westport:

  • Cawleys Taxis: +353 87 24 16321
  • Ollies Cabs: +353 87 777 0812
  • McGings Taxis: + 353 87 241 7466

Day 14 - Dinner Details Read More +

We recommend Sage Restaurant

Day 15 - Thursday 30th May - Free Day in Westport

The day is yours to explore Westport at your own pace, where we recommend taking the time to stroll its bustling streets and visit its local shops.

A private transfer has been arranged for a 3:00pm pickup from the lobby of The Westport Plaza Hotel, which will transfer you the 2 hours down to Shannon village for your overnight nearby the airport.

Overnight: Shannon | Shannon Springs Hotel
Room Type: 2x Twin Rooms
Meals Included: None

Day 15 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Leonard's Chauffeurs
Pick Up Location: The lobby of The Westport Plaza Hotel | Pick Up Time: 3:00 pm | Approx Duration: 2 hrs
Phone: +353 87 235 8947

Your private driver Ryan Leonard will meet you in the lobby of The Westport Plaza Hotel at 3:00pm, ready to drive you directly to The Shannon Springs Hotel.

Day 15 - Dinner Details Read More +

We recommend grabbing dinner at your hotel.

Day 16 - Friday 31st May - Departure from Shannon

As your hotel is less than a 5 minute drive from the airport, we suggest arranging a taxi with your hotel reception when you are ready to depart. We hope you have enjoyed your stay with us 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 15
  • Most meals as indicated in each day’s itinerary summary
  • Services of an experienced and knowledgeable qualified guide from Day 8 to Day 14
  • Ground transportation from Day 8 to Day 14
  • Private transfer upon arrival from Shannon Airport to Limerick
  • Private transfer from Limerick to Tralee on Day 3
  • Private transfer from Westport to Shannon on Day 15
  • 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

Outdoor Active

Outdoor active is a great app that allows you view digital route guides, outdoor maps & provides GPS navigation features. You can download the app on your phone and follow the route notes below while you are out on the trail. There is no need to pay for the pro version, as these routes are available without it. You can also access and track the routes without data on your phone. These route notes begin and end at your accommodation.

19th May Camp Junction House to Old Anchor Inn

20th May Old Anchor Inn to Cill Bhreac House

21st May  Cill Bhreac to An Portan

 

 

Important Additional Information Read More
  • Kit List - PDF: View Now
  • Eat | See | Stay - Limerick - PDF: View Now
  • Eat | See | Stay - Tralee - PDF: View Now
  • Self Guided Walking Important Information - PDF: View Now
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.