Hoogeveen & Hannah Northern Ireland Self-Drive

Sunday 23rd June – Friday 28th June 2024

Number of Travellers: 2
Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights

Overview

Travel throughout Northern Ireland’s hidden heartland, 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 learnomg about life on Europe’s northern edge, you’ll uncover the natural history of the varied landscape from verdant green pastures to rugged mountains to jaw-dropping coastal scenery.

Highlights

  • Visit the world-famous Giant's Causeway and hike along award-winning Causeway Coast
  • Uncover the history and emotion of the Famine times with a local guiding expert
  • Embark on a challenging trail in the Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland's most impressive mountain range

Day by Day

Day 1 - Sunday 23rd June - Arrive into Belfast and Drive to Newcastle

Arriving into Ireland today, you will pick up your rental car in Belfast. The choice is yours whether to spend the afternoon in the Northern Irish capital, or head straight down to Newcastle to your accommodation overlooking the lively village promenade. Stop en route to visit the grave of St. Patrick beside his namesake church overlooking the rolling green fields of County Down.

Overnight: Newcastle | The Avoca Hotel
Room Type: King Room

Day 1 - Directions Read More +

Day 1 - Suggested Stops Read More +

St Patrick’s Grave: atop the hill in the centre of Downpatrick is the renowned Irish saint’s grave, just beside the cathedral of his name. The grave itself carries high cultural significance to the Irish people, and the views on a clear day from the hill are sweeping with the Mourne Mountains coming into the scene.

The Newcastle Promenade: there’s no better spot for a seaside stroll in the evening after settling into your hotel. The promenade in Newcastle stretches for a full 2.5 kilometres each way and serves as a perfect way to get introduced to the sights of the town and pick out any favourite food joints for the upcoming days.

Day 1 - Lunch Details Read More +

We suggest lunch at The Denvirs Inn in Downpatrick after making the stop to see St Patrick’s Grave.

Day 1 - Dinner Details Read More +

Be sure to have dinner in Brunel’s for one of your nights in Newcastle – it’s an award winning and nationally renowned restaurant with chef Paul Cunningham a local celebrity. It could be worthwhile making a reservation here in advance. For something more casual, check out Quinn’s Bar as a local favourite for pub grub.

Day 2 - Monday 24th June - The Mountains of Mourne

Today you should expect quiet slopes, picturesque valleys dotted with lakes and sheep on a backdrop of jagged silhouettes. Your hiking route will intersect with the Mourne Wall, a 22-mile dry-stone wall which required 18 years to build and that traverses the whole range. Your aim is to take in some of the 15 peaks along the wall’s path, absorbing views of lake-filled valleys and the sea beyond. After your hike, stop in for a hot chocolate or a coffee at a local chocolatier to refuel and learn about the makers’ bean to bar mission.

Overnight: Newcastle | The Avoca Hotel
Room Type: King Room
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 12 km / 7 miles | 750 m / 2,461 ft elevation gain

Day 2 - Hiking Routes Read More +

Activity: Hiking Routes

Slieve Donard: the 6 mile out-and-back starting from your hotel’s front door tackles Northern Ireland’s tallest mountain: Slieve Donard. The hike can be strenuous up the last push when you reach the Mourne Wall, but the trail is well waymarked and straightforward to follow; and the views atop the mountain can’t be beat as the combine the expansive sea ahead with the rolling mountain range behind.

Day 2 - Lunch Details Read More +

It could be the perfect day for a packed lunch on the trail today if the weather cooperates. The Nutty Chefs will be happy to prepare delicious sandwiches for the trail, or serve as a welcome sit down meal after your hike.

Day 2 - Dinner Details Read More +

If not visiting either Brunel’s or Quinn’s tonight, the dinner in your hotel’s dining room is a wonderful choice to refuel with some refreshing pub cuisine after the big hiking day out.

Day 3 - Tuesday 25th June - Walking the Famine Emigrant Trail

Northern Ireland is often known best for its coastlines, but the vast green expanse of the country’s interior is an underrated gem. There’s no better way to encapsulate the region’s combination of natural and cultural significance than by meeting a local guide for a walk along a trail taken by emigrants escaping the famine, set in the beautiful Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Your guide will share history and stories of those who walked the trail, and we recommend finishing up at her local pub for a hearty lunch before finishing your drive to the northern coastline.

Overnight: Bushmills | The Causeway Hotel
Room Type: Double Terrace Room
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 350 m / 1,148 ft elevation gain

Day 3 - Directions Read More +

Day 3 - The Emigrants Walk Read More +

Activity: The Emigrants Walk
Guide: Cathy O'Neill
Start Location: An Carn, 132 Tirkane Rd, Maghera BT46 5NH | Start Time: 11:00 | Approx Duration: 2 hrs

Phone: +44 797 962 1808

Your guide Cathy will meet you at the listed starting point, ready to embark on your 4-mile excursion and history of the trail taken during famine times to Derry. A pair of hiking boots is recommended for this 2 hour walk.

Day 3 - Lunch Details Read More +

We suggest stopping into Friel’s Bar (also owned by Cathy and her partner, and a historic site as a famine soup kitchen) for a delicious pub lunch to round out your famine trail experience.

Day 3 - Dinner Details Read More +

After the long day of driving and walking, we suggest eating dinner in your hotel restaurant to fully immerse in the beauty in its setting along the Causeway Coast.

Day 4 - Wednesday 26th June - The Causeway Coastal Route

With your hotel right at the cliffs, wake up this morning on the Causeway Coast in North Antrim, a National Trust-managed coastline of outstanding beauty. Follow the first part of the Causeway Coast Way, a way-marked long-distance trail that follows 33 miles of coastline. This lesser-travelled section of the trail is full of hidden corners, from isolated white sand coves to ruined fortresses and tumbledown cottages. The landscape inspired C.S. Lewis’s Narnia and eagle-eyed Game of Thrones fans will delight in spotting familiar scenes.

Overnight: Bushmills | The Causeway Hotel
Room Type: Double Terrace Room
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 14 km / 9 miles | 350 m / 1,148 ft elevation gain

Day 4 - Hike Details Read More +

Activity: Hike Details

We suggest taking the hiking trail starting directly from your hotel front door, walking the 10 miles along the Causeway Coastal Route to finish in Ballintoy Harbour. It’s an incredible varied and well-marked route (follow the arrows along the Causeway Coastal Route markers) which takes in the best of the Causeway Coast scenery including dramatic falling cliffs, stretching beaches, quaint picturesque harbours, and rolling grassy paths.

As this is a linear route, we have booked in a pre-paid taxi transfer for you to return back to your hotel.

Taxi contact:
Maguires taxi is booked for 4pm for collection and return to your hotel.
Feel free to call Maguires Taxi at +44 7970 524323 of you wish to be collected before 4pm

Day 4 - Lunch Details Read More +

With the long day out hiking again, we suggest lunch on the trail, which your hotel can prepare for you with advance notice the day before. Otherwise for a sit-down option, the Carrick-a-Rede Restaurant is just at the end of the walk.

Day 4 - Dinner Details Read More +

Head into the town of Bushmills tonight with a 5 minute drive from your hotel. Tartine is our favourite upscale casual spot in town, with the pub restaurant in The Bushmills Inn also being a great local draw with music playing most nights.

Day 5 - Thursday 27th June - The Glens of Antrim & Belfast City

Comprising nine glens that radiate from the Antrim plateau to the coast, each of the Glens of Antrim has its own history and mythology dating back millennia. Today’s hike explores the slope below the escarpment of the ‘Queen of the Glens’. Passing along the river gorge to its upper reaches, take in views from the Glen to the coast and the sea beyond. Your drive along the coast which takes you into Belfast is dotted with castle ruins and jaw dropping cliff tops, and your city centre accommodation ensures you can explore Belfast city in the evening to toast the past few days of adventure.

Overnight: Belfast | Ten Square Hotel
Room Type: Classic Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 9 km / 6 miles | 300 m / 984 ft elevation gain

Day 5 - Directions Read More +

Day 5 - Hike Details Read More +

Activity: Hike Details

We suggest the Glenariff Scenic Trail Loop, which again is a well waymarked easy-to-moderate 5 mile walk through the rolling hills and waterfalls of the Glens of Antrim.

Day 5 - Lunch Details Read More +

Pop into the Glenariff Tea House for a light bite after your hike, or into Laragh Lodge just around the corner for something a bit heartier.

Day 5 - Dinner Details Read More +

For your final dinner of the trip in Belfast city, you are truly spoiled for choice! Please reference our attached ‘Eat, See, Stay’ packet for Belfast city (below under Important Additional Information) which includes our favourite restaurants across a range of budgets and styles, along with a few sights to see for your final evening.

Day 6 - Friday 28th June - Onward to Scotland

Drive to the airport early this morning to drop your rental car off, and get excited for your week ahead of cycling the Hebrides in Scotland!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • All accommodation from Night 1 to Night 5
  • Breakfast each morning
  • An expert guided walk along a famine emigration trail
  • A taxi transfer to round out your linear Causeway Coastal section walk
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • 24 hour in-country support from the Wilderness Team
Exclusions Read More
  • Flights
  • Your car rental
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches and dinners throughout
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
Important Contact Numbers Read More
Wilderness Ireland Office | 9:00am – 5:30pm

EU: +353 (0)91 457 898
US: 844 235 6240


Out of Office Hours | 5:30pm – 9:00am

+353 (0)86 873 7223


Emergency Services

999

Important Additional Information Read More

Get in Touch