Ken and Michele Ferguson – Ireland Adventure

Wednesday 1st May – Tuesday 14th May 2024

Number of Travellers: 2
Duration: 14 Days / 13 Nights

Overview

Travel along Ireland’s west coast and the Wild Atlantic Way, 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. Meeting local people and learning about life on Europe’s western edge, you’ll uncover the natural history of the varied landscape from verdant green pastures to wild scenery.

Highlights

  • Explore Ireland’s most beautiful regions along the Wild Atlantic Way in the company of an experienced guide
  • Take in the majestic UNESCO world heritage site of The Cliffs of Moher from a less travelled trail
  • Stay in Ireland's premier luxury castle hotels in wonderfully remote locations
  • Discover the hidden gems and cultural significance of 3 of Ireland's National Parks

Day by Day

Day 1 - Wednesday 1st May - Welcome to Dublin

Arriving in Ireland today, a private transfer will pick you up from the airport and whisk you into the city to your 5 star hotel in the city centre. Check-in is at 3pm however if you arrive early feel free to leave your bags, freshen up, or have a bite to eat. The rest of the afternoon is yours to rest and recover at your hotel, or begin to explore the capital city’s lively streets.

Overnight: Dublin | The Merrion
Room Type: 1x Signature Queen Room
Meals Included: None

Day 1 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Dublin Chauffeurs
| Pick Up Time: 10:20 am
Phone: +353 87 233 8396

Your private driver will meet you in the Arrivals hall of your arrival terminal, carrying a sign with your name on it. You will be transferred directly to The Merrion Hotel.

Flight details: United Flight 228 arriving into DUB at 10:20am.

Day 2 - Thursday 2nd May - Dublin Historical Walking Tour

Take your time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning before joining a local historian for an engaging walking tour of the city. Explore some of Dublin’s best-known attractions, while also enjoying the benefit of local knowledge by visiting spots hidden off the tourist trail. Later this afternoon, enjoy some free time, before dining in the hotel’s restaurant or in one of the many delightful eateries that pepper the streets of Dublin. We’re more than happy to give our recommendations for dinner.

Overnight: Dublin | The Merrion
Room Type: 1x Signature Queen Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 2 - Dublin Historical Walking Tour Read More +

Activity: Dublin Historical Walking Tour
Start Location: The lobby of The Merrion Hotel | Start Time: 11:00 am | Approx Duration: 2 hrs

Phone: +353 87 688 9412

Day 3 - Friday 3rd May - To County Donegal and Lough Eske

Meet your guide in the lobby of The Merrion this morning, and after introductions you will leave the city behind and head into the Irish countryside. Watch as the busy city streets begin to fade and the rolling green sheep-laden fields gradually take hold. Your accommodation in your first castle hotel is a 3.5 hour drive away, and a hike can be organised en route to keep the legs happy and moving. Enjoy a dinner in your hotel dining room tonight to settle in in style!

Overnight: Donegal | Lough Eske Castle
Room Type: 1x Superior Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 13 km / 8 miles | 450 m / 1,476 ft elevation gain

Day 3 - Guide Details - Donncha O'Brien Read More +

Name: Donncha O'Brien
Contact Number: +353 87 986 1202
Meeting Place: The lobby of the Merrion Hotel | Meeting Time: 9:00 am

Your guide Donncha will meet you in the lobby of the Merrion at 9:00am, ready to start your drive up north for the week of adventure ahead.

Day 4 - Saturday 4th May - 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, we suggest getting out into Donegal town – just 15 minutes from your hotel – where fabulous local pubs await.

Overnight: Donegal | Lough Eske Castle
Room Type: 1x Superior Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 9 km / 6 miles | 580 m / 1,903 ft elevation gain

Day 5 - Sunday 5th May - 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. Today’s hike runs along a lake to the mystical Glenveagh Castle, where we can wander the cultivated castle gardens set in this romantic landscape before continuing our walk along a winding path through the Derryveagh Mountains. For those seeking a challenge, there is the option of summiting Mount Errigal, the highest peak of the Derryveagh Mountains; there are many lower-level scenic routes to choose from in case a gentler afternoon is in store.

Overnight: Donegal | Lough Eske Castle
Room Type: 1x Superior Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 15 km / 9 miles | 250 m / 820 ft elevation gain

Day 6 - Monday 6th May - To Connemara and Ashford Castle

With your time exploring Donegal’s remote landscapes coming to an end, begin your journey south along the Wild Atlantic Way. With one national park off the list, your destination today is Connemara National Park and its rolling mountains and cobalt-blue waters. It’s about 3 hours driving down to Ashford Castle, where we have arranged for a local expert to come onsite for a falconry demonstration on the castle estate. Alternatively there is a plethora of hiking opportunities available in counties Sligo and Mayo on the way, ranging from quiet lakeside wanders to small mountain ascents.

Overnight: Connemara | Ashford Castle
Room Type: 1x Corrib Lakeview Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 107 m / 350 ft elevation gain

Day 6 - Ashford Hawk Walk Read More +

Activity: Ashford Hawk Walk
Start Location: Ashford Castle Estate | Start Time: 2:00 pm | Approx Duration: 1.5 hrs

Phone: +353 94 954 6820

Day 7 - Tuesday 7th May - The Wildlife of Connemara National Park

Today is a real treat, as a local expert and documentarian will accompany you throughout the day to share the wild wonders of Connemara and the creatures who call the park home. Uncover Connemara’s deep cultural significance to the Irish people as you explore an old ruined village dating back to famine times, hear stories of the farmers who found novel ways to cultivate the land, and understand the rich land-and-sea biodiversity which makes up the park in a close-to-the-ground environment.

Overnight: Connemara | Ashford Castle
Room Type: 1x Corrib Lakeview Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 - Guided Connemara Nature and Wildlife Tour Read More +

Activity: Guided Connemara Nature and Wildlife Tour
Nature Guide: Lynda Huxley
Start Location: Ashford Castle | Start Time: 9:30 am
Website: https://natureofireland.org/about-me/

Enjoy a full day out with a photographer and wildlife expert as you explore Connemara and southern Mayo together.

Day 8 - Wednesday 8th May - The Burren's Remote Wonders

Heading down south into County Clare this morning, the introduction to the barren rocky landscape of the Burren is stark. The unusual exposed limestone geology of the region was formed millions of years ago when Clare was on the sea floor, leaving behind an impressive lunar landscape. Enjoy lunch today in the cafe of a locally sourced perfumery and tea room tucked away quietly down a hidden laneway, before setting off on a hike with panoramic views over the surrounding rocky mountain scenery. Your accommodation tonight is an eco retreat country house complete with cozy warm fires and rustic Irish decoration.

Overnight: The Burren | Gregans Castle
Room Type: 1x Superior Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 10 km / 6 miles | 300 m / 984 ft elevation gain

Day 9 - Thursday 9th May - The Iconic Cliffs of Moher

No trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to the iconic and wonderfully picturesque Cliffs of Moher. Rising 700 feet from the crashing Atlantic Ocean, the cliffs are home to a myriad of seabirds and aquatic life, the cliffs have deservedly become the hallmark of Irish scenery. You can take in the panoramic views and enjoy a hike with your guide, away from the visitor centre crowds, as you walk atop a section of the cliffs.

Overnight: The Burren | Gregans Castle
Room Type: 1x Superior Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 12 km / 7 miles | 400 m / 1,312 ft elevation gain

Day 10 - Friday 10th May - On to The Dingle Peninsula

Continue your way along the Wild Atlantic Way this morning as you trade the rocky hills of the Burren for the sweeping amber mountains of the Dingle Peninsula. As the northern-most peninsula of the ‘Kingdom of Kerry’, there’s no better introduction into the dramatic seaside mountain scenery than this island-dotted peninsula. Stroll along the peninsula’s northern seaside to encounter small pubs – or even a local brewery – which bring the villages to life. Your accommodation tonight is a charming luxury manor house just on the edge of Dingle town – be sure to make the short walk into the town tonight to sample some of its renowned traditional Irish music!

Overnight: Dingle | Emlagh House
Room Type: 1x Deluxe Sea View Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 12 km / 7 miles | 50 m / 164 ft elevation gain

Day 11 - Saturday 11th May - Along The Dingle Way

The Dingle Peninsula hosts some of the richest collection of archaeological sites in Europe, ranging from standing stones and prehistoric monuments, as well as the peninsula’s renowned ancient clochains or beehive huts, which may be as much as 2,000 years old. Explore the peninsula today along a section of the renowned Dingle Way trail, stopping as you please for strolls along some of the longest stretching beaches and coastline trails Ireland has to offer. Following your hike, transfer to the next Kerry peninsula down to the small fishing village of Kenmare, where your 5-star lodge overlooking Kenmare Bay awaits.

Overnight: Kenmare | Sheen Falls Lodge
Room Type: 1x Superior Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 12 km / 7 miles | 310 m / 1,017 ft elevation gain

Day 12 - Sunday 12th May - Exploring Killarney National Park

The day ahead is devoted entirely to exploring the vast forested lands of Killarney National Park – the jewel in the county’s crown. Starting from an 18th century manor house overlooking the serene lakes of the park, enjoy an engaging hike up Torc Mountain descending into the canopy of trees below. Later this afternoon, visit Ross Castle and hear about the legend of O’Donoghue and his snow-white horse. Return to your charming accommodation this evening, sitting down to a final delicious dinner in Ireland’s southwest.

Overnight: Kenmare | Sheen Falls Lodge
Room Type: 1x Superior Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 11 km / 7 miles | 380 m / 1,247 ft elevation gain

Day 13 - Monday 13th May - Unwind at Ballyfin Demesne

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in Sheen Falls overlooking the bay before departing with your guide back east, where your final accommodation awaits in Ballyfin Demesne’s luxurious estate. The drive back is around 3 hours direct, with an option to stop over in the harbour village of Kinsale Co. Cork for a lunch stop and stroll. After dropping you off at the estate, your guide will say farewell after a week of adventure shared together, and from here you will have the evening to yourself to relax in the quiet country estate.

Overnight: Ballyfin | Ballyfin Demesne
Room Type: 1x Deluxe Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 13 - Lunch Details Read More +

Hotel: The State Dining Room | Location: Ballyfin Demesne
Reservation Time: 1:30 pm

Day 14 - Tuesday 14th May - Departure from Ballyfin

We will organise a private transfer for you this morning from Ballyfin to Dublin Airport, allowing plenty of time to check in before your departing flight. We hope you have enjoyed your time exploring Ireland with us, and we cannot wait to welcome you back to our friendly shores.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Dublin Chauffeurs
Pick Up Location: The lobby of Ballyfin Demense | Pick Up Time: 9:00 am | Approx Duration: 1.5 hrs
Phone: +353 (0)87 233 8396

Your private driver will meet you in the lobby of Ballyfin Demesne and transfer you straight to Dublin Airport for your departing flight.

Flight details: United flight 316 departing DUB at 1:35pm.

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • All accommodation from Day 1 to Day 13
  • Most meals as indicated in the above itinerary
  • Services of an experienced and knowledgeable qualified guide from Day 3 to Day 13
  • Ground transportation from Day 3 to Day 13
  • Airport transfers to and from your arrival & departure airport
  • All guided hikes and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • Snacks and refreshments throughout the trip
  • 24 hour in-country support
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

Meet Your Guide

Donncha O'Brien

Contact Number: +353 87 986 1202

I am and always have been for as long as I can remember, mad for being outdoors. I think the world would be a better place if everyone walked, ran, paddled, biked, or just went outdoors more regularly. I take my four young children outside to do these things and camp for multiple nights each year. I feel very lucky to guide people through the beautiful landscapes we have in Ireland. Mostly I love to help convey a sense of the rich and varied history/culture we Irish are famous for, either through song or story, early or late.