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Quintessential All Ireland

Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Donegal, Belfast

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This example itinerary

from £10,950 $14,515 pp

15 days

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Highlights

  • Orientation of Dublin with renowned author and local in the Little Museum of Dublin
  • Fishing on the high seas of the Atlantic out of Donegal Bay, trawling for mackerel or tuna 
  • Forage for seaweed along the beaches of Kerry, learning about the benefits and uses of the sea plant before feasting on a seaweed feast
  • Cycle the Ring of Dingle with an expert guide, taking in the scenery at your own pace
  • Experience the fascinating Titanic Trail as you follow in the steps of the final passengers, your guide will bring their stories to life
  • Hike the geopark of the Burren with a charming local guide, eyes peeled for wildflower and learning about the history of the area at the Poulnabrone dolmen
  • Walk in the footsteps of Giants at the UNESCO Protected Giants Causeway

This example itinerary

from £10,950 $14,515 pp

15 days

Speak to Molly

+44 (0)203 137 1247

+1 (0)800 635 8124

What’s Included

  • 14 nights Bed & Breakfast 
  • Privately Guided Experiences 
  • Driver Guide for 10 days
  • All Entrance Fees 
  • International Economy class flights

Example Itinerary

Day 1-3

DUBLIN, Ireland

  • Visit the Little Museum of Dublin for insight to this pint-sized capital with author and owner Trevor White
  • The birthplace of Guiness enjoy the full connoisseur experience, complete with private tasting and a personal guide

Whether you’re in Dublin for a long weekend or just a night, it is impossible not to be swept up in the Irish capital’s “craic”. From historic sites to the Silicon Docks (via Temple Bar), Dublin is a melting pot of heritage and hedonism.

During your two days in the city, you will have the opportunity not only to explore the highlights but also meet the locals. Trevor White, owner of the Little Dublin Museum can paint a brighter picture about Dublin’s past and how it affects the present during a visit to the award-winning museum. Conveniently, he created The Dubliner magazine and published Ireland’s best-selling restaurant guide. After time spent with him, you will be well set up for quickly grasping how to make the most of your time in the city.

Step back in time at Trinity College, with a visit to The Book of Kells. We will pre-book you early tickets so to miss the worst of the crowds. After a history lesson, you will find a city filled with other world-class museums and galleries. A favourite of ours the National Gallery of Ireland. The gallery features art from the 14th right up to 20th century. For sporting fans, we can arrange tickets for a hurling match at Croke Park. One of the most unique and most loved aspects of Irish culture, a prehistoric game and native sport.

No visit to Dublin is really complete without visiting the Guinness Storehouse. Experience the history, heart, and soul of Ireland’s most iconic beer. Most importantly, after a spot of tasting with an expert, learn to pour the perfect pint.

In any free time you have left, Dublin is a city for strolling through the charming cobbled streets at your own pace and letting the cityscape unfold around you.

Day 3-5

CORK, Ireland

  • Make your way around the vibrant streets of Kinsale, known as the ‘gourmet capital of Ireland’ for a walking food tour
  • Break up the journey from East to West with some quintessential Irish experiences – beer tasting and a sheep dog demonstration
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone!

Ireland’s southwestern county of Cork contains some of Ireland’s most iconic scenery; golden surf-pounded beaches, rugged peaks reflecting in lakes and green hillsides full of flocks of sheep. There are ancient sites a-plenty to discover and, always, just around the corner, an unexpected view or a welcoming pub where you can sit and pass the time of day over a pint of Guinness with the locals.

Depart Dublin and drive to Cork with your private driver-guide who will break up the long drive with some great stops. On the way enjoy touring Co Wicklow, known as the Garden of Ireland. Stop at Killruddery House and Gardens, this 800-acre estate is a sustainable, bio-diverse farm that includes flowering woodland, world-renowned 17th-century gardens, cut flower gardens, high-hedged pathways, a natural amphitheatre, the Long Ponds with a Walled Garden and a Farm Shop for some treats before you get back on the road.

Continue the day with a visit to a microbrewery. At the brewery, you will partake in a private tour and delicious Irish lunch with beer pairings will be served following the tour. After lunch, there is the opportunity for a sheepdog demonstration and guided heritage farm tour to learn about the importance of farming in Irish Culture.

On your first full day in County Cork, visit its most famous site, the Blarney Castle. Famed for its Blarney Stone, which by kissing will bestow the gift of eloquence, Blarney Castle was built over six hundred years ago by Cormac McCarthy, one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains. For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate. But don’t forget to explore the castle and gardens too. In the afternoon, travel to the coast and the town of Cobh.

Travel back in time to an era of sea travel, emigration to a new life in America and the ill-fated journey of the Titanic. Explore the tales of the emigrants who passed through the port on their way to a new life, and those whose journey ended prematurely. As you spend two hours walking around Cobh with your private guide you’ll hear tales of the events that have shaped the history of both Ireland and the world.

Day 5-7

KERRY, Ireland

  • Forage for seaweed with an expert along the beaches and bays of the Ring of Kerry before a foraged feast learning about all the benefits of seaweed in all number of things
  • Pack your swimming stuff for a guided cycle around the Ring of Dingle, once named by National Geographic as the most beautiful place in the world

Since Queen Victoria visited Killarney over 150 years ago, its mountains, lakes and coasts have been the picture-postcard image of Ireland overseas.

Kerry is one of the most visited corners of Ireland and there is buckets to do to fill your short time in the region.

With so much coastline, the beach beckons and a seaweed foraging walk and feast is a must on your first morning. From a local expert you will learn that seaweeds were eaten by monks on the Skelligs. In fact, there is so much good stuff in it, it should be a superfood. Seaweed is packed packed with vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Discover other specimens like Fucus serratus, great to put in your evening bath.

Later that day, make your way to the iconic cliffs on the island of Skellig Michael. Located at the western edge of the European landmass, Skellig Michael was the chosen destination for a small group of ascetic monks who, in their pursuit of greater union with God, withdrew from civilisation to this remote and inaccessible place. Skellig Michael is also one of Ireland’s most important sites for breeding seabirds both in terms of size of colonies and diversity of species. Today, many recognise their drama from the Star Wars films but everyone is mesmerised by their magic.

On your second full day in Kerry, you will head to the Dingle Peninsula. The Dingle Peninsula loop trip is about 30 miles long, so you will be grateful for an e-bike and the long hours of daylight in an Irish summer. The peninsula is dominated by the range of mountains that form its spine, running from the Slieve Mish range to the Conor Pass and  Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second-highest peak. Spend time in a place rich in tradition, literature and culture, where native Gaelic (Irish language) prevails. Your guide knows the best places to stop and catch your breath, grab a bite to eat, spot a friendly dolphin and have a pint of Guiness.

Day 7-9

CLARE, Ireland

  • A highlight of any trip to Ireland, the mighty Cliffs of Moher. Take the cliff walk with a local guide for folk tale and history as you make your way to one of the best views in the land
  • Tailored hike through the magnificent landscape of the Burren, expect striking stone walls, iconic archaeological monuments and a locally foraged picnic amongst wildflower

County Clare, The Cliff Coast where the Atlantic has dramatically carved the coastline. Do not miss the opportunity to venture off the coastline into the wildly diverse ecosystem of the Burren, a geopark home to 70% of Ireland’s wildflower, boxing hares and quintessential Irish stone walls.

County Clare has two highlights, starkly different from one another but each magic in its own right. The world-famous, dramatic and ever-popular Cliffs of Moher on the coast and the dramatic landscape of the Burren inland, home to 70% of Ireland’s wild flower, flora and fauna.

With a walking guide and local farmer, take the Doolin Cliff Walk which ends at the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. Learn the history of the area and about the rural lifestyle enjoyed by the local people of Doolin with the amazing views of lush green grass, rocky cliffs and varying shades of sea and sky. The route, along a paved path is an easy walk with the sound of the ocean in your ears.

Having explored the coastline yesterday, today’s route takes in the wild rolling interior of the Burren National Park. The Burren is one of the richest archaeological landscapes in the north-west of Europe. As you walk along quiet roads lined with quaint limestone walls, marvel at the stony crevices dotted with pockets of rare wildflowers. In Spring and through summer expect to see hares boxing in the meadows. There are holy well sites here as well as mysterious neolithic tombs including one of Ireland’s largest dolmens. Make the time to stop at the Burren Perfumery a perfumery that uses the landscape to inspire their fragrances as well as creating the most delicious freshly-baked organic goodies.

There are also lots of foodie experiences to be had in Clare, such as an oyster tasting at Flaggy Shore Oysters, bean to bar at Hazel Mountain Chocolates, cuddle the baby goats at St. Tola Cheese Farm or get a private tour of The Burren Smokehouse. Or, try a spot of Irish jigging to some traditional Irish music in the picturesque villages of Doolin and Kilfenora.

Day 9-11

GALWAY,  Ireland

  • Oysters have been farmed in Ballinakill Bay, Connemara since 1893. With the owner, explore a family-owned farm before learning to shuck and finally tasting an Irish oyster
  • Venture to the charming island of Inishboffin, stroll to East Beach for shell picking and a swim on one of the countries most beautiful beaches before taking an authentic traditional Galway Hooker home

There are few places I know that are quite so beautiful as Connemara on a sunny day. Bound by the Atlantic on three sides and Lough Corrib on the fourth, it is a rugged, rocky wilderness in north-west County Galway. As for Galway, European Capital of Culture 2020, the city is ripe for exploring and arguably the best in all Ireland when it comes to grub.

With such an abundance of landscape to explore in the County between loch, mountain and coast the options of things to do and places to explore are endless – not a hyperbole.

In a region famous for food, take the time to visit a family-run oyster farm. The farm is one of the oldest oyster farms in Ireland dating back to 1893. Originally, the oysters were brought by horse and cart in barrels to Clifden, then they traveled by rail to Dublin for shipment on the mail boat to England. Today, oysters from Ballinakill Bay are served in local hotels and restaurants as well as being exported worldwide. See the farm crew working hard in the water to grow the most perfectly formed oysters. Shuck your own oyster and take a guess at its weight, again learning more about the work put in to create these flawless oysters.

Sticking to the coast, the following day visit the stunning and wild island of Inishboffin, a short ferry from the mainland. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphin. Explore the island by foot or e-bike making sure to stop for a swim and some shell foraging on East Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. Twitchers, we can arrange a specialist guide for the Spring months when the island comes alive with birdlife. To get back to the mainland, you will be collected by Galway Hooker. These iconic vessels with their distinctive red sails have been built for centuries by renowned boat building families of the area, and sailed the coastal waters from Galway to the Aran Islands and out into the Atlantic Ocean commercially until the 1960’s. Absorb the atmosphere while bantering with the crew, who will be more than happy to share their knowledge and passion for their native land. They might even let you take the rudder for a while. If you wish, back on dry land we can arrange a meeting with the makers. Learn all about the traditions and techniques put into restoring these amazing vessels.

Day 11-13

DONEGAL, Ireland

  • Hike the Pilgrims Path up the Slieve League Cliffs with an expert guide, ending with a luxury BBQ on stunning Silver Strand Beach
  • Fish the Atlantic with expert local skipper, experiencing the coastline from a different perspective, keeping your eyes peeled for dolphin and even whale

Donegal, once named as the Coolest Place on the Planet by National Geographic, warrants the extra mile of travel it takes to reach the northernmost Irish county. In County Donegal, Ireland’s myths, magic and music meet and intertwine.

Donegal is one of Irelands best kept secrets having traditionally been ‘off’ the usual tourist trails. You wouldn’t come for the weather, but you might for the beaches and coastline.

In fact, the unmissable Slieve League Cliffs are an absolute must. With your own private guide, hike the Pilgrim’s Path for some of the most incredible Atlantic views in all the country. The trail’s name comes from the era of Ireland’s Penal laws in the 18th and 19th centuries, a series of laws imposed on the local Irish population to force Irish Roman Catholic dissenters to convert to the “true faith” of the English Anglican Church.

This meant that official Catholic worship was outlawed, but many Irish refused to convert, so they met in secret in remote, rural places, such as Slieve League, where they said mass from allotted “mass rocks.” Along the Pilgrim’s Path, you’ll find the remains of a Mass Rock, a makeshift “church.”  Today it’s in ruin, but the name stuck. Following your hike, you will enjoy a well deserved coastal wild barbecue, or should the weather not be on side, warm lunch at a local pub where live music in the summer months is almost a dead cert.

The following day, it will be time to hit the sea with a local skipper boasting 40 years of experience fishing these waters. From a game angling point of view, if your idea of angling heaven is solitude, wild fish, scenery and unspoilt fishing then look no further. Depending on the season you can venture out for mackerel, pollock, cod and ling. Or, for those looking for a more extreme experience tuna swamps the area from August through October and trawling for them is an exciting opportunity to see these monsters up close and personal. Alternatively, off the sea the region possesses a number of high quality salmon and trout fisheries. The Owenea River is beloved by fly anglers consisting of streamy runs interspersed with pools creating lovely fly water. When water conditions are good this is a prolific little river.

Day 13-15

BELFAST, Northern Ireland

Shaped by the turbulent events of the 20th century, over the years, Belfast has been shaking off its troubled reputation and today is a vibrant and exciting city with lots to offer. On the North East coast of the country, the Causeway Coast is as rich in scenery as it is in experiences.

Belfast is a city that has undergone a decade of energetic and sensitive regeneration, and so has become a great place to go. Thanks to a new clutch of high-end hotels and Michelin Starred restaurants make it feel worthy of inclusion on any trip to the Emerald Isle.

To understand how Belfast has come to be today, you must deep dive into the cities history. On your first afternoon in the Northern Irish capital head out on a local city tour by black cab to delve into the history of the Troubles. Stop at the Peace Wall and end at the Crumlin Jail, where you will have tickets to explore at your own pace. After a heavy dose of history, head to city centre Crown Bar, a UNESCO protected landmark and perfect place for a pint.

On your final full day, you will venture to the Causeway Coast for a day exploring the highlights of this UNESCO protected area. Go on a private adventure along the scenic Causeway Coastal Route, one of the world’s most spectacular drives, and visit the fantastic Giant’s Causeway, Bushmill’s distillery, Ballycastle and Carrick-a-rede Ropebridge. The highlight will undoubtedly be The Giant’s Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway lies at the foot of the basalt cliffs along the sea coast on the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. It is made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland. Geological studies of these formations over the last 300 years have greatly contributed to the development of the earth sciences, and show that this striking landscape was caused by volcanic activity during the Tertiary, some 50–60 million years ago.

For your final night in Ireland, we have booked one of Belfast’s Michelin Starred restaurants for a final immersive and unforgettable experience before you return home.

Peter & Lisa

What a trip. Lisa and I have never had such an amazing vacation and it was all because of you! Thanks so much for putting together the trip of a lifetime. Only trouble is, we now have the travel itch, and I’m broke. Definitely saving up to use your services in the future and spend more time with you. You truly are not only excellent at your trade, but more importantly, a caring man with a tremendous amount of integrity.

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