8 Days, 7 Nights|
Or book a Custom Trip
8 Days, 7 Nights|
Guides, ground transportation, support vehicle, lodging, most meals (breakfasts and all but one lunch and dinner.)|
Round trip to Shannon, one lunch, one dinner, drinks, personal clothing and accessories, full medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, airport taxes and gratuities.
Day 1: Welcome to Ireland! Northwest Passage guides will meet you at the Shannon Airport and transfer you to a charming guesthouse in the Burren area. We’ll have a welcome dinner where we will get to know each other and review the upcoming week’s itinerary. (D)
Day 2: After the first of our delicious traditional Irish breakfasts, we’ll head out for a 5-mile hike in the Burren, an area of unique geologic formations filled with picturesque lakes and streams. We’ll visit the beautiful Cliffs of Moher which rise 700 feet vertically out of the water. In the afternoon, we'll head to Killary Lodge where we’ll spend the next five nights. (B,D)
Day 3: After another hearty breakfast, we’ll walk the Devil’s Mother Mountain, a moderate walk of 5-6 hours. In the afternoon we’ll end our walk in Leanane village for a pint of Guinness - this is not a place you'll want to order an imported beer! For those interested, there will also be a chance to visit the local heritage museum. (B,D)
Day 4: This morning we’ll walk up the Benchoona Mountain and over to Klemore, finishing at the Kylemore Abbey, the fairy-tale palace of the West. Built long ago by a Manchester business man, this abbey is now a girls’ school run by Benedictine nuns. They offer wonderful homemade food in their coffee shop as well as an excellent craft shop. (B,D)
Day 5: Today we’ll hike the Ben Baun horseshoe, a walk in the Twelve Bens mountain range, known in Irish as Na Beanna Beola. This is a fine summit (730 m) that is steep on all sides with the exception of one fairly gentle ridge. In the valley below there are extensive remains of a time when Ireland was forested. For the remainder of the day we’ll follow a horseshoe route to two other peaks of The Bens, a cluster of mountains focused around 12 summits on the western seaboard. (B,D)
Day 6: For a change of pace, this morning we’ll take a ferry across the mouth of Killary Harbor and either hike along the deserted sandy beaches, or hike to another mountain peak. Either way we’ll be afforded spectacular scenery. In the late afternoon we’ll return to Killary Lodge for a delicious dinner. (B,D)
Day 7: We’ll start out this morning with another ferry ride to the Aran Islands. We’ll visit the impressive Dun Aengus Fort with walls 20 feet high and 18 feet thick at the base. Built in the traditional Irish village style, we’ll have the chance to see a whole complex of traditional buildings including a lighthouse, signal tower, thatched cabin, and stone aged fort. This evening we’ll transfer back to Galway where you’ll have dinner on your own. There are plenty of fine dining options here as well as great shopping! We’ll spend the night tonight in a local Guesthouse. (B)
Day 8: We bid farewell to our new friends after breakfast, and are shuttled back to Shannon to catch our flights home. **This itinerary is subject to change.
Packing light is always right! We recommend soft-sided bags; many people do this trip using just a carryon bag.
- Broken-in hiking shoes
- 2-3 tops, 2-3 pairs shorts/pants
- Hiking stick(s) if you normally use them
- Rain gear just in case - those green hills need regular watering to stay that way
- Casual clothes for evening
- A clean change of clothes for the trip back home
- Toiletries, personal first aid kit, any necessary medications, sunscreen
- Camera, media or film, adapter plug for charging batteries
The Mountains of Connemara : A Hill Walker's Guide
What is special about this trip?
Experiencing Ireland on foot is an inspiring and uplifting way to experience this ancient nation. You'll have the opportunity to interact with locals and to see the countryside in a way that is impossible to do with a typical coach tour, while enjoying the physical benefits of walking in the invigorating Irish air.
“This trip was both fun and relaxing, but it also allowed me to push myself and find out my limits at times. The itinerary was excellent and put me directly in the heart of the Ireland I wanted to discover. The rolling hills, the changing weather, the sheep, and the amazing food was very memorable. The Guinness also.” We believe these comments from past participants say it all!
How do I get there?
We find that it’s easiest to fly into Dublin or another international airport and then take a bus to Shannon. The buses in Ireland are quite comfortable and reasonably priced.
What papers do I need for travel?
All US citizens require a valid passport to enter Ireland; it should have an expiration date at least six months after your intended date of departure. A visa is not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. If you are a citizen of another country, please check with your nearest Irish embassy for visa requirements.
Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No inoculations are required when entering or leaving Ireland.
How and where will you meet me?
We will have a copy of your travel itinerary and meet you at the airport or bus station. A guide carrying a Northwest Passage sign will greet you.
How long will it take me to get there?
The flight to Ireland is often an overnight flight from the U.S., leaving late afternoon or evening and arriving the following morning. The return flights are generally “same day.” With the time difference, one often leaves Ireland and arrives in the U.S. around the same time.
Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you plan to arrive early or stay late, give the office a call for a recommendation on a great place to stay.
What money should I take?
The trip fee covers most of your costs. The only things you will be responsible for are lunches, drinks, one dinner, personal purchases, and gratuities. Lunches vary depending on how much and what you like to eat. Most of our lunches will be in pubs where you can often get soup and sandwich for around $ 7or more for a complete meal ($12). In the past, the groups have sometimes chosen to do picnic lunches where we just split the costs of items we pick up at the grocery stores (fresh bread, cheese, fruit, sausage, chocolate etc). Personal purchases again vary- Irish sweaters and other typical Irish gifts can be purchased in various price ranges- it’s up to you.
What's the currency? Exchange rate? Where can I exchange money?
The Irish punt (IEP) was the Irish currency. As of January, 2002, the Euro became the official currency. For the most current exchange rate, there are several helpful websites including www.mytravelguide.com and www.foreigncurrency.com or check the travel and/or business sections of your local newspaper . You can exchange money at the airport or at banks with a Bureau de Change in some of the towns we visit.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?"
Many of the larger shops and restaurants accept major credit cards, though many of the smaller ones do not. ATMs are easy to find in any populated area.
What's the weather like?
The weather varies but you should expect to see rain, windy and cool conditions. Average temperature in June is13.4° Celsius (55.4° F) with relative humidity of 73%. When it rains, it is usually an intermittent affair- rain showers followed by clearing and sun followed by more rain. Having a good set of raingear (jacket and pants) which you can take off and put on easily is key. The Irish talk about a “soft rain” rather than steady downpour. Raingear can also serve as good wind protection as conditions on the west coast are often quite windy
What are the accommodations like?
We stay in hotels and B and Bs along our hiking journey. They are very comfortable and run by families that believe in traditional, warm Irish hospitality.
What do I need to bring?
We will send you a gear list upon registration.
Can I drink the water?
The water is safe to drink. In some areas, the water is well water that has minerals in it, leading it to look darker but doesn’t affect the taste much. Bottled water is also readily available and we will have big containers of water in the van from which you can refill your water bottles. Water bottles will be provided with the bike rental or you can choose to bring your own.
What's the food like?
The overwhelming response from past participants was that they were most pleasantly surprised by how wonderful the food was. Breakfast generally consists of full Irish breakfast (egg, sausage, bread) or a la carte porridge, cold cereal, yogurt, breads. Lunches vary but can consist of soup and sandwiches in pubs to a full meal (shepherd’s pie, lasagna, pot pies, meats etc). We also have chosen to do picnic lunches on occasion. Dinners generally give you many options of fresh fish (this area of Ireland is known for salmon fishing and fresh Atlantic salmon was a frequent option), meats, many varieties of potatoes (at one dinner, we counted 6 different varieties!), vegetables and breads. There are always vegetarian options but we need to know in advance as some dinners are ordered on a set meal basis.
What time zone will I be in?
Ireland is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time; 6 hours ahead of Central Daylight Time; 8 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time.
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
We will provide you with a list of our hotels including phone and fax numbers. You should also provide family/friends with The Northwest Passage number (800-RECREATE, 732-7328) as NWP staff will always be notified of any changes in the itinerary. You can call home using a calling card. Some of the accommodations will have phones in the rooms. Keep in mind the time difference listed above. It can be helpful to remind family and friends about this also. MCI access code for calls from Ireland is 800-551-001. AT&T access code is 800-500-000. Sprint access code is 800-552-001. If you bring your cell phone, check with your provider about international roaming rates which can be surprising.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
Typically, we hike between 5 and 12 miles a day. This allows for free time in the afternoon.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Not much technical equipment is necessary on this adventure. We rent a large support van to transport your gear from inn to inn while you hike without the burden of a heavy pack.
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Typically, between 4 and 12 participants join us on this trip. The guides are experienced outdoor professionals who are also certified in Wilderness First Aid.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
If you want to prepare physically for this trip, the best thing you can do is simply walk. Since the trip is van supported there’s no need to prepare by carrying a loaded pack. The van will carry the load so that you are free to walk easily. Try to find some hills to walk up and down so that Ireland’s hilly topography doesn’t come as a surprise.