Perched on the edge of the Atlantic, Ireland’s rugged west coast offers a journey around hundreds of islands, enchanting peninsulas and fjords, soaring cliffs and crumbling castles. Along the way you’ll discover unique flora and fauna, hike through spectacular scenery and discover an ancient culture of storytelling, mythology and lives intertwined with the Atlantic. Highlights may include the chance to encounter huge colonies of nesting seabirds such as gannets, puffins and guillemots, and a visit to a 6th-century monastery on the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage-listed Skellig Islands.
Discover a fascinating history of Celts, Vikings, monks and Stone Age settlements
Keep watch for an abundance of marine wildlife: dolphins, whales, otters, puffins, gannets and other seabirds
Visit the spectacularly rugged Skellig Islands, home to a 6th century monastery
Hike coastal landscapes, uncovering ancient myths and legends along the way
Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Giant's Causeway and Dublin, City of Literature
Raise a glass of Irish whiskey at the Dingle Distillery
Day 1: Arrival in Dublin. Arrive in Dublin and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore this lively city.
Day 2: Dublin sightseeing & embarkation. A sightseeing tour is included this afternoon, taking in the highlights of Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature. After your tour you will embark the ship and set sail, following Ireland’s scenic east coast north.
Day 3: Inishowen Peninsula & Tory Island, Donegal. At the Inishowen Peninsula’s tip is Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point and a wonderful spot for bird watching as you meander along the pristine beaches of this deserted coastline. Continue to Tory Island, a place that seems to have frozen in time where people still talk of 'travelling to Ireland'. Tory's spectacular cliff scenery is complemented by a rich and varied history, and many ancient customs still survive, including the appointment of the island king or Rí Thoraí. Interesting historical sites include a round tower that once protected monks from Viking raids, the ruins of St Colmcille’s 6th century monastery and the intriguing Tau Cross that suggests early seafaring links to the Coptic Christians of Egypt. The island also boasts an abundance of rare bird life and wild flower species, but it is the friendly island residents themselves that leave the biggest impression on visitors.
Day 4: Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal. Slieve League Cliffs, on the south west coast of County Donegal, are some of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe. Hike to the top, 600 metres above the turbulent Atlantic Ocean, for fantastic views of the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay.
Day 5: Mulaaghmore, Sligo. The small but dramatic peninsula of Mullaghmore is backed by the dazzling landscape of jagged mountain peaks that inspired the work of Nobel-winning poet W.B. Yeats. Yeats’ grave can be found in the nearby Drumcliff Cemetry. Mullaghmore sits in the shadows of Benbulben Mountain, undoubtedly Ireland’s most distinctive peak which was formed by glacial activity during the ice age. Enjoy a leisurely hike through the Benbulben Forest, emerging onto the headland for superb panoramic views of Donegal Bay, Slieve League Cliffs, Mullaghmore and Classiebawn Castle. Later there may be time to land on one of the offshore islands to visit a wildlife sanctuary and a 6th century monastic, where the discovery of a cist burial and carved ‘cursing’ stones suggests prehistoric occupation.
Day 6: Céide Fields & Clare Island, Mayo. Visit Céide Fields, the remains of a Stone Age farming community dating back nearly 6000 years. It contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world, whilst the nearby interpretive centre is home to a 4,000-year-old pine tree unearthed from local bog land.
Continue to Clare Island, a mountainous island guarding the entrance to Clew Bay in County Mayo. It is famous throughout Ireland as the hVisit Céide Fields, the remains of a Stone Age farming community dating back nearly 6000 years. It contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world, whilst the nearby interpretive centre is home to a 4,000-year-old pine tree unearthed from local bog land.
Continue to Clare Island, a mountainous island guarding the entrance to Clew Bay in County Mayo. It is famous throughout Ireland as the home of the pirate queen Grace O'Malley (Granuaile), who was known as a tyrant of the ocean, clan chieftain, mother, wife, survivor and brilliant politician. Clare is the largest and highest of Clew Bay's many islands, with dramatic coastal cliffs and spectacular views of one of Ireland's best-known peaks, Croagh Patrick. Its spectacular cliffs are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds and its hills, bogs and woodlands make it ideal for hill walking.
ome of the pirate queen Grace O'Malley (Granuaile), who was known as a tyrant of the ocean, clan chieftain, mother, wife, survivor and brilliant politician. Clare is the largest and highest of Clew Bay's many islands, with dramatic coastal cliffs and spectacular views of one of Ireland's best-known peaks, Croagh Patrick. Its spectacular cliffs are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds and its hills, bogs and woodlands make it ideal for hill walking.
Days 7-10: Connemara, Galway. Soak up some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery as you explore the Connemara coast. Highlights over the next few days may include the glacial-carved Killary Harbour, described as Ireland’s only true fjord. This sheltered inlet was once used as a hiding place for U-boats but today you are more likely to find dolphins, otters and a wealth of bird species including ringed plover, mute swan, whooper swan, mallard duck, tufted duck and barnacle goose. Enjoy some spectacular hiking through Connemara National Park, against a dramatic mountainous backdrop, and cruise amongst the Connemara Islands. Scattered out in the harsh Atlantic, these islands have been shaped by the sheer force of the ocean. Perhaps land at Inishbofin, one of the last Royalist strongholds to fall to Cromwell’s army. The ruins of Cromwell’s impressive star-shaped fort from 1656 still overlook the harbour. Inishbofin is also a breeding area for many bird species, such as the corncrake, Arctic tern, fulmars, shags, guillemots, Manx shearwaters and choughs.
Continuing south, the Aran Islands are synonymous with traditional Irish culture, language, music and tradition. Famed for their wild landscapes, distinctive knitted jumpers and pretty thatched cottages, these picturesque islands never fail to impress. Inishmore (Inis Mór) is the largest of the Aran Islands and is home to over 50 different monuments of Christian, pre-Christian and Celtic mythological heritage, as well as the iconic Dún Aonghusa fort which perches on the cliff-edge. The geology on Inishmore is an extension of the famous limestone rocks of The Burren, where limestone pavements crisscrossed with grikes host a plethora of rare wild flowers such as gentian violets and orchids. As you continue your journey you will cruise beneath the towering Cliffs of Moher.
Day 11: Dingle Peninsula, Kerry. There are over 2,500 archaeological sites on the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, spanning a period from 6,000 BC through to 1700 AD. Take a closer look at the Blasket Islands where you may spot puffins, fulmars, guillemots, storm petrels and shearwaters. You may also encounter dolphins, whales, orcas and porpoise.
Head ashore at Dingle to enjoy a guided tour of some of the Peninsula’s ancient sites, including the Ogham stones, monastic sites, beehive huts, ringforts, medieval churches, holy wells and the Gallarus oratory. Afterwards, visit the renowned Dingle Distillery to learn about the production process of their gin, vodka, and unique Dingle Whiskey.
Day 12: The Skelligs, Kerry. Off the coast of County Kerry two rocky pinnacles rise in dramatic fashion from the Atlantic Ocean. The Skellig Islands are world-renowned for their ornithological and archaeological significance – and more recently for their starring role in the Star Wars movies. Small Skellig is home to roughly 27,000 pairs of gannets – the second largest colony in the world, whilst Skellig Michael is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the extraordinary monastery that perches at its peak. Generation after generation of monks helped to hand-carve 600 stone steps to build a hilltop monastery 200 metres above the pounding waves. The monastery has six corbel stone beehive huts and two boat-shaped oratories. The survival of the terraces and drystone walls to this day are testament to the skill and dedication of the monks and a striking example of Early Christian architecture. After enduring several Viking raids, the monks eventually left the island in the 13th century.
Day 13: At Sea. As your voyage draws to a close there will be time to enjoy some final presentations from the expedition team and reminisce about your experiences over a few drinks with new-found friends.
Day 14: Disembarkation in Dublin. On arrival in Dublin this morning, disembark the ship and bid your fellow travellers farewell.
Arrival transfer from airport to hotelPre-voyage hotel accommodation with breakfast in Dublin Half day Dublin city tourTransfer from ship to airport or downtown on disembarkationShipboard accommodationAll breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board the shipTea & coffee available around the clockBeer, house wine and soft drinks with dinnerCaptain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinnerAll Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landingsPresentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakersExpedition jacket - yours to keepLoan of rubber boots during voyageAll miscellaneous service taxes and port chargesNo surcharge guaranteeFull financial protection »
Arrival transfer from airport to hotel
Pre-voyage hotel accommodation with breakfast in Dublin
Half day Dublin city tour
Transfer from ship to airport or downtown on disembarkation
All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board the ship
Tea & coffee available around the clock
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner
All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
Expedition jacket - yours to keep
Loan of rubber boots during voyage
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
No surcharge guarantee
Full financial protection »
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