people walking along bluff on blasket island ireland

Great Blasket Island, Ireland

We have a sense of walking near the edge of the world as we hike along the ancient green roads of Great Blasket Island.

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Spirit of Ireland

Coastal, Mountain, and Island Hikes in Cork and Kerry

Spirit of Ireland route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4595  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Cork, Ireland
Depart: Shannon, Ireland
Lodging: 8 nights in charming inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except lunches and 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: A mix of moderate walks and hikes, 4-6 hours a day, van support (for luggage or tired feet)
3

Highlights

  • Hikes on the Kerry Way, Dingle Peninsula, and mystical Blasket Islands
  • A personal introduction to Ireland’s rich folklore, traditions, and colorful history
  • Charming hotels in great locations, traditional music, pub evenings


Ireland is a magical corner of this world and I feel very lucky to have had it so beautifully revealed.Suzy M.—Pittsburgh, PA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

What draws us to Ireland? Crashing seascapes, emerald valleys below striking mountains, the twining music of the fiddle, the rhythm of the language, and a people who offer one of the warmest welcomes in the world. With native son and veteran WT Trip Leader Con Moriarty, we’ll hike the most spectacular mountains and coasts of southwest Ireland, from Sheep’s Head Peninsula, one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, to the stone circles and pilgrim trails of the Dingle Peninsula. Along the way, we hear tales of the clans and chieftains, discover wild bays, beaches, and hidden troves of pre-Christian antiquities, and enjoy pub evenings among new friends. In Con’s exuberant company, we’ll also enjoy an insider’s view as he shares the mythic lore of his homeland, introducing us to artists, traditional dancers, shepherds, singers, and more.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Cork / Sheep’s Head Peninsula

After a hike in the remote Gougane Barra, walking in the footsteps of saints, scholars, and rebels, we head to a pub to hear traditional sean-nos—a cappella solos sung in Gaelic. The next day’s hike is on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, with its panoramic views, poetic lighthouse, and small community of farmers and fishermen.

Days 3-5
Beara Peninsula / Killarney National Park / Kerry Way

We hike a high ridge on the rugged Beara Peninsula straddling Cork and Kerry, a wild place where great ribs of rock stretch 30 miles into the Atlantic. We then follow the Kerry Way to Killarney Lakes with a spectacular descent into the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass between Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain. Con’s family has lived in these hills for generations.

Days 6-9
Skellig Michael / Dingle Peninsula / Great Blasket Island

After boating out to dramatic Skellig Michael, a Christian monastic site, we hike the Dingle Peninsula, a mist-shrouded spine of sandstone mountains, then enjoy a perfect day on the uninhabited Blasket Islands, following the ancient green paths of this mesmerizing place, the westernmost point in Europe. Depart on Day 9 via Dingle.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

"One would have to have a heart of stone to resist falling in love with Ireland when Con is the Matchmaker. He speaks of his beloved Ireland as one would of a long-loved companion...whispering his admiration of the physical beauty, pointing out the history and difficulties that have formed the complicated yet spellbinding personality, bragging on its many accomplishments, and, sometimes, becoming exasperated with its political choices. His skill as a trip leader/event planner/host are second to none. He was as likely to find the best scone in town as he was to find an overlooked relic in the fields. I’m pretty sure he has some other-worldly connection that parted the clouds and calmed the seas so that we could experience the wonder of Skelling Michael and Great Blasket Island. Con was friends with every person in every hamlet in every area we visited. I feel privileged to have participated in his world if only for a week."
Kathy L., Burlington, CT

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 3, Moderate, according to our trip grading system. As we explore Ireland and Gaelic life both on the mainland and on islands, we will be hiking 6-10 miles per day (4-6 hours) over varied terrain ranging from flat and boggy to rocky. Some hikes will be shorter. You carry only a daypack with the essentials: rain gear, fleece sweater, water bottle, and camera. For your own enjoyment, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition. Daily brisk walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises. The itinerary is flexible and adjusted by the Trip Leader’s knowledge and by weather conditions. A day of rain may make one route more desirable than another, for both safety and comfort. Please also note that rough seas can sometimes make the boat trips to Skellig Michael and/or the Blasket Islands impossible to do, in which case the Trip Leader will arrange an alternate hike/activity on the mainland.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
May 31-Jun 8, 2014

Jun 21-29, 2014
Jul 19-27, 2014
Aug 30-Sep 7, 2014

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$4595 (11-15 members)
$4995 (7-10 members)
Single supplement: $525
Forced single supplement: $275
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • All accommodations in fine hotels and country guesthouses
  • All meals included except lunches and 1 dinner
  • All ground transportation
  • Entrances to museums and sites
  • All land transportation, airport transfers for passengers arriving at designated times

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, transfers, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, wine (except at welcome and farewell dinners), airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Minimum fee: None per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Gougane Barra Hotel

Gougane Barra Hotel

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), West Cork, Ireland

With a magical, off-the-beaten-path location in the mountains of West Cork, the Gougane Barra stands alone the shadow of a massive hill, overlooking ...
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The Aghadoe Heights

The Aghadoe Heights

Days 3 to 5 (3 nights), Killarney, Ireland

The Aghadoe Heights is blessed with a stunning setting overlooking the Lakes of Killarney. Besides offering panoramic views of the green mountains ...
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Benner's Hotel

Benner's Hotel

Days 6 to 8 (3 nights), Dingle, Ireland

Set in the center of Dingle town close to shopping, restaurants, and pubs, Benner’s Hotel offers traditional, “down-home” Irish ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Ann Curran

Departure Dates: May 31-June 8, 2014, June 21-29, 2014, July 19-27, 2014, August 30-September 7, 2014

Ann Curran was born and raised in Dingle, County Kerry, and grew up surrounded by traditional Gaelic culture. She has worked in real estate, banking, and guesthouse management before settling on her favorite career to date—leading trips—and has enjoyed guiding hiking and cultural ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Con Moriarty

Departure Dates: May 31-June 8, 2014, June 21-29, 2014, July 19-27, 2014, August 30-September 7, 2014

Con Moriarty grew up in one of the world's very special places—amidst the wild peaks of the McGillycuddy Reeks and Killarney Valley of Ireland's County Kerry. From an early age, Con has been awake to the spirit of this magical place. The rich Gaelic culture of his upbringing steeped him in a ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Client Comments

Ireland is a magical corner of this world and I feel very lucky to have had it so beautifully revealed. Suzy M., Pittsburgh, PA Well planned, lots of beautiful walks, and plenty of time to enjoy the countryside. Great evening meals, music, and fun! Donald H., Farmington, CT This trip was an experience one could never get on a 'regular' tour of Ireland. You might see the usual tourist sites, but you would never see or experience what we did with Con. Midge M., Alameda, CA This was a fantastic trip, full of wonderful hiking in a beautiful location, made so much more interesting by our terrific guides, Con Moriarty and Ann Curran. They had a wealth of information about the area, having grown up there, and so much information about the history and lore of Ireland. They also had great knowledge of current happenings and events, the best restaurants and shops and pubs. Emily S., San Mateo, CA
A wonderful trip, with a great mix of hiking and learning. Ivy W., Essex, CT A spectacular trip! Ireland is a beautiful country. Hotels were charming and quaint, food was amazing, hikes were fantastic. Joyce E., Coral Cables, FL