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 route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4795  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Cork, Ireland
Depart: Shannon, Ireland
Lodging: 8 nights 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, mystical Blasket Islands, and the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets
  • Enjoy a personal introduction to Ireland’s rich folklore, traditions, and colorful history
  • Whiskey tasting with an expert, meet a shepherd and his border collies
  • Charming hotels in great locations, traditional music, lively 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

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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.

Crashing seascapes, emerald valleys, the twining music of the fiddle, the rhythm of the language, and a people who offer one of the warmest welcomes in the world. This is the magic of Ireland, and in the exuberant company of native son Con Moriarty, you’ll enjoy an insider’s view while hiking the most spectacular mountains and coasts of southwest Ireland, from Sheep’s Head Peninsula to the stone circles and pilgrim trails of the Dingle Peninsula. Along the way, you’ll hear tales of clans and chieftains, enjoy pub evenings among new friends, and meet 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 walking in the footsteps of saints, scholars, and rebels in the remote Gougane Barra, 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

Hike a high ridge on the rugged Beara Peninsula, a wild place where great ribs of rock stretch 30 miles into the Atlantic, 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.

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

After boating out to dramatic Skellig Michael, a Christian monastic site, hike the Dingle Peninsula, a mist-shrouded spine of sandstone mountains, then follow ancient green paths on the uninhabited Blasket Islands, the westernmost point in Europe. Depart on Day 9 via Cork or Shannon.

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

2015
May 22-30, 2015  Con Moriarty
Jun 19-27, 2015  Con Moriarty
Jul 25-Aug 2, 2015  Con Moriarty
Aug 29-Sep 6, 2015  Con Moriarty

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$4795 (11-15 members)
$5295 (7-10 members)
Single supplement: $560
Forced single supplement: $280
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% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Con Moriarty

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 wealth of folklore and history, and the intriguing story of Ireland and its peoples are a central passion for Con. Traveling with Con and his friends in Ireland is truly a learning adventure—walking and experiencing the "hidden Ireland." A keen mountaineer, Con has climbed and traveled extensively in the mountain environments of Scotland, the European Alps, the US, Nepal, Kenya, Irian Jaya, Australia, Patagonia, and New Zealand.

Upcoming Trips:

Spirit of Ireland, May 22-30, 2015
Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way, June 2015
Spirit of Ireland, June 19-27, 2015
Spirit of Ireland, July 25-August 2, 2015
Spirit of Ireland, August 29-September 6, 2015

Client Testimonials:


You come away from this trip feeling really connected to the history, culture, geography, and people of Ireland. And the credit should go to Con Moriarty. He is one of the greatest characters I’ve come across in my life. Jan Edward P., Schaumburg IL
Emerald Isle
Poetry readings, traditional Irish music, fantastic hiking and scenery, and Con’s knowledge and concern made this trip an emerald gem in the WT collection. Rachel S., Somerset NJ
Emerald Isle
Con truly worked hard to make sure we learned a lot, had fun, got exercise, and experienced lots of Irish culture. He ranks up there with the best. Andrea Rosenthal, Pacific Palisades CA
Emerald Isle
Con Moriarty is a trip leader par excellence and a great human being. I’d go on a trip with him again in a heartbeat. Carol B., Redwood City, CA Con is totally passionate about his country, its history, its music, and its mountains, and he shared so much of this with us, giving us as rich a cultural experience as we could possibly have had. Suzy M., Pittsburgh, PA
Spirit of Ireland
Con was a joy to travel with and his love of Ireland could shine through the heaviest of clouds. Barbara S., San Antonio, TX
Spirit of Ireland
Con is really someone special. He knows an immense amount about and is passionate about his home and is amazingly tuned to the land and its story and people. Ann R., Columbia, SC
Spirit of Ireland
Friendly, incredibly knowledgeable, funny, charismatic. William K., Columbia, SC
Spirit of Ireland
Con is the best, well versed in Irish history and family connections. It was wonderful walking on his family's sacred ground. Lots of fun and history, best trip ever (of 9 WT trips!). Donald H., Farmington, CT
Spirit of Ireland
The depth and breadth of Con's knowledge of the area and the history of the Irish people is amazing. He very generously shared his pride and passion for Ireland with us, which was the unique value of this trip. Con truly is the Spirit of Ireland. Midge M., Alameda, CA
Spirit of Ireland
Con is a great natural guide, amusing, knowledgeable, supportive, and a 'gentle giant.' He has a very deep knowledge of the history of Ireland and a very deep love of his country, both of which he imparted to us. He is a very special, caring person, a consummate professional, and very committed to his calling. He worked hard every day to make the trip a wonderful experience for all! Nancy F., New York, NY
Spirit of Ireland
How did you find such a perfect leader in every way? His passion for the land he guides on, his deeply felt sharing of cultural and historical relevance, his patience, his flexibility, and his commitment to our trip success, and WT's reputation, will never be topped. Tom T., St. Louis, MO
Spirit of Ireland
Con taught us so much about Ireland's complex history, culture, and natural landscape, and emphasized the importance of integrating all these things. Jeanne T., St. Louis, MO
Spirit of Ireland
Con'a passion for Ireland, the environment, history, and people were out of this world and contagious. He is no doubt the best interpretation you could ever have of what Ireland and being Irish is all about. I cannot imagine anyone better than him. Maritza C., Bethesda, MD
Spirit of Ireland
Con seemed to know just the right events, restaurants, shops, and pubs to take us to, knew everyone in the area, and happily exhibited his love of his home country, which made us love it, too. Emily S., San Mateo, CA
Spirit of Ireland
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
Spirit of Ireland
A fantastic trip leader. I appreciated his deep knowledge of Ireland—the spectacular hikes he picked for us; the history of the country he shared with us; his passion for Ireland and for wanting to show us what was so special about the country. Definitely one of the best trip leaders I have had on my Wilderness Travel trips. Joyce E., Coral Cables, FL
Spirit of Ireland
Con was an exceptional leader, generous in sharing his considerable knowledge and his enthusiasm for Ireland. He's a natural teacher with a gift for condensing history and making it entertaining. John K., Ann Arbor, MI
Spirit of Ireland
Con is an amazing leader. His passion for Ireland, his incredible knowledge of Irish history, geography, and culture, and his concern for the wellbeing of all group members make him ideal for this trip. Amy K., Wardsboro, VT
Spirit of Ireland

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

Recent Photo Blog Posts

A Gem of a Trip, Norman Vexler