The Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Croagh Patrick, and Clare Island

Overview

The rugged west coast of Ireland, long the haunt of artists, holds some of the country’s most dramatic scenery—and finest hiking. With beloved Trip Leaders Con Moriarty and Ann Curran, our cultural and hiking adventure brings you to the treasures of Croagh Patrick, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the spectacular Aran Islands. Con and Ann know this land as no others do, and will share ancient sites, secret hikes that lead to stunning lighthouses, sacred peaks, and lively villages, and will introduce you to historians, shepherds, island folk, and musicians all along the way. You’ll also savor the fantastic Irish food scene, from oak-smoked salmon to vegetables fresh from the garden, irresistible cheeses, and, yes, pints of cream-topped Guinness. Our lodgings range from a historic manor house in the Burren to an enchanting Victorian-era fishing lodge set on the shores of Lough Inagh. A journey in Ireland with Con and Ann brings you into the heart of its landscape and the soul of its culture. Come experience the true Ireland with us!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Galway / The Burren

Our hikes begin in the spectacular karst landscape of the Burren, whose limestone hills and hidden glens hold 10,000 years of human history—Bronze Age burial sites, standing stones, Iron Age forts, and Celtic high crosses, and we watch a magical sunset by the sea at the towering Cliffs of Moher.

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Days 3-5
County Mayo / Clare Island / Westport

In County Mayo, we hike up Croagh Patrick (2,500'), one of the world’s most sacred mountains and a pilgrimage site for thousands of years. Ferrying to Clare Island, once the domain of a powerful Gaelic clan and their pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, we hike one of Ireland’s finest cliff ramparts, visit a sheep farmer to see his border collies in action, and finish our hike at stunning Clare Island lighthouse. We join friends in a village for a special introduction to Irish poetry, and in the colorful market town of Westport, we have a special evening with musicians at a local pub.

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Days 6-9
Connemara / Aran Islands / Galway / Clifden

Crossing an ancient pilgrim route into the Maumturk Mountains, we hike right to our lakeside Victorian lodge in a wild region of Connemara. In the otherworldly Aran Islands, where Gaelic is still spoken, we explore a landscape of labyrinthine stone-walled fields and breathtaking sea cliffs. Back on the mainland, we’ll follow trails in Connemara National Park and have a picnic on Omey, an intertidal island with spectacular archaeology. Our final trails lead along Killary Harbour and then to the rocky peaks of the Twelve Bens, with a farewell evening in the company of musicians. Depart on Day 9.

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Highlights

Highlights

Hike on gorgeous Clare Island, with its iconic lighthouse and dramatic cliffs
Explore Connemara on a hike with a local historian, meet a sheep farmer and his border collies
Hear the lilting sounds of the Gaelic language in the Aran Islands
Savor the Irish food scene, with local specialties including oysters, scallops, and grass-fed Irish beef
Enjoy lodgings of character: an 18th century manor house, a Victorian-era fishing lodge, and a guesthouse on the Aran Islands

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $4895  
Arrive: Galway, Ireland
Depart: Galway, Ireland
Lodging: 8 nights charming inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

A mix of moderate walks and hikes, 3-6 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike).

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