A Northern Arc Across Ireland

Hiking and Cultural Adventure from Donegal to Belfast

Overview

The mystical landscapes that inspired W. B. Yeats—the wild beaches of Donegal, the ancient pilgrim paths of Gleann Cholm Cille, the spectacular cliffs of Slieve League and the intriguing Giant's Causeway—these are the stunning landscapes that fill our adventure in Ireland’s stunning north. Trip Leaders Con Moriarty and Ann Curran have conjured up a journey to delight both body and soul in this dramatic and delightfully less traveled part of Ireland, bringing us across the north of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Our adventure includes exhilarating hiking with two levels offered many days, as well as welcoming and historic hotels, wonderful meals (Ireland’s new food scene is renowned, with tremendous farm to table cuisine), music, poetry, and a fascinating look into prehistoric and pagan Ireland. Highlights include walking the wild beaches of Donegal, hearing the best of local musicians, hiking clifftop trails to the spectacular Giant’s Causeway, and meeting a host of Con and Ann’s friends, including a Yeats scholar and an expert on Celtic myths. Along the way, we’ll tailor each day for serendipity and the special opportunities that arise—this is what makes a journey with Con and Ann so unforgettable. Join us!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Belfast / Giant’s Causeway

Meeting in Dublin, we head to Belfast to explore the pubs and cafes of this lively town and enjoy a fascinating visit to the Titanic Belfast museum. In the very north of Ireland, a spectacular coastal trail brings us to the Giant's Causeway, an otherworldly World Heritage Site.

Fitzwilliam Hotel
Belfast, Ireland
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Castle Grove Country House Hotel
Letterkenny, Ireland
Days 3 to 5 (3 nights)
Days 4-5
Fanad Peninsula / Horn Head / Gweedore

Hiking over open heather slopes, we drop down to a beautiful sweep of beach, while another hike brings us along the giant sedimentary cliffs of the wild Horn Head peninsula. We travel through the remarkable rural settlements of the Irish-speaking community of Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore), a region rich in Gaelic culture, with particularly strong music, song, and dance traditions with many local internationally acclaimed artists.

Castle Grove Country House Hotel
Letterkenny, Ireland
Days 3 to 5 (3 nights)
Days 6-7
Donegal Bay / Slieve League

We'll hike a section of wild beaches in Donegal Bay, and along the sea cliffs of Slieve League, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. In the hallowed glen of Gleann Cholm Cille, we walk mystical Christian pilgrim trails past ancient standing stones.

Woodhill House
Ardara, Ireland
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)
Days 8-10
County Sligo / Yeats Country

In enchanting County Sligo, renowned for its traditional music and the landscapes that inspired some of Yeats’ finest poetry, we explore the spectacular limestone plateau of Knocknarea, the mountain that dominates West Sligo and holds the huge rocky cairn of Queen Maeve’s grave. We also take a gentle ramble through the incredible archaeological landscape of Carrowmore, a region of green pastures that holds the largest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age stone circles and dolmens in all of Ireland, and hike the dramatic table mountain of Benbulben, home to many Irish legends (we'll hear a few!). Depart on Day 10 via Dublin.

Coopershill House
Sligo, Ireland
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights)
Temple House
Sligo, Ireland
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

Choose between moderate or strenuous hikes most days
Explore the trails of legendary County Sligo (Yeats Country) and the cliffs of Slieve League
Hike the wild beaches of Donegal, walk pilgrim trails in the remote glen of Gleann Cholm Cille
Visit lively Belfast, with its great pubs and famed Titanic museum
Enjoy an insider’s look at the complex political, cultural, and religious history of northern Ireland

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $6695  
Arrive: Dublin, Ireland
Depart: Dublin, Ireland
Lodging: 9 nights charming inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Choice of moderate of strenuous hikes, 2-6 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)