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Hiking

On a Road of «Foggy Dew»: Ireland

Ireland

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Within ten days we will try to reach into the soul of one of the most mysterious, reckless and romantic countries in Europe. The route is based on my personal experience and passes through the most interesting historical sites and nature reserves.

On this trip we’ll do a lot of walking, try the famous Galway oysters and thoroughly examine the variety of ales, lagers and spirits. I'll tell you about the history of Ireland and the key personalities, yet avoid the boredom and focus only on the most interesting events. I will also try to show how history and nature are reflected in Irish poetry and songs. Expect stunning scenery, mountains and ocean, forests and valleys, a lot of music and malt. Not forgetting the unpredictable weather and ... left-hand traffic!

Arrival location:

Dublin

Departure Location:

Dublin

Included in your experience:

Accommodation in 3* hotels or B&B (2-3 persons per room with breakfast)

Work of guide throughout the whole trip

All entrance fees according to the itinerary (except the optional ones)

English Speaking Guide

Not included in your experience:

Lunches and dinners

Car rent, fuel and parking

Visa fee and support

Medical insurance

Trip to Skellig Michael (subject to the weather)

Climbing Carrauntoohil (subject to the weather)

Flight to Dublin

All other personal costs

Required Equipment:

Trekking boots and clothes are required for climbing Mount Carrauntoohil (1039m)

  • 1
    Trip to Skellig Michael
    Boat trip to the island Skellig Michael and visit to the ruins of the ancient monastery
    $60/pp
  • 2
    Climb Mount Carrauntoohil
    Climb Ireland's highest peak - Mount Carrauntoohil (1039m)
    $80/pp
  • Day1 - 2
    Arrive at Dublin. Get together and drive to Bray. Dinner at the famous Johnnie Fox's bar, located on the border of counties Dublin and Wicklow, or in any other restaurant on the way to Bray (depending on the group’s arrival time). Stay in a 3* hotel in Bray. Possibly a night walk along the shore of the Irish Sea (separates Ireland and the UK).
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day2 - 3
    09:00 - 10: 00* drive to Glendalough valley. 10:00 - 13:00 discovering the Glendalough valley in the Wicklow mountains. This place is mainly famous for its early Middle Ages monastery. It was founded in the 6th century and destroyed by British troops in 1398. Among the surviving buildings there is a round tower 30 meters high. Geldalough means "valley of two lakes." And there are actually two lakes. After visiting the monastery we’ll walk to the Upper lake and then climb along a waterfall to the famous Wicklow Way - a path that was used by travelers for centuries. We will follow it back to the car. 13:00 - 14:00 - Lunch in a cafe at the valley or in any other place on the way to Carlow (depending on time available). 14:00 - 16:00 drive to Carlow. We will go via the Wicklow Way, just as in 1580 went the army of an English lord Arthur Grey de Wilton, heading over the mountains towards the valley of Glenmalure to bring down the leader of Irish guerrilla rebels Fiach McHugh O'Byrne. These events are described in the well-known song "Follow me up to Carlow». The battle ended in an overwhelming victory of the Irish and Fiach McHugh became a national hero. We'll make a stop at the valley of Glenmalure and take a short walk (30-40 minutes). 16:00 - 17:00 – there is a Megalithic dolmen near Carlow (built between 7000 and 2000 BC). Browneshill Dolmen is the largest (heaviest) in Europe and is a portal to a tomb, which still has not been excavated. 17:00 - 18:00 - Registration at a B&B hotel, free time 19:00 - walk to Carlow and have dinner. *The timings given in the program are not rigid and may vary depending on the weather, general situation, and the wishes of participants.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day3 - 4
    Today we have an intense program, so we’ll need to start early. 08:00 - 09:00 - drive to Kilkenny 09:00 - 12:00 - walk around the city. We’ll visit the Kilkenny Castle, situated on the picturesque quay of the river Nore, stroll through the historic center and, finally, see the Cathedral of St. Canice 12:00 - 13:00 - lunch in Kilkenny 13:00 - 14:00 – drive to the Rock of Cashel 14:00 - 15:00 - Rock of Cashel. The castle got its name from the fact that it is standing on a rock. This is a very beautiful and unusual place. Its story begins in the 4th century AD. There was a time when St. Patrick preached here. In the 10th century Rock of Cashel became the seat of Ireland's first High King - Brian Boru (founder of the O’Brien dynasty). In 1647 the castle was destroyed by Cromwell's troops, but many samples of Celtic art (frescoes) and medieval architecture remained. 15:00 - 16:30 - drive to Cork*. It is the southernmost city of Ireland and it has a special character. Port of Cork was the main departure point for Irish emigration ships of the 19-20 century, especially during the Great Famine (1845 - 1852). 16:30 - 19:00 - a walk through the evening Cork and dinner. 19:00 - 21:00 - drive to Kenmare. *If delayed, we’ll go directly to Kenmare
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day4 - 5
    Early start, leaving at 07:00 7:00 - 09:30 drive via the Ring of Kerry to the town of Portmagee. Morning coffee (if we have time and find a place) 10:00 - 15:00 - visit to Skellig Michael and Little Skellig islands*. We get there by a small motor boat. Sailing time is approximately 1 hour. If we're lucky, we might see dolphins on the way. The island of Skellig Michael looks like an impregnable rock from afar, and we have to climb to the very top of it using ancient stone steps (about 600). There we find remains of a 6-8 century monastery. After visiting the monastery, a little rest and picnic. On the way back we’ll pass close to the Little Skellig island. From a distance the rock looks white, but as we come closer, it becomes clear that the island is simply covered with white birds: it is inhabited by thousands of gannets. 15:00 - 17:00 - after returning to shore we will complete the Ring of Kerry and pass through the town of Killorglin, which has funny monument to a goat - King Puck. 17:00 - 18:00 - at sunset we will pass through one of the most beautiful valleys of Ireland - Gap of Dunloe - and return to the hotel in Kenmare 18:00 - 19:00 - dinner in Kenmare. Rest and preparation for trekking. *If the sea is stormy, we’ll have to cancel the trip to the islands and explore the Ring of Kerry attractions or go to Mizen Head.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day5 - 6
    On this day we have an opportunity to climb the highest peak of Ireland - Mount Carrauntoohil (1039m). The ascent is not technically difficult, but it requires normal physical fitness and endurance, and there are several areas with simple scrambling. The climb (with descent) takes 7 - 10 hours on average. Early drive to the Kate Kearney's Cottage. Our accent to Carrauntoohil starts here. Depending on weather conditions, we will choose one of the possible routes to the summit. On the way we will see rivers, lakes and waterfalls. And if we're lucky with the weather, the summit offers stunning views. If mountaineering is not your thing, you can dedicate this day to a walk in the Gap of Dunloe, exploration of the Killarney park or a trip to the picturesque Mizen Head with a Lighthouse Museum. Another night in Kenmare.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day6 - 7
    09:00 - 12:30 - drive to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. On our way we’ll stop at several view points, cross the famous Shannon River and have something to eat. 12:30 - 14:00 – a visit to the castle and park, free time. The park has many installations showing how people lived in various parts of Ireland in the 18-19 centuries. 14:00 - 15:30 - drive to Doolin, check-in the hotel and immediately go for a walk to the famous Cliffs of Moher 15:30 - 17:00 - walk to the Cliffs of Moher along the coast. The trail follows an edge of a cliff, and from it one can see the Aran Islands, the ocean and the breathtaking high rocks. You can also notice a colony of unique birds - puffins* 17:00 - 20:00 - return to the hotel. Doolin is a small fishermen village known for its bars and music 20:00 - 24:00 – spend some time in one of the bars with live music (Gus O'Connor's or McDermotts). *In case of delay or bad weather we can see the Cliffs from the car (not take the entire walk), and drive to Doolin.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day7 - 8
    Enjoy a longer morning, have breakfast and leave. 10:00 - 12:00 - drive along the sea shore with a stop at Alladie (local climbing Mecca). We can go down the cliffs to the water and watch the mesmerizing waves right at our feet. On the other side of the road lies the Burren - a unique natural limestone plateau – and we can climb up there as well. It is quite probable that these lands were the birthplace of Gollum (a character from the "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings"). J.R.R. Tolkien was an external examiner at the University of Galway from 1949 to 1959, and often walked through the lunar Burren landscape. After idyllic green hills of England (prototype of Shire), the stony desert of the Burren, restless waves and rocky shore in conjunction with Irish mythology (banshees and leprechauns) must have brought images of evil, treachery and hidden threats to Tolkien’s mind. Experts believe that the scenery of Western Ireland inspired Middle-earth landscapes that awaited Hobbits beyond Shire. In the Burren there is a cave called Poll na gColm (pronounced as Pole na Gollum), which translates as “cave of the rock dove”. The old-timers say that this cave and the way sounds are reflected off its walls, gave name to the aforementioned controversial character in one of the most popular fairy tales of the 20th century. We will not see the cave itself, but we’ll try to gasp the feeling of Middle-earth. 12:00 - 12:30 - if you wish, we can stop in Fanore and have some delicious coffee with homemade pies served with whipped cream on the side 12:30 - 14:00 - drive through a picturesque narrow road with Galway Bay on one side and the Burren on the other. 14:00 - 15:00 - Lunch in the Moran's Oyster Cottage. This tavern was founded in the 18th century and is one of the ten best restaurants in the world where you can taste oysters. And not just any oysters, but the famous Galway oysters! Yet the prices of the meals here are unremarkable and quite democratic. 15:00 - 17:00 - drive to the town of Westport, County Mayo. On the way we will see the iconic mountain of St. Patrick. From its summit the Saint blessed the Irish lands and expelled all snakes from the island. Indeed, there are no snakes or any other dangerous animals or insects in Ireland. These days Croagh Patrick still attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. 18:00 – Check-in the B&B and walk to the city center (15 minutes), dinner.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day8 - 9
    9:00 - 11:30 – drive via a very beautiful road through the mountains and Irish bogs, across the Killary Harbor (an ice fjord), where they grow salmon and mussels, to the heart of Connemara - Kylemore Abbey. If possible, we'll also stop at an information center of Grace O'Malley, the legendary Pirate Queen (another example of "Irish character"). 11:30 - 14:00 - free time at Kylemore Abbey and gardens. It was a castle built in 1867 by a politician, surgeon and tycoon from Manchester - Henry Mitchell. Henry and his young wife Margaret traveled through these lands during their honeymoon and fell in love with Connemara. The castle was built in defiance of natural aspects (swampy lands) and the economic situation in the region (famine and unemployment). Mitchell filtered bog water, dried, leveled and strengthened the plot for the castle's construction. Local people got jobs. And the walled garden engineered by Henry Mitchell allowed growing plants and fruit that were unique to the region (eg. figs and grapes). Margaret Mitchell gave her husband nine children and yet retained her beauty. In 1874 the couple traveled to Egypt. On the Nile river Margaret contracted dysentery and died 16 days later. Mitchell brought his wife's body to Kylemore and later erected a gothic chapel in her memory. Since 1920 and today still the abbey is run and owned by the Benedictine monastic order. While at the Abbey, please, take time to visit the Victorian walled gardens and the gardener's house. You can also have a snack with locally grown organic ingredients in the cafe and buy souvenirs. 14:00 - 16:00 – drive via the Connemara Ring with a stop at a view point for Twelve Bens. Arrive at the small village Renvyle and check-in to B&B. Renvyle is a place with very beautiful white sandy beaches. If the weather is fine, we’ll spend the rest of the day there. 17:00 - 21:00 – relax by the sea, watch the sunset on the beach with a picnic* *If the weather is bad, we will go by car to the nearest town Tully and have dinner there.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day9 - 10
    09:00 - 10:30 – drive to Cong village*. There we find ruins of an ancient abbey and a park with stunning trees. The village is also famous through "The Quiet Man" film with John Wayne. 10:30 - 14:00 - a walk in the park by the ruins of an abbey, Guinness tower and Ashford Castle (now a hotel). 14:00 - 16:00 - drive to Galway. If you wish, we can make a little detour and pass through Tuam - a small town where began a journey described in the song “Rocky Road to Dublin”. Registration at a hotel. 16:00 - 24:00 - a walk in Galway and free time. Galway is often described as the craziest town in Ireland. There is always something going on. Every evening you will find street performers, some demonstrations, students and tourists from all over the world. There are many small restaurants and souvenir shops. In addition to the city center it makes sense to pass by the Galway Cathedral and stroll along the Claddagh Quay, which offers beautiful views of the city itself. Since this is not just a night, but Saturday night, don’t miss the music pubs at nightfall. For example, Monroe's, An Pucan, Taaffes, Tig Cóilí or The Crane with traditional Irish music, or Sally Longs for rock. * Upon request of the group and the weather conditions, a walk in Cong may be replaced with climbing Mt. Tully (356m) near the sea or Mt. Lackavrea (396m) near Lake Corrib.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
  • Day10 - 11
    09:00 - 12:00 - drive to Dublin. Day in Dublin, tour and free time. In addition to the picturesque quay of River Liffey, bustling O'Connell Street, St. Patrick and Christ Cathedrals, Dublin Castle and the Temple Bar district, please, walk through the shopping area at Grafton Street. There is a monument of Molly Malone - one of the most famous symbols of Ireland, even though it is unknown who this girl actually was and if she existed at all. Night in Dublin*. *It is possible to fly home in the evening or stay overnight at an airport hotel with shuttle service for early departures.
    B&B | Breakfast Included
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Hiking

On a Road of «Foggy Dew»: Ireland

Ireland

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