Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland
Picture of Gems of Northern Ireland

Gems of Northern Ireland

Destination: Ireland

Ireland, appropriately known as the Emerald Isle, is a country steeped in history and rugged vistas. We'll encounter these vistas first hand as we hike to high cliffs, inland lakes, and coastal areas. We'll learn about Ireland's turbulent past, including the Great Famine and the conflicts between the Catholics and the Protestants. Not to be missed by fans of poetry, we will visit the resting place of W. B. Yeats, one of the foremost figures in 20th-century literature. We'll also experience present day life with explorations of the region's most enticing cities. And of course no trip to Ireland would be complete without visiting several castles and the famous Kylemore Abbey.

Highlights

  • Experiencing Ireland's cliffs of Slieve League, the contrasting scenery of mountain lakes and the Atlantic Ocean in Connemara, and the secluded beach of Mullaghmore.
  • Touring Kylemore Abbey and several castles, in various states of repair.
  • Delving into Ireland's past along the famous Famine Walk on Killary Fjord.
  • Walking the Coastal Cause Way near the Giants Causeway.
  • Exploring Derry, and Donegal, with a Black Cab tour of Belfast and admission to the Titanic Museum

Inclusions

  • An Adventures in Good Company guide and a local guide
  • All transport within Ireland other than airport transfers
  • 10 nights double occupancy lodging
  • All breakfasts, two lunches, and eight dinners, as detailed in the itinerary
  • Entrance into the Country Life Museum, the Glenveagh National Park, and the Giants Causeway
  • Entrance to the castles on our itinerary as well as Kylemore Abbey House & Gardens
  • A famous Black Cab tour of Belfast ending at and including admission to the Titantic Museum.
Not Included:Travel to Ireland, lunches (with 1 exception on Day 2), two dinners, airport transfers, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, and trip insurance

Departures

Accommodations

NOTE: There is limited availability on single supplements and we cannot confirm availability at time of booking.

No Accommodations Available

This trip is designed for active women in good physical condition who want to combine walking, hiking and sightseeing with immersion in the rich history and culture of Ireland. This trip is rated a 2, although choosing longer options on several days would make it an easy 3. Preparation for this trip will require about 40 minutes of brisk walking 4 times a week (on hills if possible), or some type of aerobic conditioning 3 times a week. Rating: 1[2]3 4 5.

We will combine hiking throughout the trip with visiting some of the many historic and cultural sights, ranging from ancient ringforts to to rebuilt castles. Our Irish guide is a wealth of information about all things Ireland and we will leave with a deeper knowledge of this country and its people.

In Dublin we will spend the first and last nights at Buswells Hotel. Once we leave Dublin, we will be staying at high quality lodges or guesthouses, with ensuite bathrooms. In Clifden we will be spending three nights at All the Twos B&B, a Bed & Breakfast built to hotel standards, or similar. We then spend three nights in Donegal's Central Hotel, renowned for its unique setting in the Centre of the Historic Town of Donegal, or similar. Our last two nights will be spent in Ballintoy, at the Fullerton Arms guesthouse or similar.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Arrive in Dublin anytime on Saturday, but in time to meet at our hotel at 5:30 pm. If you arrive before your room is ready, the hotel is happy to store your luggage. We will meet in the lobby of our hotel for introductions and then go out together for a welcome dinner, where we will continue getting to know each other and talk about our upcoming Ireland adventure. Dublin is a very happening place on Saturday night and if you don't need an early bedtime, it's a safe and fun place to walk around. Overnight Dublin at Buswells Hotel or similar. D
DAY 2
This morning our destination is Clifden, a vibrant and cosmopolitan town picturesquely set between the foothills of the Twelve Bens and the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Connemara. We will be traveling in style, by bus, enjoying the passing Irish landscape. Our halfway point will be a lovely stop at Furbo Beach just outside of Galway, overlooking Galway Bay. We’ll enjoy a relaxing lunch (seafood sounds good!) with a great view of the bay and, if time allows, maybe even a short walk to the water before continuing westward to our destination, Clifden, arriving in time to stretch our legs with a lovely walk to Clifden Castle. Overnight Clifden at All the Twos or similar. Driving time total: approximately 5 hours. B,L, D
DAY 3
We will have a few options today but one we love is a walk up Diamond Mountain. It has 2 loops so those who want a rewarding challenge can tackle the upper, steeper loop and enjoy the 360 degree views at the top, looking over the ocean to nearby Inishturk and Inishbofin and across the dramatic Connemara landscape to the iconic Twelve Bens. Others can take the shorter, less strenuous lower loop and enjoy the nature walk and the tea room in the lovely Visitor Center. After our 1.5 - 3-hour walk followed by a short drive, we will take a guided tour of Kylemore Abbey, known as one of the most romantic places in all of Ireland. The chapel on the grounds is a miniature replica of Norwich Cathedral and the gardens are immaculately kept. Overnight Clifden at All the Twos or similar. Hiking time: 1.5 - 3 hrs, 2 - 4 miles. Driving time total: 1hr10min. B,D
DAY 4
Today we delve into the history of this magnificent landscape as we follow the Famine Walk that runs along the shores of Killary Harbour. Part of our walk will be along a famine relief road, constructed by the starving Irish during the great famine of 1845-1849 in return for food. Along the way we'll clearly see the ruins of famine villages and old 'Lazy Beds', an ancient practice of building ridges for planting potato crops. While the potato blight that was the immediate cause of the great famine ravaged crops throughout Europe, its most devastating impact was in Ireland where the impoverished population was heavily dependent on potato crops for survival. The severe economic conditions were inherently interwoven with the policies of British governance at the time, and soured the already strained relations between these countries. The magnitude of the famine indelibly changed Ireland, and became a rallying cause for the Home Rule movements that eventually led to independence. We'll end today's memorable walk with a drive along Sky Road, a route known for its phenomenal views of the Connemara region. Hiking time: 2 - 4 hrs, 5 - 8 miles. Driving time total: 1hr10min. B, L
DAY 5
Today is a longer drive as we move from Clifden to Ardara, but broken up with a variety of activities along the way. This morning we drive about 2 hours to the Country Life Museum, a national museum dedicated to exploring Irish traditional lifestyles from 1850 to 1950. From here we continue to Sligo, a charming coastal seaport, where we'll most likely have lunch. Next we'll visit the grave of WB Yeats, Ireland's most beloved poet and considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. From here it's on to Mullaghmore Beach where we can stroll along the beach, watching the ocean and perhaps finding ice cream. Driving time total: 5hr25min. B,D
DAY 6
This morning, we head to the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League (meaning Mountain of the Flagstones), about an hour's drive from Donegal. This is one of the hidden gems of Donegal and is practically untouched from the commercialism that is so obvious at the Cliffs of Moher. Because of the cliff's location and height, winds can get very strong here so your guide will make a call as to whether it's safe to walk along the top. If it's not, we have a fantastic alternative at Glen Colm Kill, which will give you spectacular sights of the cliffs from below. From the cliff heights down to the people - we'll next spend some time at the Glencolmcille Folk Village where we continue our exploration into Irish history before heading back to Ardara. Hiking time: 3 hrs, 5 miles. Driving time total: 3hrs. Overnight Ardara at the Nesbitt Arms Hotel or similar. B, D
DAY 7
Donegal is one of the most unspoiled landscapes in Europe. It's famous for its beautiful scenery, coastline, impressive mountain ranges, glens and lakes, and rich reminders of a historic past. We will travel just over an hour to Ireland's most northerly national park: the great Glenveagh National Park. This amazing park is also known for breeding wild eagles; if we're lucky we just might catch a glimpse. After our hike through the national park, we'll have a guided tour of the Glenveagh Castle, a magical fairy tale place set on the banks of the lough. Once owned by a rich American of Irish ancestry, after his death he donated the castle to the state. Today will provide a wealth of opportunities for enthusiastic photographers. Hiking 0 - 7.5 miles depending on options taken. Driving time total: 3 hrs. Overnight Ardara at Nesbitt Arms Hotel or similar. B
DAY 8
Changing locations again, we'll start today with a 2.5 hour drive to the ancient fort at Grianan An Aileach, an ancient and fascinating stone ringfort. Next we'll have a walking tour of the City of Derry, a city which dominates the Northwestern landscape of Ireland. We'll meander through the bustling streets of the only completely walled city in the UK, listening to the echoes of 1450 years of history and marveling at the ever-changing skyline of a city which is constant only in the warmth of its welcome. We will travel along one of the most northerly roads in Ireland and stop at Dunluce Castle, once owned by the infamous McDonnell Clan from Scotland who came to Ireland to increase their power. We will end the day in Portrush where we will stay tonight and tomorrow. Driving time total: 4 hours. Walking 1.5 miles. Overnight in Portrush at The Magherabouy House or similar. B, D
DAY 9
Today we'll experience the UNESCO world heritage site of the Giant's Causeway! We will approach the Causeway on foot as we walk along the harbor at Ballintoy, built from limestone blocks and surrounded by limestone cliff, and made famous by the Game of Thrones. We will continue to enjoy this awe inspiring coastal scenery as we hug the coast all the way to the Giant's Causeway, made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns rising from the sea. Formed 50 to 60 million years ago, the Causeway resulted from successive flows of liquid basalt inching toward the coast and cooling as it contacted the sea. Vertical and horizontal fracturing created these unique columns and sculpted them into polygonal shapes varying between 15 to 20 inches across and measuring up to 82 feet in height. This remarkable geological feature has earned the title of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Hiking: 8.5 - 13 miles (there is an option for making it shorter). Driving time total: 45 min. Overnight Portrush at The Magherabouy House or similar. B,D
DAY 10
This is the day everyone dreads, the finish of our trip as we return to Dublin - but, before we go we have another day full of fun! Just outside of Ballintoy, we'll stop to cross the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 60 feet and is 95 feet above the rocks below. As we continue we'll stop in Belfast and enjoy a famous Black Cab city tour where we’ll hear about the divide that exists between the Catholic and Protestant communities that live so close together as well as the uniting history that ties everyone together. The tour will end at the Titanic Museum. Even though the name implies a museum about the Titanic, this is a world class museum with everything Belfast and Irish! After our visit to Belfast and the museum, we will travel through County Meath - where the High Kings of Ireland once ruled - before we arrive back in Dublin, having experienced the very best of Ireland's finest gems and landscapes! Arriving back at our hotel in late afternoon, we'll say goodbye to our Irish guide and go out for dinner one last time, sharing stories, laughter, and raising a pint to our amazing Irish adventure. Overnight Dublin at Buswells Hotel or similar. Hiking: 1 hour, 2 miles. Driving time total: 4.5 hours. B,D
DAY 11
This morning it's time to say goodbye, as we depart for the airport or on to our next adventure. You can leave anytime today you would like. Check out time for the hotel is 11:00 am. B

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on our trips. We take reviews very seriously and are constantly tweaking itineraries. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

Everything about this trip was incredible. The guides were great. The sights were beautiful. The women with whom I traveled had a marvelous sense of adventure and humor.

Gems of Northern Ireland 5/19/2018-5/29/2018


I thought that our local tour guide was unprofessional and did not compare at all to local guides on all of the trips I have previously been on. She was rude, rough around the edges and very disorganized. The tour company sent us out on a bus that was in disrepair and there was quite a bit of confusion due to it. Some of the side trips were not very interesting, especially the rope bridge- it was such a tourist trap. We spent way to much time on the bus and not enough time hiking.

Gems of Northern Ireland 5/19/2018-5/29/2018


Would have preferred more hiking.

Gems of Northern Ireland 5/19/2018-5/29/2018


  1. Where do we eat?
    Your breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where you're staying. Dinner is in restaurants with typically a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian entree. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?
    f we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?
    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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