Tour Complete

Emerald Isle of Ireland

August 5 – 12, 2022 • 8 Days • $4,190

Explore the Emerald Isle with us, combining walks, excursions and cultural activities throughout southern Ireland. Add the Pre-tour to include the Aran Islands, Galway, & the Cliffs of Moher!

 

Aran Islands, Galway, & the Cliffs of Moher Pre-tour

August 3 – 5,  2022 • 3 Days • $1,390

Take in the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, the picturesque austerity of the Aran Islands of Inishmore and Inisheer, and the historic city of Galway! This experience is offered as an add-on Pre-tour to Emerald Isle of Ireland.

Tour Type: Classic Curated

As travelers, we’re always looking for pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, that postcard-perfect image or vista, that priceless, memorable interaction with a local, or that magical musical experience that delights us anew with the gifts of mankind and the wonders of this amazing planet!

We’ve found many such opportunities in Ireland—it’s a country rich in cultural experiences and “pots of gold” for adventurous travelers. Some of the many magic moments awaiting us on the Emerald Isle include:

  • Contemplating the diminutive state of man as we walk along the windswept sandstone Cliffs of Moher, 600 feet above the crashing waves of the Atlantic (Pre-tour);
  • Rambling among an ancient seaside patchwork of stone walls at prehistoric Dun Aengus fortress, on the rugged Aran Island of Inishmore (Pre-tour);
  • Wondering at the simple architectural genius of the 8th century Gallarus Oratory during our walk through the emerald-green landscapes of Dingle Peninsula, western- most point of Europe;
  • Following the winding gorge path through the Gap of Dunloe as it courses along quiet mountain lakes and crosses babbling brooks on ageless, arched stone bridges;
  • Gazing down from our walking trail in the enchanting Wicklow Mountains onto the centuries-old Round Tower in the monastery at Glendalough, the verdant “valley between the lakes”;
  • Imbibing the spirit of Dublin, Ireland’s capital and a quintessential walking city, on an all-day walk that captures points of historical import and cultural connections!

 

 

 

celtic cross

Emerald Isle of Ireland*

What’s Included:

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 12 meals: All breakfasts and 5 dinners as listed (BD)
  • 4 walk routes
  • Walking fees for those collecting IVV credit (pending sanction approval)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of national and local guides throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • All tipping for national and local guides, coach drivers and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms is available for a supplement of $575. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Slea Head Drive – Dingle Peninsula
  • Gallarus Oratory – Dingle Peninsula
  • Killarney National Park
  • Upper Lake boat ride
  • Rock of Cashel visit
  • Glendalough Visitor Centre
  • Dublin on an all-day walk
  • Riverdance stage show
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Aran Islands, Galway, & Cliffs of Moher Extension*

Including:

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Round-trip ferry transportation to Inisheer and Inishmore, two of the three Aran Islands
  • Minibus transportation on Inishmore
  • Tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 4 meals: 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners as listed (BD)
  • 3 walk routes
  • Fees for 1 walk for those collecting IVV credit (pending sanction approval)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of national and local guides throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • All tipping for national and local guides, coach drivers and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $150 per person. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Guided walk on Inisheer
  • Guided walk on Inishmore
  • Dun Aengus fortress on Inishmore
  • Guided walking tour of Galway

“Wonderful experience. I feel I know Ireland – its history and culture. As for the kind people themselves, they are lovely people.” 

-Bob C; Tigard, OR


“I really enjoyed the stops; they were at places I wouldn’t have stopped at if I planned the trip myself.”

-Liz D; Norfolk, VA


“Once again, I have met a group of really neat people and saw old friends! Thanks for another super trip…Constant supervision, always willing to listen, information along the route and about areas is excellent. All the above is what makes your company unique – one of a kind.”

-Mamie B; Venice, FL


“Always an excellent and educational experience – Like a living history walk.”

-John S; Oakland, CA


“I don’t have to think about details after I meet the tour leaders and the leaders themselves are always well prepared.  I have met most of the WAI personnel and I find them all terrific!”

-Robert S; Portland, OR


 “I feel as though I have received a course in Irish history, culture, geography, art literature and current events.”

-Lucille S; Oakland, CA


“Trip exceeded expectations; enjoyed Tim’s stories – added friendliness to each and all.”

-Loretta H; Windsor, CO


“This was a wonderful trip with a new surprise every day. You always deliver unexpected delightful experiences, great guides, well-planned daily schedules.”

-John & Shari S; Cheney, WA


“The tour exceeded my expectations. Use of Barbara and other guides was great and enhanced the experience.”

-Paul D; ON, Canada


“It was a great trip with some wonderful hiking experiences. We had a great group of people who made the trip even more fun. I don’t think it could have been any better.”

-Jo Beth D; McKinney, TX


“Exceeded all my expectations – loved the walks, history and different experiences – pubs and music, boat rides, etc.”

-Grace M; Bowling Green, KY


 “Good leaders – good local guides – attention to detail.”

-Josie J; Sunnyvale, CA


“Would definitely recommend WAI to our active friends. Hope to join you in the near future! Tour exceeded our expectations.”

-Candace S; Albuquerque, NM

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Contact Us

Important Info

Group Size

Maximum 22 travelers on full sized bus

Hotels

Superior Tourist Class hotels or better

Meals

Meals included are indicated in the daily itinerary by letters B (breakfast) and D (dinner).

Airfare

Not Included. Starting point of Limerick is served by Shannon Airport (SNN). Finish point of Dublin is served by Dublin Airport (DUB).

Transportation

Included. We use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 40+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

guide by the seaTim Friesen has explored the charming towns and verdant countryside of Ireland since 2004, leading 9 departures of our Ireland tour thus far! Tim leads a range of walking adventures for WAI, both in Europe and the USA, often with his wife, Jeannette. Tim is particularly excited to be returning to lovely Ireland to share its unique charms with a group of happy, inquisitive walkers. Tim is joined by our excellent local guide, Gerard Mangan,. They look forward to sharing the delights of the Emerald Isle with you! 

irish guideGerard Mangan has been our local guide on several past trips to Ireland and is a perennial favorite with travelers!  Gerard makes his home in Galway City, and is a qualified Fáilte Ireland National Tour Guide with a Diploma in Archaeology from the National University of Ireland Galway. Gerard has been guiding groups for the past 20+ years and enjoys hiking in his free time as well – to date, he has hiked in all of the mountain ranges of Ireland and walked extensively in Scotland and other parts of Europe. Gerard looks forwarding to sharing the trails of Ireland with you!

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. BLD refers to meals included, Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.

 

Emerald Isle of Ireland

DAY 1-August 5: Arrive Limerick (D)

Travelers arrive throughout the day into Shannon International Airport on the west side of Ireland, about a 30 minute taxi ride to our hotel in Limerick. The day is free in Limerick until a Welcome Dinner this evening to rendezvous with the group coming back from the Pre-tour in the Aran Islands.

DAY 2-August 6: Limerick – Dingle (BD)

Our coach takes us towards the southwest corner of Ireland this morning, through County Kerry, bound for the lovely Dingle peninsula. The Dingle area is a Gaeltacht, meaning one of the few remaining enclaves where the Irish language, Gaelige, is still the mother tongue and the language of the street. Upon arrival, we embark from the town of Dingle on the spectacular Slea Head Drive, with several stops to enjoy points of interest and dramatic coastal panoramas.

We spend two nights in Dingle enjoying one of the most traditionally Irish corners of the Emerald Isle!

DAY 3-August 7: Activities from Dingle (B)

Dingle Pilgrim Way – 5/9 km, rated 2B/3C

This morning’s Dingle Peninsula trail combines fuchsia-lined country lanes, pastoral rural landscapes, and early Christian stone monuments like Gallarus Oratory (6th to 9th century) and Kilmalkedar Church (12th century).

The evening is free to experience the charms of small-town Ireland. Enjoy taking in the waterfront atmosphere on the Dingle Harbor with its photogenic fishing fleet and relax with a pub dinner–the many pubs of Dingle offer one of our best opportunities to enjoy a traditional Irish jam session!

DAY 4-August 8: Dingle – Killarney (BD)

Gap of Dunloe Walk – 12 km, rated 2A

Glacier-carved Gap of Dunloe, in Killarney National Park, provides the setting for today’s memorable nature walk, a perennial WAI favorite. The plethora of panoramas in this dramatic gorge is accentuated by its babbling brook, crossed at intervals by picturesque stone bridges as it courses between remote mountain lakes. Following a boat ride across the lovely vistas of Upper Lake, a short drive delivers us to our hotel in the town of Killarney.

DAY 5-August 9: Killarney - Enniscorthy (BD)

A scenic drive across counties Tipperary and Cork takes us to today’s highlight, a visit to magnificent, medieval Rock of Cashel. This craggy stronghold rises dramatically from the Tipperary Plains and boasts a heritage of both royal and religious power dating back to the 5th century.

From Cashel, we continue to Enniscorthy, an attractive small town draped along the meandering River Slaney. Enniscorthy Castle dates back to the 13th century. The Norman castle played a prominent role in many battles of the Cromwell period, and later during the 1798 Uprising, during which 20,000 Irish rebels perished in the Battle of Vinegar Hill, just above Enniscorthy. The rebels were pitifully armed, only with farmers’ pike; it as the last major attempt to hold and defend ground against the British troops of King George III.

Our hotel this evening is directly adjacent to the River Slaney.

DAY 6-August 10: Enniscorthy - Dublin (B)

Glendalough Between the Lakes Walk – 5/9 km, rated 1A/2B

Our Adventure on the Emerald Isle continues this morning at the 6th century monastic city of Glendalough in the enchanting green Wicklow Mountains. The film in the visitor center and our nature walk in this “valley between the lakes” offer an intriguing glimpse into ancient Irish Catholicism, in a breathtaking setting. Later this afternoon, we arrive in Dublin, capital of Ireland, founded, surprisingly, by Vikings in the 9th century.

Dinner is on your own this evening, but be sure to finish in time for an unforgettable taste of Ireland’s fast-paced music and dance. Riverdance is an internationally acclaimed team of singers, dancers, and musicians that epitomizes the Celtic energy of this uniquely Irish form of entertainment (The Riverdance show is contingent upon scheduling and availability of tickets).

DAY 7-August 11: Activities from Dublin (BD)

Story of Dublin Walk – 11 km, rated 1A

A walk from our hotel passes Trinity College (housing the Book of Kells), Grafton Street, the National Museum, Christchurch Cathedral, and Dublin Castle (admissions not included). This is a walk that could easily take a full day; it’s the perfect way to experience this charming and very walkable Irish capital.

Join us this evening to share a light-hearted Farewell Dinner and reminisce about our experiences together in this blessed Emerald Isle of Ireland.

DAY 8-August 12: Depart from Dublin (BD)

You are free to depart at your leisure this morning. WAI guides will help batch travelers who share a similar departure schedule and would like to share a taxi to Dublin International Airport. It’s time to return to our North American reality. We won’t soon forget our Walking Adventure through the history, culture, and scenery of enchanting Ireland!

Aran Islands, Galway,
& the Cliffs of Moher Pre-tour

Pre-tour Day 1-August 3: Arrive Limerick, Ireland (D)

Travelers arrive throughout the day into Shannon International Airport on the west side of Ireland, about a 30 minute taxi ride to our hotel in Limerick. The only group activity is our Welcome Orientation and dinner this evening in anticipation of an unforgettable Emerald Isle of Ireland pre-tour to explore the Aran Islands, Galway, & the stunning Cliffs of Moher!

Pre-tour Day 2-August 4: Limerick - Kilronan, Inishmore (BD)

Inisheer O’Brien’s Castle Walk – 3 km rated 2B

Our coach takes us into County Clare this morning to marvel at vistas along the stupendous Cliffs of Moher, 600-foot tall sandstone cliffs rising boldly out of the North Atlantic Ocean. From Doolin, we board a ferry to cross Galway Bay for a stay on the remote and rugged Aran Island of Inishmore. En route, we stop at Inisheer, smallest of the three Aran Islands. Here, we walk through a primarily Gaelic-speaking fishing village to hike to an evocative ruin of O’Brien’s Castle, a 14th century fortress, on the hill above the village.

Back aboard our ferry, our final stop is the island of Inishmore, largest of the Aran Islands. Join us this evening for a scrumptious dinner in our hotel in Kilronan, the main settlement on an island of less than 900 souls.

Pre-tour Day 3-August 5: Kilronan – Limerick (BD)

Inishmore Dun Aengus Fortress Walk – 5 km rated 2B
Galway Walking Tour – 2 km, unrated

We rise early this morning for a memorable experience hiking an ancient trail that winds between a patchwork of picturesque stone walls to Dun Aengus. This prehistoric fortress (over 3000 years old) perched atop 300-foot tall sea cliffs presides over one of Ireland’s most remote and starkly ageless corners. This island of bare limestone forced early settlers to manufacture soil by hand, mixing sand and seaweed on the barren plateau.

After time for one more only-in-Ireland activity this morning, the ferry returns us to the mainland where we rejoin our coach on the northern side of the bay and drive to the storied city of Galway, named European Capital of Culture for 2020.

After time for lunch, an afternoon walking tour with our national guide introduces us to this charming town of pedestrianized lanes and shares stories of the “tribes”, Anglo-Norman merchant families who ruled the city beginning in the 15th century.

Later, we motor south to our hotel in Limerick to rendezvous for dinner with travelers arriving for the Main tour only.

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How Do I Lock in My Place on This Adventure?

To register, a non-refundable $500 deposit is required to hold your spot. This deposit amount is higher than usual due to non-refundable payments required for Riverdance tickets and by our local partners.

A final payment is due June 1, 2022, and is non-refundable once paid. You will receive a reminder email from us a week or two in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

What's a Classic Curated Tour?

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination—the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see, but also touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, interactions with locals amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Walks that are oriented more towards education may take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion.

If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

How is Airfare Arranged?

Both the Emerald Isle of Ireland and the Aran Islands, Galway, & the Cliffs of Moher Pre-tour start in Limerick and finish in Dublin. The official starting point is our hotel in Limerick, best served by Shannon Airport, (airport code SNN). The official finishing point of the tour is our hotel in Dublin, best served by Dublin Airport (airport code DUB).

Transfers are not included in the tour price but taxi service is easily arranged upon arrival at the Shannon airport. WAI guides will help batch travelers who share a similar departure schedule and would like to share a taxi to Dublin Airport.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provide air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

What if WAI Cancels the Tour?

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received. This refund policy contains one exclusion related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances linked to the virus can force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

View our full Coronavirus FAQ for more details.

COVID-19 Policies for This Tour

Walking Adventures International official policy is to endeavor to mirror any COVID-19 policies in place in the destinations through which we travel.

As of March 5, 2022, Ireland dropped any COVID-19 related entry requirements. Proof of vaccination is not currently required to enter Ireland and no testing or quarantine is required upon entry. At present (Apr 9, 2022), the USA still requires a negative Covid-19 test taken the day before departing Ireland for the USA.

Requirements and restrictions have been fluid. WAI will update travelers upon learning of any changes.

Travelers participating in the Emerald Isle of Ireland tour must agree to abide by policies in place at the time of travel.

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. All payments for the tour or optional services/excursions can now be made online.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

About 10 weeks before departure, you will receive a final statement reminder about the final tour payment, which is due June 1, 2022. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse the Emerald Isle of Ireland itinerary. We maintain that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world!