Emerald Isle of Ireland

July 4 – 11, 2024 • 8 Days • $3890
Optional Aran Islands Pre-tour
July 2 – 4, 2024 • 3 Days • $1490
Optional Northern Ireland & Giant’s Causeway Extension
July 11 – 13, 2024 • 3 Days • $1590

As travelers, we’re always looking for pots of gold at the end of the wanderer’s rainbow, that postcard-perfect vista, a priceless interaction with a local, or that magical musical experience that delights us anew with the gifts of mankind on this one-of-a-kind planet!

We’ve found many such opportunities in Ireland—it’s a country rich in cultural experiences and “pots of gold” for adventurous travelers. Check out the full itinerary below and consider joining us for things highlights and many others.


  • Cliffs of Moher – where we contemplate the diminutive state of man as we walk along windswept sandstone cliffs, 600 feet above the crashing waves of the Atlantic (Pre-tour)
  • Dun Aengus fortress – an ancient seaside patchwork of remote stone walls on the rugged Aran Island of Inishmore (Pre-tour);
  • Gallarus Oratory – marveling at the simple, enduring architectural genius of medieval monks during our walk through the emerald-green landscapes of Dingle Peninsula, western-most point of Europe
  • Gap of Dunloe – a winding gorge path that courses beside quiet mountain lakes and crosses babbling brooks on ageless, arched stone bridges
  • Glendalough – gazing down from our walking trail in the enchanting Wicklow Mountains onto the monastery’s centuries-old Round Tower on our trail along the verdant “valley between the lakes”
  • Dublin – imbibing the spirit of Ireland’s capital and a quintessential walking city, on an all-day walk that captures points of historical import and cultural connections
  • Giant’s Causeway – situated on the northern coast of Northern Ireland (Extension), one of our most spectacular sea cliff walks winds through one of only 3 UNESCO sites in the island of Ireland

Overview / Trip Details



  • 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 (2 guides)
  • 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 $625. 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!



  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Round-trip ferry transportation to Inishmore, one of the 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 (2 guides)
  • 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 $200 per person. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities / Visits to:

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



  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class hotel accommodations
  • 5 meals: All breakfasts and 2 dinners as listed (BD)
  • 1 walk route at Giant’s Causeway
  • Walking fees for those collecting IVV credit (pending sanction approval)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of national and local guides throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • 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 $290. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities / Visits to:

  • Guided bus & walking tour of Belfast
  • Giant’s Causeway National Trust Visitor Centre and walk
  • Antrim Coast scenic drive


Click on each day to reveal more details. (BLD) refers to meals included – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.


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.

Our coach takes us towards the southwest corner of Ireland this morning, through counties Kerry and Tralee, bound for the lovely Dingle peninsula.

Tralee is known for roses and its renowned Rose of Tralee International Festival and beauty contest held later in August. The original Rose of Tralee was a beautiful young woman from 19th century Tralee named Mary O’Conner who was at the center of a tragic story of love denied and premature death. Tralee is a good place for a stroll through the rose garden and lunch on your own.

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. After checking into the hotel, join us for a drive around Dingle Peninsula on the spectacular Slea Head Drive. Several stops are planned to enjoy dramatic coastal panoramas.

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

Dingle Pilgrim Way – 5/9 km, rated 2B/4C

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).

After the 5 km route, travelers have the option of heading back to town by bus for a free afternoon and evening in Dingle, or participation in a “challenge” walk. Your WAI guides will brief you on what to expect, but a “challenge” walk is simply one that encompasses more difficult trail than our typical route. In this case, it is an additional 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) and rated 4C.

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 an opportunity to enjoy a traditional Irish musical jam session!

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 through the lovely vistas of Upper Lake, a short drive delivers us to our hotel in the town of Killarney.

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. We’ll hear the story from a local guide, imagining Celtic pathos, passion, and feats of derring-do going back over 1500 years!

The Great Famine, also known as The Great Hunger, was sparked by the 1845 potato crop failure caused by a potato blight. This was the first of four consecutive crop failures and the beginning of mass starvation and disease that prompted mass emigration.

From a starting population of 8 million, over a million people died of famine or disease and an additional 2 million forever said “goodbye” to Ireland. Built in 1845, the first year of the famine, the Dunbrody ship carried thousands of emigrants to North America between 1845 and 1851.

Upon arrival in New Ross, we visit a replica of the Dunbrody on a guided tour with costumed performers. This living history experience vividly connects us with the single greatest disaster in Irish history.

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).

Story of Dublin Walk – 11 km, rated 1A

A walk from our hotel passes Grafton Street, the National Museum, Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin Castle, and Trinity College, housing the Book of Kells (admissions not included).

Walkers are free to “peel off” from the group at any time during the walk. This is a walk that could easily take a full day, and more; it’s the perfect way to experience this charming and very walkable Irish capital. Our plan, however, is to arrive at Trinity College around lunch time. This is the most obvious place leave the group because of the chance to see the famous Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is an “illuminated” (highly decorated) manuscript of the four gospels of the New Testament created in the 9th century by monks of the St. Columba order.

The balance of the afternoon is free to enjoy Dublin on your own, do some final shopping, or pack up for tomorrow’s departure.

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

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!


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!

Cliffs of Moher Walk – 2 km, rated 1A

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.

In addition to clifftop panoramas over Galway Bay, a bonus walk is available here to bring you even closer to this geological wonder! Lunch is also available at the visitor centre café. What a spectacular place to have a sandwich!

From Doolin, we board a ferry crossing Galway Bay to visit the largest of the remote and rugged Aran Islands. Up arrival, we’ll take advantage of minibus transportation for a guided tour to the highest point of the island on one of Ireland’s less visited corners.

From here, we see the Bronze Age Dun Aengus Fortress we visit on tomorrow’s walk. We also gain a sense of the barren nature of the island—gray sandstone dominates the landscape in all directions.

After exploring Inishmore’s austere beauty, we check into our hotel following a unique day on Galway Bay. Join us this evening for a scrumptious dinner in our hotel in Kilronan, the main settlement on an island of less than 900 souls.

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

We start early this morning, anticipating a memorable experience on an ancient trail that winds between a patchwork of picturesque stone walls to Dun Aengus Fortress.

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.

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 offering stories of the “tribes”, Anglo-Norman merchant families who dominated 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.


Travelers who opt for the optional extension into Northern Ireland are in for 2 busy days of exploring this beautiful and oft-contentious corner of the island. We head across the border bound for Belfast, where we connect with this historic city on a 3-hour bus and walking tour.

Our objective is to gain understanding of The Troubles, a period of conflict between Irish nationalist (loyal to Ireland) Catholics and Protestant unionist (loyal to the UK) immigrants from Scotland and northern England. The Troubles rose to a crescendo during 30 years of fighting from the 1960s until the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998.

Later this afternoon, we check into our hotel for dinner and a 2-night stay.

Giant’s Causeway Sea Cliff Walk – 10 km, rated 2B

The scenic wonders of Northern Ireland are our focus today.

Giant’s Causeway is the venue for one of our favorite nature walks (WAI guide Tim lists it in his top 3)—a stretch of stunning sea cliff scenery on the north coast of the island. Non-stop clifftop vistas climax at Giant’s Causeway, visually stunning, honeycomb-shaped basaltic rock formations that comprise Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our route back to Belfast introduces us to the stunning seascapes of the Antrim Coast. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1988, this 20 mile stretch of craggy coastline contains some of the island’s most jaw-dropping coastal panoramas.

We finish two rich days of exploring Northern Ireland with a Farewell Dinner this evening back in Belfast.

The Emerald Isle of Ireland has so much to offer. We’ve seen a good portion of it together, returning home with renewed appreciation for the history, culture, and natural wonders of this blessed corner of our planet.

Before You Book

Click on each heading for more details.

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us 2 to 3 weeks 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.

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

When designing 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.

Part of the WAI travel philosophy is a continual fine-tuning of tours we already know well. In the case of Ireland, we’ve been visiting the Emerald Isle since the early 90s as part of longer, wider-ranging British Isles itineraries.

In 2003 we conducted an in-depth, on-site scouting trip to build our first tour dedicated solely to Ireland and Northern Ireland. Nine tours and innumerable adjustments and tweaks later, the 2024 edition of this Adventure is the outcome of these many years of experience on the Emerald Isle.

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and therefore 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 in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please call our office at 1.360.260.9393.

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:


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.


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).

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).

The Northern Ireland & Giant’s Causeway Extension finishes at our hotel in Belfast, which is best served by Belfast International Airport (airport code BFS).

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 and Belfast International 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!

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. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provides air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Laura Pfahler: 503-434-6401 or [email protected]
Sharon Mitchell: 971-261-2091 or [email protected]

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.).

Be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions (i.e. some benefits, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package). In addition, remember that airfare is not covered by any travel insurance policy you may have purchased for the tour.

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

WAI bears no responsibility for travel insurance benefits advertised by various credit card companies. If you are relying on this type of benefit for insurance, we advise you to verify coverage types and limits and that your purchase does in fact qualify you for this insurance.

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.

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 15 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Though it is rare, unforeseen circumstances can force us to cancel a tour. In cases where supplier’s non-refundable policies are imposed, 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.

Our approach to wellness on tour has traditionally been to encourage travelers to:

  • Focus on health before the tour so you start healthy.
  • Pace yourself while on tour; travel is inherently stimulating and can produce adrenalin boosts that mask energy drain. Guard your energy reserves and consider the length of the trip and whether to opt out of some activities and/or walks.
  • Be self-aware. If you feel yourself tiring or feel a bug coming on, take precautions to block it (e.g. extra rest, extra doses of vitamin C, etc).
  • If you feel a bug coming on or if you take ill, distance yourself from others when possible.
  • If you feel ill, isolate yourself towards the back of the bus and away from others

Click WAI Wellness on Tour Policy to view the WAI policy on Wellness on Tour.

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.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (April 5, 2024) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2 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. This Adventure adds more evidence that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world!

Adventure Pace

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

About Adventure Pace

Important Info

Your Guides

Tim 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. He recently retired from a long and happy career as a high school choir teacher in Molalla, Oregon, which explains why he is sometime known to burst into song on the trail.

Tim is particularly eager to be returning to lovely Ireland to share its unique charms with a group of happy, inquisitive walkers. Tim is joined by his son, Christopher, and our excellent local guide, Gerard Mangan. Together, this trio looks forward to sharing the delights of the Emerald Isle with you!

Christopher Friesen brings a blend of musical artistry and cultural curiosity to Walking Adventures.

Christopher’s lifelong dedication to music as an entertainer and private educator has taken him abroad to destinations such as Indonesia, China, Japan, Estonia, and Scandinavia, broadening his perspective and respect for historical context and diverse worldviews.

Beyond musical pursuits, Chris is an outdoor enthusiast, engaging in mountaineering, backpacking, biking, and skiing. He is excited to assist his dad, Tim, in sharing new destinations with WAI travelers.

Gerard 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!

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Ireland 2024