Ireland – the Emerald Isle

June 23-July 3, 2020 • 11 Days • $4390**

**Pricing with New Traveler Discount: $4090

As travelers, we’re always looking for pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, that postcard-perfect image, that interaction with a local, or that memorable musical experience that delights us anew with 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.

**Traveler Rewards Program: New Travelers receive a $300 discount on the Emerald Isle of Ireland tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.

Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Extension

July 3-6, 2020 • 4 Days • $1375

Extend your tour to take in the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, picturesque and fascinating Inishmore, and the historic city of Galway!

Reserve your spot on this tour with a $500 Registration Deposit! Check below for more details.

Some of the many magic moments awaiting us on the Emerald Isle include:

  • Trekking atop the majestic sea cliffs of Northern Ireland for unforgettable coastal vistas and an opportunity to explore the geological phenomenon of Giant’s Causeway;
  • 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;
  • 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”;
  • 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;
  • 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!

Aran Islands Extension

Travelers joining us on the extension have the added benefit of:

  • 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;
  • Rambling among an ancient seaside patchwork of stone walls at the dramatic ruins of prehistoric Dun Aengus fortress, on the rugged Aran Island of Inishmore;
  • Exploring the historic city of Galway, European Capital of Culture for 2020, in the company of our excellent local guide.

Emerald Isle of Ireland


  • All land travel as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 18 meals: All breakfasts and 8 dinners as listed (BD)
  • 7 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 are available for a supplement of $650. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Burren National Park
  • Guided walking tour of Londonderry
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Dublin hop-on-hop-off bus tour
  • Riverdance stage show (contingent upon scheduling)
  • Glendalough Visitor Centre
  • Rock of Cashel visit
  • Killarney National Park
  • Gallarus Oratory – Dingle Peninsula
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Aran Islands Extension


  • All land travel as outlined
  • Round-trip ferry transportation to Inishmore, Aran Islands
  • Tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 6 meals: All breakfasts and 3 dinners as listed (BD)
  • 3 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 are available for a supplement of $175. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Dun Aengus fortress
  • Guided walking tour of Galway
  • Knappogue Castle Dinner Experience

“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

Main Tour – Featuring:

  • A 1:9 guide to traveler ratio

  • Superior Tourist class or better hotel accommodations

  • 7 Walk Routes

  • 18 meals: all breakfasts, 8 dinners

  • 2 Walking Adventures Guides

  • Cultural & Historical expertise of National and Local Guides throughout

  • Transportation in 40+ pax motorcoaches

  • And so much more! Check out the Daily Itinerary for more details.

Discounts available. See the More Details section for info.

Extension – Featuring:

  • A 1:9 guide to traveler ratio

  • Tourist class or better hotel accommodations

  • 3 Walk Routes

  • 6 meals: all breakfasts, 3 dinners

  • 2 Walking Adventures Guides

  • Cultural & Historical expertise of Local Guide throughout

  • Transportation in 40+ pax motorcoaches

  • And so much more! Check out the Daily Itinerary for more details.

Discounts available. See the More Details section for info.

Adventure Pace

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

Important Info

Group Size

24-28 travelers


The main tour features Superior Tourist Class hotels or better. The extension features Tourist Class or better accommodations.


Main tour: 18 meals, all breakfasts and 8 dinners as denoted (BD). Extension: 6 meals, all breakfasts and 3 dinners (BD).


Not Included. Travelers will fly into and out of the Shannon Airport (airport code SNN).


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

Walking Adventures Team

WAI Guides Tim & Jeannette FriesenTim & Jeannette Friesen have explored the countryside and cities of Ireland over the years, guiding 9 departures of our Ireland tour thus far! Tim also serves as a high school music teacher in Molalla, Oregon, while Jeannette works part time in the WAI office helping travelers over the phone and generally keeping the rest of us organized. Tim and Jeannette currently lead summertime walking adventures, primarily in Europe, and are looking forward to the time they can leave their day jobs behind and hit the trail on a year-round basis.

Local Guide

Local Guide Gerard ManganGerard Mangan has been our local guide on past trips to Ireland and is a 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 quite a bit 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!


Click on each day for more details.

Emerald Isle of Ireland

Day 1-June 23: Arrive Limerick (D)

Since travelers are arriving throughout the day, the first group activity will be our Welcome Orientation and dinner this evening in anticipation of an unforgettable walking adventure on the Emerald Isle of Ireland!

Day 2-June 24: Limerick – Letterkenny (BD)

Dartry Mountains “Yeats Country” Walk – 6 km, rated 2B

After breakfast this morning, we motor into Burren National Park, a wild, rugged karst landscape noted, among other things, for the dramatic Poulnabrone dolmen, a Neolithic (4200 to 2900 BC) portal tomb. From “the Burren”, our route takes us north through undulating emerald panoramas across County Mayo into County Sligo. The Dartry Mountains area is often known as “Yeats Country” after the county’s favorite son, poet William Butler Yeats. Our objective is a lovely nature walk at the foothills of the Dartry Mountains. We finish the day with a drive into County Donegal for a two-night stay in Letterkenny.

Day 3-June 25: Activities from Letterkenny (BD)

Giant’s Causeway Sea Cliff Walk – 9 km, rated 2B
Londonderry Walking Tour – 2 km, unrated

A full day in Northern Ireland begins with a fascinating walking tour across the border in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. A local guide walks us through Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods, offering fascinating, and often tragic, insight into “The Troubles,” a tumultuous time of sectarian strife and political violence in the late 20th century which ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Northern Ireland is also the venue for one of our favorite nature walks – a stretch of stunning sea cliff scenery on the north coast of the island. The non-stop vistas climax at Giant’s Causeway, astounding honeycomb-shaped basaltic rock formations that comprise Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. We return to Ireland this evening for our second in Letterkenny.

Day 4-June 26: Letterkenny – Dublin (BD)

Story of Dublin Walk – 11 km, rated 1A

Our coach takes us south today, through more pastoral Irish scenes to Dublin! Upon arrival, the balance of the afternoon is set aside to explore the capital of Ireland, founded, surprisingly, by Vikings in the 9th century. 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 great way to get oriented to this Irish capital in preparation for tomorrow’s plans.

Day 5-June 27: Activities in Dublin (B)

You’ll receive tickets for a hop-on-hop-off city bus tour this morning to use as a means to visit some of the city’s many attractions. In addition to those listed above that we pass along the walk route, attractions to plot into your day from the hop-on-hop-off bus include: EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum, Oscar Wilde’s Birthplace, Leinster House (Parliament), Grafton Street, Temple Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, and many, many more. Dinner is on your own this evening, but be sure to be finished in time for this evening’s unforgettable taste of Ireland’s fast-paced music and dance. Riverdance is an internationally renowned team of singers, dancers, and musicians that epitomizes the Celtic energy of this uniquely Irish form of entertainment (The show Riverdance is contingent upon scheduling).

Day 6-June 28: Dublin – Kilkenny (BD)

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 centre and our nature walk in this “valley between the lakes” offer an intriguing glimpse into ancient Irish Catholicism in a breathtaking setting. We overnight in Kilkenny, considered Ireland’s loveliest inland city.

Day 7-June 29: Kilkenny – Killarney (BD)

Today begins with a visit to the 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 cross counties Tipperary, Cork, and Kerry to Killarney, on the outskirts of Killarney National Park.

Day 8-June 30: Killarney – Dingle (BD)

Gap of Dunloe Walk – 12 km, rated 2A

Glacier-carved Gap of Dunloe provides the setting for today’s memorable nature walk, a perennial 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, we drive north to timeless Dingle Peninsula for two nights in this westernmost corner of Ireland.

Day 9-July 1: Activities from Dingle (B)

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

Another all-Irish walk this morning combines fuchsia-lined country lanes, pastoral rural landscapes, and early Christian monuments like Gallarus Oratory (6th to 9th century) and Kilmalkedar Church (12th century) on the Dingle Peninsula. You have the evening free to experience the charms of small-town Ireland. Enjoy taking in the waterfront atmosphere with its fishing fleet and relax with a pub dinner – the many pubs of Dingle offer one of the best opportunities to enjoy a traditional Irish jam session!

Day 10-July 2: Dingle – Ennis (BD)

Another morning on the Dingle peninsula offers the spectacular Slea Head Drive, with stops along the way and dramatic coastal panoramas. Leaving Dingle, we head to Tralee for a lunch stop, then continue through outstanding seaside scenery to a ferry crossing of the Shannon Estuary. The rural beauty of Ireland continues as we drive north through County Clare to the town of Ennis. We rendezvous this evening in the hotel dining room to share a light-hearted Farewell Dinner and reminisce about our experiences together in Ireland.

Day 11-July 3: Depart from Ennis (B)

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 Shannon 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 the beautiful Emerald Isle!

Aran Islands Extension

Day 1-July 3: Ennis – Kilronan (BD)

Cliffs of Moher Walk – 7 km, rated 2C

Our coach takes us into County Clare this morning for a brand-new WAI walk from Doolin along the North Atlantic Ocean on a trail that traces the northern section of the stupendous Cliffs of Moher, 600-foot tall sandstone cliffs rising boldly from the sea. From Doolin, we board a ferry to cross Galway Bay for a two-night stay on the remote and rugged Aran Island of Inishmore.

Day 2-July 4: Activities on the island of Inishmore (BD)

Inishmore Dun Aengus Fortress Walk – 5 km/13 km, rated 2B

This morning’s ancient trail winds between a patchwork of stone walls to Dun Aengus, a prehistoric fortress perched atop 300-foot tall sea cliffs in one of Ireland’s most remote and starkly picturesque corners. The balance of the walk presents the stark beauty of this island of bare limestone where early settlers manufactured soil by hand, mixing sand and seaweed on the barren limestone plateau. The afternoon is free to enjoy the luxury of island time, or consider joining us for a cultural activity to be announced. We rendezvous this evening for our second scrumptious dinner in our cozy island guesthouse.

Day 3-July 5: Kilronan – Ennis (BD)

Galway Walking Tour – 2 km, unrated

The ferry returns us to the mainland this morning 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. A late morning walking tour with our national guide introduces us to this charming town of pedestrianized lanes and stories of the “tribes”, Anglo-Norman merchant families who ruled the city beginning in the 15th century. After time for lunch, we motor south to our hotel in Ennis for a bit of late afternoon down time. We rendezvous this evening for a short drive and a fun finale at Knappogue Castle. Here, we are wined and dined medieval style, complete with troubadours and minstrels, and a bit of medieval drama, a fitting farewell to a land of music and compelling stories.

Day 4-July 6: Depart from Ennis (B)

Depart at your leisure this morning according to your flight schedule. WAI guides will help batch those who would like to share a taxi to Shannon International Airport. Thanks for sharing the Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Extension with us, featuring some of our favorite highlights of the Emerald Isle of Ireland.

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a $500 deposit as soon as possible! We’ll take 24-28 travelers on this tour, with 2 Walking Adventures guides accompanying the group, assisted by local guides, and offering a guide to traveler ratio of 1:9.

Traveler Rewards Program

New Travelers receive a $300 discount on the Emerald Isle of Ireland tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Note: The New Traveler and Alumni Traveler Discounts apply only to the main tour price. The Aran Islands & Cliff of Moher Extension is not eligible for these discounts.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms

To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

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

How is airfare arranged?

The official start and finish point for this Adventure is Shannon Airport (airport code SNN), one of Ireland’s three primary airports, located about a 30-minute drive from Limerick, where we spend our first night, and about a 30-minute drive from Ennis, where we spend our last night.  Transfers are not included in the tour price but taxi service is easily arranged upon arrival at the 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 by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. 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. Because these are guided group walks, the success of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness in order to ensure that we are walking at a somewhat similar pace. 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 talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

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 below:


1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 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).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

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. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email: [email protected] -OR- phone: 503-434-6401). For those of you who purchase airfare through Laura, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the 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). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.

Other Planning Considerations

More information to help you plan will be included in the much longer Tips & Tidbits factsheet that is mailed out about four months before the trip.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. An email with critical information on flight arrangements and the Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email. Final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the 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 enclosed itinerary.  Ireland is an enchanting island offering a delightfully pastoral countryside, charming Celtic culture, and a timeless story of mankind. In the end, we think you will agree that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world. Give us a call and talk to one of our Adventure Consultants about how to join us for this unforgettable Walking Adventure program next summer, as we savor Ireland – the Emerald Isle together!