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  • Ireland: Walking Trails of the Emerald Isle
Overview

Explore the Rugged Beauty of the Irish Coast with Boundless Journeys

We begin our Irish exploration in the charming town of Dingle. Our days here are spent walking the beautiful coastline past ancient beehive huts or boarding a ferry for a hike on Great Blasket Island — a trip back in time. We then move south to the famed Kingdom of Kerry, with dramatic mountains, lush valleys, and the tranquil lakes surrounding Killarney. Here, we visit a 6th-century monastery and take a boat ride across the lakes. Finally, we make our way to County Cork, home to some of the Ireland’s most fertile farmland, wildest peninsulas, and most colorful towns. We are enchanted by the Glengarriff Reserve and walk along a rugged promontory of land that reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean. In the evenings, there is time to savor local music (perhaps even enjoy a bit of dancing!), indulge in excellent fresh seafood and lamb, stroll through the colorful towns of Dingle and Killarney, and enjoy glorious sunsets over the wide expanse of Bantry Bay.

What Our Guests Have To Say About This Tour

A new perspective on Vacations

★★★★☆
4 5 1
This experience gave me a new perspective on vacations and I know you will see me again soon on another walking tour. I only hope to recreate the group dynamics we shared on this trip. The bonds we formed will be lasting and we are already connecting and sharing memories as we view the pictures.

a journey I would take again and again

★★★★★
5 5 1
It was a wonderful trip,and one I won’t soon forget. Our guide, Pol, made it great! His knowledge, sense of humor, and overall genuineness was incredible. The trip was beyond expectations. From the walks, to the food, and the people. Ireland is a journey I would take again and again. “

Amazing Experience

★★★★★
5 5 1
Our trip to Ireland was an amazing experience and I have so many fond memories. Pol and Marie are amazing hosts, knowledgeable and so much fun!

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Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Transfer to Dingle

  • Activity Overview: Walk
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: About 3 hours, 2-3 miles in the morning; About 4 hours, 3-4 miles in the afternoon with a 700’ climb

This morning we make our way west to the Dingle Peninsula. Our day begins with a walk along the shoreline of Dingle Harbor, past the old stone watch tower to the picturesque Dingle Lighthouse. Here you can taste the fresh marine air and let the nostalgia and mystery of the ocean take hold.

This afternoon you may opt for an energizing walk in the outskirts of Dingle. This walk departs directly from our hotel and ascends to a ridge with panoramic views over West Kerry.

This evening we enjoy dinner in one of the town's wonderful Michelin-recommended restaurants, featuring seasonal, local ingredients in rustic, flavorsome dishes.

Accommodations
Benners Hotel

Benners Hotel
Dingle, Ireland

Centrally located on the main street in the colorful town of Dingle, Benners offers traditional Irish warmth and comfort, coupled with modern facilities.  Relax in Mrs. Benner’s bar, and sample the best in Irish cuisine. Afterwards, retire to the comfort of your well-appointed guestroom, or enjoy the lively atmosphere in town. Benners reflects the history and uniqueness of this special part of Ireland.

Day 2

Smerwick Harbor

  • Activity Overview: Walk
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 3-4 hours, 5 miles

Today, we walk along winding roads from Tír a'Bháin to reach Smerwick Harbor. Along the way, we may visit our friend and accomplished artist and tour her studio. Once we reach the shore, we take in beautiful coastal views and fresh sea air as we walk along the Dingle Way, linking the beaches Smerbhic, Béal Bán,Trá 'n'Fhíona, and Muiríoch.

This afternoon we will have time to explore the town of Dingle -- steeped in history and culture, with numerous galleries, stores, and lively pubs.

Tonight you are free to choose from one of Dingle's many restaurants for dinner.

 

Accommodations
Benners Hotel

Benners Hotel
Dingle, Ireland

Centrally located on the main street in the colorful town of Dingle, Benners offers traditional Irish warmth and comfort, coupled with modern facilities.  Relax in Mrs. Benner’s bar, and sample the best in Irish cuisine. Afterwards, retire to the comfort of your well-appointed guestroom, or enjoy the lively atmosphere in town. Benners reflects the history and uniqueness of this special part of Ireland.

Day 3

Great Blasket Island

  • Activity Overview: Walk
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4 hours, 4-5 miles

Our excursion today takes us back in time -- before cars, cell phones, and computers. If the sea permits, we will board a ferry from Dingle to Great Blasket Island, the largest of a group of islands clustered off the tip of the Dingle Peninsula. Made famous by local author and Blasket native, Tómas Ó Criomhthain, the people of the Blaskets eked out a tough existence by fishing, turf-cutting, and taking advantage of odd shipwrecks in their waters. The population has dwindled, but Great Blasket Island still offers excellent options for walking and hiking, or perhaps just relaxing and imagining life on these islands in centuries past. (Please note: ferry service to Great Blasket Island is highly dependent on weather conditions. If it is not possible to ferry to the island, our local guides know numerous excellent walking and hiking options around the peninsula, each with their own special highlights.)

Dinner tonight is at yet another Michelin-recommended restaurant in Dingle, offering freshly-sourced food from the owner's garden, local farms, and the sea.

After dinner, those who wish can seek out any of a number of "trad" music sessions taking place nearby. In Dingle, it is still common for talented musicians to spend their evenings playing together in a local pub, and it is delightful to witness this Irish tradition.

Accommodations
Benners Hotel

Benners Hotel
Dingle, Ireland

Centrally located on the main street in the colorful town of Dingle, Benners offers traditional Irish warmth and comfort, coupled with modern facilities.  Relax in Mrs. Benner’s bar, and sample the best in Irish cuisine. Afterwards, retire to the comfort of your well-appointed guestroom, or enjoy the lively atmosphere in town. Benners reflects the history and uniqueness of this special part of Ireland.

Day 4

Killarney National Park

  • Activity Overview: Walk
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 2-3 hours, 4-5 miles

This morning we depart the Dingle Peninsula for Killarney National Park. This section of the Kingdom of Kerry is one of the few areas of Ireland that remains forested, and MacGillicuddy's Reeks are among the highest mountains in the country. Nestled between the base of the mountains and the town are the Lakes of Killarney, the centerpiece of Killarney National Park. We begin our exploration by walking the Muckross Peninsula. This beautiful, pastoral walk encircles Muckross Lake and brings us past the 200-year-old Dinish Cottage and the Old Weir Bridge. Nearby, we pass the "meeting of the waters," where a stream feeds Muckross from the other two lakes. If we are lucky, we may also see the Irish red deer, the only surviving herd of native deer in the country.

After lunch, we continue our walk to Muckross Abbey, an old Irish monastery built in the 6th century. The remains include the Abbey's bell tower, church, and massive gothic arcades and arches. In the center of the inner court is an old Yew tree, said to be as old as the Abbey itself.

This evening we check into our home for the next two nights, a lovely four-star hotel situated on its own private estate on the edge of Killarney National Park.

Accommodations
Cahernane House Hotel

Cahernane House Hotel
Killarney, Ireland

Beautifully situated on its own private estate on the edge of Killarney National Park, and a short 10-minute walk to Killarney town center, the 4-star Cahernane House Hotel is a unique experience of old Irish history and modern hotel luxuries. Dine on local produce in the award winning Herbert Restaurant with Head Chef Tadgh Corkery, or relax and enjoy bistro style dining in the old wine cellar.

Day 5

Old Kenmare Road

  • Activity Overview: Walk
  • Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Activity Length: 4-5 hours, 9 miles (shorter options available)

We begin our adventure today in an unusual way—boarding an open boat for a scenic two-hour trip through Lough Leane, Muckross Lake, and Upper Lakes— the perfect way to see another side of the park before walking Old Kenmare Road, a local favorite. Our trail begins at Lord Brandon's Cottage, the impressive hunting retreat of an 18th-century aristocrat, and ends at the beautiful Torc Waterfall. We make our way through magical, moss-covered woodland—the oldest oak woods in Ireland—and into the open valleys of Esknamucky Glen.

Tonight, we enjoy dinner at one of Killarney's best family-run restaurants, offering a seasonally inspired menu.

Accommodations
Cahernane House Hotel

Cahernane House Hotel
Killarney, Ireland

Beautifully situated on its own private estate on the edge of Killarney National Park, and a short 10-minute walk to Killarney town center, the 4-star Cahernane House Hotel is a unique experience of old Irish history and modern hotel luxuries. Dine on local produce in the award winning Herbert Restaurant with Head Chef Tadgh Corkery, or relax and enjoy bistro style dining in the old wine cellar.

Day 6

Glengarriff Nature Reserve

  • Activity Overview: Walk
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: About 3 hours, 4.5 miles

This morning we travel one of the most spectacular roads in all of Ireland to picturesque Kenmare and then on to Glengarriff, tucked away in the thickly wooded, northernmost corner of Bantry Bay. Here, we begin our walk through Glengarriff Nature Reserve, one of the finest examples of native woodland, nestled in a sheltered, steep-sided glen at the base of the Caha Mountains. We follow a path through old oak woods where the lush growth of ferns, mosses, and bryophytes form a green canopy.

Lunch will be at a local café before continuing on to our accommodations overlooking Bantry Bay. We will have time to freshen up and enjoy the manicured gardens surrounding the estate before taking a short stroll into town for an evening meal at a pub or restaurant of your choice.

Accommodations
Bantry House

Bantry House
Bantry, Ireland

Bantry House and Garden is a stately home situated on the Wild Atlantic Way overlooking Bantry Bay. It has been home to the White family since 1739 and opened to the public in 1946. With its drawing room, columned library, and extensive gardens and lawns sweeping down to the sea, a stay here reminds us of an elegant and adventurous past.

Day 7

Sheep's Head Peninsula

  • Activity Overview: Walk
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: About 5 hours, 7 miles

After a hearty breakfast, we set out for a memorable day's hike along the Sheep's Head Peninsula. With Bantry Bay to the north and Dunmanus Bay to the south, this promontory offers rugged beauty and jaw-dropping sea-cliff views. For those who know this area, it is a place of breathtaking beauty and peace.

Our hike along the Sheep's Head Way leads us along the spine of this narrow peninsula affording stunning panoramas over two bays and four headlands. We follow ancient byways and sheep trails, learning about the region's deep history.

After a delicious home-cooked lunch at the lovely Heron Gallery in Ahakista, we carry on for an afternoon walk around the tip of the Sheep's Head Peninsula and past the spectacularly-situated lighthouse.

This evening, we will dine at Manning's Emporium, a founder of the "Slow Food" movement, where they specialize in locally-produced and grown artisan meats and cheeses.

Accommodations
Bantry House

Bantry House
Bantry, Ireland

Bantry House and Garden is a stately home situated on the Wild Atlantic Way overlooking Bantry Bay. It has been home to the White family since 1739 and opened to the public in 1946. With its drawing room, columned library, and extensive gardens and lawns sweeping down to the sea, a stay here reminds us of an elegant and adventurous past.

Day 8

Departure

Today, you will be transferred to the Cork Airport by 11 a.m. or you may continue to explore the charms of Ireland on your own.

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2018
Trip Length

8 Days

Trip Dates

Jun 17-24, 2018

Jul 15-22, 2018

Sep 2-9, 2018

2018 Land Cost

$4,295 Per Person


Single Supplement

First two reserved:$0

Additional:$295

See single supplement policy below.

What's Included

  • Expert leadership
  • All accommodations
  • All meals except two dinners (Days 2 & 6)
  • Local beer and wine with included dinners
  • All transportation during the tour
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary
  • Park fees
Single Supplement Policy

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

* This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

Physical Activity

Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Ireland: Walking Trails of the Emerald Isle is rated 2, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walking and hiking on this trip averages 3-5 hours a day. Most of our walks are on trails and greenways with only occasional vehicle support.

Meeting Point

Cork, Ireland, approximately 9:30 a.m. Pick-up time will depend on your choice of pre-tour hotel.

Departure Point

Cork Airport, Ireland, 11:00 a.m.

Traveling To and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Cork Airport; Cork, Ireland (airport code ORK)

Meeting Time and Place:
Your guide(s) will meet you on the first day of your tour at your choice of the following two hotels (please be dressed for walking):

  • 9:30 a.m. in the lobby of the River Lee Hotel, Cork, Ireland
  • 9:45 a.m. in the lobby of the Hotel Isaacs, Cork, Ireland

Departure Time and Place:
Your guides will provide a drop-off at the Cork Airport by 11:00 a.m. on the last day of the trip. Since we will be driving from Bantry on the final morning of the trip, it is not possible to arrive at the Cork Airport prior to 11:00 a.m. Please schedule your flights accordingly.

Preparing for This Trip

It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. The more well-prepared you are for the activities, the more you will enjoy yourself. As a general guideline, we suggest that you engage in easy to moderate aerobic activities (such as walking, hiking, jogging, or cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. If you live in a flat area, try to incorporate some stairs into your workout, or use a treadmill with varying incline capability (consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program). Please contact us if you have any doubts regarding your physical match with this tour.

Weather

Ireland's weather conditions can vary greatly, even in the course of a single afternoon. It is not uncommon to have deep blue skies followed by "soft" weather (the local term for a bit of rain), and of course, the trademark Irish rainbow. Then the cycle begins again. Therefore, it is essential to be prepared for a variety of conditions -- including dressing in layers and wearing quick-drying clothing. Waterproof hiking boots are not a bad idea either, as mornings are often dewy and the grass can be long.

You may obtain more detailed weather information by visiting www.weatherbase.com.

Ireland

June

High: 64
Low: 46

July

High: 70
Low: 50

August

High: 70
Low: 48

September

High: 62
Low: 51

When to Go

The southwest coast of Ireland enjoys a milder climate than you might expect, and spring comes quite early. By May, flowers are in full bloom, including the many varieties of orchid. Lambs are everywhere at this time of year as well. June brings longer days, with excellent light well into the evenings. July and August are the height of summer and days tend to be warmer and perhaps a bit drier, although weather can change at any time. September brings fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, perfect for hiking through the countryside.

Guides

Featured Guides

About Our Guides

With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

$4,295 / person* *airfare not included
8 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: Jun 17-24, 2018
    Jul 15-22, 2018
    Sep 2-9, 2018


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Activity Level 2 Easy to Moderate

Easy to moderate walking and hiking, 3-5 hours per day.

Read about our Activity Levels
  • Group Size: 4-16 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

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Ireland: Walking Trails of the Emerald Isle Overall rating: ★★★★★ 4.6 based on 3 reviews
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