From Achill Island to Galway, explore Ireland’s western coast, the Wild Atlantic Way. Discover the culture, history & more! No single supplement!
Nestled along rugged terrain are inviting villages, historic sites and ancient monuments. While staying for seven nights in Westport near the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, spend your days learning about rural folklife, a 16th-century pirate queen, a countess who was a hero of the 1916 Rising, and Irish literature and art. Take a scenic drive on the coastal road around Achill Island, admire Connemara’s stark beauty, stroll through the picture-perfect village of Cong and feel Galway’s lively vibe. Visit Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, where dozens of large stone tombs give you a glimpse of neolithic Ireland. Lectures by local experts add another dimension to your experience. There is no supplement for solo travelers.
Tour highlights and included features
- Seven nights in Westport, Ireland, at the first-class Westport Plaza Hotel.
- Seven breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners, including Welcome and Farewell Dinners; tea or coffee with all meals, plus wine with dinner.
- Sample authentic regional specialties during meals at local restaurants.
- Discovery excursions highlight the local culture, heritage and history.
- Expert-led Enrichment programs enhance your insight into the region.
- Free time to pursue your own interests.
- Clearly hear your English-speaking guide with your VOX headset.
- Tipping of guides and drivers.
- Complimentary travel mementos.
Dates Oct. 8 – Oct. 16, 2019
Cost $3,295* (Airfare is not included. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and early booking deadlines. Dates, itineraries, and prices are subject to change.)
Contact Laura DeRose
800-852-TOUR (8687), ext. 2
Oct. 8 Day 1 - Depart gateway city
Appropriate in-flight meal service.
AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Shannon, Ireland.
Oct. 9 Day 2 - Shannon, Ireland/Westport
Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner
Arrive at Shannon Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.
Transfer to the Westport Plaza Hotel. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.
Discovery: Westport. Your journey to County Mayo combines spectacular scenery, wonderful food and rousing music! Kick off your adventure by joining a short walking tour to get acquainted with the charming town of Westport.
Tonight, at the hotel, join your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception featuring local dancers and musicians, and then gather together for a Welcome Dinner.
Oct. 10 Day 3 - Westport
Breakfast and lunch
Each morning at the hotel, begin your day with a satisfying, Irish-style buffet breakfast.
Enrichment: Irish Folklife. At the County Mayo branch of the National Museum of Ireland, rural traditions come to life through fascinating exhibits that reveal the heritage of Irish farming, trades, hunting, crafts, domestic life and more. Get additional insights from a museum staff member during an engaging talk, and then enjoy free time to wander through the museum on your own.
Enjoy a hearty lunch at a local pub.
Discovery: Westport House. Set within a lovely parkland estate, this elegant 18th-century manor house was built by the descendants of Grace O’Malley, the 16th-century Pirate Queen of Connaught, who followed in the footsteps of her father, a seafaring Gaelic chieftain. Resting upon the foundation of one of her castles, the original Westport House was constructed in 1650 by Colonel John Browne and his wife Maud Bourke, Grace O’Malley’s great-granddaughter. Later additions were designed by Richard Cassel and James Wyatt, leading architects of the time. Step back in time as you meander through the period rooms, beautifully accented with decorative details, including Waterford cut-glass chandeliers and Sicilian marble.
Oct. 11 Day 4 - County Sligo
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Discovery: Sligo and William Butler Yeats. Head northeast to County Sligo, known as “Yeats’ Country,” to discover the majestic Irish countryside that so enthralled the legendary poet and Nobel Prize winner. Begin at one of Ireland’s famous woollen mills, Foxford, established in 1892 by Mother Agnes Morrogh-Bernard, a Sister of Charity. See firsthand how craftspeople produce beautiful blankets, tweeds and other items using traditional techniques.
Discovery: Lissadell House. Take a guided tour of this stately Greek Revival home built in the 1830s, which was the childhood home of Constance Markievicz, an Irish nationalist and the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons. Markievicz and her family entertained William Butler Yeats at Lissadell.
At Drumcliff Cemetery, in the shadow of the Benbulben mountains, pay a short visit to the final resting place of William Butler Yeats.
Savor a delicious lunch at a restaurant in Sligo town.
Enrichment: W.B. Yeats. Learn about the poetry and life of Yeats during a presentation by a Yeats Society Fellow.
Discovery: Megalithic Ireland. Visit the intriguing, otherworldly Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Ireland’s largest Stone Age burial site with 30 surviving tombs. Contemplate what life must have been like for Ireland’s ancient inhabitants as you gaze at monuments they constructed over 5,000 years ago.
Oct. 12 Day 5 - Achill Island
Breakfast and lunch
Enrichment: A Vision of Ireland. A local artist and art history lecturer shares how Irish culture and history are reflected in the works of the country’s major artists.
Discovery: Ireland’s Rugged Beauty. Explore remote Achill Island, the largest off County Mayo’s Currane Peninsula, and witness the magnificent, untamed beauty that has long inspired writers and artists. As you wend your way along the Atlantic Drive, admire the wild, verdant scenery of rolling mountains and peatlands, as well as the powerful waves crashing against the dramatic, rocky cliffs. Visit the Deserted Village at Slievemore, a haunting reminder of Ireland’s pastoral history, with more than 80 abandoned stone cottages. Used as temporary summer dwellings by migrant farmers who brought cattle here to graze, the cottages are a moving testament to the harsh realities of agricultural life and the effects of the Famine.
At lunch, taste some of the fresh local specialties in the village of Keel on Achill Island.
In Mulranny, learn how to make Irish coffee and then sip your delicious drink while enjoying stunning views over Clew Bay.
Oct. 13 Day 6 - Connemara
Discovery: Connemara. Oscar Wilde once described Connemara’s beauty as “savage.” Travel through this scenic region and marvel at the starkly beautiful landscape shaped by ancient glaciers. See Croagh Patrick Mountain, where St. Patrick is said to have fasted for 40 days in the fifth century, and the poignant National Famine Memorial by sculptor John Behan at the mountain’s base.
Then visit a family-owned farm, Glen Keen, and watch frisky sheepdogs bound through the fields as they expertly maneuver the flock during a demonstration. Afterward, enjoy a brief chat about sheep farming with a member of the family.
Continue to the captivating Kylemore Abbey, a romantic, 19th-century castle overlooking a beautiful lake. Its creation is a love story in itself. In the 1840s, Mitchell Henry, the son of a wealthy English cotton merchant with Irish origins, brought his new bride, Margaret, to Connemara on their honeymoon. They were both enchanted by the beauty of Connemara, and Mitchell eventually purchased the property to build a magnificent castle there as a love token to her.
In 1920, Benedictine nuns purchased the castle and established a convent, as well as a school, which educated local girls and international students from 1923 to 2010. Walk through the Abbey’s restored rooms, stroll along the paths of the Victorian Walled Gardens and step inside the tiny neo-Gothic church, featuring Irish marbles from the four provinces
of Ireland and a statue of Jesus by Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie.
Conclude your day with a trip to the quaint town of Clifden, known as the “Capital of Connemara,” situated picturesquely between the foothills of the Twelve Bens and the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy free time to browse in the local shops, or relax and savor the ambience of the bustling Market Square. Return via scenic Inagh Valley.Clew Bay.
Oct. 14 Day 7 - Cong/Galway
Discovery: Cong. Journey to Cong, the picturesque village that served as the backdrop for the classic 1952 movie, “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Meander through the splendid grounds of the Augustinian abbey in Cong, founded in the early 12th century by Turlough O’Connor, High King of Ireland. The 12th- and 13th-century remains of the abbey typify Gothic architecture and masonry.
Discovery: Galway City. This spirited city on the banks of the River Corrib exudes a youthful energy, brimming with live music, street performers and students from the National University of Ireland/Galway. On a guided walking tour, explore Galway City’s network of medieval cobbled streets and experience its vibrant atmosphere. Discover more of Galway on your own during free time after the tour.
Oct. 15 Day 8 - Westport
Breakfast and dinner
Free Time: Spend your final full day in Ireland at leisure. Hike the stunning countryside of County Mayo, take a harbor cruise from Westport Harbor or rent bikes for a leisurely ride along the Great Western Greenway. Other options include a journey to North Mayo to see the Ceidi Fields or a short ferry ride to Clare Island, listed as one of the top 10 activities on the Wild Atlantic Way by National Geographic.
This evening, share the highlights of your Irish adventure with your fellow travelers at a festive Farewell Reception and Dinner.
Oct. 16 Day 9 - Depart for gateway city
Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service.
After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Shannon Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.
*Itinerary subject to change due to local conditions.