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22544
Ireland

Hiking Ireland’s Coastal Northwest

Strap on your walking shoes for an inspiring adventure along Ireland’s northwest coast, a region known for its timeless castles, medieval towns and pristine beauty.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22544RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,999
Flights start at
800
Ireland

Hiking Ireland’s Coastal Northwest

Strap on your walking shoes for an inspiring adventure along Ireland’s northwest coast, a region known for its timeless castles, medieval towns and pristine beauty.
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,999
Flights start at
800
Program No. 22544 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 5 - May 13, 2022
Starting at
2,999
May 19 - May 27, 2022
Starting at
2,999
Aug 4 - Aug 12, 2022
Starting at
3,099
Aug 18 - Aug 26, 2022
Starting at
3,099
Sep 1 - Sep 9, 2022
Starting at
2,999
Sep 15 - Sep 23, 2022
Starting at
2,999
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 5 - May 13, 2022
Starting at
3,479
May 19 - May 27, 2022
Starting at
3,479
Aug 4 - Aug 12, 2022
Starting at
3,579
Aug 18 - Aug 26, 2022
Starting at
3,579
Sep 1 - Sep 9, 2022
Starting at
3,479
Sep 15 - Sep 23, 2022
Starting at
3,479

At a Glance

Discover the ancient and seemingly magical landscapes of Ireland on a hiking adventure through its northwest coastal region. From Letterkenny at the northern tip of the republic down through Yeats Country to Galway and the Aran Islands, experience the country’s natural and cultural variety with experts who interpret its timeless castles, medieval town centers and unrivaled wild beauty.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Walking 4-9 miles on paths and mountain trails, mixed terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover the gentle beauty of Glenveagh National Park, with its meandering paths and wildflowers.
  • Experience Galway, an iconic city of Ireland’s northwest.
  • Explore the unique landscapes and prehistoric stone forts of the breathtaking Aran Islands.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
For the Love of Ireland
by Susan Cahill (Editor)
Organized geographically, this rich anthology introduces Ireland through the words and lives of such luminaries as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Frank McCourt and Samuel Beckett.
Seamanship, A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles
by Adam Nicolson
Nicolson offers an engrossing account of a coastal voyage from Cornwall, along the western coast of Ireland, out to the Faroes and to Orkney in this brief hymn to the sea.
Connemara Mollie, An Irish Journey on Horseback
by Hilary Bradt
Hilary Bradt (publisher of Bradt Guides) recalls her journey across rural Ireland among the people of Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry in the 1980s in this sweet -- and sublimely affecting -- memoir.
The Aran Islands
by J.M. Synge, Tim Robinson (Introduction)
A much-loved turn-of-the-century account of the islands (as contrasted with mainland Ireland), drenched in the Celtic soul of the Irish.
Eyewitness Guide Ireland
by Eyewitness Guides
This superb guide is a wonderfully illustrated introduction to the country, featuring photographs, maps and short background essays on history and culture.
A Traveller's History of Ireland
by Peter Neville
From the Celts to the Norman invasions to modern-day Ireland, this short history is highly recommended for those who would like a brief overview of the Emerald Isle through the centuries.
McCarthy's Bar, A Journey of Discovery in Ireland
by Pete McCarthy
A droll account of McCarthy's encounters on a bar-hopping jaunt from Cork along the west coast to Donegal. His motto, assiduously followed, was never to pass up a bar with his name on it!
Ireland Map
by Michelin
A colorful map of Ireland at a scale of 1:400,000, featuring insets of the road approaches to major cities, as well as an index to cities, towns and villages.
Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage
by Tim Robinson, Seamus Heaney (Introduction)
A richly layered hymn to Arainn, largest of the Aran Islands, Robinson's adopted home.
Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors' Wives
by David Cordingly
A fascinating survey of women who went to sea, as wives, crossdressing cabin boys or even lighthouse keepers, during the age of sail.
Wild Decembers
by Edna O'Brien
A haunting novel of clan enmities and forbidden love in rural Ireland. Few writers have as sure a sense of place as Edna O'Brien, whose lyrical prose builds inevitably toward final tragedy.
History of the Rain
by Niall Williams
Ruth, the daughter of a dead poet, recuperates after an injury by piecing together her father's history through story, both his own and generations of family lore set in County Clare, Ireland. Longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.
The Pirate Queen, In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea
by Barbara Sjoholm
Tales of plucky female pirates and explorers in the North Atlantic. Long interested in women and seafaring, Sjoholm journeyed from Ireland out to the Shetland and Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway collecting folk-tales, stories and historical accounts of these remarkable seafaring heroines.
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales
by W.B. Yeats
Edited by the Nobel Prize-winning poet who spearheaded the Celtic Renaissance in the early 20th century, these enchanting stories introduce a cast of changelings, ghosts, mermaids, demons, saints, priests and fairies.
How the Irish Saved Civilization
by Thomas Cahill
This bestselling history tells the generally unknown story of Ireland's preservation of classical learning in the Dark Ages, revealing how the saints and scholars, monks and scribes labored to reproduce the important texts that spread as they evangelized Europe.
The Hill Bachelors
by William Trevor
No one writes better short fiction than William Trevor. This collection of 12 stories captures the life and people of rural Ireland.
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9 days
8 nights
12 meals
7 B 0 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Belfast, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Letterkenny
D
Station House Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Approximate transfer time is 3 hours. Hotel check-in at 2:00 p.m.

Afternoon: On the way to the hotel, we will enjoy an overview of Ireland and its history from our Group Leader. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program are typically a 3-course set menu. Breakfasts will offer a typical European-style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea, and water. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals. Each morning we will purchase lunch at our own cost for our day’s hike, and carry it in our individual daypacks. The Group Leader and a local expert will lead the hikes and walks. Transfers will be by private motorcoach. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: We will enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
National Parks of Glenveagh
Letterkenny
B,D
Station House Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving 1 hour, 32 miles. Up to 9 miles of walking split between the morning and afternoon for about 3.5 hours on mixed terrain and natural trails. The morning walk will be 5 miles with time for an extra castle loop (1 mile) on your own.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will set out to explore the National Parks of Glenveagh, arriving by motorcoach. Between fuchsias and rhododendrons, our way leads over a small hill down to Lough Beagh. The 9-mile walk will be split between the morning and the afternoon.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Surrounded by forest, Glenveagh Castle also features interesting botanical gardens. During the walk, we will explore the castle and botanical garden and learn about local flora and fauna during a field lecture.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: After returning to the hotel, the rest of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
Horn Head
Donegal
B,D
Central Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving up to 3.5 hours throughout the day with multiple stops; approx. 110 miles. Up to 3.5 miles of walking up to 3 hours on mixed terrain and natural trails, including bogland, high heather, and cliff trails.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel. Leaving Letterkenny, we will have a beautiful drive northwest to reach the small town of Dunfanaghy. From there, we will continue to the northwest tip of this region to reach Horn Head. With glorious views across Sheephaven Bay and Tory Island, we will enjoy a lovely coastal walk around Horn Head.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: We will then drive to Donegal town, stopping on the way to discover ancient dolmens. On an expert-led, hike, we will discover ancient dolmens and see a small exhibition on the history and geology of the area in Kilclooney. We will then transfer to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Slieve League Cliffs
Donegal
B
Central Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 2 hours, 100 miles. Up to 4.5 miles of walking for 4.5 hours on mixed terrain and natural trails.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer from Donegal to Slieve League to visit some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, Slieve League. The roaring Atlantic waves, up to 2000-foot high cliffs, and the ever-changing cloud formations are a dramatic spectacle. One could gaze out over the rugged coastline for hours, watching the flight of birds.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: We’ll travel back to the hotel in Donegal.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own in Donegal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Benbulben, Sligo
Galway
B,D
Park House Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 4.5 hours with multiple stops, around 147 miles. Up to 2.5 miles of walking for 1.5 hours on mixed terrain and natural trails.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and transfer from Donegal towards Sligo, the largest city in the northwest of the island. Along the way, we will learn about the majestic table mountain Benbulben. In Drumcliff, north of Sligo, we will stop for a short visit the final resting place of W.B. Yeats. Southwest of Sligo, we will begin our hike climbing Knocknarea, where we enjoy a magnificent view over the Bay of Donegal. Along the way we will learn about geology.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: We will continue our transfer to Galway. Upon arrival, we will check in to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Aran Islands
Galway
B
Park House Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 2 hours, 50 miles. Getting on/off boat, sailing about 45 minutes, one way. Up to 7 miles of walking for 3.5 hours on stony paths and mixed terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer to the port of Rossaveal, and then embark a boat to Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands towns. On these stony islands, where Gaelic is still spoken, we will explore the prehistoric forts and 3000 foot-long ornate walls. We’ll enjoy a walk through the primitive and magical landscape while taking in a field lecture about history and nature.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: We will return to Rossaveal by boat, then transfer back to the hotel in Galway.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own in Galway.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Galway City
Shannon
B,D
Park Inn by Radisson Shannon Airport

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 1 hour, 50 miles. Up to 2 miles of walking on pavement, cobblestones, and uneven pavement.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Galway City is a joy to explore with its labyrinthine cobbled streets, colorful shop facades, and busy café and bar culture. We will set out to explore the old city during an expert-led walk.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Galway City.

Afternoon: We will transfer to Shannon and check in to the hotel.

Dinner: We will enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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