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
9 days
Starts at
Flights start at

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.

General Notes

This program has been designed to be taken back to back with "Hiking Midwest Ireland: The Burren & Colorful Connemara" (#23555), and participants are encouraged to register for both.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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