This tour is guided by Dave Hogan and is limited to 36 travelers.
This extraordinary tour throughout Connemara (northwest of Galway City) has been described as “a sensory extravaganza” by previous enthusiastic travelers. Based in part in charming Clifden city, on the Atlantic coast, travelers enjoy day trips to sites throughout Counties Clare, Galway, and Mayo. This is a spectacularly wild and mostly still untamed region with stone fenced patchwork fields, bogs, mountains, valleys, lakes and streams.
Dave Hogan, an academic ecologist and wildlife biologist. He is without question one of Ireland’s most knowledgeable guides with keen interest in the early history of Ireland and mythology. He is fluent in the Irish language and a musician who has contributed to several CD’s.
Dave will guide us through ancient and historical sites seldom seen and introduce us to a variety of landscape features: the bog and burren regions, holy wells, Bronze Age stone circles, and ring forts. Travels include two boat trips to remote islands with ancient monastic sites, leisurely time in the city of Galway, Claddagh Village, Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, Maamturk Mountains, Connemara National Park, 13th Century Cong Abbey, Monk’s Fishing House, Cliffs of Moher, Brigit’s Garden, Clonmacnoise and Rathcroghan.
Each day’s tour begins after a leisurely morning breakfast and ends late-afternoon, giving ample time to discover back roads or walk village streets on your own. The itinerary allows for generous time to rest, reflect, and photograph quiet places of stunning beauty throughout this region.
Irish Byways tour makes possible an uncommon cultural experience into the heart of Ireland offering travelers a more relaxed “off-the-bus” adventure in contrast to fast-paced and lower priced site-seeing tours
The tour highlights (basic Itinerary) and description of all that is included in the tour:
- Galway City (a delight for shopping and eating, with its narrow cobblestone streets, old stone and wooden shop front, quaint pubs and fine dining)
- Travelers may choose to spend some of their time in Galway visiting the Claddagh Village (home of the Claddagh Ring, a romantic icon in the hearts and songs of Irish-Americans for generations)
- Kylemore Abbey and Gardens (currently a Benedictine all-girls boarding school)
- Maumturk Mountains, Twleve Bens
- Connemara National Park
- Cong Village including Cong Abbey (Augustine, dating from early 13th Century) & Monk’s Fishing House
- Cliffs of Moher (one of Ireland’s most spectacular natural features)
- Castles, abundant throughout the tour, include the famous Ashford Castle in Cong, Bunratty Castle in Shannon and the recently opened 16th Century Aughnanure Castle in Oughterard
- Thatched roof cottages
- Boat excursion to one of two islands: Inchagoill (9th century church and many ancient remains and carvings) or Inish Bofin (population 200, a haven of tranquility, and breathtaking scenes)
- Clonmacnoise, an early Christian site which develped into a major Cathedral City, now ruined
- Ancient stone circles in open fields (dating to the Bronze Age)
- Rathcroghan, the site of the inauguration of the ancient kings of Connacht
- Holy Wells
- Ring FortsKilnaboy with ruined church and seldom found sheela-na-gig over doorway
- Dolmens (including 5,000-year-old Poulnabrone Dolmen)
- Bog and Burren regions
- Ample time for private reflection with the land and the sea
- Ancient historical and sacred sites seldom seen
- Famine ruins
- The finest local craft shops
- Intimate meetings with Irish musicians, artists, storytellers/historians
- Music at local pubs available many evenings beginning about 10 pm
- Three Festive Dining/Music Nights. We arrange three evenings with an elegant dinner arranged for our group and featuring accomplished local musicians.
Most early mornings are free for leisurely awakening and preparations for the day. Other area activities not included on the itinerary can be arranged at reasonable cost for travelers. The majority of evenings give ample space for reflection on the day, conversation with friends and new acquaintances, exploration on one’s own, and visits to local pubs.
Guides reserve the right to make changes to our Itinerary in the event of extreme weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances. Arrangements can be made (at additional traveler’s expense) for self-chosen local activities such as horseback riding or for additional self-chosen taxi service.