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Delve into the mystical landscapes of Ireland’s west coast as we explore mountains and serene lakes, spectacular cliffs and beaches, fishing villages and castles from Sligo to Connemara. Hear stories of legendary pirates and Celtic heroes, meet lively musicians, and discover prehistoric ruins on hikes and bike rides along the coast. Immerse yourselves in the myths, the magic, and the vivid culture of Ireland’s wild west.
Go horseback riding on the shores of Enniscrone Strand, or join an archaeologist on a beach walk to hear tales of piracy and shipwrecks.
Ride bikes on the award-winning Great Western Greenway, a gorgeous coastal trail from Achill Island to Westport.
Try your hand at deep-sea fishing, falconry, and pottery; and learn about the rich traditions of Irish music and dance.
Watch sheepdogs orchestrate their herds in beautiful Connemara.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Dublin, Ireland/County Sligo
Fåilte go hÉireann—Welcome to Ireland!
Arrive in Dublin and travel west to County Sligo. After
a festive pub lunch, listen to Celtic legends
as you hike up nearby Knocknarea
Mountain. This evening, sit down to a
welcome dinner at the beautiful Mount
Falcon Estate, followed by storytelling
and local music. Mount Falcon Estate (L,D)
Day 2 — County Mayo
Hop on bikes for a leisurely ride down
through the scenic landscapes of County
Mayo, keeping an eye out for bird
species like the mistle thrush and the
willow warbler. Stop for a picnic lunch
on a white-sand shore. Then explore the
dwellings and tombs of Céide Fields,
an approximately 6,000-year-old field
system. Later, join a local falconer with
a Harris hawk, and learn firsthand about
the art of falconry. Mount Falcon Estate (B,L,D)
Day 3 — County Sligo
Discover the region’s millennia-old past
during a hike through the megalithic
cemetery of Carrowkeel in County Sligo,
where tombs are between 5,400 and
5,100 years old, predating the pyramids
of Egypt. Join a local archaeologist and
explore the 14 ancient passage tomb
cairns in this remote landscape. Then visit
the Coleman Irish Music and Cultural
Centre for a high-stepping time with your
children’s pen pals. Enjoy dinner tonight
at a cozy pub. Mount Falcon Estate (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Enniscrone/Mulranny
In 1588, severe storms sent ships from
the Spanish Armada crashing onto the
shores of western Ireland. Learn about this
turbulent time in the region’s history as you
explore Enniscrone Strand. Ride horseback
along the beach or on a countryside trail; or
walk the shore with a marine archaeologist,
hearing tales of pirates and battles fought
here many centuries ago. After a beachside
seafood restaurant lunch, head south to
the picturesque town of Mulranny. Mulranny Park Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Great Western Greenway
Set out on bikes—mountain or electric—
to discover the sites along the Great
Western Greenway, a beautiful coastal
trail that follows the route of a former
railway. Visit the deserted village of
Slievemore, look out over vertical cliffs
that drop to the sea, and see Bronze Age
forts and medieval castles. Stop for
lunch in Newport, and continue by
bike or vehicle to the charming town
of Westport. Enjoy an evening at leisure
to explore and dine with your family. Mulranny Park Hotel (B,L)
Day 6 — Mulranny/Inishbofin
Take to the seas aboard a fishing vessel,
sailing among the isles of Clew Bay as
we hear the legend of the pirate queen
Grace O’Malley, who once plied these
waters. Grab a pole and try your hand at
deep-sea fishing. Back on land, pay a visit
to Kylemore Abbey and explore its walled
gardens. This afternoon, board the ferry
for Inishbofin, an emerald island off the
coast of Galway.
Dolphin Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 7 — Inishbofin
This tiny island is a cross-section of all
things western Ireland: beautiful beaches,
brilliant green valleys, ancient ruins,
blowholes and sea arches, and friendly
artists and musicians. Put on your hiking
shoes for a full day of exploration,
following bog roads along the cliffs and
through meadows speckled with wildflowers.
Stop to explore Iron Age forts and
medieval monasteries, meet the locals, or
photograph a seal colony; and keep your
eye out for nesting seabirds. At a pottery
studio, sculpt your own souvenir with the
guidance of a local potter. Celebrate our
adventure with a pub dinner and lively
Irish music tonight.
Dolphin Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 8 — Connemara/Dublin/U.S.
Take the ferry back to the mainland after
breakfast and travel into the wild and
gorgeous landscapes of Connemara. Then
visit a working sheep farm, where we’ll be
welcomed by the farmer for tea. Continue to the
airport for your flight home. (B,L)
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single
room, add $1,000.
International airfare to/from Dublin is not included in the expedition cost.
About this Expedition
We tap into National Geographic’s vast network to design unique travel experiences for the whole family, filled with hands-on activities and memorable moments. A special aspect of this expedition is the Kid-to-Kid Connection, where kids will meet their pen pals at a traditional music center in County Sligo and kick up their heels together as they take part in an interactive Irish step
Our dynamic Expedition Leaders enrich each experience with their insights, knowledge, and energy, and a Young Explorer Leader joins every group to facilitate fun activities that help kids get the most out of the places we go. As we travel, we’ll also meet up with fascinating people doing meaningful work in the field.