Wild Atlantic Way (Self-Drive):
Dublin, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, and Kerry
Ireland, the "Emerald Isle," has some of the most wild and scenic coastline in Europe. On this self-drive program you'll explore exceptional landscapes, stunning flora and fauna and Ireland's history, as you traverse the new Wild Atlantic Way.
2 Nights Dublin
2 Nights County Sligo/Donegal
2 Nights County Mayo
1 Night County Galway
1 Night County Clare
2 Nights County Kerry
Private Dublin City Walking Tour
Entrance to Guinness
Entrance to Westport House &
Country Park House
Irish Fjord Ferry Cruise
Entrance to Kylemore Abbey
Entrance to The Burren
Entrance to Cliffs of Moher
Entrance to Foynes Flying
10-Day Compact Manual
Welcome to Dublin, a cosmopolitan city steeped in history. While a settlement on the Liffey River appeared on a Roman map dated 140 AD, Dublin became Dublin when Vikings sailed up the river, destroyed a small Celtic village, and established Dubh Lin (Dark Pool), which refers to the black pool that lies beneath the grounds of Dublin Castle. Today Dublin blends its colorful history with a vibrant, modern outlook and surprisingly rich nightlife. This afternoon, enjoy a private city walking tour to familiarize yourself with the major landmarks. Afterwards explore the world-renowned Guinness Storehouse and enjoy a pint of Guinness with views of the city.
After breakfast, pick up your rental car and head northwest to Sligo. This area is known as Yeats Country, as the scenery inspired many of the great works of William Butler Yeats, Ireland's Nobel Prize-winning writer. Sligo is famous for its beaches and surfing. Take a cruise on Lough Gill-an inspiration for Yeats-on the tour boat "Rose of Innisfree" (not included in cost of tour) whose captain will regale you with some of Yeats' poems. After a full day of sightseeing, treat yourself to a traditional seaweed therapeutic bath.
(Breakfast, Dublin; Accommodations, Sligo)
Today, you'll head further north towards Donegal, passing Drumcliffe Churchyard where W.B. Yeats is buried. Continuing to the village of Carrick, you'll stop at the Slieve League Visitor Center to discover some of the most magnificent and highest sea cliffs in Europe. You can make the easy climb to the top of Knocknarea Mountain, resting place of the legendary chieftain Queen Maebh, and enjoy the views of Sligo Bay, mountains and nearby lakes.
(Breakfast, Accommodations, Sligo)
Today, you'll drive west into County Mayo, stopping to explore the Céide Fields-the largest Stone Age monument in the world, set in a vast prehistoric landscape of bog, dramatic cliffs and coastline. Continue via the picturesque fishing village of Newport to your bed and breakfast destination.
(Breakfast, Sligo; Accommodations, Mayo)
Today, explore Achill Island, which sits on the Atlantic just off the coast of County Mayo. There are opportunities for fishing, golf, windsurfing, and horseback riding, among others. The island is a haven for artists, and you can visit a number of arts schools and studios. Explore the deserted village of Slievemore, where an archaeological study is underway each summer. In the afternoon, head back to the mainland to the charming Heritage Town of Westmore, renowned for its Georgian architecture and stone bridges over the River Carrowbeg. Visit Westport House and Country Park, a state home built in the 1730s. Stop in at Matt Molloys Pub, owned by the flute player from the Chieftains band and famed for its music.
(Breakfast, Accommodations, Mayo)
Travel south to explore the wild and unspoiled landscape of Connemara. Stop at Leenane, where you'll take a cruise of Irish fjords aboard "The Connemara Lady." Then continue to the town of Clifden and visit Kylemore Abbey, home to a Benedictine order of nuns. Don't miss the beautifully restored Victorian walled garden. South of Clifden you'll find the spectacular Connemara Championship Golf Course, overlooking the Atlantic. Nearby is the Connemara Smokehouse, with a large selection of wild salmon as well as smoked salmon and seafood. Continue to Galway for your overnight accommodation.
(Breakfast, Mayo; Accommodations, Galway)
This morning you'll explore the lively city of Galway. Walk the pedestrian areas of the old city, check out the many pubs and restaurants in this area, and find your way to the Seafront Promenade of Salthill. There are music festivals and events throughout the summer, if you're traveling then. In the afternoon, drive south on the coastal road into County Clare to The Burren, a large region of lunar-like landscapes made of limestone, plus imposing mountains and tranquil valleys. Continue on the western edge of the county to see the famous Cliffs of Moher, spectacular cliffs overlooking the Atlantic that range from 400 to 700 feet above the sea. From the higher points you can see the bleak and beautiful Aran Islands to the west as well as mountain ranges in Galway to the north. Continue to Clare to your overnight accommodation.
(Breakfast, Galway; Accommodations, Clare)
After breakfast, head south to Killimer where you'll take the Shannon Car Ferry across one of Europe's longest and deepest estuaries (not included in cost of tour), to Tarbert in County Kerry. Drive a few miles east of Tarbert to the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. This fascinating exhibit recalls the 1939-1945 period when Foynes was the most prominent center for air traffic between Europe and the United States. After exploring the museum, continue south to Tralee and visit the new Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, offering a series of AV shows and interactive displays that explain both freshwater and saltwater habitats. Then head west to explore the Dingle Peninsula, a stunningly beautiful Gaelic-speaking area with some of the finest coastal scenery in Ireland. After exploring Dingle, head for your overnight accommodation.
(Breakfast, Clare; Accommodations, Kerry)
Today, you'll explore the Ring of Kerry, another beautiful peninsula in County Kerry. Here you'll see palm trees, due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream. Stop off at the Skellig Experience, a heritage center dedicated to life on the Skellig Islands, seven miles off the coast of Kerry. The largest island, Skellig Michael, was a monastic site occupied from the 6th through the 12th century. Further along the Ring of Kerry you'll find Derrynane House, the home of Daniel O'Connell, Ireland's first Catholic Member of Parliament. There are 300 acres of parkland around the house that form part of the Derrynane National Park. After a stop in the attractive town of Kenmare, return to your overnight accommodation.
(Breakfast, Accommodations, Kerry)
In the morning, visit the famous Victorian covered market in Cork, which goes back to 1610. Then continue on towards Dublin, passing through Ireland's cattle country. Stop in Cashel town to visit the famous Rock of Cashel, which towers over the town from its 200-foot high perch. St. Patrick visited the rock in AD450, and Brian Boru was crowned the first High King of Ireland here in the 10th century. Continue to Dublin for the last evening on your tour.
(Breakfast, Cork or Kerry; Accommodations, Dublin)
Bid Ireland goodbye and set out for home...or continue on to your next Avanti adventure!
** Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change