Wonders of Ireland's North - Explore Fionn's Favorites!
Why follow the crowds to Ireland's west coast? Venture into Northern Ireland which in many parts is far less crowded than the west. But giving up the crowds does not mean giving up on the stunning beauty of Ireland's rugged coastline! From The Antrim Coast west to Malin Head and the spectacular Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal, explore the wonders of Ireland's north.
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
Start your magical journey when you step off the plane in Dublin. Your guide will meet you as you exit customs and transport you to start your Irish vacation in Mullingar. Here you will have time to freshen up and perhaps catch a quick nap. Refreshed, you head out with your guide to experience the royal seat of Midhe, Ireland's fifth province. Your adventure begins at the Hill of Uisneach where you can gaze out at a landscape little changed over thousands of years and see up to 20 of Ireland's 32 counties from the place of the ancient Bealtaine fires. Visit the ancient stone of divisions, Aill na Mireann, from where the provinces were divided in ancient times. You will learn the significance of Uisneach to all other points on the island of Ireland, the sunrise and sunsets, on the equinoxes, solstices, and midpoints throughout the year. They all align with sacred sites in the east, west, north and south, aligned with and crossing Uisneach. After your experience at Uisneach, no ancient site or stone circle you will see in Ireland will ever seem unrelated.
Your journey continues as we take a short ride to visit the cairns at Loughcrew and we enter into the chambers. After our visit to Loughcrew, we return to Mullingar for a welcome dinner at Weirs Bar and Restaurant in Multyfarnham followed by free time to explore the town, visit the local pubs or simply catch up on sleep.
Refreshed after a good night's sleep, you start your day with a full and hearty Irish breakfast before venturing out to continue your Irish vacation, experiencing Ireland's provinces as they reveal themselves and their splendor.
We depart the Royal Province of Midhe and head north on our way to Ulster. We journey to the Boyne River Valley where we visit the ancient passage tomb of Newgrange followed by a visit to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Center. By evening, we arrive in Belfast where we check into our hotel and enjoy dinner.
The visitor center at The Battle of The Boyne heritage site is a fantastic venue to learn about so much of today's Irish history. See the how William of Orange took on King Charles II and how decisive the battle became. The impact of the Battle of the Boyne is still with us today as Ireland is still divided between the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland and the 6 northern counties which remain part of the UK.
The megalithic structures at Newgrange are older than the pyramids of Egypt and older than Stonehenge, having been built over 5000 years ago. Marvel at such an engineering feat accomplished by the inhabitants of Ireland even before the time of the Celts. On the winter solstice, after the longest night of the year, the sun will rise and shine through to the deepest part of the chamber reminding us that despite the darkness, hope and rebirth always begin anew in the endless cycle of time.
We start our day, after a proper Ulster Fry for breakfast of course, with a private Black Cab Tour of west Belfast. Go back in time to the not so distant past of sectarian fighting known as The Troubles. Take in the many murals and memorials on both sides of the political divide with knowledgeable guides with personal recollections and experiences during those difficult years. Visit the Falls Road, one of the epicenters of Irish Republican nationalism, then passing through the peace wall to the Unionist neighborhood of Shankhill Road.
After our tour of West Belfast, we head over to the Titanic Quarter where we tour the award winning exhibitions at Titanic Belfast and stand on the very slipway where the great ship once stood.
After lunch, we are off to Fionn mac Cumhaill land to explore the magnificent shoreline and unique rock formations of the Giant's Causeway.
When we are finished climbing along the rock formations of the Giant's Causeway, we move a short distance down the road to the Bushmill's Distillery where we learn about making Ireland's oldest whiskey and have an opportunity to taste some of the creations.
We continue west today along the Antrim Coast to the city of Derry. Here, we visit the murals in the Bogside, site of the Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1972 where British troops opened fire on protesters killing 14 people. Our visit includes admission to the Museum of Free Derry and a walking tour of the medieval walled city of Derry up the hill from The Bogside.
After lunch, our journey leads us to one if Ireland's finest stone forts with magnificent views at Grianán Ailigh. Did you remember your orientation back at Uisneach on our first day? Grianán Ailigh lies on a 2 degree compass heading from Uisneach and after taking in the views and the energy here we continue along that same heading to the northernmost point in Ireland; Banba's Crown at Malin Head.
Once our explorations at Malin Head are complete, we're off to Letterkenny to check into our hotel, grab a bite to eat, and if we have any energy left, head to the pub!
Today, we experience the magnificence of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way! After leaving Letterkenny, we enjoy a scenic ride through the Donegal countryside before stopping in Port, an old abandoned village on the coast. Along the way, depending on the time of year, we will see turf drying in the sun or take in the unmistakable aroma of the turf fires heating homes out here as has been done for hundreds of years.
We then head to Glencolumbkille, a working Irish village in the Gaeltacht where we can practice our Irish language skills with the friendly locals. In season, our stop here includes a tour of the Folk Village where we can experience authentic representations of Irish village life through the centuries. Here we also learn about Father McDyer, whose tireless efforts saved this village from the decline of mass emigration and economic collapse, building it into the thriving rural village it is today.
As we leave "The Glen" as the locals call Glencolumbkille, we set out to view the highest cliffs in Ireland along Slieve League. Savor the view as in a few day's time when we visit the Cliffs of Moher, you will be the judge of which are the more spectacular.
Our day concludes in Donegal town where we tour Donegal Castle before checking into our hotel.
Today, we find ourselves in County Mayo as we continue south along the Wild Atlantic Way. Our destination is the town of Westport where free time to roam and explore awaits. But first stop on the way is Croagh Patrick, to some a holy mountain where people have gone for pilgrimages since well before Christian times when this place became associated with Ireland's patron Saint. Seasonally, there is time to climb the mountain if conditions permit and for those not so inclined, we head on into Westport, returning to pick up the pilgrims among us who climbed to the top of the mountain.
We have already seen some spectacular views along the Wild Atlantic Way, but today we will visit what some argue is the best of all; The Cliffs of Moher.
Our journey to the Cliffs of Moher take us through The Burren and the charming little town of Kinvara, directly across the bay from Galway. Here, we stop to see Dunguare Castle and stop in for refreshments at Green's Pub.
Also on today's stops is Galway, before we arrive at Bunratty for a fine dinner before we turn in for the evening.
Can you believe how quickly the time has gone by? We have seen so much and marveled at the North of Ireland, along with the Wild Atlantic Way but today we must say farewell. After one last hearty breakfast, we transport you to Shannon Airport for your journey home. Safe travels and we look forward to serving you again!
- Tour Highlights
- Included in Package
- Tour Map
Hill of Uisneach
Newgrange and Boyne Valley
Westport or Croagh Patrick
Cliffs of Moher
Seven night's accommodation
Full Irish breakfast each morning
Six Dinners and Six Lunches
Comfortable Passenger Van
Full Support during your visit
All Listed Attractions
GROUP SIZE LIMITED TO EIGHT PERSONS
1 night - Bloomfield House Hotel - Mullingar
1 night - Jury's Inn - Belfast
2 nights - City Hotel - Derry
1 night - Abbey Hotel Donegal
1 night - Westport Woods Hotel - Westport
1 night - Shannon Springs Hotel - Shannon
We reserve the right to substitute alternative hotel accommodation or activities based on availability and seasonal factors beyond the control of Ancient Ireland Tourism, Ltd. All bookings are subject to our Terms and Conditions.