Hiking Ireland North to South

Starting From

$6,395/person

Number of days

12

Start Location

Dublin, Ireland

End Location

Dublin, Ireland

Group Size

5-16

Operated by

MT Sobek

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Ireland's legendary "Wild Atlantic Way" runs the length of the country, from the northernmost point at Malin Head to Mizen Head in the south. On this epic adventure, traverse the most spectacular 70 miles of the 400-mile route. Walk along clifftops and white-sand beaches, taking in Ireland's iconic sites, including the Giant's Causeway, Donegal Town, the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, and the Lakes of Killarney. With warm Irish hospitality, resident guides and a pint waiting at the end of each day, you may never want to go home!

Operated by:

MT Sobek

MT Sobek, the originators, innovators and leaders in adventure travel for more than five decades, crafts journeys to the world's most memorable places.

Itinerary

Arrive in Dublin & Transfer to Derry

After arrival at Dublin airport in Ireland, meet your MT Sobek guide for a transfer to Derry — the United Kingdom's "City of Culture" in 2013. Check into the hotel, and then head out on a short walk to blow away the cobwebs. This evening, join a local guide to take a walk along the walls of Derry and learn first-hand a positive story of Northern Ireland.

Reach the Giant's Causeway

Today walk along clifftops and stretches of white-sand beaches to reach the Giant's Causeway, a dramatic landscape of steep cliffs and 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns that project into the ocean. Rated Lonely Planet's top 2018 destination, the Giant's Causeway has for centuries inspired artists and stirred scientific debate. According to legend, a Scottish giant began hurling abuse across the English Channel at the Irish warrior, Fionn Mac Cumhaill. So the two giants could have a fist fight, Fionn built a causeway of these imposing columns all the way to Scotland.

Start the Wild Atlantic Way at Malin Head

Start the Wild Atlantic Way adventure by exploring the most northerly point of the journey and Ireland, Malin Head, a filming location used in the 2017 film Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. This wild and windswept headland, peppered with ancient archaeological remains, is an incredible landscape to behold. The walk leads over rugged hills and past dramatic coastal cliffs, showcasing views across the north coast of the Inishowen Peninsula and Northern Ireland and, on a fine day, even Scotland.

Visit Queen Maeve’s Cairn & Yeats’ Grave

Irish poet William Butler Yeats spent much of his life in the shadows of the mountains of Sligo. Pay his grave stone — in the tiny hamlet of Drumcliff — a visit on the way south before climbing the uniquely shaped Knocknarea Hill to visit another resting place: a 180-ft high cairn built over a millennium in honor of a Celtic queen, Maeve. Traditionally, climbers pick up a rock at the base of the mountain and carry it to the top of the cairn in her honor.

Climb to the Summit of Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland — the tradition of pilgrimage to its summit stretches back over 5,000 years. Thousands of devout Catholics climb the heather-covered hills and rough-stone paths to the small chapel at the summit every year, some barefoot. Climb to the summit today and take in the magnificent views of the northwestern Wild Atlantic Way along Clew Bay and its 365 islands. This evening, take time to explore the town of Westport on your own.

Discover Killary Harbor & Kylemore Abbey

Today hike along the edge of one of Ireland's three fjords, visit the fairytale castle of Kylemore Abbey, and take in the rugged mountain scenery, with steep, craggy peaks framing the harbor on each side. This part of Ireland was particularly affected by the Great Famine of 1845-49; stone ruins across the landscape speak of the hardship of that era. Pass by a ruined village which was abandoned during that time, and a relief road dating back to 1846 which was constructed by locals in return for food rations.

Explore the Aran Islands

Explore the three isolated rocky outcrops of the Aran Islands, which had great trading power in ancient Ireland. Today they are renowned the world over as the bastion of traditional language, culture and music. Inis Mor is the largest island, home to one of the most important prehistoric sites in Europe: Dun Aonghusa (Dun Aengus), a semi-circular stone fort perched dramatically on top of a 328-foot drop into the sea. Walk to this spectacular location to take in magnificent vistas of Galway Bay, Connemara, and Black Head in the Burren.

See the Cliffs of Moher

The staggering 700'-high Cliffs of Moher are home to one of the largest colonies of nesting seabirds on mainland Ireland. Walking along the coastal trail, look out for humpback whales or basking sharks, and if the conditions are right, surfers playing in some of the world's largest surfable waves. Spend this evening in the quirky little village of Dingle, arguably one of the strongest bastions of traditional Irish music. In the evening, join the locals in one of the pubs to experience some real craic agus ceoil (fun and music).

Marvel at Mount Brandon

One of the highest mountains in Ireland is named after St. Brendan (Breanainn) the Navigator, who, according to legend, had a vision of a promised land while seated at its summit. He and his monks consequently set sail for that land and disembarked in 535 A.D. (over 900 years before Columbus) on American soil. Though there's no way to prove it, there are many who believe the Irish discovered America! Today's trail today overlooks the white-sand shores of the Maharees and Brandon Bay.

Walk Around Slea Head Along the Dingle Way

Today the trail begins on the sand at Ventry Bay, then continues along the bottom of Mount Eagle, following the jagged Wild Atlantic Way around the spectacular Slea Head. Some of the finest archaeological sites in Ireland can be encountered on the Dingle Way, such as standing stones and beehive huts — dry-stone, dome-shaped buildings dating from circa 2000 B.C. At the end of the hike, have some time to peruse the art galleries and craft shops in Dingle before transferring to Killarney.

Explore the Lakes of Killarney & Torc Mountain

Today hike along a stunning stretch of the Iveragh Peninsula, or the Ring of Kerry, above the spectacular Lakes of Killarney. This is a windswept landscape broken only by the ruins of stone cottages and crumbling ancient monuments. The trail meanders between the mountains of Killarney National Park climbing up past Torc Waterfall to Torc Mountain. On a good day, the panoramic views of today's walk could claim to be the best in Ireland.

Visit Cork City’s English Market & Transfer to Dublin

This morning, enjoy the trip's final walk on the Wild Atlantic Way, exploring the edges of Killarney National Park on the Muckross Lake Loop. Then transfer to Cork City, to visit the English Market (one of the oldest food markets in Europe) for lunch before transferring back to Dublin.

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