9. Ireland: 3-Day West Coast Explorer Tour
Experience the beauty of Ireland’s wild west coast on a 3-day tour that takes you from the dramatic Maam Valley to the pretty villages of The Burren. Enjoy fantastic coastal views on a clifftop walk at the Cliffs of Moher, see the landing site of the first trans-Atlantic flight, visit the Quiet Man Museum, and much more. You will be traveling by small minicoach from Dublin for a more intimate experience.
You’ll take the fast road from Dublin west through the farmland and peat bogs of counties Kildare and Offally. The destinations today are on Ireland’s dramatic Atlantic Coast and the goal is to get you there as quickly as possible!
The first stop is the village of Kinvara, where you’ll have a chance to admire Dunguaire Castle, perched on a rocky outcrop looking out over Galway Bay. From here it’s just a short drive to The Burren, which is one of Ireland’s great natural treasures.
The Burren is a land of limestone pavements, barren hillsides, rare flora, early Christian settlements and ancient stone monuments. Spend a few hours exploring this unique area, stopping in one of the pretty local villages for lunch.
After The Burren you’ll head to the stunning Cliffs of Moher, which drop nearly 700 feet straight into the crashing Atlantic waves. Walk along the cliff-top trails, watch the many seabirds, or visit the award-winning environmental exhibition.
From here the tour follows the coastal road, and you’ll have stunning views across Galway Bay back to Galway City itself, which is your base for the next 2 nights. This lively student town has no shortage of good pubs and restaurants!
Galway lies at the edge of Connemara, which is the area you’ll explore today. Travel inland through the Maam Valley to the village of Cong on the shore of Lough Corrib. It is here that the classic film, The Quiet Man, was made. Visit the Quiet Man Museum or Cong Abbey.
Continue through the heart of Connemara and stop to tour the lovely grounds and house of Kylemore Abbey. Continuing on, you’ll experience the majesty of Connemara National Park. Go to Clifden, where the first trans-Atlantic flight landed, and then drive along the Sky Road and take in the views of the 12 Bens of Connemara.
After a relaxed start to the day you’ll leave Galway behind and take some of the back roads through central Ireland on the way back to Dublin. The first highlight of the day is the early Christian site of Clonmacnoise, featuring a collection of churches, stone crosses and round towers beautifully situated on the banks of the mighty Shannon River.
Following lunch in a local village the tour continues through an area of unique peat bog scenery that is typical of this part of Ireland. Your guide will explain both its environmental and economic importance to the country. The final stop on the tour is Locke’s Distillery, reputedly the oldest legal distillery in the world. Sample the local whiskey and discover the true spirit of Ireland!
From here you’ll continue east to Dublin, arriving at around 7:00PM.