West Coast of Ireland Tour: Galway Bay to the Cliffs of Moher

Journey to the fascinating Burren and Cliffs of Moher, UNESCO Global Geopark. Stay in a Michelin-starred inn and discover the natural and man-made wonders that layer these landscapes with intrigue.

Highlights

  • Explore some of Ireland’s most famous landmarks as our expert guides take you behind the scenes of West Ireland’s fascinating deep-time origins.
  • Get under the skin of Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, from its highest point to the network of curious caves that dwells beneath.
  • Uncover the human stories of Ireland’s West Coast as you sail to an Iron Age fort on the striking Aran Islands and recognise scenery that has stolen the limelight in many Hollywood movies.
  • Bookend each day in The Burren with a comfy bed and meals made with produce from the lands and waters you see during your tour, in Ireland’s only Michelin-starred pub.
  • Enjoy Irish hospitality with traditional pub visits and music sessions.

Overview

Discover the fascinating geology and human history that shaped Ireland’s incredible West Coast on this seven-day, six-night tour from Dublin to County Clare.

Your Ireland tour starts in the nation’s characterful capital before journeying to the wild West Coast. Here, you’ll relax in comfort at the Wild Honey Inn, a home-away-from-home with Michelin-starred service and meals focused on tradition and the freshest seasonal ingredients. The inn has a prime position within the Burren Geopark, and is an excellent base for exploring the wonders of the surrounding area.

Spend the next four days exploring the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, where archaeology, geology, botany and culture collide to create one of the world’s most iconic landscapes.

Your expert Tour Leader and handpicked local guides will explain how the region’s unique rocky landscape was caused by changing global sea levels, and how ancient continent formations created the Burren’s karst ‘pavements’ and intriguing cave systems.

You’ll see the clifftop Iron Age fort of Dun Aonghasa on the magical Aran Islands, the solemn monument of Poulnabrone Dolmen, Ireland’s longest cave system and Europe’s largest stalactite, and the towering, world-famous Cliffs of Moher, festooned with seabirds.

There are early medieval forts, hidden churches, tiny coastal villages and bustling market towns – all set to a soundtrack of traditional Irish music and crashing Atlantic waves. No wonder the region has starred in movies such as Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Banshees of Inisherin.

During your travels, there will be plenty of opportunity to enjoy Irish hospitality, with classic pub drinks and hearing traditional music.

  • Activity level: Easy, with optional longer walks and hikes across Ireland’s landscape. Walks are generally less than 3 miles [see definitions here). This trip to Ireland also includes boarding and disembarking a passenger boat to visit the nearby Aran Islands.
  • Transport: Getting around: Comfortable small coach and passenger boat to and from the Aran Islands.
  • Accommodation: First and sixth night in a comfortable Dublin Hotel (to be confirmed).
  • Four nights at the Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, Ireland’s only Michelin-starred pub with rooms and an ideal base to explore the surrounding Geopark. 
  • Weather: September in the west of Ireland is typically mild. Rain is always possible, and guests should be prepared with warm and waterproof clothing.

Further Tour Information

Now go to top of the page for Itinerary, Need to Know and Gallery tabs

Tour Map

 T030 Itinerary Map

Day 1 - Dublin: Ireland’s Capital

Explore historic Dublin, a city packed with Irish history, culture and cuisine, then meet your Tour Leader, local Tour Guide and your fellow travellers.

Your Ireland vacation package begins in its most famous city: Dublin. The Irish capital has plenty to offer visitors, from the Guinness Storehouse to the medieval crypt of Christ Church.

Check into your hotel mid-afternoon, and in the late afternoon, meet your friendly Tour Leader, local Tour Guide and fellow travellers for an introduction, group dinner and the first night of your stay.

If you arrive earlier, take the opportunity to see The Book of Kells, an exquisite Early Christian illuminated manuscript, and follow in the footsteps of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde as your wander the campus of Trinity College. You could also investigate your Irish ancestry at EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum, and the Irish Family History Centre. There’s also Dublin Castle and a plethora of free museums to explore.

  • Check into Dublin hotel, for one night
  • Group dinner

Day 2 – Dublin to County Clare and the Wild Honey Inn: Discover Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Journey across Ireland to County Clare, home to the Burren Geopark and the Michelin-starred Wild Honey Inn.

Dunguaire Castle in Ireland

It’s time to leave Dublin behind and move your Ireland vacation to the spectacular West Coast, a picturesque area shaped by pounding waves and powerful geological forces.

We’ll enter County Clare from the north, taking in the impressive sight of Dunguaire Castle and Galway Bay, before arriving at the Wild Honey Inn, your hotel for the next four nights.

Ireland’s first and only Michelin-starred pub, the Wild Honey Inn is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. The breakfasts will set you up for a full day of exploring, while the mouth-watering dinners promise to be a highlight of your trip.

  • Check into Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, for four nights
  • Group dinner at Wild Honey Inn

Day 3 - The Burren: Explore Ireland’s Captivating Geopark

Wake up to County Clare and the West Coast of Ireland, and discover the wonders of the Burren.

Cavan Burren park, Ireland

After a full Irish breakfast at the Wild Honey Inn, you’ll head out into the Burren Geopark to discover how this distinctive landscape came to be, and to learn about the processes that have helped to sculpt and define its terrain over millennia.

The Burren was officially established in 2011 and has retained its status as a unique part of the Irish landscape with 11 internal ‘geosites’, recognised as areas of outstanding geological significance.

  • Return to Wild Honey Inn in the evening
  • Group dinner at nearby restaurant or pub

Day 4 – Aran Islands: Living History on Inishmore

Take a boat to the largest of the Aran Islands and explore the links between geology and archaeology in one of its most iconic ruins.

Dun Aonghasa on Inis Mor, Aran Islands

This leg of your Irish adventure will see you land on Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands.

As well as being the most populated of the Aran Islands today, Inishmore also boasted a significant Iron Age population. You’ll visit the clifftop hill fort of Dun Aonghasa to uncover the link between human and geological history on the island.

After a day’s exploring, we’ll cross back to the mainland for another hearty group dinner at a local pub or restaurant.

  • Return to Wild Honey Inn in the evening
  • Group dinner at local restaurant or pub

Day 5 – Cliffs of Moher: Witness Ireland’s Barrier against the Wild Atlantic

Travel to the Burren’s spectacular cliffs, and marvel at their geology and sheer beauty.

Cliffs of Moher

Today sees you heading to one of Ireland’s most acclaimed natural sites: the towering Cliffs of Moher.

Reaching 214m (702 feet) in height, the impressive cliff face is strikingly vertical, and their unassailable appearance has featured in films such as The Princess Bride and Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.

Beyond their visual appeal, the Cliffs of Moher also have plenty of geological points of interest on this Ireland tour and stand as an excellent example of sedimentation and ancient delta formation.

You’ll also visit the geologically impressive coastal features of the Bridges of Ross and Loop Head, and examine the world-renowned deep-water turbidite sequences of the Clare Basin.

  • Return to Wild Honey Inn in the evening
  • Group dinner at the Wild Honey Inn

Day 6 – The Burren: Above and Below, then back to Dublin

Descend into the caves of Doolin and then enjoy the view from the highest point in the Burren limestones to marvel at the landscape from above. Finally, travel back to Dublin to conclude your tour of Ireland.

Doolin Cave

The last day of your Ireland vacation takes you to both ends of the Burren. After a final breakfast at the Wild Honey Inn, we’ll explore the underworld of the Burren, travelling into its extensive cave systems beneath Doolin. Back above ground we’ll then head off to Mullaghmore one of the highest points in the Geopark. While not a towering peak at 180 metres (590ft) above sea level, the peak provides excellent views of the surrounding area, and the whole mountain is made up of irregular sequences of folded rock.

After admiring the view, we’ll explore the underworld of the Burren, travelling into its extensive cave systems beneath Doolin.

Back above ground, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to County Clare, and travel back to Dublin for final night in a Dublin hotel.

  • Check into your Dublin hotel, late afternoon.
  • Group Dinner

Day 7 – Return home

Enjoy your final hotel breakfast of the tour and then check out.

Either stay longer to explore more of Dublin, or head home.

 

Note: If required for reasons beyond our control, GeoCultura reserves the right to substitute alternative accommodation of equal or higher quality or adapt the itinerary if required.

Single Supplement

There is a charge of £595 / $745 for solo travellers.

Activity Level and Transport

The activity level is rated as EASY, requiring an average level of fitness (see our definitions here). The tour will involve walking in generally easy terrain but will require good walking boots and a moderate level of fitness (please note, some paths may be uneven and loose underfoot). Hikes are 1–3 miles long, This tour also involves boarding and disembarking from a passenger boat to Aran. Transport will be by comfortable small coach.

September in the west of Ireland is typically mild. Rain is always possible, so you should bring warm and waterproof clothing.

If walking is an issue, alternative arrangements can be made during the scheduled longer walks, so please let GeoCultura know in advance. To enjoy the full experience, a good level of fitness is required – please call us to discuss this if you have any concerns.

The Tour Includes/Excludes

The Tour Includes:

  • The services of your tour expert and local guide, who will be with the group throughout the tour, providing pre-visit briefings, walking seminars and being available to answer questions.
  • Your two guides will provide additional historical and cultural insights to entertain and enhance your trip.
  • All transportation costs from the start to the end of the tour, including the services of a professional coach driver.
  • All accommodation costs for the nights stated, assuming two people sharing a double room. Single occupancy rooms are available for a surcharge. Please contact GeoCultura for details.
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
  • Entry fees, local guide fees and activity fees, where arranged as part of the tour.
  • All service charges and most gratuities.

The Tour Excludes:

  • Travel insurance. Guests should carry their own health and travel insurance.
  • Alcoholic drinks with meals are not included.
  • Extra or optional activities not described in the itinerary.
  • Personal expenditures, including bar bills, laundry bills.
  • Transportation to the start venue or from the end venue of the tour (air fares are not included).
  • Passport and visa fees.

Alternate Activities

Our tour leaders are happy to provide suggestions for alternative activities for guests who prefer not to participate in certain parts of the tour walks, visits or group dinners.

Accommodation

Night 1: A centrally located hotel, Dublin 

Nights 2-5: Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna, County Clare
Ideally situated in the Burren Geopark, the Wild Honey Inn is Ireland’s only Michelin-starred pub with rooms, with a restaurant offering ‘frequently changing menus…based on sustainable gastronomy’, which feature ‘flavourful Irish produce – organic vegetables, freshly picked berries, seasonal game and wild fish straight off the day boat’.

Bedrooms are ‘uncluttered’ with ‘many fine touches: duck-down duvets, hand-woven throws and glossy magazines’. Good Hotel Guide (46th edition)

Wild Honey Inn Bedroom

Night 6: A centrally located hotel, Dublin 

Note: If required for reasons beyond our control, GeoCultura reserves the right to substitute alternate accommodations of equal or higher quality.

Deposit and Payment Terms

Deposit: A deposit of 10% of the tour price is due upon registration for a tour.

Final payment: Full payment is due 60 days before a tour begins, or upon registration if within the 60-day window.

Cancellation by participant: A participant may cancel a registration after securing a confirmed place on a tour for any reason. The following refund terms will apply:

  • Greater than 60 days before tour begins: Any monies paid plus half of the deposit will be refunded
  • 30 to 59 days before tour begins: 35% of tour price will be refunded
  • 15 to 29 days before tour begins: 25% of tour price will be refunded
  • Within 14 days of tour or during the tour: No monies will be refunded

Cancellation by GeoCultura: GeoCultura reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrolment, inability to run the tour or concerns about the safety, health or welfare of participants. If a tour is cancelled before it begins, all monies paid will be refunded (including any deposit).

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions page for additional details.

John Walsh

John Walsh

With an extensive background in hiking and exploring Ireland’s geological gems, John Walsh is ideally placed to take you around, above and below the country to visit its most fascinating features.

John is a great communicator and known for his super public speaking.

John is Professor of Structural Geology at University College Dublin, Co-Director of the internationally recognised Fault Analysis Group, and in 2015 became the first Irish Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London.

John has served on the editorial boards of five geological journals and has published countless papers. He is the Founding Director (2014-2018) and Earth Resources Theme Leader of the Irish Institute for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), which works in areas including protecting water sources, sustainable energy production and assessing the effects of climate change.

John has won prestigious awards for his research and contributions to geology – he is also known for his success as a stand-up comedian!

Upcoming tours
01 - 07 Sep 2024
Prices from GBP £3,600.00
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T030 Tour Map