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There is no question that the imagery of the West of Ireland will forever be imprinted on your mind after your visit to this dramatic landscape, with its rugged mountains, freshwater lakes and unspoilt miles of coastline and pristine sandy beaches.When you picture yourself crossing bogs where ponies roam and rare heathers bloom; when you picture yourself conquering the summit of Errisbeg Hill; or when you picture yourself strolling along a 5 mile stretch of beach and all the while, be it bogland, mountain, hill or shore, the only footprints that you see are your own.
What is hard to imagine is not that these places exist, but that they exist in the midst of warm and friendly communities. In the West of Ireland where the Gaelic culture thrives and half the population still speaks Irish as its first language, it is the people that might distract you from the wonderful sights to be seen. By day enjoy the magnificent scenery including, The Cliffs of Moher, The Aran Islands, Killary Harbour and the stark Burren Landscape of County Clare. By night rest your weary bones by a roaring turf fire, accompanied by superb traditional Irish music in one of a myriad of welcoming pubs. Galway City, the festival capital of the country awaits with its famous Horse Racing, Art and Oyster festivals to name but a few. Experience the true essence of Ireland - Way out West.
Departing Bunratty, travel north to the provincial town of Ennis in County Clare. As well as presenting a typical example of Irish town life, Ennis is the capital of County Clare. Continuing on from Ennis to the magnificent ‘Cliffs of Moher’. The Cliffs lay claim to one of the most astonishing views in Ireland. On a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of the Connemara region. The Cliffs of Moher rise from Hag's Head to the south and reach their highest point (214 meters) just north of O'Briens Tower. There are over seventy megalithic tombs in The Burren region of County Clare, the most well known and most easily accessible being the Poulnabrone Dolmen Tomb. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the burials in this tomb took place 3800 and 3200 BC. The Burren lunar like landscape is an area of limestone rock covering imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. The village of Doolin is a small fishing village, set in a sandy bay some 3km from the northern end of the Cliffs of Moher. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals of Irish and international music. There are many music pubs and restaurants to be found in this village.
Today you travel to the city of Galway via the Burren Region along the Wild Atlantic Way heading north towards the arts and cultural city of Galway. If you have not already visited, there is the opportunity to see the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs. Other things to discover is The Burren Perfumery or Flaggy Shore before you will have a chance to visit Dunguaire Castle. Dunguaire Castle has stood proudly on the site of the 7th-century stronghold of Guaire, the King of Connaught, for centuries. Galway, the ‘City of the Tribes’ is also known as Ireland’s cultural and festival capital. Galway is one of the brightest and most intriguing jewels of the West of Ireland. It marks the halfway point on the Wild Atlantic Way and is the only city on the entire 2500km route. With its street entertainers and traditional pubs with great music, the Quays area of the city centre will enthrall you particularly in the evening time. Other sites in Galway include Ireland’s largest medieval parish church, the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra dating back to 1320. Christopher Columbus reputedly worshipped in this church in 1477. Also nearby are Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square.
North West of Galway will be the focal point of the tour today and there will be a chance to explore the unrivalled beauty of Connemara as you make your way towards Westport in County Mayo. It could be said that when you visit Connemara that you “experience the real beauty of Ireland”. It is an area of desolate beauty, incredible scenery and some interesting attractions, which combine to make Connemara a really beautiful place and a place close to the hearts of Irish people and visitors alike. Take in the attractions such as Kylemore Abbey and the Lough Inagh Valley as well as the spectacular Sky Road near the town of Clifden. You can also visit the fishing village of Roundstone and see how a ‘Bodhran’ (traditional Irish Drum) is made. Touring north from Connemara, you will also be able to walk along the fjord at Killary harbour or indeed take the catamaran cruise through Ireland's only fjord before arriving in Westport.
Just south of Westport you will see Croagh Patrick, otherwise known as Ireland's 'Holy Mountain' upon which St. Patrick (according to Irish folklore) spent 40 days fasting. The area around Croagh Patrick is rich in archaeological remains which provide an interesting insight into life in times past. Just north of the town of Westport in the county of Mayo - is Ireland’s least populated region where you can walk the open countryside for miles with no company other than the local sheep. In addition another attraction worth doing while in the area is The Great Western Greenway, taking you from Westport to scenic Achill Island which will take you through the picturesque villages of Newport and Mulranny and offers magnificent views of Clew Bay. You may also wish to visit Westport House - Designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century, Westport House is located west of the Shannon and is one of Irelands’ most historic homes open to the public.
From Westport you will travel down through Connemara again and this gives you more time to explore this vast region that you have not already explored. You will visit some of the most stunning areas in Ireland. Travelling south en-route you will visit Killary Harbour. Located in Leenane Connemara, Co. Galway is Ireland’s only fjord. It forms a partial border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is 16 kilometers long and in the centre it is over 45 metres deep. (See your detailed Irish Tourism Itinerary for everything to see and do in Connemara)
If you did not manage to see the Aran Islands already, you may do so today. Alternatively, travel just north of Lough Corrib and take a tour on the lake and visit the ruins on Inchagoill Island, the ferry for which can be found near the village of Cong and the setting for the movie 'The Quiet Man' starring John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara.
While driving from Connemara to Bunratty, the shortest route will take you into Galway City followed by an hour’s drive south along the M18 to Bunratty with an optional stop in the county town of Ennis. The alternative route is to travel via the west coast of County Clare through the Burren if you have not seen any particular places there already. See your detailed travel itinerary for all Burren attractions and places to see and explore.
There is a chance to discover Bunratty Castle today and it is a place that anyone should have on their itinerary to Ireland. The spot on which this castle stands has been occupied for over 1000 years. From the Vikings to the Normans, great Irish Earls and noble Lords and Ladies.
An ideal day tour would be to travel inland to the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle in County Tipperary as well as Limerick City, just 10 minutes from Bunratty. Cashel is best known for the imposing Rock of Cashel Cashel and the site encompasses a Gothic cathedral, a 15th century castle and a round tower. St Patrick is known to have preached on the rock as well as the Kings of Ireland and Munster came to the Rock of Cashel. It was an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family and is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. In Limerick, you can visit King John’s Castle and the Hunt Museum. This route will have a driving time of well under 3 hours and if you fancy an even longer day, you could continue on to Blarney castle near Cork City. Blarney Castle is one of the most popular places in Ireland and it is a great site to explore the gardens, climb the steps of the Castle and kiss the famed ‘Blarney Stone’ that will bestow you the ‘gift of the gab’. After a long day of touring its back to Bunratty, where you can enjoy some fine food and relax in preparation for tomorrow.
The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. The largest island is Inishmore the middle and second-largest is I...
Bunratty Castle is now a very popular tourist attraction. The interior has been furnished by Lord Gort with tapestries & artifacts from various eras in the history
The Burren is a unique karst-landscape region in northwest County Clare, in Ireland and one of the largest Karst landscapes in Europe.
The Céide Fields is an area situated on the north Mayo. This location contains one of the oldest known field systems in the world. Using various dating methods, it was discovered...
The Cliffs of Moher boast one of Ireland's most spectacular views On a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as are the valleys and hills of Connemara.
Doolin is small fishing village on a sandy bay world-famous for its wealth of Irish music & has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals. Overlooked by Doonag...
Dún Aengus is the most famous of several prehistoric forts on the Aran Islands, of Co. Galway. It was built during the Bronze Age and dates from 1,000 B.C. It is located on Inis...
Connemara National Park is one of six National Parks in Ireland that are managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and loc...
Croagh Patrick is the most prominent mountain overlooking Clew Bay on the Atlantic coast of County Mayo. Approaching it from the landward side to the east, it looks as if it has ...
Below, you will find a price for this self drive tour including your car rental. Pricing for other accommodation and transport options is also available upon request. Please also note that all of our driving tours itineraries and sightseeing guides are available to those wishing to avail of one of our experienced driver guides.
|Accommodation Type||B&B's||3* Hotels||4*Hotels & Manor Houses||Combination|
|Jan-Mar & Nov-Dec||$676||$829||$1,135||$986|
|April & October||$676||$893||$1,189||$1,028|
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