From: May 19 to May 29, 2018

Destination: Dublin, Ireland

  • Gems of Northern Ireland

    Ireland, appropriately known as the Emerald Isle, is a country steeped in history and rugged vistas. We'll encounter these vistas first hand as we hike to high cliffs, inland lakes, and coastal areas. We'll learn about Ireland's turbulent past, including the Great Famine and the conflicts between the Catholics and the Protestants. Not to be missed by fans of poetry, we will visit the resting place of W. B. Yeats, one of the foremost figures in 20th-century literature. We'll also experience present day life with explorations of the region's most enticing cities. And of course no trip to Ireland would be complete without visiting several castles and the famous Kylemore Abbey.
  • Saturday, May 19
    Arrive in Dublin anytime on Saturday, but in time to meet at our hotel at 5:30 pm. If you arrive before your room is ready, the hotel is happy to store your luggage. We will meet in the lobby of our hotel for introductions and then go out together for a welcome dinner, where we will continue getting to know each other and talk about our upcoming Ireland adventure. Dublin is a very happening place on Saturday night and if you don't need an early bedtime, it's a safe and fun place to walk around. Overnight Dublin at Buswells Hotel or similar. D

    Sunday, May 20
    This morning our destination is Clifden, a vibrant and cosmopolitan town picturesquely set between the foothills of the Twelve Bens and the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Connemara. We will be traveling in style, by bus, enjoying the passing Irish landscape. Our halfway point is the bohemian city of Galway, known for its immersive cultural, musical, artisan, foodie and outdoor ambience. We'll stop in Galway for lunch before continuing westward to our destination, Clifden, arriving in time to stretch our legs with a lovely walk to Clifden Castle. Overnight Clifden at All the Twos or similar. Driving time total: approximately 5 hours. B,D

    Monday, May 21
    We will have a few options today but one we love is a walk up Diamond Mountain. It has 2 loops so those who want a rewarding challenge can tackle the upper, steeper loop and enjoy the 360 degree views at the top, looking over the ocean to nearby Inishturk and Inishbofin and across the dramatic Connemara landscape to the iconic Twelve Bens. Others can take the shorter, less strenuous lower loop and enjoy the nature walk and the tea room in the lovely Visitor Center. After our 1.5 - 3-hour walk followed by a short drive, we will take a guided tour of Kylemore Abbey, known as one of the most romantic places in all of Ireland. The chapel on the grounds is a miniature replica of Norwich Cathedral and the gardens are immaculately kept. Overnight Clifden at All the Twos or similar. Hiking time: 1.5 - 3 hrs, 2 - 4 miles. Driving time total: 1hr10min. B,D

    Tuesday, May 22
    Today we delve into the history of this magnificent landscape as we follow the Famine Walk that runs along the shores of Killary Harbour. Part of our walk will be along a famine relief road, constructed by the starving Irish during the great famine of 1845-1849 in return for food. Along the way we'll clearly see the ruins of famine villages and old 'Lazy Beds', an ancient practice of building ridges for planting potato crops. While the potato blight that was the immediate cause of the great famine ravaged crops throughout Europe, its most devastating impact was in Ireland where the impoverished population was heavily dependent on potato crops for survival. The severe economic conditions were inherently interwoven with the policies of British governance at the time, and soured the already strained relations between these countries. The magnitude of the famine indelibly changed Ireland, and became a rallying cause for the Home Rule movements that eventually led to independence. We'll end today's memorable walk with a drive along Sky Road, a route known for its phenomenal views of the Connemara region. Hiking time: 2 - 4 hrs, 5 - 8 miles. Driving time total: 1hr10min. B, L

    Wednesday, May 23
    Today is a longer drive as we move from Clifden to Ardara, but broken up with a variety of activities along the way. This morning we drive about 2 hours to the Country Life Museum, a national museum dedicated to exploring Irish traditional lifestyles from 1850 to 1950. From here we continue to Sligo, a charming coastal seaport, where we'll most likely have lunch. Next we'll visit the grave of WB Yeats, Ireland's most beloved poet and considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. From here it's on to Mullaghmore Beach where we can stroll along the beach, watching the ocean and perhaps finding ice cream. Either today or tomorrow we'll do a tour of Donegal Castle, restored in the 1990s to its former splendor. Driving time total: 5hr25min. B,D

    Thursday, May 24
    This morning, we head to the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League (meaning Mountain of the Flagstones), about an hour's drive from Donegal. This is one of the hidden gems of Donegal and is practically untouched from the commercialism that is so obvious at the Cliffs of Moher. Because of the cliff's location and height, winds can get very strong here so your guide will make a call as to whether it's safe to walk along the top. If it's not, we have a fantastic alternative at Glen Colm Kill, which will give you spectacular sights of the cliffs from below. From the cliff heights down to the people - we'll next spend some time at the Glencolmcille Folk Village where we continue our exploration into Irish history before heading back to Ardara. Hiking time: 3 hrs, 5 miles. Driving time total: 4hrs (depending on when we visit Donegal Castle). Overnight Ardara at the Nesbitt Arms Hotel or similar. B, D

    Friday, May 25
    Donegal is one of the most unspoiled landscapes in Europe. It's famous for its beautiful scenery, coastline, impressive mountain ranges, glens and lakes, and rich reminders of a historic past. We will travel just over an hour to Ireland's most northerly national park: the great Glenveagh National Park. This amazing park is also known for breeding wild eagles; if we're lucky we just might catch a glimpse. After our hike through the national park, we'll have a guided tour of the Glenveagh Castle, a magical fairy tale place set on the banks of the lough. Once owned by a rich American of Irish ancestry, after his death he donated the castle to the state. Today will provide a wealth of opportunities for enthusiastic photographers. Hiking 0 - 7.5 miles depending on options taken. Driving time total: 3 hrs. Overnight Ardara at Nesbitt Arms Hotel or similar. B

    Saturday, May 26
    Changing locations again, we'll start today with a 2.5 hour drive to the ancient fort at Grianan An Aileach, an ancient and fascinating stone ringfort. Next we'll have a walking tour of the City of Derry, a city which dominates the Northwestern landscape of Ireland. We'll meander through the bustling streets of the only completely walled city in the UK, listening to the echoes of 1450 years of history and marveling at the ever-changing skyline of a city which is constant only in the warmth of its welcome. We will travel along one of the most northerly roads in Ireland and stop at Dunluce Castle, once owned by the infamous McDonnell Clan from Scotland who came to Ireland to increase their power. We will end the day in Portrush where we will stay tonight and tomorrow. Driving time total: 4 hours. Walking 1.5 miles. Overnight in Portrush at The Magherabouy House or similar. B, D

    Sunday, May 27
    Today we'll experience the UNESCO world heritage site of the Giant's Causeway! We will approach the Causeway on foot as we walk along the harbor at Ballintoy, built from limestone blocks and surrounded by limestone cliff, that has been has been made famous by the Game of Thrones. We will continue to enjoy this awe inspiring coastal scenery as we hug the coast all the way to the Giant's Causeway, made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns rising from the sea. Formed 50 to 60 million years ago, the Causeway resulted from successive flows of liquid basalt inching toward the coast and cooling as it contacted the sea. Vertical and horizontal fracturing created these unique columns and sculpted them into polygonal shapes varying between 15 to 20 inches across and measuring up to 82 feet in height. This remarkable geological feature has earned the title of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Hiking: 8.5 - 13 miles (there is an option for making it shorter). Driving time total: 45 min. Overnight Portrush at The Magherabouy House or similar. B,D

    Monday, May 28
    This is the day everyone dreads, the finish of our trip as we return to Dublin. Just outside of Ballintoy, we'll stop to cross the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 60 feet and is 95 feet above the rocks below. As we continue we'll stop in Belfast and tour the city's center, as well as hear about the divide that exists between the Catholic and Protestant communities that live so close together. After our visit to Belfast we will travel through County Meath - where the High Kings of Ireland once ruled - before we arrive back in Dublin, having experienced the very best of Ireland's finest gems and landscapes! Arriving back at our hotel in late afternoon, we'll say goodbye to our Irish guide and go out for dinner one last time, sharing stories, laughter, and raising a pint to our amazing Irish adventure. Overnight Dublin at Buswells Hotel or similar. Hiking: 1 hour, 2 miles. Driving time total: 4.5 hours. B,D

    Tuesday, May 29
    This morning it's time to say goodbye, as we depart for the airport or on to our next adventure. Again, we'll include information about how to get to the airport in the PreDeparture document.
  • $3295  (click here for travel discounts) $400 deposit. Single supplement (only required if you want a room to yourself) is $730. You can read our cancellation policies here

    Trip Includes

    • An Adventures in Good Company guide and a local guide
    • All transport within Ireland other than airport transfers
    • 10 nights double occupancy lodging
    • All breakfasts, one lunch, and eight dinners, as detailed in the itinerary
    • Entrance into the Country Life Museum, the Glenveagh National Park, and the Giants Causeway
    • Entrance to the castles on our itinerary as well as Kylemore Abbey House & Gardens
    • A Belfast City tour
    Not Included: Travel to Ireland, lunches and two dinners, airport transfers, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, and items of a personal nature
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Experiencing Ireland's cliffs of Slieve League, the contrasting scenery of mountain lakes and the Atlantic Ocean in Connemara, and the secluded beach of Mullaghmore.
  • Touring Kylemore Abbey and several castles, in various states of repair.
  • Delving into Ireland's past along the famous Famine Walk on Killary Fjord.
  • Walking the Coastal Cause Way near the Giants Causeway.
  • Exploring Galway, Derry, and Donegal, with a city tour of Belfast.

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