The West Coast – The Hidden Gems
Our suggested itinerary for the rugged west coast of Ireland includes the stunning Connemara National Park, Ireland’s only Fjord, Historic Westport House as well as some of the local rural traditions that are still part of everyday life here.
This tour is available by air or by coach.
Clifden Station House Hotel, Clifden, County Galway.
This historic hotel is housed within an old railway station and engine house in the centre of Clifden. All 78 warmly decorated bedrooms contain a TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. Breakfast and dinner are served in the Carriage restaurant using local fresh produce for a great dining experience. The Signals Bar was the original Clifden train station and oozes character with its traditional feel. The leisure facilities include an indoor swimming pool, spa bath, sauna & steam room.
Day 1 – Travel to Ireland to arrive at our hotel and enjoy a refreshing cup of tea or coffee and scone, as our bags are taken to the rooms. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 – Killary Harbour & Kylemore Abbey. After breakfast this morning, we will venture North West towards the beautiful village of Leenane (‘the Gateway to Connemara’) at the head of Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord. We will board our boat for a stunning 90 minute cruise of the Fjord. The views of the landscape are stunning as we cruise towards the mouth of the Fjord and witness a small island from which dolphins typically emerge and swim alongside the ship if they are in the area. On returning to Leenane, we will board our coach and travel to Kylemore Abbey, the home of a community of Benedictine nuns who fled to Kylemore Castle from Ypres in 1920. They restored the Castle (now an Abbey), the Gothic Church and Victorian walled garden to their former glory and ran a world renowned boarding school for girls until very recently.
Day 3 – Connemara Heritage & History Centre & Clifden. This morning we travel the short distance to the Connemara Heritage & History Centre which tells the history of Connemara down through the ages, from pre-historic to present times and features a reconstructed crannóg (pre-historic lake dwelling), ring fort and clochaun (early Christian Oratory). As part of our guided tour our tractor drawn carriage takes us to the hilltop view which overlooks the Roundstone Bog Complex that began to form in Ireland approximately 7000 years ago. Here we learn how turf has been used as a fuel throughout Ireland for hundreds of years but today the Roundstone Bog is protected and is a Natural Heritage Area. Following our interesting visit, we will return to Clifden and spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring the fascinating ‘gourmet capital’ of Western Ireland at the foot of the Twelve Pins Mountains. This colourful and lively town is brimming with boutiques, gift shops, cafés, quaint Irish pubs and restaurants. In the courtyard surrounding the hotel, we can wander among the Design Platform boutiques before visiting the original ‘engine room’ in the Station House Museum, dedicated to the history of the Connemara pony!
Day 4 – Westport House & Glen Keen Farm. We will spend the morning visiting Westport House where we will board the Westport Train for a guided tour (1 hour) of Westport town, Westport harbour and Westport House Estate. We will then enjoy a 1 hour guided tour of spectacular Westport House itself. Set amongst lush gardens, rich mature woodlands and broad promenades, the 300 year old Westport House is one of the jewels in the crown of Ireland’s historical family homes. After our visit we enjoy free time and lunch at leisure in Westport. We will then board our coach and drive southwards to Glen Keen Farm which is steeped in history, tradition and heritage. During our visit we will experience a sheep herding demonstration and enjoy a tea & coffee with home baked scones while watching a traditional Irish music session. Return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 5 – After breakfast, we leave our hotel and begin our journey home.
If travelling by coach, overnight accommodation may be required en route, depending on where you are coming from in the UK. Flights are available into Galway or Dublin.
Any of our tours can be tailored to suit your particular groups requirements.
For further details please contact one of the team on 01225 764205 or email@example.com