The west of Ireland is calling you in Summer 2018 with this one-week, small group tour!
Fly to the Aran Islands, explore the Iron Age cliff top fort of Dun Aengus, and stay overnight for a real Gaelic cultural experience. Marvel at sheep dogs and their cunning herding skills. Enjoy a traditional Irish dance and music show in a communtiy hall (July and August tour dates). Step back in time as you visit a medieval abbey, a 15th Century Irish tower house castle, and tour a grand 18th Century home. Stay for two nights in lively Westport with great traditional Irish music, pubs, and shops. All this and more on the Go West tour - please see below for all the details.
Roam through western Ireland, travel along the Wild Atlantic Way, and discover its best kept secrets!
2018 Go West Tour Itinerary
Read all about this fantastic one-week tour taking you to the best back roads sites, quaint coastal towns, and majestic scenery in beautiful western Ireland!
Click "+" to read about a specific day or click "expand all" to read the entire itinerary. Slainte! (Irish for Cheers!)Expand all
Welcome to Ireland! You arrive in Dublin and check in to your city center hotel overlooking the River Liffey. Nothing is planned for this day so you can relax and explore Dublin as you’d like. Then off to bed with you for a good night's sleep, for tomorrow begins what we hope will be one of your best experiences yielding a lifetime of happy memories!
Highlights: Private Chartered Flight to the Aran Islands, Lovely Town of Cong, Sheep Dog Demonstration, Overnight Stay on the Aran Island of Inishmore
Meet your guide and trip participants and begin your Irish adventure. First up you’ll literally “go west” out of Dublin’s fair city to County Galway and the beautiful village of Cong. Once the setting for the John Ford movie “The Quiet Man,” this colorful town has abundant charms, including the ruins of an Augustinian Abbey and just a short walk beyond the town, you find wonderful views of the fairy-talesque Ashford Castle. Enjoy lunch and free time to explore this charming town.
After Cong, you’ll travel through the gorgeous lakes and mountain valleys of Connemara. Along the way your journey takes you to a remote mountain farm where you’ll meet a local farmer who’ll delight in showing off his cherished sheep dogs. These spirited dogs will enchant you with their joy and skill at herding sheep, all the while faithfully obeying the farmer’s directions via a series of calls and whistles.
Once the sheep are safely penned, you’ll head to a small rural airstrip where you board your specially chartered plane for a short flight to the largest of the Aran Islands, Inishmore. With a bird’s eye view, you’ll be captivated by coastal cliffs and the vast maze of intricately laced stone walls.
Touching down, you have arrived for your overnight stay on Inishmore. A renowned refuge of old Irish culture, with resilient native Irish speakers, it’s also heralded for its stunning natural beauty and rich archeological history. In the center of Kilronan village, you’ll check into your island guest house. The night is yours to explore and check out the local pubs for music, food and fun!
Highlights: Inishmore Island Tour, Iron Age Fort of Dun Aengus, Aughnanure Castle, Roundstone Traditional Irish Dance and Music Show
After a quiet night’s rest and a hearty Irish breakfast, a local guide will take you on an insider’s tour of the island’s best sights including a trip to the dramatic Iron Age fort, Dun Aengus. This ancient fort, one of the best of its kind in Europe, is precariously perched atop a huge sheer cliff commanding sweeping views of the island. Later you’ll have free time for lunch, to explore more or seek out a famed Aran woolen sweater.
In the afternoon, your flight returns you to the mainland and then you travel across the peat-covered landscape to magnificent Aughnanure Castle. The strongest bastion of the O'Flaherty clan, it’s one of the west’s best-kept secrets. The boisterous and rebellious O'Flaherty's controlled most of the surrounding area from the six stories of this 15th Century Tower House Castle.
Afterwards you take a scenic route through Connemara's wild and beautiful mountain landscape by trout lakes and bogland to your overnight town of Roundstone. This small fishing town is a wonderful place to truly get in touch with rural Ireland and sample great local seafood. The pretty setting of this unassuming community looks towards Connemara’s grand peaks and hosts some of Ireland’s most talented traditional dancers and musicians. With the July and August tour dates, enjoy a show of traditional Irish music and dance in the community hall.
Highlights: Alcock & Brown Landing Area, Clifden, Wild Ponies, Connemara, Killary Harbor, Great Music in Westport Town
Leaving Roundstone, you set out to discover Connemara - an area of extraordinary natural beauty. Stopping frequently during the day, you'll get out and explore the many incredible sights and towns along the way. You begin by navigating the headland and visiting the area where the first transatlantic flight by Alcock & Brown landed in 1919. This area is also where Marconi sent wireless radio transmissions across the Atlantic!
Take a drive along Sky Drive for jaw dropping views of the Irish coastline. Savor a tasty lunch in the colorful town of Clifden and then continue through the beautiful Connemara landscape flanked by the stark beauty of the Twelve Bens (mountain peaks). With luck, you'll see wild Connemara ponies, known for their hardiness and kind nature; they are Ireland's only native horse.
Your trip takes to the majestic fjord of Killary Harbor. This 16 km sea-filled gorge has rich waters for salmon and mussels and the towering Mweerea, the highest mountain in the region, further enhances its incredible scenery. You'll pass into County Mayo and through the stunning area of Delphi and Doo Lough.
Further on you’ll pass Croagh Patrick, Ireland's Holy Mountain, said to be where the bold Saint Patrick cast the snakes from Ireland’s shores. Then finally to your last stop for the day and your home for the next two nights, Westport. This laid back town is a fantastic place to unwind and wander its many shops, pubs, and restaurants. Traditional Irish music sessions (or as the locals say ‘trad sessions’) are plentiful. Stop by Matt Molloy’s Bar – started by The Chieftain’s flutist who has been known to stop by and join a session.
Your free day! Sleep in or take a trip to hike Croagh Patrick and avail of some of the most incredible views in the world. Explore by bike or foot along the “Great Western Greenway,” a beautiful trail starting in Westport through bucolic Irish countryside. Shopping, fine restaurants and pubs, golfing, fishing, and even a cruise of Clew Bay are all available. Enjoy another night in this vibrant town!
Highlights: Tour of Irish Manor House, Achill Island’s Rugged Beauty, County Mayo's Vast Peat Landscape, Friendly Belmullet Town
Begin your day in grand splendor in one of Ireland's great period homes, Westport House. Built upon the castle ruins that once housed the infamous pirate queen, Grace O'Malley, you'll learn about this 18th Century manor home's fascinating history on a special private tour before the house officially opens for the day.
With tales of the high seas, you'll head further west to explore rugged Achill Island, Ireland's largest island and a culturally rich Gaelic speaking region. The splendor of Achill's scenic Atlantic Drive spans towering sea cliffs to beautiful and remote sandy beaches. Fragments of Ireland's rich history can be found all over the island from pirate queen castles to deserted famine villages.
After lunch on Achill, your trip moves to northwest County Mayo, one of Ireland's least visited areas. Here you'll pass through one of Europe's largest peatland habitats. Home to whooper swans, peregrine falcons and corncrakes, it's an important sanctuary for migratory birds.
Wrapping up a day of spectacular scenery, you arrive into the rural town of Belmullet and your boutique hotel. Have a delicious meal in the hotel's bar, explore the town, or pop in to McDonnell's pub where Padraig the owner likes to personally greet each newcomer. You’re sure to have a fun night chatting with locals and maybe sip a free pint from Padraig to keep you in the "Pot" (the pub is humorously likened to a lobster trap or “Pot” by locals who love the lively atmosphere).
Highlights: Ancient Céide Fields, Medieval Round Tower, Franciscan Friary, Oceanside Town of Enniscrone
Leaving the comfort of your plush hotel, you’ll travel along Mayo's north coast, flanked by huge, sheer cliffs that rival the Cliffs of Moher in the south. Here, your path takes to the oldest and most extensive Stone Age field systems in the world, the Céide Fields. Spread over several kilometers, the walls of these ancient fields lay hidden beneath Mayo's deep blanket bog for over 5,500 years until their discovery in the 1930s!
You'll then continue your journey to an old Irish Round Tower. Rapunzel-esque towers like this are one of Ireland’s most iconic structures and have stood tall in the changing landscape for over a thousand years.
After ducking down narrow country lanes, discover the ruins of one of Ireland's finest Franciscan Friaries. Have fun wandering freely, exploring its cloisters, fascinating carvings and glorious Irish-Gothic arches.
Your final stop for the night is the beautiful town of Enniscrone. Set beside a long and beautiful Atlantic beach, the town is a favorite among the Irish themselves. For over a hundred years, people have enjoyed relaxing at the shore, watching the sun dip into the western sky, and relaxing at the local seaweed and steam baths. Relax and enjoy the gorgeous Atlantic shore from your cozy, oceanside guest house!
Highlights: Ox Mountain Drive, Megalithic Passage Tombs, Carrick-on-Shannon, The River Shannon, Dublin
Saying farewell to Enniscrone, you'll trace a narrow path through the ancient Ox Mountains and a glacial drumlin belt formed during the last Ice Age. Then, hiking an old farm trail, you'll discover one of Ireland’s hidden gems, a forgotten cluster of megalithic, passage tombs! As some of the oldest man-made structures on earth, they pre-date the Egyptian pyramids and even Stonehenge in England. Away from all signs of the modern word, you'll enter the tombs and connect with Ireland’s mysterious Neolithic people. Ponder the unsolved clues and consider why these ancient architects incorporated enigmatic, solar alignments into the tomb’s structure.
Continue onto the town of Carrick-on-Shannon nestled on Ireland's longest and mightiest waterway, the River Shannon. Take a peek at one of Ireland's smallest churches or stroll the banks of the Shannon alongside house-barges and riverboats. Have fun meandering by the local shops and cafes to find a delicious lunch.
Finally it’s back to lively Dublin and your last night in the Emerald Isle. Enjoy a meal in one of the many fine restaurants, savor the final hours of your Go West Tour, and cherish a lifetime of amazing memories!
Slan Beo! Irish for "Goodbye, live life!"
Need a printable version?Download a printable Tour Itinerary
Need a printable version?Download a printable Fact Sheet
Go West Tour Fact Sheet
On the one-week Go West tour, you discover Ireland's best off-the-beaten-track sites in western Ireland!
- Fly to the Aran Islands, stay overnight, & tour Inishmore to explore this gem of Irish culture including the Iron Age fort of Dun Aengus
- Be charmed as spirited sheep dogs demonstrate their joy and skill at herding sheep
- Tap along to a night of lively Irish dancing & music by brilliant locals in their town hall show
- Tour grand Westport House, roam a Medieval Friary and explore a 15th Century Clan’s Castle
- Unearth a megalithic passage tomb older than the Egyptian pyramids
- Explore the Ceide Fields fascinating labyrinth of walls left by Ireland’s Stone Age farmers
- Stay for two nights in festive Westport with great shops, traditional Irish music, and food
- Travel the Atlantic Drive on Achill Island & be amazed at North Mayo’s sheer cliffs & vast peatland
- Experience rugged Connemara with its wild ponies, vast valleys, and serene mountain landscape
- Counties visited: Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Meath, Dublin
|Tour Length||One-week tour of western Ireland with 7 full days of touring and 8 overnights|
|When to Go||Ireland is best from May to September – Lively towns, colorful countryside, and long days of light. Plus, it’s always off-season with our back roads tour style|
|Small Groups||Enjoy the small group experience with a maximum of 14 people per tour|
|Transportation||Travel Ireland’s back roads in a Mercedes mini-bus with comfortable, reclining leather seats and brilliant views above Ireland’s many stone walls and hedgerows|
|Accommodations||Stay in small towns in beautiful, local B&Bs, Guesthouses, and Boutique Hotels|
|Meals & Dining||Hearty traditional Irish breakfasts are included in your tour package. Enjoy free time for lunch and dinner to discover fun restaurants to suit your unique taste.|
|Tour Guides||The best Irish guides – experts with years of tour guiding experience|
|Start & End Points||
The tour starts and ends in Dublin, Ireland at a beautiful hotel in the heart of the city center
|What to Pack & FAQs||We've compiled an extensive Trip Prep & FAQs page to answer all your questions!|
2018 Go West Tour Dates and Prices:
- July 2 - 9
- July 16 - 23
- August 20 - 27
- September 10 - 17
- $2644 (USD) per person based on double occupancy.
- Our upfront price has no hidden costs or excursion fees. For solo travelers, there is a $375 single supplement.
- Guaranteed departures. No worries if the tour doesn't fill up to the maximum, our departures are always guaranteed.
- Included in the tour price: 7 full days of touring in a mini-coach with your expert Irish guide, 8 nights accommodations, site entrance fees, local tours, flight to/from the Aran Islands, traditional Irish dance and music show in Roundstone (July and August tours), and full Irish breakfasts
- Not included in the tour price: Airfare to/from Dublin, Ireland, lunches, and dinners
2018 Tours Are Open for Reservations!
All prices are in U.S. dollars and per person (based on double occupancy). Our upfront price has no hidden costs or excursion fees. For solo travelers, there is a $375 single supplement.
- Go West tour: $2644
Full payment is due when you reserve your tour. Your payment options are Visa, MasterCard, Discover, PayPal, or Check.
Guaranteed Departures. No worries if the tour doesn't fill up to the maximum, our departures are always guaranteed.
Combination Special! Double or triple the fun and create your own vacation package. In Summer 2018, combine 2 tours and save $100. Combine 3 tours and save $200.
What's Included in the Go West Tour Price?
- 8 nights of accommodations in guest houses and hotels based on double occupancy (Monday through Monday). For solo travelers, please see the 'Solo Travelers' section below.
- 7 days of touring and sightseeing (Tuesday through Monday)
- Touring in a comfortable Mercedes mini-coach with your experienced Irish tour guide
- Round trip chartered flight to the Aran Islands
- All admissions into historical sites and local tours
- Traditional Irish music and dance show in Roundstone (July and August tours)
- Daily Irish breakfasts
- Our upfront price has no hidden costs or excursion fees
- When you make a reservation, you receive a confirmation email with details about the meeting hotel in Dublin's city center.
- If you want to come to Dublin a few days before the tour or stay longer after the tour, you'll receive information about how to book additional nights at the Dublin hotel in your confirmation email.
What's Not Included in the Tour Price?
- Airfare to / from Dublin, Ireland
- Lunches and dinners
- Personal expenses / Gratuities
- If you are traveling solo, there is a $375 single supplement.
- You can have your own room OR share a room with another solo traveler of the same gender.
- If you choose to share a room and we can provide a roommate, the $375 single supplement will be refunded 30 days prior to your departure date.
Western Ireland Tour Guide
We cannot speak highly enough of our native Irish guides. Eager to share their exceptional knowledge of their homeland, our guides will add energy and excitement to your Irish vacation. Their easy-going nature and enthusiasm for travel will make them feel like a lifelong friend and in no time, they will be.
Phil Ryan, co-founder and lead guide, designed each unique tour from his past adventures. With our friendly guides by your side throughout various escorted tours, you will explore the wondrous castles, Atlantic coastline, and glacial drumlins Western Ireland has to offer. Make this a vacation you will remember through the places you experience and the people you meet through Inroads Ireland tours.
Thank you so much for a wonderful Irish experience! This trip far exceeded my expectations and they were set high. The schedule had the right mix of planned and free time to support activities, fun and relaxing time. Each overnight stay accommodations were so welcoming and charming. Emily and John were delightful with their Irish tales and knowledge of the local history. I loved this trip. I have already and will continue to recommend Inroads Ireland for anyone wanting a lovely touring experience!Annette from New Albany, Indiana, USA
- Take in Ireland in a Mercedes comfortable mini-coach, small enough to navigate Ireland's twisting and narrow back roads and get you to the off-the-beaten-track places.
- Fly to Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands. This chartered flight, organized just for you, includes a scenic flight over the three Aran Islands and past the cliff-top fort of Dun Aengus!
I enjoyed both tours (Go West and Go North) immensely. I can't come up with a favorite part. Our guide, Emily, was superb: an excellent driver, friendly, helpful, full of good humor, very knowledgeable. She is of great value to your company!Kurt from Redmond, Washington, USA
Our guide made Ireland 'come alive' for us as he chatted on, telling one story after another. The frequent stops were welcome, giving us a chance to walk a bit and explore our surroundings. There were many personal touches we don't think would have been possible in a much larger group. Carolyn and Phil always went 'above and beyond' to make sure we were happy. They even arranged a surprise celebration of our wedding anniversary; such a lovely gesture. Thank you!Tom and Margaret-Ellen from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada
Our guide was the absolute BEST! He was extremely knowledgeable, had a wonderful sense of humor, and was so helpful in recommending places to eat and see during our free time. He shared his love of Ireland, immersed us in the Irish culture, and taught us so much history of his beautiful country.Amy & Andy from Cherry Hills, New Jersey, USA
Thank you for making each of us welcome and bringing a group of strangers together in such a way we all felt comfortable. I am unable to convey the gratitude and appreciation I have for your integrity, your professionalism, all your amazing stories, and being able to balance each day so well. I hope to return and without any doubt we will be booking through you again...having the certainty that all things are taken care of is such a spoiling vacation!!!Jill from University Place, Washington, USA
An important part of any Irish vacation is a great place to stay and a relaxing night's sleep.
All of your accommodations (B&B, guest house, or hotel) have been carefully selected for their excellent location in the small towns (step out your door for food, drinks, shopping, music, and evening walks) and the high level of comfort each room provides. Add to that your welcoming Irish host and a good time is guaranteed
- Stay in locally owned, beautiful B&B's, guesthouses, and hotels.
- Each room has a private bathroom (en suite).
- A delicious and hearty Irish breakfast is included.
- When making a reservation, you will have the option of choosing a room (Double, Single, or Triple) and your sleeping arrangements.
- If you are not sharing a room, there is a single supplement of $375.
- If you are traveling solo, you have the option of sharing a room with another solo traveler of the same gender.
- You will be charged a $375 single supplement. If we are able to provide a roommate, the $375 will be refunded 30 days prior to your departure date.