Travel to Ireland's Highlands - the north of Ireland - with this fantastic one-week, small group tour!
Meander along the gorgeous Antrim coastline and be wowed by the wonderful geology of the Giant's Causeway. Explore a fairytale castle, beautiful gardens, and go to Ireland's most northerly point at Malin Head. See Belfast's amazing wall murals and Northern Ireland's storied history. Tour a magnificent lighthouse and take in the incredible views from the top. Come and discover the unspoiled wonders in the north of Ireland!
"Thank you for planning such an amazing trip. Northern Ireland is as beautiful as I had imagined. I am very happy I chose the Go North tour because I wanted to be in a less tourist-filled part of Ireland. I loved hearing our guide's stories and learning the history of the areas and sights we visited. Because of the size of the group, the informal style and relaxed atmosphere, it was very easy to develop great relationships. Every night I look at my photos and every night I smile!" Karen from Thiensville, Wisconsin, USA
Go North 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 fantastic northern Ireland!
Select "+" to read about a specific day or select "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.* 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!
* Your Dublin hotel is included in your tour. With a fantastic central location, it's an easy walk to amazing sites and things to do in Dublin 😃
Highlights: Belfast City & Mural Tour, The Antrim Coast Drive – Waterfalls, Glens, & Villages, Waterfront Stay in Ballycastle
Meet your guide and trip participants and begin your Irish adventure. You’ll leave Dublin and go north towards Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland (UK). Here, in the ancient province of Ulster, the Irish Highlands begin and even the broguish accent nods to our Scottish neighbors, a mere stone’s throw to the east.
Early on you’ll hit a bustling Belfast where you’ll get the inside scoop on Belfast’s massive murals and fascinating history with a captivating local. The large-scale murals and massive peace wall are exceptional and inspiring.
Afterwards you’ll journey along the gorgeous Antrim coast road, past the beautiful harbor towns of Carnlough and Cushendun. Considered one of the great scenic roads of the world, this winding route opened up the nine glens of Antrim, which until its completion in 1842, were only accessible by sea. Along the way, you head inland to the “Queen of the Glens,” the magical glacial valley of Glenariff. In the heart of the glen, you’ll find a botanical oasis set amidst cascading waterfalls in a clover covered gorge.
Your journey continues along this stunning coastline to grasp sight of Scotland, Ireland’s closest neighbor before pausing for a night’s rest in the lovely seaside town of Ballycastle. The night is yours to stroll the beach, sip a pint, or simply savor the views of Rathlin Island flanked by Scotland’s peninsulas.
Highlights: Giant’s Causeway, Derry, Stone Ringfort, Town of Culdaff
Awakening refreshed by the sea air, you’ll hit the ground running to beat the crowds and experience the amazing Giant’s Causeway. Descending into the ocean, its weird geological landscape is stacked with thousands of hexagonally shaped stone columns. This natural wonder has attracted visitors for hundreds of years and its geological importance has made it a World Heritage site. Step, skip and ponder this whimsical geology, laid out as if carved by the hands of giants.
From natural history to more modern history, you’ll next head to Derry, the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of walled cities in Europe. Built in 1613, the walls have become synonymous with Northern Ireland history. As you walk through the compact city, you can discover Old Town and Free Derry corner, or the Bogside murals outside the city walls. You’ll have time to explore and plenty of options for lunch from tapas, to pubs to Michelin recommended restaurants.
Following lunch, climb to a Neolithic ringfort sitting on the summit of a mountain in County Donegal. Overlooking Lough Foyle and Swilly, it commands a stunning view of 3 counties. With origins dating back to 1700 BC, the fort and hill are steeped in history from pre-Celtic times, through the Bronze age and St. Patrick’s visit in the 5th Century.
Continue your travels through beautiful Inishowen past small towns to your overnight stay in the charming beachside town of Culdaff.
Highlights: Malin Head, Ferry Crossing, Fanad Head Lighthouse, Dunfanaghy
After a relaxing night in Culdaff, you'll head right up to the northernmost point of Ireland, Malin Head. This wild and rugged headland has set the scene for ancient myths of gods and heroes. Its dramatic shores continue to create epic tales, even providing the backdrop for the recent Star Wars movies.
Next, you’ll journey over to Buncrana where you’ll take the ferry across Lough Swilly into the historic town of Rathmullan. In 1607, after years of failing revolts against the English forces, the infamous Flight of the Earls took place. Signaling an end to the old Gaelic order, this event saw the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell boarding a ship, leaving Ireland forever.
Your journey continues along the wonderfully scenic shores of the Fanad Peninsula. This stunning coastline has an infamous maritime history and the setting for many a tale of tragic wrecks. Along twisting cliff top roads at the end of the headland, you'll find the Fanad Head Lighthouse. Set spectacularly on sheer cliff walls, it silently guides ships in the thunderous North Atlantic. Enjoy a private tour, experience the tumultuous history, and go up to the top for thrilling views from this historic lighthouse.
Wind your way for the night to the picturesque village of Dunfanaghy. Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, Dunfanaghy has tasty eateries and overlooks the beautiful shores of Sheephaven Bay. Relax at many of its Blue Flag beaches or hit the town (um, village), known for one of the liveliest music scenes in County Donegal!
Highlights: Glenveagh Castle and National Park, Traditional Irish Music in Ardara
Today you’ll make tracks to the heart of County Donegal to spend the day at Glenveagh National Park. A place of spectacular natural beauty, it is the setting for the fantastic Glenveagh Castle. Built in the 1870s as an idyllic Victorian retreat, it hosted a variety of celebrities from the 1940s to the 1980s before being donated to the Irish people. Enjoy a tour of the castle and wander through the enchanting network of gardens displaying a multitude of exotic plants, stroll along the lakeshore, and watch the skies for golden eagles!
Wandering Donegal's quiet country roads past waterfalls and picture perfect towns, you arrive at your final stop in the town of Ardara (pronounced Ar-drah). This Donegal treasure, set amidst mountains and farmlands, is famed for its traditional weavers, who enjoy great renown for their exceptionally fine tweeds and woolens.
Ardara is filled with lively pubs, chatty locals, talented musicians, and even a distillery. Enjoy your hotel at the edge of town with its lovely grounds and cozy bar. Settle in as you’ll spend the next two nights here at your country inn.
Highlights: Gaelic Speaking Glencolmcille, Christian Standing Stones, Amazing Beaches & Waterfalls
Enjoy free time in the morning to sleep in, relax, or stroll about Ardara discovering its delightful local craft shops and eateries. In the afternoon, you’ll set out on Donegal’s Glencolmcille Peninsula by a magnificent waterfall and onto one of Ireland's most beautiful beaches. With huge sand dunes and ancient sea caves, it has a rich history of smuggling, tragedy, and romance.
Traveling on a forgotten access road through a breathtaking Donegal valley and mountain pass, you’ll dodge sheep as you head down to the Irish cultural hotspot of Glencolmcille. Famed for its Gaelic speaking community and early Christian standing stones, it is surrounded by megalithic tombs, gorgeous beaches, and awe-inspiring landscapes. After a fun-filled day, you return to Ardara for a second night to enjoy this fun town.
Highlights: The Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal Town & Donegal Castle, Boa Island Statues, Monaghan
Saying farewell to festive Ardara, you head to some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, the Slieve League. Locally known as the Bunglass Cliffs, these imposing crags, set atop Slieve League Mountain, rise to the precipitous trail, “One Man’s Path,” almost 2,000 feet above the crashing waves! Meander along dramatic gorges and enjoy spectacular coastal views at these incredible cliffs.
Lowering your gaze, you’ll continue along the coast past Killybegs, home to Ireland’s largest fishing fleet and set your sights for Donegal town. You’ll explore Donegal Castle with its fine fortified tower, built in the 1400s as the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan. Enjoy free time to roam this small town’s cafes, craft shops, and pubs.
After lunch you head inland to lovely Lough Erne and a narrow island spit. Here in a forgotten cemetery you’ll find strange pre-Christian stone figures whose enigmatic forms may be related to the Celtic goddess of war.
Leaving the island, you’ll hug the lakeshore back to finish your day in the border town of Monaghan, the county seat of County Monaghan and one of the three counties of the province of Ulster that sits in the Republic of Ireland. This authentic off-the-beaten path town sits among hills and drumlins and is the home of the Irish poet Patrick Kavanaugh. Staying in the center of town, you can sample great food and chat with locals, then hit one of the many pubs around town.
Highlights: Ancient Portal Tomb, Medieval Carlingford Town, Cooley Peninsula, Vibrant Dublin City
You’ll leave Monaghan and follow a trail where myth and reality collide in great battles, ancient sites, and epic tales. Passing the lush green countryside of the Boyne Valley, your journey continues towards the ancient border of the Ulster province, the mountainous Cooley Peninsula. Winding through small back roads, you’ll find a magnificent example of a Portal Dolmen. This megalithic tomb is a delicate balance of large stone boulders each weighing many tons and supporting a massive capstone. Legend has it that a giant carried the 35-ton capstone all the way from Scotland.
On the northern side of the peninsula, you’ll come to the beautiful town of Carlingford. Home to a wealth of medieval structures including the imposing 12th Century King John’s Castle whose panoramic views overlook oyster rich Carlingford Lough. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the town and sample some of its fine cafes.
As you return to Dublin, you depart your Go North tour with new friends, great tales of history, astonishing beauty, and memories to last a lifetime!
Slan Beo!! Irish for "Goodbye, live life!"
*While it is our intention to adhere to the route described above, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion, it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The information in the itinerary has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However, it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and Inroads Ireland.
Need a printable version?Download a printable Tour Itinerary
Need a printable version?Download a printable Fact Sheet
Go North Tour Fact Sheet
On the one-week Go North tour, you discover Ireland's best off-the-beaten-track sites in the north of Ireland!
- Stride the Giant’s Causeway, explore Antrim’s beautiful coast road, gorgeous glens and wonderful towns
- Explore gorgeous Glenveagh National Park, its fantastic fairy tale Castle, pristine Gardens, and vast glacial lake
- Gasp at the epic vistas and rugged headland of Ireland’s northernmost point, Malin Head
- Visit the remote landscape of Gaelic-speaking Glencolmcille and its early Christian standing stones
- Rove Donegal’s astounding peninsulas with spectacular beaches, rugged headlands, and tour a dramatic lighthouse
- Get an insider’s view on Belfast’s massive protest murals and fascinating history with a captivating local
- Revel for two nights in fun Ardara, famed for its traditional Donegal tweed, woolens, music, and culture
- Discover the Cooley Mountains, its ancient tombs, and medieval Carlingford town
- Counties visited: Donegal, Antrim, Fermanagh, Cavan, Meath, Dublin
|Tour Length||One-week tour of the north of 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 an average of only 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
2024 Go North Tour Dates
- June 03 - 10
- July 01 - 08
- September 09 - 16
2024 Go North Tour Price - $3420 (USD) per person based on double occupancy
- Our upfront price has no hidden costs or excursion fees. For solo travelers, there is a $615 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-bus with your expert Irish guide, 8 nights accommodations, site entrance fees, local tours, Lough Foyle ferry, and daily Irish breakfasts
- Not included in the tour price: Airfare to/from Dublin, lunches, and dinners
2024 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 $615 supplement.
- 2024 Go North tour: $3420
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. Combine 2 tours and save $200. Combine 3 tours and save $300.
2024 Go North Tour Dates
- June 03 - 10
- July 01 - 08
- September 09 - 16
What's Included in the Go North Tour Price?
- 8 nights of accommodations in local guesthouses, historic hotels & one night in an Irish Country Manor home. 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)
- All admissions into historical sites and local tours
- Ferry across Lough Swilly
- Daily Irish breakfast
- Touring in a comfortable Mercedes mini-coach with your experienced Irish tour guide
- 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. All departures are guaranteed.
- 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 $615 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, your $615 single supplement will be refunded.
We pride ourselves on our native Irish guides who combine a depth of knowledge and history about their homeland with a fun and easygoing approach to showing you the best of Ireland. Our flexible style allows each guide to bring their own unique talents and personality to our tours. When you're in Ireland, you want more than a tour guide, you want a friend to show you the hidden secrets - that's where Inroads Ireland comes in.
Our guide was knowledgeable on a variety of subjects, passionate, caring, has a variety of interests, accommodating, flexible, funny, warm, easy going, and has a great singing voice. He truly wanted all of us to have a safe and wonderful experience on her tour of the country he so clearly loves. From the moment we met him we felt at ease, informed, safe and well-guided. Thank you for offering us this wonderful travel adventure and experience! We plan to travel with Inroads Ireland again and we would highly recommend this tour company!
Donna and Gordon from Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Meet Your Guides
Meet Hugh and Jonny - expert Irish guides waiting to show you the very best of Ireland!
Hugh is from Dublin, Ireland and is a seasoned world traveler with a passion for unique travel experiences and has guided groups throughout the world including China, Brazil, and Chile. His unflappable countenance, fun loving nature and love of Ireland’s rich cultural diversity has made him fast friends with our great travelers seeking new adventures on Ireland’s maze of back roads and cultural landscape.
When Hugh is not showing you the best of Ireland’s rural splendor, he bikes it for fun, and in the dark winter months, he enlightens the masses at the much-lauded Maynooth University just outside Dublin.
Jonny is from Galway, Ireland and is a renowned classic car restoration expert who, as a kid began exploring his homeland on his grandfather’s assignments as the official photographer for Ireland’s vast array of heritage sites. Later he ran into the bucolic hinterland and onto winning Ireland’s cross-country championships. His great humor and pride in Ireland’s epic culture is infectious and through his lens, you’ll focus on what makes Ireland so truly fun, friendly and fascinating.
Between revealing Ireland’s great back roads and hidden delights, he helps ensure his wee kids flourish, fully immersed in this fantastical ancient land
- Travel through Ireland in a comfortable mini-coach, small enough to navigate Ireland's twisting and narrow back roads and get you to the off-the-beaten-track places.
- The Go North tour includes a ferry ride across Lough Foyle.
John was very informative and made the tour incredibly enjoyable. He told marvelous stories, led us in song, and was able to answer practically every question we threw at him. Also, he handled the roads in a very experienced manner and I truly felt comfortable with him driving - even on narrow and winding cliff roads!
Janie from Tampa, Florida, USA
Our guide was great from the moment we started. Overall she was one of the reasons this was such a great experience. She could easily deal with all the varying needs and personalities on the trip making sure we all were taken care of. If I come back to Ireland, I would love to have her as a guide again. This was a great experience. It was my first time in Ireland and I felt that I really got a great flavor of the country and people.
Karen from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, USA
Our guide shared his love of Ireland and his incredible depth of knowledge in a way everyone could enjoy. He's an extraordinary host who made each person feel welcome and included in the adventure. He has great taste in music and enjoys "setting the scene" with both traditional and modern tunes. He knows great places to eat, and, he's a great driver!
Phyllis from Los Angeles, California, 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 boutique 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 or Single) and your sleeping arrangements
- If you are not sharing a room, there is a single supplement of $615.
- 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 $615 single supplement. If we are able to provide a roommate, the $615 will be refunded.