The west of Ireland is calling you in Summer 2020 with this one-week, small group tour!
Travel to the beautiful island of Inishbofin and stay overnight for a wonderful island experience. Explore the dramatic cliffs, sea stacks, and massive interconnected blowholes. Marvel at border collies and their cunning sheep herding skills. Step back in time as you visit a medieval friary, a 15th Century Irish tower castle, and ancient portal tomb older than the Egyptian pyramids. Stay for two nights in lively Westport with great traditional Irish music, pubs, and shops.
Roam through western Ireland, travel along the Wild Atlantic Way, and discover its best-kept secrets! All this and more on the Go West tour – please see below for all the details.
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!
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* 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!
* 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: Megalithic Tombs, Celtic Crosses, Iron Age Corlea Oak Road, Wineport Lodge & Lough Ree
Meet your guide and trip participants and begin your Irish adventure. First up you’ll literally go west out of Dublin to the forgotten fifth province of Midhe and the Boyne Valley.Here, disciples of St. Columcille founded the medieval town of Kells. This monastic settlement produced highly ornate manuscripts like the famous Book of Kells now housed in Dublin’s Trinity College. You’ll visit the old churchyard of St. Columcille’s to see the impressive medieval Round Tower and the incredible Celtic High Crosses carved from huge slabs of stone.
After Kells, you’ll delve further into the Boyne Valley to unearth one of Ireland’s finest treasures, the Loughcrew Cairns. These prehistoric tombs, containing passageways and inner chambers, were spiritual centers for Ireland's first farmers long before Egypt’s great pyramids were built. Entering the main tomb, you’ll connect to Ireland’s mysterious Neolithic people and discover their enigmatic carvings. Aligned and illuminated by the rising sun of the equinoxes, this ancient star-chart may be the oldest celestial calendar on earth!
Your journey continues through Ireland’s mythical center and pastoral midlands to the mysterious Corlea Trackway. This Iron Age road, built of Irish oak through a dangerous bog and dense woodland, lay hidden for over 2,000 years. A large section has been preserved and housed to ponder this ancient road. Though its purpose remains unclear, its discovery provokes tantalizing parallels with old myths passed on for generations.
Winding down, your day ends in the quiet rural area of Wineport on the shores of Lough Ree. From earliest times, traders from northern France shipped wine up the mighty River Shannon to supply local monasteries and the tables of Ireland’s nobility. Spend the night relaxing in one of Ireland’s best spa retreats, Wineport Lodge. Known for its delicious food and wine, you’ll enjoy sunset views from your private balcony overlooking the lake.
Highlights: Aughnanure Castle, Yeats’ Tower, Coole Park, Connemara, Roundstone
Leaving Wineport, you cross the River Shannon on the trail of Ireland’s Gaelic and literary revival. Down a quiet country lane, you’ll find Thoor Ballylee, the summer home of writer William Butler Yeats. This 15thCentury tower so charmed Yeats that he and his wife undertook a full renovation before renaming it Thoor Ballylee. Have morning tea and explore this handsome tower, the inspiration for many of Yeats’ renowned works.
Next travel to nearby Coole Park where in the early 20th Century, Ireland’s chief literary patron, Lady Gregory, fostered noted writers like Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. Although her manor home no longer stands, you can still learn about her impressive legacy on Irish culture in the wonderful park museum. Strolling the beautifully wooded grounds, you'll find a resplendent row of Irish Yew trees and the “Autograph Tree” bearing the carved names of Ireland's literary heroes.
After Coole Park, travel to magnificent Aughnanure Castle, the stronghold of the O'Flaherty clan and one of the Ireland’s best-kept secrets. Living by the motto “Fortune favors the strong,” the boisterous and rebellious O'Flaherty's controlled the surrounding area from this 15thCentury Tower House Castle. Roam the castle and grounds as your local guide brings its fascinating history to life with tales of cattle raids and pirate queens.
Afterwards travel through Connemara's majestic mountain landscape by trout lakes and bogland. Keep a watchful eye for wild Connemara ponies, Ireland’s only native breed and known for their kind and hardy nature. The day ends in the lovely coastal town of Roundstone or Clifden*. It’s a perfect place to get in touch with rural Ireland and sample great local seafood. The pretty setting of this lovely town looks towards Connemara’s grand peaks.
* In 2020, with the June and July tours, you'll stay in the town of Clifden. With the August and September tour dates, you'll stay in Roundstone.
Highlights: The Connemara Coastline, Overnight on the Remote and Picturesque Inishbofin Island
Leaving Roundstone your day starts by hugging the patchwork coastline of islands, isthmuses, and inlets. It was in this remote area that the first transatlantic flight by Alcock & Brown landed in 1919 and where Marconi sent wireless radio transmissions across the Atlantic.
Your next adventure awaits in the fishing town of Cleggan. Hop aboard a ferry and cruise to one of Europe’s most westerly islands and the calm waters of the magical isle of Inishbofin - the Island of the White Cow. This remote Irish island is like a step back in time to a slower and simpler pace where you get to relax and do as little or as much as you want. The day is yours and the friendly locals will make you feel right at home.
There are easy looped walking trails where you can see massive blowholes, sea stacks, and the island of Inishark. Walk on deserted beaches, take a swim in the ocean, and gaze out on the endless horizon. You could also rent a bike, go horseback riding, visit the small Heritage Museum, or if the tide permits, cross the beach to Cromwell’s Fort. Later there are several places to eat, sip a pint, and tap your toes to traditional Irish music.
Highlights: Sheep Dog Demonstration, Cong, Killary Harbor, Connemara Mountains, Irish Music & Westport Town
After a quiet night’s sleep on the island, you’ll take the morning ferry to the mainland and travel through the Connemara landscape flanked by the serene beauty of the Twelve Bens (mountain peaks). Your trip takes you 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 beauty.
You’re next stop is at a remote mountain farm where you’ll meet a local farmer who’ll delight in showing off his cherished border collies. 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.
Skirting mountain lakes, the day continues to the pretty village of Cong for lunch and free time. 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 stroll beyond the town are fantastic views of the fairy-talesque Ashford Castle.
The route then makes inroads into County Mayo through the stunning scenery of Delphi and Doo Lough. You’ll come upon Croagh Patrick, Ireland's Holy Mountain, said to be where 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, shop or head out to explore the gorgeous surrounds. Hike Croagh Patrick for some of the most incredible views in the world. Rent a bike or go for a walk along the “Great Western Greenway,” a bucolic trail starting in Westport. Within a short walk is Westport House, one of Ireland's grand period homes, built upon the castle ruins that once housed the infamous pirate queen, Grace O'Malley. Golfing, fishing, and a cruise of Clew Bay are all available. Enjoy another night in this vibrant town!
Highlights: Harry Clarke Stained Glass Windows, Franciscan Friary, Yeats’ Grave, Celtic High Cross, Rosses Point
Saying goodbye to Westport, your route winds north to the rural town of Newport to take a peak inside its local church. This grand hilltop house of worship contains magnificent stained glass windows. Created by Harry Clarke, one of Ireland’s most accomplished artists, these beautiful windows were his last and perhaps finest works.
After ducking down narrow country lanes, discover a 600 year-old Franciscan Friary. Having stood the test of time, enjoy exploring its cloisters, fascinating carvings, and glorious Gothic arches.
You’ll travel next to County Sligo and spend the afternoon exploring this county with the high plateau of Benbulben’s mountaintop never far from sight. Often called Yeats Country, it was Sligo where the venerable poet, W.B. Yeats, was laid to rest and along the way you’ll stop and visit his famous gravestone in the old cemetery of Drumcliff, also known for its impressive Celtic High Cross.
Further north is the wonderfully rugged headland of Mullaghmore whose windswept cliffs are often eclipsed by the eye-catching silhouette of the Classiebawn, a private baronial style castle. From here you’ll head south onto Sligo’s beautiful Rosses Point peninsula, your home for the night boasting a great seafaring tradition, producing captains, pirates and smugglers. And with the mythic mountains of Benbulben and Knocknarea keeping watch, the area is awash with ghosts and fairies! Relax in your lovely hotel (inspired by W.B. Yeats who spent holidays on the peninsula), stroll along the beach or sample the renowned fare at one the fantastic local pubs.
Highlights: Ring Fort, Ancient Tomb, Carrick-on-Shannon, Dublin
Saying farewell to Rosses Point, you’ll journey to County Sligo’s overlooked southern gems and discover a forgotten Ring Fort whose hidden underground passageways or souterrains (French for ‘under ground’) were laid out in Ireland’s Iron Age. Then further on, a secret path takes you to the remains of an ancient tomb. The impressively balanced capstone will boggle your mind as to how the prehistoric Irish raised such massive stones.
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.
After a fun-filled week discovering Ireland’s wonderful west, it’s back to lively Dublin and your last night on 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!
- Stay overnight on the beautiful & remote Island of Inishbofin, experience island life, music, and stunning scenery
- Enter a megalithic tomb with celestial charts & solar alignments older the Egypt’s great pyramids
- Be captivated by a sheep dog demonstration as spirited border collies show their skill for herding sheep
- Tour an amazing 15thCentury Castle, a Medieval Franciscan Friary, and the secrets of County Sligo
- See incredible Stained Glass windows by an Irish master and the mysterious 2,000 year old Corlea Trackway
- Experience the epicenter of Ireland’s Gaelic & literary revival at beautiful Coole Park & Yeats’ Tower
- Stay for two nights in festive Westport with great shops, tasty food, and traditional Irish music
- Explore Connemara’s pretty towns, wild ponies, tranquil lakes, and majestic mountain landscape
- Counties Visited: Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Meath, Longford, Cavan, 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 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!|
2020 Go West Tour Dates
- June 8 - 15
- July 13 - 20
- August 24 - 31
- September 21 - 28
2020 Go West Tour Price
- $2737 (USD) per person based on double occupancy.
- Our upfront price has no hidden costs or excursion fees. For solo travelers, there is a $485 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, round trip ferry to Inishbofin, 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
2020 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 $485 single supplement.
- 2020 Go West tour: $2737
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 2020, combine 2 tours and save $100. Combine 3 tours and save $200.
2020 Go West Tour Dates
- June 8 - 15
- July 13 - 20
- August 24 - 31
- September 21 - 28
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 ferry to the island of Inishbofin
- All admissions into historical sites and local 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.
- Want to come to Dublin a few days before the tour or stay longer after the tour and book additional in your confirmation email you receive information about how to book additional nights at the Dublin hotel.
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 $485 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 $485 single supplement will be refunded.
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.
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. Our guide was delightful with his 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
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 young children flourish, fully immersed in this fantastical ancient land!
- 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.
I enjoyed both tours (Go West and Go North) immensely. I can't come up with a favorite part. Our guide was superb: an excellent driver, friendly, helpful, full of good humor, very knowledgeable. He 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 or Single) and your sleeping arrangements.
- If you are not sharing a room, there is a single supplement of $460.
- 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 $485 single supplement. If we are able to provide a roommate, the $485 will be refunded.