Ireland | Hiking the Emerald coast | Adult Only
Explore the majestic landscapes, history, and stories of Ireland’s ‘wild’ Atlantic Coast!
5 days / 4 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
From the rugged Irish mountains to the beautiful emerald coastline you’ll be swept away by shear beauty on this 5-day adventure. Begin with coastal hikes and hill walks up iconic Irish mountains. Get to know the history of this rolling verdant country, from Neolithic and Stone Age periods to recent times. Taste the local food and quaff the local spirits (including Guinness and Jameson) in boutique hotels and local pubs. Then explore the hidden gems of the beguiling Croagh Patrick and scenic Sligo, including surprising pubs, food shops, markets, and so much more!
Steep yourself in Irish culture, history, cuisine, lore, and adventures! Starting with countryside activities, you’ll hike the coast, mountains, and bogs as you explore ancient churches and castles, Stone Age monuments and megalithic tombs, the grave of a warrior queen, village coffee shops and distilleries, and (of course) local pubs.
- Stroll the Enniscrone pier before relaxing in the luxurious seaweed bath in Kilcullen’s Bath House
- Enjoy a traditional Irish pub in Killarney
- Wander through the collection of arms and armor, fossils and antiques in Belleek Castle
- Learn about the ancient pot still distillery process at the new Connacht Whiskey Distillery
- Explore Megalithic passage tombs and learn about their creators
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Pour your own pint of Guinness.
Discover why Dublin is called ‘Big Smoke.’
Learn the beguiling facts and folklore of Mayo County.
Dublin, Ireland DUB
Dublin, Ireland DUB
Dublin / Ballina
Your holiday starts in Dublin where your guide will meet you on arrival and transfer you to the vibrant town of Ballina. Take in the magnificent view over the River Moy and Belleek Woods, then stroll around the Quay Village and marvel at the Crete Boom, Ballina’s own concrete ship which keeps watch over the quay. Enjoy a traditional homecooked Irish Bacon and Cabbage dinner around the table with the group in a homey kitchen, washed down with an Irish coffee made with Jameson, Ireland’s favorite whiskey. After dinner, you can hit the town and visit Pat Rouse’s bar, Ballina’s oldest family-owned pub where a traditional Irish music session will go late into the night (and you may even get the chance to pull your own pint of Guinness.
About Twin Trees Hotel Ballina
Nestled in the heart of Mayo’s Wild Atlantic Way, the 80-year old hotel is managed by husband and wife team David and Rachael Smith – the third generation of the Moylett family to manage the property. In the 1920’s, “Downhill” was the residence of Mr. Garvey, a retired Crown Solicitor, and his wife. During this time, the house and its valuable contents caught fire. Chamberlain Worcester China, an irreplaceable library, an historic picture of St Francis of Assissi, antique Chippendale and Sheraton furniture, and pianos all burnt to the ground. Not only did the fire affect the owners, but also the many poor people who were supplied daily with free milk by Mrs. Garvey. Downhill House, as it was then known, was purchased by Michael and Frances Moylett in 1936 as a private residence, then registered as a guesthouse two years later. Rebranded as the Twin Trees Hotel Ballina in 2014, the name refers to two monkey puzzle trees at the front of the hotel which were planted in 1954 by Mrs. Francis Moylett. They have grown with the hotel and the family and continue to do so to this day.
The hotel offers a bar, ballroom, leisure center with indoor heated swimming pool, children’s splash pool, sauna, jacuzzi, gymnasium, and two squash courts, hotel gardens, kids’ room, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Ballina / Wild Atlantic Way / Downpatrick Head
After a refreshing sleep and a delicious homemade breakfast, hit the trails of Mayo and get your boots dirty. This segment of the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ has some of the country’s most dramatic coastline, and was described in Lonely Planet as, “The finest sustained coastal walk in western Ireland, with a profusion of precipitous cliffs, crags, caves, chasms and islands.” Return to Ballina to stop at the iconic Downpatrick Head where your guide will bring this place to life with facts and folklore about time gone by. Next, the beautifully designed Ceide Fields Visitor Centre will showcase the oldest, most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, consisting of megalithic tombs, fields and houses, the relics are softly covered by a natural blanket bog, which itself is a wonder with its unique flora and fauna. Then, prepare to be blown away (not literally, please) at the viewing platform at the edge of the 110-meter cliff across the road.
Ballina / Crough Patrick / Clew Bay
Hike the iconic mass of Croagh Patrick, as no trip to the region is complete without a journey to the “Reek.” Ascending across open mountain, you follow the main Pilgrim Route that most people use. Taken slowly, this is a wonderful route offering glorious views across Clew Bay. Reaching the top of the mountain, you will find the famous church there, have time to enjoy your triumph, and then continue west to descend along a different route (if weather allows). Following your hike, you will return to Ballina for time to relax before dinner.
Ballina / Knocknarea / Enniscrone
Today you’ll climb Knocknarea and add a stone to the thousands adorning the imposing grave (or cairn) of Maeve, the great warrior queen, which overlooks Strandhill. On our descent, we’ll check out the surfers here in one of Ireland’s premier surf destinations, then enjoy an organic, fair-trade coffee (and a treat) at the outstanding Shells Café which overlooks the strand. After a coastal drive to Enniscrone, we’ll stroll along the pier. Relax in the luxurious seaweed bath in Kilcullen’s Bath House which first opened its doors for business in 1912, the year of the ‘Titanic’ (nearly 100 years old and into the fifth generation of ownership the same family)! Upon return to Ballina you will go on an exclusive, intimate tour of the newly opened Connacht Whiskey Distillery, where the ancient Irish tradition of pot still whiskey has been revived. From there it’s down to the historic Belleek Castle for a tour, where we’ll see private dining rooms, decorated in a romantic, opulent style, the magnificent medieval banqueting hall, and The Marshall Doran Collection of arms and armor, fossils and antiques. Return to your accommodation for time to relax before enjoying another fabulous meal in one of Ballinas great restaurants or bars.
Ballina / County Meath / Dublin
Travel back within Ireland’s ancient history to visit the iconic Bru na boinne “Palace of the Boyne” in County Meath. Explore one of the world’s most important Neolithic landscapes, including three large Megalithic passage tombs and some 90 additional monuments. After lunch in the village of Slane, its onto the “Big Smoke” – the city of Dublin. Check in to your accommodation to take some time to relax before dinner in one of the city’s best restaurants.
About Lansdowne Hotel Ballsbridge
Dublin’s Lansdowne Hotel Ballsbridge has been owned by the Quinn Family for more than 30 years, with a tradition of providing quality rooms, great hospitality and personal service for all its guests. All rooms are equipped with hairdryers, cable TV, direct dial telephone, tea/coffee making facilities, writing desk, table and chairs. Irons and ironing boards are available on request and there is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. The Den Bar (which also serves food) presents the largest rugby tie collection in the world, thanks to the hotel’s close proximity to Aviva Stadium.
Following another delicious breakfast, bid farewell to the Emerald Isle. Transfers back to Dublin Airport for your onward flights.
*Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving early on the day of your trip departure (or, to be safe, at least one day prior to your trip departure). Day one of your itinerary starts in Dublin, Ireland, depending on your arrival time. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Dublin airport or your Dublin hotel.
Hiking: Hikes up to 14KM and up to 765M. Moderate to strenuous.
Options at Twin Trees Hotel Ballina: The hotel is nearby to a couple of nearby golf courses and numerous walking and biking trails. It offers water activities such as kayaking and stand up paddle boards, as well as salmon fishing. Nearby attractions include the Museum of Country Life, a whiskey distillery, Rosserk Abbey, Enniscoe House Gardens, and Foxford Wollen Mills.
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions, and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
Enjoy a traditional homecooked Irish Bacon and Cabbage dinner. Learn the beguiling facts and folklore of Mayo County. Discover a bog’s hidden secret of megalithic tombs, fields and houses, and relics. Ascend to the famed church atop Croagh Patrick. Pour your own pint of Guinness. Discover why Dublin is called ‘Big Smoke’. Stroll the Enniscrone pier before relaxing in the luxurious seaweed bath in Kilcullen’s Bath House. Learn about the ancient pot still distillery process at the new Connacht Whiskey Distillery. Wander through the collection of arms and armor, fossils and antiques in Belleek Castle. Explore Megalithic passage tombs and learn about their creators.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Adventure Travel Expert
Not sure what to expect when you get your boots on the ground—or bike on the road or paddle in the water—in that dream destination? Dan Austin would love to tell you. More than likely, he’s been there, done that, and then some. The founder and president of Austin Adventures, Dan is a boots-on-the-ground influencer in the company, helping guests, ensuring guides lead the way he would, and curating new trips by personally experiencing and evaluating every detail. While always happy to add to his list of 64 countries and counting, Dan most highly values helping guests experience their adventure in the most inspiring and energizing way possible.