Welcome to our

Wild Atlantic way Tour

7 Day Essential Ireland Tour

Small group tours

meet the locals

Our passion is you meeting the locals. Live like the Irish for a week on an
Essential Ireland Tour

Win a once in a lifetime tour of Ireland

Visit our Facebook or Instagram page to enter the competition. All you have to do is like, share and leave a comment as to what you'd most like to see on your visit to Ireland. Enter before February 1st to be in with a chance of winning a place on our April 2019 Wild Atlantic Tour.

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Price Per Person Sharing Only €1,500

Reserve Place with 20% Deposit

Max Tour Sizes: 16 People

Solo supplement of €500 applies to most solo travellers, see FAQs for details

The ultimate introduction to Ireland’s South West

Join us for an action-packed week in the beautiful West Coast of Ireland. You’ll enjoy the benefits of a small group with an expert local guide. The ideal tour to experience the Wild Atlantic Way. You’ll stay in the charming and lively towns of Killarney, Dingle and Galway. Dine like royalty, enjoy music-filled pubs, meet the locals (and our Irish Wolfhounds!), sing our songs and learn the lively history of this great land.

This is a VIP tour, a lifetime experience and the small group size ensures wonderful personalised service!

Price: Only €1,500 per person

Highlights of our tour

The ultimate introduction to the South West of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way

You’ll enjoy a jaunting car ride through Killarney National Park

Fly Falcons and Golden Eagles at the School of Falconry in Dingle

Hold baby lambs during your Slea Head Drive experience on the Dingle Peninsula

Gaze in awe at the glorious Cliffs of Moher on County Clare's Atlantic Coast

Experience high tea in Ashford Castle a 13th Century stately home in county Mayo

Visit Clonmacnoise an ancient Irish Monetary founded in 544 AD on the banks of the Shannon

Finish your Essential Ireland tour with a pint of Stout in the home of the Guinness Brewery since 1759

Whats included in the tour package

All activities are fully covered in the Essential Ireland Tour Package

All Breakfasts are included. From cooked gourmet feasts of eggs and bacon; and healthy fruit, homemade muesli and porridge

All accommodation costs are covered, you will stay in a range of luxury accommodation outlined below

All tips to guides, drivers, local guides, bar-staff, servers etc ALL covered while on a tour activity or meal

All transport, from luxury coach travel, shuttle buses, taxis etc used for tour activities are paid for

Unlimited Snacks are provided while aboard our small luxury coach going from destination to destination

3 picnic lunches are provided - hand-picked artisan Irish cheese board , cold meats, homemade breads and fresh-fruit

1 group meal by private chef serving local produce, this takes the form of a gala banquet

What type of accommodation will I stay in?

We handpick quality accommodation based on quality, location, and the best customer service on offer. We like to provide a balance between 5 star luxury hotels and high-quality guesthouses, to give a variety of experiences, we also offer one night in a traditional B&B to experience life with an Irish family environment and world-class quality customer-service.

Our co-founder, Patrick, always like to remind guests that we “don't stay in generic big-brand hotels, we prefer to offer you historic and luxury homes of character, that have housed Hollywood stars and withstood sieges”.

OVERVIEW OF 7 DAY SOUTH WEST & WILD ATLANTIC WAY

EXPLORE IRELANDS ATLANTIC COAST FROM KERRY TO GALWAY

7 DAYS AND 6 NIGHTS (1 NIGHT IN KILLARNEY , 3 NIGHTS IN DINGLE & 2 IN GALWAY)

Day 1: Dublin to Killarney (1 night)
Highlights:

  • Welcome Irish-coffee

  • Visit Dublin’s Phoenix Park

  • Rock of Cashel Tour

  • Group lunch at Cashel

  • An evening of Irish music in lively Killarney

Day2: Killarney to Kenmare to Dingle ( 3 nights )
Highlights:

  • Jaunting-car ride through Killarney National Park

  • Mini ‘Ring of Kerry Tour’

  • Kenmare (and the stone circle!)

  • Sheepdog demo on the Ring of Kerry

  • ‘Welcome to Dingle’ Gourmet banquet with private chef

Day 3: Dingle Peninsula tour and Falconry
Highlights:

  • Award-winning Walking Tour of Historic Dingle

  • Slea Head Tour, experience the idyllic peninsula

  • Dingle Crystal workshop visit

  • Fun musical Pub tour (including Dick Macks)

  • Private Dingle Falconry Experience. (awesome!)

Day 4: Dingle in-depth
Highlights:

  • Harbour Cruise and Fungie the Dolphin!

  • Irish bread making class and lunch.

  • Free afternoon to enjoy Dingle.

  • Dingle Whiskey tasting session

  • World Champion Irish dancer performance

Day 5: Dingle to Galway (2 nights)
Highlights:

  • Free morning to enjoy Dingle.

  • Visit Adare, National ‘tidy town’!

  • Experience the famous Cliffs of Moher

  • Walk the Burren

  • Walking tour & orientation of magical Galway

Day 6: Connemara in-depth
Highlights:

  • Visit the historic village of Cong (The Quiet Man)

  • Tea at Ashford Castle

  • Tour the epic Kylemore Abbey (Ireland’s Taj Mahal)

  • Scenic drive through Connemara

  • Music & Dancing in Galway’s ‘Latin Quarter’

Day 7: Galway to Clonmacnoise, Guinness Storehouse & Dublin.
Highlights:

  • Free morning in Galway

  • Visit Clonmacnoise, ancient monastic city on River Shannon

  • VIP Connoisseur experience at Guinness Storehouse

SEE NEXT TAB FOR DETAILED ITINERARY

DETAILED DAILY ITINERARY

OVERVIEW OF 7 DAY SOUTH WEST & WILD ATLANTIC WAY

7 DAYS AND 6 NIGHTS (1 NIGHT IN KILLARNEY , 3 NIGHTS IN DINGLE & 2 IN GALWAY)

Day 1: Dublin to Killarney
Highlights:

  • Welcome Irish-coffee

  • Visit Dublin’s Phoenix Park

  • Rock of Cashel Tour

  • Group lunch at Cashel

  • An evening of Irish music in lively Killarney

[9am] Depart central Dublin.Pick up in one central location City’s south-side and north-side. We’ll enjoy some commentary on Dublin’s attractions, en route to the Phoenix Park.

First stop is the beautiful Phoenix Park, (the largest urban park in the world!), to stretch our legs, chase the deer and see ‘Aras an Uachtarain’, Ireland’s White House - the official home of our President.

[10.30] Stop outside Dublin for a welcome-coffee!Then onwards to Cashel, its a long way to Tipperary (2 hours actually!)

[12.30] Enjoy Lunch together. You’ll have an itinerary Q&A session with our Tour-Guide team as we enjoy the best Shepherds Pie in Ireland (possibly the world!)

[1.30pm] The Rock of Cashel. Follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick in one of Irelands blockbuster archaeological sights, we’ll enjoy a guided tour led by your passionate ‘Essential Ireland’ Guide and history buff. The views are simply awe-inspiring.

[3pm] Depart for Killarney, one the jewels in Ireland’s crown, welcoming tourists since the visit of Queen Victoria in the 1860s.

[5pm] Arrive in Killarney, Short orientation tour and evening free in Killarney, one of Ireland’s most welcoming and picturesque towns, excellent for shopping and strolling through the lively streets. Later you're welcome to join us for a fun Irish-Ballad Music evening.

Free for dinner.

Day 2: Killarney to Kenmare to Dingle (3 nights)
Highlights:

  • Jaunting-car ride through Killarney National Park

  • Mini ‘Ring of Kerry Tour’

  • Kenmare (and the stone circle!)

  • Sheepdog demo on the Ring of Kerry

  • ‘Welcome to Dingle’ Gourmet banquet with private chef

[9am] After a delicious breakfast. We’ll take a relaxing ‘Jaunting car ride through Killarney National Park, the local traditional horse & carriage experience for 150 years.“When in Venice, one takes a Gondola; in Killarney, it’s a Jaunting Car” - Stephen McPhilemyHear stories and tales from your always entertaining ‘Jarvey’ (carriage driver) and enjoy the blissful lakeside views from Ross Castle, ancestral home of the O’Donoghue clan.

[10.30am] We’ll enjoy one of our trademark ‘Mini Ring of Kerry’ Tours stopping in picturesque Kenmare and visiting it’s ancient stone circle, built by our ancient pre-Celtic ancestors even before the Celtic Druids got the credit! A place of strong spiritual energy.

[2pm] Stop up at Molls gap on the Ring of Kerry and take in the breathtaking scenery, a real highlight.

[2.30pm] Visit the Sheep-Farm, in a landscape filled with sheep this is always one of our most popular stops. We’ll meet the Kissane brothers and their super-smart Sheepdogs round up a herd of sheep in one of the most impressive natural amphitheatres anywhere, the black Valley in County Kerry. We will also experience a Sheep shearing and maybe even adopt a wee lamb!

[4pm] We have some picnic snacks set up for you in the gardens of Muckross House. You’ll enjoy free time in the lakeside lawns before we begin our journey, en route to magical Dingle, our home for the next 3 nights

[5.30pm] Arrive at Milltown House, our exclusive luxury waterfront Guesthouse and former home of Hollywood actor Robert Mitchum (in town to film Oscar winning ‘Ryans Daughter’ in 1969), now home Seamus & Saoirse, our Gentle-Giant Irish Wolfhounds. Check in here is always a special event, with a remarkable warm hospitality that ‘Essential Ireland’ and all our team are renowned for.

[6.00pm] Complimentary Dingle Gin & Tonic cocktails in our very own ‘Robert Mitchum Bar & library’.

[6.30pm] Gourmet banquet  in the waterfront conservatory at Milltown House (we are delighted to offer complimentary wine from international vineyards  of Irish heritage) Deirdre, our private chef will prepare a feast of foodie treats all sourced within 10 miles of Dingle. it is our honour to introduce guests to the finest and freshest of Irish ingredients, wonderful and wholesome home-cooking. Chef Deirdre will be with us to explain the Irish delicacies in her buffet.

During and after dinner we will have a private gala performance, with some of  finest traditional musicians in Dingle coming to entertain us, including a world champion Irish dancer! We are excited to introduce them to you.

This evening is always a holiday highlight for many Tour-Guests.

Day 3: Dingle in-depth
Highlights:

  • Award-winning Walking Tour of Historic Dingle

  • Slea Head Tour, experience the idyllic peninsula

  • ‘Dingle Crystal’ workshop visit

  • Fun musical Pub tour (including Dick Macks)

  • Private Dingle Falconry Experience. (awesome!)

[9.30am] After a spectacular breakfast in the waterfront glass conservatory at Milltown House, we will enjoy the famous ‘Historic Dingle Walking Tour’, taking in all the history of this charming seaside village and meeting its great local characters.

[11am] We’ll break for an artisan coffee or maybe a Murphys Ice-Cream.

[11.30am] Load up our luxury ‘Essential Ireland’ Tour Bus and head ‘back-west’ to enjoy a guided tour of scenic Slea Head and the coastline of the Dingle Peninsula (now even more famous since it became the set for Star Wars!) The finest scenery in Ireland? You’ll decide.

We will take our time and make lots of stops, including Gallarus Oratory (the oldest free-standing Church in the world!), a short-hike to Slea Head and discover Kilmalkedar church with its Celtic carvings and spiritual beauty.Picnic lunch on Cuminole beach (a delightful sheltered cove) featuring some artisan Irish Cheese and of course, some fine complimentary wine from the ‘Essential Ireland’ cellars.

[2.30pm] Return to Dingle to visit Sean Daly, a good friend of ‘Essential Ireland Tours’ and the former Master-Cutter at Waterford Crystal, a chance to get up close and personal with a renowned craftsman.

[3.30pm] Dingle Falconry Experience! Hold and fly majestic Birds of Prey in this once in a lifetime experience. ‘Essential Ireland Tours’ has our very own Falconry School and we offer our Tour Guests a unique opportunity to experience the ancient Irish art of Falconry, which came to prominence in 12th Century Ireland with ancient Norman clans like the Fitzgeralds and Fitzmaurices.

We have a Master Falconer who will introduce you to a wide range of Birds of Prey as you slip on a long leather glove (very medieval!) and hold and fly Hawks, Falcons, Owls and Orla (our majestic Golden Eagle). All on the beautiful backdrop of Dingle Harbour, a great photo opportunity but an ever greater travel experience…

[5pm] Free time in Dingle. Evening free for dinner, but we offer the famous Dingle Musical Pub Crawl, which  Tour-Guests  enjoy immensely due to our subtle small-group size, a great chance to meet the locals.

Day 4: Dingle in-depth
Highlights:

  • Harbour Cruise and Fungie the Dolphin!

  • Irish bread making class and lunch.

  • Free afternoon to enjoy Dingle.

  • Dingle Whiskey tasting session

  • World Champion Irish dancer performance

[10am] Our daily offering of brilliant experiences and activities begins with a Dingle harbour cruise. A local skipper and guide will take us out into the bay to get a wonderful and different vantage point over Dingle. And yes we’ll meet Fungie the famous Dolphin who has lived in the harbour since 1983! The most famous Dolphin… in the world!

[12noon] We will offer an optional-to-participate-and-enjoy Irish Bread-making class in the traditional Kitchens of Milltown House, the bonus is you get to eat all the wonderful bread afterwards!

Afterwards some Tour-Guests will consider joining an optional hike to nearby Esk Tower, unreal views over Dingle and overlooks the ‘Star Wars Island’ Skellig Michael, a monastic icon and UNESCO world heritage site.

[4pm] A Dingle Whiskey tasting session, comparing and contrasting with Scotch. Fun and informative, always a treat.

[6pm] A chance to experience Irish dancing at its finest, we’ll meet a world champion Irish dancer.

Day 5: Dingle to Galway (2 nights)
Highlights:

  • Visit Adare, National ‘tidy town’!

  • Experience the famous Cliffs of Moher

  • Walk the Burren

  • Walking tour & orientation of magical Galway

[9am] Departure. We will be one of the few tour buses to cross over the majestic ‘Conor Pass’ (how many tour companies can offer that?) before we travel through idyllic North Kerry and into County Limerick singing songs and learning history on our Tour-Bus.

[11am] We will treat you to a coffee in the heritage village of Adare, officially one of Irelands tidiest towns!

[12noon] Photostop at Bunratty Castle, ancient fortress of the Fitzgerald Clan and one of Irelands finest Hiberno-Norman strongholds.

[12.30pm] Scenic coastal drive past Irelands best surf and a long visit to the Cliffs of Moher, plenty of time to stroll and hike along the blockbuster attraction on Irelands West Coast!

[3pm] A visit to the lunar landscape of the Burren, Irelands geological and botanical wonderland, also the ancient dolmen at Poulnabrone (hear of its place in Celtic legend) before we experience the famed drive around Galway Bay to overnight in the heart of Galway city.

[5pm] Arrive at our central Galway accommodation. Evening free for dinner. But we will offer a meet-up for a light walking tour of Galway, a local craft beer, great people-watching and some live music in the colourful ‘Latin Quarter’ on Quay Street.

Day 6: Connemara in-depth
Highlights:

  • Visit the historic village of Cong (The Quiet Man)

  • Tea at Ashford Castle

  • Tour the epic Kylemore Abbey (Ireland’s Taj Mahal)

  • Scenic drive through Connemara

  • Music & Dancing in Galway’s ‘Latin Quarter’

[9am] Depart Galway after enjoying one of the finest breakfasts of the entire tour, Frank and Joans world-class home-cooking and wonderful Irish hospitality, it truly is a treat to experience.

[10am] We have the pleasure of introducing you to the idyllic village of Cong, gorgeous in every detail and once the setting for the Hollywood Classic - ‘The Quiet Man’ with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. We will be treated to some mid-morning tea in the opulent surroundings of Ashford Castle, former summer-home of the Guinness Family.

(note: On the occasional event there is a VIP wedding by an international celebrity or royalty, we will respect the privacy requirements of the Castle and host tea in another of Ireland’s fine Castles)

[12.30pm] We offer a complimentary ‘wine and cheese’ picnic in the grounds of Cong Abbey, the 12th Century resting place of the last High-King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor. Then Free-time to wander in the forests and quaint streets Cong.

[2pm] We’ll take a scenic drive through Connemara, stopping to bounce on the Peat-bogs (yes, bounce!) before a visit to Kylemore Abbey, a majestic mansion built out of love amidst awe-inspiring rugged scenery. This majesty then became a convent boarding school and is now owned by the University of Notre Dame, ‘the fighting Irish’. Kylemore’s walled-garden has to be seen to be believed, we’ll experience it and also take a tour of the Abbey.

[5pm]: Return to Galway. Free for dinner. Guide will offer a dinner meet-up for anyone interested in one of the funky and fun restaurants in the latin-quarter.

Day 7: Galway to Clonmacnoise, Guinness Storehouse & Dublin.
Highlights:

  • Free morning in Galway

  • Visit Clonmacnoise, ancient monastic city on River Shannon

  • Enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the Shannon

  • Visit Guinness Storehouse for a grand farewell.

[10.30am] We will have a late-morning departure to give you some strolling and shopping time in Galway city-centre.

[11am] Departure for Dublin via Clonmacnoise. Drive across the midlands of Ireland to the bogland of County Offaly. Our Chief-Guide, Stephen, is a judge in the ‘Best Place in Ireland to Holiday’ competition for the National newspaper, the Irish Times, and recently lamented that travel in Ireland was a like a donut, all sweet around the outside with nothing in the middle. We will prove that theory wrong today with a visit to the ancient monastic city of Clonmacnoise perched on the banks of the epic River Shannon.

[12noon] Guided tour and afterwards ensure you have ample free time to explore the Celtic crosses and Round Towers and see where Pope John Paul II said Mass here in 1979.

[1pm] We’ll be providing some picnic snacks here with our compliments on the banks of the Shannon.

[2pm] Depart for the Capital City.

[3.30pm] Arrive in Dublin around 4pm for our grand finale - a visit to one of the most famous Brewery’s in the world, learn the history of this iconic Irish institution enjoy the all-glass Gravity Bar on the top floor. We’ll see all of Dublin from the comfort this 360 degree vantage point. A fitting, historic and all-weather venue for us to say goodbye as a group.

[5.30pm] We’ll say our farewells in the environs of The Guinness Storehouse and then drop you off at your desired location in Dublin city-centre, (we can also help you arrange a drop-off at Dublin Airport or to an airport hotel, after 6 pm approximately).

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat, may the road rise to meet you.

WILD atlantic way tour dates 2019

We run a limited number of tours each year, book early to avoid disappointment

March 18th to March 24th - SOLD OUT

April 14th to April 20th - SOLD OUT

June 30th to July 6th

September 1st to September 7th

If a particular date does not suit your group please get in touch about organising a private tour

Check Out our 2020 Dates!

Click to See Dates

Sunday 15th March - Saturday 21st March

Sunday 22nd March - Saturday 28th March

Sunday 29th March - Saturday 4th April

Sunday 26th April - Saturday 2nd May

Sunday 3rd May - Saturday 9th May

Sunday 24th May - Saturday 30th May

Sunday 14th June - Saturday 20th June

Sunday 28th June - Saturday 4th July

Sunday 5th July - Saturday 11th July

Sunday 19th July - Saturday 25th July

Sunday 9th August - Saturday 15th August

Sunday 23rd August - Saturday 29th August

Sunday 6th September - Saturday 12th September

Monday 12th October - Sunday 18th October

Book Now

Reserve your space with a 20% deposit

Contact Us to Find Out More

Any Questions we are happy to help!

ABOUT US

WHO WE ARE

Stephen McPhilemy and Patrick Wade are the co-founders of Essential Ireland Tours. One Irish and one Irish-American, they met 20 years ago while Patrick was backpacking through Ireland and Stephen was his tour-guide.

Two decades later they (and their Irish Wolfhounds) are experienced and respected figures in the Irish tour and hospitality scene with a passion for providing high quality tours. Authentic Irish experiences for unbeatable value.

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