Galway, Connemara and the West
The West of Ireland is for many the Ireland of the imagination. Here the Atlantic Ocean collides with the land, sometimes gently, sometimes with fury. Against a backdrop of Connemara lakes and mountains, lunar Burren limestone, white coral beaches and emerald fields, you’ll find thatched cottages, ancient megaliths, castles and a genuine welcome. The West of Ireland is a blessed and magical land.
The West of Ireland, comprising the coastal counties of Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim along with land-bound Roscommon, is a rather special place where traditions run deep and where the sea meets the land. All along the famed Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest defined coastal route and of which a major part follows the shoreline of the West of Ireland, you’ll discover hidden bays and beaches of purest white sand ideal for walking, horseback riding and surfing; and there are towering cliffs and enchanting little port towns to discover, too. Behind the surf are heather-clad mountains, shimmering lakes, peat bogs, emerald-green fields edged by stone walls and sere limestone pavements.
This grand, and sometimes forbidding, landscape forms the majority of the Gaeltacht, the Gaelic-speaking part of Ireland, and you’ll frequently come across a tiny fishing village or a remote crofting community where you will hear the softly lilting tones of this ancient language being spoken. The West of Ireland’s human history goes back thousands of years, and at places like Carrowmore in Sligo and the Burren in Clare, you will find entire Neolithic ritual landscapes to explore. The earliest Christian settlers also left behind a dazzling array of monasteries, abbeys and churches whose spirituality is palpable, and at medieval castles like Ashford or Dromoland, you can these days gain an insight into the lives of the old Irish kings while enjoying unfettered contemporary luxury.
Highlights of the West of Ireland include the majestic and remote mountains and lakes of Connemara, perfect for a few days’ walking or fishing. Further south the otherworldly fissured limestone pavements of the Burren are fascinating to explore. Here an incredible wealth of dolmens, sacred wells and sheela-na-gigs will connect you with the earliest pre-Christian Irish settlers, while nature lovers visiting in spring or early summer will find an extraordinary display of rare wildflowers and vast seabird colonies breeding on the nearby Cliffs of Moher.
The three offshore Aran Islands, essentially a continuation of the Burren, are a magical destination where you will find the old traditions very much alive, along with Celtic monuments, churches, Iron Age cliff forts, abundant wildlife and mile upon mile of stone walls, best explored on a bicycle before repairing to the pub to enjoy some Irish music and to share a yarn or two with the locals. Wherever you go in the West of Ireland, you’ll find wonderful and unexpected hospitality, dazzling scenery and an intangible but immensely powerful connection with the past.
Co. Clare, Galway, Connemara and the West, Ireland
Ashford Castle is a jewel in the crown of historic Irish hotels. With elements dating from the 13th century and an idyllic lakeside location, Ashford Castle is truly spectacular and its location in the west of Ireland means Connemara is on your doorstep.
GBP £900 per person
Limerick, Galway, Connemara and the West, Ireland
An historic manor house dating back to the 19th century, Adare Manor boasts elegant, contemporary interiors alongside its original gothic architecture. This 840-acre estate is the perfect base to explore beautiful Southwest Ireland.
Connemara, Galway, Connemara and the West, Ireland
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is nestled in a secluded Connemara forest with the stunning backdrop of the famous Twelve Bens mountain range. Ballynahinch is set within a 450-acre private estate with endless activities to partake in just steps from your door.
Gregans Castle Hotel
Co. Clare, Galway, Connemara and the West, Ireland
Gregans Castle is a discreetly luxurious country house hotel set among the magical landscapes of the Burren in County Clare. After a day exploring the Burren’s Neolithic sites and botanical gems, stellar cuisine and a warm welcome await at Gregans Castle.
Family Fun in Ireland
Dublin, Killarney, County Clare
Ireland is a magical destination to travel through with children of all ages and this fabulous family adventure includes castles, culture and plenty of active outdoor adventures. Together as a family explore prehistoric monuments, crumbling monasteries, green hills and wild shoreline and take part in fun activities such as horse riding, archery and...
GBP £8,500 pp
Ireland in Ultimate Luxury
Dublin, Limerick, County Laois
A visit to Ireland is full of unexpected special moments. It might be a break in the clouds that reveals a distant island bathed in shimmering light; or arriving unannounced at a remote country pub to find your dinner ready for you and some Irish fiddlers striking up. This itinerary showcases the best of Ireland featuring iconic luxury hotels, a...
GBP £24,900 pp
County Clare, Killarney, County Cork, Dublin
Including many of Ireland’s most quintessential sights and experiences from the bewitching beauty of Ireland’s west to the dancing streets of Dublin, this privately-guided, luxury journey makes an authentic and enchanting introduction to the Republic of Ireland. Stay in charming country house hotels, explore beautiful National Parks and fully...
GBP £10,400 pp