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Irish loughs & landscapes

Discover one of the most beautiful and unspoilt corners of Ireland, renowned for its ancient Gaelic heritage and traditional Irish hospitality.

From your delightful base in the four-star McWilliam Park Hotel, enjoy a full and varied itinerary and make the very most of your time in this lovely part of the Emerald Isle. Highlights include time to explore historic Galway City, a visit to a sheep farm, a scenic tour of Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way, and visits to the famed Cliffs of Moher and the unique landscape of the Burren.

What does this price include?

  • Five nights' dinner, bed and Irish breakfast accommodation at the four-star McWilliam Hotel, Claremorris
  • Return flights to Knock
  • Admissions to Kylemore Abbey, Westport House and Glen Keen Farm
  • Coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

  • Following your flight to Ireland, you will be met by your tour manager for the coach transfer to your hotel. After check-in, you'll have rest the day free. Depending on your arrival time, you may like to explore Claremorris (which is about a 10-minute walk away) and its interesting range of shops and bars. At the far end of the town you'll find McMahon Park, where you can enjoy a delightful five-kilometre circular walk around Clare Lake. Alternatively, why not make the most of the hotel’s leisure centre and beauty studio.

  • Today we'll head into the lunar-like landscape of the Burren, the largest expanse of limestone pavement in the world and home to an extraordinary variety of flora and fauna, as well as to megalithic tombs and monuments older than Egypt’s pyramids. The visitor centre in Kilfenora is fascinating. A short film traces the history and unique environment of the Burren, while the exhibition takes you on a Walk Through Time as the story of the region unfolds. You’ll learn about the remarkable landscape, and how man and animals have co-existed through history in this apparently inhospitable landscape.

    The other highlight of the day is your visit to the awesome Cliffs of Moher. Standing 702ft at their highest point, the Cliffs stretch for five miles along the Atlantic coast. On a clear day, pathways and viewing platforms along the cliff edge offer simply stunning views out to the Aran Islands, to the Kerry Mountains and across to Galway Bay. An award-winning visitor centre, built into the hillside, will really help you get the most from your visit.

  • This morning you’ll visit Westport House, considered to be one of Ireland’s most beautiful historic homes. Immerse yourself in centuries of Irish history as your tour guide takes you through the rooms on show, and hear the story of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connacht, who ruled the land and seas around the estate in the 16th Century.

    Your next stop will be Westport, which sits on the southeast corner of Clew Bay beneath the slopes of Croagh Patrick, Ireland's 'holy mountain'. Wander around the harbour to the Quay area, just a few minutes from the town centre, where the old coastguard station and warehouses now house bars, cafes and restaurants, or stroll along the tree-lined Mall.

    In the afternoon we'll head to Glen Keen Farm, one of the largest sheep farms on the Wild Atlantic Way, and famous for its sheep dogs. Hear how life and farming has changed over the seven generations that the current owners have lived here, learn about the verbal and whistle commands used to herd sheep, and watch the farm's dogs in action. Tea or coffee and homemade scones are included during what promises to be a fascinating visit.

  • Galway City beckons today. The old centre surrounds ancient Lynch’s Castle and a pedestrianised thoroughfare leads down to the thriving waterfront. Join our tour manager for a guided tour before exploring at leisure. Enjoy lunch in one of Galway’s countless eateries, take a harbour cruise, explore the city's cobblestone streets, visit its imposing (and unexpectedly modern) cathedral, or perhaps make the most of the varied shopping.

  • possibly saving the best until last, this long, but wonderfully scenic day will reveal Connemara. This stunning landscape of pale grey mountains, golden beaches, sparkling loughs, rugged bogs and shimmering waterfalls is a place of remote beauty that's also home to the hardy, agile - but also gentle - Connemara Pony.

    The route takes you on a lovely drive past Lough Mask and Lough Corrib and on to the Maam Cross. We continue along the Inagh Valley to stunning Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery founded in 1920. Learn about its history and its tales of romance and tragedy, explore the six-acre Victorian Walled Gardens and visit the Gothic Chapel and the restored rooms of the Abbey.

    We return to the hotel via Leenane, dramatically situated on Ireland’s only fjord, and setting for the film adaptation of John B. Keane’s famous play The Field.

  • Depending upon the time of your flight, you may be able to spend a final few hours relaxing at your hotel, or perhaps exploring the local area, before returning to the airport at the end of a wonderful few days.

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Hotels

McWilliam Park, Claremorris

The modern, four-star McWilliam Park Hotel offers spacious, comfortable accommodation in the County Mayo town of Claremorris.

Further Information

  • To avoid disappointment, please pre-book any beauty treatments direct with the hotel prior to your holiday.

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 40 minutes from Knock Airport.
  • We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
  • An Airport Development Fee (of €10 per person in 2019) is payable when departing from Knock airport. You will be required to pay this at the airport prior to checking in for your flight home. Please visit the airport's website for further information.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • We are often asked about gratuities on our Irish holidays. At the end of a tour it is customary to give a coach driver around £2-3 per person per day and a Tour Manager around £3-5 per person per day; a gratuity of £1 per person per day for dining/waiting staff in your hotel will also be greatly appreciated. In a restaurant leave about 10% of a bill (no need to tip in a bar) and around £2 for services such as hairdressing.

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