13 Day Shackleton - All Ireland Small Group Tour

13 Days, 12 Nights Single Day Tour Starts in Dublin & Ends in Dublin

Tour highlights

This is an extension of the Crean tour, combined with the amazing highlights of Northern Ireland. An epic trip that will truly take you beyond the guidebooks, this tour ensures you delve into every Irish myth. You will see some of the most beautiful coastlines, experience local pubs boisterous from noon until midnight, and go to the wildest parts of Ireland. This giant tour of Ireland will take you further off the beaten track.

The Shackleton tour is named after one Ireland’s most famous polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton, who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Like Shackleton, you’ll be able to make your mark on Ireland and discover hidden trails, lakes and peaks.

Itinerary

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Dublin to Connemara

Failte! Welcome, your tour starts as you leave the Dublin City, the capital of Ireland, and make your way to the Boyne Valley for The Kings boat tour along the Boyne river in a "currach" - ancient Irish small sized boat that has been featured many times in the popular "Game of Thrones" TV series.

Onward through the stunning Boyne Valley area, the tour will head for the "savage beauty" of the Connemara region. There, you will settle into your accommodation in the heart of the Connemara National Park. After a tasty evening meal picked from some of the best local produce, you will then head for a gentle evening walk around the amazing Diamond Hill. Upon return, you will visit a remote local Irish bar to enjoy a creamy pint of the black stuff!

Spend two nights in the wilds of the Connemara region.

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Connemara & 'The Holy Mountain'

Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the savage beauty of Connemara. There are many excellent outdoor activities available in the region: you can navigate the stony path to the summit of Croagh Patrick, or, at your own expense, go kayaking through Killary Fjord or mountain biking through the valleys of Connemara. Return to your wilderness accommodation through the beautiful landscapes of the Connemara region and its lakes and valleys.

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Inis Mor & Cliffs of Moher

Today, you will catch a boat from Rosseveal to the largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor. Travel back in time as you spend a whole day on the Gaelic speaking island of Inis Mor. Follow the miles of stone walls as you explore the island by bike. After lunch you will visits the islands main attractions, and then head back by boat to Doolin, where you will have some time for a pleasant stroll along the Atlantic edge to the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher standing 214m (702 feet) above sea level.

From there, you will take a ferry crossing over Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon, before arriving at your accommodation in Killarney located near the National park.

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Full Day Killarney National Park

You have an entire free day to fully explore everything on offer. Killarney is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: kayaking on the lakes of Killarney, rock climbing or hiking through glaciated valleys, biking through the National park, climbing Torc Mountain for amazing views, or just enjoying the stunning scenery and relaxing. Optional activities are at your own expense. Accommodation is located close to the town and park.

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Killarney to Valentia Island

This morning, your tour will take you to the Ring of Kerry on a journey through County Kerry, offering amazing views at high altitude with stops regularly for spectacular photos.

From there we will stop and you can either opt to explore the trail to Valentia Island and Bray Head (included in the price), or take a boat trip around the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Skellig Islands (€50 extra – very weather dependent), or, alternatively, hire a bike and discover the island at your own pace (€15 extra).

After an exciting day full of discoveries, you will check into your accommodation in the picturesque fishing village of Portmagee. This is also one of the best places in Ireland to join an evening stargazing.

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Valentia Island to Dingle Peninsula

Today, you will travel to the incredibly beautiful Dingle bay. The tour will make a stop at Inch Beach, where you will have plenty of time to wander along the peninsula of sand and get lost in your thoughts. Here at your own expense, you can go surfing in the wild Atlantic ocean.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Dingle Whiskey Distillery (included in the price), a small local distillery which offers generous samples of whiskey, vodka and gin.

You will spend the night on the edge of Dingle town, which is an excellent place with lots of restaurants and lively pubs.

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Full Day Dingle Peninsula

Isolated from the rest of Ireland by the impressive landscape, the Dingle Peninsula will take you where the locals go. The tour will follow a coastal trail on windswept cliffs, perched above beautiful coastlines. After the Slea Head drive, the tour will take you back around the peninsula to Dingle town, where you will be able to take part in a few optional activities such as sea kayaking, paddle boarding or horse riding. Overnight stay in Dingle.

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Dingle to Cork

This morning, you will leave Dingle and travel in the direction of County Cork. Cork is a small city with a relaxed pace of life. Today is very much a cultural day and you’ll have plenty of free time to wander the streets of Cork, with some fantastic sights and attractions to see and do, such as the bustling and colorful English market, a great guided tour of the Franciscan Well Brewery, a half day trip to Blarney Castle & Stone or a visit to the ancient site of St Finbarr’s Cathedral.

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Cork to Kilkenny

From Cork, the tour will take you to the imposing Rock of Cashel, once the seat of the Kings of Munster. For more than 1,000 years the Rock was a symbol of royal and religious power, until rivalries saw Brian Boru, future High King of Ireland, take over in the 10th century.

Arriving in the medieval city of Kilkenny, you will be greeted by a local tour guide who will bring you on a walking tour around the medieval mile. Meet the witch Dame Alice Kyteler and hear all about rhymes, taverns, crime, punishments and much more.

In the evening you will have plenty of free time to discover the city’s many attractions, such as the castle and the St Canice's Cathedral, take a guided tour of the Smithwicks brewery or just simply relax and enjoy the sights and sounds from a nearby coffee shop. Stay overnight in Kilkenny.

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Kilkenny to Dublin

This morning you can opt to enjoy a unique Cultural & Heritage Experience where you can learn the ancient Celtic game of Hurling, the world’s oldest (3000 years old!) and fastest field game. 

In the afternoon, you will bid farewell to the medieval city of Kilkenny and make your way to the monastic city of Glendalough. Wander the valley and lakes, touching haunting medieval remains that stand long after Viking raids and the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

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Dublin to Belfast

The tour will leave the south of Ireland and make way to County Antrim in Northern Ireland. You will arrive in Belfast City around 12:00pm and drive straight to the fantastic Titanic Museum.

This museum extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way: from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. The journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking, to the discovery of the wreck and continues into the present day with a live undersea exploration center.

Afterwards, you will have plenty of time to explore the city by foot before checking in to the accommodation in the evening and then discovering the nightlife of what this great city has to offer.

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Belfast to Derry

Today is a truly packed day – from Belfast, you will travel down the breath-taking Antrim coast road. This coast road has been compared to the Great Ocean Road in Australia and California and you will see why. En route, the tour will take in several Game of Thrones locations.

Along the way, you will visit the stunning Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge where you can sway Indiana Jones’ style over the choppy Atlantic Ocean below. This will be followed by a trip to the North’s top tourist attractions The Giant's Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is the focal point of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that has attracted visitors for centuries.

Finally, it’s time to visit the famous "Game of Thrones" locations: the beautiful Ballintoy Harbour (known as Pyke Harbour in the series), the The Dark Hedges (aka the Kings Road) and a photo stop at Dunluce Castle (used as Castle Pyke).

From there it will take just over an hour to reach Derry city center where you will have up to 2 hours free time to wander around this great city before checking into your accommodation. The historical city of Derry is Ireland's only walled city. Yes the place where the infamous event of Bloody Sunday occurred, that inspired the U2 song, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’.

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Derry to Dublin

This afternoon, you will head back to the Republic of Ireland, but not before you have experienced the award-winning guided tour of Derry City. The tour has been described by many as possibly the Best Walking Tour on the Island of Ireland and is for many people who travel with Irish Experience Tours, the highlight of their 13 days.

With over fifty natural and built attractions in the region, such as Derry’s Walls, The Bogside, The Peoples Gallery (the Murals), The Bloody Sunday Story, The History of the Apprentice Boys, and The Marching Season Traditions. The walking tour has been listed by many as one of the best experiences they have had on their travels anywhere.

Return to Dublin and bid farewell to your driver.

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Tour operator

Explore and experience the real Ireland with our small group adventure tours ranging from 1 to 13 days, with everything included from accommodation, transport, meals and fun!

 Our mission is to transform the norm of a bus trip into an intimate road trip, where like-minded travellers can come together to experience the real Ireland and at the same time become friends with complete strangers.  
Unlike the big bus tours, you won’t be stuck on a crowded bus with a strict itinerary. We’ll take you off the beaten track, making sure we get to those magical, hard to reach places, such as secluded beaches or dramatic cliff tops. Easy hikes along beautiful sights, culture & history and pure adventure in the Irish outdoors, we have you covered!

Enjoy Ireland at your own pace

All our tours include gentle hikes, so you get to experience the real Ireland. 

People for whom taking photos, meeting the locals and enjoying a long lunch are as important as the hike itself.

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Professional and personal service every step of the way. No ask is too big, no query too small, we're here to take the stress out of booking your dream vacation. We're an Irish American company with the sort of insider knowledge not available anywhere else. Anything is possible when you book with Irish Studio Travel, because it’s your Ireland, your way.

What's included

All transport: You’ll travel around Ireland in comfortable mid-sized coaches.

Departure: 8:30am in Dublin - 166 Parnell St., Rotunda, Dublin 1.

Experienced tour guide: Expect entertaining commentary, insight into local secrets and extra support from your tour guide.

Accommodation:

OPTION 1: 12 nights in a quad share accommodation in select quality backpacker hostels & wilderness lodges. Upgrades to private twin and single rooms are available.

OPTION 2: 12 nights in a twin share accommodation in select classic B&Bs and hotels. Upgrades to private twin/double and single rooms are available.

Meals: 12 breakfasts.

Top rated activities:

  • Evening Hike around Diamond Hill
  • Sea kayaking in Killary Fjord (optional extra)
  • Overnight in the wilderness of Connemara Region
  • Mountain biking through Connemara Valleys (optional extra)
  • Whiskey tasting tour of Dingle Distillery
  • A ferry ride across the river Shannon
  • Scenic bike ride around Aran Islands
  • Experience the Cliffs of Moher Atlantic Edge Track
  • Explore the ancient woodlands of Killarney National Park
  • Titanic Museum Belfast
  • Black taxi tour of Belfast suburbs & peace walls (optional extra)
  • Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
  • Gentle hikes along the Causeway coast
  • Giant's Causeway
  • Historical walking tour of Derry City
  • "Game of Thrones" Locations
  • Trek to the Old Monastic City of Glendalough
  • Medieval walking tour of Kilkenny City
  • Learn to play the ancient Gaelic game of hurling (optional extra)

What’s not included?

Any optional extra activities above and not specified as included in the itinerary. These can be booked via your guide, often at an exclusive Irish Experience special price!


WHAT TO BRING:

Sturdy walking shoes (ankle high), swimming gear, sunhat and sunscreen, rain jacket/trousers, warm fleece, hat and gloves, motion sickness tablets, water bottle, towel and toiletries, warm clothing and waterproof jacket, insect repellent, camera.


Please note:

  • All rates are in EURO, per person, and are subject to change.
  • Luggage should be restricted to 15kg in a single bag, plus a small daypack.

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