Thursday 7 March | Meet at the airport at 5.30am for Ryanair flight to Shannon departing at 7.30am. On arrival, meet up with representative at airport and transfer to Westport. Midway stop at Galway, one of the brightest and most intriguing jewels of the West of Ireland. The city is wild and bohemian, and at the same time full of culture, artistry, exceptional food and music. As well as being a popular seaside destination with long sandy beaches, Galway is also a thriving and cosmopolitan city centre. It is always a joy to explore with its wonderful cobbled streets, colourful shop facades, and its offbeat café/bar culture.
Check in and free time to explore the area. Westport town is a pleasant 15 minute walk away from the Bed and Breakfast and it is lined with colourful flowers, traditional shop fronts, pubs and restaurants.
Friday 8 April | Full day optional excursion to Connemara. Start off the day with a visit to Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Gardens. Originally built as a castle in 1867 as a romantic gift, Kylemore Abbey and the surrounding mountains and lakes are steeped in history. It became home to a community of Benedictine Nuns in 1920 and has been renowned as a place of spirituality and education. Learn of tales of tragedy, romance, engineering initiatives and royal visits. Next stop will be at Connemara National Park which features over 2000 hectares of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and forests. Optional trek to unleash its beauty. Finish off the day at Clifden, a picturesque coastal town nestled between the Twelve Bens mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, recognised worldwide for its rich landscape and heritage.
Saturday 9 April | Full day optional excursion to Killary Fjord. Dramatically surrounded by mountains that rise steeply from the water’s edge, Killary Fjord stretches 16 kilometres inland to the picturesque village of Leenane and forms a natural border between the counties of Galway and Mayo. A boat tour (included) will be available to allow wonderful views of the surrounding scenery and its unique natural beauty. Stop in the pretty village of Cong, where the 1952 Oscar-winning movie, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, was filmed. Enjoy a leisurely walk in the beautiful Cong Forest. Finish off the day with a visit to Knock Marian Shrine, one of the few Marian sites in the world recognized by the Vatican. This a well-known place of Catholic pilgrimage to which an estimated 1.5m pilgrims travel to pray at the place where an apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is said to have appeared in August 1879.
Sunday 10 April | Morning at leisure in Westport. Westport is a charming small town with fabulous, picturesque views. Just a 10 minute drive away from the bed and breakfast is Westport House, a grand country estate. Designed by the architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century, Westport House is situated in a parkland setting with a lake, terraces, gardens and views overlooking Clew Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, Achill, Clare Island and Ireland’s Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick. Westport also offers possibilities for golfing at Westport Golf Club, fishing and cycling. In the afternoon, transfer to Shannon Airport for our flight departing at 5.25pm. Land in Malta at 10.10pm.