Day 1 | 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 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.
Day 2 | 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.
Day 3 | Full day optional excursion to Clare Island. This beautiful island lies off the west coast of Ireland at the entrance to Clew Bay. As the largest of the Mayo islands, Clare Island has a delightfully varied terrain, with spectacular sea-cliffs, very large numbers of nesting sea birds, and a rich ‘inland’ topography of hills, bogs and small pockets of woodland. Immortalised in song by the Saw Doctors and in the Michael Morpurgo book, The Ghost of Grania O’Malley, Clare Island is one of Mayo’s true hidden gems. The ferry crossing from Roonagh Pier takes approximately 25 minutes and there is every chance that you will be accompanied on your journey by a school of dolphins. Famous as the ancestral home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile), the island has a population of about 160 people. Economic activities include farming, fishing and tourism, with numerous other small businesses also supporting a vibrant community.
Clare Island’s scenic beauty, pristine beaches, rare flora and gentle Knockmore mountain peak (461m) make it an ideal destination for walkers. Clare Island’s spectacular cliffs are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds and provide the ultimate haven for bird watching. You will have the opportunity to spot gannets, Manx shearwaters, puffins, razorbills, herring gulls, and many other species. Step back in time at Granuaile’s Castle, ramble along the Archaeological Trail, give the Heritage Tour and whiskey tasting a bash, soak up some history at the Abbey, and try one of the looped walks for an unforgettable day.
Day 4 | 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. In the afternoon, transfer to Shannon Airport for our flight departing at 5.25pm. Land in Malta at 10.10pm.