Tuesday | Check-in at the airport at 0345 hrs (3.45 a.m) for the Ryanair flight to Shannon departing at 0545. On arrival, meet up with our representative at Shannon airport and drive to Galway City. Besides being a popular seaside destination 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. You may wish to visit the Galway City Museum followed by a stroll by the Spanish Arch. After enough free time we shall then transfer to Westport B&B for room check-in and dinner (optional).
Wednesday | After breakfast we shall begin the day with a visit to the pretty village of Cong, where the 1952 Oscar-winning movie, The Quiet Man, was filmed. Proceed to Knock Marian Shrine, one of the few Marian sites recognized by the Vatican. We shall then visit the charming Ballintubber Abbey, founded in 1216 by King Cathal Crovderg O’Connor. This is one of the oldest Cathedral’s in Ireland and is also the place where actor Pierce Brosnan got married.
Thursday | After breakfast, start the day with a visit to the Doolough Valley Famine Memorial. This stone memorial, in the form of a simple stone cross was erected in memory of the victims of the famine in this area. Next stop is at the stunning Aasleagh Falls, a picturesque waterfall located on the River Erriff near Killary Harbour. Killary Fjord dramatically surrounded by mountains that rise steeply from the water’s edge stretches 16 kilometres inland to the picturesque village of Leenane. Here we shall visit the Sheep & Wool Centre. We then proceed to Kylemore Abbey, originally built as a castle in 1867, Kylemore Abbey and the surrounding mountains and lakes are steeped in history. Next stop will be the Connemara National Park which features over 2000 hectares of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and forests. Optional trek to truly appreciate its beauty.
Friday | Day at leisure in Westport, a charming small town enjoying fabulous picturesque views and designated as a heritage town. Unusual for Ireland, is that it is one of only a few planned towns in the country. The most notable feature of his town plan is the tree-lined boulevard, the Mall, built on the Carrowbeg River. You may also wish to visit Westport House and Gardens one of the few still privately-owned historic houses left in Ireland. Westport House was built by the Browne family whose connections to Mayo date back to the 1500s and even relates them to the trail-blazing pirate queen and chieftain, Grace O’Malley.
Saturday | Visit the National Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, an award-winning museum all about discovering the story of Irish country life between 1850 and 1950. We then visit Newport, a heritage town at the heart of the Great Western Greenway. Finally we visit Achil Island which enjoys great scenery full of incredible beaches amidst magnificent mountain landscape
Sunday | Today we shall visit Foxford Woollen Mills and Factory Outlet located in the small picturesque town of Foxford, County Mayo. After we then visit Rosserk Abbey, a national monument and a preserved Franciscan friary, followed by a stop at the ruins of Moyne Abbey. We shall then enjoy a visit of Killala, a picturesque seaside village and whose skyline is dominated by a 12th century round tower. We then visit the magnificent heritage site of Downpatrick Head, a place of spectacular scenic and geological importance and is one of the noted locations on the West of Ireland’s world renowned “Wild Atlantic Way”. The sea stack is one of the most photographed cliff areas in Ireland.
Monday | After breakfast we offer an interesting excursion as we visit the town of Sligo which straddles the Garavogue River where it meets Sligo Bay. It is known for its literary heritage and rugged countryside. We then visit Parke’s Castle, a restored early 17th century castle that occupies a striking setting on the northern shores of Lough Gill. Proceed to Glencar Waterfall famous for being an inspiration to Ireland’s greatest poet William Butler Yeats and features in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’. The waterfall reaches 50ft high and is situated at Glencar Lough. It creates a truly magical atmosphere. A short, picturesque wooded walk offers varied viewing platforms to enjoy the waterfall.
Tuesday | After an early breakfast and room check-out we head to Shannon Airport for our flight departing at 0910. Arrival in Malta should be at 1350 (1.50pm).