On this unique exploration of the northern coastline, you will learn the history of conflict in Northern Ireland, visit castles and historical sites, spend the night on an island with a bird sanctuary, and walk some of the most pristine landscapes, wild coastlines, and beautiful beaches in the world. You'll also spend some time sightseeing in Dublin on a private walking tour of the city.

Highlights

  • Take a private walking tour of Dublin City
  • Explore the geological wonders of the Giant's Causeway
  • Spend a night on quiet Rathlin Island
  • Visit Malin Head, the northernmost point of Ireland
  • Walk along the dramatic cliffs of Slieve League

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Exploring Dublin Dublin
Day 2 Belfast Belfast
Day 3 Antrim's highlights Antrim
Day 4 The Giant's Causeway Antrim
Day 5 Rathlin Island Rathlin Island
Day 6 Malin Head - Ireland's Northernmost point Donegal
Day 7 Glenveagh National Park Donegal
Day 8 Sligo & Lough Gill Sligo
Day 9 Sligo's megalithic sites Dublin
Day 10 Departing Dublin  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Exploring Dublin

Dublin Temple Bar
Outside Dublin's Temple Bar

Welcome to Ireland! Dublin offers the urban explorer plenty to discover, with private walking tours, historical sites, restaurants, and shops for all tastes. Get away from the city to kayak on the River Liffey, the waterway which forms the city’s main artery. On the right tide, you can explore as far as Guinness Brewery and the incredible green spaces of Phoenix Park.

Day 2: Exploring Belfast

An overhead view of Belfast Harbor

In the morning, a guide will take you to begin your journey north to Belfast, stopping along the way to take in some interesting historic sites. Depending on what time you get into Belfast, you may choose to go straight to your hotel and freshen up, or visit the Titanic Museum in the late afternoon or early evening.

For a panoramic view of Belfast city, visit Cave Hill Country Park. Cave Hill has become synonymous with Belfast, with its imposing outline visible throughout the city. The landmark, named for the five caves located on the sides of the cliffs, contains a wealth of natural, archaeological, and historical features, including Belfast Castle. This evening, be sure to check out Belfast's famous Crown Liquor Saloon, a perfectly preserved Victorian pub.

Day 3: Antrim's highlights

Antrim Coast
The ruggedly beautiful Antrim Coast

A black cab tour of Greater Belfast's historical sites in the morning is a must. This tour includes the political murals and the peace line, a series of historically important sites in Ireland's history. In the afternoon, you will leave Belfast and begin traveling towards the Glens of Antrim. Along the way, stop in to visit Glenarm Castle for tea and scones before continuing on to explore the Dark Hedges, as featured in Game of Thrones, and coastal Gobbins Path. Tonight, you'll stay in a hotel overlooking the Giant’s Causeway.

Plan your trip to Ireland
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 4: The Giant's Causeway

Giants Causeway
Otherworldly landscapes at the Giant’s Causeway

The iconic Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ranked alongside Mount Everest and the Giant Redwoods of California for its importance to humankind. Steeped in history and mythology, this site is best visited either early in the morning or later in the evening after the crowds have gone.

A visit to Dunluce Castle is a must here. This 14th-century castle is built on a clifftop with ocean waves crashing at its base. Then stop in Old Bushmills Distillery, Ireland's oldest working distillery, to discover the traditional way of making whiskey. Take a brisk walk along the beach on Port Stewart to clear the head and work up an appetite before dining in any of the fantastic local eateries this evening.

Day 5: Rathlin Island

Ratlin Island
Morning mist over Rathlin Island

Many tales of myth and mystery surround Rathlin Island, though the most famous tells of Robert the Bruce. In 1306, Edward I of England drove the Scottish King, Robert the Bruce, from Scotland. He took refuge on Rathlin, where he came upon a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. On the seventh try, it succeeded. Taking heart from the spider’s efforts, he returned to Scotland and eventually regained his crown. 

Ferrying to the island today, your loop will include the bird sanctuary, home to an adorable resident puffin colony in season, and the stunning western lighthouse.

Day 6: Malin Head - Ireland's northernmost point

Malin Head
HIking on Malin Head

Head into rugged Donegal to stand at Malin Head, the northernmost point of Ireland. A wild and windswept landscape peppered with ancient archaeological remains, Malin Head served as the backdrop for the 2017 Star Wars film. Your hike will climb over rugged hills and past dramatic coastal cliffs.

Day 7: Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh Castle
The beautifully isolated Glenveagh Castle

Glenveagh National Park is a hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls, and enchanted native oak woodland. Wander along the shores of the lake to the mystical Glenveagh Castle. Here you will have the opportunity to explore the gardens before continuing your walk beyond the castle walls, passing abandoned settlements on a winding path through the Derryveagh Mountains.

In the early evening, take a jaunt to the top of some of the highest cliffs in all of Ireland, Slieve League. Standing at 1,972 feet, these cliffs are nearly three times the elevation of the Cliffs of Moher

Day 8: Sligo & Lough Gill

Lough Gill
Sweeping views over Lough Gill

Following in the footsteps of the poet William Butler Yeats, you will explore the landscape that inspired him. Take in deserted islands with romantic ruins with a gentle half-day kayak tour on the lake at Lough Gill. Paddle past ancient woodlands and enjoy an island picnic. Later, visit the surfing hub of Strandhill where you will hike the short distance to visit the supposed grave of Queen Maeve, a legendary warrior queen, to enjoy incredible views across Sligo Bay towards Donegal.  

Day 9: Sligo's megalithic sites

The West of Ireland
Green fields and hills in the west of Ireland

It's time to say goodbye to the west today and begin your journey back to Dublin. Start with a morning visit to some of the megalithic sites dotted around Sligo. The sites of Carrowkeel and Carrowmore pre-date the pyramids of Giza, and Sligo is known for having one of the highest concentrations of megalithic sites in Ireland. 

Later, you will continue on to Dublin where your guide will say goodbye at your hotel and leave you to explore and enjoy your last night in Ireland.

Day 10: Departing Dublin

After one last Irish breakfast, your airport transfer will pick you up from your hotel in time for your flight home. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Exploring Dublin and the Northern Coastline - 10 Days
Map of Exploring Dublin and the Northern Coastline - 10 Days