Phone: (607) 756-8676
Our Experience, Your Discoveries
We want to show you the world, and to have you truly inspired by it - exploring its breathtaking diversity. Our enthusiasm is stronger than ever to reach out and expand your horizons.
We hope you accept this invitation and join us on one of our journeys so that our experience becomes one of your many discoveries.
County Clare and County Mayo
This is a unique itinerary combining County Mayo and County Clare. The tour starts in County Mayo with the traditional itinerary of ancient abbeys, thatched cottages, and the Town of Westport. You then travel south to the Loophead Peninsula, County Clare, an area of outstanding natural beauty and cultural heritage. This is not your typical, tourist trip of Ireland. The areas are considered remote, breathtaking, tranquil, and the true Ireland. The Loophead Peninsula in West Clare is a place of natural beauty, tranquility, and has breathtaking coastal scenery. On the Peninsula there are places to visit such as the Loophead Lighthouse, The Bridges of Ross, The Ionad Cois Cuain Memorial Garden, and The Five Pilots Memorial in Kilbaha and The Little Ark. You then spend your last day with a visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, spending the last evening in Ennis, not far from Shannon Airport.
Olcan Masterson, a walking authority on the history of western Ireland, has spent many years exploring the hills and back roads of the area. An accomplished musician as well, he has spread traditional Irish music all over Europe and the U.S. with his flute and tin whistle. Mostly though, he is a living embodiment of Irish charm and hospitality. He will show you the spirit and soul of Ireland, as few visitors will ever experience it. You will get a view of the land and the culture that comes with living it, not merely visiting it.
Day 1: U.S.
Your journey to Ireland begins with an overnight flight from the U.S.
Day 2: Shannon – Hillcrest House, Westport
Flights from the U.S. arrive early in the morning at Shannon International Airport, where you will be met and driven north to Westport, on the shores of Clew Bay. (D)
Days 3 - 6: County Mayo
Each day you will visit some of these typical areas from your home base at Hillcrest House. It is not possible to see everything during each tour, as you will also take time for unscheduled stops. Your guide will plan each day considering the interests of the group, and special events taking place during your time in Ireland. Groups have frequented such events as horse races at Ballinrobe, a cattle auction, open-air festivals, and last year’s highlight was the ‘Tour de Ireland’ bicycle race.
Hillcrest House lays half way between the City of Westport and the Village of Newport. Both capture the flavor of true Irish towns with their tree-lined canals and colorful shops. After a stop in Westport we drive along the shores of Clew Bay, stopping at Murrisk Abbey, at the foot of Croagh Patrick. Ireland’s Holy Mountain, named after the national saint, is one of Mayo’s best-known landmarks. Later in the day we will be at the ocean on the west coast of Mayo at a remote rocky shore called Barnabawn Point.
Ballintubber Abbey, or Baile Tobair Padraig, in Irish, is one of the oldest Abbeys in Ireland dating back to the twelfth century, named for the natural spring nearby, where St. Patrick baptized his first Irish converts.
Driving north today, your first stop will be along the ocean on the Atlantic drive in Mulranny. After lunch on Achill Island continue along the ocean and wind up at the deserted famine village at Keel. Achill Island is the largest island off the Irish coast. To get there, drive over the bridge at Achill Sound, wrought by wind and water, the island is an arrangement of rock, cloud, and cliffs falling off to the sea.
Today visit one of the few remaining round towers in Ireland, Turlough, standing amid a field of ancient carved gravestones. Nearby is the new Museum of Country Life, one of Ireland’s National Museums, well worth the stop.
Along the shores of Doo Lough and the Connemara Mountains, you will see some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Ireland. After lunch in the town of Louisburgh, spend the afternoon in the Sheeffrey Wood, a place where we must be careful not to disturb the leprechauns who inhabit the forest.
You can spend an entire day in the old city of Galway, where winding streets of antique shops and art galleries will entice you. You will find many handcrafted items such as traditional Irish sweaters, prints, and pottery, or shops filled with books or Irish music. Be sure to take at least one piece of Ireland home with you. Galway is a lively city that may even present you with dancers and musicians performing in the streets and alleyways. If it is boats you are looking for, the river nearby is lined with colorful examples to photograph. (B, D)
Days 7 - 9: County Clare
You leave Hillcrest House early this morning, and drive to County Clare. The next three evenings will be spent at a four-star Irish eco-lodge on the Loophead Peninsula. Each unit has two ensuite bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and half bath; the lodge boasts wildlife and photography library, binoculars, telescopes, and a private indoor pool. The lodge offers a chance to develop the art of landscape and nature photography in a wonderful environment for creativity and inspiration.
There will be opportunity to explore around the lodge on Poulnasherry Bay, a tidal inlet of the Shannon Estuary. Also located near the estuary is, Carrigaholt Castle, a tall, well-preserved tower house built around the end of the fifteenth century by the Chiefs of the MacMahon Clan. County Clare offers dramatic seascapes, views surpassing the Cliffs of Moher, avoiding the many tour buses there. Kilkee is an Irish holiday town, boasting a crescent-shaped beach of soft sand. South of Kilkee, begin our journey traveling the coast road around the loop head. You will have views of sea stacks, natural bridges, caves and ragged islands off the coast. Ending the day at the Loop Head lighthouse, after passing unusual islands that rise straight out of the water and sport flat, grassy tops.
Traveling along the loop you will find 600-foot cliffs at Castle Point, and the stunning archway carved by relentless waves at the Bridge of Ross. In Kilbaha is the Church of the Little Ark, a mobile church used when Catholic services were banned in Ireland. There will be opportunity to take a break in the charming street scenes in Kilrush, Milltown Malbay and Kilkee, towns renowned for their distinct traditions of Irish music and storytelling. Overnights NatureQuest Cottages, (B, 2 picnic L)
Day 10: Kilkee – Ennis – Bunratty Castle
The last day in Ireland you will drive to the town of Ennis for a bit of photography before continuing on to Bunratty Castle near Shannon Airport. The castle is surrounded by a folk park with thatched roof cottages, beautiful flower boxes, and traditional Irish store fronts, complete with models in customary dress. For those participants wishing to do a bit of shopping before returning home, there are plenty of duty free shops just outside the park. Returning to Ennis for accommodations close to the Shannon Airport. (B)
Day 11: Ennis – Shannon – U.S.
You will be transported back to Shannon Airport for early afternoon flights back to the U.S. (B)
The Dingle Peninsula, a remote finger of pure countryside, is a magical place. It has mountains, rugged coastline, small towns of character, and a remarkable concentration of prehistoric and early Christian monuments.
Days 1 - 3: Dingle
We continue on to the Dingle Peninsula, which thrusts out into the Atlantic, claiming Ireland’s most westerly point. Here, majestic hills soar over vast bowls of unspoiled valleys, glittering mountain streams tumble down to lakes, summer hedgerows blaze with fuchsias, and soft, golden beaches stretch for miles.
The region boasts of some 2000 prehistoric and early Christian remains. Make your way along the lovely Slea Head Drive, looking out onto the resplendent Blasket Islands, offering us a grand land and seascape. There will be majestic ocean views, along with overwhelming Iron Age and early Christian rocks and ruins. Clustered on hillsides over the cliffs are beehive-shaped stone huts built by monks as a place of worship. Those interested in a broader perspective of the Dingle Peninsula may take an optional tour at the Gallarus Oratory, dated between 800 and 1200 AD, and view a wonderful aerial video of Dingle’s historic sites. The oratory is the most complete example of early Christian architecture to be found anywhere in Ireland, and is in the form of an upturned boat. The bed and breakfast accommodations are just a ten-minute walk to the Town of Dingle, where the harbor and painted storefronts will delight your senses. Overnights Dingle (B)
Day 4: Dingle - Shannon
You will take a leisurely drive back to Shannon, having time for unscheduled stops through small villages, perhaps Adare to see the many thatched roof cottages. (B)
Day 5: Shannon - U.S.
You will be transported back to Shannon Airport for early afternoon flights back to the U.S. (B)
Hillcrest House: all tour participants share two spacious bathrooms, while each room has a sink with hot and cold running water. NatureQuest: two en-suite bedrooms in each of three cottages. With limited rooms it may be necessary to share a room at NatureQuest, this will be determined with final participant count. A partial single supplement would then be refunded.
Food & Drink
While in Ireland you will be treated to true Irish flavors at Hillcrest House, County Mayo and NatureQuest Lodge, County Clare; both provide a homelike quality that will add to the relaxed atmosphere of the trip. You will enjoy traditional Irish breakfasts and dinners during your stay at Hillcrest House. Lunch will be at various restaurants and pubs, or we can stop in town and have a picnic lunch wrapped for our daily excursions in the field.
Tour land cost: $2,595 US Dollars based upon minimum of 5 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.
Single room supplement: $295; single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.
Extension land cost: $0 based upon minimum of paying participants.
Note: The land costs on international tours is based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.
Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds
A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic programs) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.
Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities listed as optional, or those taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, film or processing, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.
Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties.
Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.
Fitness and Health
If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).
You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.
Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.
Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.
There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.
Subject to Change
This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best this destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Above is a summary of typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.