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West Coast of Ireland

Journey along Ireland's rugged west coast past soaring cliffs and enchanting peninsulas, on this expedition cruise uncovering myths and legends, accompanied by special guest Greg Mortimer, adventurer and co-founder of Aurora Expeditions

Cruise Only
12 nights

Expedition Holiday
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Beach in County Cork
  • Dublin
  • Connemara
  • Giants Causeway

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!


Perched on the edge of the Atlantic, Ireland’s rugged west coast is a journey through hundreds of islands, soaring cliffs, crumbling castles to discover unique flora and fauna.

Hike through spectacular scenery and explore rarely-visited, forgotten islands and an ancient culture of storytelling, mythology and life intertwined with the Atlantic. There may be the chance to land at UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Skelligs, which host a 6th-century beehive hut monastery and an expansive colony of puffins and gannets. Immerse yourself in Irish life, with a unique west coast meal cooked from freshly caught fish and locally-grown-and-foraged produce, and enjoy an authentic 'trad session' of traditional music played by local musicians.

AE110 Operated by Aurora Expeditions


West Coast of Ireland Itinerary IRE001G

Day 1 - Dublin (Ireland)

Arrive in Dublin and transfer to your hotel. Upon check-in, please remind reception staff to provide you with Aurora Expedition cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number so that we can deliver your luggage to your cabin ahead of your arrival.

Day 2 - Dublin

This morning, please take your luggage, clearly labelled with your name and cabin number, down to the hotel lobby by 9am. Your luggage will be collected and transferred directly to the port for clearance, and delivered to your cabin. Please ensure you keep any valuable documents with you throughout the day. Once you have checked out of your hotel, you have free time before meeting in the hotel lobby at 1pm to commence tour of Dublin, before embarking ship late afternoon. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. Sail past Giant’s Causeway, an area of about 40,000 interlocking and stacked basalt columns that resulted from an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. From the ship, we may also see the ruins of medieval Dunluce Castle, located on the edge of a basalt outcrop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 3 - Inishowen Peninsula - Tory Island

The jewel in the crown of Donegal is the Inishowen Peninsula. At the peninsula’s tip is Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point and a wonderful spot for bird watching as you meander along abandoned beaches along this deserted coastline. Continue to Tory Island located off the northwest coast of Donegal. Known simply as ‘Tory’, it’s a place that seems to have frozen in time, ruled by its own elected king. Colm Cille figures prominently in the history of this sacred island which he chose as a place of retreat and meditation for his monks. Interesting historical sites include a round tower that once protected monks from Viking raids, the ruins of St Colmcille’s 6th-century monastery and the intriguing Tau Cross. The island also boasts an abundance of rare bird life and wild flower species. The local islanders themselves always make visitors feel extremely welcome.

Day 4 - Slieve League Cliffs

Slieve League Cliffs, situated on the south west coast of County Donegal, are said to be the one of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe. There are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you walk towards the top of Slieve League.

Day 5 - Mullaghmore

Land and sea meet in dramatic confluence along the coast of County Sligo, a dazzling landscape of jagged mountain peaks that inspired the work of Nobel-winning poet William Butler Yeats. Mullaghmore resides in the shadows of iconic Benbulben mountain, undoubtedly Ireland’s most distinctive mountain, sometimes referred to as Ireland’s own Table Mountain. On the Benbulben Forest Walk (1.5 hours, suitable for all ages and abilities), the trail begins in a secluded forest area before opening out to stunning views of Benbulben head. Further along the walk offers superb panoramic views of Donegal Bay, Slieve League Cliffs, Mullaghmore and Classiebawn Castle. Alternatively, embark on the Mullaghmore Head Walk (2.5 hours, suitable for all ages and abilities). This walk is an easy walk along the stunning coastline of Mullaghmore consisting of a mixture of footpaths, off-road walking trails and public roads, offering stunning panoramic views of Donegal Bay and Slieve League beyond as well as of Benbulben and the Dartry Mountains. In the afternoon, land on one of the offshore islands to see a protected wildlife sanctuary and a 6th-century monastic, where the discovery of a cist burial and carved ‘cursing’ stones suggests prehistoric occupation.

Day 6 - Ceide Fields - Clare Island

Céide Fields contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world – dating back nearly 6,000 years. Visit the remarkable Céide Fields Interpretative Centre, located beside some of the most spectacular cliffs and rock formations in Ireland. Clare Island is a mountainous island guarding the entrance to Clew Bay in County Mayo. Clare is the largest and highest of Clew Bay's many islands, with dramatic coastal cliffs and spectacular views of one of Ireland's best-known peaks, Croagh Patrick. Its spectacular cliffs are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds and its hills, bogs and woodlands make it ideal for hill walking, with a variety of walks and climbs to suit all fitness and interest levels including: Archaeological Trail, Fawnglass Loop and Knocknaveena Loop.

Day 7 - 10 - Connemara

Connemara lets you experience authentic Ireland. On coastal hills walks take in views of soaring mountains, clear turquoise waters and rare flora and fauna. Killary Harbour, carved by glaciers, has been described as Ireland's only true fjord and is a real treat for birdwatching, with nationally important populations of many species, including ringed plover, mute swan, whooper swan, mallard duck, tufted duck, and barnacle goose. Dolphins are often seen in the fjord, along with otters, a protected species that are known to breed at Killary Harbour. Land and explore numerous abandoned or sparsely populated islands off the Connemara coast. Perhaps the most famous of Ireland’s isles, Galway’s Aran Islands are synonymous with traditional Irish culture, language, music and tradition. Famed for their wild landscapes, distinctive knitted jumpers and pretty thatched cottages, the picturesque Aran Islands never fail to impress visitors. The islands form part of one of Ireland’s several protected Gaeltacht regions where Irish rather than English is the spoken language. Explore Inishmore, including a visit to the island's most celebrated monument, Dún Aonghusa, considered to be one of the best examples of its kind in Europe. From Dún Aonghasa, you can walk to the Worm Hole, a natural rectangular shaped pool into which the ocean ebbs and flow at the bottom of the cliffs south of Dún Aonghasa. As we continue our journey south, sail below the towering Cliffs of Moher.

Day 11 - Dingle Peninsula

There are over 2,500 archaeological sites on the Dingle Peninsula, spanning a period from 6,000 BC through to 1700 AD. The area is regarded as having one of the richest concentrations of archaeological monuments in Western Europe. National Geographic once described it as “the most beautiful place on earth”, and more recently was one of the locations where Star Wars was filmed, at Sybil Head. We enjoy a ship cruise at Great Blasket Island, and perhaps launch our Zodiacs allowing us to get closer to the cliffs to look for the huge number of breeding seabirds such as puffins, fulmars, guillemots, storm petrels and shearwaters. In the water, you may be lucky and encounter dolphins, whales, orcas and porpoise. Enjoy a guided tour of some of Dingle Peninsula’s ancient sites including Ogham stones, monastic sites, beehive huts, ringforts, medieval churches, holy wells and Gallarus oratory. Afterwards, visit the renowned Dingle Distillery for a tour of their facility where you can learn about the production process of their gin and vodka as well as enjoy a tasting.

Day 12 - The Skelligs

The spectacular Skellig Islands are world-renowned for their ornithological and archaeological significance. Skellig Michael is known throughout the world of archaeology as the site of a well-preserved monastic outpost. Small Skellig is the home of roughly 27,000 pairs of gannets – the second largest colony of such seabirds in the world. Enjoy a ship cruise around Small Skellig to get a glimpse of the incredible gannet colony on the island. Afterwards, we dock at Portmagee where we plan to visit and land on Skellig Michael. Disembark at Castletown-Bearhaven for late-afternoon hikes at Beara Peninsula. On the Bullig Bay Loop Walk (4 km / 2.5 mi - one hour) enjoy a pleasant mix of farmland, quiet country road and forest tracks, and wonderful views of Bullig Bay and Bear Island. If you’re after a shorter walk, nearby Dinish Island offers a 15-minute walk around the Island.

Day 13 - Cobh

Disembark ship in Cobh where there is a transfer to downtown Cork or the airport.

In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to weather conditions.

Price Includes

  • 11-night full board cruise
  • 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Dublin with city tour (lunch not included)
  • Overseas transfers as mentioned in itinerary
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner on board
  • Unlimited tea and coffee on board
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • Educational lectures from Expedition Team
  • Complimentary 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
  • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees

Price Does Not Include

  • Alcoholic and soft drinks (outside of dinner service)
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Wi-Fi
  • Laundry services
  • Gratuities - $15 per person per day gratuity is automatically added to your onboard account. The amount can be increased or decreased when settling your bill
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
Map for West Coast of Ireland