Six nights; seven days of walking along Ireland’s quiet green hills and narrow footpaths with time to take in the castles, pubs, and magnificent vistas along the way.
“Everything about the trip was first class – especially the warm, gracious, and skillful guides!” – Jean G.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- Ireland’s quiet green hills are laced pathways that take you from one enchanted place to another, through shady glens, wee villages, timeless moorlands, peat bogs, rugged cliffs, mountains, and along miles of white sandy beaches.
- Starting in Belfast, you will first follow the coastal trail, and explore the highlights of the city before embarking on a short drive to County Antrim’s hilly north. You will stop to visit Slemish Mountain, where St. Patrick slaved over his sheep, before visiting the magnificent waterfalls in Glenariff, the most impressive of the Nine Glens.
- The legendary little people and massive giants are rarely seen these days but Irish villagers, including musicians, provide smiles that will light up your day with delightful frequency.
- This is an exceptional opportunity, whose memories you will probably cherish for a long time!
Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.
Moderate walks on easy terrain, including footpaths, beaches, and quiet roads, with some hills. Water resistant footwear can be important. The warmth of Irish hospitality will charm and amaze you.
- DAY 1: Introductions, ~5 km
- DAY 2: ~2.5 km
- DAY 3: ~10 km
- DAY 4: ~4 km
- DAY 5: ~11 km
- DAY 6: Variable
- DAY 7: ~14 km
(Click image to enlarge)
Finish: Belfast, 14:00, day seven. Trains to London (75 minutes), Heathrow, and elsewhere in the UK can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Meet in Belfast this afternoon and transfer a short way to Belfast Castle, from where you will climb Cave Hill to the landmark believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels. D (Meal inclusions shown for guided trips only)
Tara Lodge, Belfast
The Gobbins Path, Glenarm Forest, Ballymena
Early risers can enjoy a morning stroll at the nearby Botanic Gardens. Following breakfast, you will transfer along the coastal road to Glenarm, via Carrickfergus and Larne, with a stop along the way for a guided walk along the exhilarating Gobbins Cliff Path. Afterwards, continue along the coast toward Glenarm, to walk through the forested glen to Glenarm Castle – one of Northern Ireland’s oldest estates. Finish your day at Ballymena where as legend has it the ghost of the headless horseman can be seen on the Crebilly road every Hallowe’en. BLD
Marlagh Lodge, Ballymena
Slemish Mountain, the Glens of Antrim
Start with an invigorating walk at nearby Slemish mountain, the place where Saint Patrick discovered his faith while enslaved as a local chieftain’s shepherd. This afternoon, walk the forested Glenariff, known for its beautiful gardens and fairy lore. A highlight is the Ess-Na-Laragh waterfall at the bottom of the shady glen. From Glenariff, cross the moorland to Glenaan to Ossian’s Grave, just before reaching Antrim’s coast at the picturesque village of Cushendall. Finish with a walk along the shore to the medieval ruins of Layde Church and its burial ground before returning to Ballymena for an evening of independent dining and exploration. BL
Carrick-a-Rede, Ballintoy Harbour, Bushmills
Transfer north to an exciting coastal walk including the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge where it sways precipitously 100 feet above the sea. Follow that excitement with a walk from Ballintoy Harbour along the beautiful beach of Whitepark Bay to the tiny hamlet of Port Braddon. Visit the fantastic Giant’s Causeway on the way to Bushmills, where the Old Bushmills Distillery has been distilling Irish whiskey for more than 400 years! BLD
Bushmills Inn, Bushmills
North Antrim Cliff Path
Walk from Portballintrae along Runkerry Beach to a cliff path above the Giant’s Causeway. Finn McCool, who was trying to get over to Scotland, is reputed to have built this marvel centuries ago. Modern geologists challenge this belief. You can ponder the two origins as you look at it from the clifftop. Continue along the pathway as far at Dunseverick Castle, then return to Bushmills by foot or vehicle, to explore independent dining options. BL
Transfer to Ballycastle to board the ferry to Rathlin Island. Walk the island’s ways while hearing tales of myth, mystery, and lore, including that of a spider who inspired Robert the Bruce and the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” Rathlin has a population of about 150 year-round residents and is also known for its many species of sea birds, including puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills, and fulmars. Other wildlife residents include grey seals, minke whales and golden hares! After a peaceful walk, return to the mainland late this afternoon. BLD
Dunluce Castle, the Ulster Way, transfer to Belfast
Walk from Dunluce Castle along the Ulster Way toward Portstewart where the River Bann meets the sea. After lunch, transfer back to Belfast to conclude this part of your northern Irish adventure. BL
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2023 Guided dates:
- May 14 – 20
- Jun 18 – 24
- Sep 10 – 16
2024 Guided dates:
- Contact us to add your preferred date.
New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Guided: C 4155 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners, luggage handling, van and guide support, maps, taxes
Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Single Occupancy: 1075
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
Ireland’s quiet green hills are laced pathways that take you from one enchanted place to another, through shady glens, wee villages, timeless moorlands, peat bogs, rugged cliffs, mountains, and along miles of white sandy beaches. The legendary little people and massive giants are rarely seen these days but Irish villagers, including musicians, provide smiles that will light up your day with delightful frequency. Starting in Belfast, you will first follow the coastal trail, and explore the highlights of the city before embarking on a short drive to County Antrim’s hilly north. You will stop to visit Slemish Mountain, where St. Patrick slaved over his sheep, before visiting the magnificent waterfalls in Glenariff, the most impressive of the Nine Glens. Following the Antrim Coast, you will visit several picturesque hamlets with fine views across to Scotland, as close as twelve miles away! The Giant’s Causeway, the Carrickarede Rope Bridge, the oldest distillery in the world at Bushmills, and the mystical ruins of Dunluce Castle all contribute to this exceptionally rich experience. On day six, you visit will visit Rathlin Island, a beautiful place with a long and captivating history. Finish back in Belfast, pleasantly tired, and amazed that such an enchanting part of the world has remained so untouched by tourism. This is an exceptional opportunity, whose memories you will probably cherish for a long time!