It was love at first sight. I pretty much fell in love with Ireland the moment I saw her. She seduced me with rolling, emerald, sheep-dotted hills and plains of gray-green stone. She stirred my wild side with reckless winds tearing across rocky cliffs, and underneath her incredible expanse of sky, she stole my heart. She is a land of myth and music – full of lovely, welcoming people with adventurous hearts and a great gift for weaving stories.
I think Ireland is one of the best places to hike and travel in the world. I’m in love with its moody weather, rocky landscapes, storytelling culture, and of course the Guinness isn’t too bad either.
It’s about time I get back to Ireland, and I think 2018 is the year to do it. I’m hoping to spend some more time in Europe in 2018, and I think a stop in Ireland to do some hiking is going to make my itinerary this year!
Why I Want to Go Back for More Hiking in Ireland
As if these pictures aren’t enough to make you want to go back!
After spending a lot of my time driving around the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland on my last trip, I’ve always wanted to go back and focus on hiking in the places that I fell in love with the first time. I love the slower pace of travel when you hike and I love the exercise and connection to the outdoors. It’s a chance to slow down and take things in more intimately. Plus, one of my favorite hiking companies, Ireland Walk Hike Bike, has been tempting me lately with a few of their new hikes.
Why Ireland Walk Hike Bike
I’ve worked with so many big and small companies over the years, but there are a handful that really made an impact with me and I gush about.
Ireland Walk Hike Bike specializes in Ireland hiking tours in a style of hiking I love to do. When I can find a company that offers multi-day hiking where they move your luggage, provide support, get you set up in cute local hotels/B&B’s, and teach you about the area – then that’s a place I want to do multiple trips with. Their guided trips, as well as their self-guided trips, are a great fit for me!
My experiences with Ireland Walk Hike Bike on my original Ireland trip were the highlights of my trip. Not only was I able to explore the Dingle Peninsula with a guide, Linda, who could provide me an immense amount of background, but she also gave me a more in-depth local experience than what I could’ve got on my own. The Guided Hiking Tours in Ireland, specifically the one I did on Dingle Peninsula, was one of my biggest surprises on that trip. Everyone has heard of the Ring of Kerry, however few have heard of the incredible hikes, scenery and history on the Dingle Peninsula. I also did some really memorable self-guided hikes on the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren Self Guided Hike.
However, I think what made those hikes so memorable was the people I was surrounded by. The guides, B&B owners, little pubs I visited, the people who went out of their way to show me their town or introduce me to their families; that’s what makes Ireland so special.
I formed a really great friendship and respect for Ireland Walk Hike Bike’s owners and have always kept an eye on their offerings through the years with the intention of going back to do longer hikes with them. One thing I noticed this year is they have ramped up their ecotourism focus, have added 6 new walks, and I’m totally intrigued with the multiday Ring of Kerry hikes which sort of remind me of a mini Camino de Santiago or Cami de Ronda.
But most intriguing is their new 2-guide format they are introducing this year for their guided hiking tours in Ireland. Let’s face it – two guides are always better than one! For every guided hike they now have two guides so they can better serve the different abilities of guests. This is a cool concept I haven’t seen done by anyone else. Each hiking day you have a choice of doing the normal hike or a shorter less strenuous version, but still are able to meet up and enjoy the whole group experience at the beginning and end of the hiking day. I love this idea, as not only are there always a different array of abilities on a hike, but some days I feel more ambitious than others and it’s great to be able to decide how I’m feeling each day and adjust my itinerary. The hikes are fully supported with transportation, lodging, and some dinners; I can’t wait to try this out!
Why I Want You to Come With Me
Then I started thinking about how much fun I had when I traveled with my father on my last hiking adventure. I love traveling solo and being independent, but it’s so nice to have hiking companions – especially ones I know or have things in common with! I thought about how fun it would be if I could have a few people come with me on a ‘revisit of Ireland’ with a focus on hiking and photography.
For years now I’ve had people ask to travel with me or ask me to run my own tours. My answer has always been “Hell no! I don’t want to organize and lead tours and take care of people; that is not my strength.” However I recently did a presentation with Maurice, the owner of Ireland Walk Hike Bike, and we started talking about having me come back to Ireland and experience some of their cool new offerings. In that conversation we also talked about the possibility of them running a tour for my Ottsworld readers; where they offered their incredible customer service and knowledge – and they took care of everything.
I was intrigued. I had visions of traveling with readers who also had a love for the outdoors, experiencing the local culture, and were interested in photography. Who doesn’t want fun people to hang out with and learn from…and share a few pints of Guinness? I actually started considering running an Ottsworld tour back to one of my favorite places and with a favorite company!
However as much as I like jumping into the unknown and adventure, I also like to test the waters a bit. So I’d love to know if my readers have interest in such a trip; a hiking trip on the west coast of Ireland in October of 2018 with Ireland Walk Hike Bike.
Are you Interested in Doing an Ottsworld Tour?
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I thought it would be good to just gauge interest in an Ottsworld tour in general. If you think you like my travel style and want to travel with me to a few of my favorite places in the world, improve your photography, be active, and travel local – then please consider signing up below to simply show your interest. I’m going to collect this information this January and if there is enough interest then I’ll work on putting an Ottsworld trip together for October of 2018 and offer it to you! I’m simply collecting this information below to email you about future Ottsworld Tour updates.