Travel With Me to Ireland For a Unique Adventure

January 28, 2022   Comments Off on Travel With Me to Ireland For a Unique Adventure

Note: This tour for 2022 is currently full. You can join a waitlist here. And join my Ottsworld Tours mailing list here for updates on future Ottsworld Tours.

Normally I ask people to ‘travel with me’ figuratively; follow my travels on social media and read my stories in my blog. However, this time when I say ‘travel with me’ I mean I want you to pack your bags and come with me…really!   I’m excited to announce that after a couple of years of COVID hiatus, I’m going back to Ireland this year and hoping you will join me!

Why Ireland?

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. 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. Demure, yet saucy. A gracious hostess with an untamed spirit. She can bring an idyllic moment of pure pastoral contentment or nail biting panic on a twisting one lane cliff-side road. This lady keeps you guessing. And that is part of her charm.

I drove Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way solo for 3 weeks and fell in love with the Irish landscapes and the people. It has a little of everything I love; dramatic landscapes, a rural background, small towns, and a local culture that is really welcoming.

Ottsworld Ireland Hiking Tour

To really experience Ireland – you need to feel it – feel its land, its rain, its temperate climate and most of all – its soul. This is a country that cannot be rushed and exploring it on foot is one of the best ways to experience it. This allows you the opportunity to meet the “locals”, come face to face with thousands of years of history and see what it is that makes Irish people so unique.

I have partnered with my friends at Ireland Walk Hike Bike to put together an Ottsworld tour that would bring landscapes, hiking, local culture, and unique touches together in a 7 day customized tour. I hiked with Ireland Walk Hike Bike on my first trip to Ireland and they were a integral piece of why I fell in love with Ireland. Their guides are local and welcoming and I love their approach to active travel. When I decided to go back and do a tour in Ireland, I knew immediately I wanted to work with them and utilize their Ireland hiking expertise to put together something incredibly ‘Ottsworld’!

Trip Summary – September 10-17, 2022

county Mayo Map
County Mayo is in dark green

The trip will whisk you from Dublin to County Mayo, a spectacular peninsula and stretch of coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way. What’s that – you haven’t heard of County Mayo? That’s exactly why I chose it! It’s a hidden gem away from the heavily traveled sites in Ireland.

While most people head to Kerry or the Cliffs of Moher, we’ll have the beautiful coastline of County Mayo all to ourselves.

“Mayo has wild beauty and haunting landscapes, but you’ll find few tourists here, which means there are plenty of untapped opportunities for exploration by car, foot, bicycle or horseback.”

Lonely Planet

Ottsworld Ireland Tour Highlights

First off – this is not your run of the mill Ireland tour. This is an exclusive customized Ottsworld tour in the company of me (who will be giving photography classes along the way) accompanied by our professional Irish guide – Rachel, visiting some of Ireland’s best kept secrets.

The Hikes

You’ll experience 3 very different hikes (coastal, mountain summit, and woods) as well as a day of biking on remote little country roads.

Hiking level – Moderate – These hikes will take you across open-mountain and bogland (wet conditions). The terrain is varied and each day will have uphill and downhill hiking, some of which may be steep. The maximum height we reach is 950 metres (3,100 feet) approx. This grade is suitable for people with a good level of fitness and capable of walking up to 20kms (12.5 miles) a day.

Biking Level – Comfortable – Suitable for those who simply would like to explore a region by bike at their own pace. The cycling is mainly on flat routes. This activity is designed for those that do not cycle on a regular basis but have a reasonable level of fitness.

Food & Drink

Ireland tour county mayo

Ireland doesn’t get the respect it deserves for food. You’ll be treated to great restaurants throughout the tour. Even I was surprised at the level of culinary experiences we were receiving! You’ll experience high class gastronomy as well as small town cooking (like Mary’s special pie in the tiny town of Ballycastle).  We’ll also be learning to cook some of the delicious foods and specialties from a well known local chef and get home cooked dinners.

You won’t go thirsty either.  After our special whiskey appreciation class, we will have plenty of time to sample the local whiskeys as well as Guinness!

Photography Instruction and Professional Photos for You to Keep

I offer photography instruction to anyone interested in learning more about composition, and getting off auto.  In addition you will also get all of the photos I take of the trip for you to keep

Our Awesome Local Guide

When you have the right guide, it can ‘make’ an entire trip! Rachel is the ultimate outdoor guide. She’s an incredible athlete and such a wonderful advocate of her home region in County Mayo. One of my favorite things about staying in Ballina is that it is the town she grew up in (and still lives there) and with that comes incredible local connections. In fact, we will have special cooking class from her mother. It doesn’t get much more local than that! Plus, Rachel ensures that we know everyone in town introducing us to the bartenders when we go into a pub, restaurant owners, and even the local guy who smokes fish.

Dates

September 10 to 17 2022

Beginning/Ending Point

You will start and finish in Dublin.

Space is Limited

This is a small group tour – only 7 people + me!  The space will fill up fast so sign up quickly.

What’s Included

  • 7 nights stay in an en-suite room at our premium hand-picked accommodations.
  • Delicious Full Irish breakfast each morning.
  • 4 Picnic Lunches.
  • 4 sumptuous evening meals in the region’s top restaurants.
  • 6 days activities with an expert Irish guide who will accompany the group for the duration of the holiday
  • All experiences as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Courtesy transfers to and from each day’s walking locations and all transport as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Basic photography instruction during the trip.
  • Access to a full gallery of photos (shot by me!) of the entire trip, you can use for personal purposes.

What’s not Included

• Flights to/from Dublin
• Travel Insurance
• Some dinners
• Personal drinks
• Medical costs
• Gratuities


The tour is currently fully booked. However, you can be added to the waitlist in case a spot opens up.

Cost is 2,300 Euro*

Prices are per person sharing – it’s more fun to share and make new friends! However, if you want to lodge on your own, the single room Supplement – 300 Euro*.

When you click “Book Now” you will be taken to the Ireland Walk Hike Bike Website and asked to confirm the trip dates (Sep. 10 to 17).  Pay 150 Euro for the deposit at the time of booking.  The balance will be due 28 days prior to the start date.

Please read the Ireland Walk Hike Bike Cancellation Policy carefully.

*All prices will be charged in the Euro – some USD price fluctuations could occur by the time of your final payment.


Ottsworld tours go to County Mayo Ireland!

What Makes it ‘Ottsworld’

This is not your average tour…it’s an Ottsworld tour. I must confess – that I am sort of a travel snob. I don’t like to do the ‘expected’ or see the typical sights; I like to seek out the unusual, and less traveled. I’ve worked together very closely with Ireland Walk Hike Bike to put together a tour that impresses even me! It has all of my favorite elements in it: hiking, local travel, booze, festivals and photography. Yes – all of this in only 7 days!

Hiking
I believe travel should be active, which is why I love hiking trips! It’s a way to slowly connect with the landscape and culture. We have a minimum of 3 days of hiking on this 7 day trip planned. We may be adding some additional hiking options for people who want even more. Some of the hikes will be moderate to challenging, and some will simply yield incredible views. But we’ll have a guide with us the whole time to help us through and provide local knowledge.

Meet the Locals
We’ve designed the tour to have a lot of local flavor. Our guide grew up in County Mayo and has an intimate understanding of the area and access to some really unique local experience and people. From home cooked dinners by her mom, to advanced whiskey tasting – we’ll meet locals and walk away with a better understanding of what it means to be Irish.

Booze
There will be no shortage of opportunities to try what Ireland is known for (besides potatoes). We’ll have plenty of time to visit pubs listen to music, and drink Guinness each night! In addition, well be touring local distilleries and tasting Irish Whiskeys.

Ireland tour county mayo hiking

Photography
Ireland is a photographer’s dream. I can hardly wait to go back just to take pictures! And since I’ll be participating on this tour with you, I am offering photography instruction along the way for those who are interested. You’ll get tips on composition, shooting in manual mode, various techniques, and personal critique (if you are interested). We may even be able to go over some editing techniques. This is not a photography tour per se, but each evening/morning I will be trying to catch sunrise/sunset and I will be doing photography throughout the tour and am happy to instruct at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What did people say about this Ottsworld Tour?

Ireland tour county mayo hiking

“Definitely a 10! I really enjoyed the fact that the tour was a “white glove delivery” experience- everything was so meticulously planned so we didn’t have to worry about transportation, meals, what we’re doing for the day, or if we’re trying to too much or not enough. I went back to reread the description of the tour (published in May) after we returned home and couldn’t believe that we hit EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. AS. PLANNED.”

“definitely met expectations and also exposed me to things I’m sure I would not have considered if I was planning a trip.”

“It was just right for me, a bit challenging but that’s what I like. The first day was the most beautiful, second the most challenging, third very interesting with the steps through the woods.”

“Food was AWESOME – way better than expected. Appreciated doing things I would not have done on my own”

“Thank you for your patience in helping us capture amazing memories! The only thing I knew before your class was the rule of thirds, and now I have a great foundation of knowledge to build upon- no more point and shoot! Instagram watch out!”

Who Should Consider This Tour?

  • People who like to explore the lesser-known places, and be adventurous and active.
  • People who are flexible.  You should be willing to exhibit flexibility, as itineraries may change due to weather, and it helps if you have a ‘willing to try new things’ attitude.
  • People who don’t mind getting wet or enjoying the excitement of inclement weather.

How much hiking are we talking about?

We currently have 3 hikes planned; however, we may add more options. We will be hiking about 6 to 8 miles a day with elevations gains of 800 to 2600 feet. This won’t be too hard, and it won’t be too easy – that makes it pretty moderate.

What will the weather be like?

Ireland’s climate is influenced most by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitude would have. The average temperature is a mild 53°F. However it can have wild swings in wind and rain all within a day. Ireland’s weather is moody.

The weather will be the weather. The average temperatures in September are 45 to 55F. Perfect for hiking! However, it may be rainy and stormy and windy – but that is Ireland. The country can throw a lot of different moody weather your way – but I find that exhilarating. There will be some sunny days, there will be some rainy days in Ireland. You will need to be flexible as some days the itinerary may change due to weather.


The tour is currently fully booked. However, you can be added to the waitlist in case a spot opens up.


Ottsworld tours go to County Mayo Ireland!

 Detailed Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1:
Your holiday starts in Dublin where your guide will meet you on arrival and transfer you to the vibrant town on Ballina. After settling into your room and taking in the magnificent view over the River Moy and Belleek Woods, take a short stroll around the Quay Village and marvel at the Crete Boom, Ballina’s own concrete ship which keeps watch over the quay. As a welcome to Ireland enjoy a traditional homecooked Irish dinner around the table with the group in Marjorie’s homely kitchen, washed down with an Irish coffee made with Jameson, Ireland’s favourite
whiskey. After diner if you have any energy left, we will hit the town and visit Pat Rouse’s bar, Ballina’s oldest family-owned pub where a traditional Irish music session and singsong will go on late into the night. You may even get the chance to pull your own pint of Guinness.

Accommodation: Ballina Manor Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Note: Flights should arrive in Dublin before 1PM if possible.

Day 2:
After a refreshing sleep and a delicious breakfast. It’s off to hit the trails of Mayo and get our boots dirty for the first time. This region of the Wild Atlantic Way has some of the most dramatic coastline to be found anywhere in Ireland. The hike we will enjoy today was described in Lonely planet as “The finest sustained coastal walk in western Ireland, with a profusion of precipitous cliffs, crags, caves, chasms and islands along the remote North Mayo coast”.

Walk Details – Distance: Up to 13kms. Highest point: 270mts. Paved roads, sandy and gravel tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot.

Next, it’s time to visit the beautifully Ceide Fields which is the oldest, most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, which lies beneath our feet! Consisting of megalithic tombs, fields and houses, the relics are softly covered by a natural blanket bog, which itself is a wonder with its unique flora and fauna. Prepare to be blown away at the viewing platform at the edge of the 110-metre cliff close by.

Now it time to reward you for your days adventure with some delicious home baked treats at Mary’s Cottage Kitchen. The perfect place to stop for some tasty home cooking situated in the coastal village of Ballycastle. Mary’s Cottage Kitchen was built in the early 1800’s and maintains many traditional features such as the stone wall exterior, open loft, exposed beams, flag floors and a good open fire.

Following this delicious stop, you will make your way back to Ballina along the coast with a stop at the iconic Downpatrick head where your guide will bring this place to life with facts and folklore about time gone by.

This evening you can relax and enjoy your evening meal at your leisure.

Accommodation: Ballina Manor Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 3:

The west coast of Ireland has been sheep farming country for 100s of years. This morning you will visit a working sheep farm where you can learn about this way of life that gives so much to the local culture. This farm sits on the shores of Irelands only fjord and hence is a spectacular location where the farmer will also introduce you to the traditional method of harvesting peat which has been the source of fuel for local households for over a thousand years.

In the afternoon it’s your turn to experience a pilgrimage as you hike the iconic mass of Croagh Patrick. No trip to Mayo is complete without a journey to the “Reek” and as it dominates the landscape, so it features in so much conversation around the locality. It is a glorious hike, and those that complete it will have a huge sense of achievement.

For your hike you will be ascending across open mountain following the main Pilgrim Route that most people use from the northern shores of Croagh Patrick. Taken slowly, this is a wonderful route giving terrific views across Clew Bay. Reaching the top of the mountain, you will find the famous Church where you have time to enjoy your triumph & then continue west to descend along a different route if weather allows.

Walk Details – Distance: Up to 8kms. Highest point: 765mts. Gravel tracks, loose scree, rocky & uneven conditions underfoot, muddy trails.

Following your hike, you will return to your hotel where you will have the evening at your liesure.

Accomodation: Ballina Manor Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 4:
After another wonderful breakfast,today you will take the opposite path on the Wild Atlantic Way towards scenic Sligo.

Before travelling to the beginning of your hike enjoy a unique experience on a visit to a local fish monger where you will learn the art of smoking fish from the local expert.

On arrival to Sligo you will hike the wonderful Knocknarea hill and add a stone to the thousands adorning the imposing grave or cairn of Maeve, the great warrior queen, which overlooks Strandhill. On our descent, we’ll walk the beach and check out the surfers and windsurfers in one of Ireland’s premier surf destinations. It’s time to enjoy an organic, fair-trade coffee at the outstanding Shells Café which overlooks the strand, enjoying one of their scrumptious homemade treats. With time to relax and explore this quaint location.

We’ll then take the coastal drive through surf haven Easkey towards Enniscrone and back to Ballina. Dinner this evening is a real treat in the majestic setting of Belleek castle where you will enjoy a delicious meal in the castle cafe.

Accomodation: Ballina Manor Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5:

Wake up to a delicious breakfast, Once you finish breakfast, it’s a short walk to your guide Rachel’s bike shed, where you will be fitted for a bike and we will do a quick briefing of the day ahead. From here, we’ll cycle the Monasteries of the Moy, exploring Belleek woods, Belleek Castle, Rosserk Abbey and the quaint historic port village of Kilalla. There will be lots of occasions to stop off and take pictures and learn about the history and traditions.

For anyone who doesn’t want to cycle today, another option is to chill out and enjoy a relaxing treatment in an award-winning spa (at your own cost).

In the late afternoon there will be the option to enjoy a baking experience in Marjorie’s kitchen, hosted by Rachel’s mother in her kitchen. Marjorie is the author of 4 cookery books and loves nothing more than to share her passion in the kitchen.

This evening you have a real treat before dinner. A whiskey appreciation masterclass, your whisky expert will take you through a selection of Irish Whiskey and educate you on this world-famous spirit and its origins. Taste the different whiskeys and ask any questions you may have. Following the masterclass, you are free to enjoy your evening at your leisure.

Accomodations: Ballina Manor Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 6:

Your destination today is the sleepy village of Slane and the stunning setting of Rock Farm Glamping site.

After time to check in and get comfortable in your luxury Mongolian Yurt you will have a few choices for the afternoon. You can choose to take a beautiful river walk along the banks of the Boyne River and really appreciate the beauty of the region or you can relax and soak up the serenity of the Glamping site. You will be treated to a guided tour of the farm where you will be introduced to the organic farming techniques used and of course the many farm animals that call this place home, as part of the tour you will also enjoy a delicious farm lunch with artisan produce from the farm and local area.

In the late afternoon you will visit Slane Whiskey distillery for a tour and whisky tasting. Tonight’s meal will be a delicious BBQ of local produce paired with local ciders and beers for those who enjoy a tipple.

Accomodation: Rockfarm Slane
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 7:
Today takes you to Dublin City. After checking in to your hotel you will have the afternoon free to explore the city yourself or you can join a guided walking tour if you want to learn more about Dublin City from an expert local guide or do a self guided tour of the city at your own pace. The walking tour will take you to many of the highlights & historical places of interest. This walk will incorporate a visit to St. Patricks Cathedral, Trinity College and other locations of cultural and historical significance.

Enjoy your evening meal in a historic building know converted to a fabulous restaurant before a brilliant literary pub crawl. In the company of a local actors you will visit the pubs frequented by Irelands best lover Playwrights and authors while also being treated to some impromptu performances. A great way to see Dublin’s vibrant pub culture. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to enjoy Dublin city and the nightlife it is world famous for.

Accomodation: Aisling Hotel Dublin
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8:
Following another delicious breakfast, today you will bid farewell to the Emerald Isle. You will be responsible for making your own way to Dublin Airport for your onward flights.

Meals included: Breakfast


The tour is currently fully booked. However, you can be added to the waitlist in case a spot opens up.


If you have any questions – please feel free to contact me at [email protected]  I’m happy to answer anything about the trip!




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