+353 85 1108969

Experience the Irish Culture

Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland (0)
from/per person 649.00
  • Experience Ireland

Description

Immerse yourself in the West of Ireland for a few idyllic days as you come and live with a local on the Wild Atlantic Way. Relax and let your host Rachel organise it all. From delicious food, to outdoor activities, to local Irish culture and heritage, Rachel has it covered! All you need to do is turn up and enjoy this one-off opportunity to experience living as a local.

For five fulfilling days, you’ll feel at one with nature and the friendly Irish people will help you feel right at home as you embrace rural life. And by the time you leave, you’ll have had a taste of Irish life that is guaranteed to leaving you wanting more.

Suitable for:

Singles, couples, small groups, families

Dates this year:

ONE ONLY – Wednesday 11th to Monday 16th April (five nights)

Group size:

Limited to 7 places only for 2017, so BOOK NOW!

Price:

€649 per person sharing (+ €80 single occupancy supplement)

What’s included:

  • Pretty much everything!
  • Five nights’ Bed & Breakfast at Brigown B+B
  • Three delicious meals per day (exception of two evening meals – detailed below)
  • All guided activities, entertainment and transport throughout your trip
  • All you’ll need to pay for is your transport to Ballina, pick-up from and drop-off at Ireland West Airport (Knock) if required, and any extra drinks you’d like with meals or on evenings out.

Schedule

Wednesday (afternoon)

  • Arrive at Brigown B+B (Rachel’s home) to be greeted by Marjorie, Rachel’s mam. Enjoy one of her mouth-watering treats upon arrival with a welcoming cuppa! (Pre-arranged pick-up from Ireland West Airport, or bus/rail services is available upon request)
  • 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.
  • Enjoy a traditional Irish Bacon and Cabbage 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.
  • Learn to pull a pint of Guinness in Pat Rouse’s bar, Ballina’s oldest family-owned pub, followed by a traditional Irish music session and singsong, late into the night.

ballina_accommodation

Thursday:

  • After a refreshing sleep, we’ll kickstart the day with a sunrise guided run with Rachel through historic Ballina, and discover some of its secret gems (optional)
  • Enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast with a choice of 15 menu items in Marjorie’s Kitchen
  • We’ll take a walking tour of Ballina with a local, knowledgeable guide, who will reveal its proud heritage and culture and share some of its secrets!
  • You can then take some time out to visit the Jackie Clarke Collection. Housed in one of Ballina’s most beautiful old buildings, this collection holds over 100,000 items of historical importance collected by the local historian and donated to the townspeople after his death. Don’t miss a viewing of one of the last remaining original copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, read aloud by actor Stephen Rea
  • Stroll through the historic Military Barracks, stopping to read the plaques adorning the walls before partaking of a delicious light lunch in Heffernan’s Fine Foods in the Market Square
  • After lunch, we’ll go on an exclusive, intimate tour of the newly opened Connacht Whiskey Distillery, where the ancient Irish tradition of pot still whiskey has been revived. You’ll learn how whiskey is crafted and matured, and you’ll even get to taste some!
  • After our tour, it’s time to take a walk in the Belleek Woods, one of Ireland’s largest urban woodlands. Planted by the eccentric Knox-Gore family, there is a surprise around every corner.
  • From there it’s down to spooky, historic Belleek Castle for a tour, where we’ll see private dining rooms, decorated in a romantic, opulent style, the Spanish Armada Bar and the Tween Deck, overlooking the magnificent medieval banqueting hall. The highlight will be The Marshall Doran Collection, one of the finest collections of arms and armour, fossils and antiques in Ireland. We’ll also see the Grace O’Malley room and marvel at the last wolf shot in Connacht..
  • We’ll return to Brigown B&B afterwards, where you can take off your shoes and relax with a cuppa before dinner. Marjorie might even read the tea leaves for you!
  • Free evening: Why not choose from a highly recommended local restaurant like Crockets on the Quay just 200 metres away and savour some local cuisine? With a varied menu including lots of fresh seafood, there’s something to satisfy everyone. Afterwards, you could pass away the evening in Keane’s pub next door, mingling with the locals and enjoying a freshly pulled pint of Guinness. And if you’re lucky, John will talk you through his extensive whiskey selection!

Rachel Belleek

Friday:

  • Rise and shine for Marjorie’s Breakfast! Why not try some organic smoked salmon from Clarke’s Salmon Smokery, with locally sourced, organic free-range eggs?
  • Today we’re leaving town. Rachel will take you on the North Mayo trail – prepare to be awestruck by our magnificent, rugged, undiscovered coastline (along the Wild Atlantic Way).
  • Our first stop is Killala, where General Humbert came ashore during the French Invasion of 1798. Marvel at the fully intact Round Tower, and get your first tantalising glimpse of the North Mayo coastline.
  • We’ll continue along the Wild Atlantic Way over the picturesque Palmerstown Bridge towards Lacken strand. This vast, open expanse of sand accommodates concerts and horse races during the year. From here we can gaze across Killala Bay to Enniscrone and dip our toes in the cold Atlantic Ocean.
  • It’s on to Downpatrick Head, and some of the most spectacular sea cliffs you’ll find in Europe. Explore the Spirit of Place Installation, gaze into the gaping blowhole and listen to the ocean gurgle beneath your feet. Learn about the legend of Dún Briste – the Broken Fort or sea stack – where Saint Patrick once upon a time banished an errant chieftain into exile. Say hello to the friendly sheep and feel the sea spray on your face as you take in the vast expanse of the Atlantic.
  • From there, we’ll proceed to the Ballycastle Looped Walk, where the gentle climb through country lanes and forest paths rewards you at its peak with a stunning panoramic vista over the ocean, featuring the sea cliffs in all their glory.
  • Afterwards, we’ll rest our feet and revive, savouring a wholesome homemade lunch and warm welcome in Mary’s Cottage Kitchen in Ballycastle
  • Next, it’s time to visit the beautifully designed Ceide Fields Visitor Centre, which showcases 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 across the road!
  • It’s back on the bus, to reach the start of the rugged Erris Head looped walk. The breath-taking views of Illandavuck Island, Pigeon Rock and the Ooghwee inlet will stop you in your tracks.
  • We’ll try to stay awake on the return drive home – a sing-song is always a good idea!
  • Back at Brigown B&B, Marjorie will be waiting with her apron on. Join her in her famous country kitchen to learn how to prepare a traditional Irish stew. When we’ve mopped up the last morsel from our plates with our fresh, crusty white bread, we’ll savour her scrumptious Brandy and Baileys cheesecake for dessert, before collapsing into an armchair to relax by the fire for the evening.

RIA pic Experience Ireland (2)

Saturday:

  • After Marjorie’s breakfast (today, why not try the world-renowned Kelly’s Black Pudding?), we’ll take the opposite path on the Wild Altantic Way towards scenic Sligo.
  • Together, we’ll climb Knocknarea 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, fairtrade coffee at the outstanding Shells Café which overlooks the strand, enjoying one of their scrumptious homemade treats
  • We’ll then take the coastal drive through surf haven Easkey towards Enniscrone, and stroll along the pier before enjoying a picnic on the beach as Rachel produces a basket packed to the brim with Marjorie’s tasty treats!
  • Then it’s back to Ballina, to change and relax.
  • Free evening: Why not settle into comfortable Dillons Bar and restaurant and feast on some fine local cuisine overlooking the quaint cobbled courtyard?  Let the open fire take the chill out of the evening and savour the warm atmosphere as you share stories about the day’s adventures. After a digestif, you could take to the town and embark on a lively pub crawl, in search of the best traditional Irish music session.

Experience Ireland 3

Sunday:

  • Rise and shine for breakfast, which is known as “bricfeasta’ in Irish (Gaeilge). Today, why not try the fresh homemade pancakes?
  • We won’t have far to go this morning – we’ll just cross the road to gear up for a kayak trip along the river Moy. Examine the fascinating hulking Crete Boom ship, before following the river’s route as it meanders towards Killala Bay, passing the Monasteries of the Moy. Savour the tranquillity as you experience nature and wildlife up close against the colourful forest background.
  • Disembark at Ballina’s deserted Treasure Island, Bartra, for a picnic and enjoy more delicious fresh treats from Marjorie’s Kitchen. Marjorie never stops baking!
  • Free afternoon: It's time to relax and take some time out for you. You could avail of a spa treatment or a soak in the hot tub overlooking the Moy at the Ice House, a stroll in Belleek Woods, a seaweed bath in Enniscrone or have a relaxing afternoon drink in one of Ballina's many traditional watering holes. 
  • On returning to Brigown we’ll enjoy our last evening meal. In the finest of Irish traditions, we’ll cook and eat together around the table and reflect on this unforgettable experience. And make plans for the next one!

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Monday:

Departure after breakfast. Rachel can provide transport to the airport if needed.

Do you like what you see on this tour but can’t make it on these days? Rachel can design one especially for you! Check out our “Build Your Own” page, for a taste of what’s on offer, and contact Rachel  for a callback. She will work with you to design a personalised travel experience on the Wild Atlantic Way that you will never forget! 

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