Cliffs of Moher

Wild Ireland

Nature & Wildlife
Small Ship Cruises
Cliffs of Moher

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Wild Ireland

Discover Ireland’s ancient wonders, sublime landscapes, unique geology, prolific birdlife, and charming villages as you journey along the island’s scenic west coast. This voyage may be combined with Wild Scotland for a comprehensive view of the region.

Daily Itinerary

Wild Ireland

  • Day
    1

    Dublin

    Check in to the The Shelbourne Dublin, with the rest of the day at leisure to explore Dublin on your own. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner. (D)

  • Day
    2

    Dublin / Waterford / Cork / Embark the Greg Mortimer

    Take a drive through scenic countryside to Waterford for a visit to the renowned House of Waterford Crystal where you may watch master craftsmen at work. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Cork and embark the Greg Mortimer.

  • Day
    3

    Ballinskelligs

    The Ballinskelligs Priory was founded in the 12th century by monks who moved to the mainland from Skellig Michael after numerous Viking attacks. A number of buildings still remain, including a church, tower house, parts of the cloister, a large domestic hall, and cemetery, most of which dates from the 15th century. On a clear day, views across the bay are simply spectacular.

  • Day
    4

    Cliffs of Moher

    The dramatic Cliffs of Moher soar to over 700 feet above the crashing Atlantic and offer some of Ireland’s most stunning scenery. These rugged cliffs are part of a UNESCO Global Geopark and serve as an important nesting site for over 20 species of seabirds, including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, and Atlantic puffins. Step ashore for walks through this magical landscape, where wildflower-studded meadows give way to wind-whipped clifftops with amazing views of the surf-pounded coast.

  • Day
    5

    Inishmore, Aran Islands / Killary Fjord

    This morning, arrive at Inishmore, largest of the three Aran Islands, and an outpost of Gaelic culture, where Irish-speaking residents live in traditional stone cottages. Tour the 5th-century Dún Aengus Fort, a prehistoric stone fort dramatically situated at the edge of 300-foot cliffs, the Heritage Museum, and several monastic sites. Permission pending, cruise through Killary Fjord, which extends 10 miles from the Atlantic to the quaint village of Leenane. Keep an eye out for resident bird species such as ringed plovers, mute and whooper swans, tufted ducks, and barnacle geese.

  • Day
    6

    Clew Bay, County Mayo

    Today, set out to explore scenic Clew Bay, dotted with 365 low-lying islands—limestone drumlins formed during the last Ice Age. Join naturalists for a walk in Ballycory National Park, which boasts one of the largest Atlantic blanket bog systems in Europe, keeping an eye out for Greenland white-fronted geese, peregrine falcons, and corncrakes. This evening, cruise among the windswept islands along the jagged Connemara Coast, an area once described as, “a place of savage beauty” by Oscar Wilde.

  • Day
    7

    County Donegal

    Today, visit Malin Head, the most northerly point of the island of Ireland. Here you will find a variety of waterfowl as well as a watchtower built during the Napoleonic Wars and a signal station built in 1902. Continue to Glencolmcille to view a thatched-roof replica of a rural Irish village with cottages from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, a reconstructed school house, and a tiny pub.

  • Day
    8

    Portrush, Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland / Disembark / Belfast

    Disembark in Portrush and travel overland to the World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway. This three-mile section of coastline is a geological masterpiece—some 40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns of varying heights line the coast and descend like a staircase into the sea. After lunch, continue to Belfast and check in to the Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast for dinner and overnight.

Accommodations

Greg Mortimer

Greg Mortimer

As a modern and custom-designed ship, the 130-guest Greg Mortimer is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. Robust, powerful and built with guests in mind, the Greg Mortimer is built to world-class polar standards. Built with the environment in mind, the ship features a Tier 3 engine, (which gives off 80% less emissions than typical engines) lower energy consumption, high fuel efficiency, reduced light pollution for minimal wildlife disruption, and lower onboard plastic use. The ship has state-of-the-art virtual anchoring technology, meaning the ship can hold its position using its own propellers and thrusters while launching Zodiacs and kayaks without disturbing the sea floor. All staterooms feature an oceanview, en suite bathrooms, personal storage options, twin and double-bed configuration options, and ample storage.

Field Leaders

Brent Stephenson

Brent Stephenson

Expedition Leader

Brent was born in New Zealand and has been a birder since childhood. In 2005 he completed a goal he had from a young age, with the conclusion of his Ph.D., studying the breeding biology of Australasian gannets in New Zealand. This further heightened his interest in seabirds, and in 2003, along with Sav Saville, he rediscovered the “extinct” New Zealand storm-petrel, a bird known previously from only three museum specimens collected during the 1800s. With support from National Geographic, he led a team conducting further research on this enigmatic seabird. His passion for travel, birds, and the ocean has led him to many corners of the world working on small Expedition ships. It’s a great way of seeing remote and inaccessible places and their wildlife. Brent has traveled to many parts of the world, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, including Australia, Solomons, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, French Polynesia, China, Americas, and Africa, and worked on ships in many of these places. His passion and knack for wildlife photography has led to increasing publication of photos and articles in books and magazines, both within New Zealand and overseas. When not working on ships and traveling, Brent lives between Napier and Buffalo, and spends much of the southern summer in New Zealand, where he co-owns and runs Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ.  In 2013, with co-author Paul Scofield, he completed Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide.

Tom Sharpe

Tom Sharpe

Geologist

Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Tom is a graduate of the universities of Glasgow and Leicester and has spent the last 35 years as a geology curator in the National Museum of Wales. He is a Chartered Geologist, a Fellow of the Geological Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, as well as a member of a dozen other geological and polar societies. Tom has over three decades of experience of interpreting geology for a wide range of audiences, through talks, lectures, field trips, exhibitions, and publications.

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

Ornithologist

Jim hails from the seaside town of Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. He is a highly respected ornithologist and ecologist with more than 40 years of birding experience in Ireland, Europe, USA, Africa, the Antarctic, and the Arctic. Before setting out as a full-time freelance wildlife author, tour guide, and broadcaster, Jim had a career in medical laboratory science and pathology IT administration. He has written a number of books including, The Birds of Ireland – A Field Guide (2013), Shorebirds of Ireland (2009), Irish Garden Birds (2008) and An Identification Guide to Irish Whales and Dolphins (2006). He has produced two educational DVDs, Bats of Ireland (2009) and Whales and Dolphins of Ireland (2004). He also co-produced an iPhone app called Antarctic Wildlife Guide (2015), the first photo-ID guide app to the birds, whales, dolphins, and seals of the Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the Beagle Channel, and Ushuaia. As well as being involved in many national and international conservation projects, he set up the long-running national Irish Garden Bird Survey. He was national chairman of Birdwatch Ireland, Ireland’s equivalent of the Audubon Society and is a former director of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

 

From: $6,990 per person
Duration
8 Days, 7 Nights
Guest Capacity
130 Guests
Trip Type
Sea

Trip Highlights

  • Photograph some Ireland's most stunning scenery, including the Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark.
  • Watch for a variety of seabirds—puffins, gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes, and more—crowding the dramatic cliffs and offshore islands.
  • Visit Giant’s Causeway where some 40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns descend like a staircase into the sea.
  • Discover important archaeological monuments including the Ballinskelligs Priory, Dún Aengus Fort, and the heritage village at Glencolmcille.
  • Explore tiny, traditional villages to learn about daily life and raise a pint in the pub with welcoming locals.