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Northern Shores (7 Day Tour)

We will hike in the best parts of Northern Ireland: the Giant’s Causeway, the Glens of Antrim, the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, Rathlin Island, waterfalls in Antrim, not forgetting a visit to Bushmills – the world’s oldest legal whiskey distillery.

Prices:US$ 4999
EU€ 5099
Duration: 7 days

2018 Certificate of Excellence

Itinerary Information

Northern Shores Tour Details for 2023
Fri 30 June to Thu 6 July 2023
Depart Dublin Airport 12 noon
Return Dublin Airport 3pm

Duration: 7 days
Sun 13 to Sat 19 Aug 2023

Tour Map: Walking On Northern Shores

Map: Northern Shores

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Tour Highlights

  • 2 days walking in the beautiful Glens of Antrim
  • Waterfalls in the Glens
  • Walking at the Giant's Causeway
  • Official areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • A visit to Rathlin Island
  • Birdwatching at the West Lighthouse
  • A visit to Bushmills Whiskey Distillery
  • Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
  • Traditional music in the pubs
  • 2 nights on the Antrim Coast
  • 2 nights in Cushendall
  • 2 nights in Carlingford

Included In Tour

  • Dublin Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • 6 nights 3-4 star accommodation (en suite)
  • All land transport
  • Return ferry to Rathlin Island
  • 6 guided walks
  • Escort of full-time guide
  • Escort of local guides
  • Evening transportation to pubs / music
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 5 packed lunches
  • 4 evening meals

Coast of County Antrim - Hiking in Northern IrelandDAY 1

Terrain: Grassy track, sandy beach | Walking Distance 2 miles (3.2 km)

The first part of our journey will take us directly north from Dublin to the coast of County Antrim. We will stop on the way for a visit to Hillsborough the famous and historical village in County Down renowned for its beautiful castle and Georgian houses. For our first two nights we will stay at a lovely guest house with great views of Fair Head and the Antrim Coast. At our evening meal we will run through the details of the week’s itinerary. After dinner there should be time for a short stroll along part of the Causeway Coast.

Overnight: Bushmills, County Antrim. Meals Included: Dinner.

Giant's CausewayDAY 2

Terrain: well-maintained coast path, beach, cliffs | Elev 150ft. | Walking Distance 9 miles (14.5 km)

The Antrim coast has been designated an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and our walk today will be covering much of this stunning coastline, highlighting the world famous Giant’s Causeway: Sixty million years ago an underground explosion resulted in this fascinating geological structure, and it is officially known as one of the Great Wonders of the Natural World. There is an option of continuing the hike as far as the lovely bay at Portballintrae. The views are spectacular and in fine weather it is possible to see straight across to the coast of Scotland.

Overnight: Bushmills, County Antrim.  Meals Included:  Breakfast and Lunch.


Terrain: country lanes, coastal track, rocky shore | Elev 200 ft. | Walking Distance 8 miles (12.9 km)

Today we take the ferry out to Rathlin Island: the only inhabited offshore island in Northern Ireland. Rathlin is only 15 miles from the Scottish coast at the Mull of Kintyre. We take a trip out to the West Lighthouse: famed for its bird life and home to tens of thousands of seabirds, including kittiwakes, guillemots, puffins and razorbills. Later we will walk down to Rue Point for a fine walk beside lakes and down to see the seals at the southern shore. We return later to the mainland and our guest house to relax and enjoy an excellent meal, perhaps with some locally caught seafood.

Overnight: Bushmills, County Antrim. Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch.

Carrick-a-RedeDAY 4

Terrain: coastal path, lanes, rocky shore | Elev 200 ft. | Walking Distance 5 miles (8 km)

This morning we’ll make our way west along the coast to Bushmills to visit the world’s oldest legal distillery for a guided tour and some whiskey tasting. We then take a short walk down to the fishing village of Ballintoy and to Carrick-a-Rede: a rope suspension bridge twenty metres long and thirty metres high once used by fishermen to access the tiny island of Carrick. Then we take a stunningly beautiful drive along the coast to Murlough Bay for another short walk. We will then turn inland and southward to the village of Cushendall. Our next two nights will be spent at a lovely, friendly, family-run B & B on the edge of the village. Cushendall is located where three of the Glens of Antrim converge and lies in the shadow of Lurigethan Mountain.

Overnight: Cushendall, County Antrim. Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Glens of AntrimDAY 5

Terrain: forest trails, moorland, open hills | Elev gain 400 ft. | Walking Distance 7 miles (11.3 km)

Today we visit the Glens of Antrim: a region of County Antrim, comprising nine waterfall-strewn glens, or valleys, that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. Specifically we will hike at Glenarriff Forest Park (in Irish:Gleann Airimh, ie ‘valley of arable land’). Like all the valleys in the area, it was shaped during the Ice Age by a glaciers. Glenarriff is often referred to as the ‘Queen Of the Glens’ and is the largest and most popular of the Glens of Antrim. Our guide will take us on a delightful walk which comprises of native forest, open heath and moor land, quiet streams and of course, the famous waterfalls.

Overnight: Cushendall, County Antrim. Meals Included:  Breakfast and Lunch and Dinner.

Carlingford: ruinsDAY 6

Terrain: open heath, mountain trails, bog | Elev gain 1200 ft. | Walking Distance 8 miles (12.9 km)

Today we travel south to County Louth and our last hike is at Black Mountain in the Cooley Hills. We will find mysterious stone circles along our route and learn of the legend of the Cattle Raid of Cooley. From the ridge the views across Carlingford Lough are stunning.We then drive a short distance to Carlingford village, back in the Republic of Ireland. Carlingford lies in the shadow of Slieve Foye and is a former fishing village filled with ancient ruins, one of Ireland’s best kept secrets!.

Alternative walk options: take an easy stroll around Sligo Town.

Overnight: Carlingford, County Louth. Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

HIkers Northern IrelandDAY 7

There is time this morning to further explore Carlingford. We will then depart at noon to return to Dublin.

Meals Included:  Breakfast.

Note: The above scheduled itinerary is subject to change for varying reasons. Any changes made by Joyce’s Ireland and / or the tour leaders will be in the interest and safety of all participants.

Note also: Many clients come on a Joyce’s Ireland tour who wish to do very little hiking. Every day there are alternative options such as sight-seeing, relaxing, reading, painting, listening to Irish traditional music, and generally just soaking up the Irish atmosphere. You can opt out of the hiking on any day! All our accommodations are based in scenic locations, so you are very welcome to just remain “home” for the day.

Hiking Tour Northern Ireland

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Antrim, Louth, Rathlin Island – Hiking Tour Northern Ireland

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