Travel & Archaeology

Éire’s Land of Heart’s Desire

A slice of heaven along the Wild Atlantic Way
Hidden History / Éire’s Land of Heart’s Desire

Éire’s Land of Heart’s Desire

8 Days


per person

A fascinating journey across Ireland, from Dublin to the wild Atlantic west. County Sligo is Ireland’s undiscovered hidden gem, with breath-taking scenery, a rich cultural heritage, and the greatest concentration of prehistoric sites in the country.


  • The magnificent, unspoilt landscapes of north-west Ireland.
  • An outstanding collection of prehistoric sites.
  • Expert guiding from Tony O’Connor and Adrian O’Neill.
  • Get off the beaten track on the Wild Atlantic Way.
  • Three nights in the Irish capital, Dublin.


Céad míle fáilte—a hundred thousand welcomes. The Emerald Isle’s warm hospitality, well of culture, and poetic natural beauty never fail to fill one’s heart. Indeed, the Nobel Prize winning poet William Butler Yeats was so inspired by County Sligo that he called it “The Land of Heart’s Desire”.

Tony O’Connor and Adrian O’Neill take you on a fascinating journey across a swathe of the country from Dublin’s ancient east to Sligo’s wild west, revealing dramatic histories, hidden gems and majestic landscapes. This is old Ireland, imbued with deep history and tradition, and steeped in myths and legends since humanity first arrived.

Sligo is one of the most picturesque places in all of Ireland, and yet remains relatively unknown. Facing the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, its coastline is shaped by colossal forces which seem also to feed the spirits of creative souls. We explore this “Wild Atlantic Way” and discover an amazingly significant archaeology. Whole landscapes of prehistory are preserved, giving unrivalled insights into the Neolithic world, and forming the backdrop to millennia of fascinating and colourful Irish history, mythology and culture, all eloquently captured in the poetry of W.B. Yeats.

See the ‘Itinerary’ tab above for full itinerary details.

Dates & Prices:

  • 01–08 July 2021. Last chance to book. Only £1595.
  • 27 June–04 July 2022. Early booking price only £1595.

Single supplement only £245. Reserve your place early for the lowest price.
Please indicate a first and second choice date if possible.

What’s Included:

  • Seven nights hotel accommodation (3 in Dublin, 4 in Sligo).
  • All breakfasts, three evening meals and one lunch.
  • Daily excursions with all transport, entrances and expert guiding.
  • Flexible airport/seaport transfers in Dublin.
  • 100% TTA Financial Guarantee.

Your Tour Directors

After studying Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Manchester, Tony O’Connor has had a long and active career in field archaeology and museum curatorship which has earned him Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He is a very experienced and popular tour leader, and he has strong family connections in County Sligo. His co-director on this tour, Adrian O’Neill, was born and bred in Sligo, and studied Archaeology and Classical Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has a particular passion for Irish history and folklore, and has guided many tours in the region.

Activity Level

This tour requires a reasonable level of mobility and independence. There is plenty of walking and standing, and some sites have slopes and uneven ground, but the pace is gentle and stops are frequent. Please feel free to ask us for more details.

Flights, Ferries and Extended Stays

Dublin can be reached by air or by sea. Flights and ferries are added on a personal basis rather than included in the tour price. This gives you complete freedom to choose your preferred method of travel, departure point, times, length of stay etc. We will be pleased to quote and book flights and ferries for you, and any extended stays, or you can book your own if you prefer. Flights booked with us are fully ATOL protected.

How To Book

Reservations & Enquiries: To reserve your place or enquire further simply fill in the booking form on this page, or call us on (UK) 0121 444 1854. There is no commitment and no payment at this stage; reservations are purely provisional until we have confirmed availability and proceeded with booking and payment.

Booking & Payment: Once you have checked availability and reserved your place, we will require your full details and a deposit of £250 per person to secure your booking. This can be done with a credit/debit card over the telephone (0121-444-1854) or by sending us a completed booking form and cheque. To print a booking form click here.

See our booking conditions for further details.

All Hidden History’s tours include a host of fully guided excursions and interesting talks to create an enriching travel experience. They also include some luxury and leisure by choosing great hotels and keeping the itineraries fairly relaxed and varied. More about What to Expect…

  • Departure Time
    01 July 2021 and 27 June 2022

Day 1: Arrival in Dublin for 2 nights

You are met at Dublin airport or seaport, depending on how you travel, and transferred to your hotel in Dublin city centre. Meet your tour director for a welcome talk followed by an included evening meal.


Day 2: Dublin City

A guided walking tour of Ireland’s capital, Dublin, is a great way to brush up on Irish history. We take in all the main sights, including the National Archaeological Museum and the famous Book of Kells.


Day 3: To Sligo via Newgrange and Tara

Head west across Ireland to County Sligo, stopping in the Boyne Valley to visit two national treasures. At Brú na Bóinne the impressive Neolithic tombs of Newgrange and Knowth are a World Heritage site, pre-dating Stonehenge and the Pyramids and producing the greatest concentration of Megalithic art in Western Europe. At the nearby Hill of Tara we find Ireland’s ancient capital, the sacred site of inauguration of the High Kings of Ireland during the Middle Ages.


Day 4: Sligo, Carrowmore & Knocknarea

A walking tour this morning will acquaint you with the colourful character and heritage of Sligo, a vibrant county town with a rich history. In the afternoon we explore the Cúil Iorra peninsula on the southern side of the town, home to the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, one of Ireland’s most significant Neolithic sites. Its numerous stone circles and passage tombs are watched over by the hill of Knocknarea, upon which stands a particularly striking Neolithic cairn, visible from miles around.


Day 5: South along the Wild Atlantic Way

Follow the rugged and spectacular Wild Atlantic Way southwards to the Céide Fields. Dated to over 5500 years ago, these are the oldest known field systems in the world and the most extensive Neolithic site in Ireland. We include lunch at Aughris Head in a truly traditional Irish pub, with the Atlantic waves rolling in outside the front door, and finish the day at the Magheraghanrush court tomb with fine views over Lough Gill.


Day 6: North along the Wild Atlantic Way

A short way north of Sligo, and nestling below Ben Bulben mountain, we find W.B. Yeats’s grave at Drumcliff church, and a little further on stands the Baronet of Sligo’s Country House, Lissadel, where Yeats was a regular guest. Further up the coast we find Creevykeel, one of a chain of megalithic buildings along this ancient routeway. The nearby seaside village of Mullaghmore is associated with Lord Palmerston and the Mountbatten family. Circumstances permitting, we can take a boat trip from here to Inishmurray island or, alternatively, enjoy the scenic splendour of the Gleniff Horseshoe.


Day 7: To Dublin via Rathcroghan and Trim

Heading back to Dublin, we stop at Rathcroghan, where a large mound is the nucleus of a landscape of numerous monuments spanning millennia. The site is imbued with a wealth of Irish mythology, and is known as the sacred capital of Connacht, and tribal royal seat of western Ireland. We also stop at Trim to visit the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, and conclude with a farewell dinner in Dublin.


Day 8: Departure

Check out after a leisurely breakfast and make your way home. You will be transferred from your hotel to the airport/seaport, or why not stay longer and make the most of your time in Ireland – feel free to ask us for information and ideas.

Tour Location

Why Ireland? We will shortly make available a brief overview of the archaeology of Ireland.

Map & Virtual Tour

We will soon have a Virtual Tour available, with a gallery of photos and information about the sites we visit.

We have carefully chosen the following hotels for their great locations and high standards. Please note that we sometimes have to change hotels for reasons beyond our control. We always choose hotels of a similar standard, designed to give you a little luxury and leisure alongside your cultural enrichment.


The Harding Hotel, Copper Alley, Fishamble Street, Christchurch, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Ideally located in a central and convenient part of historic Old Dublin, within a 2-3 minute walk from Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral and the vibrant Temple Bar but on a quieter side street – one of Dublin‘s oldest streets.


The Sligo City Hotel, Quay Street, Sligo, Ireland, F91 V08N

A genuine Irish welcome in this ideally situated hotel in the centre of Sligo city, overlooking the bay and close to riverside restaurants and cosy bars.

Flexibility: Dublin can be reached by air or by sea. By keeping travel arrangements separate from the tour price, we keep your options open to give you complete freedom to choose your preferred method of travel, departure point, times, length of stay etc. We will be pleased to quote and book flights and ferries for you, and any extended stays, or you can book your own if you prefer. Flights booked with us are fully ATOL protected. Before booking any travel of your own please ensure we have confirmed the availability of the tour, as our tours are subject to minimum and maximum numbers of participants.

By Air: Direct flights to Dublin are available from a number of UK and international airports.

By Sea: There are regular sailings to Dublin from Holyhead and Liverpool.

Fares: Ask us for a quote. Use the reservation/enquiry form or call us on 0121 444 1854.

ATOL Protection: If you book your flights with us you will be ATOL protected, which means that you will not lose your money or be stranded abroad if things go wrong. If you book your own flights they may not be ATOL protected, even if you book direct with the airline or with an online search facility.

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