Emerald Isle Expedition: Ireland’s Rugged Coastlines and Celtic Traditions

Emerald Isle Expedition: Ireland’s Rugged Coastlines and Celtic Traditions

From AUD $16,040


Ancient and modern, bucolic and cosmopolitan, north and south—Ireland is a land of contrasts. On a circumnavigation of this verdant island, explore all four traditional provinces on both sides of the border, and see remote islands where residents nurture their traditional Gaelic language and seabird colonies nest in striking basalt cliffs. Walk through vibrant cities that impart thousands of years of history through their castles and cathedrals, ancient city walls, and vibrant contemporary street art. Opt to visit gardens and maritime centers, hike scenic coastal trails, search for handcrafted items in woolen mills, and raise a pint in village pubs.

Trip Name
Emerald Isle Expedition: Ireland’s Rugged Coastlines and Celtic Traditions
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 108 meters Passenger Capacity: 148 (single & twin cabins) Built / Refurbished: 1982 / 2008 National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship. It is a fully stabilized, ice-class vessel, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing exceptional comfort. It carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft. An Undersea Specialist operates a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sophisticated video equipment, extending access to the underwater world. Public areas: Bistro Bar; Chart Room; Restaurant; Global Gallery; Library, Lounge with full service bar and state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; Mud Room with lockers for expedition gear, and Observation Lounge. Our “Open Bridge” provides guests an opportunity to meet our Officers and Captain and learn about navigation. Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with local flair. Cabins: A New Look for National Geographic Explorer Suites National Geographic Explorer recently debuted updated suites, enhanced with the sleek, Scandinavian design that has become the hallmark of our polar fleet. Each of these elegant cabins now holds a Command Center, which allows guests to continue to explore from the comfort of their suites with a set of tools that includes a barometer, a National Geographic Atlas, a television that broadcasts entertainment and ship navigation, a coffee maker, and multiple USB and universal electric ports for cameras and other devices. 81 outside cabins All feature windows or portholes, private facilities, climate controls, hair dryers, and TV, plus Ethernet, Wi-Fi connections, and USB ports for mobile devices. Some cabins have balconies. Single cabins in Category SA and Category SB are located on the main deck and upper deck.  Expedition Equipment: Zodiac landing craft, kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, SplashCam, underwater video camera, Crow’s Nest remote controlled camera, video microscope, snorkeling gear. Special Features: A full-time doctor, Undersea Specialist, LEX Photo Specialist and Video Chronicler, Internet Cafe and laundry. Wellness: The vessel is staffed by two Wellness Specialists and features a glass enclosed Fitness Center, outdoor stretching area, two LEXspa treatment rooms and Sauna.


Day 1 - DAY 1 Dublin, Ireland / Embark Ship
Arrive in Dublin and transfer from the airport into the city. More living museum than city, traces of Dublin’s past are on display at every turn. Experience the architecture and vibrancy of this fabled city during an afternoon excursion before embarking the ship in the late afternoon. Settle into life on board as we set sail for the Isle of Man.
Day 2 - DAY 2 Isle of Man
We start our expedition on the Gem of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man. The entire island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, an acknowledgement of its special environment, culture, heritage, and economy. Known for the world’s longest-standing parliament and a history rooted deep in Celtic tradition and pride, this small island offers us the chance to connect to its heritage, its stunning landscapes, and its people through a vibrant culinary scene and its residents’ active coastal stewardship.
Day 3 - DAY 3 Belfast, Northern Ireland
Venture into the heart of Ulster today, one of the four traditional Irish provinces. Occupied since the Bronze Age, Belfast was named the capital of Northern Ireland in 1921 after the island was partitioned. Visit the Ulster Museum and Botanical Gardens to delve into the history of Ireland, the Troubles, and the natural history of the Emerald Isle. Alternatively, visit the Titanic Belfast for an immersive experience on the site where the storied ocean liner was built and launched.
Day 4 - DAY 4 Rathlin Island / Giant’s Causeway
Spend the morning hiking the wild shores of Rathlin Island, home to Northern Ireland’s largest puffin colony, as well as thousands of seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, and fulmars. Visit the Rathlin West Light, the “upside down lighthouse” in use since 1917. Travel back to the shores of Northern Ireland this afternoon, where we make our way to the striking landscape of Giant’s Causeway. Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, taking advantage of the hiking trails across the otherworldly basalt columns. Aboard the ship this evening, enjoy an Irish whiskey tasting and learn about the history behind one of the earliest distilled drinks in Europe, arising around the 12th century.
Day 5 - DAY 5 County Derry
Today’s exploration of Londonderry or Derry (depending upon your unionist or nationalist sympathies) is rooted in understanding the history of this ancient city on the banks of the River Foyle. Established in the 1600s, its city walls are still standing, including seven gates. Learn about its troubled past or discover its rich collection of street art, which helps the city remember and move forward.
Day 6 - DAYS 6-7 County Donegal, Ireland
Tory Island, or “Rock of the King,” is our first port of call in County Donegal, known for its Gaelic dialect and the seabird nesting colonies that dot its coastline. The corncrake, Ireland's only globally threatened bird species, was once widespread throughout the countryside, and has been brought back from the brink of extinction by a huge conservation effort by researchers, farmers, and landowners. With pagan roots dating back 4,500 years, Tory Island offers a look at a vibrant and challenging life off the beaten path. As we continue our exploration of the Donegal coast, choose between a vigorous hike to the headlands of Glencolmille or the famous woolen mills of Killybegs and Donegal.
Day 7 - DAY 8 County Galway
Spend the day exploring the rich biodiversity of this sparsely populated county in the traditional province of Connacht, and experience the thriving cultural heritage of its people. This morning as we trace the shores of County Galway, we will be on the lookout for the resident population of Connemara bottlenose dolphins as we learn about the conservation efforts in place to protect them. Later, head ashore to soak up the rural, inviting atmosphere of a local pub or woolen mill in this province founded in the 800s, which today is home to the country’s largest population of Irish speakers.
Day 8 - DAY 9 County Kerry
Landing in County Kerry offers us the chance to explore a region of stunning landscapes, surrounded by “Cooperation, Help, and Friendship,” as the county motto proclaims. Enjoy a cruise through the uninhabited Blasket Islands with our team of naturalists and the possibility of observing a wide array of birds including storm petrels, shearwaters, terns, gulls, and auks. On the mainland, soak in the beauty of the majestic mountain pass of Gap of Dunloe, explore the 19th-century estate of Muckross House, or step into one of the historical stone forts that dot the landscape.
Day 9 - DAY 10 County Cork
Arrive in the colorful port town of Cobh, one of the world’s largest natural harbors, which is intimately tied to maritime history and the great Irish emigration. Visit the Cobh Heritage Centre and learn about the momentous events that took place here including the 1912 departure of the Titanic, the rescue of passengers from the torpedoed Lusitania, and the emigration of millions of Irish who departed these shores in search of a better life. Enjoy an afternoon of Irish traditions, from music to sport, with locals.
Day 10 - DAY 11 Dublin / Disembark Ship
Disembark in Dublin after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $16,040Category 1
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $17,140Category 2
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $18,220Category 3
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $18,880Category 4
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $21,490Category SA (solo)
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $22,160Category 5
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $22,820Category SB (solo)
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $25,970Category 6
28-05-202407-06-2024AUD $29,960Category 7


    • Experience the contrasts between cosmopolitan cities like Dublin and small villages like Killybegs as you visit the four traditional Irish provinces: Leinster, Ulster, Munster, and Connacht
    • Spot Ireland’s most critically endangered birds, corncrakes, on Tory Island as well as large populations of nesting seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, and fulmars. On wild Rathlin island, encounter a colony of puffins among other seabirds
    • Spend a day on the Isle of Man, a Crown Dependency nicknamed the Gem of the Irish Sea and known for having the world’s longest-standing parliament
    • In Northern Ireland, learn about the Troubles while exploring the capital city of Belfast, and gain a deeper understanding of life on both sides of the north and south divide as you stroll Londonderry’s ancient city walls
    • Marvel at the natural beauty along the shores of the Emerald Isle—from the otherworldly landscape of Giant’s Causeway to the striking geology of the uninhabited Blasket Islands