Experience the essence of Irish culture through the eyes of its people in Westport, County Mayo, and the surrounding region. During this charming cultural stay program, enjoy day trips to historic sites and iconic landscapes in northwest Ireland, from Sligo to Galway.

Starting at: $3,990 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Westport town center. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  Typical landscape in Ireland. Credit: Ireland Tourism  Traditional thatched cottage amid the landscape  Irish step dancers  Seascape of County Mayo  Carrowmore megalithic site, Country Sligo  Cultural traditions reflected in modern life  Connemara landscape with sheep  Connemara's Kylemore Castle, later an abbey and school  Achill Island seascape  Westport House  The village of Clifden. Credit: Courtesy Ireland Tourism Bureau  The lively streets of Galway  Lively music in a pub. Credit: Brian Morrison, Ireland Tourism

County Mayo

A One-Week Stay in Northwest Ireland

9 days from $3,990

Experience the essence of Irish culture through the eyes of its people in Westport, County Mayo, and the surrounding region. During this charming cultural stay program, enjoy day trips to historic sites and iconic landscapes in northwest Ireland, from Sligo to Galway.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


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Though this trip centers in Westport, it is a fabulous journey through time and space in Western Ireland, capturing the politics, poetry, history and beautiful landscape of the region.

- Mary Anne, M.


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* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Westport Plaza Hotel

Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

The Westport Plaza Hotel is a first-class hotel located just steps away from shops and restaurants. When you are not exploring and enjoying the lush Irish countryside, pamper yourself at the Spa Sula, a full-service spa that features a unique thermal suite. The hotel also has a swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness center and salon. Restaurant Merlot offers Irish and international cuisine, while the Plaza Bar welcomes you for pre-dinner cocktails of after-dinner drinks. At the end of the day, unwind in your well-appointed and welcoming guest room, which features Wi-Fi and other amenities and conveniences to make your stay comfortable and convenient.

Number of nights: 7

Tour Extension

Ennis, Ireland 2018 Pre-Tour Extension — 5 Days, 4 Nights

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.*

Depart the U.S. for Shannon, Ireland with meal in-flight.

Day 2 – Ennis, Ireland

Arrive at Shannon Airport. Meet your Travel Director at the arrivals area and transfer to Ennis. The airport meeting location will be provided with your final documents. Transfers to Ennis will be provided for guests participating in our FlexAir program and for those arriving individually who are able to meet the scheduled group departure time. Please speak with your Destination Specialist to confirm your transfer and ensure your place.

Check into the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis. After lunch independently. enjoy a walking tour of Ennis. From sea monsters and haunted forts to banshees and phantom coaches, hear how this region is steeped in colorful legend, folklore, and mythology while exploring Ennis on foot. This lively town, founded in the 11th century, is also known for its love of traditional Irish music. Discover its unique charms as you wander along winding lanes and cross over the River Fergus that flows through the middle of town.

Day 3 – Ennis, Ireland

The Burren and Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark, sits on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Marvel at this stunning coastline of dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and inlets, and revel in the sweeping views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. Spend the day admiring Ireland’s stunning countryside and coastline as you are immersed in one of the world’s most unusual landscapes. The Burren’s rocky plateau features diverse flora, karstic formations, and man-made wonders. Enjoy an audio/visual presentation at the Burren Centre in Kilfenora. Then, take an exclusive guided walk through the Burren with local expert Tony Kirby, and enjoy an experience rich with geological, archaeological, and botanical insights. Film producer, critically acclaimed author and blogger on Burren life, Kirby has been leading walks in Burren since 2002 and looks forward to sharing his passion and knowledge with you.

Enjoy lunch in the cheery atmosphere of a family-run Burren pub. Continue on to visit Poulnabrone Dolmen, a vision resting on the stark limestone pavements, and Ireland’s most photographed portal tomb, dating from 2,000-2,500 B.C. Afterward, drive along to Ballyvaughan, by Galway Bay and Black Head, to marvel at the jaw-dropping sight of the majestic Cliffs of Moher, rising 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. (B,L)

Day 4 – Ennis, Ireland

Spend the entire day pursuing your own passions in Ennis and the surrounding environs. Visit nearby Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, explore Limerick City, or stay and enjoy the bustling market town of Ennis. Your Travel Director will be available on site to offer suggestions. (B)

Day 5 – Ennis to Westport

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart for Westport, County Mayo and the main program hotel. This evening, gather with fellow travelers for a welcome reception.

*FlexAir passengers depart for Shannon, Ireland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: SNN. If you have purchased only the Land Program, please book flights that arrive on the first day of the Land Program. The Land Program dates appear at the top of your Reservation Confirmation. Please note if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

*Please note: this extension will not be offered in 2019. 

Activity Levels

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring one city and region—and one hotel. Full-day excursions outside the city with some longer, extensive walking tours of villages, museums, and outdoor historic sites. Excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. outdoor sites, cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators). Hotel centrally located for easy access to sites and restaurants during time at leisure, including final day.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Special Air Rates/Services

As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Details regarding how you may access these options will be provided in your trip confirmation packet.

Program Includes:

  • Low fares
  • Travel dates to fit your schedule
  • Optimal air routing
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments, as offered by participating carriers (subject to availability at time of booking)
  • Ability to adjust your reservations (up to 60 days prior to departure) without penalty, including trip extensions and upgrades. Does not apply to Instant Purchase tickets.
  • Guaranteed transfers in most cases between the tour arrival airport and your hotel
  • Passenger Service Assistance in the event of a flight cancellation or delay
  • Flight insurance, up to $250,000 (Subject to policy terms)


Though this trip centers in Westport, it is a fabulous journey through time and space in Western Ireland, capturing the politics, poetry, history and beautiful landscape of the region.

- Mary Anne, M.
Reading List
The Truth About the Irish: A Frank and Funny Look
Connemara Mollie: An Irish Journey On Horseback (Bradt Travel Guides (Travel Literature))
The Hill Bachelors
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland
Michelin Ireland Map 712 (Maps/Country (Michelin))
Real Irish Food: 150 Classic Recipes from the Old Country
1916: One Hundred Years of Irish Independence: From the Easter Rising to the Present
A Brief History of Ireland (Brief History (Running Press))
A Traveller's History of Ireland (Traveller's Histories)
How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (The Hinges of History)
In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English
Ireland Unhinged: Encounters With a Wildly Changing Country
Ireland: In Word and Image
Magnum Ireland
Modern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction
Ireland, a Bicycle, and a Tin Whistle
McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland
The Great Shame: And The Triumph Of The Irish In The English -Speaking World
Complete Short Stories (Penguin Classics)
For the Love of Ireland: A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales (Modern Library Classics)
The Playboy of the Western World and Two Other Irish Plays
The Sea
Wild Decembers
Birds of Ireland: An Introduction to Familiar Species (A Pocket Naturalist Guide) [Pamphlet]
The Birds of Ireland: A Field Guide
The Quiet Man (60th Anniversary Special Edition)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes on-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance. You will receive details on this included insurance with your Tour Confirmation and Tour Bulletins after you book a tour (U.S. Residents only).

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare:  Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, the internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.


To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed. 

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.

In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.


A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation or $1,000 for a cruise reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a wait list by calling 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us. 

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. For all 2017 tours, reservations for our airport transfers are required and are only included for participants who have booked their air through our Flex Air program, however, if your flight does arrive close to this group transfer time and there is space available, our partner tour operator will be happy to reserve your place at an additional fee. For all 2018 tours, airport transfers are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.


All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.


Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.


The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.