Ok, we are all guilty of it, arriving into a new city or town on holidays and getting straight onto the “tourist trail” because it’s “easy”. The open top bus, the big bus day tours with 40 – 50 strangers all being herded around over populated tourist spots and paying over the odds for an experience that in essence “Tick’s a Box”.

But having done all that, I now much prefer getting off the beaten track, and having an authentic experience. As I’m sure is the case with most people. Our time off is precious and our money hard earned so it’s important to make it count....

Epic Ireland, a Galway based tour company offer just that. Epic Ireland are Adventure Specialists with years of experience discovering the West Coast of Ireland taking in Counties Galway, Clare and Mayo and in essence making the West of Ireland their “Adventure Playground”. 

And so recently Dan, our Front office manager and I were lucky enough to be invited to go on one of these adventures, and I can honestly say it was one of the best days of 2016 for me.

The very lovely Michéal from Epic Ireland picked us up in his jeep at the front of the hotel at 9am and the adventure started from there, we picked up 3 more fellow adventurers in Eyre Square and we were on our way…….. Or dare I say our “Wild Atlantic Way”.

However through no fault of Michéal, we began our day as most Irish day trip start, with a queue for the loo. We were unlucky enough to coincide with 3 of the buses we were trying to avoid at the forecourt of a petrol station in Kinvara but thankfully for us this was to be the last time we met these buses that day.

Once the call of nature was heard we began our real adventure which just happened to be 200ft under in the Burren Valley. CAVING. As we made our way through the pitch black pre historic caves, lit only by the light on our helmet’s, we bonded like long lost family as we discovered a  whole new world. We quickly began working together in what was a feat of mental strength more than physical strength as the voice in my head told me “You’re going to be ok, just keep moving forward!.It was everything we were promised, adrenaline filled, completely authentic, exhilarating with just a hint of danger. But don’t get me wrong……….. I LOVED IT!!!

However the best was yet to come, we continued the day with our deep routed feeling of friendship and teamwork, (and for people who had only met 3 hours before this was a welcome surprise.) And we made our way to the majestic Cliffs of Moher……What’s that? Cliffs of Moher? ….. But sure that’s full of tourists?” – Not the way we experienced it, our trusted guide Michéal knew the area like the back of his hand and lead us to a relatively un-inhabited area a few short miles from the visitor’s center, where we sat on the edge of the cliffs enjoying lunch (provided by Epic Ireland) and looked on in awe at these magnificent views.

If I’m honest at that stage I felt I could have topped the “EPICNESS” of our lunch on the Edge of Europe but I was so wrong.

We returned to the jeep and after a quick drive along the coastline we parked up and Michéal retrieved the article of clothing like most women I dread “The Wetsuit”. But not one to complain (cough cough) I accepted my spandex fate and was ready for my next adventure.

COASTEERING, for those of you that don’t know what Coasteering is, (and I didn’t until I was suited and booted and standing on the edge of a cliff) it is a mixture of adventure swimming, climbing, scrambling, jumping, and traversing the coastline.  It is as awesome as it sounds. Michael lead us to an isolated natural swimming pool with the wild Atlantic Waves crashing onto the side of the Cliffs, and the fun began. We swam through the Sea Caves, and jumped in an out of the water like hyperactive 5 year olds with their first paddling pool. And then our fearless leader Michéal introduced the idea of climbing up the rocks and jumping from a 40ft height. Not one to shy away from a challenge but with a terrible fear of heights, I wasn’t sure I could do it…… But that had never stopped me before.

I clambered up the rocks and if I’m honest at this stage I just wanted my Mammy, but that voice was back, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”…….. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” and I stood right on the edge, and that same voice all of a sudden said “What are you at??....... Would you come away from there, you’ll hurt yourself”. But lucky for me Michéal was standing right beside me and he whispered the wise words “This is a high as it gets, as soon as you jump you are closer to the ground”, that was all I needed and I took my leap of faith.

The day ended as most Irish Days out ended, a fizzy drink and a bag of crisps in the back of the car. As we made our way back to the hotel, full of happiness, adrenaline, pride, a new found adventurous spirit and more than anything awe, at the amazing beauty of the West of Ireland.

I cannot wait to for our next adventure.

For more details on booking an Adventure Packages or buying a voucher this Christmas visit www.harbour.ie and www.epicireland.com


By Eveanna Ryan
Director of Sales and Marketing
Harbour Hotel Galway


Back to Blog

Posted in:


November 11, 2016