Derry - Home of Halloween

Discover the archaeology, cultural history and plant lore of Halloween.

A Cultural Experience and Slow Adventure that explores the origins and survival of Samhain “Halloween” the Festival that marks the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year.  As a cultural phenomenon Samhain has evolved and been celebrated in the Irish Countryside for at least 2,000 years. Today many of the sites and habitats associated with the festival now known as Halloween lie dormant in the countryside surrounding Derry, waiting for their “stories to be told”. 

This entertaining and informative experience provides visitors with enthralling insights and stories associated with ancient - giant`s graves, stone circles, standing stones and sacrificial wetland sites. Visitors will also discover pagan wells, sacred trees and learn some Irish plant lore, even discover how our vampire (parasitic) plants have evolved.

  • A small group experience    Maximum 10 participants – Minimum 2 participants.
  • Exploration requires a moderate amount of walking across wet terrain (hiking/waterproof footwear essential).
  • Experience available through the year - not just October.  Suitable for over 16 year olds only.

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Discover Ritual Landscapes

These unique tours bring visitors to fascinating archaeological features and natural habitats associated with Ireland`s Pre Christian rituals and beliefs, many of which are the origins of our contemporary Halloween, Mid - Winter, Spring and Summer festivals. On these tours that have been designed to radiate from Derry, visitors can discover:

  • Stone Alignments, Portal Tombs, Druid's altars, chambered graves, bog body immersion sites and the remnants of primeval forests
  • Fairy forts, fairy trees, hidden valleys, lost roads, sacred trees and many other interesting plants
  • How Ireland`s unique place names describe geographical features, plants, animals and even commemorate pre historic people.

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Sperrin Uplands

  • Visit several of the most scenic glacial landscapes in Ireland and learn how they were created.
  • Explore a Bronze Age stone circles and alignments and discover their astronomical connections.
  • Learn about Ireland`s peat cutting traditions and see many pre-historic features that have been uncovered in the process.
  • Visit a sweat house, medieval Ireland`s version of a Turkish Bath.
  • Visit Dart Mountain artisan cheese makers for a tour and tasty lunch.
  • Have a short visit to a real Country Pub that`s so authentic that it could have been the template for the now worldwide Irish Pub phenomenon.

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  • Explore the Iron Age Hillfort and Temple of the Sun at Grianan.
  • Visit some of NW Ireland`s most colourful wild flower habitats (in season) 
  • Walk wonderful upland ridges and with dramatic views and visit nearby sacred sites and mysterious fairy pools and  fairy trees.
  • Discover spectacular coastal scenery and learn about Inishowen`s fascinating maritime history.

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Tailor Made Tours

As part of our “tailor made tours” options we can create interpreted walking tours in nearby regions. For example we can suggest spectacular and very interesting tours that explore the highlands and islands of County Donegal. Or guide an interpreted tour of Ireland`s only geologically themed World Heritage Site, the Giant`s Causeway in County Antrim. Tours can be readily created to suit you or your group's areas of interest. Please feel free to contact Martin for further information.

Please Note: To make the most of each experience Martin`s tours require a moderate amount of walking. The wearing of hiking boots and outdoor clothing is essential.