After an evening spent enjoying the sunset at the Cliffs of Moher, we woke up to an equally excellent view sailing through the remote Blasket Islands. A pod of dolphins joined us on the bow, and we learned about the seabirds and geology from our expedition staff. As we sailed on to Dingle, I explained the history and styles of Irish and Scottish dance and historian Josh Peck gave an overview of the Irish independence movements from 1789–1922.

In Dingle, we were treated to a stunningly sunny day and divided into three groups for tour options. The first visited the peninsula’s medieval beehive huts and ended at the Blasket Centre, a local museum that highlights the isolated island community’s tumultuous history. Another group drove along one of Ireland’s most scenic routes, Slea Head drive, while the third embarked on a hike along an old farm path with breathtaking views over the vibrant green fields.

In the evening, National Geographic Explorer sailed past the Skellig Islands, including Skellig Michael, a nearly inaccessible historic monastic island with an impressive gannet colony, which was brought to more recent fame as a filming location in the latest Star Wars films.