Ireland & the United Kingdom Uncharted Territories
ESCAPE INTO THE UNKNOWN
A true vacation is a true escape. From the doldrums of everyday life, from the hustle and bustle of modern living. Once you break free and find yourself in new surroundings, only then can you truly rediscover yourself and reconfirm your place on this pale and joyous blue dot.
The following pages offer ideal destinations for a true escape. Remote and sparsely populated, these places may not be officially “uncharted,” but you will find very few tourists in the rivers of Alaska or the unpopulated islands of Ireland. You will also pleasantly find a luxurious array of ways to explore and soak up these curious cultures.
And while some may be hesitant about venturing into such unknown locales, consider these two things. One, the photos and the memories you return home with will quickly become the envy of all your friends. And two, our Andrew Harper Travel Advisors have personally visited these destinations, so they can safely and expertly guide you to the most satisfying experiences, the ones you need to feel like you’ve truly escaped.
KERRY’S SECRET SANCTUARY
While most tourists enjoy the view from their bus tour of Ireland’s famed Ring of Kerry, others sneak off to the peninsula’s western shore in search of one of the most isolated and historic places in the world: the Skellig Islands. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the two rocky peaks of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig rise majestically from the sea, boasting sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic horizon.
Aside from its Hollywood notoriety as the hiding place of a man named Skywalker, Skellig also has a mysterious monastic history. Over 600 hand-carved steps ascend the peak of Skellig Michael, towering nearly 750 feet above the crashing waters below. At the summit sits an oratory surrounded by a curious cluster of beehive huts. The monks who first inhabited Skellig in the 6th century chose the isolated location not only seeking religious solitude, but also because the dizzying elevation promised visibility and protection from potential invaders.
Circling its peak is the second-largest gannet population in the world, accompanied by various other seabird colonies including Atlantic puffin and peregrine falcon. The surrounding islands offer various recreational diving opportunities where clear waters and underwater cliffs as deep as 200 feet provide ideal viewing of basking sharks, minke whales, and leatherback sea turtles.
Ferries depart Portmagee Marina from May to September, anchoring briefly on the rocky shores where barking grey seals welcome the adventurous as they begin their ascent. For a more leisurely experience, take a luxury eco-cruise around the islands, sipping a warm cup of tea while you marvel at the staggering cliffs draped in lush green moss.
“Before you travel, take your children to a restaurant that serves the food of the country you’ll be visiting and find a favorite thing on the menu to get them excited about the destination.”
THE LAND OF EPIC
By definition, a remote destination is not easy to get to. That’s why for spellbinding scenery unrivaled by the most exotic destinations, the extra time spent traveling to the more remote areas of the Alaskan outback—oftentimes requiring a combination of shuttles, chartered flights and float plane transfers—is well worth the journey.
Especially if at the end of that journey is Tikchik Narrows Lodge, an Andrew Harper Travel Partner. More than 300 miles from the maintained road, this sport-fishing haven occupies the tip of an isolated peninsula near the Nuyakuk Lakes. Within the Togiak Wildlife refuge, Tikchik holds exclusive permits to waters producing 75% of all the salmon in Bristol Bay.
For anglers seeking access to some of the most solitary fishing locations in Alaska, Tikchik is the quintessential home base.
Wild corners of Alaska such as this can be daunting to explore. Layers of steep mountains, razor-toothed pines and rushing rivers dominate the expansive landscape, making it simply too vast to conquer on foot. From the air, though, the possibilities are endless. To access the state’s numerous remote refuges, take a flight safari deep into the Alaska Range for a private backcountry ski trip, or settle onto a sandbar to explore land that scant few have ever stepped foot on. It doesn’t get more remote than that.