Most travelers to Ireland can attest to its emerald hills and sweeping valleys, but how many can say they got to drive right through them?Using four-wheel-drive vehicles, the just-launched Vagabond Tours is luring thrill-seekers into the wild for off-road excursions. Guides lead groups of up to 11 on four- and five-day trips through the remotest parts of western and southern Ireland, exploring craggy mountain ranges, sandy beaches, and ancient ruins. Days are also spent riding horseback along the shore, surfing the Atlantic, fly-fishing on Lough Corrib, or playing Gaelic football.

At night, guests listen to live music at a local pub, sipping pints of the country's finest. Vagabond Tours, 353-1/660-7399;; four-day trips start at $223 per person, including transport and guide.Jane Bills