Splendid scenery, fascinating history, a vibrant culture and warm, hospitable people all contribute to the great charm of Ireland. Below we present both a 7 and 14 day tour. Get some insights into Irish cultural, join a historian for a visit to the historic landmarks. Experience the peaceful ambiance of small villages. Enjoy a memorable night of storytelling and music.
The Highlights Of Ireland Tour
Day 1 – Welcome to Ireland
Tour begins at Dromoland Castle. Transfer from Shannon Airport to Dromoland Castle, your royal home for two nights. The enchantment begins this evening with a welcome cocktail reception and dinner in the castle.
Day 2 – The magnificent Cliffs of Moher & a day at an Irish castle
Drive through The Burren, an eerie landscape of limestone outcrops, to the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs, over five miles long, and towering up to 660 feet, reign unrivaled over the Atlantic Ocean coastline, offering amazing views. Sample a taste of country life during lunch in Burren.
Day 3 – Travel to Kenmare and County Cork
It’s on to County Cork today for a two-night stay in an elegant manor house hotel and an in-depth discovery of all things Irish. En route, you’ll stop in Kenmare and enjoy a breathtaking drive over the Caha Pass connecting the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula.
Day 4 – A little bit of Blarney, Kinsale & a private concert
Blarney Castle, reputed to bestow the Gift of Gab on hearty souls who climb its ramparts to kiss a magical stone, is the first stop on today’s itinerary. It continues at historic Charles Fort, one of the finest examples of a 17th-century fortification in Ireland, and with entrancing views and intimate exploration of the harborside village of Kinsale. This evening, you’re invited to a private recital at St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral before an à la carte dinner.
Day 5 – Waterford Crystal & rail to Dublin
Waterford Crystal has long enjoyed a privileged reputation as among the finest glassware in the world – see how it is crafted on a visual journey of over 220 years of glass making at the new Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre. Then it’s all aboard a train bound for Ireland’s capital city of Dublin. Tonight, enjoy one of Ireland’s enduring traditions during The Irish House Party, a fun-filled evening that includes dinner, Irish music and dancing.
Day 6 – Dublin’s fair city
Experience an in-depth introduction to Dublin on a sightseeing tour that includes lively O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and beautiful parks. We’ll take you inside Trinity College Library to see the 8th-century Book of Kells, before giving you the opportunity to enjoy the city as you wish. Wander among the stylish shops of Grafton Street, stroll along the River Liffey or St. Stephen’s Green, or experience the grandeur of Merrion Square. Dinner is on your own; Dublin restaurants, and Irish cuisine, have earned high marks on the European culinary scene; there are a lot of restaurants to choose from close to your hotel.
Day 7 – Secrets of Glendalough
Venture outside of Dublin into the hills of Wicklow to the ancient monastic settlement of Glendalough. Most of the ruins and sites date from the 10th century and are remarkably preserved; see some of the most significant ones on a guided tour. Return to Dublin midday for time at leisure.
Day 8 – Tour concludes
Tour ends in Dublin. Fly home anytime.
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The Grand Tour Of Ireland
14 Day Tour
Day 1 – Welcome to Ireland
Transfer from Shannon Airport to the Old Ground Hotel in the charming village of Ennis. If you wish, travel with us to the mighty Cliffs of Moher this afternoon, where towering, sheer headland plummets into the Atlantic Ocean. Travel back to Ennis through the Burren, a barren, rocky outcrop of desolate countryside that is among the eeriest country landscapes in Ireland.
Day 2 – Meet the owners of a farm, then on to Killarney
Your Ireland tour continues when you discover the importance of farming in the west of Ireland on a visit to a working dairy farm, which has been in the same family for generations. Then it’s on to Killarney and a visit to Muckross House, an Elizabethan-style mansion which was built in 1843. Set in Killarney National Park, the estate features distinguished 19th-century interiors; it is surrounded by magnificent gardens in a palette of sensational colors. Your accommodations for the next two nights are at Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa, one of Ireland’s most gracious hotels. Overlooking the Lakes of Killarney, Aghadoe Heights Hotel exudes the warmth of a country home.
Day 3 – Stories, music, and Irish food on the Dingle Peninsula
Explore the wild, rugged, romantic coastal scenery of the Dingle Peninsula. First stop is the hilly town of Dingle for a visit to the former Presentation Sisters convent and a look at the stained glass windows of famed artisan Harry Clarke, a leader in the arts and crafts movement in Ireland. Spend some time exploring Dingle and its famous pubs, then travel to the tip of the Dingle Peninsula for a visit to the Blasket Centre and a look at the lost lifestyle, tradition and language of the unique Blasket Islanders. Completely Irish speaking, the residents of these remote islands off the Kerry coast produced an amazing amount of books in the early 20th century that depicted their isolated lifestyle. A return to Dingle brings the perfect ending to the day on the peninsula – a special evening of traditional Irish food, song and storytelling that gives yet another look at daily life in this remote part of western Ireland. Return in mid-evening to Killarney and the Aghadoe Heights Hotel.
Day 4 – Blarney and Waterford
Journey to 15th-century Blarney Castle to see the famous Blarney Stone; legend has it that if you kiss the stone, you will be blessed with the gift of the gab. Next up is a visit to the city of Waterford and a tour of the new Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre for a look at the centuries-old story of Ireland’s famed glassware. Arrive early evening at Mount Juliet Hotel, in the heart of Kilkenny, where you’ll dine à la carte this evening.
Day 5 – Kilkenny antiquities and a little country living
You’ll discover that Ireland’s antiquities tell the tales of days gone by… and today’s visit to the ruins of the Cistercian Jerpoint Abbey introduces some remarkable medieval architectural artifacts. Take a guided walking tour of Kilkenny, world-renowned as a center for craft and design, for insights into the Black Abbey, Rothe House and Kilkenny Castle. Mount Juliet is one of Ireland’s finest sporting estates, and you’ll have an opportunity to take advantage of some outstanding leisure activities today.
Day 6 – Connemara and the Gaelic heart
Today’s travels take you to Galway, one of Ireland’s fastest growing cities, for lunch and a look around before entering the Connemara region, home to windswept mountains, bogland, sparkling lakes and the dramatic Atlantic coastline. Arrive in Spiddal for a special visit to Cnoc Suain. Overlooking mountains and sea, the cultural retreat provides an all-embracing, unique celebration of the preservation of Irish / Gaelic culture, embraced by warm hospitality. Arrive at Lough Corrib for a private boat cruise, then on to Ashford Castle; set on a 350-acre private estate along the shores of the lough, it ranks as one of the finest castle hotels in the world.
Day 7 – An abbey and a castle in the west of Ireland
Today you’re off for some pretty amazing sightseeing in the wilds of Connemara. See a Gothic Revival lakeside castle, magnificent Kylemore Abbey on the shores of Kylemore Lough. A Benedictine abbey in World War I, it is now a girls’ boarding school. Return to Ashford Castle, where the remainder of the day is free to pursue some of the castle’s many outdoor activities. Dine à la carte tonight in one of the celebrated restaurants.
Day 8 – Poetry of nature – the Fermanagh Lakelands
Travel from Ashford Castle to Sligo to visit the final resting place of poet W. B. Yeats at Drumcliffe, then on to County Fermanagh. Following lunch, head to the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen for a visit under the guidance of a local historian; the school excels in the arts – former Royal Portorans include Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett. Arrive at Lough Erne Golf Resort, a waterside resort set on the shores of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. Dine at the resort tonight.
Day 9 – Special visits to Belleek Pottery & the Ulster American Folk Park
One of Northern Ireland’s finest exports, known the world over as a symbol of fine Irish craftsmanship, is the delicate Belleek Fine Parian China. A visit to Belleek Pottery takes you on a behind-the-scenes tour to meet and chat with the craftspeople who are utilizing many of the same techniques that have been used for centuries to create the intricate pieces. Travel to Omagh for a visit to the Ulster American Folk Park to discover the story of the emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Day 10 – The city of Derry and the Giants Causeway
Leaving the lakelands behind, head north for a guided tour of the historic city of Derry, whose well-preserved city walls are some of the finest examples anywhere in Europe. Lunch at the Bushmills Inn is a real treat, the epitome of Irish hospitality! Your afternoon is spent on one of the world’s great drives along the Antrim Coast Road. Explore the Giants Causeway, Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site; over 40,000 perfectly symmetrical basalt columns lead from looming coastal cliffs to the sea, creating one of the world’s strangest geological formations.
Day 11 – Belfast and the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
For centuries, the city of Belfast has played a central role in European and world events. A tour with a local guide this morning presents a look at Belfast, past and present. Enjoy some time to explore on your own, then join us for a visit to the dockyards to see where one of history’s most famous ships, the Titanic, was built. You’ll learn a lot more about the Titanic on a visit to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, which also tells fascinating stories of land, air and sea transportation – including the DeLorean sports car!
Day 12 – The story of Saint Patrick and on to Dublin
Your first visit today, to the Saint Patrick Centre, relays the story of Ireland’s patron saint in the countryside setting where he lived, and where he is buried. Travel to Dublin, and upon arrival take a guided walking tour that includes a visit to Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells. The afternoon and evening are yours to experience a bit of Dublin. Nightlife in Dublin entices with traditional music and popular pubs, from the trendy Temple Bar area to traditional pubs.
Day 13 – Sights of Dublin and a visit to Dublin Castle
Depart today for a guided tour through city streets lined with brick Georgian row houses, famous for their intricate, glass-laced doorways. Dublin is well-known for its beautiful parks, and today you’ll see Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest walled urban parks, and St. Stephen’s Green; drive along bustling O’Connell Street and see the Lord Mayor’s residence, with a guided visit to the State Apartments at 13th-century Dublin Castle, which stands in the heart the city.
Day 14 – Tour ends
Fly home anytime.