10 Day Irish Explorer Tour Itinerary
Day 1 : Dublin Touring & Glasnevin Museum
Start your tour at Dublin Airport with a group transfer to your hotel between 7:00 am and 12:00 noon. If your flight arrives later than noon, transfer to the hotel at your own expense. Your hotel is luxurious Clontarf Castle, which traces its origins to 1172. At 2:00 pm tour the city with a local guide to see elegant Georgian squares, public buildings and monuments such as the Famine Memorial. Visit Glasnevin Museum, Ireland’s national necropolis, which is a who’s who of modern Irish history as the final resting place of Daniel O’Connell, Michael Collins, Charles Stewart Parnell, Brendan Behan and other prominent people. Enjoy a welcome drink with your tour director followed by dinner in your lovely castle hotel.
Day 2 : Boyne Valley Neolithic Tombs & Donegal Castle
This morning visit the Boyne Valley Visitor Centre to learn about the passage burial tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, both of which are over 5,000 years old. Visit one of the tombs to see how primitive people managed to align these buildings precisely with the sun or the moon. Drive through the central lakeland region of Ireland to Donegal town for a tour of Donegal Castle, built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century. The castle was expanded in the 17th century and today is furnished throughout. Check in to your nearby hotel.
Day 3 : Slieve League Cliffs & Glengesh Pass
Head to the fishing port of Killybegs and on to Teelin to view Slieve League sea cliffs, where the highest point reaches 1,972 feet making them the highest in Europe. Enjoy breathtaking vistas as they drop to the wild Atlantic waves below. Sample home-baked scones with coffee or tea before continuing to Malinbeg for great views and through the majestic Glengesh Pass. In Ardara visit Triona Design to see demonstrations of spinning, weaving and knitting. Enjoy free time in Donegal town before returning to your hotel.
Day 4 : Belleek & Museum of Country Life
Visit the Belleek Pottery Factory to see how the craftspeople shape and decorate clay, creating the world-famous fine china. Pause at Drumcliffe Churchyard to view the grave of W. B. Yeats, the Nobel prize-winning poet, who based many poems on the delightful countryside around Sligo. Continue through County Mayo to Castlebar to visit the Museum of Country Life. See collections of domestic goods in daily use from 1850 to 1950. Exhibits and a movie explain how rural people made a living from the soil. Drive to Galway and check in to your hotel.
Day 5 : Connemara Life & Catamaran Cruise
Today explore scenic Connemara to admire how constantly-changing cloud formations give granite hills, sparkling lakes and peat bogs an added dimension. Travel alongside Galway Bay and stop at Standun of Spiddal for coffee and a talk on various aspects of Irish life and traditional crafts. In Leenane embark on a short cruise of Killary Harbour, a 9-mile fjord. Enjoy views of hills where traces of “lazy beds” of potato ridges from the 19th century and earlier can still be seen. In Moycullen visit the Connemara Celtic Crystal Factory, which creates intricate designs in crystal, and return to Galway.
Day 6 : Cliffs of Moher & Foynes Flying Boat Museum
Travel around Galway Bay to view the Cliffs of Moher, an impressive wall of rock that plunges to the Atlantic Ocean. Continue to Bunratty for a brief stop at Durty Nelly’s Pub or the Bunratty Woollen Mills before driving through Limerick and along the Shannon Estuary. Visit the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, which recalls the early days of air travel, during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Arrive in Killarney, check in to your hotel and relax before dinner.
Day 7 : Ring of Kerry & Skellig Experience
Take a drive around the Ring of Kerry where every bend in 100 miles of road reveals breathtaking views. Meet a local farmer, Brendan Ferris, for a taste of farm life with a sheepdog demonstration of herding flocks. At the tip of the peninsula visit the Skellig Experience, which explains the history, flora and fauna on the nearby rocky islands. Return through the attractive village of Sneem and pause at Moll’s Gap for panoramic views of Killarney and its lakes. Back in Killarney enjoy free time for independent activities and dining.
Day 8 : Blarney Castle & Merry Ploughboy Pub
Drive through County Cork to Blarney Castle to climb to the ramparts and kiss the famous stone. Also visit the Blarney Woollen Mills where quality Irish-made products are gathered under one roof. Drive north and pause for photos at the stately Rock of Cashel, a limestone outcrop with picturesque ruins and continue to Dublin. In the evening head to the Merry Ploughboy Pub for Irish cuisine and a lively session of traditional songs.
Day 9 : Extra Day in Dublin
Spend a full day at leisure in Dublin and see the city at your own pace on an independent Dublin open-top bus tour pass (valid for 48 hours) with a visit to Guinness Storehouse or Old Jameson Distillery to sample a complimentary pint or a shot.
Day 10 : Depart for Home
Today take a taxi transfer to Dublin Airport, using the company specified in your final documents and the taxi voucher.
B: Breakfast; D: Dinner