2014 Emerald Supreme 12 Days/11 Nights
Your tour starts at Dublin Airport with a transfer to your hotel between 7:00 am and 12:00 noon. If your flight arrives later, transfer to the hotel at your own expense. At 2:00 pm take a short ride through the Wicklow Mountains for a guided tour around Russborough House, noted for its art and photography collections. In the evening discuss your itinerary with your tour director and your fellow travelers over a welcome drink and you are free to dine independently.
This morning tour central Dublin as you drive past Leinster House, the seat of government, and St. Stephen’s Green. Cross the River Liffey to see O’Connell Street and pause at the Famine Memorial. Walk through Trinity College to visit the Old Library where the priceless 8th century manuscript of the Book of Kells is housed. In the afternoon use included vouchers for an open-top bus tour and a visit to Guinness Storehouse or Old Jameson Distillery for a tour and a drink. In the evening head out to O’Connell’s Restaurant for an elegant dinner with live music.
Travel to Kildare to visit the Irish National Stud to learn about the valuable horse breeding industry and walk through the charming Japanese Gardens, which represent the “Life of Man” from cradle to grave. Enjoy a home-style lunch at a farmhouse and chat about country living with the owners. Drive to Killarney, famous for it scenic location. Check in to your hotel and enjoy a superb dinner in the fine restaurant.
Start your day with a jaunting car ride to Ross Castle, set on one of Killarney’s lakes. Then travel along the Ring of Kerry drive for breathtaking views of mountains and the Atlantic Ocean with plenty of stops to admire or photograph scenic vistas. Visit the Skellig Experience, which shows early Christian monastic life on the nearby rocky islands. Return through Sneem and pause at Moll’s Gap for panoramic views. Enjoy delicious cuisine at the award-winning Killeen House Restaurant.
Take a ferry across the River Shannon to reach the Cliffs of Moher, majestic walls of rock, which extend five miles along the coast. You may walk to O’Brien’s Tower for a view of the Aran Islands. Journey through the Burren to the lovely Dromoland Castle Hotel. Relax in the wonderful setting or take a short drive to Bunratty Village for an opportunity to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park or the 200-year-old Durty Nelly’s Pub. Experience gourmet dining in the hotel’s elegant dining room.
Take a panoramic tour around Galway and then drive to Spiddal to visit Cnoc Suain, a restored 17th century hill-village set in a beautiful landscape where you will be immersed in local Irish culture. Take a short cruise on Lough Corrib to approach Ashford Castle from the water so you can take photos of the incredible views. Unwind in luxurious surroundings and experience superb cuisine in Ashford’s lovely restaurant.
Travel through Connemara to Leenane and embark on a catamaran cruise around Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord. As you sip an Irish coffee, see remains of houses and potato patches abandoned during the 1840’s Famine as well as stunning scenery. Visit Kylemore Abbey, a stately mansion in a tranquil lakeside setting. Take a walking tour around Cong to see movie locations of the 1952 production of “The Quiet Man.” In the evening drive to the nearby village of Clonbur for an informal dinner with local entertainment at Eddie’s Pub.
Visit the Museum of Country Life to view exhibits of domestic goods in daily use during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Continue to County Sligo to Broc House for lunch and a talk on the writer W. B. Yeats who spent much of his time in Sligo and loved the scenery. After lunch take a drive with a local expert to see places associated with Yeats ??? Lough Gill, Glencar Waterfall and his grave at Drumcliffe. A short drive will take you to Harvey’s Point Hotel, set in glorious scenery a few miles outside Donegal town.
Drive to the fishing port of Killybegs and on to Teelin to view Slieve League sea cliffs, the highest in Europe, reaching 1,972 feet. The cliffs drop straight down to the wild Atlantic waves creating breathtaking views. Enjoy coffee or tea with home baked scones before driving through the majestic Glengesh Pass to Ardara. County Donegal is renowned for its rugged scenery, sheep and Donegal tweed. Visit Triona Design to see demonstrations of spinning, weaving and knitting.
Take a walking tour around Derry’s medieval walls, which completely encircle the old city. Learn about the history as you pass the Diamond and St. Columb’s Cathedral. Pause for photos at Dunluce Castle before visiting the Giant’s Causeway, enormous hexagonal columns formed over 60 million years ago. Experience wonderful views along the “Nine Glens of Antrim.” In Belfast check in to your elegant Victorian hotel, built as the headquarters of the Ulster Bank. Enjoy fine dining in the elegant Great Room Restaurant, once the main Banking Hall.
A local guide will show you the highlights of Belfast, including Victorian buildings, the imposing City Hall and the shipyards where RMS Titanic was built in 1912. Visit Titanic Belfast to learn about this ill-fated famous liner through state-of-the- art displays. Drive past the gentle slopes of the Mourne Mountains to Dublin and check in to your landmark hotel on St. Stephen’s Green. Enjoy a farewell dinner at the Abbey Tavern’s Loft Restaurant in Howth followed by a lively show of songs and step-dancing.
Group transfers are provided to Dublin Airport to arrive at 6:00 am, 9:00 am or 12:00 noon.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner