2014 Irish Gold Coach Tour - 8 Days/7 Nights
Your tour starts at Dublin Airport with a group transfer to your hotel between 7:00 am and 12:00 noon. If you arrive later than noon, transfer to the hotel at your own expense. At 2:00 pm your tour director will introduce you to Dublin’s River Liffey, wide O’Connell Street, tranquil St. Stephen’s Green, the seat of government at Leinster House and other public buildings. See some of Dublin’s famous Georgian houses and pause at the Famine Memorial, a reminder of the mid-19th century disaster. Take a stroll through Trinity College’s campus with a student guide and view the priceless Book of Kells in the Old Library. Your tour director will host a welcome drink and advise where to dine independently.
Leave Dublin and journey across the rolling pastures of Ireland’s heartland to visit Clonmacnoise. This monastic settlement was founded in 545 AD by St. Ciaran and is set on the banks of the mighty River Shannon. See elaborate high crosses as well as many church ruins and round towers. Drive to Galway and view the main sights of the city before checking into your hotel, located within easy reach of lively streets with fun specialty stores, cafés and pubs. Enjoy some free time to browse around on your own before dining in your hotel.
Today explore scenic Connemara to admire how constantly-changing cloud formations give granite hills, sparkling lakes and peat bogs an added dimension. Drive through the picturesque Inagh Valley to Leenane where you embark on a short catamaran cruise of Killary Harbour, a 9-mile fjord (Mar 23 – Nov 02 departures). Enjoy views of hills where traces of “lazy beds” of potato ridges from the 19th century and earlier can still be seen. Drive to Kylemore Abbey for a tour of the elegant mansion and church, set beside a tranquil lake and walk through the Victorian walled garden. Enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants and savor more views of Connemara before returning to Galway.
Travel south around Galway Bay to see the Cliffs of Moher, which rise almost 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic surf. Drive through the hills of the Burren and stop in Caherconnell to watch trained sheepdogs obey whistles from their owner to direct sheep through various obstacles. After Limerick pause for photos in the picturesque village of Adare before heading to Killarney, a little town that is world-famous due to its exquisite location beside lakes and mountains. Check in to your hotel in the center of the town and head to Molly Darcy’s Pub for a lively show with dinner.
Set out on Ireland’s most popular scenic drive – the Ring of Kerry. The road winds between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains and the Atlantic coastline. Cross to Valencia Island and tour the Skellig Experience to learn about the rocky offshore islands where early Christian monks lived. Stop in the attractive village of Sneem and also at Moll’s Gap for panoramic mountain views. Take a guided tour around Muckross House to see period furnishings and learn of its prominent guests and owners. Stroll through the mature gardens before driving to Killarney. Take a horse-drawn jaunting car ride through the Killarney National Park to Ross Castle for stunning views of Lough Leane.
Drive through the mountains of Kerry and West Cork into richer farming country on the way to Blarney to climb to the ramparts of Blarney Castle to kiss the famous stone. Also shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills for quality Irish-made goods before traveling along the coast to the Marine Bar in Dungarvan for a creamy Irish coffee and an informal traditional music session. Continue to Waterford and check into your historic hotel, located on the waterfront of this ancient port city. After dinner, take a fun walking tour around the narrow streets and ancient buildings to discover Waterford’s long history.
After breakfast tour the House of Waterford Crystal to watch glass blowing and cutting by master craftspeople and see a huge display of elegant tableware and magnificent trophies. In New Ross tour the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of a sailing vessel that was used during the 1840’s Famine to transport starving Irish people to the United States and Canada. Travel along the east coast to your hotel in Dublin and in the evening drive to O’Connell’s Restaurant for a superb dinner and some live music.
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