2014 Irish Legends 9 Days/8 Nights
Start your tour at Dublin Airport with a group transfer to your hotel between 7:00 am and 12:00 noon. Passengers arriving later will transfer to the hotel at their own expense. Depart your hotel at 2:00 pm to visit Malahide Castle, first built in 1185 by the Talbot family who lived there until 1975. The Castle has been remodeled over the years and today is filled with medieval artifacts and family portraits. Also take a stroll around the delightful gardens. Stop in nearby Malahide, now an upscale suburb of Dublin that still retains its village ambience. Return to your hotel for a welcome get-together drink with your tour director and discuss your itinerary before dinner.
Travel to Kildare to visit the Irish National Stud. As a nation, the Irish are very interested in horses and the Stud will tell you about the valuable breeding industry. See magnificent horses before walking around the delightful Japanese Gardens, established a century ago. Drive through the Irish countryside to County Kilkenny for a stop at a farm in Jerpoint for tea and home-made scones. Chat with the owners about farming and also see one of Ireland’s best examples of a deserted 12th century town. Drive to Waterford and in the evening join a local guide for a gentle walking tour around the old city center and hear stories about Waterford’s long history.
Take a short drive this morning and the first stop is the JFK Homestead, birthplace of President John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather. Today it is still farmed by his descendants and celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty. In New Ross explore the Dunbrody Emigrant Ship, a replica of the vessel used during the 1840’s Famine to transport starving people to the U.S. and Canada. Return to Waterford to explore the Viking Triangle and learn about the city’s long history. Visit the Choristers’ Hall Museum filled with medieval treasures and the elegant 18th century Bishop’s Palace.
Visit the House of Waterford Crystal to learn about glass blowing and cutting and see one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Travel along the south coast to Cobh, the last port of call of the Titanic. A walking tour will reveal many of the places associated with emigrants as they left Ireland for better lives overseas. At Blarney Castle climb the ramparts to gain the “Gift of Eloquence.” You may visit the Blarney Woollen Mills, which offer excellent Irish-made products. Drive through Macroom to Killarney and check in to your hotel.
Today discover the glorious Dingle Peninsula, made famous by two movies that showcased the scenery – “Ryan’s Daughter” and “Far & Away.” Drive along the south shore to admire views of heathery mountains, sandy stretches of beach and rocky headlands. Sit down to a pub lunch in the town of Dingle and visit the South Pole Pub for an Irish coffee and learn about Tom Crean, an Antarctic explorer who owned the pub. Return to Killarney where you are free to dine independently this evening.
Drive north through the town of Listowel, noted for its writers’ festival and literary connections, and take a ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary. Travel along the coast of County Clare to view the Cliffs of Moher, which rise to heights of almost 700 feet above the churning Atlantic swells. Walk along the top of the cliffs to O’Brien’s Tower for great views of Galway Bay and the Aran Islands. Drive through the hills of the Burren and around Galway Bay to Galway for a panoramic city tour. Check in to your hotel, overlooking Galway Bay and the Aran Islands.
Take a short ferry ride from Rossaveal to Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands. These rocky islands are renowned for the hardy islanders who maintained traditional fishing and farming methods and where the popular intricately patterned fishermen’s sweaters originated. The Irish language is still spoken widely. Take a minibus ride to Dun Aengus, a huge pre-historic fortress perched on sheer cliffs, which fall away to the Atlantic Ocean below. Take a look around Kilronan, the main town, before returning to the mainland by ferry.
Tour Athlone Castle located at a strategic crossing on the River Shannon where it dominates the town. This castle dates from the 13th century and was central to the siege of Athlone in 1691. Visit the nearby Sean’s Bar for an Irish coffee. This pub has a detailed and documented history right back to 900 AD. During renovations in 1970, ancient walls and old coins dating back centuries were discovered. Drive to your elegant hotel a few miles from Dublin city center. In the evening drive to Taylor’s Three Rock Pub for a dinner with Irish specialties. Then sit back with an Irish coffee to watch a lively show with music, 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