2014 Irish Pubs & Folklore 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. Passengers arriving later will transfer to the hotel at their own expense. At 2:00 pm tour Dublin with a local guide to see elegant Georgian squares with the famous brightly-painted doors and the peaceful St. Stephen’s Green. Cross the River Liffey to O’Connell Street and view the General Post Office where the 1916 Uprising started and pause to view the solemn figures of the Famine Memorial. 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.
Depart Dublin and stop at a working beef, sheep and horse farm to meet the owners. Sample tea and home-baked scones and learn about country living in Ireland. Arrive in Kilkenny and check in to your centrally-located hotel. Take a walking tour through the heart of this medieval city to view merchants’ houses, historic pubs and much more along Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile. Enjoy free time to browse around the compact little city before dinner – Kilkenny is a fun place to explore.
Drive south to the ancient port of Waterford to visit the House of Waterford Crystal. See how skilled craftspeople transform molten glass into elegant tableware and magnificent trophies of all types. Drive along the south coast to visit Blarney Castle and climb to the ramparts to kiss the “Stone of Eloquence.” Enjoy some time for shopping at the Blarney Woollen Mills or take a break in the pub hidden between the shops! Travel through County Cork and on to Killarney and check in to your hotel. In the evening explore some of the lively pubs where traditional Irish music is played.
Today discover more gems of the glorious Dingle Peninsula, made famous by two movies, “Ryan’s Daughter” and “Far & Away”, which showed a lot of the wonderful scenery. Drive to Slea Head at the westernmost tip for awesome views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Blasket Islands, which were inhabited until 1953. Also see early Christian monastic beehive huts. Back in Dingle watch brewing processes at the Dingle Brewing Company and sample some of the local brew. Spend some free time in the attractive town of Dingle before heading back to Killarney. In the evening drive to Kate Kearney’s Cottage for dinner and traditional Irish entertainment with songs and step-dancing.
Drive north for a short ferry ride across the wide River Shannon Estuary. View the Cliffs of Moher that rise to heights of almost 700 feet above churning Atlantic swells. Sit down to lunch in a pub in the village of Doolin, a popular place for traditional Irish music sessions. Pass around the shores of Galway Bay and stop in Galway city for a look around. Continue through the Connemara region with hills, lakes and open country where mountain sheep roam freely. Stop in Leenane, renowned as the location of the movie, “The Field.” Continue to Westport, an attractive estate town built in 1780, and check in to your hotel. Westport is a great town with lots of interesting shops and traditional pubs, many with live music.
(B, L, D)
Visit Westport House, an 18th century mansion, set in superb parkland with magnificent views overlooking Clew Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. See stunning rooms with priceless furnishings, paintings, books, silver and Waterford Crystal. Drive around Clew Bay and cross by bridge to Achill Island. Follow the Atlantic Drive to capture wonderful views of steeply-sloped mountains and the shimmering Atlantic Ocean. Stop at the Beehive Restaurant in Keel for lunch and see the Deserted Village, the remains of nearly 100 stone cottages abandoned around the time of the 1840’s Famine. Return to Westport for free time.
Drive eastwards to the center of Ireland and in Kilbeggan visit the historic Kilbeggan Distillery Experience, established in 1757, to see how whiskey is distilled and enjoy a creamy Irish coffee. Continue your journey to Dublin and check in to your hotel. In the evening head to the Brazen Head Pub, Dublin’s oldest, dating back to 1198 for an evening of “Food, Folk and Fairies” where story-telling will reveal Ireland’s myths and beliefs in times past.
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