2015 Irish Classic 12 Days / 11 Nights
Your Irish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour guide at your Dublin hotel. Tour Dublin to see elegant Georgian townhouses, pass St. Stephen’s Green and cross the River Liffey to view the Famine Memorial and drive along O’Connell Street. Take a guided tour through Dublin Castle, which was the seat of power and government for many centuries. In the evening meet your tour director over a welcome drink to discuss your trip.
Drive north to visit Down Cathedral to see St. Patrick’s reputed burial site, marked by a huge boulder. Learn about the many stories of his work, life and times in the nearby St. Patrick Centre. On the outskirts of Belfast visit the Ulster Folk Park to see traditional town buildings of many types, including churches, a bank, police station and doctor’s office. Also see rural cottages showing gardens, crafts, crops and farm animals. Drive to your hotel in central Belfast and relax before dinner.
This morning take a panoramic tour around central Belfast to see Victorian buildings, the imposing City Hall in Donegall Square 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. In the afternoon join a local guide for a walking tour around part of central Belfast and spend time on your own for shopping and dining.
Drive north along the Nine Glens of Antrim, for lovely views of mountains, valleys and coastline. This scenic region is where “Game of Thrones” is filmed. Stop at the Giant’s Causeway, enormous hexagonal columns formed by volcanic activity 60 million years ago. Continue to Derry and join a local guide for a short walking tour around the defensive walls that encircle the compact old city.
Travel through the rugged countryside of Donegal, renowned for heathery hills, sheep and the many tweeds made from their wool. Stop in Donegal town for a tour of Donegal Castle, built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century and expanded in the 17th century. Drive around Donegal Bay and pause at W. B. Yeats’ Grave in Sligo, a region that he loved to write about. Drive to Westport and enjoy free time before dinner.
Travel through Connemara to Leenane and embark on a catamaran cruise around Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord. See remains of houses and potato patches abandoned during the 1840’s Famine as well as stunning scenery. Enjoy a light lunch and take a walking tour around Cong to see movie locations of the 1952 production of "The Quiet Man". Use free time in Westport to browse around the town and dine independently.
Visit Ballintubber Abbey, used for worship continually for 700 years. Travel through the heart of Connemara to Galway for a guided walking tour around the city center. Drive through the Burren to view the majestic Cliffs of Moher, which rise 700 feet above the foaming Atlantic Ocean. At Bunratty check in to your hotel, right beside the Bunratty Folk Park and Durty Nelly’s Pub. Head to Bunratty Castle for a jolly medieval-style dinner where the lords and ladies serenade you.
Drive through the outskirts of Limerick and alongside the River Shannon into County Kerry. Sample tea and scones in a pub in Listowel, associated with the writer, J. B. Keane. Journey along the Dingle Peninsula for glorious scenic views of hills and coastline. Drive to Slea Head at the westernmost point and stop in the town of Dingle before heading to Killarney.
Take a traditional horse-drawn jaunting car ride to Ross Castle for views of Lough Leane, Killarney’s largest lake. Drive to the delightful town of Kenmare and savor a casual pub lunch. Travel along part of the awesome Ring of Kerry route to view spectacular mountain scenery at Moll’s Gap and visit a farm to watch trained dogs herding sheep. The evening is free in Killarney.
Travel to Blarney Castle to climb to the top and kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” Also shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills. Drive to Dungarvan to the Marine Bar for a creamy Irish coffee and an informal traditional music session. Continue to Waterford and after dinner join a local guide for a stroll around the historic streets of this old port city.
Visit the House of Waterford Crystal to see how molten glass is blown into shapes before being hand-cut by experts and view priceless trophies. In New Ross explore the Dunbrody Famine Ship which transported people to North America during the 1940’s Famine. Stop at the nearby JFK Homestead where the ancestors of President Kennedy lived. In Dublin, this evening’s destination is Taylor’s Three Rock Pub for dinner with traditional Irish songs and intricate step-dancing.
Your program ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner