2015 Mystical Ireland 8 Days / 7 Nights
Your Irish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director 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 and has played a major role in historic events. In the evening meet your tour director over a welcome drink to discuss your trip and he will advise you on places to dine independently.
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 the highlights of the city including 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 that traces the development, building and sinking of RMS Titanic 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. Learn about the many legends that have been told about these ancient stones. 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 the Nobel Prize-winning author loved to write about. Continue to Westport for free time to explore this attractive 18th century town 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, a lovely building that has been 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 with a great feast and wine. The lords and ladies serenade you, transporting you in spirit to the Middle Ages.
Your program ends after breakfast today.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner