2017 Irish Adventure - 9 Days / 8 Nights
Your Irish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your guide at your Dublin hotel and set out on an introductory tour of central Dublin. See elegant 18th century Georgian houses with brightly-painted doors, tranquil parks and the wide O’Connell Street. Take a guided walking tour through the campus of Trinity College to view the illuminated manuscript of the Book of Kells. In the evening meet your tour director over a welcome drink to discuss your trip and dine independently.
This morning travel through the delightful scenery of the Wicklow Mountains on the way to Glendalough. Learn about St. Kevin’s 6th century monastery in the Glendalough Visitor Centre and walk through the deep valley to view the picturesque ruins of a round tower, churches and Celtic crosses. Continue south to New Ross to walk around the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a reconstructed 19th century vessel showing the harsh sailing conditions for emigrants on the way to North America. Drive to your hotel in Waterford and, after dinner, take a gentle stroll around the narrow streets of the historic city with a local guide.
Visit the House of Waterford Crystal to view glass blowing and watch the creation of one-of-a-kind trophies. Travel via Dungarvan to Cobh, the last port of call of the Titanic. A walking tour will reveal many of the places that still remain over a century since travelers embarked on that fateful voyage. Head to nearby Blarney to kiss the “Stone of Eloquence” located in the ramparts of Blarney Castle. You will also have time to shop for Irish products at the Blarney Woollen Mills. Journey west through rugged countryside and settle in to your centrally-located hotel in Killarney.
Enjoy the highlights of Ireland’s natural scenery on the Ring of Kerry route. The road winds between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains on one side and the Atlantic coastline on the other. Drive through Killorglin and Cahirciveen to cross the bridge to Valentia Island. Visit the Skellig Experience, which explains the life of early Christian hermits on Skellig Michael, a rocky offshore island, and how it featured in the “Star Wars VII” movie. Enjoy a casual lunch and stop in the pretty village of Sneem. Pause at Moll’s Gap for panoramic mountain views and return to Killarney where the evening is free.
Travel north from Killarney and take a ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary. View the awesome Cliffs of Moher rising to heights of 700 feet above the wild Atlantic swells. Pass through the rounded limestone hills of the Burren and around Galway Bay to Galway for a walking tour in the city center.
Head north to the pilgrimage town of Knock, one of the world’s leading shrines. See the church where villagers saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1879. Travel through County Sligo and visit a farm to watch trained sheepdogs round up mountain sheep. Follow the shoreline of Donegal Bay to Donegal town and past the lovely Blue Stack Mountains to Derry. On arrival in Derry meet a local guide to learn about the development of the city, which retains its medieval fortification walls dating from 1613. Drive around the main areas and walk along the historic walls.
Today explore the northern coastline, stopping for photos at the sprawling ruins of Dunluce Castle. Visit the Giant’s Causeway, enormous hexagonal columns formed by volcanic activity over 60 million years ago. The huge rocks have given rise to many stories about Finn McCool, a legendary giant. Drive to Belfast to visit Titanic Belfast and learn about RMS Titanic through state-of-the-art displays. See the docks where this famous liner was built just over a century ago. Stop just south of Dundalk at the Glyde Inn for a farewell dinner with Irish specialties and entertaining traditional Irish songs and music. This cozy tavern dates back to 1770. Continue south to check in to your hotel in Dublin.
Spend an additional day in Dublin with an independent Dublin open-top bus tour (valid for 48 hours), plus a visit to Guinness Storehouse or General Post Office Museum.
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner