2017 Irish & British Focus with Paris 13 Days / 12 Nights
Your Irish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director at your Dublin hotel. Take a short ride to historic Dalkey Village, now an upmarket suburb for a gentle guided walk through the village. Visit the imposing Dalkey Castle and see the newly re-furbished Writers’ Gallery. In the evening meet your tour director over a welcome drink to discuss your trip and he will help you choose a restaurant to dine independently.
This morning tour central Dublin to see spacious Georgian squares and streets, landmark public buildings and graceful townhouses. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral to see monuments celebrating the lives of prominent people and events. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was Dean of the Cathedral and is buried here. The afternoon is free for independent activities. In the evening drive to Taylor’s Three Rock Pub for a great dinner followed by a show with humor, story-telling, Irish music and dance.
Leave Dublin and journey across the rolling pastures of Ireland’s heartland to visit Clonmacnoise. This monastic settlement was founded in 545 AD by St. Ciaran and is set on the banks of the mighty River Shannon. See elaborate high Celtic crosses decorated with biblical scenes. Walk around the many church ruins and two round towers. Drive to Galway and join a local guide on a gentle walk through the city center before checking into your hotel. Your hotel is located within easy walking distance of lively streets with fun specialty stores, cafés and pubs. Enjoy free time to browse around on your own before dining in your hotel.
Stop at Rathbaun Farm to see traditional farm animals and farming practices. Watch a farmer demonstrate how his trained dogs herd mountain sheep and then sit down to tea or coffee with some home baking. Travel through the Burren to view the Cliffs of Moher, an impressive wall of rock that plunges to the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs stretch along the coast for five miles and reach heights of almost 700 feet. Take a ferry across the River Shannon Estuary and drive to your hotel in the center of Killarney.
Take a jaunting car ride through part of the Killarney National Park to admire scenic views of some of Killarney’s lakes and mountains. Visit Muckross Schoolhouse for a taste of traditional Irish country life as you watch butter churning and bread making. Drive to the delightful town of Kenmare for a look around and savor a casual lunch. Travel along part of the awesome Ring of Kerry route to view spectacular mountain scenery at Moll’s Gap and at Ladies’ View. Return to Killarney where the evening is free for independent dining and perhaps visit a pub with live music.
Visit Blarney Castle to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” If you do not wish to climb to the top of the castle, take a walk through the lovely grounds with magnificent trees and colorful borders. Shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills for quality Irish-made souvenirs and travel along the south coast to Waterford. Visit the famous House of Waterford Crystal to watch molten glass being transformed into elaborate and shimmering trophies by the skilled blowers and cutters. View a huge array of stemware in the showrooms and you may purchase pieces also. Check in to your hotel in the center of Waterford and, after dinner, take a gentle walking tour with a local guide to learn about the region’s history.
Depart Waterford early this morning to catch the ferry from Rosslare to Pembroke Dock in South Wales. Journey through the gentle, green countryside to Cardiff, the capital of Wales. Tour Cardiff Castle, developed in Roman times and transformed into an elaborate Gothic-style residence in the 19th century. A fun Welsh evening with dinner and entertainment will round out your day.
This morning drive to Bath, popular for its natural hot springs with the Romans 2,000 years ago and again in the 18th century. Tour the Roman Baths and Pump Room, well preserved after two millennia and renowned for hot springs. Drive to Salisbury Plain to view the prehistoric circle of vast monoliths at Stonehenge. View displays in the Visitor Center which give the story of the moving the huge stones with primitive tools to build this amazing circle. Continue into London in time for dinner in your hotel.
This morning take a panoramic tour of central London to see famous landmarks including Piccadilly Circus with its statue of Eros, Nelson’s Column flanked by huge lions in Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Visit the mighty Tower of London to see the many fortresses, Beefeaters, ravens and the priceless Crown Jewels. The afternoon is free for further exploring and there is no shortage of great things to see and do. In the evening you are free for dinner.
Transfer to the train station in London and take the famous Eurostar train to Paris via the Channel Tunnel, a journey of under 2 ½ hours. On arrival in Paris, transfer to your hotel and start your independent adventure by exploring this wonderful city.
Today experience the best of Paris at your own pace on an open-top bus tour to view the Eiffel Tower, River Seine, Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysees and more. You may stay on the bus for a panoramic ride or get off and on wherever interests you.
You have a full day open for further sightseeing, either in the city center or you may like to wander outside the city to some of the many famous places such as the Normandy Beaches, Versailles or Giverny – all within easy reach.
Your tour ends after breakfast so transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport for your flight home.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner