2017 Irish Spirit - 8 Days / 7 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 fashionable shopping areas around Grafton and Nassau Streets, view Dublin’s elegant Georgian squares and drive along the wide O’Connell Street. Visit Glasnevin Museum, Ireland’s national necropolis, which is a who’s who of modern Irish history and a fascinating insight into life in Ireland. It is the final resting place of Daniel O’Connell, Michael Collins, Charles Stewart Parnell, Brendan Behan and other prominent people. Back at your hotel meet with your tour guide and travel companions for a welcome drink and discuss your itinerary. Dine independently this evening.
Drive through the Irish countryside to the compact city of Kilkenny. Visit Kilkenny Castle, which was the principal residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. It has been remodeled over the centuries and now houses an excellent collections of portraits and artifacts. Continue south to 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.
Travel along the south coast to Cobh to visit the Titanic Experience. Learn about the 123 Irish passengers who embarked on the ill-fated RMS Titanic bound for New York. 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. Drive into County Kerry to Killarney, a small town that’s big on glorious scenery. Check in to your hotel in the center, close to the many shops and pubs. After dinner you may like to sample some of the lively pubs.
Start your day with a leisurely jaunting car ride through the Killarney National Park to Ross Castle for wonderful views of Lough Leane and the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains. Then set out on the famous Ring of Kerry scenic route. The road winds between mountains on one side and the Atlantic coastline on the other. Stop for photos at great locations all along the route. Take the bridge to Valentia Island to visit the Skellig Experience. Here learn about the rocky island of Skellig Michael where monks lived under austere conditions in early Christian times and where part of “Star Wars VII” was filmed in 2014. Stop in the attractive village of Sneem and at Moll’s Gap for panoramic mountain views. In the evening head to an Irish Night for dinner with a fun traditional show.
Drive north through Listowel to Tarbert for a 20-minute ferry ride across the wide River Shannon Estuary. Continue your journey north to view the Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular wall of sandstone that reaches to almost 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Walk along the top of the cliffs to O’Brien’s Tower for views across Galway Bay of Connemara and the Aran Islands on a clear day. Motor through the Burren and around the shores of Galway Bay to Galway city. Take a short walking tour around the city center with a local guide to see the medieval city walls, Lynch’s Castle and Eyre Square before checking in to your hotel.
Today embark on the Corrib Princess for a scenic cruise on Lough Corrib (Mar 28 – Oct 21 departures) and watch demonstrations of Irish coffee-making and step dancing. Then explore scenic Connemara to admire how constantly-changing cloud formations give granite hills, sparkling lakes and peat bogs an added dimension. While visually stunning, this area is not good for farming and only suitable for the sturdy mountain sheep that survive on the steep hills. In Cong take a walking tour with a local guide to see locations for “The Quiet Man” movie, made in the village in 1952. Head to a traditional pub for a casual lunch. Stop at Standun of Spiddal for an Irish coffee and a talk on various aspects of Irish life and traditional crafts before returning to Galway where the evening is free.
This morning enjoy a late departure from Galway. Drive to the center of the country to Kilbeggan to visit the Kilbeggan Distillery Experience, established in 1757, making it the world’s oldest. See how whiskey is distilled on modern equipment in the old buildings and enjoy a sample of the finished product. Continue your journey to Dublin once again and check in to a different hotel. Drive to the fishing village of Howth on the north side of the city to finish up your tour at the popular Abbey Tavern with a hearty dinner and a lively show of traditional music, songs and step-dancing.
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner