2017 Jewels of Ireland 14 Days / 13 Nights
Your Irish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director at your Dublin hotel and set out on an introductory tour of central Dublin. Visit Dublin Castle, which was the seat of power and government for many centuries. Back at your hotel enjoy a welcome drink with your tour director and fellow travelers and dine independently this evening.
Drive to Blessington for a guided tour around Russborough House, a Palladian mansion filled with interesting treasures, works of art and early photographic collections. Return to Dublin where the afternoon is free for an independent open-top bus tour with a visit to Guinness or General Post Office Museum. Head to the Taylor's Three Rock Pub for dinner with traditional music, songs and step-dancing.
Pause for photos at the Rock of Cashel as you travel south to Blarney Castle. Climb the castle ramparts to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence” or walk through the landscaped grounds. You may like to shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills for quality Irish-made goods. Drive south to Kinsale, a delightful old fishing town, which is now renowned for sailing and gourmet food. Join a local guide for a short walk around Kinsale’s historic streets.
Journey along the rugged coastline of County Cork, via Clonakilty and Skibbereen, passing picturesque coves and beaches. Travel to Killarney for a horse-drawn jaunting car ride through Killarney National Park to view Ross Castle. Drive along the Dingle Peninsula and sip an Irish coffee at the South Pole Inn before continuing to your charming manor-house hotel in Dingle town center.
Explore the Dingle Peninsula to enjoy mountain and shoreline views. Visit the Blasket Centre in Dunquin to learn about the offshore Blasket Islands, inhabited until 1953 by hardy farming and fishing families. Return to Dingle and enjoy a light lunch, followed by a boat trip of Dingle Harbor and Bay for more great scenic views.
Visit the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, which recalls air travel in the 1930s and 1940s. Drive to the Cliffs of Moher, a dramatic wall of rock that plunges to the Atlantic Ocean. Travel to either Bunratty or Knappogue Castle. Experience a medieval-style banquet with great food, songs and stories. Overnight in Ennis.
Travel through the rounded limestone hills of the Burren to Caherconnell and watch a farmer work with skilled dogs to round up sheep. Stop in the coastal village of Ballyvaughan and drive into Galway for a guided walking tour around the central attractions.
Head to Standun of Spiddal for an Irish coffee and
a talk on Irish crafts. Drive through Connemara to
Leenane for a catamaran cruise of Killary Harbour.
At Dan O’Hara’s Homestead, see traditional
farming methods as well as Connemara ponies,
donkeys and chickens. Savor a farmhouse lunch
before returning to Galway.
Drive north through County Mayo and in County Sligo tour Lissadell
House, a magnificent country estate that has strong connections
with the 1916 Rising. Tour the Belleek Pottery Factory to see
craftspeople create the renowned fine china. Stop in Donegal
town for free time before driving to your hotel two
miles outside the town.
Drive along the coast to view Europe’s highest
sea cliffs at Slieve League, which make a sheer
drop to the wild Atlantic waves and enjoy homebaked
scones with coffee or tea. Visit a woolen
mill to shop and see demonstrations of spinning
and knitting. In the center of Donegal town tour
Donegal Castle and return to your hotel.
Take a walking tour with a local guide to see Derry’s medieval walls, the Diamond and St. Columb’s Cathedral. Pause for photos at Dunluce Castle before exploring the Giant’s Causeway, enormous hexagonal columns formed over 60 million years ago. See where “Game of Thrones” was filmed at The Dark Hedges and along the scenic Nine Glens of Antrim. Drive to Belfast.
Tour Belfast to see Victorian buildings and the shipyards where RMS Titanic was built in 1912. Visit Titanic Belfast to learn about this famous liner through state-of-the-art displays. Drive to Kingscourt to your lovely castle hotel, built in 1760 and enjoy free time. After dinner, watch a step-dancing display.
Visit the Boyne Valley Visitor Centre to learn about the 5,000-year-old burial tombs of Newgrange and Knowth and walk through one of them. Continue to Drogheda for a leisurely stroll around the historic town and sample locally-brewed beer in a traditional pub. Check in to your hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner in the Wm Cairnes Gastropub with live musical entertainment.
Your program ends after breakfast. Drogheda is 30 miles north of Dublin Airport so ensure you have appropriate transfer arrangements made.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner