2017 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 Trinity College and cross the River Liffey to drive along O'Connell Street. Take a guided tour through Dublin Castle, which was the seat of power and government for many centuries. In the evening meet your tour director and fellow travelers over a welcome drink to discuss your trip and dine in your hotel.
Drive north to visit Down Cathedral to see St. Patrick’s historical 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 Museum 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 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 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 provided many locations for the “Game of Thrones” TV show. Stop at the Giant's Causeway, enormous hexagonal columns formed by volcanic activity 60 million years ago. Pause to view ruins of Dunluce Castle and in Derry join a local guide for a short walking tour around the medieval defensive walls.
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 through Counties Sligo and Mayo. Drive to Westport and see the main streets and historic buildings on a gentle walking tour.
Drive past the pilgrimage mountain of Croaghpatrick and visit a farm to watch skilled dogs herding mountain sheep. Drive to Leenane to view Killary Harbour, Ireland's only fjord, and travel past the Partry Mountains. Enjoy a light lunch before taking a guided tour of Westport House. This stately mansion, which overlooks the ocean, contains a wealth of interesting portraits, furniture, silver and porcelain. Enjoy free time in Westport.
Visit Ballintubber Abbey, used for worship continually for 700 years. Travel 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. Travel inland for a fun evening at either Bunratty or Knappogue Castle to experience a medieval-style banquet with great food, songs and stories. The last night of your tour is in Bunratty.
Your program ends after breakfast today.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner