2017 Taste of Wales & Ireland 12 Days / 11 Nights
Your trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director at your Chester hotel. Chester is about 30 miles from Manchester Airport so ensure that you have arranged a transfer. Set out on a walking tour to see medieval streets with lovely half-timbered houses and shops. Walk along part of the city walls and view Roman ruins. Also visit Chester Cathedral, which dates back to 660 AD. Discuss your itinerary with your tour director and guide over a welcome drink and dinner.
Cross into Wales and drive to Llangollen and across the scenic Horseshoe Pass. Visit a farm to watch trained dogs herding sheep and stop for photos of 13th century St Asaph’s Cathedral. Drive to Conwy, a compact medieval town which is dominated by its huge castle. Take a walk around Conwy’s narrow streets with ancient houses and see Britain’s smallest house on the docks. Drive to your hotel in Caernarfon.
Tour North Wales, starting with a train ride on a narrow-gauge steam train to admire the beautiful scenery of the Snowdonia National Park. Pause for photos of Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales and take a look around the typical Welsh village of Betws-y-Coed. Tour the National Slate Museum, which relates the tough working conditions of this region’s slate industry, developed in Victorian times. Back in Caernarfon you may like to explore the old walled town.
Today experience the magnificent Welsh coastline. Visit the mighty Harlech Castle, one of the “Iron Ring Castles” that were built along the coast by the English in the 13th century. Take a look around the attractive Georgian town of Aberaeron. Continue to the picturesque coastal town of Tenby, featuring a little harbor, castle ruins and defensive town walls. After dinner, join a local guide for a walk to hear many humorous tales and traditions associated with Tenby.
Drive around scenic Pembrokeshire, a region of gentle rolling hills and indented coastline. Watch the ancient Welsh tradition of hand carving at the Lovespoon Workshop. Tour Pembroke Castle, an imposing 12th century fortress to explore the labyrinth of passageways and towers. Return to Tenby mid-afternoon and dine independently in one of the many restaurants near your hotel.
Journey through colorful coastal villages on the way to St David’s, the smallest city in Britain. Visit the imposing 12th century St David’s Cathedral, named for the patron saint of Wales, to view the magnificent carvings and take a look through the nearby art galleries, craft shops and tea rooms close to the cathedral. From Fishguard take a 3-hour ferry ride to Rosslare and head to your hotel in Waterford in time for dinner.
Visit the House of Waterford Crystal to learn about glass blowing and cutting and admire one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Then see Waterford’s ancient buildings on a gentle stroll with a local guide. Travel to Blarney Castle to kiss the famous stone and shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills. Journey on to Killarney and admire the famous lakes on a jaunting car ride through the Killarney National Park to Ross Castle, picturesquely set on Lough Leane.
Embark on the Ring of Kerry drive – a winding route with mountains and coastal views. Cross to Valentia Island by bridge to visit the Skellig Experience which describes the austere lives of early Christian monks on the nearby islands and savor a casual lunch. Pause at Moll’s Gap for stunning views before returning to Killarney.
Take a ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary to visit the Cliffs of Moher, majestic walls of rock, which extend five miles along the coast. Drive through part of the Burren and continue to your hotel. Visit Bunratty Folk Park to see traditional cottages and farm buildings from different parts of Ireland. Feast medieval-style at Bunratty or Knappogue Castle while the lords and ladies serenade you with song and harp music. (B, D)
Travel to Galway for a walking tour around the principal areas of Galway city before traveling to Tullamore to visit the Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre, which explains how whiskey is distilled. Sample some whiskey at the end of your tour and head to Dublin. In the evening drive to Taylor’s Three Rock Pub for dinner and a lively show with traditional Irish music, story-telling and step-dancing. (B, D)
Spend a full day in Dublin so that you may use your vouchers for an independent open-top bus tour around the city and a visit to one attraction (valid for 48 hours). The bus stops at all the principal city center attractions and you may alight at each stop or stay on the bus to do the complete tour.
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
All components of this tour (hotels, meals, visits and attractions) for 2017 are subject to change until finalized in September 2016.
(Updated March 29, 2016)