Irish Explorer 10 Days / 9 Nights / 17 meals
Tour begins 2:00 PM at the Clontarf Castle lobby, a short ride from Dublin Airport, a few miles to the north of Dublin city center. Head out for a tour of central Dublin with a local guide to see elegant Georgian squares, public buildings, and monuments. Visit Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Ireland’s national cemetery, a who’s who of modern Irish history. Join your group for a welcome drink followed by dinner in the castle hotel.
Visit Florence Court House, home of the Irish Yew. The original tree, discovered in 1760, can still be viewed on the grounds. Tour the magnificent 18th century mansion, renowned for its elaborate rococo plasterwork. Head to Blakes of the Hollow Pub, one of County Fermanagh’s oldest pubs, for refreshment with your fellow travelers. Take a photo by its official “Game of Thrones” door highlighting the series’ sixth season. Continue your travels north to Donegal. With its windswept hills where only sheep can thrive, Donegal is renowned for woolen production and tweeds.
Head to Teelin to reach the best viewing point of the Slieve League sea cliffs, the highest in Europe. Afterwards, sample home-baked scones with coffee or tea. Travel along the coast then head inland through the majestic Glengesh Pass for views of mountains and valleys to Donegal Town, a busy shopping town which was once a Viking port, Watch demonstrations of spinning and weaving at a local woolen shop. Enjoy an early dinner with a drink and music at the popular Nancy’s in Ardara.
Discover the secrets that have made Belleek Pottery one of the most enduring success stories of Irish craftsmanship during a tour of Belleek Pottery. You’ll go behind the scenes to see how this world-famous fine china is made. Travel south to Galway and embark on a cruise of Lough Corrib for unsurpassed views of castles and various sites of both historical and cultural interest (April 1 – October 21 departures).
Explore scenic Connemara to admire how constantly changing cloud formations give granite hills, sparkling lakes and peat bogs an added dimension. Stop at the Connemara Celtic Crystal Factory where craftsmen demonstrate fine glass cutting. Travel through the picturesque scenery of hills and lakes to visit Dan O’Hara’s Homestead. Experience traditional methods of farming, see Connemara ponies, and have a light lunch. Return to Galway and enjoy free time before dinner.
Drive through Clare to view the Cliffs of Moher, which soar 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Walk to O’Brien’s Tower for views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. Drive through the pleasant countryside of Country Clare, which is dotted with ruined castles. Discover St. Brigid’s Well, a mystical site whose waters are said to have healing powers. Enjoy lunch on your own in a coastal village. Embark on a short ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary. Arrive in Killarney and partake of the Whiskey Experience with dinner that includes a chocolate tasting.
Head out to the Ring of Kerry, Ireland’s most famous and popular scenic drive. View Skellig Michael, a rocky offshore island that was featured in the film “Star Wars VII”. Take a group photograph among the breathtaking scenery. Immerse yourself in farm life with a sheepdog demonstration of herding flocks. Enjoy a casual lunch and continue on the scenic drive. Pause for panoramic mountain views at Moll’s Gap. In Killarney there is free time to discover some of the excellent restaurants and lively pubs.
Visit Blarney Castle to kiss the famous stone or take a gentle walk through the lovely parklands and colorful gardens. Treat yourself to Irish-made goods at the Blarney Woollen Mills before traveling north. Head to the Abbey Tavern for Irish cuisine, and an evening of lively entertainment.
Enjoy an independent Dublin open-top bus tour and a visit to one of Dublin’s top attractions -- Guinness Storehouse, Teeling Distillery, EPIC Ireland, or the General Post Office Museum.
Your program ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
All components of this tour (hotels, visits and attractions) for 2019 itineraries are subject to change until finalized in September 2018.