AROUND IRELAND TOUR

Around Ireland Tour

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This 10 day tour takes you from the East of the country, to the North, the West, the South and back again. A journey of discovery around Ireland. A warm welcome extends to you in every corner from a people who are warm, friendly, charming and hospitable and are proud of their little island.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

 

DAY 1 – Arrival and WelcomeDAY 2 – Glendalough and the Garden of Ireland

DAY 3 – Historic tour of Dublin

DAY 4 – Newgrange and the Boyne Valley

DAY 5 – Go West

DAY 6 – Galway City and the Aran Islands

DAY 7 – The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher

DAY 8 – The Dingle Peninsula

DAY 9 – Blarney and Cobh

DAY 10 – Kilkenny and the Vale of Avoca

DAY 11 – Depart

 

TOUR INCLUDES

  • Airport transfers at start and end of the tour
  • Professional Chauffeur Driver/Guide
  • Luxury Mercedes Viano or luxury coach
  • 10 nights hotel accommodation *
  • Full breakfast daily
  • Tour of Dublin
  • Tour of Galway
  • Walking tour of Kilkenny and Waterford
  • Horse drawn jaunting car ride in Killarney
  • All local taxes, hotel service charges and porterage

 

VISITS AND ADMISSIONS

  • Powerscourt House and Gardens, Glendalough, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse, Bru na Boinne (Newgrange), Enniskillen Castle, Kylemore Abbey, Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, House of Waterford Crystal, Avoca Handweavers.
  • Not included – Flights, Travel Insurance

* Accommodation to suit all budgets from cosy family run guest houses to 5 star castle hotels. All meals can be arranged to suit your requirements.

  

SAMPLE ITINERARY

DAY 1 – Welcome

Cead Mile Failte! A hundred thousand welcomes to our beautiful little country. You will be met in the Arrivals Hall in Dublin Airport and transferred to your hotel.

DAY 2 – Glendalough and the Garden of Ireland

Day 2 GlendaloughEnjoy a leisurely drive to Co. Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland, to Enniskerry and the famous Powerscourt House and Gardens in the shadow of St. Mary’s Church and St. Kevin’s Church its isolation from other hills, steep slopes and volcanic appearance makes it appear much taller than it is. Powerscourt House is owned by the Slazenger family and has one of the world’s great gardens and is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. The gardens comprise of formal areas, sweeping terraces, rambling walks, ornamental lakes and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs.

The house itself contains a fascinating exhibition about its history as well as shops and a cafe. Leaving Powerscourt estate behind, we experience a beautiful drive into the heart of North Wicklow to the 12th century monastic city of Glendalough or Gleann Da Loch, meaning ‘The Glen of the Two Lakes’. Situated in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park amidst stunning scenery, this ancient monastery is fascinating. Having been founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin who chose the site because of its beautiful and remote setting in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and decorated crosses. The 9TH century round tower is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the area.

The remains of three Celtic high crosses and a stone fort, St Mary’s Church and St. Kevin’s kitchen can be seen on our guided walk through the sacred grounds. We drive via Hollywood, a picturesque drive through the Wicklow Gap and the village of Blessington. An evening at leisure when you can explore Temple Bar, a colourful quarter of Dublin City which, over the years has developed a bohemian ‘Left Bank’ character, while retaining its cobbled streets and old buildings, a charm which is no longer found in many other parts of the city.

 

DAY 3 – Historic tour of Dublin

Day 3 DublinA panoramic tour of the city will take you on a journey of discovery into the very heart of what makes Dublin the vibrant city that it has become. The interesting public buildings, lovely parks and rows of Georgian houses with brightly-painted doorways, the regenerated Dublin’s South Bank, across the River Liffey to view the Famine Memorial are just a few of the many features on show. Drive along O’Connell Street with its’ Spire of Dublin or Monument of Light installed in 2002, and the GPO (General Post Office). A landmark building which served as the headquarters to the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916, the facade is all that remains of the original building and you will hear of its’ fascinating history. Visit Trinity College and walk through the campus to view the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the gospels dating from the 8th century, in the Old Library. We will also visit the nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral. One of Dublin’s three cathedrals, St. Patrick’s is the largest church in Ireland and is actually the “National Cathedral”, which lacks a bishop, the main ingredient that makes a cathedral out of a church. It was here St. Patrick supposedly baptized the first local converts beside a “Holy Well“. Jonathan Swift of “Gulliver” fame was dean of the cathedral and is buried in the cathedral. A visit to the oldest brewery in Dublin, Guinness Storehouse is a given, laid out over seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness, visitors can see the history of Guinness through various interactive exhibition areas including ingredients, brewing, transport, cooperage, advertising and sponsorship. At the base of the atrium lies a copy of the 9,000 year lease signed by Arthur Guinness on the brewery site. In the Perfect Pint bar, visitors may pour their own pint of Guinness.

 

DAY 4 – Newgrange and the Boyne Valley

Day 4 Newgrange and The Boyne ValleyHeading northwards, travelling through the famous Boyne Valley where Ireland’s Neolithic forefathers farmed the fertile land some 6000 years ago. The significance of the Hill of Tara and Slane will be explained. Visit the site of the Battle of the Boyne and then travel the short distance to the World Heritage site at Bru na Boinne (Newgrange) to see the Stone Age passage tombs. Leaving the Royal County of Meath behind, your journey continues through Cavan and onto Enniskillen built on the shores of Lough Erne. Situated in Northern Ireland, amid County Fermanagh’s Lakelands, Enniskillen has a fine castle, once the home of the Gaelic Maguire chieftains. It represents an important part of Fermanagh’s rich history and heritage. There is an array of 19th century barracks buildings surrounding the Medieval Castle Keep, the distinctive turrets of Watergate to the south was built in the 17th century, while the Heritage Centre to the east was built in 1992.

 

DAY 5 – Go West

Day 5 Go WestDriving in a westward direction back into the Republic of Ireland, we make a brief stop at the graveside of Ireland’s national poet, William Butler Yeats in a churchyard at Drumcliffe, nestled under the beautiful Benbulben, before continuing your journey to the city of Sligo, the gateway to the northwest of Ireland you will be given an overview of the city. Heading south-west, we arrive into Westport with its’ commanding view of Croagh Patrick, a 764 metre high mountain known for its importance of pilgrimage since before the arrival of Celtic Christianity. Continuing your journey via Leenane through the Connemara region of County Galway, an area of outstanding beauty with breath-taking views, there will be brief stops en route for photo opportunities. Situated at the very edge of Europe, Connemara is one of the most beautiful, un-spoilt places, long been regarded as the real emerald of Ireland; this natural terrain and un-spoilt environment offers a wonderland of sights and experiences. A short stop will be made at the beautiful Kylemore Abbey, nestled in a rhododendron-filled hollow. This mock-Tudor building was constructed for the British shipping magnate and Irish politician, Mitchell Henry. It has been a convent of the Benedictine Dames Irlandaises since 1920 and was also a girls’ boarding school until its closure in 2010.

 

DAY 6 – Galway City and the Aran Islands

Day 6 Galway CityGalway city is situated on the River Corrib. Known also as ‘the City of Tribes’ you will see Eyre Square, the Salmon Weir Bridge, Galway Cathedral, The Claddagh, Spanish Arch and Galway Bay. The rugged Aran Islands lie outside Galway Bay just miles from the Clare coast. From Galway you can take a ferry to the largest of the three islands, Inis Mor. Steeped in history it resembles an outdoor museum with over 50 difference monuments of Christian, pre Christian and Celtic mythological heritage. Inland, the landscape is of man-made rock walls that meander and cross all directions and it is from these unique patterns that the Aran Jumpers take their inspiration. Such is the culture and traditions of the islanders, many visitors think they are being transported back in time, local people can still be seen on the horse and trap and often the Gaelic language is spoken as the first language. Leaving the past behind, you re-board the ferry for your return journey to the mainland and return to Galway where you can enjoy the ambience of this cosmopolitan city.

 

DAY 7 – The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher

Day 7 The Cliffs of MoherDriving southwards through the area known as the Burren we view the huge boulders of the Poulnabrone Dolmen. With over 259 square kilometres of dramatic limestone karst landscape, the Burren is an area of one of the world’s most stunningly unique natural heritage regions, sometimes aptly referred to as ‘fertile rock’. With its trademark of shattered and smooth pavements it is seedbed habitats for the amazingly diverse array of plants and wild flowers.  Here alpine and arctic plants grow side by side with Mediterranean species.

Over 70% of Ireland’s 900 native plant species are found here. This diverse flora supports a wonderful diversity of fauna, and such a rich ecology is the result of a unique combination of geographical, climactic and agricultural factors found in this area. This phenomenon has been created by the prevailing Gulf Stream, soft rain, relative absence of frost and the carboniferous bedding of the plants. Arriving at the Cliffs of Moher, you will be met by a majestic view of the cliffs rising 214m (702 feet) at their highest point above the foaming Atlantic Ocean and stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare.

A visit to the Visitors Centre and a stroll along some of the over 600 metres of pathways and viewing platforms along the cliff edge will allow you to enjoy a spectacular, healthy cliff walk. The amazing views of the Cliffs, the famous Aran Islands, Galway Bay, O’Briens Tower and the thousands of seabirds make the Cliffs a magical place. You may be lucky to hear and see the Cliffs Buskers playing traditional Irish music along the Cliff’s pathways. Travelling South to Killimer, we can take the car ferry bridge over the River Shannon to Killarney via Tralee.

 

DAY 8 – The Dingle Peninsula

Day 8 the Dingle PeninsulaDriving through the towns and villages that make up the Dingle Peninsula, we pass through villages such as Annascaul, the birthplace of Antartic explorer, Tom Crean; Ballyferriter, the centre of the Gaeltacht or Irish speaking district; and Dunquin, the most westerly point in Ireland, overlooking the Blasket Islands often referred to as “the next parish to America”.

Dingle is a picturesque fishing town fondly known for its local celebrity, Fungi the Dolphin, where all the streets lead down to the sea. Taking a leisurely drive back to Killarney you will take a ride in the town’s most famous jaunting cars (horse drawn carts) operated by local jarvies to Ross Castle, situated on the banks of one of Killarney’s lakeshores. The remainder of the afternoon and evening can be spent exploring this vibrant “little” town with its incredibly beautiful surrounding countryside, brim full of history, heritage, activities, and world class hospitality.

 

DAY 9 – Blarney and Cobh

Day 9 Blarney and CobhTravelling through west Cork to Blarney Castle, home to the famous Blarney Stone where it is said that if you kiss the ‘Stone of Eloquence’, you will never again be lost for words. A visit to the famous Blarney Woollen Mill is also included. We travel onwards to one of Ireland’s largest cities, the city of Cork, where you will be given an overview of Cork city. We will see St. Finn Barr’s Cathedral, University College, City Hall, the monument to Father Theobald Matthew the 19th century Apostle of Temperance. Often known affectionately by Corkonians as ‘the real capital’ referring to the city’s role as the centre of anti-treaty forces during the Irish Civil War, this city is steeped in history, built on an island in the River Lee and spanned by many bridges. The city has had many markets over time but the most famous is the covered English Market, opened in 1788, and it still trades in a variety of fresh produce from around the world. A short drive away from Cork city is the town of Cobh, the last port of call for the Titanic, here you can visit Cobh Heritage Centre, which relates the emigrants’ story. Your journey continues through Dungarvan and Waterford, where you can join a local guide for a stroll around the historic city or visit the House of Waterford Crystal to see how molten glass is blown into shapes before being cut by hand by experts and view priceless trophies. 

 

DAY 10 – Kilkenny and the Vale of Avoca

Day 10 - Kilkenny and the Vale of AvocaTravelling northwards we stop in Kilkenny for an overview of this prosperous medieval trading city. Located on the River Nore, Kilkenny is dominated by the Butlers of Ormond’s famous castle and 12th century cathedral. Crossing into the Wicklow Mountains and the Vale of Avoca for a brief stop in the village of Avoca, home to the oldest working woollen mill in Ireland and famous for its Hand weavers. The area has been the location of several films and television series. Heading back to Dublin we take the coastal route through Arklow, Greystones, Bray, Killiney Hill and the port of Dun Laoghaire along the route of the Dublin Area Rapid Transport (DART) back to Dublin.

DAY 11 – Departure

Slan agus Beannacht! After checking out of the hotel we will transfer you to Dublin airport in time for your return flights. We hope you will bring home treasured memories for your Around Ireland tour.

N.B. We can alter this sample itinerary to suit your needs and requirements depending on your preferences.