Mystical Ireland – 12 Days

Introduction

A 12-day tour that will give you an opportunity to experience Ireland’s major attractions.

Take in Ireland’s wonderful bustling capital, Dublin City, and experience some of its incredible sites such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, the beautiful Georgian Squares and sample some Irish Whiskey at the Jameson Distillery.

Explore Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and observe the breath-taking views along the Dingle Peninsula and the Cliffs of Moher.

Experience island life on the historic Aran Islands and Ireland’s largest offshore Island – Achill Island.

This tour also encompasses some of the highlights of  Northern Ireland such as the walled city of Derry, the Giant’s Causeway, listed as one the natural wonders of the world, and the historic city of Belfast.

 This itinerary can be customized and tailored to your group’s requirements.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Dublin – City Tour – Jameson Distillery

Following arrival at Dublin airport, we will enjoy a tour of Dublin – Ireland’s capital city on the banks of the River Liffey. We will see the Georgian Squares with their 18th Century houses, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Phoenix Park, which is the biggest town park in Europe, statue filled O’Connell Street, the fashionable Grafton Street and Trinity College, which houses the Book of Kells.

We will also visit the Old Jameson Distillery, the home of Irish whiskey and learn the history of whiskey making and enjoy a taste before departing. With the taste and aroma of the whiskey still in the air, we continue to our hotel for an overnight stay.

Overnight: Dublin.

Day 2: Powerscourt House and Gardens – Glendalough – Avoca – Waterford

This morning we depart Dublin and travel south to County Wicklow known as The Garden of Ireland.

Our first stop this morning will be Powerscourt House and Gardens. Powerscourt House, badly damaged by fire in 1974 has been refurbished and opened to the public. The gardens at Powerscourt were laid out when the house was rebuilt in 1731.

After our visit we will continue to Glendalough (Valley of Two Lakes), where we will travel back in time to the 7th century with a guided tour of this remarkable early monastic settlement.

Our journey continues through the beautiful Vale of Avoca to the Avoca hand weavers where weaving has been a tradition since 1723.

Following a guided tour of the Mill, we continue to Waterford City for an overnight stay.

Overnight: Waterford.

Day 3: House of Waterford Crystal – The Queenstown Story – Blarney Castle

This morning we will visit the House of Waterford Crystal and see highly skilled craftsmen demonstrate the art of crystal blowing and cutting in the new state of the art visitor center.

We then travel along the southern coastline to Cobh, one of the main points of emigration during the great famine. We will visit “The Queenstown Story”, which portrays the hardship of life on board ship as it sailed to the “New World”. Annie Moore, the first ever emigrant to be processed on Ellis Island when it officially opened on 1st January 1892 left from Cobh with her two brothers. Cobh was also the last port of call of the Titanic.

We continue to Blarney where we will have an opportunity to visit Blarney Castle and kiss the famous Blarney Stone said to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who dare.

Following this adventure we continue to ‘Beauty’s Home Killarney’ for a two night stay.

Overnight: Killarney.

Day 4: The Dingle Peninsula

Today we enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, once cited as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ by the National Geographic.

We will stop at the Brian de Staic studio in Dingle, which specializes in Celtic jewelry, handcrafted and engraved with ancient Celtic symbols and the letters of the ogham alphabet, an ancient Irish form of writing.

As we continue around Slea Head we will get some breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline and see some beehive huts (early monastic settlements) dating back over a thousand years. Our tour will take us to the most westerly point of Ireland where we can view the Blasket Islands. Because of its stunning beauty this part of Ireland has been the location for such films as Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and the more recently filmed Star Wars The Last Jedi.

After some free time in Dingle we return to Killarney and enjoy some traditional Irish music while dining in one of Killarney’s many cosy pubs.

Overnight: Killarney.

Day 5: Tralee – Shannon Ferry – Cliffs of Moher – Galway

This morning, we bid farewell to Killarney and travel to Tralee, capital town of County Kerry and famous for The Rose of Tralee Festival.

We continue to Tarbert and board the Shannon Ferry, which crosses the Shannon Estuary to Killimer. We continue the coast road to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, which rises to a height of 702 ft over the Atlantic Ocean. Following some free time to view the cliffs, our tour will continue through the lunar type landscape of the Burren. The Burren comes from the Irish word ‘bhoireann’ meaning, ‘a stony place’ or ‘a rocky place’ which is a good description for this 350 sq. kilometers limestone plateau in North Clare.

We continue along the shores of Galway Bay to Galway City for a two night stay.

Overnight: Galway.

Day 6: Aran Islands

Today we will take a break from the hussle and bustle of the mainland and travel to Rossaveal where we will board a ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands and one of the highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way. The island is steeped in history and resembles an outdoor museum with over 50 different monuments of Christian, pre-Christian and Celtic mythological heritage. We will take a minibus tour of the island which will include a stop at the world renowned forth of Dun Aonghasa which stands over a dramatic 300-foot cliff that spans the entire western part of the island. We will have time to walk to Dun Aonghasa and enjoy the spectacular views before boarding the ferry for the return journey to Galway.

Overnight: Galway.

Day 7: Connemara – Kylemore Abbey – Glen Keen Farm – Westport

This morning we depart Galway and travel through the Gaelic speaking Connemara made up of mountains, lakelands and boglands. Due to its wild and rugged beauty, it has been the location for many films such as “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara and in more recent times “The Field” starring Richard Harris.

Situated in the heart of Connemara is the famed Kylemore Abbey, built 1866 and from 1920 to 2008 was home to the Benedictine Nuns. We will have the opportunity to visit the Abbey withits Victorian Walled Garden completely enclosed by a brick and limestone wall and beautiful Gothic Church.

We then continue through the scenic Doolough Valley taking in a stretch of road known as the famine walk and follow in the footsteps of the many people who left their home in search of food during the great famine.

Afterwards we will visit Glen Keen Farm and enjoy some freshly baked scones followed by a sheep herding demonstration.

We travel by the foothills of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s Holy Mountain to Westport for a two night stay.

Overnight: Westport.

Day 8: Achill Island – Westport House

This morning we travel to Mulranny and cross the Michael Davitt Bridge to Achill, Ireland’s largest offshore island.

As our tour follows the coastline, we will experience some breathtaking views on the island’s spectacular Atlantic Drive. We will visit the deserted village at Slievemore which consists of 80 – 100 stone cottages (booley homes) on the southern slopes of Slievemore Mountain.

On returning to Westport, we will visit 18th Century Westport House for a guided tour and before departing we will enjoy a sumptuous Victorian Afternoon Tea in the gorgeous formal drawing room. The remainder of the evening is free to enjoy this picturesque town of Westport.

Day 9: Sligo – Donegal

We depart Westport this morning and travel to Turlough Park House and visit the award-winning Museum of Country Life. This museum provides an insight into the lives of the people living in rural Ireland from the 1850’s to the 1950’s. Learn about the traditional trades, crafts, fashion and religion and explore Ireland’s agricultural and maritime past.

We continue to Drumcliffe where St. Colmcille founded a monastery in the 6th Century. There only remains today three high crosses and the stump of a round tower. It is also the final resting place of one of Ireland’s great poets William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939). His grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription, “cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman pass by.”

We then continue by the foothills of the Benbulben mountain range to Donegal for an overnight stay in the luxurious Lough Eske Castle.

Overnight: Donegal.

Day 10: Derry – Giant’s Causeway – Antrim Coast – Belfast

Today we begin our adventure by travelling to Derry City, a city seeped in history on the banks of the River Foyle. Derry City was founded in 546AD and still retains its 17C walls. We will have an opportunity to see the new Derry Peace Bridge, a 235-metre-long pedestrian bridge opened in 2011 that bridges a 400-year-old physical and political gap between two sides of a once divided community.

We will journey to Limavady where we begin the Antrim Coast Road Drive to the Giant’s Causeway – a remarkable basaltic formation made of approximately 40,000 hexagonal-shaped pillarsand ranked as one of the natural wonders of the world.

Our tour continues along the Antrim Coast Road with spectacular views of the northern coastline. On a clear day you can see Scotland in the distance.

Overnight: Belfast.

Day 11: Belfast City – Dublin

Our final day on this incredible adventure will begin with a tour of Belfast City. We will see the City Hall, one of the finest Classical Renaissance buildings in Europe, the Linen Hall Library which has been lending books for over 200 years, the Grand Opera House, often described as the most beautiful Victorian theatre in the world. We will drive by the many murals of Belfast that depict the history and political views of both traditions in Northern Ireland.

This afternoon we visit Titanic Belfast, a new state of the art visitor center which tell the stories of the ill-fated RMS Titanic and her sister ships RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic.

This afternoon we travel back to Dublin.

Overnight: Dublin.

Day 12: Depart Dublin Airport

This morning we travel to Dublin airport for our return flight home.


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