Ireland Explorer – 9 Days

Introduction

This 9-day adventure begins with a relaxing drive across the Irish midlands to Galway City.

Explore the wild and rugged beauty of Connemara.

Experience the breath-taking views of the majestic Cliffs of Moher rising to a height of 702 feet over the Atlantic Ocean.

Venture through the magical Dingle Peninsula once cited as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ by the National Geographic.

Be amazed by the stunning natural beauty of the Gap of Dunloe and the Lakes of Killarney as you hike or take a horse and carriage ride through the mountain pass.

Kiss the Blarney Stone and enjoy a brewery tour in the historic Kilkenny City.

Explore Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, visit Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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

Itinerary

Day 1: Dublin – Galway

 

Following arrival at Dublin Airport we board our motor coach. Sit back and relax after our flight and enjoy the green rolling pastures as we travel across the Irish midlands to Galway City.

On arrival in Galway we will enjoy a panorama tour of this historic city. We will see the Spanish Arch and the Claddagh Village where the Claddagh Ring originated, the National University of Galway and Galway Cathedral on the banks of the Corrib. Work on the Cathedral began in 1958. It was completed in 1965 making this the last great stone cathedral to be built in Europe. This evening we will check into our hotel for a two night stay.

Overnight: Galway.

Day 2: Connemara

This morning we embark on a tour of Connemara. Connemara is made up of mountains, lakelands and boglands. Because of its wild and rugged beauty, it has been the location for many films. “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara and in more recent times “The Field” starring Richard Harris. The scenery is both magical and is a paradise for artist and photographer alike.

Our tour will include a visit to Kylemore Abbey, built 1866 and from 1920 to 2008 was home to the Benedictine Nuns. We will visit the Abbey’s Victorian Walled Garden which is completely enclosed by a brick and limestone wall and the beautiful Gothic Church built by Mitchell Henry in memory of his wife who died four years after the castle was constructed.

On returning to Galway, the remainder of the evening is free to wander through the charming old cobbled stone streets, experience the history and appreciate the blend of past and present with modern day shops housed in century old buildings.

Overnight: Galway.

Day 3: The Burren – Cliffs of Moher – Killarney

This morning we depart Galway City and travel along the southern side of Galway Bay to Ballyvaughan. Our tour then winds its way through the lunar type landscape of the Burren to the majestic Cliffs of Moher standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point.

Following some time to view the cliffs we travel to Lahinch, famous for its golf course and continue to Killimer where we board the Shannon Ferry for a 25-minute sailing across the Shannon Estuary to Tarbert.

Our tour continues to Tralee, famous for the Rose of Tralee Festival and from here to the town of Killarney for a three night stay.

Overnight: Killarney.

Day 4: Dingle Peninsula – Dingle Distillery

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

As we travel around Slea Head we will get some breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline and the Blasket Islands. We will also see the locations 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. We will also visit the Dingle Distillery. This artisan distillery was established in 2012 and produces Dingle whiskey, gin and vodka.

We will have some free time in Dingle town for lunch before returning to Killarney.

Overnight: Killarney.

Day 5: Gap of Dunloe Tour

Our adventure today begins with a short journey (20 minutes) to Kate Kearney’s Cottage – famous in its own right as being one of Ireland’s oldest pubs. Here we will hop on a jaunting car (horse drawn carriage) or hike through a mountain pass known as the Gap of Dunloe. Our tour winds way around numerous lakes and between the steep slopes of Purple Mountain and the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks to Killarney’s Upper Lake.

Here we will have some time for refreshments before boarding a traditional style boat and our tour continues through the three Lakes of Killarney to Ross Castle (14c). Here our coach will be waiting to takeus the short (10 minute) journey back to Killarney.

Overnight: Killarney.

Day 6: Blarney Castle – Kilkenny

This morning we depart Killarney and travel 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.

From here we travel to Kilkenny City on the banks of the river Nore. On arrival in Kilkenny, we will visit Ireland’s oldest brewery where Smithwick’s Ale was first brewed in 1710.  The brewery occupies over 25 acres in the heart of Kilkenny City and has been part of local life for over 290 years.

Following our brewery tour and a sample of Smithwick’s (or two), we will check into our hotel for an overnight stay.

Overnight: Kilkenny.

Day 7: Dublin City 

This morning we depart Kilkenny and travel through County Kildare – the center of Ireland’s horse breeding industry to the capital city of Dublin, where we will enjoy a panorama tour of Ireland’s capital city on the banks of the River Liffey.

On our tour we will see the Georgian Squares with their 18th Century houses, the Phoenix Park – the biggest town park in Europe, statue filled O’Connell Street and the fashionable Grafton Street.

This evening we will check into our hotel for a two night stay.

Overnight: Dublin

Day 8: Book of Kells – St. Patricks Cathedral

This morning we will travel to Trinity College where we will visit the Long Room, which houses 200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books and is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. We will view a 9th century Latin manuscript of the four Gospels written on vellum (prepared calfskin), known as the Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript.

We will visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, an architectural and historical site which has been at the heart of Dublin history for over 800 years.

The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore the city on our own. There is something for everyone in Dublin whether your interest is in sport, history, art or literature, whether you want to follow a heritage trail, visit a zoo, or follow in the footsteps of Dublin’s many musical greats, you will find it here. You may also wish to relax and enjoy the company of the locals in some of Dublin’s quaint and historic old pubs.

Overnight: Dublin

Day 9: Depart Dublin Airport

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


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