A Cultural Tour of Ireland, visiting the major sites and monuments.
Day 1 – Arrival Dublin, Ireland’s Capital City
Dublin is one of Europe’s oldest cities, retaining its historical and cultural charm. It also offers trendy bars, elegant restaurants, cosmopolitan shops and hotels. Over the years it has been home to many diverse nationalities, from the Vikings and English invaders to modern day pop stars and writers.
Welcome briefing with guide and dinner followed by optional Music or Literary Pub Crawl. Overnight in Dublin – 2 nights.
Day 2 – Dublin City Highlights & Literary Quarter
We start today with an orientation tour of the city. Throughout Dublin City there is an abundance of wonderful visitor attractions to discover – from the most majestic museums to more modern centres of entertainment. The tour will include a visit to Trinity College and the Book of Kells, St. Patricks Cathedral, Christ Church/Dublinia & Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate.
Afternoon is free to discover the many other historic points of interest or simple spend time wandering around this beautiful city.
Tonight you will discover an elegant and historic part of the city known as Dublin’s Literary quarter, an area loved and frequented by literary greats such as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh. Experience a traditional Irish House Party with dinner, music, song and storytelling. You have the opportunity to learn a song in the native Irish language as well as trying some simple Irish Dancing.
Day 3 – Garden County of Ireland
Today we head south through the Garden County of Ireland, ‘Wicklow’ which is a land of domed granite mountains and purple glens, of soft rolling hills and silvery streams rushing cool and clear from mountain and bogland to swell the rivers of the countryside. We stop at the 6th century monastic site at Glendalough, famed for its beautiful scenery and historic monuments. Glendalough has been a centre for pilgrims and visitors from the time of the founding of its monastery by St Kevin. We stop at the picturesque old mining village of Avoca, now better known as Ballykissangel – this little village has been used extensively over the last 100 years as a film location for films such as Braveheart, Michael Collins, Excalibur, Far and Away and Angela’s Ashes. It is of course home to Ireland’s oldest handweaving mill – Avoca. We then head to the medieval city of Kilkenny to overnight. .
Day 4 – Kilkenny Castle, Rock of Cashel and Blarney Castle
Kilkenny a beautiful and ancient county where history, modern living and rich culture fuse together across an unspoilt landscape. This ancient city celebrated 400 years as a city in 2009 and is a thriving city tht has protected its precious heritage whilst evolving as one of Ireland’s most vibrant and enjoyable cities in which to stay. Its narrow slipways side streets and preserved buildings are matched only by its reputation for fine dining, great shopping, entertainment and most of all the creativity of its people which has earned it the reputation as the creative heart of Ireland. Take time to viit its many craft studios and workshops.
Enroute to Killarney we visit the Rock of Cashel and the famous Blarney Stone & Caslte. Dinner & overnight in Killarney – 3 nights.
Option of traditional Irish Music Session in local pub after dinner.
Day 5 – Killarney National Park, Lakes & Islands
After breakfast we take time out to enjoy the outdoors and discover the natural beauty of this amazing Valley. We start the day setting off on a wonderful trail linking places of culture and heritage, we visit the 14th century Ross Castle standing on the shores of Lough Leane which featured prominently in the Cromwellian Wars. Then we take a short stroll around Ross Island and its 4000 year old copper mines before boarding a traditional boat to the famous Innisfallen Island. There we discover the ruins of Innisfallen Abbey founded circa AD600. We continue across the Lakes of Killarney to Dinis Cottage (the perfect lunch stop) and the meeting of the Waters. We finish the day with a visit to the Victorian Muckross House & Abbey. Travel back to the hotel in a traditional Irish Jaunting Car.
Tonight you experience a night of Celtic Fire & Passion! – An evening in the company of Liam O’Connor, one of the most talented and versatile musicians of his generation. Enjoy an evening of Irish music, song and dance with one of Irelands best know accordion players. Overnight in Killarney.
Day 6 – Treasure Island & Magical Skellig Ring
Today we set out on one of the most spectacular day trips in Ireland, The Ring of Kerry, however, we will discover the “Hidden Ring” and discover areas where larger buses can’t go. On route you get great views of Carrantuohill “Ireland’s highest mountain” and some spectacular scenery over Dingle Peninsula, The Atlantic Ocean and Kenmare Bay. We detour to Valentia Island via Ferry and discover the unique Tetrapod and the Slate Quarry before taking a stroll up to Bray Head with magnificent views out to Skellig Islands. We cross back to the mainland via the fishing village of Portmagee and discover the “Skellig Ring”. We visit the home of Daniel O Connell, the Irish Liberator at Derrynane and visit the most unique graveyard in Ireland – Abbey Island – where you must cross the beach to get to it. We return to Killarney via Molls Gap and Ladies View which give spectacular views over the Killarney Lakelands. Free evening to have dinner in one of Killarney’s many restaurants.
Day 7 – Cliffs of Moher, the Burren & home of traditional Irish Music
We head west up along the Coast of Clare crossing the River Shannon by Ferry from Tarbert to Killimer and then discover the little villages in the West Coast of Clare. The highlight of today is a short boat trip to the Cliffs of Moher – these cliffs rise from the Atlantic to heights of over 200m and are home to a variety of seabirds. A visit to this County would not be complete without visiting the Burren which is a remarkable area of more than 100 square miles of limestone landscape where a rich variety of plants thrive in the cracks and crevices. We overnight in the little village of Doolin in a typical family run hotel which has a great restaurant. Doolin is also the home of traditional Irish music.
Day 8 – Departure
Transfer to Shannon airport after your final hot cooked Irish breakfast. Arrival in Shannon airport at 10.00