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|Itinerary at a Glance
|3||Blarney Castle & Kerry|
|4||Ring of Kerry|
|5||Cliffs of Moher &
|6||Galway & Lough Corrib|
|7||Connemara & Kylemore
|8||Clonmacnoise & Dublin|
|Highlights||Kiss the Blarney Stone, Ring of Kerry, Muckross House, Cliffs of Moher, Lough Corrib Cruise, Clonmacnoise Monastery, Dublin City Tour|
|Included in the Price||
|Travel Style||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
Join us on our 9-day tour of Ireland and take the time to savor exploring this beautiful and charming country, where people are friendly, service is great and the places to discover just go on and on. You’ll kiss the Blarney Stone for good luck, see the Cliffs of Moher and cruise on the River Corrib. Travel through the Connemara Region, one of the most picturesque in all of Ireland, where Gaelic is still spoken, and enjoy the sites of Dublin, Ireland’s lovely, intimate capital. Enjoy superior and deluxe hotels, included sightseeing and more, all for an incredible price. Take your time when traveling around the country. Although it's possible to drive the length of Ireland in less than a day and to traverse the width of the country in a few hours, we prefer to settle in and explore a particular region, whether on foot, on horseback or behind the wheel—mindful, of course, of wandering sheep on small back roads.
Throughout 2013, Ireland will open its arms to friends and family from all over the world, inviting them to join in locally organized gatherings and festivals in villages, towns and cities. This year-long homecoming celebration, named "The Gathering", is expected to draw a great many people of Irish descent from throughout the world, making this a wonderful year to visit Ireland.
Loved experiencing the land of Ireland and its people. A great taste. Food was good, hotels were great, bus was roomy and comfortable. The tours were well planned and truly a taste of Ireland. There was so much done...that we could not have managed on our own.
2014 departures follow a slightly different itinerary.
Sorry, there are no currently available tour dates.
2014 departures follow a slightly different itinerary.
Day 2: Dublin. Upon arrival in Dublin, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the balance of the day to relax in your hotel or explore the city on your own. Tonight enjoy dinner at the hotel. Accommodations: Clyde Court Hotel or similar. Dinner provided.
Day 3: Ireland's Midlands, Blarney Castle & Kerry. Today, you will board your touring coach, depart Ireland’s capitol and travel to County Kerry. En route, stop in the town of Blarney for a visit to Blarney Castle. Dating from 1446, the castle is a tower house built on solid limestone. At the top of the Tower you will find the legendary Stone of Eloquence (Blarney Stone). Kiss it and you will never again be lost for words.
Enjoy some time for shopping at Blarney Woolen Mills. The existence of the Woolen Mills during the famine shielded Blarney from the worst effects of the great famine, due to its employment of local workers. The success story at the mills continued until a disastrous fire in 1869. By August 1871, the mill was once again operational with a labor force of over 200 and in 1976 Chris Kelleher, himself a mill worker, bought the old mill property. Within a short period of time Chris and his family transformed the mill into what is perhaps the largest quality craft shop in Ireland.
Continue through Ireland’s Midlands to your hotel in the Kerry region. This evening enjoy dinner with your travel companions at the hotel’s restaurant. Accommodations: Travel Inn Killarney or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4: Ring of Kerry & Muckross House. Today you can enjoy a superb tour of the Iveragh Peninsula, which will give you the opportunity to discover the Ring of Kerry, taking in the spectacular scenery; mountains, peat bogs, lakes and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. Leaving Killarney, pass through Killorglin, famous for its Puck Fair and Glenbeigh, where the cliff road affords panoramic views of the Dingle Peninsula and Dingle Bay. Passing through the peat bogs, arrive at the sea town of Waterville. Continue to Sneem Village, famous because of its brightly colored houses. The road continues through the mountains to Molls Gap and Ladies View with superb views of the famous Lakes of Killarney.
Visit Muckross House, which was built in 1843 by the Herbert Family, in Elizabethan style. This house is one of the most sumptuous residences of Ireland. Muckross, surrounded by beautiful gardens, is in the heart of the Killarney National Park, the first to be opened in Ireland.
This evening enjoy dinner on your own in one of the many restaurants or pubs in Killarney town. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Burren & the Cliffs of Moher. Travel northwards to Tarbert and take a short boat ride across the mouth of the river Shannon, landing on Clare’s shore at Killimer. Travel along the coast to the Cliffs of Moher. The most majestic cliffs in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher rise 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and extend over four miles in length. On a clear day, you can admire the Aran Islands, the Connemara Mountains and the many sea birds that colonize this place to nest in spring. Visit the Atlantic Edge Interpretive Center built into the natural landscape. The center is a huge domed cave that contains various exhibits showcasing the mighty Cliffs of Moher.
Later enjoy a tour of the Burren Region, a strange and unique region in Europe. “Burren” means “large stones”: in fact its name describes this impressive scenery perfectly well. Often described as lunar, the Burren is a high plateau of porous limestone situated in Northern Clare, between Ballyvaughan and Kilfenora. No trees grow here and no soil covers the stone, but the Burren is not deserted, as different types of flowers grow from the cracks all year round. The Burren Region is also historically rich, with many castles and monastic ruins.
Continue to Limerick and check-in at your hotel. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure.
Optional Excursion: Take advantage of an optional Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle on the banks of the Raite River including entertainment, a four-course meal and wine. ($79 per person) Accommodations: Clarion Hotel or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Galway & Lough Corrib. This morning travel to Galway. Upon arrival enjoy an orientation tour of the city. Galway City is a delight with its narrow streets, old stone and wooden shop fronts, good restaurants and busy pubs. The city has attracted many musicians and artists, which add so much to the character of the city. A visit can start at Galway’s modern Cathedral, which was built in 1965.
Galway Cathedral is one of the largest and most impressive buildings in Galway City. Built between 1958 and 1965, it stands on the site of the old city jail. The architecture of the Cathedral draws on many influences. The dome and pillars reflect a Renaissance style. Other features, including the rose windows and mosaics, echo the broad tradition of Christian art. The Cathedral dome, at a height of 145 feet, is a prominent landmark on the city skyline. The exterior design may not be to everybody’s taste, while the interior, with its high curved arches and central dome, has a simple but solid elegance.
Later, embark the Corrib Princess and cruise the majestic River Corrib. The journey offers wonderful views of the historic monuments and scenery, which make this one of the most spectacular waterways in Ireland. While you cruise along, enjoy an Irish coffee demonstration sampling this classic beverage and freshly made scones.
Continue to your hotel and enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Later this evening enjoy dinner at the hotel. Accommodations: Clayton Hotel or Oranmore Lodge Hotel or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 7: Connemara & Kylemore Abbey. Today, travel through the beautiful Connemara Region. Connemara is a land of lakes and rivers, bogs and mountains. In this area of small villages Gaelic is still the spoken language and little has changed since the beginning of time. It is without a doubt the wildest and the most romantic part of Ireland. Connemara is a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the south, a land characteristic for its stone walls and thatched cottages. On its northern shore the land is harsher and more secret, with spectacular views of the Ocean, the fjord of Killary Harbour, as well as the steep mountains overlooking numerous lakes and large bog areas.
Enjoy some leisure time in the Connemara National Park, which encompasses 11 square miles from Letterfrack in the west to the peaks of the Twelve Bens Mountains. Hike one of the three main trails or stop at the visitors’ center and learn about the park’s unique landscape and wildlife.
Next visit Kylemore Abbey in the Kylemore Pass in Connemara. Mitchell Henry built the House in 1868, after having spent his honeymoon in the area. The architecture is best described as neo-gothic and the house still displays all the characteristics of that period. One of Kylemore Abbey's most famous features is its miniature cathedral, built in 1870 and known locally as the Gothic church. Today, the Abbey is home to the Irish order of Benedictine nuns. They bought the house in 1920, having fled their convent in war-torn Belgium in 1914. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Clonmacnoise & Dublin. Depart Galway for Dublin via Clonmacnoise. Situated in the wilds, on the banks of the Shannon, 6th Century Clonmacnoise is nowadays partly in ruins. Stop at the Visitor Centre where the original Celtic crosses are exhibited, followed by a tour of the site where you will see high towers, the 11th Century cathedral and the wonderful reproductions of the High Crosses.
Continue to Dublin and set out on a panoramic tour to discover Dublin’s Fair City. The north side of the River Liffey offers great striking monuments such as the General Post Office (GPO) on the city main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, or the Custom House along the quays, as well as the Phoenix Park, one of the largest public parks in Europe. The south side appears more sophisticated with its vast Georgian squares, such as Merrion Square where Oscar Wilde’s House can still be found, its colorful doors, along with Grafton Street and its quality shops. Not so far from St. Stephen’s Green, in Kildare Street, you can see the house of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
Visit Trinity College, the oldest University in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I. Within its walls, you will be able to admire Parliament Square and its 18th Century edifices. The visit of the ancient library, containing over twenty thousand manuscripts, is often surprising by its splendor. The 9th Century Book of Kells, famous for its precious illuminations, is exhibited in these premises. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure.
Optional Excursion: Take advantage of an optional evening of festive entertainment at a local pub including a 3-course dinner & live music. ($69 per person, excludes beverages) Accommodations: Clyde Court Hotel or similar. Breakfast provided.
March 10, 2013 Departure - Day 8: St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Please note passengers on the March 10, 2013 departure will be transferred directly from Galway to Dublin to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day at leisure in Dublin city (Sunday March 17, 2013). No sightseeing or guide will be included on this day for this group.
Day 9: Dublin/USA. After a final Irish breakfast, bid farewell to Ireland as your journey comes to an end. Transfer to the airport for your return flight. You will arrive in New York later today. Breakfast provided.
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