2018 ELEGANT IRELAND 10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS
Tour begins 2:00 PM, Dublin hotel. Set off for a guided tour of Dublin to see the most prominent buildings and memorials. View rows of elegant Georgian townhouses with brightly painted doors. Enjoy a guided walking tour through Trinity College’s campus to view the Book of Kells. In the evening join your group for a welcome drink before heading to the Merry Ploughboy Pub for dinner and a lively show.
Journey across the rolling pastures of Ireland’s heartland to visit Clonmacnoise. This monastic settlement was founded in 545 AD by St. Ciaran and is set on the banks of the mighty River Shannon. Highlights include elaborate high Celtic crosses decorated with biblical scenes, church ruins and two round towers. Head to Galway for a walking tour with a local guide to explore the narrow medieval streets. See the Claddagh, once a fishing village, where the famous ring originated.
Embark on the Corrib Princess for a cruise on Lough Corrib to enjoy the scenery and sip an Irish coffee. Then drive through Connemara to admire granite hills, sparkling lakes and peat bogs. At Kylemore Abbey tour elegant rooms and the charming church set beside a tranquil lake. Enjoy a casual lunch and enjoy more views of Connemara before returning to Galway where the evening is free to explore the city on your own.
Immerse yourself in traditional farm life and watch a farmer demonstrate how his trained dogs herd mountain sheep. Sit down to tea or coffee with some home baking. Travel through the Burren to view the Cliffs of Moher which stretch along the coast for five miles and reach heights of almost 700 feet (200m). Enjoy a walking tour of the charming town of Ennis. Dating back to the 11th century, Ennis is full of character with its narrow streetscapes, quaint shops and shop fronts.
Cross the wide River Shannon Estuary on a short ferry ride and drive along the river shore to Foynes. Visit the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum, which recalls the early days of air travel, during the 1930s and early 1940s, when Pan Am Clippers used to land on the water. Stop in Listowel for a look around and lunch on your own before heading to the picturesque town of Killarney. Dine in Killeen House Restaurant, renowned for a warm welcome and excellent food.
Explore the scenic Dingle Peninsula to experience wonderful views of heathery mountains, sandy beaches and rocky headlands. Visit the Blasket Center in Dunquin to learn about the offshore Blasket Islands, inhabited until 1953 by hardy farming and fishing families. Stop in Dingle to browse around and choose a restaurant for lunch on your own. In Castlemaine stop at the charming, old-fashioned Murphy’s Pub to savor an Irish coffee before returning to your hotel in Killarney.
Take a traditional horse-drawn jaunting car ride through the peaceful Killarney National Park and along the shores of Lough Leane, largest of Killarney’s lakes. Stop at the mighty Ross Castle to admire the unspoiled scenery. Drive to the delightful town of Kenmare for a look around on your own. Then head across the Beara Peninsula and through Glengarriff, renowned for its palm trees and mild weather. Relax as you continue along the lovely County Cork coast and through the towns of Bantry and Skibbereen before arriving in Rosscarbery.
Travel along the coast to view Timoleague Franciscan Friary, founded in 1240 by two prominent families, MacCarthys and de Barrys. View the picturesque ruins of the church and living quarters. Then head to Kinsale, renowned for medieval sea trade, fishing and yachting. Join a local guide to visit the huge Charles Fort before taking a gentle stroll through the town to see many old buildings and learn about the long history of trade and shipping with mainland Europe.
Journey to Blarney Castle to kiss the famous stone or stroll through the colorful gardens. Treat yourself to quality Irish-made products at the Blarney Woollen Mills. Head north, stopping for photos at the stately Rock of Cashel, a limestone outcrop containing church ruins. Arrive at your luxurious castle hotel, located on the outskirts of Dublin. This property blends the elegant old mansion with state-of-the-art designed guest rooms. Enjoy a farewell dinner – a fitting end to your vacation.
Your tour ends after breakfast. The hotel is about 15 miles from either Dublin Airport or Dublin city center.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner