2018 IRISH ODYSSEY 12 DAYS / 11 NIGHTS
Tour begins 2:00 PM, Dublin hotel. Set out on a tour of Dublin’s highlights to view Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the General Post Office. Visit Kilmainham Gaol where many of Ireland’s leaders, including Robert Emmett, Eamon DeValera and Padraig Pearse, were imprisoned during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Enjoy a welcome drink with your group before dining independently.
Take in the delightful scenery of the Wicklow Mountains as you head to Blessington for a guided tour of stately Russborough House, a Palladian mansion filled with interesting treasures of art and photography. The afternoon is free for independent activities and to explore on your own. In the evening, head to Taylor’s Three Rock Pub for dinner with traditional music, songs and step-dancing.
Travel through Kildare to visit a traditional farmhouse and learn about country living while enjoying tea and scones. Drive south to Waterford to tour the House of Waterford Crystal. Watch experienced craftspeople through the various stages of production, from glass blowing and cutting to the final polishing of pieces to make them sparkle. Continue along the south coast to Cork for dinner and overnight stay.
Start your day with a local guide on a brief walking tour of Cork and the English Market. Visit Blarney Castle to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence” or stroll through the lovely gardens. Treat yourself to quality Irish-made goods at Blarney Woollen Mills. Enjoy the scenery in Counties Cork and Kerry as you head to the colourful town of Kenmare. Stop at Moll’s Gap for great views of part of the Ring of Kerry and watch trained dogs herding sheep.
Take a traditional horse-drawn jaunting car ride to Ross Castle to view Lough Leane, largest of Killarney’s lakes. Travel on to discover the beauties of the scenic Dingle Peninsula and experience views of heathery mountains, sandy stretches of beach and rocky headlands. There will be frequent stops at strategic locations to admire the views and take photos. Enjoy an early dinner in the charming town of Dingle before returning to Tralee.
Sample tea and scones in a pub in Listowel, associated with the writer, J. B. Keane. Embark on a ferry ride across River Shannon Estuary and drive along the coast of County Clare. View the famous Cliffs of Moher, an impressive wall of rock that soars 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Continue to Galway for a walking tour and check in to your hotel, which overlooks Galway Bay.
Enjoy a guided walking tour of Cong where “The Quiet Man” movie was made in 1952. Travel through Connemara for sweeping views of misty mountains and shimmering lakes. Stop at Kylemore Abbey for a walk through the elegant mansion, set beside a tranquil lake. Enjoy a casual lunch, then the rest of the day is free for independent sightseeing and dining.
Travel north to Claremorris to visit Ballintubber Abbey, known as "the Abbey that refused to die." The abbey has the unique status of being Ireland's only royal Abbey, which has been in continuous use for more than 780 years. At Belleek Pottery, watch craftspeople shape and decorate clay into delicate pieces. Follow the Atlantic shoreline of Donegal Bay to the town of Donegal for some free time. Continue your drive through the majestic Barnesmore Gap to Derry.
Visit the Causeway Coast Discovery Centre for tea with scones and a turf-cutting demonstration. Explore the Giant’s Causeway, huge hexagonal basalt columns formed over 60 million years ago. The oversized rocks have given rise to many legends. Back in Derry, join a local guide for a short walk around the medieval city walls that completely encircle the old city centre. Complete your tour at the Walled City Brewery Restaurant where you will enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers.
Head to Belfast for a panoramic city tour followed by a visit to Titanic Belfast to learn about this famous liner through state-of-the-art displays. Travel to Kingscourt and your castle hotel, built in 1760. Arrive mid-afternoon so that you can enjoy this lovely property. After dinner in the Court Restaurant, enjoy a display of Irish step-dancing.
Visit the Boyne Valley Visitor Centre to learn about the 5,000-year-old burial tombs of Newgrange or Knowth. Continue to Drogheda for a leisurely stroll around the historic town and sample locally brewed beer in a traditional pub. Drive to the historical town of Trim to enjoy a farewell dinner.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner