2019 Irish Explorer 10 Days / 9 Nights / 17 Meals
Tour begins 2:00 PM at the Clontarf Castle lobby, a short ride from Dublin Airport, a few miles to the north of Dublin city center. Head out for a tour of central Dublin with a local guide to see elegant Georgian squares, public buildings, and monuments. Visit Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Ireland’s national cemetery, a who’s who of modern Irish history. Join your group for a welcome drink followed by dinner in the castle hotel.
Visit Florence Court House, where the original Irish yew tree was planted in 1767 – and still thrives today. Tour the magnifi cent 18th-century mansion. Next, a CIE Tours exclusive: visit Blakes of the Hollow Pub, a Victorian bar that retains many features original to its founding in 1887. Famed author John McGahern, a regular visitor, described it as “one of the happiest and most beautiful bars in the whole of Ireland”. Continue your travels north to Donegal. With a beautiful rugged landscape where sheep thrive, Donegal is renowned for wool and tweed production.
Head to Teelin to reach the best viewing point of the Slieve League sea cliffs, the highest in Europe. Afterwards, sample home-baked scones with coffee or tea. Travel along the coast then head inland through the majestic Glengesh Pass for views of mountains and valleys to Donegal Town, a busy shopping town which was once a Viking port. Head to Ardara where you will watch demonstrations of spinning and weaving at a local woolen shop. Enjoy an early dinner with a drink and music at the popular Nancy’s in Ardara.
Discover the secrets that have made Belleek Pottery one of the most enduring success stories of Irish craftsmanship during a tour of Belleek Pottery. You’ll go behind the scenes to see how this world-famous fi ne china is made. Travel south to Galway and embark on a cruise of Lough Corrib for unsurpassed views of castles and various sites of both historical and cultural interest (March 31 – October 27 departures).
Traverse scenic Connemara to admire how constantly changing cloud formations give granite hills, sparkling lakes and peat bogs an added dimension. Stop at the Connemara Celtic Crystal Factory where craftsmen demonstrate fi ne glass cutting. Travel through the picturesque scenery of hills and lakes to visit Dan O’Hara’s Homestead. Explore traditional methods of farming, see Connemara ponies, and have a light lunch. Return to Galway and enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
Drive through Clare to view the Cliffs of Moher, which soar 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Walk to O’Brien’s Tower for views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. Drive through the pleasant countryside of County Clare, which is dotted with ruined castles. Embark on a short ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary. Arrive in Killarney and partake of the Whiskey Experience with dinner that includes a chocolate tasting.
Head out to the Ring of Kerry, Ireland’s most famous and popular scenic drive. Look out at Skellig Michael, a rocky offshore island that was featured in the fi lm “Star Wars VII”. Immerse yourself in farm life with a sheepdog demonstration of herding fl ocks. Continue on the scenic drive, pausing for panoramic mountain views at Moll’s Gap. Return to Killarney for some free time and dinner at your hotel.
Visit Blarney Castle to kiss the famous stone or take a gentle walk through the lovely parklands and colorful gardens. Treat yourself to Irish-made goods at the Blarney Woollen Mills before traveling north. Head to the Abbey Tavern in Howth, a scenic Dublin suburb, for Irish cuisine, and an evening of lively entertainment.
Enjoy your day in Dublin independently, on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour. Use your voucher to visit your choice of one of Dublin’s top attractions: Guinness Storehouse, Teeling Distillery, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, or the General Post Office Museum.
Your tour ends after breakfast.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner