7-DAY “EMERALD ISLE GEMS”

DAY 1  ARRIVE DUBLIN
Arrive at Dublin Airport for a group  transport to your hotel between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.  If your flight  arrives after noon, transfer to the hotel at your own expense.  Afternoon at leisure for relaxation or personal exploration.  In the evening, enjoy a group get-together and welcome drink followed by dinner at the hotel.  Later, we’ll be entertained by a seanachie or professional storyteller.(D)DAY 2  DUBLIN AND MERRY PLOUGHBOY PUB
We join a local guide for a tour of ancient and modern Dublin. We’ll drive through the main streets of Dublin and visit Trinity College, where the Book of Kells is housed, see the evocative figures of the Famine Memorial and rows of Georgian houses  in Fitzwilliam Square.  Next stop is a guided tour of the State Apartments of Dublin Castle which are filled with elaborate Waterford Crystal chandeliers and portraits of prominent Irish leaders.  Continue on for stops at St Patrick’s Cathedral and a tour and tasting at the renowned Guinness Storehouse.  Return to the hotel to prepare for your evening out at the Merry Ploughboy Pub for a fine dinner of Irish specialities and a great show featuring traditional Irish music and step-dancing.  (B,D)DAY 3  KILDARE, BLARNEY AND KILLARNEY
After breakfast, we’ll depart Dublin and travel through the midlands of Ireland with stops at the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens in Kildare, a  photo opportunity at  the stately ruins on the Rock of Cashel rising high above the countryside and continue south to Cork.  Just a few miles outside the city, you can visit Blarney Castle and kiss the “Stone of Eloquence”, as well as visiting the Blarney Woollen Mills, where you can  shop for a wide variety of Irish-made goods.    We’ll drive through Macroom, built around a fine castle, and into Kerry, arriving in Killarney, which is set between gorgeous lakes and the highest mountain peaks in Ireland.  Check into the hotel and relax before dinner. (B,D)

DAY 4   RING OF KERRY, SKELLIG EXPERIENCE AND KILLARNEY
Today, embark on Ireland’s most scenic drive of 100 miles – the Ring of Kerry.  This winding route reveals breathtaking sights of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks as well as coastal views of crashing surf,  secluded beaches and dramatic cliffs.  As you travel along, there will be plenty of stops for photos at the best vantage points.  Stop at Kells to meet a local farmer, Brendan Ferris, for a taste of farm life with a sheepdog demonstration of herding flocks and see different kinds of sheep.. Drive through the village of Cahirciveen and cross to Valencia Island by bridge.  Visit the Skellig Experience to learn about the nearby rocky islands where early Christian monks lived in austere conditions.  Today, the islands house a thriving bird sanctuary.  Stop to walk around the town of Sneem, where brightly painted houses are grouped around the central green, and perhaps enjoy a “99”, a soft ice cream cone….delicious!  Pause for photos at Moll’s Gap and enjoy a view of the  Lakes of Killarney with the town in the distance.  Return to Killarney and once again enjoy a fine dinner in your hotel.  The evening will be at your leisure  to take in the lively “ceol agus craic” (music and fun) of Killarney! (B,D)

DAY 5   CLIFFS OF MOHER AND BUNRATTY CASTLE
We’ll leave Killarney and drive north to Tarbert for a 20 minute ferry ride across the wide Shannon River Estuary.  The tour continues along the Clare coast to the Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular wall of limestone rising almost 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.  After, we’ll drive past Lahinch Golf Course, one of Ireland’s most famous, to the town of Ennis, winner of the 2012 Tidy Town (City) Gold Medal, for lunch in the town center and an early check into our hotel.  We’ll continue on to Craggaunowen, a complex which includes recreated ancient farms, dwellings such as a crannog (artificial island), a 5th century ring fort and a 2000 year old oak road as well as Craggaunowen Castle.  The day will conclude  at   Bunratty Castle for a night of Medieval Banqueting and revelry. (B,D)

DAY 6   GALWAY AND CONNEMARA
This morning, we’ll drive north through Galway and out along the famous Galway Bay to  Spiddal, located in the gaeltacht, where locals still speak the Irish language. A drive across the rugged boglands of Connemara will bring us to Moycullen and a visit to the Connemara Marble Factory.  See how this locally quarried marble is made into attractive products and enjoy tea and scones in the cafe.  Drive into Galway and enjoy exploring the very easily navigable city on your own.  We’ll spend this last night in Galway and enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel. (B,D)DAY 7  DEPART FROM SHANNON AIRPORT
Group transfers are provided to Shannon Airport for a 10:30 a.m.arrival.  Please note that the drive from Galway City to Shannon is 90 minutes, so don’t book too early a flight and ruin your last night’s festivities!    If you need an earlier transfer, we will arrange that for you.  Then, you can shop for duty-free goods before boarding your flight home. (B)

DELUXE AND SUPERIOR FIRST CLASS HOTELS INCLUDE:

  • The Burlington Hotel, Dublin (2)
  • Malton Hotel, Killarney (2)
  • Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis
  • Hotel Meyrick, Galway
  • or similar
ALL OF THIS IS INCLUDED!

  • Airport transfers at start and end of tour
  • Sightseeing by luxury coach
  • Professional tour director
  • 6 nights in well-located hotels
  • 12 meals
  • Full Breakfast daily (except day of arrival)
  • 6 dinners including
  • Merry Ploughboy Pub Dinner and show
  • Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet
  • 4 dinners at hotels
  • Welcome get-together drink
  • Tour of Dublin with tasting at Guinness Storehouse
  • Sheepdog trials on the Ring of Kerry
  • Ferry ride across the Shannon River
  • Visits and admissions to Dublin Castle, Blarney Castle, Blarney Woollen Mills, Skellig Experience, Cliffs of Moher and Connemara Marble Factory
  • Baggage Handling
  • All local taxes and hotel service charges

MARCH, APRIL, and OCTOBER from $1555
MAY THROUGH SEPTEMBER from $2125

LAND ONLY