9 DAY “WELCOMING IRELAND”

DAY 1 BUNRATTY & MEDIEVAL BANQUET
Start your Irish adventure at Shannon Airport with a hotel transfer, available between 7 :00 a.m. and 12 noon. If your flight arrives later than 12 noon, transfer to the hotel at your own expense. Spend the day at leisure in Bunratty where there’s plenty to do – Bunratty Folk Park, Durty Nelly’s Pub and shopping. This evening we’ll have a group get-together with welcome drink and then join the fun of a medieval banquet at nearby Bunratty Castle. (D)

DAY 2 CLIFFS OF MOHER & KILLARNEY
Drive to the coast to view the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, rising almost 700 feet above the broad Atlantic breakers and stretching along the coast for 5 miles. We’ll then head south to the River Shannon Estuary and cross via a short ferry ride. Stop in the charming town of Listowel for a ramble around before continuing through the mountainous countryside to Killarney. Take a look around this easy to navigate town before checking into to your conveniently located hotel. This evening, we’ll drive to Molly Gallivan’s Traditional Cottage for dinner and traditional Irish entertainment with music and dancing. (B,D)

DAY 3 RING OF KERRY & SKELLIG EXPERIENCE
Admire breathtaking vistas of mountains, cliffs and beaches on Ireland’s most thrilling drive – the 100 mile Ring of Kerry. Enjoy the variety of scenery as we travel to the westernmost part of the peninsula, passing through Killorglin and Cahirciveen. Plan to take plenty of photos as we stop at the most advantageous outlooks. Crossing the bridge to the island of Valencia, we’ll visit the Skellig Experience, which explains how early monks lived in very austere conditions on the rocky islands off the coast. Today, the islands are a thriving bird sanctuary. Our return to Killarney will take us through the picturesque village of Sneem and we’ll pause at Moll’s Gap for stunning views of the Lakes of Killarney and the Macgillicuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountains in Ireland. Return to your hotel for dinner and then enjoy the evening on your own to take in the “ceol agus craic” (music and fun) of Killarney! (B,D)

DAY 4 “TITANIC” WALKING TOUR & WATERFORD CRYSTAL
Leaving Killarney, we’ll head to Blarney, just outside the city of Cork. You’ll have time to climb Blarney Castle and kiss the “Stone of Eloquence”, walk around the village green or shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills for a variety of fine Irish merchandise. Our next stop is Cobh, the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic. Take a guided walk around the charming town and dockside with a local historian to see places relating to Titanic’s last scheduled stop. In Waterford visit the House of Waterford Crystal to see how the fine crystal is formed and browse the shop and showrooms. We’ll end the day’s adventures in the stunning port city of Waterford with dinner at our hotel. (B,D)

DAY 5 KILKENNY CASTLE & ABBEY TAVERN
This morning, tour the massive Kilkenny Castle, home of the Butlers, Earls and Dukes of Ormonde. The castle was first built in 1192 and you’ll learn about the history, region and wonderful artwork and furnishings. A visit across the street to the former stables will find you in the Kilkenny Craft Center. We’ll proceed to the vibrant capital of Ireland, Dublin, for our 2 night visit. Explore the lively area surrounding your hotel before our drive to the nearby seaside town of Howth. We’ll enjoy fine food at the Abbey Tavern followed by a great show with plenty of Irish music and intricate step dancing. (B,D)

DAY 6 DUBLIN TOUR & KILMAINHAM GAOL
We’ll start our tour of Dublin in Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest city park and a green space more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park. It contains the Wellington Monument, the Papal Cross where Pope John Paul II addressed a crowd of more than 1.25 million in 1979, the residences of both the President of Ireland and the American Ambassador, Dublin Zoo and the Visitor Center. We’ll visit the Visitor Center to learn of Dublin’s history and ecology over the past 3500 years. As we travel by bus through the city, first founded by early Celts around 500 B.C. and called Baile Atha Cliath (Town of the Hurdle Ford), we’ll see evidence of the Vikings who settled here almost 1300 years ago, elegant Georgian squares with the distinctive brightly painted doors on the townhouses, the lush vegetation of St Stephen’s Green and the stark figures of the Famine Memorial along the banks of the River Liffey. A visit to Kilmainham Gaol offers a chilling view of how penal institutions were operated in past centuries. Here, too, learn about the leaders of the Easter Uprising of 1916 who were imprisoned and martyred on the grounds, changing Irish history. We’ll enjoy a relaxing end of the day with a fascinating tour and tasting at either the Guinness Storehouse or Jameson Distillery…..your choice. Dinner and the evening is at your leisure to sample Dublin’s lively pub life or fine restaurants in the city center. (B)

DAY 7 CLONMACNOISE AND GALWAY
As we leave Dublin, we’ll journey through the rolling pastures of Ireland’s heartland to the midland city of Athlone and Clonmacnoise Monastic Site. This settlement, set on the banks of the River Shannon, was founded in 545 A.D. by St Ciaran and grew to become an unrivalled bastion of Irish religion, literature and art, helping to earn Ireland the title of the “land of saints and scholars”. We’ll then visit Rathbaun Farm to see traditional farming methods and vintage machinery as well as lots of cute, free-roaming barnyard animals. Enjoy home baked scones with tea or coffee before continuing on to Galway. After dinner at the hotel, enjoy the delights of Galway. (B,D)

DELUXE AND SUPERIOR FIRST CLASS HOTELS INCLUDE:

  • Bunratty Hotel, Bunratty
  • Malton Hotel, Killarney (2)
  • Granville Hotel, Waterford
  • The Burlington Hotel, Dublin (2)
  • Hotel Meyrick, Galway (2)
  • or similar

DAY 8 GALWAY BAY & CONNEMARA
We’ll travel along the famous Galway Bay to catch glimpses of the off-shore Aran Islands and pass through the largest gaeltacht (Irish speaking) area of Ireland. Continue into the lovely scenery of Connemara (meaning “Inlets of the Sea”) with its granite hills softened by little lakes. Walk through the town of Cong to see places associated with “The Quiet Man” movie which was made in the village in 1952. After lunch, we’ll continue past the gorgeous Ashford Castle and visit Kylemore Abbey, a 19th century crenellated neo-Gothcs fantasy. Return to Galway for your farewell dinner at the hotel. (B,D)

DAY 9 TOUR ENDS AT SHANNON AIRPORT
Transfer from Galway to Shannon Airport, where your tour ends at 10:30 a.m. If you need to arrive at Shannon Airport before 10:30 a.m., your tour director will organize an early group transfer. Note that the 60 mile drive from Galway to Shannon takes 90 minutes. So don’t spoil your last night by booking too early a flight! (B)

ALL OF THIS IS INCLUDED!
*Airport transfers at the start and end of tour
*Sightseeing by luxury coach
*Professional tour director
*8 nights in well located hotels
* 15 meals
*Full breakfast daily except Day 1

*7 dinners including
BunrattyCastle Medieval Banquet
Molly Gallivan’s Traditional Cottage Dinner/entertainment
Abbey Tavern Traditional Irish dinner/show
4 table d’hote dinners

*Welcome get-together drink
*Ferry ride across the River Shannon
*”Titanic” walking tour of Cobh
*Tour of Dublin with local guide
*Tour and tasting at Guiness Storehouse or Jameson Distillery
*Tea and scones at Rathbaun Farm
*Visits and admissions to Cliffs of Moher, Skellig Experience, Blarney Castle and Woollen Mills, House of Waterford Crystal, Kilkenny Castle, Phoenix Park Visitor Center, Kilmainham Gaol, Clonmacnoise and Kylemore Abbey.

*All local taxes, hotel service charges and porterage for 1 suitcase plus 1 carry-on per person

MARCH, APRIL and OCTOBER from $1975
MAY through SEPTEMBER from $2425
LAND ONLY