Heritage and Ancient Monuments
Day 1 of your Heritage and Ancient Monuments Tour – Dublin
Arrival at Dublin Airport to be greeted by your guide and transferred to accommodation. Afternoon sightseeing trip of main sights and shopping areas of Dublin. Visit includes Trinity College, Guinness Storehouse and Christchurch Cathedral.
Day 2 – Dublin
Full day visit to the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough – Round Tower, St. Kevin’s Bed and Church, This is the most atmospheric monastic site in Ireland, established by St. Kevin in the 6th Century. Travel on to Avoca Village, home of the Handweavers – where the series ‘Ballykissangel’ was filmed and pass through Laragh – the smallest village in Ireland. The evening is at leisure to wander Dublin City.
Depart Dublin after breakfast travelling north through the Boyne Valley to the historic 6000 year old passage grave of Newgrange. After the visit we will take a trip to the nearby Hill of Tara and also to Mellifont Abbey. In the afternoon, we will continue North through Dundalk and Newry to Belfast City where you will have time to visit the Titanic Museum and see the dry dock where Titanic stood while being fitted out for her ill fated maiden journey.
Day 4 – Belfast
Today, we will travel to St. Patrick’s Country – this includes stops at the St. Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick where you will meet your local guide for the day Dr. Tim Campbell. He is an expert on St. Patrick having overseen the opening of the St. Patrick’s Centre, he will accompany us for the day as we visit the local site of Saul, the place reputed to be the first church of St. Patrick and also to visit to St. Patrick’s Grave at Down Cathedral.
We will return to Belfast for the evening.
Travel northwards where we have a big day for Heritage and Ancient Monuments ! Visiting the Glens of Antrim and Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage Site and experience the strange, yet wonderful unique basalt formations. This landscape began forming 61 million years ago but local legend tells that it was laid by the Giant ‘Finn McCool’ to cross over to Scotland.
Test your courage at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge, this hangs 80 feet over the sea and is used by fishermen to cross from the mainland to a salmon fishery on a tiny island off the Antrim coast. In the afternoon, we will travel to the village of Bushmills for a tour of the famous Whiskey distillery and a taste of the finished product! We will return to Belfast for overnight.
Day 6 – Derry
After Breakfast, we will do a short tour of Belfast this morning, travelling to the Falls and Shankhill areas of the city as well as to see Queens University, the Ulster Museum and the Titanic Quarter. These areas in recent years have become major tourist attractions.
After the tour we will travel west to Derry, where you will stretch your legs with a walking tour around the walls of Derry before checking into your hotel for the evening.
Day 7 – Donegal
Depart Derry for a Full day sightseeing of the Donegal mountains and the sea coast. Donegal means ‘Fort of the Foreigners’ after the Vikings who built a garrison here. Donegal is where the movie ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ starring Meryl Streep was filmed.
Travel up by the Blue Stack Mountains to Letterkenny. Take the northern road to Kilmacrenan and Dunfanaghy around to the Rosses – a Gaeltacht area of unspoilt natural beauty. Return through Dungloe, home of the ‘Mary of Dungloe’ Beauty contest and Ardara, weaving capital of Donegal.
Overnight Donegal Town.
Day 8 – Donegal
Today we will travel over to Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone, First visiting Belleek Pottery in County Fermanagh, we will see how this beautiful Parian China is handmade and have a chance to purchase some pieces. We will continue on to the Ulster American Folk Park outside Omagh.
This is an open air museum and is situated at the boyhood home of Judge Thomas Mellon (founder of the Pittsburgh Banking Dynasty). The park examines why 2 million people emigrated to America in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
It shows what happened to them on their travels and follows those who failed and those who made their fortunes. Return to Donegal for overnight.
Day 9 – Galway
Leave Donegal for Galway. Pass through Sligo, View Ben Bulben mountain, Yeat’s Country, travel out to Drumcliff to visit WB Yeats’ grave afterwards we visit the village of Knock, where 15 people saw an Apparition of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist. One and half million pilgrims visit here annually. Overnight Galway.
Day 10 – Galway
Tour of Connemara, travelling out to the village of Clifton, a 19th Century market town. The landscape is wild and rugged but majestic and breathtaking. Kylemore Abbey – built in 1868, it became an Abbey in 1920 when taken over by the Irish Benedictine nuns who until recently, ran a girls boarding school there. It is easy to spend at least half a day here, wandering around the lakeside and the Walled Victorian Gardens.
Twelve Bens – the hills of Connemara, Maam Cross – an exact replica of the cottage in the movie ‘The Quiet Man’ can be visited here. The evening is free to enjoy the nightlife in Galway.
Day 11 – Galway
Depending on the itinerary this can be the departure day from Shannon or Today, we travel into County Clare we will stop at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
This castle was built in the 15th Century and its interior looks much the same as it did in 1624. The Folk Park is made up of houses, pubs, schools and shops laid out in a village replicating those of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Actors in authentic costume demonstrate traditional crafts from weaving to butter making.
The tour continues on to Ennis, Clare’s County Town and out to the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs rise 650 feet out of the water and stretch for 5 miles. We will return to Galway, by going through Lisdoonvarna –home of the Bachelor Festival, the Burren, Ballyvaughan and Clarenbridge. The evening is at your leisure to sample the pubs and restaurants of Galway.
Day 12 – Bunratty or Dublin
Depending on the flights, we will have a leisurely time today, returning to Dublin in the morning and allowing free time for shopping in the afternoon or maybe substituing previous days activties for some free time in Galway and saving Bunratty for today if your flight is from Shannon.
We will have a Farewell Dinner at either the Medieval Banquet in Bunratty orat a Traditional Irish Pub or Caberet night in Dublin.
Depart hotel after a full Irish Breakfast and return to Airport for flight back to USA.