Ireland in 8 Days…
Day 1 :
Arrive from your flight into Shannon Airport in the West of Ireland, there you will meet your driver/guide. He will bring you to your touring coach and then you will travel north through Co. Clare to your hotel in Galway City for the night. You will have the afternoon free to wander around the city and explore your new surroundings. Take the opportunity to stroll down Shop Street to the Spanish Arch at the Quays and stop by Lynch’s Castle on the way.
O/N Galway .Dinner at hotel.
Day 2 :
After your full Irish Breakfast, we will leave the hotel, travelling west along the coast to Connemara, passing the villages of Barna, Spiddal, Rossaveal, Maam Cross. We will see the Twelve Pins mountains and Connemara National Park before reaching Kylemore Abbey. You will have seen pictures of the house on most advertisements for Ireland – the house lies on the shores of a lake. It was built in the 19th Century and was handed over, at the beginning of the 20th Century to the Benedictine Nuns and it was run as a boarding school for girls until recent years. Some of the reception areas are open to the public as is the restored chapel on the grounds and some of the walks around the lake. The Victorian Walled Garden is a must see too, there is a minibus running from the visitors centre to take you there but if you have time, the walk through leaf carpeted woodland is worth it. After your stop here, we will continue on to Cliften, the little town is full of little shops and pubs and nearby is the beach where Alcock & Brown, the first airmen to make the transatlantic flight, landed here in 1919. In the afternoon, we will return to Galway via Ireland’s only Fjord, Killary Harbour and Leenane, then back down to Maam Cross, Oughterard, Moycullen and back to the hotel for approx. 5 pm.
O/N Galway. Dinner at hotel.
Other options on Day 2 : Afternoon Tea at Ashford Castle / A Cruise on Lough Corrib / Falconry Display in Connemara / Cruise on Killary Harbour / Adventure Activities at Delphi Mountain Resort.
Day 3 :
Today you see some of the Gaeltacht area of County Galway before travelling south to Clarenbridge towards the Burren Area of Co. Clare. This rocky landscape takes its name from the word ‘Barren’ and you will see that it is just that ! There is however, some flora species that survive here and are unique to this area. The landscape soon gives way to lush green fields again as you get closer to the West Coast and the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs stretch for 5 miles around the coast and are 500 feet up from the sea . After a walk along the cliff tops, you will continue south again towards Ennis town and then on towards Limerick, then taking the Cork Road, you will travel out of the city towards the picturesque village of Adare. The journey then to Killarney takes about an hour and you will arrive at your new lodgings by about 5.30.
O/N Killarney or Tralee. Dinner at hotel.
Other options on Day 2 : Cruise along the bottom of the Cliffs of Moher to see the puffins perched along the cliffs. / Bunratty Castle and Folk Park / the newly renovated King John’s Castle in Limerick / Relive the glamorous age of transatlantic travel at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.
Day 4 :
Today, you will have a full day trip around the Ring of Kerry. You will travel north west of Killarney to the town of Killorglin, where they crown a goat, King of the town for one weekend every year. You pass through the town and continue around the Iveragh Peninsula through the villages of Glenbeigh, Cahirciveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel, Sneem, Kenmare and then back to Killarney via Ladies View and Moll’s Gap. Just outside Killarney, you will make a stop at Muckross House – this is a beautiful Victorian Mansion, built on the shores of the Lakes of Killarney and you will be able to view every room in the house and stroll around the magnificent gardens. If you like, you can take a local Jaunting Car back to your hotel from here instead of taking the coach.
O/N Killarney or Tralee. (or similar). Dinner at hotel.
Other options for Day 4 : Stop at Caitin’s Pub at Kells for a Sheepdog Demonstration with Brendan Ferris. This is a really unique stop and has been a highlight for a number of groups.
Day 5 :
You depart Killarney this morning, heading east along the Cork road, through Macroom to Cork City and then slightly north of that to Blarney Castle. You will probably want to kiss the Blarney Stone to receive the ‘gift of the gab’ and there is some great shopping at the nearby Blarney Woollen Mills. Afterwards we continue to travel east, through Midleton, Youghal, Dungarvan to Waterford City. While the original Waterford Crystal Factory was closed, the new visitors centre contains a smaller demonstration area where the Master Craftsmen from the original factory create trophy pieces for special events and private orders. You will see the exquisite glass being blown into shape and the finished pieces in the magnificent showrooms. Then we will overnight locally in Waterford City.
O/N Waterford. Dinner at hotel.
Other options on Day 5 : The Gougane Barra National Park is one of the greatest scenic spots in Ireland and is a favourite for weddings in the tiny chapel. The area is so peaceful, it’s a bit off the main road but it is a really unique visit. We will be passing near to Cobh en route to Waterford and if you are interested in Titanic history, this is the spot for you. Cobh used to be called Queenstown and was one of the busiest ports in Ireland until the 1950’s. This was the last port of call for the Titanic before it’s fateful journey out into the Atlantic. Passengers boarded here through the White Star Line office building still standing on the pier today. The building is now a Titanic museum and gives a good impression of life at the time and what it meant to get a ticket for the most famous ship ever built.
Nearby is the train station and this houses the Cobh Heritage Centre which also has a Titanic section but is more about immigration from Ireland in general as one million people left from this port between the famine years and the 1950’s.
Day 6 :
After breakfast, continue on to Dublin via Kilkenny City which includes a visit to the 600 year old Kilkenny Castle. Spend some free time walking around the streets of this Medieval Town. In the early afternoon, we will travel further North through Carlow and Kildare to your hotel in Dublin City.
O/N Dublin. Dinner in City Centre.
Other options on Day 6 : Stop for a spot of Retail Therapy at Kildare Village Chic Outlet Shopping – pick up some fabric at Cath Kidson, some Gardener’s hand crème at Crabtree & Evelyn or some kitchen pots at Le Creuset. There are loads of fashion stores too.
National Stud and Japanese Gardens are located in the heart of Ireland’s Horse Country. Many of the World’s top horse studs are located here. The Queen of England made a visit here on her 2011 trip to Ireland so if it’s good enough for her……
Today, you will into the city for a morning city tour to get you acquainted with the City and then the afternoon will be free for you to explore by yourself. This evening, the Farewell Dinner will be at a Traditional Irish Pub with music and entertainment.
O/N Dublin. Dinner at Traditional Pub.
Other options on Day 7 : Take in visits to some of Dublin’s top attractions : Book of Kells at Trinity College / Guinness Storehouse / Jameson Distillery/ Wax Museum / Dublin Castle / Christchurch Cathedral / St. Patrick’s Cathedral / Dublin Writer’s Museum / Kilmainham Gaol.
There are plenty of free visits in the city too : National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street / National Gallery of Ireland on Merrion Square / National History Museum on Merrion Square / National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks / Modern Art Museum at Kilmainham Hospital.
Simply strolling around Dublin is a perfect way to spend the day, the city is very compact and easily explored on foot from the cobbled streets of the Old City near to Dublin Castle to the elegant Georgian Squares to the modern streetscape of the Grand Canal Basin.
Day 8 :
Your final transfer to the airport will depend on flight times. We will pick you up 4 hours before transatlantic flights and 3 hours before European flights.