Take a trip off the beaten track with us, and get to know the ‘real’ Ireland. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the Irish as you discover more about the history and culture of this country where, as the old saying goes, ‘you arrive as a stranger and leave as a friend’. céad míle fáilte - – a thousand welcomes await you!
Continue from Hull through the English midlands and scenic Wales to the port of Holyhead where we board the afternoon ferry to Dublin Port. Arrival in Dublin port in the early evening and overnight in Dublin.
This morning we drive west towards Galway. En route we visit Clonmacnoise, set picturesquely on the banks of the River Shannon. At this monastic settlement, established by St. Ciaran in the 6th century, we see the ornate Cross of the Scripture, two round towers and the ruins of a former cathedral. In the afternoon we continue on to Galway – Ireland’s fourth largest city and European City of Culture 2020. Enjoy a stroll through the old streets of this lively and atmospheric student city before continuing on to our hotel for dinner and overnight
Today we take a boat trip from Doolin to Inis Oirr (Inisheer), the smallest and most easterly of the Aran Islands. Inis Oirr is a ‘Gaeltacht’, where Irish or Gaelic is still the main spoken language. We visit the ruins of the 15th century O’ Brien’s castle as well as the 10th century church which was founded by St. Kevin of Glendalough. Upon our return to the mainland, we will visit the famous 200m high Cliffs of Moher before returning to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
This morning we visit the Flying Boat and Martime Museum in Foynes in County Limerick. Learn about how a small village became a world centre of aviation in the ‘30s, when the flying boats containing restaurants and bridal suites were used to bring the rich and famous across the Atlantic ocean to America. Foynes also has a second claim to fame as the birthplace of the Irish Coffee. Enjoy an Irish Coffee in a lounge dedicated to this famous drink and take the original recipe back home with you. We leave Foynes and stop for a walk on beautiful Ballybunion beach on the Wild Atlantic Way before proceeding to our hotel in Tralee for dinner and overnight.
Our drive along the famous Ring of Kerry, one of Europe’s most scenic routes, takes us past the Aghadoe Heights, Waterville and the Coomakista Pass to Ladies View, which gets its name from the pleasure expressed by Queen Victoria's Ladies-in-Waiting on their visit here in 1861. We continue around the Ring and finish in Muckross Park, known for its beautiful shrubs, flowers and Victorian Mansion.
We leave Kerry and travel to Adare. Renowned as Ireland’s prettiest village, Adare boasts traditional thatched cottages and ancient stone walls and of course the imposing Adare Manor, once seat of the Earl of Dunraven. We travel onwards to the Rock of Cashel, one of Irelands most famous national monuments and the royal site of the ancient kings of Munster. Also known as ‘Ireland’s Acropolis’, this spectacular group of Medieval buildings include a 12th century round tower, a High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, and a 13th century Gothic cathedral. We travel onwards to Dublin for dinner and overnight.
Ireland’s largest city has a population of over 1 million and is divided into north and south by the river Liffey, which flows through its centre. Our city tour will take in all of Dublin’s main attractions. We will visit Trinity College where the beautifully illustrated Book of Kells is housed in the magnificent Old Library. Other highlights include St. Patricks Cathedral, the General Post Office on O Connell Street, the home of the Irish President in the Phoenix park, and Dublin’s shopping streets and graceful Georgian squares. Overnight in Dublin.