Printer-friendly Tour Itinerary Castles and Backroads Tour of Ireland 2018

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Stunning sea view, captured on one of our tours of Ireland Stunning sea view, captured on one of our tours of Ireland

The Tour Itinerary Sunday: Welcome to Ireland

Printer-friendly Tour Itinerary

Sunday's Itinerary

On arrival in Dublin Airport reclaim your baggage and enter the Arrivals Hall. Here in the Arrivals Hall you will meet your professional Irish driver-guide (one person).

There will be 3 Group transfers this morning between 07:00 am and 12:00 noon. Board your luxury air-conditioned coach and make the short transfer to the Gresham Hotel where you can relax and unwind after your flight.

At 19:00 this evening all participants will gather for dinner in the Gresham Hotel restaurant where you will become acquainted with your fellow travellers and the coming days can be discussed at leisure with your professional driver-guide (one person).

Included Today

View over the River Shannon View over the River Shannon

Monday: Westwards Staying in Abbeyglen Castle

Monday's Itinerary

After some much needed sleep and a hearty full Irish breakfast we will depart for Abbeyglen Castle majestically set on the Sky Road overlooking the town of Clifden in Connemara, County Galway. Travelling west your route today will take through County Offaly to the town of Tullamore.

Your first visit will be Tullamore D.E.W. Distillery, where you can learn about the art of Irish whiskey-making and discover the secret that gives Tullamore D.E.W. its unique complexity with a tour of Triple whiskey tasting.

Travel on via Galway into the wilds of Connemara via the villages of Oughterard, Maam Cross and Recess to Clifden the capital of Connemara which was founded in 1812 by the High Sheriff of Galway to create a pocket of respectability within the lawlessness of Connemara.

Tonight you will overnight and dine in Abbeyglen Castle Hotel. After dinner you might like to retire to the Lounge for a nightcap (Connemara Single Malt Irish Whiskey is just a suggestion) before bed.

Included Today

Kylemore Abbey, visited on our Castle Tours of Ireland Kylemore Abbey, visited on our Castle Tours of Ireland

Tuesday: ConnemaraStaying in Abbeyglen Castle

Tuesday's Itinerary

Today you will tour the sights of wild Connemara famous for its bogs, mountains, lakes and rugged coastline. You will visit Kylemore Abbey, which is nestled at the base of Dúchruach Mountain on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, in the heart of the Connemara Mountains. It is regarded as one of Ireland's most romantic buildings. Continue on via Connemara National Park to Leenane (The film location of "The Field" featuring Richard Harris as The Bull McCabe).

At Nancy's Point just outside Leenane Village you will board the "Connemara Lady" for a spectacular 90 minute cruise on Ireland's only fjord. Cruising the sheltered Killary Harbour fjord is the ideal way to take in the dramatic sweep of the landscape, as you pass between the Twelve Bens and the Maam Turk mountains to the South, in County Galway; and the Mweelrea mountains to the North in County Mayo, as well as the views out to the Atlantic at the mouth of the fjord. The fjord's sheltered waters are perfect for mussel farming and you will see the ropes at several points on the fjord. You will also see some circular salmon farms, closer to the shore. Sheep dot the hills and now ramble freely over the remnants of potato ridges which stand testimony to The Great Famine of the 1840's. Return to Abbeyglen Castle via the rugged & lonely Inagh Valley.

Tonight you will overnight & dine in Abbeyglen Castle Hotel. After dinner you might like to take a short stroll into Clifden and enjoy a drink in one of its many fine pubs - E.J Kings, Lowry's or Griffins to name a few!

Included Today

The stunning Cliffs of Moher, as seen on our Ireland Tours The stunning Cliffs of Moher, as seen on our Ireland Tours

Wednesday: Wild Atlantic Way Staying in Kinnitty Castle

Wednesday's Itinerary

This morning after breakfast we'll depart for Kinnitty Castle in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Offaly. This unique castle has had a long and turbulent history from the Normans in the 12th century to its destruction by Republican Forces in 1922 to the present day. It now stands an intimate and cosy castle hotel.

Your journey to Kinnitty Castle will take you along the Wild Atlantic Way down the west coast of County Clare via the famous Galway Bay.

You will see the Burren, which is Gaelic for rocky land - an apt name for this vast limestone plateau. In the 1640s, Cromwell's surveyor described it as "a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury".

On the coast you will stand on the dramatic 650ft high and 8 kilometre long Cliffs of Moher to gaze out on the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.

Continue east via County Limerick to Kinnitty. Tonight you will overnight and dine in Kinnitty Castle. After dinner you might like to retire to the Dungeon Bar for a nightcap before bed.

Included Today

The Rock of Cashel (Tipperary, Ireland) The Rock of Cashel (Tipperary, Ireland)

Thursday: Central Ireland Staying in Kinnitty Castle

Thursday's Itinerary

This morning after breakfast you will tour the counties of Tipperary and Kilkenny. Rising out dramatically from the plains of Tipperary you will visit the Rock of Cashel. This was the seat of kings and mediaeval bishops for 900 years and flourished until the early 17th century. Brian Ború was crowned King of Munster here in 977 and he became High King of Ireland in 1002.

You will have a unique home cooked lunch experience today on a family farm outside Kilkenny. After lunch your hosts will give you a demonstration class in making delicious traditional home baked scones.

After lunch you will visit Kilkenny Castle which has been an important site since Strongbow constructed the first building a wooden tower in the 12th century. William the Earl Marshall built the first stone castle on the site in 1260.

Take time to stroll the medieval streets of Kilkenny and you might want to visit the Kilkenny Design Centre or take time for a pint of Smithwick's an Irish Red Ale from Kilkenny. Return to Kinnitty Castle where you will overnight and dine.

Included Today

The vibrant and outward-looking city of Dublin, where our Ireland Tours start and finish The vibrant and outward-looking city of Dublin, where our Ireland Tours start and finish

Friday The Fair City of Dublin

Friday's Itinerary

After breakfast this morning you will make the short journey to the "Fair City" of Dublin, Ireland's capital. Here you will explore some of the capital's best-loved attractions.

Trinity Collegefounded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I on the site of an Augustinian monastery. Trinity College is also home to the Book of Kells, which is the most richly decorated of Ireland's medieval illuminated manuscripts. The book contains the four gospels in Latin. Some of the dyes used were imported from as far as the Middle East.

The Guinness Storehouse at St. James's Gate for a tour of the world famous brewery and afterwards enjoy a perfect pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar, which is located at the top of a glass tower that commands spectacular views of Dublin City and County in every direction.

You will have free time this afternoon to explore and shop in Dublin and we would also suggest you take a stroll up Grafton Street. Tonight we will have a farewell dinner and a mighty evening of Irish music, song and dance at the Merry Ploughboy Pub.

After a great night we will make our way to the Gresham Hotel in Dublin City to get a good night's rest for your journey home in the morning.

Included Today

Dingle, Kerry, Ireland Dingle, Kerry, Ireland

Saturday: Departure

After a final great Irish breakfast this morning there will be 2 group transfers between 0500 and 1100 for you to choose from to get you to Dublin Airport for your return flight home.

Included Today

  • Irish Breakfast
  • Airport Transfer
011 353 21 437 6600 (from USA)
00353 21 437 6600 (from Ireland & EU)