Printer-friendly Tour Itinerary 15-Day Iconic Scenes of Ireland Tour 2018 North then South

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Aerial View of County Antrim, as seen on our tours of Northern Ireland Aerial View of County Antrim, as seen on our tours of Northern Ireland

North-South Tour Itinerary Wednesday: Welcome to The Emerald Isle

Printer-friendly Tour Itinerary


Welcome - On arrival in Dublin Airport reclaim your baggage and enter the Arrivals Hall. Here in the Arrivals Hall you will meet your driver-guide (one person). There will be three group transfers this morning 0700 - 1300. Board your luxury air-conditioned coach and make the short transfer to Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge where you can relax and unwind after your flight.

At 1900 this evening all participants will gather for dinner in Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge restaurant where you can become acquainted with your fellow-travellers.

For guests staying in Dublin on the 8th of August you will be staying and dining in the Portmarnock Hotel.

Included Today

The Titanic ship yard The Titanic ship yard

Thursday Belfast and the Titanic Exhibition

Thursday's Itinerary

After some much needed sleep and a hearty full Irish breakfast we will depart for Northern Ireland also referred to as the six counties or Ulster. The province of Northern Ireland was created with the partition of the island of Ireland in 1921.

Your destination today will be Belfast, the only city in Ireland to fully experience the Industrial Revolution. Linen, rope making, tobacco and most famously ship building including the building of the Titanic on the Harland & Wolff shipyard were the main industries. The Troubles took their toll on the economic life of Belfast but the past fifteen years of peace have returned much prosperity while the genuine friendliness of the city never left.

Travelling North your route today will take you through County Meath & County Louth. On arrival in Belfast visit Titanic Belfast which is the world’s largest Titanic themed visitor attraction located on the very slipways where she was built at the heart of Belfast. In the afternoon you will be joined by a specialised local Belfast City Guide to see and hear all about the history of this once troubled city including the murals of the Loyalist Shankill Road & Nationalist Falls Road.

Tonight you will overnight & dine at the Clayton Hotel in Belfast.

Included Today

The Giant's Causeway at Sunset The Giant's Causeway at Sunset

Friday Giant's Causeway & Derry

Friday's Itinerary

This morning you will depart for the historic fortified walled city of Derry. The city fortifications are among the best - preserved in Europe and were completed in 1618 to defend the city from Gaelic chieftains in Donegal.

Our route today will take you via the spectacular Antrim Coastal Route through the nine Glens of Antrim and picturesque villages of Ballygalley, Carnlough, Cushendall and Cushendun to Ballycastle. Continue onto Bushmills.

Here you will visit the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in the world, for a whiskey tasting. Its grant to distil was given in 1608 but it is believed that spirit was probably made here 200 years before that!

Further north on the coast you will visit The Giant's Causeway, the subject of many legends and where an estimated 37,000 basalt columns extend from cliffs down into the sea.

This afternoon you will continue west to Derry / Londonderry for an overnight stay at the Maldron Hotel Derry. Dine at the hotel tonight.

For guests staying in Derry on May 11th, May 25th, July 20th, August 10th & August 24th you will dine and stay tonight in the City Hotel Derry.

Included Today

Saturday's Itinerary

This morning after breakfast you will be joined by a specialised local guide for a walking tour of the historic walled city of Derry at Derry Guildhall. The city walls are up to 8 metres (25 feet) in height and in places are 9 metres (30 feet) wide. They were completed in 1618 and were never breached.

We will depart for the beautiful town of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh which occupies an island between Upper and Lower Lough Erne.

Your route will take you via Strabane and Omagh in County Tyrone to the Ulster American Folk Park, an open-air museum located on the restored boyhood home of Judge Thomas Mellon, founder of the Pittsburgh banking dynasty. The Park's permanent exhibition, called 'Emigrants', examines why two million people left Ulster for America during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.

Dinner and overnight will be in the Westville Hotel located in the heart of Enniskillen's waterside historic quarter.

Included Today

Lough Erne, as seen on our tours of Ireland Lough Erne, as seen on our tours of Ireland

Sunday Lough Erne & Devenish Island

Sunday's Itinerary

After breakfast this morning join a leisurely cruise on Lough Erne which boasts a rich combination of natural and historic sights and is a haven for many species of water birds.

You will visit Devenish Island where St. Molaise founded a monastery in the Sixth Century. The most spectacular sight on this tiny windswept island is a perfectly preserved Twelfth Century round tower which stands 82ft high.

Your journey through Northern Ireland ends today when you cross the border into County Cavan and travel through the rounded hills called Drumlins that are typical of the border region between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The route will take you through Meath, the Royal County due to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland. Your last stop will be at the Hill of Tara Tara was the political & spiritual centre of Celtic Ireland and the seat of the High Kings until the 11th century.

For your overnight stay continue onto Portmarnock Hotel overlooking the Velvet Strand Beach and the Irish Sea for a bit of tranquillity and solitude. Tonight you will dine in the Portmarnock Hotel Restaurant.

Included Today

Monday Leisurely day in Dublin

Today, explore Dublin at your leisure. At 1900 this evening you will meet your fellow-guests for the Iconic Scenes of Ireland Tour which begins tomorrow with the journey west to Galway, City of the Tribes.

Included Today

The narrow shopping streets of Galway The narrow shopping streets of Galway

Tuesday Dublin to Galway, City of the Tribes

Tuesday's Itinerary

After a hearty full Irish breakfast we will depart for Galway City, known as the “City of the Tribes”. Travelling west your route today will take you through Ballinasloe & Athlone, which is the centre of Ireland.

You will visit Clonmacnoise a medieval monastery on the banks of the River Shannon founded by St. Ciaran in the Sixth Century. Clonmacnoise lay at a crossroads of medieval Ireland linking all parts of Ireland. Sacked time and again by the Vikings, it nevertheless flourished for over 600 years.

On arrival in Galway you will have a tour of this ancient city including its famous Eyre Square. Take time for a ramble down Shop Street to Galway’s Latin Quarter where stands Lynch’s Castle, Galway’s grandest 16th century town house. Stroll up the bustling Quay Street with its many great pubs and lively street performers.

Tonight you will dine in the Menlo Park Hotel

Included Today

The stunning Connemara landscape The stunning Connemara landscape

Wednesday Galway and Connemara

Wednesday's Itinerary

Today you will tour the sights of wild Connemara via the villages of Oughterard and Maam Cross before travelling up the spectacular Inagh Valley to Kylemore.

You will visit Kylemore Abbey, which is nestled at the base of Duchruach 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 Letterfrack to Clifden, where you can enjoy some free time. The capital of Connemara, Clifden was founded in 1812 by the High Sheriff of Galway to create a pocket of respectability within the lawlessness of Connemara.

Return east to Galway City. Tonight you will dine in the Menlo Park Hotel

Thursday's Itinerary

This morning bright and early we will head down the Atlantic seaboard on the west coast of Clare to Killarney. Your route today will be via the famous Galway Bay, Dunguaire Castle and the fishing village of Kinvarra

You will see The Burren , which is Gaelic for rocky land – an apt name for this vast limestone plateau. In the 1640’s, 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 5 mile long Cliffs of Moher to gaze out on the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.

Further south in County Limerick take time to stroll the main street of the beautiful thatched village of Adare before travelling on to Killarney

Tonight you will dine in Dromhall Hotel.

Guests staying in Killarney on May 3rd & June 21st will dine and stay tonight in the Killarney Plaza Hotel. For guests staying in Killarney on the 20th of September your base for tonight will be the Great Southern Killarney Hotel.

Friday's Itinerary

This morning after breakfast you will set off on the world famous Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula) via Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Coomakesta Pass with it magnificent views over Derrynane, home of Daniel O’ Connell, known as “The Liberator”, to Caherdaniel.

Today you will have a traditional Irish pub lunch in The Blind Piper Pub in the village of Caherdaniel. Locals and visitors alike have been drinking here since 1865.

Who is the Blind Piper? The Blind Piper is Mici Cumba O'Sullivan who was born nearby in 1835 and became one of Ireland's most famous pipers.

Continue on via the pretty village of Sneem, Moll’s Gap, Ladies View and along the Lakes of Killarney to Killarney town.

Tonight you will dine in Dromhall Hotel.

Guests staying in Killarney on May 4th & June 22nd will dine and stay tonight in the Killarney Plaza Hotel. For guests staying in Killarney on the 21th of September your base for tonight will be the Great Southern Killarney Hotel.

Saturday's Itinerary

After a hearty Irish breakfast this morning you will depart for Cork City on the banks of the River Lee, home of Murphy’s Original Irish Stout, and considered by many Corkonians to be the real capital of Ireland!

Your route today will take you over the famous Cork/Kerry Mountains via the Irish speaking villages of Ballymakeery and Ballyvourney to the old market town of Macroom, where you will see Macroom Castle, once home of Sir William Penn, whose son was later to found the state of Pennsylvania.

Travel on to the village of Blarney via the valley of the river Lee. Here you will visit Blarney Castle built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy. This might be your only chance to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone!

You will have an opportunity for shopping at Blarney Woollen Mills where one of the largest selections of Irish arts, crafts and produce can be seen on display.

In Midleton Town you will visit Jameson Old Midleton Distillery which has the world’s largest pot still with a capacity of over 30,000 gallons. After the tour you might like to enjoy a complimentary drop of Irish whiskey.

Evening Dinner tonight will be in the Imperial Hotel in the heart of Cork City

Sunday's Itinerary

After breakfast this morning you'll have free time to wander through some of the small streets of Cork City.

Later this morning you will travel to the historic town of Kinsale to visit Charles Fort. This star shaped fort was built in the 1670’s by the English to protect Kinsale harbour against foreign naval forces.

Take time this afternoon to explore the beautiful town of Kinsale and you might want to visit Boland’s Craft Shop. Evening Dinner tonight will be in the Imperial Hotel.

Monday's Itinerary

This morning after breakfast you will depart for Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. En route, will visit The Rock of Cashel, rising out dramatically from the plains of Tipperary. This was the seat of kings and medieval 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 enjoy a unique home cooked lunch experience today on a family farm outside Kilkenny. Here you will have an opportunity to chat with your hosts and hear about their life and times farming in this rural part of Kilkenny.

After a hearty lunch you will visit the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens. This is a state-run bloodstock farm, which was founded in 1900 by an eccentric Anglo-Irish colonel called William Walker. On finishing the tour of the stud farm take a walk through the Japanese Gardens, which were laid out in 1906 to represent the "Life of Man."

This afternoon you will once again be back in the "Fair City" of Dublin, where you'll be staying the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge. Evening Dinner tonight will be in the Clayton Hotel.

Ha'penny Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin Ha'penny Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin

Tuesday & WednesdayDublin City

Tuesday's Itinerary

After breakfast, your exploration through Dublin City will begin with Trinity College founded 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.

Christ Church Cathedral, founded by the Viking King Sitric almost 1000 years ago in 1034. The cathedral crypt is one of the largest in the UK and Ireland, dating back to the 12th Century. Here in the crypt you can see the Mummified remains of the Cat and the Rat which were found in the cathedral organ, and a rare 14th century copy of the Magna Carta.

You will also have a unique opportunity to visit the Belfry and ring the Cathedral bells. Please note: Getting to the Belfry in Christ Church Cathedral involves climbing 86 stone steps in a medieval building and crossing the roof at the South transept – quite the experience!

Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate for a tour of the world famous brewery and afterwards enjoy a perfect complimentary 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 some free time this afternoon to explore & shop in Dublin and we would also suggest you take a stroll up Grafton Street.

Your last evening will be in The Merry Ploughboy, one of Dublin's iconic traditional venues, where you'll enjoy dinner and an evening of Irish music, song and dance.

The stunning landscapes of Co. Meath The stunning landscapes of Co. Meath

Wednesday Departure Day

After a final great Irish breakfast this morning there will be 3 group transfers between 0500 and 1100 for you to choose from to get you to Dublin Airport for your return flight home. Turas sàbhailte dhuibh (safe journey).
011 353 21 437 6600 (from USA)
00353 21 437 6600 (from Ireland & EU)