On arrival in Dublin Airport reclaim your baggage and enter the Arrivals Hall. Here in the Arrivals Hall you will meet your Irish Driver-Guide (1 person). There will be 3 group transfers this morning between 0700 am and 1200 noon. Board your luxury air-conditioned coach and transfer to the Dunboyne Castle Hotel. This afternoon you might like to take a stroll around the grounds of the hotel.
At 1900 this evening all participants will gather for dinner in the Dunboyne Castle Hotel restaurant where you will become acquainted with your fellow travellers and the coming days can be discussed at leisure with your professional Irish Driver-Guide.
After some much needed sleep and a hearty full Irish breakfast depart for Northern Ireland also referred to as the six counties of 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 twenty 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, the Royal County and owing to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland. Visit Trim Castle which is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter built it over a 30-year period and finished it in 1206. Trim Castle was also a film location for the movie "Braveheart".
Continue onto Belfast via County Louth On arrival in Belfast you will visit Titanic Belfast which is the world’s largest Titanic-themed visitor attraction located on the very slipways where she was built in the heart of Belfast.
Check into Clayton Hotel Belfast. Tonight, you will dine at Clayton Hotel Belfast.
In the morning you will be joined by a specialised step on 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 and Nationalist Falls Road.
In the afternoon travel north of the city to Carrickfergus on the shores of Belfast Lough to visit Carrickfergus Castle. There are a few buildings in Ireland with such well chronicled and fascinating long history as the town’s most compelling landmark, Carrickfergus Castle. It appears first in the official English records in 1210 when the notorious King John laid siege to it and took control of what was then Ulster’s premier strategic garrison.
Return to Belfast Overnight in Clayton Hotel Belfast. Dine at Clayton Hotel Belfast.
This morning 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.
Your 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 Giants 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.
Guests who start their tour on the 23rd of May will overnight & dine in The Everglades Hotel. Guests who start their tour on the 11th of July, you will overnight & dine in The City Hotel Derry.
All of these hotels are 4 Star and are located close to Derry City centre.
This morning after breakfast you will be joined by a specialised local guide at Derry Guildhall for a walking tour of the historic Derry City Walls. The city walls are up to 8 metres in height and in places are 9 metres wide. They were completed in 1618 and were never breached.
Later this morning 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 to 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 18th and 19th centuries.
Dinner and overnight will be in the Westville Hotel located in the heart of Enniskillen's historic waterside quarter.
After breakfast 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 6th century. The most spectacular sight on this tiny windswept island is a perfectly preserved 12th century round tower which stands 82ft high.
Depart for Galway City, known as the "City of the Tribes". Travelling south your route today will take you via Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo. Visit Drumcliffe in Sligo where you can read the epitaph on the grave of W.B. Yeats. Continue onto Galway.
Tonight, you will overnight and dine in the Menlo Park Hotel Overnight: Menlo Park Hotel.
Today you will tour the sights of wild Connemara via the villages of Oughterard, Maam Cross and Recess 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.
Free time in 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. Return east to Galway City.
Tonight, you will dine in the Menlo Park Hotel. Overnight: Menlo Park Hotel.
This morning bright and early your route will take you down the Atlantic seaboard on the west coast of Clare to Killarney. Travel 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 8-kilometre 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. Overnight: Dromhall Hotel.
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 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 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 the family owned Dromhall Hotel. Overnight: Dromhall Hotel.
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 later founded the state of Pennsylvania.
Travel on to the village of Blarney via the valley of the River Lee Visit Blarney Castle built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy and here you will have the opportunity to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone. You will have free time for shopping at Blarney Woollen Mills where one of the largest selections of Irish arts, crafts and produce can be seen on display Continue onto Midleton to visit the Old Midleton Distillery, which has the world's largest pot still with a capacity of over 30,000 gallons. Continue onto Cork City.
Dinner tonight will be in the Maldron Hotel South Mall in the heart of Cork City. Overnight: Maldron Hotel South Mall.
After breakfast this morning take time to wander through some of the quaint streets of Cork.
Later this morning you will travel to the historic town of Kinsale. Here you will 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. Return to Cork City.
Dinner tonight will be in the Maldron Hotel South Mall. Overnight: Maldron Hotel South Mall.
This morning after breakfast you will depart for Dublin, Ireland's capital city. Rising out dramatically from the plains of Tipperary you will visit the Rock of Cashel. 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 the 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.
You will visit the Irish National Stud & 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.
Overnight and dine tonight in the Clayton Hotel Charlemont.
After breakfast this morning you will explore Dublin City visiting: 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!
Visit 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 & County in every direction. You will have some free time this afternoon to explore and shop in Dublin and we would also suggest you take a stroll up Grafton Street
Farewell dinner and entertainment tonight will be in The Merry Ploughboy Pub, one of Dublin's iconic traditional venues, where you will enjoy dinner and an evening of Irish music, song and dance.
Overnight: Clayton Hotel Charlemont.
After a final great Irish breakfast this morning there will be 3 group transfers between 0500 and 1100 for you to choose from to transfer you to Dublin Airport for your return flight home.