On arrival in Dublin Airport reclaim your baggage and enter the Arrivals Hall. Here, you will meet your tour guide (who is also your driver). 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 tour 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 City, the only city in Ireland to fully experience the Industrial Revolution. Linen, rope making, tobacco and most famously shipbuilding including the building of the Titanic Belfast 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, the Royal County — owing to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland. Visit Trim Castle. 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 City via County Louth. On arrival in Belfast City, you will discover the history of the Titanic Belfast in the world's largest Titanic-themed visitor attraction, located on the very slipways where she was built in the heart of Belfast.
Tonight, you will overnight and dine at Clayton Hotel Belfast.
In the morning, continuing on your tour of Belfast City, 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 Belfast Murals of the Loyalist Shankill Road and Nationalist Falls Road.
In the afternoon travel north of the city to Carrickfergus. Nestled on the shores of Belfast Lough, there are a few buildings in Ireland with such a 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.
This morning depart for Derry/Londonderry City. This historic fortified walled city is located on the River Foyle in Northern Ireland. The city fortifications are amongst 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 Bushmills Distillery. Known around the world as the oldest licensed distillery. We will stop here for a whiskey tasting. Its grant to distil whiskey was given in 1608, but it is believed that the spirit was probably made here 200 years before that!
Further north On the coast, you will visit The Giant's Causeway. This prehistoric geological phenomenon is the subject of many myths and legends. There are an estimated 37,000 basalt columns extending from cliffs down into the sea.
This morning after breakfast, you will discover the famous Derry City Walls. You will be joined by a specialised local guide at the Derry Guildhall for a walking tour of the historic Derry City Walls.
Later this morning, depart for Enniskillen. This beautiful town is found in the heart of County Fermanagh. It 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 historic waterside quarter.
After breakfast, you will venture on a Lough Erne Cruise. Boasting a rich combination of natural and historic sights, a haven for many species of water birds. You will visit Devenish Island. Here you will see the monastery founded by St. Molaise in the 6th Century. The most spectacular sight on this tiny, windswept island is a perfectly preserved 12th Century round tower that stands 82ft high.
Depart for Galway City, known as the "City of the Tribes", it is located right on the famous Wild Atlantic Way. Here you can take a ramble to Salthill Promenade, a Wild Atlantic Way discovery point, or down Quay Street with its many great pubs including "The Quays" and "Ti Neachtain" — a townhouse which belonged to "Humanity Dick", an eighteenth century MP who promoted laws against cruelty to animals.
Travelling south your route today will take you via Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo. Visit Drumcliffe County 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.
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. An historic building 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.
Enjoy free time in Clifden. Known as the capital of Connemara. It was founded in 1812 by the High Sheriff of Galway to create a "pocket of respectability" within the lawlessness of the area. Return east to Galway City.
Tonight, you will dine in the 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 Town. 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 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 travel to the Cliffs of Moher. Braced against the ocean, on the coast of County Clare. Here you will stand on the dramatic 702ft (214m) high and 9 miles (14km) long cliffs, a Wild Atlantic Way signature discovery point, 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 Town.
Tonight, you will overnight & dine in Dromhall Hotel.
This morning, after breakfast you will set off on the world-famous Ring Of Kerry. It is officially known as the Iveragh Peninsula. You will travel via Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Coomakesta Pass with its magnificent views over Derrynane, home of Daniel O' Connell, known as "The Liberator", to Caherdaniel. Travel on via the hamlet of Castlecove, the colourful village of Sneem and on via Moll’s Gap, Ladies View, Killarney National Park and along the Lakes of Killarney to Killarney town.
Enjoy a break at the Blind Piper Pub. Here you will have a traditional Irish Pub Lunch. Located in the village of Caherdaniel, locals and visitors alike have been drinking here since 1865. Who is the Blind Piper, you may ask? The Blind Piper is Mici Cumba O'Sullivan, who was born nearby in 1835 and became one of Ireland's most famous pipers.
Tonight, you will dine in the family-owned Dromhall Hotel.
After a hearty Irish breakfast, this morning you will depart for Cork City. Founded on the banks of the River Lee. The rebel city is home of Murphy's Original Irish Stout, and is 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 to Sir William Penn, whose son later founded the state of Pennsylvania. (This is a drive-by only and only noted for historical reasons as the castle is in ruins).
Travel on to the village of Blarney via the valley of the River Lee. Visit Blarney Castle. Built on this site in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy. You will have the chance to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone. You will also have an opportunity to shop at Blarney Woollen Mills, boasting a huge selection of Irish arts, crafts & produce. Continue onto Midleton to visit the Jameson Distillery Midleton. You will experience a fully guided Jameson Experience Tour. Here you will find the world's largest pot still, with a capacity of over 30,000 gallons.
Continue onto Cork City.
After breakfast this morning, take time to wander through some of the quaint streets of Cork City.
Later this morning you will travel to the historic town of Kinsale. The Gourmet Capital of Ireland. Originally a medieval fishing port, historic Kinsale is one of the most picturesque towns on the southwest coast of Ireland. Boland's Craft Shop is just one of the many unique stores that are well worth a visit. Here you will also visit Charles Fort. This star-shaped fort was built in the 1670s by the English to protect Kinsale harbour against foreign naval forces.
Dinner & overnight in the Maldron Hotel South Mall.
This morning, after breakfast you will depart for Dublin, Ireland's capital city.
Visit The Rock of Cashel. Rising dramatically from the grassy plains of county 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, before becoming High King of Ireland in 1002.
You will visit the Irish National Stud. This is a state–run bloodstock farm, which was founded in 1900 by an eccentric Anglo–Irish man by the name of Colonel William Walker. On finishing the tour of the stud farm, take a walk through the Japanese Gardens—laid out in 1906 to represent the "Life of Man".
This afternoon you will once again be back in Dublin City.
Overnight and dine tonight in the Clayton Hotel Charlemont.
After breakfast this morning, you will explore Dublin City.
Take a journey to Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I on the site of an Augustinian monastery. See the Book Of Kells. The book, which is housed in Trinity College, is the most richly decorated of Ireland's medieval illuminated manuscripts. It contains the four gospels in Latin. Some dyes used were imported from as far as the Middle East.
You will also visit 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. With an address at the world-famous St. James's Gate. Here you will tour the world-renowned brewery and enjoy a perfect complimentary pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar — located at the top of a glass tower that commands spectacular views of Dublin City.
Your farewell dinner and evening entertainment includes a Traditional Music Night at The Merry Ploughboy Pub—one of Dublin's iconic trad music venues.
Overnight: Clayton Hotel Charlemont.
Today marks the end of the 14 Day Iconic Tour of Ireland.
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.