On arrival in Dublin Airport reclaim your baggage and enter the Arrivals Hall. Here, you will meet your Irish tour guide (who is also your driver). There will be three group transfers this morning between 0700 am & 1200 noon. Board your luxury air-conditioned mini-coach and make the short transfer to the famous Brooks Hotel, in the heart of Dublin City, where you can relax and unwind after your flight.
15:00 Check-in time. Hotel reception will store your luggage prior to Check-in.
This afternoon, after all introductions have been made, you will depart on a tour of Dublin City, Ireland's capital city. Visit 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 of the dyes used were imported from as far as the Middle East.
You will also 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.
Evening free to relax and unwind at your leisure. Overnight in Brooks Hotel.
This morning after breakfast, you will depart for Ballynahinch Castle.Ballynahinch Castle is an unrivalled experience of true Irish hospitality. Formerly the home of "Humanity Dick" Martin and The Maharajah Ranjitsinhji, Ballynahinch Castle has been welcoming visitors to Connemara for over 250 years. At Ballynahinch Castle, My Ireland Tour guests will enjoy the breathtaking Superior Bedroom. This unique castle is spectacularly located on a private 450-acre estate of woodlands, rivers and walks in the heart of Connemara.
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 6th century. Clonmacnoise lay at a crossroads of medieval Ireland linking all parts of the island. Sacked time and again by the Vikings, it nevertheless flourished for over 600 years.
We will continue west on our journey to 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.
Tonight you will overnight & dine in Ballynahinch Castle.
Suggestion: After dinner, you might like to retire to the friendly Fisherman's Pub for a nightcap (Connemara Single Malt Irish Whiskey is just a suggestion) before bed.
Please note, although Ballynahinch Castle has undergone many modernising refurbishments over the past 250 years there are no elevators in the hotel. There is a full porter service, to carry your bags to and from the bedroom, but walking up and down the stairs, for anyone with mobility issues, can be quite difficult. Please, feel free to contact us should you have any such concerns..
This morning after breakfast, take some time to explore at your leisure the extensive grounds of Ballynahinch Castle. There are some who visit Ballynahinch Castle and never leave the grounds during their stay, such is the choice of activities available. Hiking the trails, taking a fly-fishing tutorial, playing tennis, biking, or simply sitting in the tranquillity of the grounds listening to the song of the river as it makes its interminable journey to the sea are all possibilities today.
This afternoon, if the lure of the castle grounds is not too strong you will tour the sights of wild Connemara, famous for its bogs, mountains and rugged coastline. You will have 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.
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.
Your return route to Ballynahinch Castle will take you via the spectacular Inagh Valley with the rugged 12 Bens of Connemara on your right and the Maumturks mountain range on your left.
Tonight you will overnight and dine in Ballynahinch Castle.Please note, although Ballynahinch Castle has undergone many modernising refurbishments over the past 250 years there are no elevators in the hotel. There is a full porter service, to carry your bags to and from the bedroom, but walking up and down the stairs, for anyone with mobility issues, can be quite difficult. Please, feel free to contact us should you have any such concerns.
This morning after breakfast, you will depart for the Gaelic-speaking fishing port of Dingle.
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 Atlantic west coast, you will visit 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. Enjoy a short ferry journey across the majestic Shannon River from Killimer to Tarbert. Continue on via Tralee, the capital of Kerry, to the fishing town of Dingle.
Tonight you will overnight in Heaton's Guesthouse.
After breakfast, depart for the scenic Slea Head Drive on the Wild Atlantic Way via the quaint village of Ventry. Continue on via the Slea Head to Dunquin for views over the Blasket Islands, now an uninhabited island rich for its flora and fauna. Irish writer Peig Sayers famously wrote about life on the island in the struggling 20th century.
You may be interested in a stroll on Coomenoole beach. This small but beautiful beach was used as one of the film locations for the filming of 'Ryan's Daughter'. Continue on to Ballyferriter, a West Kerry Gaeltacht heartland (Irish-speaking area). Here in Ballyferriter, you will have a workshop tour of the Louis Mulcahy Pottery — you will get the chance to try your own skill at the potter's wheel and enjoy lunch in the adjoining cafe.
After lunch, you will travel on to visit the archaeological highlight of Gallarus Oratory — an early Christian site. Return to Dingle for an afternoon visit to the Dingle Distillery. Enjoy an evening free in Dingle. It is famous for its artisan galleries and lively pubs including Dick Mack's, O Flaherty's & O'Sullivan's Court House Pub.
Tonight you will overnight at Heaton's Guesthouse.
Your journey today will take you over the famous Cork/Kerry Mountains via the Irish-speaking villages of Ballymakeery & 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 to 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.
Our destination for tonight is Glenanore, in the heart of County Waterford, to a family-owned Irish Country House for a unique overnight stay.
The idyllic setting of Hanora's Cottage is nestled in Nire valley, surrounded by the picturesque countryside. Tonight you will enjoy a hearty home-cooked dinner and conversation with your Irish hosts.
After a hearty home-cooked full Irish breakfast this morning, we will set off for Waterford Crystal. This world-renowned crystal factory is located in the Viking-founded city of Waterford—where extensive glass manufacturing was established in 1783. Learn the art of glass blowing from the professional craftsmen and take time to visit the store which is home to the largest selection of Waterford Crystal in the world.
We will continue on to Kilkenny for a visit to Kilkenny Castle. This imposing structure dominates the skyline of Kilkenny City. It 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.
Today marks the end of the Ancient Ireland Tour, Dingle Version.
This morning, after breakfast, there will be 3 group transfers between 0500 & 1200 for you to choose from to bring you to Dublin Airport for your return flight home.