Tradition, history, heritage, breathtaking scenery and the friendliest nation you’ll ever meet. This is the best of Ireland, taking you to cities, coasts and castles and the highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way! Starting in Dublin and exploring the Midlands, West and South coast of Ireland you’ll get to visit all the places you’ve heard and dreamed about. Drink a pint of the “black stuff” in Dublin, explore the Ring of Kerry and feel the wind on your cheeks atop the Cliffs of Moher all the while encountering a legendary culture through the people you meet along the way.
This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.
DUBLIN is such a unique city and I personally love strolling through her streets, taking in the Georgian buildings, ornate lampposts (an unusual thing to like – but Dublin’s are works of art), the blend of different ethnicities that have found home in Ireland's capital and continually finding a new 'favourite place' (currently Chester Beatty Library).
Dublin's history is long and is one that has layered the city as a foundation to what it is today. Viking, Georgian and Elizabethan influence are all evident across different elements of the city. Included within this, is a distinctively Irish culture that supersedes other influences. Dublin is ranked as the 43rd most visited city in the world – just ahead of Florence in 44th – this is not a coincidence and is only growing in popularity. If you have any interest in literature, it is the home of a plethora of famed writers; including the less well-known Bram Stoker (creator of Dracula).
There is so much to do and see in the ‘Fair City’; it encapsulates a rich history from having worse slums than Calcutta, to transforming into a thriving city, now one of the world’s most in-demand places to see and live. Even if you want to ‘avoid the crowd’, it is well worth spending time wandering her streets and soaking up the culture and atmosphere on offer. Night in Dublin.
Before you go home, you must visit the world famous brewery that produces Ireland’s national drink "Guinness". THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE is located in the heart of the Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate, Dublin. Housed in an old fermentation plant, the seven-story visitor experience tells the epic tale of Ireland’s iconic drink and brings to life the heritage of Guinness from early days to growth as a global brand, known all around the world. The experience starts standing at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass, which rises through the building. It is a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in The Gravity Bar where visitors will receive a complimentary pint of Guinness while relaxing and enjoying the spectacular 360-degree view of Dublin and its surroundings.
While going through Dublin’s Georgian neighborhood, which is composed of streets, parks and monuments dating from the 18th century; you should visit TRINITY COLLEGE – Ireland’s most famous university. It was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and hosted on its benches many classical writers and contemporary Irish. You will also see here the worldwide famous Book of Kells. This book is one of the first Christian manuscripts found. It was handwritten and beautifully decorated by Irish monks. The beautiful old library known as "The Long Room" will impress you without a doubt. Night in Dublin.
One mile long and lined by over 2,000 beech trees, even the avenue leading to the POWERSCOURT HOUSE echoes the magnificence of the whole estate. In addition, the 47 acres of gardens are remarkable for their grandeur of scale. The house was gutted by fire in 1974 but has been recently reborn as an exceptional tourist destination. The house is now home to the best of Irish design in gifts, clothes, and furniture in the Avoca Stores and the Interiors Gallery. The gardens at Powerscourt – recently voted Number 3 in the entire world by National Geographic – were laid out in two main periods. When the house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the surrounding grounds were also remodeled. To the north, formal tree plantations framed the vista from the house, while a walled garden, fish pond, cascades, grottos and terraces lay to the south.
Take a trip out of the city south until you arrive at GLENDALOUGH (“The Glen of the Two Lakes"). St. Kevin founded a unique monastic settlement in the 6th century upon this site. Most of what remains of the settlement is in ruins but the Round Tower at Glendalough, built as a refuge from marauding Vikings, is over a 1000 years old and is remarkably well preserved. The site itself is set next to two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep glacial valley. It is one of the most serene and beautiful places in all Ireland and it is easy to see why the monks picked it for a place of prayer and contemplation. There are a myriad of walking trails throughout the area making it a truly invigorating place to spend the day.
After going through a lot of the Garden County’s best attractions, the best place to end it is by visiting AVOCA VILLAGE. Here, you will find the "Meeting of the Waters" - the point at which the Avonmore and Avonbeg Rivers come together to form the Avoca River. Avoca is home to Ireland's oldest woolen mill – Avoca Handweavers – established in 1723. This family-owned craft design company began at the Old Mill where weavers produced the beautifully woven fabrics, which became Avoca's hallmark. Once here, you can see up close what the old Irish tradition of handweaving looked like at the birthplace of the tradition. In recent years, Avoca became famous for being the setting of the popular BBC soap opera "Ballykissangel". Night in Kilkenny.
In the historic Marble City, you will only ever be a short walk away from the KILKENNY CASTLE; the residence and headquarters of the powerful Butler family. The original castle was constructed in the early 13th century for the 4th Earl of Pembroke. The Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family, and remained so for almost 600 years from 1391 to 1967. The Butler ownership ended when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50. Due to major restoration works, the central block now includes a library, drawing room, and bedrooms decorated in 1830's splendour, as well as the beautiful Long Gallery. It has a large rose garden, in a field of 20 hectares. The castle has a beautiful view of the Nore River as well as large trees and an ornamental lake are among the many points of interest. The castle is very well maintained and presented. There is also a children's playground.
SAINT CANICE’S CATHEDRAL and Round Tower are an essential part of the structural heritage in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny. This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Cill Channigh is the Gaelic for the Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century. The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (weather permitting). St Canice’s Round Tower is one of only two Round Towers that people can climb in Ireland.
One of the most visited sites in Ireland; THE ROCK OF CASHEL is a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on a rocky outcrop of limestone, looming above the town of Cashel, County Tipperary. There is a 12th Century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century castle and the Hall of the Vicars. Long before the Norman invasion, The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. The buildings represent both Hiberno-Romanesque and Germanic influences in their architecture. The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.
Perched on solid limestone, BLARNEY CASTLE dates from 1446 and is surrounded by a wonderful park. To acquire 'The Gift of Gab' one must kiss the Blarney Stone - located just beneath the battlements at the very top of Blarney Castle. This involves bending over backwards at quite a height - perhaps not to be attempted by the faint-hearted! Rumour has it that if you kiss the legendary 'Stone of Eloquence', you will never again be lost for words! Night in Cork.
ROSS CASTLE overlooks the Lower Lake in Killarney, and commands magnificent views of Purple Mountain, Innisfallen Island & Ross Island. The Castle is a typical example of an Irish Chieftain stronghold during the middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but construction was most likely completed in the late 15th century, by one of the O'Donoghue Ross chieftains. The castle is surrounded by a fortified bawn, and its curtain walls defended by circular flanking towers, two of which remain. Ross was the last Munster stronghold to hold out against Oliver Cromwell's infamous British forces, before eventually being taken by General Ludlow in 1652. The castle contains an impressive collection of 16th & 17th century oak furniture. Legend has it that Brian Boru, Ireland's most famous High King was educated on the site of the castle by the Monks in the 9th Century. Please note that this is a very popular attraction, and visitors may experience a delay entering the castle during the busy summer months. If you get the opportunity, you should avail of some boat tours out to Innisfallen Island. This is an island 500 m away from the banks of the lake where an ancient monastery’s ruins remain. The locals who carry out the tours are both charming and very knowledgeable on the area.
South and west of the town of Killarney in Co. Kerry is an expanse of rugged mountainous country. This includes the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland which rise to a height of over 1000 metres. At the foot of these mountains nestle the world famous lakes of Killarney. Here where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, lies the 10,236 hectare (26,000 acres), Killarney National Park. The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies gives the area a special scenic beauty.
KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK contains many features of national and international importance such as the native oak woods and yew woods together with an abundance of evergreen trees and shrubs and a profusion of bryophytes and lichens which thrive in the mild Killarney climate. The native red deer are unique in Ireland with a presence in the country since the last Ice Age. Killarney National Park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), part of a world network of natural areas which have conservation, research, education and training as major objectives.
MUCKROSS HOUSE, set close to the shores of Muckross Lake & amidst the beautiful scenery of Killarney National Park, was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolourist Mary Balfour Herbert. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was the designer. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843. Today the principal rooms are furnished in period style and portray the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century land-owning class. While in the basement, one can imagine the busy bustle of the servants as they went about their daily chores. During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. Between the months of April and July, Muckross Gardens are spectacularly adorned with the red and pink flowers of mature Rhododendrons.
Other features include a Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and Stream Garden. An Arboretum, containing many trees from the Southern Hemisphere, was established in 1972. Muckross Traditional Farms are situated adjacent to Muckross House. These working farms recreate and portray the traditional farming methods, and way of life, of a typical local, rural community of the 1930s. The Walled Garden Centre incorporates the Garden Restaurant, Muckross Craft Shop and three Muckross Craft Workshops. Night in Kerry.
A near full day of sightseeing on The RING OF KERRY awaits. At 110 miles long, it circles the awe-inspiring Iveragh Peninsula. You will feel as if you have moved into nature’s mystic arena – and truly, you have – as you pass between soft mountains, through forest glades, around bogs, rivers, lakes and pristine beaches. Ireland’s natural beauty sings throughout the Ring of Kerry. You may wish to explore several charming villages along the route, including Glenbeigh, Waterville, and Sneem. Stroll and talk to people—this is what makes your travel experience unique. The Ring attracted Ireland’s first settlers, and has a wealth of ancient sites. A 6th century monastery, clinging to the windswept cliffs of the Skellig Islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Ring of Kerry is the stuff of dreams and lifelong memories.
Situated on the Ring of Kerry, between Killorglin and Glenbeigh, lies the KERRY BOG VILLAGE Museum which has re-created how people lived and worked in the Ireland of the 18th and 19th centuries. Through the measuring and visiting of old sites and ruins and consultation of documents from the period, great care has been taken to ensure that the village is representative of how life was for the people of the era and is the only one of its kind in Europe. You can see the thatched homes of the turf-cutter, thatcher, labourer and blacksmith, with the home of the latter being brought stone by stone from the village of Brosna in the north of Kerry.
SNEEM is a village in Co. Kerry, South West Ireland, long associated with a remote and relaxed way of living. It is situated in the famous "Ring of Kerry" a route that encapsulates some of the best nature has to offer. Nestled between mountains and wild and rugged coast it offers some of the best views in the country, to be experienced either from the car, on foot or on a bicycle as the weather dictates! The village is split into two by the Sneem River, with the respective sides being known as North Square and South Square. Each part of the village has its own feeling and special beauty. Sneem is a great place for a stop along the Ring of Kerry where you can get some food in a cafe/restaurant in this sleepy little picturesque village surrounded by nature. Night in Kerry.
A quaint picturesque place, lined with traditional thatched-roof cottages. Snuggled in a wooded and lush countryside setting, ADARE is widely regarded as being Ireland's prettiest and most unique village. Situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: "Ath Dara" - the "ford of the oak" - from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of world famous, ornate, thatched cottages line part of the village's broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins.
LIMERICK CITY straddles the tidal reaches of Ireland's longest river, the Shannon, where it swings west to join the Shannon Estuary. Following the city's tough past, as narrated in Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, its medieval and Georgian architecture received a glitzy makeover during the Celtic Tiger era, but the economic downturn hit hard. The city is recovering rapidly, however. Limerick was chosen as the country's first-ever Irish City of Culture in 2014, and the subsequent investment saw a rejuvenated waterfront complete with stylish boardwalk. There's a recently renovated castle, a lively art gallery and a fast-developing foodie scene to complement its many traditional pubs, as well as locals who go out of their way to welcome you.
In Bunratty Village, one can enjoy the medieval grandeur that awaits in BUNRATTY CASTLE and its lively Folk Park. The castle, overlooking the River Shannon, is in excellent condition and well worth a visit. It is one of the finest surviving examples of an Irish tower house, and it's current peaceful and picturesque state belies its bloody and violent history. The Folk Park adjoins the castle and vividly portrays what everyday life was like in rural Ireland about 100 years ago. It contains reconstructed farmhouses, cottages and shops, replete with authentic furnishings. The Park is a living museum: animals are tended, bread is baked, milk is churned, walls are whitewashed and roofs are thatched. Once you've explored the Castle & Folk Park, be sure to sample a relaxing cup of tea and freshly baked scones in one of the quaint thatched cottage cafes. Night in Clare.
The CLIFFS OF MOHER are one of Ireland's premier visitor attractions. The Cliffs stand 214 metres (700 feet) tall at their highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. There are two paths to take north and south along the cliff edge, providing spectacular views all the way. Construction of an award winning eco-friendly Visitor Centre was completed in 2007. The interpretive centre named 'Atlantic Edge' contains state of the art displays and visitor facilities. The grass-roofed building is cleverly set into the hillside - a unique cave-like structure which minimises the visual impact on this fabulously scenic location.
The BURREN, or Boireann, meaning Great Rock, is in County Clare. It is without dispute, one of the most unique - and strangest - landscapes in Europe. The Burren occupies approximately 250 square kilometers. Bounded by the Atlantic on the west and rocked by Galway Bay to the north, it is a multi-layered landscape where rare and delicate plants have adapted in order to thrive and flourish between harsh crevices. Stroll the meadows, be astonished by the boulders, and read the trail marks and footprints that the ice age and volcanoes left behind. The Burren is littered with ancient and megalithic sites. The most dramatic of these is the Poulnabrone Dolmen, an impressive 5,000 year old portal tomb. Poulnabrone is one of the most famous megalithic monuments in Ireland. Just how the people of the time managed to get the truly massive capstone in place, is a mystery which continues to baffle archaeologists.
In a recent nationwide survey the people of Galway were found to be Ireland's happiest! And visiting GALWAY CITY, it is not hard to see why. It is a lively university city of narrow streets, quaint shopfronts, bustling pubs and stunning surrounding scenery. It has always attracted a bohemian mix of musicians, artists and intellectuals and that attitude is palpable as you walk the streets. Galway has been commercially important since the 11th century when it was a centre for trade with Spain and Portugal. In 1477 Christopher Columbus paid a visit. Today it is lively, with loads of things to do, and is so popular that it can get very crowded in summer, especially during the annual Galway Races. The annual Arts Festival also attracts thousands, especially for its street parade. Night in Galway.
Breakfast included at accommodation. Return to Shannon airport three hours prior to your flight's scheduled departure.
The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.
|2 Pax||Single Supplement||Child Supplement|
|Price per person ( Jan - Mar and Nov - Dec 2019)||$710||$340||$170|
|Price per person ( Apr - Oct)||$830||$340||$170|
|Price per person ( May and Sept)||$980||$340||$170|
|Price per person (June)||$1,050||$340||$170|
|Price per person ( July - Aug)||$1,160||$340||$170|
|Price per person ( 15th - 31st Dec 2019)||$1,020||$340||$170|