Tuesday, May 10
Wednesday, May 11 - Arrive Dublin/City Tour
Following arrival at Dublin Airport, you will be met by your tour guide and escorted to your awaiting motorcoach. The tour begins with a tour of Dublin City, founded as a Viking settlement and home to the Irish Parliament since the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. On your tour you will see the Georgian Squares with 18th Century houses, the Phoenix Park (the biggest town park in Europe), statue-filled O’Connell Street and the fashionable Grafton Street. You will visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, an architectural and historical site which has been at the heart of Dublin history for over 800 years. You will also visit the Old Library at Trinity College to view the famous Book of Kells. For many visitors, no visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the Guinness Brewery, founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. Or if you prefer, there will be free time to explore the many shops of Dublin. This evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner in your hotel, Camden Court Hotel. (D)
Thursday, May 12 - National Stud Farm/Rock of Cashel/Kinsale
This morning you bid farewell to Dublin and travel south to County Kildare – the center of Ireland’s horse breeding industry where you will enjoy a guided tour of the Irish National Stud Farm. Also on the grounds of the Stud Farm are The Japanese Gardens, renowned for their symbolism of “The Life of Man” and the St. Fiacre Commemorative Garden. From here, you continue to Cashel for a guided tour of the amazing Rock of Cashel. This was the seat of the Kings of Munster from 370–1101 and has early associations with St. Patrick. You continue to Kinsale where you will check into the Kinsale Hotel and Spa for a two-night stay and enjoy dinner in the hotel. (B, D)
Friday, May 13 - Queenstown Story/Blarney Castle
This morning you travel to Cobh, one of the main points of emigration during the great famine. Here you will visit “The Queenstown Story” which portrays the hardship of life onboard a ship as it sailed to the “New World.” Cobh was also the last port of call of the Titanic. You then continue to Blarney, where you will have an opportunity to visit Blarney Castle and kiss the famous Blarney Stone – said to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who dare. On return to Kinsale, you will have free time to enjoy this historic fishing town with its cobblestone streets and interesting shops and pubs. Overnight Kinsale (B)
Saturday, May 14 - West Cork/Kenmare/Kissane’s Sheep Farm/Killarney
This morning you depart Kinsale and travel along the southern coastline to Skibbereen and continue through west Cork to Bantry. Your tour them winds its way over the scenic Caha Pass to Kenmare an example of one of Ireland’s few planned towns. As you continue to Killarney, you will take in a 20-mile stretch of the famous Ring of Kerry and visit Kissane’s Sheep Farm for a peek into the daily workings of a sheep farm and see the border collie dogs at work rounding up the sheep. This evening you will check into Killarney Towers, Kinsale for a three-night stay. Later you will enjoy dinner in your hotel. (B, D)
Sunday, May 15 - Optional Leisure Activities
Time to take a break from the road and enjoy one of four optional leisure activities.
For the golfers, there are two 18-hole championship courses and two 9-hole courses within 10 minutes of Killarney. (Extra cost of $100 plus rental fee of clubs)
You may prefer to take a jaunting car ride (horse drawn carriage) through the Killarney National Park and visit Muckross House and Gardens. This Victorian Mansion built in 1843 and is one of Ireland’s leading stately homes.
If you prefer to be more adventurous you can take the Gap of Dunloe Tour. It begins with a short coach ride to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, one of Ireland’s oldest pubs. It is also the starting point of a 7-mile pass that transverses a gap in the mountain known as The Gap of Dunloe. You take a jaunting car ride through the pass which winds its way around numerous lakes and between the steep slopes of Purple Mountain and the Mac Gillycuddy’s Reeks to Killarney’s upper lake. After some time for lunch, you board a traditional style boat and continue through the three Lakes of Killarney to Ross Castle.
Or you may choose to enjoy charming town of Killarney with its many shops, pubs and restaurants or enjoy the hotel’s leisure center. Overnight Killarney (B)
Monday, May 16 - The Dingle Peninsula/Celtic Steps Irish Dance Show
Today you will enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, once cited as the most beautiful place on earth by National Geographic. You will stop at the Brian de Staic studio in Dingle which specializes in Celtic jewelry, handcrafted and engraved with ancient Celtic symbols. As you continue around Slea Head, you will get breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline and see some beehive huts (early monastic settlements) dating back over a thousand years. Your tour will take you to the most western point of Ireland, where you can view the Blasket Islands. You will also see the locations for such films as Ryan’s Daughter and Far and Away starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. You will have free time in Dingle for lunch before returning to Killarney. After dinner, you will enjoy Celtic Steps, a magical journey through Ireland’s colorful past, bringing together popular Irish dance with the best of traditional Irish music Overnight: Killarney. (B)
Tuesday, May 17 - Shannon Ferry/Cliffs of Moher/Dromoland Castle
This morning, you bid farewell to Killarney and travel to Tarbert where you board the Shannon Ferry and cross the Shannon Estuary to Killimer. From here you take the coast road to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, which rise to a height of 600 ft over the Atlantic Ocean. Following some free time to view the cliffs, you continue to the luxurious Dromoland Castle for an overnight stay. The castle built in the 16th century was once the royal seat of the O’Brien clan. It was refurbished and transformed into a luxury hotel in 1962 and retains priceless reminders of the castle’s historic past. This evening you will enjoy dinner in the elegant surroundings of the castle’s “Earl of Thomond Restaurant” Overnight: Dromoland Castle (B, D)
Wednesday, May 18 - Connemara/Kylemore Abbey/Galway
This morning you depart Dromoland Castle and travel to Galway with a stop in Moycullen to visit the family owned Connemara Marble factory for a guided tour and optional shopping. From here your tour continues through Connemara with its stunning mountains, lakelands and boglands. Its wild and rugged beauty has been the location for many films, including “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara and “The Field” starring Richard Harris. The scenery is magical and is a paradise for artists and photographers alike. You will stop at Kylemore Abbey, built in 1866, and home to the Benedictine Nuns from 1920-2008. Also included is a visit to the Abbey’s Victorian Walled Garden, which is completely enclosed by a brick and limestone wall, and the beautiful Gothic Church built by Mitchell Henry for his wife who died four years after the castle was constructed. From here you continue to the Connemara Coast Hotel for an overnight stay. Later you will enjoy a farewell dinner in your hotel. (B, D)
Thursday, May 19
After breakfast, depart to USA! (B)