Day 1 ARRIVE IN SHANNON, IRELAND–LIMERICK.
Céad míle fáilte—a hundred-thousand welcomes! After checking into your hotel, free time to relax and perhaps enjoy the hotel’s leisure amenities or explore the city. This evening, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Day 2 LIMERICK–CLIFFS OF MOHER–GALWAY–CLIFDEN.
Drive to the CLIFFS OF MOHER, rising 668 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, and savor the breathtaking panorama of the Clare coast. Next, a special treat: at RATHBAUN FARM, try your hand at [LF] SCONE BAKING and watch the farmer shear a sheep and maneuver a flock with the help of a sheep dog, then enjoy coffee and your scones, fresh from the oven. On to Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Call at the Joyce family’s MARBLE WORKSHOP before spending the night at Clifden, a small fishing town in the far west.
Day 3 CLIFDEN–KYLEMORE–WESTPORT–KNOCK–SLIGO.
Visit KYLEMORE ABBEY this morning, the massive castle acquired by Benedictine nuns, and see the restored house, church, and gardens. Pause at Westport before continuing on to Knock, a village that attracts pilgrims from all over the world since townsfolk saw apparitions. Then, travel through rugged landscapes to the coastal seaport and county town of Sligo, known for its literary heritage.
Day 4 SLIGO–BELLEEK, NORTHERN IRELAND–DERRY–GIANT’S CAUSEWAY–BELFAST.
A rich string of Northern Ireland attractions awaits you today. First, visit the BELLEEK POTTERY factory, renowned for its exquisite cream-colored Parian china. In Derry, walk the city walls in the company of a Local Guide, and after lunch, pass Dunluce Castle before visiting awe-inspiring GIANT’S CAUSEWAY. Hear how millions of years ago, the earth cracked open, lava forced its way out, and as it cooled slowly and evenly, more than 40,000 interlocking basalt columns were formed, leading from the cliff foot into the sea. Spend the next two nights in Belfast, Northern Ireland’s seat of government.
Day 5 BELFAST.
This morning’s “Living History” tour in the company of a Local Guide will take you past all the city’s attractions, including City Hall, the Albert Memorial Clock Tower, Queens University, and the Parliament Buildings at Stormont. Next, visit the fascinating TITANIC EXPERIENCE and learn all about the building of the largest passenger steam ship, its maiden voyage, and the tragic night of April 14, 1912. At MOUNT STEWART HOUSE, on the shores of Strangford Lough, discover the newly restored home of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family, once the Marquesses of Londonderry, and the important role they played in local and international history. There will also be time to explore the celebrated gardens or take a stroll to the lake. Later, why not join an optional excursion?
Day 6 BELFAST–KNOWTH, IRELAND–DUBLIN.
Drive in the lee of the Mountains of Mourne back into the Irish Republic, and at Bru na Boinne (Palace of the Boyne), one of the world’s most important archaeological landscapes, visit KNOWTH, where your guide explains the fascinating passage-grave dating from the Bronze Age. For a first taste of the Irish capital, join an optional cabaret evening with dinner and entertainment.
Day 7 DUBLIN.
An orientation drive in the “Fair City” includes statue-lined O’Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Oscar Wilde’s Trinity College. The afternoon is at leisure for you to enjoy this vibrant city. Tonight, maybe take in an optional dinner outing to the Guinness Storehouse.
Day 8 DUBLIN–KILKENNY–WATERFORD.
Kilkenny, one of Ireland’s prettiest towns with medieval cobblestone streets and Old-World charm, is your first destination today. Visit magnificent KILKENNY CASTLE, which overlooks the Nore River and has guarded this important river crossing for more than 900 years. The gardens, with extensive woodland paths, rose garden, and ornamental lake, create the setting for a beautiful stroll. Then, to Waterford for a guided tour of the HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL. You may also want to join an optional excursion to a local pub. After dinner at your hotel, enjoy an [LF] IRISH COFFEE DEMONSTRATION.
Day 9 WATERFORD–BLARNEY–CORK.
The first of the day’s highlights is an entertaining walk through Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, in the company of a Local Guide. Then, visit BLARNEY CASTLE, renowned for its magical KISSING STONE. Overnight in Cork, Ireland’s second-largest city. An optional suggestion would be a visit to Cobh’s Queenstown Story, which tells of the transatlantic liner route between Liverpool and North America and last port of call for the Titanic.
Day 10 CORK–GARINISH ISLAND–KILLARNEY.
This morning, board a private boat for the short crossing to GARINISH ISLAND in Bantry Bay, whose warm waters attract colonies of seals. Follow the winding paths between the strong-scented flowering trees and shrubs of this lush tropical island garden. Then, head over the mountains into County Kerry. At Kenmare, join part of the RING OF KERRY and stop for spectacular photos of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View before arriving in the popular resort of Killarney. Tonight, an entertaining optional evening in Tralee with dinner and tickets for Siamsa Tire National Folk Theatre.
Day 11 KILLARNEY. DINGLE EXCURSION.
Enjoy panoramic views on Dingle Peninsula on the way to the BLASKET ISLANDS CENTRE. Learn about the way of life and unique literary achievements on the string of remote offshore islands evacuated by the last inhabitants in 1953. Visit Dingle, then return to Killarney.
Day 12 KILLARNEY–ADARE–LIMERICK.
A final morning at leisure in Killarney with time for an optional excursion by horse-drawn jaunting car. In the afternoon, drive via quaint Adare, renowned for its pretty thatched cottages, to Limerick. A suggestion for a very special night out: attend an optional medieval banquet at an historic castle.
Day 13 LIMERICK.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.