Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, Ireland.
Check into your hotel. At 3 pm, meet your traveling companions for an afternoon orientation drive through statue-lined O’Connell Street and elegant Georgian squares to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College. End the day with an optional Irish cabaret evening, including dinner, dance, song, and laughter.
Day 2 Dublin–Downpatrick, Northern Ireland–Belfast.
On your northbound route today, pass Drogheda, scene of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, then through the fertile landscape of the Boyne Valley, known for its prehistoric passage graves. Cross the border into Northern Ireland and drive past the Mountains of Mourne to Downpatrick, the burial place of Patrick, Ireland’s Patron Saint, and on to the vibrant city of Belfast, where the Titanic was built. Later, why not join a Local Guide on a “living history” tour, including a visit to the fascinating Titanic Experience? (B)
Day 3 Belfast–Giant’s Causeway–Derry–Drumcliff, Ireland–Sligo.
First stop this morning is awe-inspiring GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, let the province’s story unfold as you head for Derry, one of the finest examples of a walled city. Back in the Republic see the grave of native son and poet W.B. Yeats at Drumcliff before arriving in Sligo, tonight’s destination. (B,D)
Day 4 Sligo–Knock–Galway–Cliffs of Moher–Ennis.
South to Knock, a village that has attracted pilgrims from all over the world since the townsfolk saw apparitions. Then, head to Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Cross the limestone plateau of The Burren to visit the spectacular 668-foot CLIFFS OF MOHER. Tonight’s optional opportunity: a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle. (B)
Day 5 Ennis–Adare–Ring of Kerry–Killarney.
Skirting the city of Limerick, head to Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages. At Killorglin, join the RING OF KERRY for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive featuring sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and spectacular views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. The next two nights are spent in the popular resort of Killarney. (B,D)
Day 6 Killarney. Dingle Peninsula Excursion.
Breathtaking scenery this morning on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. See the Blasket Islands and hear about the way of life and unique literary achievements of its inhabitants prior to their evacuation in 1953. Back in Killarney, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle. Tonight, enjoy the optional outing to Tralee for dinner and a performance at Siamsa Tire, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre. (B)
Day 7 Killarney–Blarney–Waterford–Tramore.
More scenic splendor as you head over the Kerry Mountains into County Cork. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence, with time at your leisure to see the castle and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, drive past Cork, the country’s second-largest city on the way to Waterford, where a guided tour of the HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL is included. Spend the night at the nearby seaside resort of Tramore. Later, an optional pub tour might be fun. (B,D)
Day 8 Tramore–Enniscorthy–Avoca–Glendalough–Dublin.
Highlights on your northbound journey: Enniscorthy, site of the final battle of the Great Rebellion of 1798; a visit to Ireland’s oldest HANDWEAVING MILL at Avoca; views of the Wicklow Mountains; and Glendalough with its ruins of a center of Irish Christianity, founded by St. Kevin. Back in Dublin tonight, celebrate the success of your tour with an optional dinner evening at the Guinness Storehouse. (B)
Day 9 Dublin.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)