Splendid scenery, rich cultural traditions, centuries of intriguing history, warm hospitable people – all combine to create the eternal charm of Ireland, north and south.
Tauck's Yellow Roads take you from the Giant's Causeway in the north to the Ring of Kerry in the south – and along the way you'll stay at luxury accommodations including grand hotels and elegant manor houses. Learn the story of three centuries of Irish emigrants building a new life in North America at the Ulster American Folk Park. Get a little taste of the artistic side of Ireland on visits to the Belleek Pottery factory. Experience past and present in Dublin and Belfast and the warmth of small villages. Have lunch with a family who run a working dairy farm. Explore the magnificent Titanic exhibit and enjoy a special 9-course tasting dinner inspired by the great ship's menu in the city where it was built, Belfast. Discover the centuries-old tradition of Irish Whiskey at The Jameson Experience. And explore what castle life is all about when you're a guest at Ashford Castle... All this and more on our new Small Group Ireland journey.
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, The Westin Dublin. A transfer is included from Dublin Airport to The Westin Dublin on College Green, just steps from Trinity College in the heart of the city. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner this evening at the hotel.
A day well spent in Ireland's capital, Dublin
A tour of city sights with a local guide includes Dublin Castle, a major government center that sits on the site of a Viking settlement. The rest of the day is free to explore the city on your own. Your landmark hotel is in easy walking distance of Grafton Street’s shops and pubs, and the picturesque Liffey River.
Belfast and the amazing Titanic Belfast
Drive to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Titanic was built in 1911. At the site of the old shipyards visit Titanic Belfast, an interactive, state of the art museum that guides you through the doomed oceanliner’s story and allows you to experience what it was like to be a passenger on the ship. Afterward, tour Belfast with a local guide; the city that was plagued by political strife for decades has emerged as a hip, cosmopolitan destination with a vibrant arts culture and food scene, rich in Victorian architecture. Dinner this evening is a Titanic-themed nine-course tasting menu at the historic Merchant Hotel, your home for the next two nights.
Along the Antrim Coast to the Giant's Causeway and Bushmillls
Experience the breathtaking Antrim Coast on one of the world’s great scenic drives. Mountains and steep glens dotted with farms and hamlets roll past panoramic views of the shimmering sea and rocky coastline. You’ll also visit the Giant’s Causeway, a stunning seascape of basalt columns raised by volcanic activity that blanket the rocky shore like thousands of stepping stones. Lunch at Bushmills Inn, a charming 17th century mansion just a stone’s throw from Bushmills Distillery, the world’s oldest whiskey distiller. Return to Belfast for time on your own; your hotel is only a ten-minute walk from the historic city center.
Derry & the Ulster American Folk Park
Tour “Derry” with a local guide. Sights include the Peace Bridge, the cathedral, and the city’s famed street murals, emblazoned with political messages. In Omagh, the Ulster American Folk Park offers a look at 300 years of Irish emigration to North America; the exhibits in this outdoor museum include costumed interpreters and demonstrations of traditional crafts and everyday skills from times gone by. Your home for the next two nights is a lakeside baronial castle outside Donegal; once the ancestral home of the O’Donnell clan, Lough Eske Castle has been lovingly refurbished with contemporary elegance and is rated by Condé Nast as one of the top luxury hotels in Ireland. Please note: for those wishing to book treatments at the hotel's Spa Solis, reservations may be required in advance; please contact the hotel directly.
Your choice – Irish traditions at Belleek Pottery and a medieval town
You have a choice today – join us for a visit to the market town of Belleek where Belleek hand-painted porcelain has been made since 1858; at the factory and museum you'll get an inside look at the process and legend behind the delicate, iridescent porcelain art famous around the world. Alternatively, enjoy free time at Lough Eske Castle. Midday, visit a town renowned for its medieval heritage, and return to your five-star accommodations in the afternoon; dine at your leisure this evening.
Sligo, Connemara & Ashford Castle
Depart Northern Ireland for the Republic of Ireland and the foothills of Benbulben Mountain, “Yeats Country.” Stop in the village of Drumcliffe to see the final resting place of poet W. B. Yeats, then on to the lakeside Kylemore Abbey; built in the late 19th century as a private residence, the impressive estate is now home to a prestigious boarding school for girls, a Gothic church and Victorian gardens. After lunch at Kylemore Abbey, discover what Oscar Wilde called the “savage beauty” of Connemara, a desolate region of bogs, heathland, mountains, and shimmering lakes; seaside hamlets dot the inlets of this rugged landscape along the Wild Atlantic Way. Arrive at your opulent 13th-century castle-hotel, a favorite of royalty and celebrities, and your home for the next two nights.
A day in Galway & Ashford Castle
Tour the colorful, bohemian streets of Galway with a local guide, then explore on your own; a large student population, along with its lively arts scene and culinary culture, gives this harbor town a youthful, contemporary vibe; its maze of lanes, seaside promenade, and remnants of medieval walls make Galway a picturesque pleasure to wander in. This afternoon spend time at leisure at your hotel where amenities include golf, fishing, and falconry (additional cost may apply). Ashford Castle has been rated Number One Best Resort in UK and Ireland by Travel & Leisure.
Cliffs of Moher and Ennis
Experience the windswept Cliffs of Moher, towering hundreds of feet above the crashing waves of the Atlantic; the sheer cliffs wander for five miles along the coast, and are home to about 30,000 birds. Explore the medieval town of Ennis, known as a mecca of traditional Irish music, then check into the Old Ground Hotel in the center of town, an ivy-clad 18th-century manor house steeped in traditional and contemporary elegance. Dinner at the hotel tonight includes Irish music and entertainment.
Visit a dairy farm and on to Killarney
Get a taste of life at a family run dairy farm, including lunch. Later, visit historic Muckross House and its splendid garden estate outside Killarney; this grand Victorian mansion once entertained Queen Victoria and is at the heart of Killarney National Park. Continue on to your contemporary five-star hotel on a hilltop overlooking the awe-inspiring Lakes of Killarney and surrounding mountains.
Explore the Ring of Kerry
Stunning views of the Iveragh Peninsula unfold on a scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry that sweeps you past shimmering seascapes, medieval ruins, soaring mountains and plunging valleys, farms and seaside villages. Spend free time in charming Killarney on the shores of Lough Leane, part of Killarney National Park and a scenic landscape that has drawn visitors since the 18th century. This evening you’ll dine at Killeen House, a former 19th century rectory, now a cozy inn steeped in golfing lore, with an award-winning restaurant.
Midleton and the Jameson Experience
Midleton is home to one of Ireland's premium whiskeys, each bottle numbered and signed by the master distiller. It is also home to The Jameson Experience, a museum located in a 150-year-old distillery where you'll be guided through the history and making of Irish whiskey, tastings included. Lunch at a family-run country restaurant and food emporium, featuring produce from around the region; drive to Kilkenny for two nights at Lyrath Estate Hotel, an elegant manor house set on 170 acres of parkland. Please note: for those wishing to book treatments in the hotel at “The Spa,” reservations may be required in advance; please contact the hotel directly.
Visit the ruins of Jerpoint Abbey and Kilkenny
Begin the day with a visit to the ruins of Jerpoint Abbey, a 12th-century monastery which is a national monument, featuring cloisters, a tower, and extensive stone carvings. Tour medieval Kilkenny with a local guide; known as The Marble City for the black limestone quarried here, sights include The Black Abbey, the Norman castle, and colorful streets lined with shops, galleries, and museums you can enjoy exploring on your own. Join us tonight at your hotel for a farewell reception and dinner.
Tour ends: Kilkenny. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Lyrath Estate Hotel & Spa to Dublin Airport. Allow at least three hours for flight check-in.