Starts any day. January to December9 days from $6495.00
Arrive Dublin, Ireland
Welcome to Ireland. You are met on arrival in Dublin, and taken to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day to rest or explore this inviting city.
Enjoy a full day private tour with a local guide through this vibrant capital city, with its mix of 1,000 years of architecture, from the medieval to Georgian to modern. See the Georgian style Merrion Square, lush St. Stephens Green and Fitzwilliam Square, as well as Phoenix Park, and O’Connell Street, site of the ‘1916 Uprising’ that led to Ireland’s independence in 1922.
Visit Trinity College - see the Long Room, and the Old Library to view the historic Book of Kells manuscript. Tour the Norman era St. Patrick’s Cathedral, as your guide elaborates on its history with tales of Jonathan Swift and Gulliver’s Travels.
End your day with a tasty visit to the modern Guinness Storehouse, where they began brewing in 1759. (B)
Glendalough & Kilkenny
This morning, depart Dublin as your driver-guide takes you inland through Glendalough, a beautiful hidden valley and home to the 7th century monastery founded by St. Kevin. Continue across the emerald-green mountain scenery of Wicklow Way, before arriving in Kilkenny, a charming city with narrow winding streets.
Visit Kilkenny Castle, built in late 12th century, it is a picturesque blend of Gothic and Classical styles, with conical topped towers giving it the flavor of a French chateau. Explore the nearby 13th century St. Canice’s Cathedral, the second longest in Ireland. (B)
Cashel, Cork & Kenmare
A delightful morning drive takes you to the village of Cashel to see the dramatic Rock of Cashel. This 4th century church and tower was built on a limestone outcrop that precariously hangs 200 feet above the town.
Next, continue south to the historic city of Cork, “Ireland’s little Venice.” This city of hills and bridges has always played a strong role in the politics and history of Ireland. Your guide will explain Cork’s early history in fact and fable (as is the Irish way), from its position as the center of learning in the early 7th century, to when it became a Norman stronghold in the 12th century.
In the afternoon, head west to visit Blarney Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic castles. Explore the castle, and kiss ‘The Stone of Eloquence’ (the Blarney Stone) - legend says bestows the power of eloquence on all who kiss it. Take time to explore the expansive Blarney Woolen Mill, located next to the castle, where you can find a wonderful collection of high-quality woolen products. Then continue west to Kenmare. (B)
This morning, visit Killarney National Park and Muckross House and Gardens, a 19th century manor house, situated on the shores of beautiful Muckross Lake. Surrounded by informal gardens filled with rhododendrons and azaleas, water gardens, and a natural limestone rock garden, the house is known for its natural beauty and the colorful Irish folklore.
Explore the town of Killarney before taking the scenic drive along the famous Ring of Kerry. This nearly 40-mile circular route reveals ever-changing vistas of mountains, cliffs, beaches and the Atlantic Ocean. Travel through colorful villages en route, and stop at Moll’s Gap for a picture-perfect panorama of the valley with its three deep blue mountain lakes. (B)
Adare, Limerick & Galway
Today, drive north, stopping in the village of Adare, renowned as Ireland’s prettiest village, with its pastel colored thatched cottages and glorious gothic churches. Next, explore Limerick, a city that gained international notoriety through the story of ‘Angela’s Ashes.’ Visit the Hunt Museum to see one of Ireland’s great private collections of art and antiques, including work from medieval times as well as art by Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Yeats.
This afternoon, drive to Galway. Founded in the late 12th Century, while under the control of “the Tribes,” your tour of the city reveals its medieval network of narrow streets that has expanded over the centuries to include cathedrals, a large university, and modern industries. (B)
Today embark on a full-day exploration of scenic Connemara, a place filled with rugged purple mountains, deep blue lakes and shimmering seascapes. Visit Kylemore Abbey, idyllically situated in the heart of Connemara, amidst rivers, lakes and the rolling hills. Once a 19th century neo-Gothic mansion, with massive walls and gracious windows, was most recently a prestigious boarding school. Explore the exquisite chapel and reception rooms. (B)
County Clare, Newmarket-on-Fergus & Shannon
Today begins with a spectacular drive west to view the rounded hills of the Burren, where the porous limestone has allowed the rain to flow through, creating a network of underground rivers, lakes and waterfalls. There is an abundance of alpine and arctic flora, along with many prehistoric burial chambers, tombs and Dolmens. Next, see the Cliffs of Moher, where the multi-colored limestone cliffs drop vertically 700 feet to the raging Atlantic surf below. The views along this five-mile stretch of coastline are dramatic in any weather. Explore the exhibits and film in the Visitor’s Center, then walk up to O'Brien's Tower for incredible views – on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands.
This afternoon, visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The park is a living history museum, depicting 17th – 19th century rural Irish life through a series of cottages and street scenes, complete with farm animals – a delightful place to explore. (B)
Today you are taken to the Shannon International airport for your departing flight home or on to your next destination. (B)
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin
Dublin's most stylish five-star hotel is situated opposite the government buildings in the city center. It was created from 4 Georgian townhouses with an additional contemporary Garden Wing. The rooms and suites are arranged around two 18th century-style gardens. Stunningly restored interiors provide the perfect backdrop for one of Ireland's most impressive private art collections. You have the choice of two restaurants, including the 2-Michelin star restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, offering formal gourmet dining, and The Cellar Restaurant, dedicated to serving the finest seasonal produce. Bars include The Cellar Bar, set in the original wine vaults, and the intimate cocktail bar, No 23. Additional facilities include drawing rooms for afternoon tea, an 18-meter swimming pool and a fully-equipped gymnasium. A 2015 Travel+Leisure World's Best Hotel
Mount Juliet Hotel, Kilkenny
Steeped in heritage, Mount Juliet is Ireland's leading country estate. We pride ourselves in our family culture, whilst maintaining the highest level of service and hospitality for which Mount Juliet is internationally renowned. Allow us to pamper and indulge you... Mount Juliet Hotel is a wonderfully relaxed location for a break away in Kilkenny from family breaks, activity & Spa breaks. Only 20 minutes from Kilkenny, you can enjoy the history of Mount Juliet, woodland walks, fishing, golf and much more. The finest sporting estate in Kilkenny, Mount Juliet is an award-winning luxury hotel that blends grace and charm with the exceptional style and service you only expect from an estate hotel. Mount Juliet Hotel Kilkenny is only 2 hours from Dublin making it ideal for short breaks in Ireland. A 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List & Condé Nast Traveler Platinum Circle Hotel
The Park Hotel, Kenmare
The hotel offers a total of 46 bedrooms. As in keeping with the traditions of the house each room is individually decorated with a selection of antiques and objects dart. Categories are based on size of the room and location.
Ashford Castle, Cong
Dating back to 1228 and once the estate of the Guinness family, the luxurious five-star Ashford Castle first opened as a hotel in 1939. Facilities and services feature horseback riding, hunting, clay target shooting, golf, tennis, river fishing and falconry. There is also a health and fitness center as well as a business center. There is the award-winning George V Restaurant, casual fare at Cullen's at the Cottage, and drinks in the Prince of Wales Cocktail Lounge. A 2015 Travel+Leisure World's Best Hotel
Dromoland Castle, Newmarket-on-Fergus
With an extraordinary history stretching back to the 5th Century, Dromoland Castle was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. Approached by a meandering drive that passes acres of magnificent lawns, this Irish luxury Castle Hotel overlooks its own Championship Golf Course and a glistening lake. Seamlessly blending Old-World elegance with contemporary luxuries, Dromoland's tradition of delivering impeccable, unobtrusive service is never compromised. Guests can relax and enjoy an exquisite selection of gourmet fine dining and delicious wines, unwind slowly in the Castle's five-star luxury health spa or indoor heated pool, or read a good book beside a crackling evening fire. Situated just 8 miles from Shannon International Airport, Dromoland Castle is the ideal base from which to explore the vibrant cities of Limerick and Galway, the magical Shannon region and Ireland's rugged West Coast. A 2015 Travel+Leisure World's Best Hotel