Morning pick up Dublin airport. Introduction to myself and team. Transfer to city center for half day walking tour to include important sights - Trinity college and Library, The G.P.O., The Dail (Parliment buildings) etc. After lunch transfer to Roscrea in Tipperary with a stop at ruined 6th century Monahincha Holy Island. 6:00 pm check in at Hotel, Roscrea - directly opposite 12th century King John's Castle. 7:00 pm Dinner followed by drinks and probably an early night. Breakfast at 8:30 am. Biking through the countryside with local friends departs from the hotel at 10:00 am. The route takes us down very quiet lanes and country by-roads.
We first pass through Golden Grove, then around Glasderry's ornamental lake and then on to the haunted Leap Castle where we will stop for a tour and a bit of lunch. After lunch, again using the quiet backroads we make our way over to Birr Castle and Observatory. We will spend a couple of hours touring the castle, observatory and formal gardens. Pick up at the castle and bus transfer back to Hotel via the Mill House pub for snack and refreshment. Dinner at 7:30 pm followed by drinks. Breakfast at 8:30 am. Depart hotel and transfer to Hills (half hour) for a days hiking in the Slieve Blooms. Hike includes packed lunch in the hills and the route finishes in The Dungeon bar pub in beautiful Kinnity castle.
Transfer back to the Hotel for dinner followed by a quick tour our a natural native bog where the locals can be seen saving turf for the winter fires. Drinks, music, and bed. Breakfast at 8:30 am. Followed by a tour of Roscrea Castle, then on to Damer House, the Round Tower and the Black Mills, all situated within 2 mins walk of the hotel. After lunch - transfer back to the hills for a half day hike to Clear lake. Local folklore has it that this perfectly circular lake situated at the very top of the Blooms is as a result of a major meteor strike over 100 years ago. Transfer back to the hotel for dinner followed by a visit to the local Cistercian Monastery then back to Roscrea for a rousing final night of Traditional Irish music song and dance. Breakfast at 7:30 am.
Transfer to Historic Kilkenny (1 hour). Spend the morning browsing through the this very historic town full of crafts, souvenirs, shops, pubs and an immaculately restored and maintained castle. Transfer to Borris village and check in to The Step House Hotel (boutique hotel). Lunch here. After lunch canoe tour of the historic and exceptionally beautiful Barrow river. There will be whitewater for those who want to be a bit daring and a chicken shoot for those who don't. Tour includes a stop at the grave of the Incredible Mr. Kavanagh. After a little ‘R n R’ we will be walking across the road and through the very impressive gates as we enter The Borris estate - ancestral home of Art McMurrough Kavanagh, high King of Ireland and ancestral home of the Incredible Mr. Kavanagh the cripple who in the 19th century toured Europe, Asia and Russia on horseback and sailed without arms or legs throughout Europe.
We will have a BBQ with the Kavanagh family before retiring to a pint with Jim Dalton 7th generation publican in his beautiful but tiny little hostelry. Breakfast at 8:30 am for Canoeing at 10:00 am. Back on the river and we will be stopping at lovely Graignamanagh village for a quick tour and a bit of lunch. Continuing on down river we pass through the Barrow Gorge, a beautiful and breathtaking wooded valley to the conclusion of our river adventure at Historic St Mullins. Again we have the option of fun, shooting the rapids or the safety of the chicken shoots. Just off the river we will have coffee and cake as we lookout on the exceptional river valley from the cosy Grain Store coffee shop. Dinner back at the Step House Hotel followed by fun and dark rich pints of Guinness at Mick o Sheas pub down the village. Breakfast at 8:30 am followed by transfer to Dublin via one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Ireland and a visit to Glendalough (the glen of the two lakes). This monastic valley is the pride of Ireland situated in what we Irish refer to as the Garden of Ireland for scenic beauty. Transfer to Dublin for evening dinner and entertainment or transfer to airport.
Note: Variations on this break can be made available to groups within different budget requirements.
I appreciate that better value flights may be available into Shannon and the itinerary can be accommodated to suit. In addition I am also aware that the jet lag affect is worse as you travel East and this can be reflected in the Day 1 itinerary should you require changes. I will endeavour to make everybody stay in Ireland as interesting and as varied as possible. I want them all to really get a flavour for our countryside, our friendly people and our culture and way of life. It will be very active but yet plenty of opportunities for people to say "could I take it easy today". So if someone wants to go golfing with a local buddy or fishing with one of my friends that will definitely be accommodated.
Wherever possible during the week I will also be putting in little extras like meeting the local storyteller, going to see our national game of hurling, a visit to a family still living in a traditional cottage, a lesson in how to play the Bodhran (unique hand held drum) or going to see a local farm or craft maker. Open All year Best time March to Oct. You could not have less impact on this planet if you took any other type of adventure holiday. This trip will make virtually no difference at all to the environment. When we paddle, cycle and walk through the hills and valleys it will be as if we were never there. You will leave nothing behind you, no trail and no trace except a brief ripple along an enchanting journey. You will not be disturbing the wilflife, you will not damage the flora and the river environment will not be altered in any way.
We operate a leave no trace policy on our river trips. Our canoes and cycles are made from recyclable materials. They do not cause any form of air or water pollution and they do not produce noise that could be disturbing for wildlife. We never use any form of transport involving fossil fuel on the river. We are very conscious of not disturbing wildlife habitats along our routes. Our home is our office. At home we harvest rainwater for use in heating, washing and cooking. We only use energy saving bulbs and we recycle as much waste, paper, tin and glass locally as we can. Our accommodation providers use only energy saving bulbs and advise guests as as to how save on water usage. Our group size is normally between 6 and 16 persons. This allows us to give a better and more inclusive service. We offset our CO2 emissions for our vehicles with ClimateCare.
Community. You will make a big difference to the community. The canoeing is family owned and run and the survival of this small business depends on responsible travelers like yourself. For our part all the recyclable plastic canoes are now assembled by us in Ireland. We operate from home so we don’t waste resources on an unnecessary office. We are involved in four tourism development groups to attract further responsible travelers and we are constantly encouraging our government to act in a responsible manner with special regard to all its activities in the hills and rivers.
The accommodation provider is also family owned 3rd generation. As a family owned and operated business they are very careful that there is as little waste as possible. They also use low energy bulbs and advise clients as to how they can help in water conservation and how they can have a more positive impact on the environment during their stay. The local community also benefits because the hotel and ourselves hire local people to guide, cook, serve, clean, transport and entertain. The local shops, bars and restaurants will also benefit from your visit and these benefits are what helps to keep our little area thriving.
Quite often independent travelers are channeled towards the bigger or more renowned destinations while smaller operators who offer a much more authentic and rewarding experience are left struggling for a piece of the pie. The same is true of Ireland. Even for such a small island as ours much of the resources for promoting tourism are directed at established centres. If you want to experience the real Ireland, meet the locals, taste the food, smell the air, see the sights and bring home the memories of a true Celtic adventure, then our adventures are the perfect way to do all this and more. We want to be part of your memories and we want you to be part of ours.
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