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Ireland and Northern Ireland Castles and Pubs Discovery Tour

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 6 - 10 people
Destination(s): Ireland   Northern Ireland  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   Sightseeing  
Season: September - October
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 4395 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 4395 US Dollar (USD)

This tour is offered just once each year.

15 days in Ireland featuring Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Medieval Banquet,Adare, Dingle Peninsula, Killarney, Kenmare, Blarney Castle, Waterford Crystal Factory, Kilkenny Castle, Jerpoint Abbey, Browne's Hill Dolman, St. Brigid's Cathedral, Dublin, Dublin Music Night, Newgrange, Irish Linen Centre, Belfast, Causeway Coast, Giants Causeway, Bushmills Distillery, Ulster-American Folk Park, Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Parke's Castle, Boyle Abbey, Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum, Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, The Burren, Cliffs of Moher and more!

A small intimate tour of Ireland limited to 8 - 10 people in order to provide a more personal experience. In keeping the tour size small we are able to take advantage of accommodation, restaurant and sightseeing options that would not be available to a larger group. With a small tour size we can veer off the main tourist areas and get a real feel for these warm wonderful countries. We will not rush you from venue to venue and each tour is designed to spend as little time on the minibus as possible. You may find yourself staying in a
delightful city guest house, a warm country house hotel, a fine country farmhouse, a 200 year old coaching inn and even a castle all in the same visit.

Full Irish breakfast each morning, 10 lunches and 11 dinners. All
accommodations. Guided minibus tour with luggage handling. All sightseeing including any entrance fees. All taxes and service charges.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 - September 25th, 2010 - Arrive in Shannon, Ireland Our first stop of the tour will be Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The Folk Park is a meticulous recreation of rural life at the end of the 19th century. We will Stop for Lunch before our arrival. After exploring the park and this 15th century formidable castle the highlight of the day will be a Medieval Banquet for which the castle is famous! Banquet Dinner and Overnight Bunratty. (L,D)

Day 2 - Our first stop today is the charming village of Adare which is billed as Ireland's Loveliest Village with all its thatched roof cottages lining the main street. Pub Lunch in Castleisland on our way south. Next we take in the wilds of the Dingle Peninsula. A drive around Dingle reveals fascinating antiquities ranging from Iron Age Stone Forts to Inscribed Stones, early Christian Oratories and Beehive Huts. Stops include Dunbeg Fort, Slea Head, Ballyferriter, Kilmalkedar and Gallarus Oratory Drystone Church. Enjoy a few free hours in the attractive fishing port village of Dingle before continuing to Killarney. Dinner on your own in Killarney. Overnight Killarney. (B,L)

Day 3 - Our first stop this morning is Muchross House, an imposing Victorian Mansion that was built in 1843 and overlooks the spectacular Lakes of Killarney. We then take a drive through the lakes to The Ladies View made famous by Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting upon here visit here. Our drive will eventually take us to Kenmare which is the Gourmet and Lace capitol of Ireland. Afternoon Tea at Cupan Tae in Kenmare followed by the rest of the day is free to investigate the many shops to be found here in Kenmare before we return to Killarney. Dinner and Music Night in Killarney. Overnight Killarney. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - Our first stop today is Blarney Castle in County Cork. If the gift of gab has not been bestowed on you, you may want to kiss the Blarney Stone. The castle itself sits in spectacular grounds and is well worth a visit along with the Blarney Woollen Mills Outlet with 3 floors of wonderful shopping. We then take in a lovely coastal drive from Cork through Youghal and to Tramore for Lunch. Then on to Waterford and the Waterford Crystal Factory. The
original glass factory was founded in 1783 and visitors can follow all stages of production. On our way to Kilkenny we stop at Jerpoint Abbey, one of the finest Cistercian ruins in Ireland. Built in 1160, the fortified medieval complex flourished until the dissolution of the Monasteries. Dinner at Langtons in Kilkenny. Overnight Kilkenny. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - This morning we will take some time to investigate Ireland's loveliest inland village of Kilkenny before we visit Kilkenny Castle. Built in the 1190's, Kilkenny Castle was occupied right up to 1935. High spots of the tour include the library, the wood-paneled dining room and the Chinese bedroom. Sumptuous Afternoon Tea at the Kilkenny Ormonde before we start our journey to Dublin. On our way to Dublin we stop at Browne's Hill Dolmen which has the biggest capstone in Europe, weighing 100 tons. Dinner on your own in Dublin. Overnight Dublin. (B,L)

Day 6 - Following a late breakfast you will tour the city aboard an Open Top Tour Bus. After the tour you will want to spend time shopping on Grafton Street or taking in Trinity College and the Book of Kells. You can also visit St. Patrick's Cathedral or Christ Church Cathedral. We'll meet this evening for Dinner and Traditional
Music Night. Overnight Dublin. (B,D)

Day 7 - This morning's adventure takes us to the North of Ireland. Our first stop of the day is at Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb. Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. Lunch in Newry at
the Canal Court Hotel. Following tea we stop in Lisburn and visit the Irish Linen Centre and Museum in a 17th century Market House where in times gone by cottage weavers brought their cloth to sell. The centre tells the story of the Irish Linen industry, with skilled demonstrations of hand spinning and handloom weaving and a display of historic linen treasures. Pub Dinner in Belfast. Overnight Belfast. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - This morning we spend in Belfast, Northern Ireland's largest city and one of my favorite European cities! You will board an Open Top Bus for a Tour of the City. You can get off an on all day long with your ticket. You may want to make a lunch stop at the Crown Liquor Saloon, a flamboyant Victorian drinking palace. Belfast's downtown is full of wonderful shops. Other places of interest are City Hall, The Linen Library and St. Anne's Cathedral. After a day of investigating the city we will meet up for Dinner. Overnight Belfast. (B,D)

Day 9 - This morning we take in the Causeway Coast and The Giants Causeway where 37,000 basalt columns extend from the cliffs and into the sea. No matter how many times I have seen this, the sheer wonder and magic of the columns never fails to impress! We will continue along the coastline of Northern Ireland on our way to Bushmills
and the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest distillery in the world! Lunch at Old Bushmills before we take a Tour the Distillery and end up with whiskey sampling in the 1608 bar. Pub Dinner at the Railway Arms. Overnight Coleraine. (B,L,D)

Day 10 - Our first stop this morning is Walled City of Londonderry. Londonderry’s mighty City Walls may never have been breached, but throughout the years many of the city’s ancient buildings were destroyed by the many sieges on the city. While touring the walls we visit one building that amazingly survived the Siege of Derry is the magnificent St Columb’s Cathedral. Built in 1633, the cathedral is the city’s most historic building and is filled with centuries of relics and artefacts. Afternoon Tea at Lough Eske Castle before we continue to the little border village of Belleek where the world famous Belleek Pottery was founded in 1857. We will stop at the Visitors' Centre and Museum for a tour of the facility. Our journey then takes further on to Sligo. Yeats Tavern Pub Dinner and Overnight Sligo. (B,L,D)

Day 11 - This morning we visit the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. Carrowmore is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland. The tombs are spread out over 1.5 square miles in the shadow of the Knocknarea and Misgaun Maeve(the name suggests that it was built for Maeve, the Iron Age queen of Connacht) with each monument standing on its own little eminence. Lovely Pub Lunch on the shores of Lough Gill before we visit Parke's Castle, a restored plantation castle of the early 17th century, picturesquely situated on the shores of the Lough. After a lovely drive around the Lough we return to Sligo for Dinner on your own. Overnight Sligo. (B,L)

Day 12 - This morning finds us at Boyle to visit Boyle Abbey, an impressive and well preserved Cistercian Monastery which was founded in the 12th century under the patronage of the local ruling family, the MacDermotts. Although a ruin, Boyle Abbey nevertheless retains its ability to impress the visitor as one of the most formidable of the early Cistercian foundations in Ireland. Our next destination is Strokestown Park House, an 18th century mansion which has been faithfully restored. It is unique in that it retains its original furnishings and professionally guided tours allow visitors to browse freely through the stately surroundings. There is also a Famine Museum which uses a combination of original documents and images from the Strokestown Park collection to explain the circumstances of the Great Irish Famine of the 1840's. We are then on our way to Galway, the center for the Irish-speaking regions in the West and a lively university city. The center of the city lies on the banks of the River Corrib which flows down from Lough Corrib. Traditional Pub Dinner at Donnellys in Barna. Overnight Galway. (B,D)

Day 13 - This morning we travel through the beautiful Connemara National Park in the heart of Connemara, a combination of bogland, lakes and mountains. Along the way we visit Kylemore Abbey sheltered by the slopes of the Twelve Bens, this lakeside castle is a romantic, battlemented Gothic Revival fantasy. Fish and Chips Lunch in Clifden, framed by the grandeur of the Twelve Bens mountain range. We then return to Galway where you can take some time to investigate the city before a Seafood Dinner at McSwiggans. Overnight Galway. (B,L,D)

Day 14 - This morning on our way south we visit The Burren, a unique botanical environment in which Mediterranean and alpine plants rare to Ireland grow side by side. In the southern part of the Burren, limestone gives away to black shale and sandstone to form the dramatic Cliffs of Moher. Even when shrouded in mist, the Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking, rising to a height of 650 feet out of the sea and extending for 5 miles. We then travel to Ennis with narrow streets and quaint shops in every nook and perhaps, the most endearing town in Ireland. Tonight we are out to Farewell Dinner
and a Traditional Music Night in Ennis. Overnight Ennis. (B,D)

Day 15 - Following breakfast we are off to the Shannon International Airport for the return home. (B)

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Full Irish breakfast each morning and all meals as indicated in itinerary
- All accommodations
- Guided minibus tour with luggage handling
- All sightseeing including any entrance fees
- All taxes and service charges.

No hidden costs!