Because your itinerary is completely customized, you really can tour Ireland your way – you can choose the places you’d most like to see, add additional ones or even make changes on the spur of the moment when you have arrived at the day’s destination.
The details below describes just some of the options available each day with the Taste of Ireland itinerary.
Day 1 (Option 1): Dublin City Tour – Kilkenny
You can opt to-day to tour Dublin City or take the alternative tour via Wicklow if you have already spent time in the capital. Among the most popular attractions in Dublin are Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Christchurch Cathedral, Trinity College, Marsh’s Library and the Custom House.
After a day touring the city we will whisk you to Kilkenny in time for a relaxing evening in your hotel to recover from your journey.
Overnight in Kilkenny
Day 1 (Option 2): Wicklow – Powerscourt – Glendalough – Avova – Kilkenny
Powerscourt Gardens are among the finest formal gardens in Ireland, with a famous waterfall as well as over 40 acres of formal and informal gardens. The monastic settlement of Glendalough was founded by St Kevin in 498 AD with the famous 110 ft high tower dating from about 1000 years later.
Avondale House in nearby Rathdrum was home to Charles Stewart Parnell, leader of the Home Rule Party in the early 1880’s. The beautiful Vale of Avoca has a tradition in gold and copper mining some remnants of which can be seen in the countryside. The village is now home to Avoca Handweavers, who produce a unique range of woollen goods and where an exhibition of hand looming and weaving can be seen.
Overnight in Kilkenny
Day 2: Kilkenny – Cashel – Blarney – Cobh – Middleton – Kinsale
Spend the morning strolling around the streets of medieval Kilkenny and its many historic buildings before heading to Cashel, once the seat of the Kings of Munster. Kissing the famous stone at Blarney Castle may (or may not!) impart the gift of eloquence but you must be suspended upside-down to try it!
Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic and also the point of departure for many Irish people who emigrated to America. A visit to the commemorative exhibition in the restored railway station is highly recommended. At the Old Midleton Distillery visitors learn the story of Irish Whiskey with the aid of some magnificent artefacts of the industrial age, including a 40 foot water wheel.
Overnight in Kinsale
Day 3: West Cork – Ring of Kerry
Close to Clonakilty at the start of today’s tour is the Drombeg Stone Circle, one of the finest of its kind in existence and dating back to 150 BC. Just off the shore at Glengarriff, Garnish Ireland is a semi tropical garden, planned to avail of the unusually warm micro-climate in this area.
Kenmare has been voted one of the best places to retire in the world, it is a lovely town and a great place to shop for gifts. Next comes the climb towards Moll’s Gap, high in the mountains and with spectacular views down to the sea. At the end of today’s tour we pass the famous Lakes of Killarney, with wonderful scenery that has long inspired artists and poets.
Overnight in Killarney
Day 4: Dingle Tour – Adare – Limerick
The fishing town of Dingle is a haven for Irish music lovers, its narrow streets always lively with many pubs restaurants and craft shops. Just off Slea Head are the Blasket Islands, uninhabited since 1953 but visits can be arranged. Nearby Gallarus Oratory, shaped like an upturned boat, is over 1000 years old and still intact.
Adare with its pretty thatched cottages and extravagant flower displays is a perfect example of an estate village and was developed by the Earls of Dun raven who lived at Adare Manor, now an highly rated hotel.
Overnight in Limerick
Day 5: Bunratty – The Burren – Cliffs of Moher – Kinvara – Galway
Bunratty Castle and the adjoining folk park, with reconstructions of typical rural dwellings, including a full village, is well worth seeing. Many people who tour Ireland say that The Burren is their favorite place – 100 sq miles of lunar like rock with underground rivers, caves, turloughs and ancient burial places, some dating back more than 3000 years.
At 800 feet above the Atlantic Ocean a walk along the Cliffs of Moher is a bracing experience and will certainly give you an appetite for lunch! In the fishing village of Kinvara a very old type of boat, the Currach, is still popular; currach races are held regularly in the Summer months. The lively university city of Galway, capital of the West, is a great place for those who like a night on the town!
Overnight in Galway
Day 6 – Departure
Today’s activities will be determined by departure times. For those with late flights from Shannon it is a good opportunity to tour South Galway and stop off in Ennis and perhaps a last pint of Guinness (or Irish Coffee) in Dirty Nelly’s famous pub!
If you are leaving from Dublin we will return there to-day, with stops at places of interest along the way as time permits.
In either case we will be with you right up to your time of departure. We hope you will take home happy memories of your time in Ireland – and that you will be back to visit again soon!
This map show just some of the main points along your route – there will be many other stops along the way when you tour Ireland with Ireland Escorted, both planned and spontaneous!