Day #1 Overnight Flight - Cead Mile Failte! One Hundred Thousand Welcomes to Ireland, an ancient land rich with history, culture and breathtaking scenery. Visit Dublin, Waterford, Killarney, Galway, Sligo, Belfast and Newcastle on this journey of discovery. An overnight flight brings you to Ireland, the “Emerald Isle.”
Day #2 Dublin - Tour Begins - Your tour begins in Dublin – Ireland’s bustling capital and largest city. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers at a fun-filled Irish House Party where everyone is invited to join in the song and dance.
Day #3 Dublin - Begin your day with a tour of historic Dublin, featuring a visit to historic Dublin Castle*. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Dublin at your leisure. Consider a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland. Construction began on the present structure in 1191, but a church has stood on the site since the 5th century.
Day #4 Dublin - Wicklow Mountains - Glendalough - New Ross - Waterford - Travel south through the picturesque Wicklow Mountains to Glendalough. Known as the valley of two lakes, Glendalough is one of the most scenic areas of Ireland. This beautiful ruined village boasts the Glendalough Monastery, founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, a hermit priest, and which became one of Ireland’s greatest pilgrimage centers. Explore the evocative ruins of this famous monastery that was destroyed by the English in 1398. Enjoy a stop at the famous Avoca Handweavers, Ireland’s oldest handweaving mill. Continue to New Ross and tour a replica of the historic sailing vessel, Dunbrody, in which thousands of Irish emigrants left their beloved homeland behind in order to escape the Great Famine and build new lives in North America. Your day concludes in the historic city of Waterford.
Day #5 Waterford - Cobh - Blarney Stone - Killarney - This morning, visit the world-famous Waterford Crystal Factory. Tour the facility to learn how these exquisite treasures are crafted and marvel at the impressive collection of crystal in their glittering showroom. Continue along Ireland’s south coast to Cobh, one of the world’s finest natural harbors and the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic. Learn about the Irish Diaspora at the Cobh Visitor Centre where more than six-million Irish sailed from Cobh alone. Next, visit historic Blarney Castle. This is your opportunity to kiss the famous Blarney Stone! Legend says that those who kiss the stone are bestowed with the gift of eloquence. Your day ends in the bustling town of Killarney.
Day #6 Killarney - Dingle Peninsula - Killarney - Set off this morning to travel along one of the world’s most majestic coastal routes – the Dingle Peninsula. Stop at the Gap of Dunloe where you can shop for traditional Irish goods handcrafted by local artisans. Spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean await you along the 32-mile Slea Head drive. Behold charming coastal villages such as Ventry, Dunquin and Ballyferriter that dot the landscape. Just offshore, you can see the once-inhabited Blasket Islands. Learn about the Blasket Islanders and their unique literary achievements during a tour of the Blasket Island Centre.
Day #7 Killarney - The Burren - Cliffs of Moher - Galway - This morning, head to Tarbert where a ferry sails you across the Shannon River. From Killimer, journey along Ireland’s stunningly scenic west coast all the way to the limestone plateau of the Burren where you can view the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher. Rising to nearly 700 feet, the Cliffs of Moher stretch for nearly five miles, offering dramatic views of Ireland’s Atlantic coast. Enjoy a two night stay in the vibrant and eclectic university town of Galway.
Day #8 Galway - Connemara - Galway - Begin with a panoramic sightseeing tour of Galway. Then embark on a delightful day of sightseeing in the Gaelic-speaking Connemara region, known for its sweeping views of boglands, misty mountains and picturesque seaside villages. Here, residents proudly maintain their traditional language and lifestyles. At Moycullen, visit the Connemara Marble Factory where skilled artisans craft the unique local green marble. Continue to the charming town of Clifden before visiting the 19th century Kylemore Abbey, home to an order of Benedictine nuns and a tony boarding school. Later, travel to the charming village of Cong, made famous by John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara’s 1952 film The Quiet Man.
Day #9 Galway - Knock - Sligo - This morning visit the Marian Shrine and Basilica in Knock. An 1879 apparition of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist has made Knock an international pilgrimage center. Continue with a visit to the beautiful Lissadell Manor House in Sligo, followed by a stop at the gravesite of W.B. Yeats.
Day #10 Sligo - Belleek - Strandhill - Sligo - Begin the day with a tour of Belleek Pottery, internationally known for its highly decorative Parian China. Return to Sligo and explore the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery - the country’s largest cemetery of megalithic tombs with some of the monuments dating back over 6,000 years! Continue to Strandhill’s beautiful beach and learn about the healing properties of Celtic Seaweed baths.
Day #11 Sligo - Giant's Causeway - Glens of Antrim - Belfast - Cross the border into Northern Ireland and travel to the north coast to see the magnificent array of basalt columns – the Giant’s Causeway. Legend says that it was constructed by an Irish giant, Finn MacCool, but it was actually created by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The causeway resembles a cobbled road leading into the sea. Next, discover the outstanding natural beauty of Northern Ireland as you explore the scenic back roads of the Antrim Glens. End your memorable day in Belfast - Northern Ireland’s vibrant capital city, where you will overnight in the historic Culloden Estate and Spa.
Day #12 Belfast - Downpatrick - Newcastle - This morning, enjoy a guided tour highlighting Belfast's many sights. Visit the Cultúrlann McAdam O’Fiaich Centre - an Irish language arts and community center that is supported by the efforts of the tour group Foundation. The Cultúrlann Center is headquartered in West Belfast, which suffered greatly during many years of political strife. This groundbreaking program is dedicated to enriching the lives of Ireland’s underprivileged children and the revitalization of Northern Ireland. This afternoon, enjoy a lovely drive through County Down. At Downpatrick, enjoy a visit to the St. Patrick Centre, which tells the story of Ireland’s famous Patron Saint. Visit the nearby site, said to be where the saint is buried. Travel to the seaside resort, Newcastle, where, like the song says, “the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.” Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner, celebrating your incredible journey through Ireland.
Day #13 Newcastle - Tour Ends - Across mountain and bog, strand and city, you’ve collected memories and treasures of Ireland to cherish forever. Your tour ends in Newcastle.