Our highlights include the Ring of Kerry, Cork and Killarney, the legendary Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher and Ireland's wonderful capital, Dublin.
About the Tour
Rugged coastline, beautiful rolling hills and dramatic castles are all within reach on this tour of the Emerald Isle. Our highlights include the Ring of Kerry, Cork and Killarney, the legendary Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher and Ireland's wonderful capital, Dublin.
- Standard Class rail and coach travel throughout
- 8 nights' hotel accommodation
- 17 meals including 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 7 dinners, including an evening of food and entertainment at the Merry Ploughboys Pub
- Tour of Dublin including Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College and the Book of Kells
- Cork & the Jameson Distillery
- Celtic Steps Show
- The Blarney Stone in Blarney Castle
- Scenic Ring of Kerry coach tour
- The Cliffs of Moher
- Kylemore Abbey & Celtic Crystal Factory
- Transportation aboard a deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
Day 1 - To Dublin
Meet your group and Tour Manager at your hotel in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. This gorgeous city is steeped in history and tradition, and is the perfect place to start our Irish adventure, with every turn revealing a myriad of historic architecture, welcoming locals and lively music. We transfer to our hotel, just outside the city and enjoy dinner together. Overnight Dublin. (D)
Day 2 - Discovering Cork
We transfer into the center of Dublin by coach today, and take the train to Cork, for free time to explore. This afternoon, we visit the Jameson Distillery for a tour. Whiskey is one of Ireland's most famous exports, and Jameson Whiskey was brewed at this Bow Street site from 1780 to 1971, when it moved out of Dublin. In its heyday, this distillery was a community within the city, boasting numerous workshops, including a smithy, a coppersmith, and a saw mill. During the tour, we learn fascinating aspects of the whiskey distilling process, hearing about the method of triple distilling for a smoother taste. Afterwards, we also have the opportunity to enjoy a wee dram before transferring to our hotel in Midleton. Overnight Middleton. (B, D)
Day 3 - Blarney Castle
We begin the day with a visit to Cobh, the last port of call of the Titanic in 1912. We continue to the famous Blarney Castle. One of Ireland's greatest treasures, this iteration of the medieval castle was built in 1446, but sources suggest that there have been dwellings here since perhaps the 12th century. Of course, the most famous attraction here is the Blarney Stone. Legend has it, if you hang upside down and kiss the stone, you are said to become extremely eloquent. Because of this, the world 'blarney' has become Irish slang for someone who possesses the 'gift of the gab'. There's time to explore the castle and its gardens, be sure to look out for the fascinating poison garden, filled with a number of nefarious plants, including wolfsbane, ricin, and opium. Afterwards, we continue to our hotel in Killarney for dinner. Later this evening, we are whisked off to the Celtic Steps Show for an evening of Irish music and dance. Overnight Killarney. (B, D)
Day 4 - Killarney & the Ring of Kerry
We enjoy a scenic drive around the beautiful Ring of Kerry today, one of the most dramatic areas of scenery in Ireland. From the tumultuous sea, to the craggy windswept mountains and cliffs, experience the Irish countryside before our visit to the Kerry Bog Village Museum to discover more about Ireland's rural heritage. Here, we experience what the culture, living conditions and customs of Irish ancestors from the 19th century would have been like. The village offers an immersive experience, complete with thatched cottages, genuine antiques and realistic figurines. Later, we take a horse and carriage ride on the Jaunting Cars of Killarney. Step back in time with tales of a bygone era and Irish folklore, all while exploring the stunning views of Killarney National Park and the Lakes of Killarney. Jaunting Cars have been a traditional mode of transport in Ireland since the early 19th century, and they are a wonderfully unique way to see the Emerald Isle. Overnight Killarney. (B, D)
Days 5 & 6 - Iconic Ireland
We travel to Galway today, via the famous Cliffs of Moher - Ireland's most dramatic natural attraction. A UNESCO Global Geopark, it is easy to see why, as the cliffs rise to great effect out of the sea, staggering into the distance. The cliffs are also home to over 20 species of seabirds, including puffins, razorbills and kittiwakes. The landscape of these cliffs is incredibly calming, and just offshore, other animals such as dolphins and sharks, also gather. The coach continues to Burren Smoke House for lunch. Later, we continue along the coastline of County Clare to Oranmore, where we have dinner and stay for the night.
On Day 6 we make visits to the Celtic Crystal Factory in Connemara, where we enjoy a demonstration of glass cutting. We continue to Glen Keen Farm where we are treated to a sheep dog demonstration, followed by a buffet style lunch accompanied with traditional dancing and singing. This afternoon, we visit Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore Abbey is relatively young in the history of Ireland, only being founded in the 1920s on the grounds of a late 19th-century castle, but it has served as a Benedictine monastery for nearly 100 years and is a truly remarkable example of Victorian architecture. Here we see the restored rooms of the Abbey, uncovering a vast history of romance, deception and spirituality. The gardens are also a delight to explore, with 1,000 acres to wander, and a Gothic church not far from the Abbey. Later, we visit the famous Quiet Man Cottage. This museum is an exact replica of the cottage used in the 1952 film 'Quiet Man', starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Overnight Galway. (Day 5 - B, L, D, Day 6 - B, L, D)
Days 7-9 - Dublin and home
We return to the vibrant city of Dublin by rail today, and check into our hotel.
We enjoy a sightseeing tour on Day 8, including a visit to the Book of Kells, an ancient codex believed to have been written in around 800 AD. The intricate detail on this book is remarkable and well worth lingering over. We continue to Kilmainham Gaol for a guided tour, before we are treated to a farewell dinner at 'The Merry Ploughboys.'
On Day 9 your tour concludes and you are free to make your way to the airport for your flight back home. (Day 7 - B, Day 8 - B, D, Day 9 - B)
Bonnington Hotel, Dublin
The Bonnington Dublin Hotel & Leisure Centre is located 3km north of Dublin City Centre. The hotel boasts 200 specially appointed en-suite bedrooms offering every amenity to ensure a comfortable and memorable stay for all guests, a leisure centre equipped with an airy indoor pool, a hot tub and a steam room, plus a gym and spa treatments. The restaurant serves Irish and international dishes, along with carvery lunches. There's also a relaxed lounge with live music and a library. Relaxed rooms are traditionally styled with warm accents. They include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus tea and coffeemaking equipment.
Midleton Park Hotel, Cork
Set in the heart of Midleton, County Cork, this 3-Star hotel is close to the famous Jameson Whiskey Distillery. The Midleton Park Hotel offers you amenities such as televisions, free Wi-Fi, plus tea & coffee making facilities. The light and airy rooms have been newly refurbished and offer guests modern décor with the option of double or twin rooms, during your stay.
Eviston House, Killarney
This family-run hotel in Killarney is located right in the town centre yet only a stroll from the Killarney National Park, and 3.2 km from the 15th-century Ross Castle. The understated rooms feature free Wi-Fi and TVs with cable channels, plus tea and coffeemaking facilities. Amenities include a modest restaurant offering Irish and European cuisine, an Irish pub with a fireplace, flagstone floors and live music. There's also a fitness centre, plus a sauna, in addition to free parking.
Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Galway
The 4-Star Oranmore Lodge hotel was originally a manor house built in 1850 and has now been fully renovated. It is located a few minutes' walk from Oranmore village. Amenities at Oranmore Lodge include Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions and tea & coffee making facilities. The on-site leisure center includes a fitness room, heated indoor pool and hot tub for guests. Guests may also enjoy spa treatments (payable locally).
Academy Plaza Hotel, Dublin
Academy Plaza Hotel is idyllically located in the heart of Dublin city centre within walking distance of the fantastic bars & restaurants of Temple Bar, the shopping districts of Henry St & Grafton St, the iconic sporting stadium of Croke Park, the historical landmark of Trinity College and many other Dublin city sights, attractions & famous landmarks. All rooms are fully air conditioned and finished to the highest standard, featuring free WiFi and flat-screen TVs, as well as work desks, laptop safes, and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Public areas include a large marbled lobby and reception, with three elevators serving all seven floors of the hotel, Plaza Bar & Grill.
Many of our journeys in Ireland are on board Irish Railroads' new Intercity trains. These smart, modern trains are comfortable and air conditioned. Other journeys are on board Irish Railroads' regional services. The Intercity trains include on-board Wi-Fi and power points, and on these trains we travel through the stunning Irish scenery. Irish railroads operate on a very unique track gauge of 5 foot 3 inches - the only other place in the world where this particular gauge can be found is in Australia.
Tour Dates & Prices
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Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Itinerary and accommodations may vary for 2020 departures, please speak with a rail specialist for details.