Call to book1-877-929-7245
Tour Search

Cuisine & Culture: Dublin, Killarney & Galway

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
9 days From $2,766 per person
5.0 stars(3 reviews)

Cities overflowing with history, culture and culinary prowess collide with the Emerald Isle’s impressive coastal scenery on this fascinating independent rail vacation.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2024 Tour code: MK-DKGR-24

About the tour

Where else can you kiss a stone said to bestow eloquence, sip freshly made Guinness beer, and look upon 700-foot cliffs towering over the powerful Atlantic Ocean than Ireland? This country may be known for its hearty spirit and rolling landscapes, yet there is much more to uncover. On this independent expedition, spend nine days traveling through the Emerald Isle's unique destinations, ranging from capital cities and coastal towns to UNESCO World Heritage Sites beloved for their outstanding scenery.

Ireland's well-connected railway system makes it easy to venture between destinations, including Dublin, Cork, Killarney, and Galway. Each metropolis is a window into the country's proud heritage and unmistakable culture, and you are invited to immerse yourself in them all through fantastic excursions and optional tours. Walk through the history-filled streets of Dublin on a guided tour, visit Blarney Castle in Cork, savor local flavors on a food tour in Galway, and enjoy a view over Dublin with a beer in hand at the Guinness Storehouse. Between urban hotspots, find yourself surrounded by nature's incredible beauty at places like the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, and Burren National Park. While Ireland's land mass may be quaint, its charms know no bounds.


What’s included


Day 1 - Arrive in Dublin

More than 1,000 years of history greet you in Ireland's capital city as you arrive today. A private driver meets you at the airport to transfer you to your hotel in downtown Dublin, which puts many of the city's greatest attractions within reach. Take some time to settle into your new surroundings, and then this afternoon, make your way to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum to learn about the Irish diaspora that occurred over hundreds of years. Twenty themed exhibits explore the hows and whys of emigration from the Emerald Isle and go on to acknowledge how Irish culture and contributions have spread globally because of it. Spend the remainder of the evening diving into Irish culture in this vibrant city. Overnight Dublin.

Day 2 - Dublin Sightseeing/Train to Galway

Begin your day with a heavy dose of culture and history as you set out on foot for a walking tour in Dublin. Spend three hours meandering through the city center, soaking in as many sights as possible. Highlights include Dublin Castle, Trinity College, and various pubs, cathedrals, and historical buildings throughout the city - of which there is no shortage. 

Following the tour, head to Dublin's railway station to board the train bound for Galway. Despite being located on the opposite side of the island, Galway is less than 3 hours away by train. Your route takes you through Ireland's lush interior and offers a peek at the towns, villages, and scenic Irish countryside. Arrive in Galway this afternoon, and begin exploring this port city at your own pace. Perhaps venture to Eyre Square, one of the most popular parts of Galway, where 18th-century buildings house traditional pubs and boutique shops. The Latin Quarter is awash in history and culture, offering everything from the 12th-century town walls to quirky shops and street musicians. Overnight Galway.

  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Cliffs of Moher

Formed over 320 million years ago, the Cliffs of Moher are easily one of the most popular attractions on Ireland's West Coast. As you arrive by coach this morning, you will quickly see why. These dramatic, 700-foot cliffs tower over the tumultuous Atlantic below and span nearly 14 miles along the County Clare coastline. In addition to being a spectacular place to look over the crashing waves and the distant Aran Islands, the Cliffs are also a UNESCO Global Geopark and home to many species of seabirds. Keep your binoculars and camera handy to capture all its appeals. Your excursion also includes a visit to Burren National Park, whose unique karst topography and rugged scenery provide another perspective on this region's beauty. Overnight Galway.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Galway Food Tour/Travel to Dublin

While Galway's tale began over 800 years ago, its incredible, evolving gastronomic scene and convivial atmosphere have earned it the title of one of the country's best culinary destinations. This morning, you have a chance to see how local ingredients, traditional recipes, and new-age techniques have melded throughout the years on a Galway Food Tour. Visit bakeries, restaurants, cafés, and markets to sample the region's flavors. Galway is famous for its oysters and fresh seafood; however, your tastings do not end there. Enjoy artisan goods, including bread and cheese, and baked goods while you explore.

Following the tour, return to Dublin by train. Your evening is at leisure in the capital, allowing you to dig deeper into the locales featured on your sightseeing tour or discover new places to pique your interest. Overnight Dublin.

  • Breakfast
Day 5 – Guinness Storehouse Tour/Travel to Cork

Did you know there is an old tradition of having a Guinness for (or with breakfast) in Ireland? Begin your day the old-school Irish way, as this morning sees you to the Guinness Storehouse for a self-guided tour. Learn the history of this iconic beer's production while wandering through the venue's seven stories. Impeccable views over Dublin's skyline greet you from the top floor and its Gravity Bay. Naturally, your tour also includes a complimentary pint of Guinness so you can taste Ireland's favorite beer right where it is produced. 

The day continues by rail, taking you from Dublin to Cork on the island's southern tip. The three-hour route is stunning, with bucolic fields giving way to emerald-hued foothills and distant views of the Wicklow Mountains. On arrival this afternoon, you may begin exploring this 7th-century metropolis however you please. Cork's Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral and old City Gaol are particularly noteworthy. Overnight Cork. 

  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Blarney Castle, Kinsale & Cobh

Set out in pursuit of some of County Cork's most impressive destinations on a full-day guided tour. The trip begins with a visit to one of the world's best-known castles, Blarney. Blarney Castle was built nearly 600 years ago, and while parts of the stronghold have faded to ruins, there is much to explore during your time here. Plant a smooch on the famous Blarney Stone to get the "gift of gab," or wander through the underground tunnels to see the old dungeon. You can even climb the original stone steps to stroll along the castle's battlements and look over the gorgeous 60-acre gardens.

The tour continues to Kinsale, a small community brimming with 17th-century allures - with a twist. This town's narrow streets may be lined with historic structures, but their bold colors add a touch of whimsy. Kinsale is known as the gourmet capital of Ireland and, as such, boasts a great number of restaurants and eateries for you to explore during your free time here. You also have a chance to wander through the historic streets of Cobh before returning to Cork. Cobh is famed for being the final port of call on the RMS Titanic's maiden voyage and today boasts a museum, the Titanic Experience, where you can learn passenger stories and see artifacts. Overnight Cork. 

  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Travel to Killarney by Rail

Another gem of Southern Ireland, Killarney, lies ahead as you take to the rails today. Grab a window seat if you can, as the terrain between Cork and Killarney is painted with natural beauty. Look over lakes, mountains, and heathered meadows during the journey. The rural landscapes fade into the background as views of historic buildings in the colorful city center and Lough Leane overtake the scenery on arrival in Killarney. The enthralling mixture of elements invites your exploration as you settle into your new destination for the remainder of the day. You may wish to venture outside the city to Killarney National Park, home to beautiful scenery and many landmarks, including Ross Castle, Muckross House, Muckross Abbey, and Killarney House and Gardens. Staying in Killarney proper brings its own appeals, as the compact city is delightfully walkable and features many eateries and shops to explore. Overnight Killarney. 

  • Breakfast
Day 8 – Ring of Kerry

The Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland; see for yourself on today's motorcoach tour of the Ring of Kerry. This day trip explores the dramatic 112-mile route and gives you plenty of chances to admire and photograph the breathtaking scenery. Look upon windswept mountains, craggy cliffs, and the stirring sea crashing against the coast. But the natural wonders are just part of the beauty. The Ring of Kerry's towns and small villages unveil the region's charms. After the tour, you are returned to Killarney with the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight Killarney. 

  • Breakfast
Day 9 – Travel to Dublin/Irish Whiskey Distillery

Delightful vistas of Ireland's interior lead the way as you travel by train from Killarney in the southwest to Dublin on the east coast. The nation's quaint size means this journey only takes about three hours. On arrival back in Dublin, you are reintroduced to the city at its only boutique Irish whiskey distillery: Pearse Lyons Distillery. This facility is located within a restored 900-year-old church, adding a historical element to the excursion. Your Signature Tour & Tasting Experience is led by a knowledgeable guide whose storytelling introduces you to the whiskey-making process and the property itself. Tour the ancient James Street Graveyard - the largest old-Dublin city cemetery - to see graves dating to the mid-1600s, and then enjoy a comprehensive tour of the distillery. You are invited to touch, smell, and taste each element of the whiskey-making process and conclude your tour with a tasting of four whiskeys distilled onsite, including a 12-year single-malt.

Wrap up your day - and Irish expedition - at the Merry Ploughboy Pub. A shuttle transfer takes you to the 200-year-old building, home to Ireland's only musician-owned and managed pub. Enjoy a three-course meal this evening accompanied by traditional Irish music and dance. What a memorable way to end your tour. Overnight Dublin.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Tour Conclusion

Upon checkout from your hotel this morning, your journey through the Emerald Isle's most vibrant cities and attractive landscapes concludes as a private transfer takes you to Dublin Airport. If you are not quite ready to end your expedition, consider a post-trip extension to Belfast.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Belfast Extension

Day 9 - Dublin to Belfast by Train/Belfast Walking Tour
Revel in the chance to admire yet another part of the country as you travel by train from Dublin to Belfast in Northern Ireland. This city also boasts capital city designation and is known for many things, including being the place where the Titanic was built. Belfast has a long and storied past. Modern structures meet the historical buildings that remain, and art installations and museums detail Belfast's history uniquely. Join a guided walking tour to explore the city. Highlights may include the Cathedral Quarter, the Spirit of Belfast, and Castle Lane, amongst other sights. Overnight Belfast.

Day 10 - Giant's Causeway
A gem of the northern coast, Giant's Causeway, awaits your discovery on today's excursion. This impressive site on the Causeway Coast is denoted by 60-million-year-old basalt columns - over 40,000 of them, in fact. Explore the beaches and look upon the cold Atlantic beyond the natural formations. From the moment you arrive, you see why this gorgeous area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight Belfast.

Day 11 - Belfast at Leisure/Rail to Dublin
The morning is yours to relax at your hotel or continue immersing yourself in the dynamic city of Belfast. You may wish to enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast in one of the local eateries or to get a taste of the region at St. George's Market. Dive into 9,000 years of Irish history at the Ulster Museum or tour the mighty Belfast Castle stronghold. You also have the chance to learn more about the "Queen of the Ocean" on an optional tour of the Titanic Experience.

Head to Belfast's train station this afternoon to join the rails once more. It takes just over two hours to cross back into the Republic of Ireland and arrive in Dublin. Check in at your hotel with the remainder of your day to enjoy the lively Irish spirit however you choose. Overnight Dublin.

Day 12 - Return Home
After exploring Belfast and the beauty of Northern Ireland, your tour concludes this morning. Enjoy a private transfer to Dublin Airport that accommodates departures after 1:00 p.m.

Hotel Examples

Please note that hotels can vary based on availability in each location. Below are some examples of commonly used hotels.

Academy Plaza Hotel, Cassidys Hotel, Belvedere Hotel.

Hardiman Hotel, Harbour Hotel Galway. Galmont Hotel.

The Address Hotel, River Lee Hotel, Maldron Hotel Cork City, Clayton Hotel Cork City.

Killarney Court Hotel, Hotel Killarney, Gleneagles Hotel, Brehon Hotel.

Ramada Hotel Belfast, Maldron Hotel Belfast City, Clayton Hotel Belfast City.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Irish Railways


5.0 stars5.0 / 5 · 3 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star


5 stars

Submitted 12/Mar

Itinerary, accomodations, tours were all excellent! Trip was well planned, with just the right amount of tours. We loved the private tours, the walking tours, the culinary tour and the chauffer and the bus tours! The trains were great! We feel we got a great deal for the money! We will tell all our friends!

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 20 Jul 2023

Overall I absolutely loved this trip! The only thing that would have made it more enjoyable would have been to be provided the websites/itineraries of the excursions booked. I found myself showing up on a few of the days not entirely sure what to expect in terms of time commitment, if a lunch needed to be packed, etc. I would absolutely book with Vacations by Rail again!

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 02 May 2023

We enjoyed sampling food and beverages from different restaurants. The food and beverages were outstanding. Our tour guide was excellent as well.

Collected by Trustpilot

Related inspiration from our journey blog