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The Enchanting Emerald Isle

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5 stars(3 reviews)
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Small Group

Our highlights include the Ring of Kerry, Cork and Killarney, the legendary Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher and Ireland's wonderful capital, Dublin.

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
9 days From $2,595 per person

2021 Tour code: GR-IRSA-21

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

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.

Includes
  • Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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. 

Includes
  • Day 7 - Breakfast
  • Day 8 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 9 - Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

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.

Hotels

Midleton Park Hotel

Midleton Park Hotel, Cork

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North Star Hotel

North Star Hotel, Dublin

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Oranmore Lodge Hotel

Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Galway

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Train

Irish Railways

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Reviews

5 stars5 / 5 · 3 reviews

  1. 5 stars
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  5. 1 star
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Leni K, Debary, FL

5 stars

Submitted 18 Dec 2018

The entire vacation was perfect! Everything went exactly as planned, it was flawless!! We loved it and are already talking about planning another vacation with you!!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Jack H, Bluff City, TN

5 stars

Submitted 21 Feb 2018

The route provided a great appreciation of Ireland and its landscape. The ability to interact with citizens both on the rail and while visiting the towns made us feel welcome. The itinerary arranged was spot on and was a fulfilling use of our days in Ireland.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Gregory M, Corvallis, OR

5 stars

Submitted 08 Feb 2018

Everything ran smoothly. The hotels were very nice and the hosts did a good job. We enjoyed the trip

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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