B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Wednesday, 17 May 2017: Arrive Dublin; Welcome Reception (R)
On arrival at Dublin airport, clear customs and immigration and transfer (based on arrival time) to your city center hotel. Schedule your arrival no later than 3:00pm. Following hotel check in, the remainder of the afternoon is free to rest. This evening we will meet in the lobby at 6:00PM and enjoy a Welcome Reception with light hors d’oeuvres and wine in your hotel. Overnight Dublin - 2 nights
Thursday, 18 May 2017: Dublin City Tour; Afternoon Free Time (B,D)
We begin with a tour of Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, to see The Georgian Squares with their 18th-century houses, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, statue-filled O'Connell Street and Trinity College, which houses the Book of Kells, Ireland's most precious medieval artifact. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore on your own. Visit The National Museum, browse through shops or simply enjoy a Guinness and a chat in a local pub.
Friday, 19 May 2017: Powerscourt House and Gardens; Glendalough; Avoca; Clonmel (B,D)
This morning we travel south to County Wicklow, known as the Garden of Ireland. Our first stop is Powerscourt House and Gardens. The outstanding gardens were laid out when the house was rebuilt in 1731. We continue to Glendalough (Valley of Two Lakes) and are transported back in time to the 7th century on a guided tour of this remarkable early monastic settlement. We continue through the beautiful vale of Avoca to the Avoca hand weavers, Ireland's oldest, and learn more about this very old craft on a guided tour. We then travel to Clonmel to check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together this evening. Overnight Clonmel - 1 night
Saturday, 20 May 2017: Rock of Cashel; Queenstown Story; Kinsale (B)
This morning we visit the Rock of Cashel, a picturesque complex with a character of its own, that was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. We continue along the southern coastline traveling through Dungarvan, Youghal and Midleton to Cobh. Cobh was one of the main points of emigration during the great famine and also the Titanic's last port of call. Here you can visit “The Queenstown Story,” which portrays the hardship of life onboard ship as it sailed to the “New World.” Annie Moore, the first-ever immigrant to be processed on Ellis Island when it officially opened in January of 1892, left from Cobh with her two brothers. Our final stop is Kinsale, a historic fishing town on the southern coastline of County Cork. Overnight Kinsale - 1 night
Sunday, 21 May 2017: West Cork; Mizen Head; Killarney (B)
This morning we travel along the southern coast to Skibbereen, onto Ballydehob and then to Mizen Head, Ireland's most southerly point to visit the award-winning Maritime Museum and Heritage Attraction. Take a 10-minute walk along a short path, down 99 steps and cross the arched bridge to the lighthouse. We continue onto Killarney, taking in a 20-mile stretch of the famous Ring of Kerry. Overnight Killarney - 3 nights.
Monday, 22 May 2017: Killarney National Park & Muckross House; Afternoon Free Time (B,L)
Today we travel in traditional style in an Irish jaunting car (horse-drawn, two-wheeled carriage) to Killarney National Park and Muckross House and Gardens, one of Ireland’s most stately homes. We'll tour this Victorian mansion built in 1843 and enjoy lunch together. This afternoon you are free to enjoy the town of Killarney.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017: Dingle Peninsula (B)
Today we enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, once cited as "the most beautiful place on earth" by National Geographic. We stop at the Brian de Staic studio in Dingle, which specializes in Celtic jewelry, handcrafted and engraved with ancient Celtic symbols and letters. As we continue around Slea Head there are breathtaking views of the Atlantic and glimpses of "beehive huts" (early monastic settlements) dating back more than a thousand years. Our tour takes us to the most westerly point of Ireland to view the Blasket Islands and visit the Blasket Center to learn about the culture and traditions of the Blasket Islanders. Following free time in Dingle, we return to Killarney for the night.
Wednesday, 24 May 2017: Shannon Ferry; Cliffs of Moher; Galway (B)
We travel to Tarbert this morning and board the Shannon Ferry for a 25-minute crossing to Killimer. From here we take the coast road to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, rising dramatically from the crashing Atlantic. After time to explore the cliffs, our tour continues through the lunar landscape of the Burren region and along the shores of Galway Bay to Galway City. Overnight Galway City - 2 nights
Thursday, 25 May 2017: Connemara and Kylemore Abbey (B,D)
Today we tour rugged and wild Connemara, a scenic area that has been the location for many films. We stop at Kylemore Abbey (1866), home to Benedictine nuns until 2008. We visit the abbey’s Victorian Walled Garden, which is completely enclosed by a brick and limestone wall, and the beautiful Gothic church built by Mitchell Henry in memory of his wife who died four years after the castle was constructed. We continue to Cong to see a 14th-century cross and the ruins of Cong Abbey, founded in 1128, and return to Galway City along the banks of Lough Corrib, Ireland's largest lake.
Friday, 26 May 2017: Galway City; Rathbaun Farm; Castle Stay in Dublin; Farewell Dinner (B,D)
There is free time to wander through the charming old cobblestone streets of Galway City this morning to appreciate the blend of past and present, with modern day shops housed in century-old buildings. This afternoon we head to Rathbaun Farm to peek into the daily workings of a sheep farm. Farmer Fintan Connelly will demonstrate sheep shearing and herding. Spend time in the thatched cottage, smell the turf fire and enjoy freshly baked scones, soda bread and tea. We return to Dublin where we'll gather this evening for dinner and bid farewell to the Emerald Isle.
Saturday, 27 May 2017: Return Home from Dublin (B)
Sadly, it’s time to return home. Group transfers will be provided based on departure flight times.