Visit Ireland on a Grand Adventure
We arrive at Dublin Airport and meet with our driver and guide before transferring to Limerick. En route we visit Kilkenny Castle, one of the most recognizable buildings in Ireland, built by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century. Then we tour the “Marble City” of Kilkenny, the best-preserved medieval city in Ireland. Overnight and dinner are at our hotel in the Kilkenny area. Departing for Killarney, we will stop at the Rock of Cashel. You’ll experience the beauty of the stunning medieval architecture where Brian Boru was once crowned king and see the view St. Patrick saw when he stood atop this limestone perch in A.D. 450. Then we stop in Adare, a picturesque village dotted with thatched roofs. You can bend a knee at the beautiful Trinitarian Abbey and then bend an arm at the famous Dunraven Arms hotel. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in the Killarney area. Today we will take in the grandeur of God’s creation as we tour the Ring of Kerry. The astonishing beauty of this peninsula, Iveragh, comes from the diversity of its scenery, which offers a study in contrasts. We then return to Killarney to explore Killarney National Park and glimpse its 10,000 hectares of mountainous woodlands, waterways, and gardens. In the evening, we enjoy dinner, traditional music, and dancing at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, a 150-year-old family establishment nestled at the entrance to the world-famous Gap of Dunloe and is a 150-year-old family-run establishment. Overnight is back at our hotel in the Killarney area.
Exploring Galway’s History
We journey to Galway, taking the Shannon Car Ferry to visit the Cliffs of Moher. Afterwards, we travel through another of Ireland’s national parks, the Burren Region, an eerie ‘moonscape’ that has attracted visitors for centuries. On arrival in Galway, we visit St. Nicholas Collegiate Church which rests at the heart of the city. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in the Galway area. Today we explore the mountains, rivers, and bogs of the Connemara Region, a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the south, known for its stone walls and thatched cottages. Then we visit Kylemore Abbey, with its miniature cathedral built in 1870 and known locally as the Gothic church. Then we enjoy a glimpse of traditional Irish farming with an Old Sod tour at Dan O’Hara’s Homestead. Both entertaining and educational, they offer demonstrations of turf cutting, sheep herding, soda bread-making on the open fire, and more. Afterwards, we enjoy tea and cake at the homestead. Dinner is on your own, and overnight is back at our hotel in the Galway area. This morning we depart for Derry with a stop at the Drumcliffe Cemetery. Drumcliffe was an early Christian site at the foot of impressive Benbulben—the table top mountain. The site is best known as the final resting place of the country’s greatest poet, William Butler Yeats, whose grandfather was Rector here. Afterwards, we will visit Belleek Pottery, the world-famous pottery brand. As you walk through the museum you will discover the long history of their craft and see up close their fine, translucent Parian China. Dinner is on your own, and overnight is at our hotel.
Did you know? St. Nicholas Collegiate Church is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland in continuous use as a place of worship.
Traveling Through Belfast
This morning we enjoy a walking tour of the Derry City Walls, the only remaining completely-walled city in Ireland. These famous walls which date back to the early part of the seventeenth century have been a place of several sieges. Afterwards, we visit St. Columb’s Cathedral which was the first Protestant Cathedral built in Britain or Ireland after the Protestant Reformation. Following the spirit of revolution, we next tour the Free Derry Museum, which tells the story of the city from 1968-1972, popularly known as “Free Derry.” Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in the Derry area. After breakfast, we depart for Belfast and have a stop at Dunluce Castle situated on the Antrim Coast. The roofless ruins are breathtaking with the white chalk cliffs of Portrush close by. Then we visit the Giant’s Causeway. These incredible basalt columns were ‘built’ as stepping stones to Scotland by the giant Finn MacCool so that he could travel to fight the Scottish giant Benandonner. We then continue to the Belfast area for dinner and overnight at our hotel. This morning we enjoy a tour of Belfast to see Ireland’s answer to the Tower of Pisa: the leaning Albert Memorial Clock tower. We will also see the Opera House, which is one of Belfast’s great landmarks, as well as the City Hall and The Crown Bar, Queens University, and the Botanic Gardens. Time permitting, we have a visit to the Harland and Wolfe Shipyard, where the Titanic was built and launched in 1912 along with a visit to the Shankill and Falls road. Dinner is on your own, and overnight is at our hotel in the Belfast area.
Optional Edinburgh, Scotland Extension
This morning we tour Edinburgh and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner is on your own, and overnight is at our hotel in the Edinburgh area. The next day we spendat leisure in Edinburgh. Our final day, we transfer to the Edinburgh Airport for our return flight home. We arrive back in the U.S.A. the same day.