Day 1: Dublin
You will arrive at Dublin airport where you will be met by your driver & guide. As you make your way into Dublin City, you will stop at Malahide Castle, one of Ireland’s many historic castles. This 12th century estate was home to the noble Talbot family from 1185 to 1976. For nearly 800 uninterrupted years, the Talbot family lived in the castle with brief exception in the mid-1600s during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. For railway enthusiasts, the Malahide Castle is also home to the Frye miniature railway. Later this afternoon, make your first brewery stop at Guinness. Formerly the world’s largest brewery, Guinness is still renowned for being the largest brewer of stout. After a pint, head to your Dublin hotel to check-in for your overnight.
Day 2: Dublin
Today, you will have the opportunity to explore Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. Visit the Georgian squares, homes which have survived from the Georgian era, a period of development from 1714 to 1830. The era, & thus homes, are referred to as Georgian as four Georges reigned over Ireland during this time. The homes are still famous for their architecture, particularly their doors. The tour will also take you past Christchurch & Phoenix Park, home to many monuments like the Papal cross as well as the residence of the President of Ireland. Today’s tour will also take you to the old Jameson Distillery. While Jameson, the infamous single-malt Irish whiskey is now distilled in Cork, it originated at the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin in 1780. Jameson is still vatted at this location. The tour will conclude with a return to Guinness to visit their storehouse, with merchandise & exhibitions. This evening, you can enjoy dinner in Dublin at your leisure. Try a local restaurant for some traditional Irish food, such as boiled sausage, potatoes, or stew.
Day 3: Wicklow Mountains - Kilkenny
After breakfast, you will depart for the Wicklow Mountains, or “The Garden of Ireland.” Amidst the Wicklow Mountain, is Glendalough Valley also known as “the valley of two lakes.” The valley is among one of the most visited sites in Ireland for its natural beauty & history. From Wicklow, you will continue onto Kilkenny. Kilkenny is home to a host of a Irish culture including museums, galleries, gardens & of course, the Kilkenny Castle. Kilkenny Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks of Ireland. The castle was bought in the late 14th century & served as a residence continuously until 1935. After decades of vacancy, the castle was given to Ireland in 1967 for the bargain price of 50 pounds. The castle has since been restored & is a popular destination for tourists & site of rotating art exhibitions. Beford heading onto Killarney, stop in one of Kilkenny’s local pubs, like Langtons Bar or Bollards Bar & Restaurant, for the perfect pint of Guinness.
Day 4: Kilkenny - Cork, - Killarney
From Kilkenny, you will travel to Cashel, home to the most photographed site in Ireland, The Rock of Cashel. The large, unique piece of limestone lies elevated in the town of Cashel. Though the buildings sitting atop the hill only date back to the 12th century, its history reaches back to the 5th century as an important site for conversions & royalty. Then continue onto Cork where your next stop will be Blarney Castle. This former fort is best known for the Blarney Stone; legend has it that those who kiss the stone are granted the gift of eloquence. Before continuing onto Kerry for your overnight stay, you will have the chance for some shopping at Blarney Woollen Mills or a quick bite at Tatler Jacks Bar & Restaurant.
Day 5: Dingle Peninsula
Today will be dedicated to exploring Dingle Peninsula, the northernmost peninsula in County Kerry. The peninsula has a long history, with Celtic ancestry & pre-Christian roots. It is also home to Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain in Ireland. While exploring, be sure to visit the peninsula’s namesake, the town of Dingle. Dingle a thriving fishing town that is literally colorful. It also boasts a number of pubs to stop in for a brew. Visit Paidi O Se’s Pub, a must while in the area. Your evening in Killarney is yours for sightseeing. Take in some of Killarney’s natural beauty in the national park or one of its several lakes. Or make time for a visit to Ross Castle, the O’Donoghue’s ancestral home.
Day 6: Burren
Today, you will travel via ferry to County Clare & the Burren Region. One of the first stops will be to the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, commemorating the town of Foynes as a major port of call for seaplanes. Then, into the Burren Region, known for its rocky landscape. One of the highlights of the region is the Cliffs of Moher, a stretch of rocky cliff coastline with beautiful vistas of the Atlantic Ocean & Galway Bay. You will then stop in Doolin, a town considered to be a hub for traditional Irish music. Stop by Gus O’ Connor’s Pub, a early 19th century pub known for its Irish “Seisiun,” a traditional Irish music session. On your way to Galway, you will stop by Dunguaire Castle for a photo opportunity. The castle is a tower house from the 16th century, which sits on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay.
Day 7: Connemara
After breakfast, you will head to Connemara, a land of small town whose inhabitants actually still speak Gaelic. At Maam Cross in the heart of Connemara, you will have a vista to enjoy Connemara’s lake speckled landscape. From there as you travel to Kylemore Abbey, you will travel through the colorful town of Clifden. Once at Kylemore Abbey, learn about its origins in the 1920s as Benedictine Nuns fled Belgium during World War I. It is still belongs to the Benedictine Nuns today. Before you return to Galway for dinner & your overnight, you will stop in the town of Leenane to visit some of the local pubs. You can enjoy a drink by the open fire!
Day 8: Galway – Dublin
As you make your way back to Dublin today, you will first stop at Athlone Castle. Athlone Castle, which in the heart of Athlone in central Ireland, was originally a wooden structure. The castle was rebuilt in the early 13th century & the surviving castle is made of stone. It has since been remodeled & fortified, creating the structure visited today. After Athlone, continue onto Kilbeggan Distillery, formerly known as Locke’s Distillery. This small pot distillery still displays its license to distill which dates back to 1757, arguably making it one of the oldest if not the oldest in the world. Today the site also includes a restaurant & museum.
Day 9: Dublin - U.S.
Enjoy a full Irish breakfast at your hotel before your transfer to Dublin’s airport for your flight home.