Day 1: U.S.
Board your overnight flight to Ireland.
Day 2: Dublin
Upon your arrival at Dublin airport, you will be met by your tour guide. Waste no time as you kick off the trip with a tour of the capital city. See the Custom House, now restored as an administrative building, which was once burned in an act of rebellion against British rule. Stroll down O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare or through Phoenix Park, the site for the President of Ireland’s resident. You will also visit such sites as the General Post Office, headquarters for the Easter Rising of 1916 & the National Cathedral of St. Patrick, built on the site where St. Patrick himself preached. Finally, tour the University of Dublin, also known as Trinity College. Trinity College, established under the Tudors as a Protestant University, was a site of proxy tension between English Protestant influence & Irish Catholic traditions as restrictions for admission & matriculation for faithful Catholics were imposed by both sides. Your dinner & overnight this evening will be in Dublin.
Day 3: Dublin - Kerry
Following breakfast, you will heard west for County Kerry. As you cross Ireland, you will stop at the Rock of Cashel. The large, unique piece of limestone lies elevated in the town of Cashel; its origin storied to be tied to St. Patrick’s banishment of the Devil. Still on the Rock are historic buildings such as a round tower, Cormac’s Chapel & The Cathedral. Although the buildings on the Rock only date back to the 12th century, its history stretches back much further; it was visited by St. Patrick in 450 for the conversion of the King of Munster & served as the seat for the High Kings of Munster as well as the Archbishop of Cashel. From Cashel, you will continue onto Kerry for dinner & your overnight.
Day 4: Dingle Peninsula
Today after breakfast, your day will be dedicated to exploring Dingle Peninsula, the northernmost peninsula in the County of Kerry. The Dingle Peninsula has a rich history of Celtic & pre-Christian monuments. The peninsula is also home to the Gallarus Oratory. The Oratory is a unique masonic building, with walls curved in towards a pinnacle. It is thought to be an early church. While on the peninsula, you will have the chance to visit the town of Dingle itself. You can roam the colorful streets, visit the Dingle Distillery, or watch off the harbor for bottlenose dolphin sightings. You will have dinner & your overnight in Dingle.
Day 5: Burren Region
After breakfast, you will hop a ferry to Killimer. As you continue into the Burren Region, you will stop at Corcomroe Abbey, a Cisercian monastery from the 13th century, unique for its ornate carvings. The abbey is one of the three small early churches dedicated to St. Colman. You will also get to see the distinctive landscape of the Burren lands that define the region. No trees or land cover The Burren's exposed limestone but within the cracks grow all sorts of life. Your dinner & overnight will in in Galway, known as “Ireland’s Cultural Heart.”
Day 6: Connemara
After breakfast in Galway, you will head to the Connemara Region for today’s tour. Connemara is 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. You will then return to Galway for your dinner & overnight stay.
Day 7: Knock - Ballintubber Abbey
Enjoy breakfast, then head northwards to Knock, home to the internationally recognized Marian Shine. It was here where fifteen people witnesses the apparition of angels as they hovered over a figure of a lamb. In 1979, Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine to commemorate its centenary as well as endorsing the Vatican seal of approval. Then, onto Ballintubber Abbey, the only church in Ireland that was established by an Irish king. This 13th century building remains standing despite being damaged as part of the Protest Reformation. You will return to Galway for dinner & your overnight.
Day 8: Galway - Dublin
After breakfast, you will finally have the chance to explore Galway. Among its many historic attractions, be sure to catch a musical performance; Galway is known for live traditional music played in both pubs & on the streets. That afternoon, you will begin your journey back to Dublin. En route, you will stop to visit the Conmacnoise Monastery. The Monastery was originally built by a natural esker left by receding glaciers. The original wooden church was later replaced in the 9th century by a stone edifice, to help fortify the church in the face of attack. Among the Monastery’s artifacts from the High Crosses, the 12th century round tower, as well as a number of churches & temples. The Monastery was visited by Pope John Paul II during his 1979 tour of Ireland.
Day 9: Dublin - U.S.
After a final Irish breakfast, transfer to Dublin Airport for departure flight home.