Day 1 - Sun: Depart U.S. for Dublin
Board your aircraft and settle down for an overnight flight across the Atlantic with in flight meals and entertainment.
Day 2 - Mon: Arrival & Dublin City Tour
Arrive at Dublin Airport, reclaim your baggage and head to the desk in the Arrivals Hall for a transfer to your hotel. Along the way your guide will introduce you to the many different parts of central Dublin. Pass historic buildings, Georgian streets with elegant town houses, public parks and monuments. Stop for a guided tour around the State Apartments of Dublin Castle where many historic events have taken place. Visit the National Gallery, one of the largest art collections in Europe. It houses an excellent representation of paintings from the Irish School together with works from French, Flemish, Dutch and Spanish Schools. The evening is free.
Day 3 - Tue: Malahide Castle & "Shindig" Evening
This morning visit Malahide Castle, originally built as a fortress in 1185. It was home to the Talbot family until 1973, when the last Lord Talbot died. The house contains beautiful period furniture and Irish portrait paintings. Close to the center of Dublin, visit the National Botanic Gardens for a stroll around the many different types of gardens to view numerous collections of plants and trees from all over the world. Founded in 1795, the gardens contain wonderful Victorian glasshouses. The afternoon is at leisure for independent sightseeing or shopping. In the evening attend a "Shindig" at the Old Jameson Distillery. Tour the recreated distillery and sample some whiskey before sitting down to a dinner of Irish specialties. Afterwards enjoy the lively entertainment program. (B, D)
Day 4 - Wed: Medieval Kilkenny
Depart Dublin this morning and see some of the Irish countryside. Travel through County Kildare, which is famous for stud farms and racing. Travel via the towns of Naas and Athy and see farms of various types. Arrive in Kilkenny around midday to check into your hotel, located in the center of this fascinating town. Take a walking tour with a local guide around the old sections where the narrow streets follow medieval patterns. See Kilkenny's many ancient houses and churches as you learn about history. Enjoy some free time to explore on your own and get together with your fellow travelers and tour director for a welcome drink before dinner. (B, D)
Day 5 - Thu: Waterford & Cobh Heritage Center
Drive to Waterford to tour the famous Waterford Crystal Factory and watch skilled craftspeople creating elegant masterpieces. In the showrooms see a huge collection of tableware and trophies. Outside Cork visit the Cobh Heritage Center to learn about emigration from Ireland and Europe during the last two centuries. Enjoy some free time in Cobh before driving through Cork to Clonakilty to meet your host family for your farmhouse stay. After a home-style dinner, go out for some lively local entertainment. (B, D)
Day 6 - Fri: Glengarriff & Bantry Bay
Leave your host families and drive west through Bantry and Glengarriff. This region supports many sub-tropical trees and plants due to the influence of the Gulf Stream and the sheltered bays. Keep an eye out for palms! Cross the Caha Mountains, pass through Kenmare and drive along part of the Ring of Kerry route via Moll's Gap for views of Killarney's famous lakes nestled at the foot of the mountains. In the afternoon visit Muckross House, located in the Killarney National Park a few miles outside Killarney. Tour the mansion to see the valuable furnishings and learn about the purchase of the house by wealthy Californians as a wedding gift. (B, D)
Day 7 - Sat: Dingle Peninsula Tour
Today travel along the Dingle Peninsula where you will relish stunning views of the Slieve Mish Mountains, the shoreline of Dingle Bay and the open Atlantic Ocean. Stop in Dingle, a thriving fishing town, before heading to the tip of the peninsula to see the Blasket Islands offshore. Tour the Blasket Centre in Ballyferriter to learn about the traditional way of life of the hardy islanders who inhabited the Great Blasket Island until 1953. Visit Gallarus Oratory, a tiny 6th century church which was built of unmortared stone. Return to Tralee and back to Killarney in time to relax before dinner. Killarney has a number of "singing pubs" that you might like to explore in the evening. (B, D)
Day 8 - Sun: Cliffs of Moher & Galway
Drive north from Killarney via the towns of Tralee and Listowel to Tarbert. Take a ferry across the River Shannon to visit the Cliffs of Moher, majestic walls of rock which extend five miles along the coast. Drive through part of the Burren Country, a unique region of rounded limestone hills where many rare wildflowers thrive in sheltered crevices. There are many prehistoric dolmens, a large capstone erected on two uprights. Travel around Galway Bay into the town of Galway. Check into your hotel which is located overlooking Galway Bay. (B, D)
Day 9 - Mon: "The Quiet Man" Tour & Connemara
Travel north from Galway via Headford to Cong, a delightful village made famous by the 1952 movie of "The Quiet Man." A walking tour around the village will reveal places featured in the movie. Then travel through Connemara, a region of heathery hills and bogland where sheep roam freely. See where local people harvest peat for domestic heating. Drive through Maam Cross and stop to visit the Connemara Celtic Crystal Factory for a demonstration of the craft of cutting intricate designs into colored crystal. Return to Galway. (B, D)
Day 10 - Tue: Return to the U.S.A.
Depart Galway and drive through the towns of Gort and Ennis by group coach transfer. Arrive at Shannon Airport at 10:00 am to check in for your flight and do some last minute shopping before passing through U.S. Immigration pre-clearance and boarding your aircraft. (B)
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