Day 1- Tue: Depart U.S. for Dublin
Welcome aboard your overnight flight to Dublin. Dinner and continental breakfast will be served.
Day 2 - Wed: Dublin's Highlights
Arrive in Dublin Airport, complete immigration formalities and pick up your luggage. This afternoon discover the delights of central Dublin. Stop at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, an 8th century illuminated manuscript of the gospels and see the Old Library. Visit the National Gallery, one of the largest art collections in Europe and noted for paintings from the Irish School. In the evening meet your fellow travelers over a welcome drink and the balance of the evening is free.
Day 3 - Thu: Ulster American Folk Park & Derry
Depart Dublin and drive through Carrickmacross, Monaghan and other marketing towns. As you pass through the countryside, you will realize the importance of agriculture to Ireland's economy. On the outskirts of Omagh visit the Ulster American Folk Park, an outdoor museum of cottages, including that of Thomas Mellon's ancestors. See traditional cottages and displays of life in rural Ireland together with portrayals of the sea crossing to the United States and the life of colonial settlers. Continue your journey north past the Sperrin Mountains to your hotel in Derry. (B, D)
Day 4 - Fri: Derry & Malin Head
Join a local guide for a walk around central Derry, where you can see the medieval walls that once encircled the old city. Also see the Guildhall, St. Columb's Cathedral and the Diamond and delve into the city's history by visiting the Tower Museum. Then take a coastal drive around the Inishowen Peninsula, where panoramic views of long sandy beaches and rocky headlands will delight you. Stop in Buncrana, the peninsula's largest town before driving to Ireland's most northerly point of Malin Head. On a clear day you can see some of Scotland's islands from this spectacular headland. Travel along the eastern shore of Lough Foyle to return to Derry. (B, D)
Day 5 - Sat: Giant's Causeway & Old Bushmills Distillery
Drive along the north coast of Ireland to explore the Giant's Causeway, huge hexagonal columns formed over 60 million years ago. The huge rocks have given rise to many legends, especially involving Finn McCool. Stop at Old Bushmills Distillery to learn about whiskey production and enjoy a sample. The distillery received a license 1608, making it the world's oldest. Travel through the "Nine Glens of Antrim" for wonderful views of mountains, valleys and coastline. Drive to Belfast and check into your hotel for dinner and overnight stay. (B, D)
Day 6 - Sun: Belfast & Mount Stewart
Discover the Victorian highlights of Belfast with a local guide, including the Albert Memorial, the Opera House and Crown Liquor Saloon. See the imposing City Hall, dating from 1906, which dominates Donegall Square. Drive south to visit Mount Stewart House and Gardens. The fully furnished house dates from the 18th century and 80 acres of gardens reflect incomparable plant collections. Continue south along the scenic Ards Peninsula to Portaferry. Cross Strangford Lough by ferry to visit Castle Ward, an 18th century mansion with many Victorian features, set in a 700-acre estate. Drive to Newcastle for your overnight stay. (B, D)
Day 7 - Mon: St. Patrick's Grave & Newcastle
Drive a short distance to Downpatrick to visit Down Cathedral where the reputed burial place of St. Patrick is marked by a granite boulder. Then visit the recently-opened Saint Patrick Center to learn about St. Patrick's life and work and monastic life in early Christian Ireland. Take the lovely coastal route through the yachting center of Ardglass and return to Newcastle. Spend the afternoon at leisure in this charming Victorian seaside resort which is nestled at the foot of Slieve Donard, the highest peak in the Mountains of Mourne. (B, D)
Day 8 - Tue: Boyne Valley & Knowth
Travel along the coastal route passing the gentle slopes of the Mountains of Mourne and the towns of Kilkeel and Warrenpoint. Continue south to visit the Boyne Valley Visitor Center. This attractive center explains the history and construction of the nearby passage graves of Newgrange and Knowth which date from around 2,500 BC. After a video presentation to learn about the history and construction of these ancient monuments, visit Knowth to walk around and through the tumulus. Drive into Dublin and check into your hotel. Enjoy an early dinner at the Hibernian Hotel and then see a performance at either the Abbey or Gate Theatres. (B, D)
Day 9 - Wed: Return to U.S.
Transfer to Dublin Airport to arrive in time for the principal transatlantic flights. After check in you'll have time to shop at the duty free stores before U.S. Immigration pre-clearance and boarding your flight for the journey home. (B)
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