Ireland at Leisure

8 Day Package

An eight-day leisurely view of Ireland, considered the perfect blend of included sightseeing and time on your own.

Groups Only: March - November









Glendalough when it's not raining





Day 1  Arrival in Shannon, Ireland. To Bunratty. (Sun.) After checking into your hotel, free time to relax or sightsee. Lots to see and do within a short walk: the folk park, a "village" of thatched cottages, farmhouses, and shops depicting turn-of-the-century Irish life; a complex of smart shops in which to browse; and perhaps a refreshment at famous "Durty Nelly's" Irish pub. At 5:15 p.m. walk across to Bunratty Castle for a special welcome banquet in the company of your tour director and traveling companions, with dinner, wine, and entertainment included. (D)

Day 2 Bunratty-Limerick-Killarney. (Mon.) Spend an interesting morning in Limerick. After an orientation tour, the first stop is at the HUNT MUSEUM, with its vast collection of art and antiquity, amassed by John and Gertrude Hunt and given to the people of Ireland. Next, step further back in time for a fascinating visit to KING JOHN'S CASTLE in the medieval heritage precinct. After lunch, follow the shores of the Shannon estuary and head south to the popular resort of Killarney, your destination for the next three nights. (FB,D)

Day 3 Killarney. Excursion to Blarney and Garinish Island. (Tue.) At Blarney, renowned for its magical Stone of Eloquence, an opportunity to shop for traditional Irish handicrafts and world-famous Waterford crystal. Then head for the southernmost coast of County Cork and Bantry Bay, one of the largest natural harbors in Europe. At Glengarriff board a private boat for the short crossing to GARINISH ISLAND, whose warm waters attract colonies of seals. Follow the winding paths between the strong-scented flowering trees and shrubs of this lush, tropical island garden. Later take the mountain route, with its panoramic coastal vistas, for a visit to pretty Kenmare on the way back to Killarney. (FB)

Day 4 Killarney. Ring of Kerry Excursion. (Wed.) Unhurried sightseeing follows the popular scenic drive on the southwestern tip of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry. Focus your camera on sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and the breathtaking panorama of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. A special treat: a fun-filled, horsedrawn jaunting car ride through the national park with a stop for photos of Ross Castle set amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland. Tonight an entertaining optional evening in Tralee with dinner at the Galleon Restaurant and tickets for Siamsa Tire National Folk Theatre. (FB)

Day 5 Killarney-Dublin. (Thu.) An interesting day's drive with a stop first for photos of the Rock of Cashel where St. Patrick preached. Later, horseracing country and a visit to the IRISH NATIONAL STUD at Kildare, whose fine thoroughbreds command respect on the racecourses of the world. Drive across the Curragh and, later this afternoon, arrive in the Irish capital. Dinner is included at your hotel this evening. (FB,D)

Day 6 Dublin. (Fri.) A day to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Ireland's "Fair City." Your city tour in the company of a local guide includes statue-lined O'Connell Street, elegant Georgian squares, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Then a highlight visit to Oscar Wilde's TRINITY COLLEGE, famous for the 1,200-year-old Book of Kells and the magnificent Old Library. The rest of the day is free for you to further explore the city on your own. Your tour director can give the best dining advice for tonight. (FB)

Day 7 Dublin. Wicklow Excursion. (Sat.) Vistas of the Wicklow Mountains unfold as you head for a special visit to BALLYKNOCKEN HOUSE, a typical Irish family-run farm guesthouse, best known for its cooking school. Your host will present an entertaining HOMEBAKING DEMONSTRATION, and afterwards enjoy scones fresh from the oven, homemade cakes, and coffee, then look around the elegantly appointed guesthouse rooms. At nearby GLENDALOUGH VISITOR CENTRE see the engaging audiovisual tour "Ireland of the Monasteries" and let your local guide explain the ruins of one of the centers of Irish Celtic Christianity founded by St. Kevin. Return to Dublin after lunch for more free time in the city. Tonight's optional recommendation to celebrate your visit to Ireland is a traditional Irish dinner and cabaret show. (FB)

Day 8 (Sun.) Your homebound flight arrives the same day. (FB)

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LIMERICK Orientation drive, guided tour of the Hunt Museum, visit King John's Castle
BLARNEY Visit the famous woolen mills
GLENGARRIFF Private boat to Garinish Island
KILLARNEY Horsedrawn jaunting car ride
KILDARE Guided tour of the Irish National Stud
DUBLIN Sightseeing with a local guide, visit Trinity College
BALLYKNOCKEN HOUSE Cooking demonstration and morning coffee, scones and cakes
GLENDALOUGH Guided tour of St. Kevin's center of Irish Christianity
SCENIC HIGHLIGHTS: Garinish Island, Ring of Kerry and Lakes of Killarney, the National Park and Ross Castle, Rock of Cashel, Wicklow Mountains
MEALS: 7 full Irish breakfasts (FB); 3 three-course dinners (D) with choice of menus and coffee, including a special welcome banquet with wine at Bunratty Castle

INSIDE VISITS as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable

Quality Hotels

DUBLIN Fitzpatrick's Bunratty (SF), KILLARNEY Killarney Avenue (SF), DUBLIN Jurys Ballsbridge (SF)

 

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