Day 1: Depart U.S. for Dublin
Depart the U.S. gateway city in the evening and fly through the night to Ireland to start your vacation.
Day 2: Dublin - Ireland's Capital
Arrive at Dublin Airport and proceed through immigration and pick up your baggage. Go to the Arrivals Hall where personnel will arrange a group transfer to your hotel between 7:00 am and 12:00 noon. If you arrive later than noon you will need to transfer to the hotel at your own expense. At 2:00 pm join your group and a local guide for a sightseeing tour of prominent public buildings and graceful Georgian houses in central Dublin. Visit the Guinness Storehouse to learn about the origins of the famous brewery and how the popular black brew is created. Finish your tour at the rooftop bar where you can learn how to draw the "perfect pint" and sample the finished product. Tour Dublin Castle's State Apartments, richly decorated chambers where many important events have taken place throughout the centuries. The evening is at leisure.
Day 3: Wicklow Mountains & Waterford Crystal
This morning leave Dublin to see the delightful scenery of the Wicklow Mountains. Stop in Glendalough Visitor Center to learn about St. Kevin's 6th century monastery and walk through the site with its round tower, church ruins and Celtic crosses. Continue to Waterford, home of the renowned hand cut crystal. In the afternoon tour the Waterford Crystal Factory to see skilled craftspeople blowing, cutting and polishing the crystal. Also see an amazing range of glassware and trophies in the showrooms. Get together with your tour group for a welcome drink before dinner. Afterwards visit the Waterford Show to trace Waterford's history through music, dance and storytelling
(May 6 - September 25 departures). (B, D)
Day 4: Blarney Castle & Lakes of Killarney
Glimpse farm life as you visit a farmhouse for morning tea and freshly baked scones. Drive along the south coast through Youghal and Cork to Blarney Castle. Here you may kiss the "stone of eloquence" which is located in the battlements and enjoy a stroll through the grounds. Then journey west through rugged countryside to Killarney, widely celebrated for its setting overlooking lakes and mountains. After checking into your centrally located hotel, you may like to browse around this busy little town. (B, D)
Day 5: Ring of Kerry Tour
Experience highlights of Ireland's natural scenery on this full day tour around the Ring of Kerry. The road winds between the Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountains on one side and the Atlantic coast on the other. The panoramic vistas change constantly and frequent stops will permit plenty of photo opportunities. Pass through Killorglin and the remote villages of Cahirciveen and Waterville at the end of the peninsula. On the return pass through the colorful village of Sneem and stop at Moll's Gap to view the three lakes of Killarney. Enjoy some free time in Killarney before dinner in your hotel. (B, D)
Day 6: Cliffs of Moher & Burren
Depart Killarney and travel north through the village of Listowel to Tarbert. Take a 20-minute ferry ride across the River Shannon estuary and drive along the coastline of County Clare to view the Cliffs of Moher, one of the country's most magnificent rock formations that rise to heights of almost 700 feet above the churning Atlantic swells. Pass through the Burren Country, an area of rocky limestone hills where a number of unique flowers thrive. This region also contains many dolmens, prehistoric monuments formed by large limestone slabs. Drive around Galway Bay before arriving at your hotel in Galway. (B, D)
Day 7: Connemara & Yeats' Country
Drive around the main sights of Galway before traveling though Connemara, a region of misty hills and open countryside, which exudes a haunting beauty. Travel via Maam Cross and Leenane to the attractive planned town of Westport with wide tree-lined streets. Continue to Foxford Woollen Mills to visit the thriving industry that was founded to provide employment in this isolated region. See old machines used in the 19th century as well as modern processing techniques. Then drive through Sligo, known as Yeats' Country as the Nobel prizewinning poet penned many of his memorable lines inspired by the loveliness of the landscape. View his grave and Drumcliffe Visitor Center in the church where his father was once rector. Journey around Donegal Bay to the seaside town of Bundoran for overnight. (B, D)
Day 8: Boyne Valley & Dublin
Depart Bundoran and drive along the picturesque shores of Lower Lough Erne to Enniskillen. As you pass through the midland region of Ireland you can see mixed farming country and bustling market towns. Near Navan visit the Boyne Valley Visitor Center where you can learn about nearby prehistoric burial sites through exhibits and audio-visual presentations. Walk through a full-sized replica of the largest tumulus, Newgrange. Drive into Dublin and check into your hotel. Celebrate the last evening of your tour at Doyle's Irish Cabaret and a full dinner of Irish specialties. (B, D)
Day 9: Depart for Home
This morning transfer to Dublin Airport in good time to check in for your flight and do some last minute shopping. (B)
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