Experience Castles, Cliffs and National Parks on Best of Ireland Tour
Begin Best of Ireland Tour with the Cliffs of Moher. After experiencing the stunning views from over 700 feet above sea level, enjoy the scenery as you travel to one of the most complete castles in Ireland, Bunratty. Next, walk around the recreated 19th century village that includes dwellings from each of the 32 counties of Ireland, school, surgery, shops and of course the mandatory pub. Then continue your Best of Ireland tour with what is considered as one of the prettiest villages in Ireland, Adare. Here marvel at the thatch roofed cottages that line the main street or visit the old priory and monastery before setting off for the popular town of Killarney. The following day ride in jaunting car (horse & carriage) and enjoy a magical trip through Killarney National Park to Ross Castle, a 15th century stronghold built by one of the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains and which contains 16th and 17th century oak furniture. After the Best of Ireland tour of Ross Castle, your coach will take you on the 100 mile Ring of Kerry during which you will travel through the colorful town of Sneem, Waterville – one of Charlie Chaplin’s favorite spots – and enjoy the magnificent views from Molls Gap & Ladies View. Then visit Muckross House, a magnificent Victorian mansion standing close to the shores of Muckross Lake.
Climb the Blarney Stone
After breakfast the next day, visit Blarney Castle on Best of Ireland tour where the famous Blarney Stone will be found. For those brave enough climb the ramparts of the castle and kiss the stone, which is said to grant the gift of eloquence. Then travel to Cobh where thousands of emigrants departed for a better life during the famine years and which was the last port of call of the Titanic. Next on your Best of Ireland tour, take a short journey to Midleton where the Old Jameson’s Distillery is located and learn how this world famous whiskey is distilled and of course sample the golden nectre. The following day on your Best of Irealnd tour see the House of Waterford Crystal before travelling to Cahir Castle, a 13th century fortress designed by Conor O’Brien. Continue then to the iconic Rock of Cashel, a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. Finally today relax as you travel through wonderful countryside to the medieval city of Kilkenny where, after dinner, you will enjoy a traditional Irish music walking tour accompanied by two musicians.
Head to Northern Ireland
Visit the 12th century Kilkenny Castle which was the principal seat of the Butler family, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde. Then continue of your Best of Ireland tour to the Wicklow Mountains and the 6th century monastic city at Glendalough before travelling to Northern Ireland. The following morning visit the Saint Patrick Centre, the world’s only interpretive center dedicated to Ireland’s Patron Saint. Also on the Best of Ireland tour, see the nearby cathedral where St. Patrick is buried. Then continue to Belfast which will include a panoramic tour of the city and its famous sites such as Shankill Road, The Titanic Quarter and Titanic Belfast before arriving at your 17th century castle for dinner and overnight. The following day, journey to the World Heritage site at Giant’s Causeway via the Glens of Antrim route where you can explore the basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions many years ago and search for distinctive stone formations fancifully named the Camel, Harp and Organ. Then continue on Best of Ireland tour to the 400 year old distillery at Bushmills and experience how they have “turned water into Gold” before arriving at the only walled city in Ireland, Derry.
This morning drive through the countryside to the only city in the world that has two St. Patrick Cathedrals, Armagh. You will be joined by a local city guide who will take you to both cathedrals, the public library which houses many ancient manuscripts (you can even touch some of these) and original versions of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Number 5, a museum that houses many archaeological finds from the early Christian period. The most famous High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, is buried at the Church of Ireland Cathedral and in April 2014 it will be the millennium of his death which occurred during the battle of Clontarf. Then start your journey to Ireland’s capital city with a stop at the Boyne Valley and the 5000 year old passage tombs at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. On your last full day, stop at Dublin including visits to Christ church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Michan’s Church and Crypts, Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells Exhibition and Guinness Storehouse. This evening enjoy a farewell Irish Night including dinner and a show of traditional Irish music, song and dance.