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10-Night Best of Ireland Vacation

Price: From $1160 Per Person 10 Nights

Enjoy the very Best of Ireland on this perfectly-paced tour! Begin in Dublin, and use your included 2-Day Double-Decker Bus Pass to visit her most famous and intriguing attractions. Continue by working your way south and then west, taking-in Ireland's most fabled and spectacular sights of along the way. The mystical 6th century monastery at Glendalough, stunning southwest scenery, wild yet beautiful Connemara, and Ancient Newgrange all await. Visit impressive Blarney, Ross & Rock of Cashel castles, as well as spending a night at one - Ballyseede Castle in Kerry.

                             **Use tabs above to view Itinerary, Prices & How to Book.**

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

  • 10 nights Accommodation – From City Hotel to Authentic Castle!

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 10 Full Irish Breakfasts

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Dublin 'Hop-On, Hop-Off' 2-Day Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus Pass

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Marvel at Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey
  • Shop On Famous Grafton Street
  • Stop at the Guinness Storehouse
  • Views at Killarney National Park
  • Visit Glendalough & Medieval Kilkenny City
  • Jaw-Dropping Southwest Scenery
  • Slea-Head Sightseeing
  • Take in The Rock of Cashel & Glen of Aherlow

Dublin, County Dublin

Arrive at

Arrive at Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Arrive at Dublin Airport after your overnight flight from the U.S. (not included in quoted price!)

Dublin is Ireland's main airport - located just north of Dublin City.
If you are heading downtown, it takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.
There are 2 terminals at Dublin Airport, the second of which opened to air traffic in November 2010.
Most flights from the U.S. (on Aer Lingus, Delta, United, US Airways & American Airlines) arrive into Terminal 2.


Accommodation

Davenport Hotel - More Info - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Included Experiences

Dublin Red Bus 2 Day Hop-On Hop-Off

Dublin, County Dublin

Hop on-board any Red City Sightseeing Bus and enjoy the freedom to explore Europe’s friendliest city across two great routes. Your ticket is valid for 2 days affording you ample time to visit attractions in Dublin such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle, The Guinness Storehouse & Kilmainham Gaol, to name but a few. Looking for things to do with kids in Dublin? Take the hop-on hop-off bus to The National Wax Museum, Croke Park Stadium or Dublin Zoo. The close proximity of Dublin’s main attractions mean that each stop on the tour offers lots of activities and makes Ireland’s capital the ideal location for a City Sightseeing's open top tour. Commentary is available live via witty & knowledgeable driver/guides, who have all kissed the Blarney stone at least once! Visit All of Dublin’s free Museums & Galleries, ask your driver about the free walking tour, or just relax and enjoy the view. City Sightseeing makes it easy to discover the best that Dublin has to offer.


Overnight Location

Dublin, County Dublin

On the Map: Dublin, Ireland's Capital City is located on the east coast of the country, and is well served by infrastructure linking it to all parts of the Emerald Isle.

Dublin is a lively cosmopolitan city brimming with culture. You could spend your time strolling the streets soaking up the atmosphere, relaxing in its cafes and bars or you could check out its myriad historical, literary and cultural delights. The 8th century illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, must be viewed. It is on display at the impressive Trinity College, Ireland's first university (founded 1592) in the heart of Dublin. For the rest of your time, it is up to you how much you want to pack in. Phoenix Park (twice the size of New York City's Central Park), Georgian Dublin around Stephen's Green, Dublin Castle, the National Botanical Gardens, National Museum, Kilmainham Gaol and the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery are all highly recommended stops on your tour. Then there's the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery.  A visit to Dublin's Temple Bar to experience the lively Dublin pub culture is a must, though many of Dublin's best bars can be found outside this area in the streets and laneways around Grafton Street, the shopper's street of choice. Purchasing a 'hop-on, hop-off' Dublin Bus Tour ticket is a great way to get around and see all the major sites at a very reasonable cost.


Must-See Sites

Grafton Street, County Dublin

On The Map: Grafton Street runs from Saint Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north

Grafton Street is without doubt Ireland's premier shopping street - in terms of retail rent, it's the fifth most expensive in the world! With beautiful historic buildings housing iconic Irish businesses such as Brown Thomas, Weir & Sons and Bewley’s Grafton Street Café, Grafton Street offers an experience that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. Since the 1980s, the street has been mostly pedestrianized, with the exception of a short stretch that contains two notable Dublin landmarks: The 18th century Trinity College Provost's House, home to the head of the college, and the more recent statue of Molly Malone, which has become a popular Dublin meeting place. If shopping's not your thing, Grafton Street is still worth checking out. It's a bustling, atmospheric spot, and high quality street performers including musicians, poets and mime-artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds.


Guinness Storehouse, County Dublin

On The Map: The Guinness Storehouse is centrally located in Dublin City at St. James Gate, just off Crane Street and south of the River Liffey. The Storehouse is a leisurely 20 minute stroll west of Trinity College.

Come and explore Ireland’s top visitor attraction, providing an unforgettable welcome and a magical journey deep into the heart of the world famous Guinness brand and company. The Guinness Storehouse is located in the heart of the Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate, Dublin. Housed in an old fermentation plant, the seven-story visitor experience tells the epic tale of Ireland’s iconic drink and brings to life the heritage of Guinness from early days to growth as a global brand, known all around the world. The experience starts standing at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass, which rises through the building.  It’s a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in The Gravity Bar where visitors will receive a complimentary pint of Guinness while relaxing and enjoying spectacular views over Dublin. 


Trinity College, County Dublin

On The Map: Trinity College is located in the heart of Dublin City. Just south of the River Liffey, the campus grounds are bordered by Grafton, College, Pearse, Nassau & Leinster Streets.

Time spent in Dublin would not be complete without a visit to Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st, it is one of the oldest universities in the British Isles, and the very oldest in Ireland. Standing on a self contained site in the very heart of Dublin, the College itself covers some 35 acres of cobbled squares and green spaces surrounded by buildings which represent the accumulated architectural riches of nearly three centuries. Although Trinity offers much of interest to the visitor, the crown jewel is without doubt the Book of Kells. The Book is an 'illuminated manuscript', globally celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as 'insular majuscule'. Written in the 9th century, it has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid-19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year.


Dublin, County Dublin

Accommodation

Davenport Hotel - More Info - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Temple Bar, County Dublin

On The Map: Temple Bar lies in the heart of Dublin City. Located on the south bank of the River Liffey, and just west of Trinity College and Grafton Street.

The lively and vibrant Temple Bar District - Dublin's Cultural Quarter, is well worth a visit. Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets, and is home to many cultural organizations, such as the Irish Film Centre & Project Arts Centre. There is a great array of small galleries and stores to choose from, but Temple Bar is probably best known for being Dublin's major nightlife centre. The area comes alive after dark, with many pubs, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from. Temple Bar may not be for everyone, but can never be described as boring!


Saint Patrick's Cathedral, County Dublin

On The Map: Saint Patrick's Cathedral is located in the heart of Dublin City, just south of the River Liffey, and west of such landmarks as Trinity College and Grafton Street. The Cathedral is located at the junction of Patrick Street and Upper Kevin Street.

Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral has contributed much to Irish life since its founding in 1191. The Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well, at which St Patrick himself reportedly baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. The writer and satirist Jonathan Swift was Dean of Saint Patrick's from 1713 to 1747, and is buried within the church. In a romantic twist, Esther Johnson (Stella) is buried next to Swift. Although never married, Swift had a life-long, intense and mysterious relationship with Stella, and she was an inspiration for much of his work. Handel's Messiah received its first performance there in 1742, sung by the combined choir of Saint Patrick's and Christ Church. Music has played an integral part in the life of Saint Patrick's since its foundation and it is the only cathedral in these islands to sing two services every day. Living Stones, the cathedral's permanent exhibition, celebrates Saint Patrick's place in the life of the city, its history and its role at the dawn of the third millennium. It emphasises that the cathedral is not a museum, but a building embracing the past to herald the future.


Dublin Castle, County Dublin

Since its foundation in 1204 Dublin Castle has been at the heart of the history and evolution of the city.  Today, spanning an area of over 44,000 square meters (11 acres), the site contains 2 museums, 2 cafés, an international conference centre, 2 gardens, Government Buildings and the State Apartments which are the most important state rooms in the country. The grounds of the site are free to explore, as is the Chapel Royal, the Chester Beatty Library, the Garda Museum and the Revenue Museum.  Access to the State Apartments is by guided tour only and tickets may be purchased from the Apartments in the Upper Castle Yard.


Dublin Museums, County Dublin

Dublin has long been recognized as a center of art & culture. The city is literally awash with interesting museums and galleries of all types and sizes.
It's impossible to make note of them all, but three of the best are:
The Chester Beatty Library: Alfred Chester Beatty, a New Yorker donated a fantastic collection of books to the city of Dublin. Highlights include papyrus scripts, valuable copies of the Koran, Buddhist & Far Eastern literature, as well as early mediaeval manuscripts.
National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology: Enter this museum and be transported back in time to almost 7000BC! Gold and other treasures recount a varied Irish history through Christian and pre-Christian times. A range of exhibitions also present artifacts from many other cultures and regions.
National Gallery: Here you can admire European works of art from the late Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century. As well as Irish artists, the Gallery also boasts works by Angelico, Goya, Gainsborough & Reynolds, to name but a few.


Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Accommodation

Ormonde Hotel - More Info - Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 4:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Enroute Sightseeing

Glendalough, County Wicklow

On the Map: Glendalough is located in County Wicklow, in the east of Ireland - just 1 hour south of Dublin City. Scenically nestled in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough is served by a network of small country roads. From the northeast (Dublin), travel on the R755/R756, from everywhere else, arrive from the west on the R756.

Glendalough ("The Glen of the Two Lakes"), is the site upon which St. Kevin founded a unique monastic settlement in the 6th century. Most of what remains of the settlement is in ruins but the Round Tower at Glendalough, built as a refuge from marauding Vikings, is over a 1000 years old and is remarkably well preserved. The site itself is set next to two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep glacial valley. It is one of the most serene and beautiful places in all Ireland and it is easy to see why the monks picked it for a place of prayer and contemplation. There are a myriad of walking trails throughout the area making it a truly invigorating place to spend the day.


Enroute Sightseeing

Avoca Village, County Wicklow

On the Map: Nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, Avoca is reached via a network of country roads. 1 hour/ 66km south of Dublin City in eastern Ireland, Avoca is most easily accessed from the N11 road that runs parallel to Ireland's east coast.

In Avoca Village, you will find the "Meeting of the Waters" - the point at which the Avonmore and Avonbeg Rivers come together to form the Avoca River. Avoca is home to Ireland's oldest woollen mill, Avoca Handweavers, established in 1723. This family-owned craft design company began at the Old Mill where weavers produced the beautifully woven fabrics which became Avoca's hallmark. In recent years, Avoca became famous for being the setting of the popular BBC soap opera "Ballykissangel".


Overnight Location

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

On the Map: Kilkenny City is located in County Kilkenny, in the southeast midlands of Ireland. Kilkenny is well-served by a good network of roads - the M9/N10 from Dublin (to the northeast) and N9/N10 from Waterford City (to the south).

Kilkenny, or the Marble City as it is known, is one of Ireland's oldest towns, and proud of it. Its array of ancient buildings is unrivalled. It is renowned for being a vibrant cultural center, devoted to the musical and visual arts. Its two most impressive landmarks are Kilkenny Castle, founded in 1172 and privately owned until 1967, and St. Canice's Cathedral. The current structure of the cathedral dates from the 13th century, though this is nowhere near the beginning of its story, which is rich in folklore and legend. There is no shortage of pubs to explore and enjoy in Kilkenny and during the summer the city is always full of life. The summer also sees the city host an Arts Festival and a very highly regarded Comedy Festival called the Cat Laughs.


Must-See Sites

Kilkenny Castle, County Kilkenny

On The Map: Kilkenny Castle is situated in the heart of mediaeval Kilkenny City, in the southeast midlands of Ireland.

Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height, commanding a crossing of the River Nore and dominating the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. The original castle was constructed in the early 13th century for the 4th Earl of Pembroke. The Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family, and remained so for almost 600 years from 1391 to 1967. The Butler ownership ended when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50. Due to major restoration works, the central block now includes a library, drawing room, and bedrooms decorated in 1830's splendour, as well as the beautiful Long Gallery. A suite of former servant's rooms is the Butler Art Gallery, which mounts frequently changing exhibitions of contemporary art.  The Parade Tower is the Castle's conference venue.


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

International Hotel - More Info - Killarney, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check in time is after 2pm on your arrival day. Check out time is 12 noon.


Enroute Sightseeing

Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

On the Map: Cashel is located in County Tipperary in the southern midlands of Ireland. The main M8 motorway connecting the major cities of Dublin (to the northeast) and Cork (to the southwest) passes right by the town.

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig), more formally St. Patrick's Rock, is also known as Cashel of the Kings. One of the most visited sites in Ireland, The Rock is a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on a rocky outcrop of limestone, looming above the town of Cashel, County Tipperary. There is a 12th Century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century castle and the Hall of the Vicars. Long before the Norman invasion The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. The buildings represent both Hiberno-Romanesque and Germanic influences in their architecture. The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.


Enroute Sightseeing

Glen of Aherlow, County Tipperary

On the Map: The Glen of Aherlow is located in County Tipperary in the southern midlands of Ireland. It stretches from the N24 road, just south of the heritage town of Tipperary, through sixteen miles of unspoilt countryside.

The Glen of Aherlow is a quiet country valley, secluded but not isolated, and affords some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. The Glen sits between the Galtee mountains on the south and the Slievenamuck Ridge on the North. The Galtees, Ireland's highest inland mountain range, boast five spectacular corrie lakes, dominated by a variety of magnificent peaks including Galteemore at 3,018 ft. This expansive vista is further enhanced by the many streams cascading down the face of the mountain. The foothills are forested, as is the 12 miles of the Slievenamuck ridge, providing the walker with a variety of delightful woodland trails.


Overnight Location

Killarney, County Kerry

On the Map: Killarney is located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is reached via the N22 from Tralee/ Limerick (to the north) and the N22 from Cork City (to the southeast).

Killarney lies on the edge of the astoundingly beautiful Killarney National Park, with its three magnificent lakes and the spectacular MacGillycuddy Reeks mountain range. The park is also home to Muckross House and Gardens. Killarney is a wonderful base for all manner of activities including angling and water sports, golf, riding, orienteering, hiking, cycling, and canoeing. The town itself is quite small but full of charm - this you will soon see as you walk down the brick footpaths and pass curious old-style shop fronts. Killarney is well known for its excellent shops, restaurants and cosmopolitan appeal. It is also renowned for its evening entertainment including many singing pubs, cabarets, dancing venues, and banquets. Traditional Irish music can also be heard in many of the local pubs on a nightly basis.


Must-See Sites

Killarney National Park, County Kerry

On the Map: Killarney is located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is reached via the N22 from Tralee/ Limerick (to the north) and the N22 from Cork City (to the southeast).

On the southwestern edge of Killarney Town lies an untamed, rugged & mountainous country. The area includes the McGillycuddy's Reeks, Ireland's highest mountain range. At the foot of these mountains nestle the world famous lakes of Killarney. Here, where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, you'll discover the 26,000 acre Killarney National Park . The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies, lends the area a special scenic beauty. The Park contains many features of national and international importance such as the native oakwoods and yew woods, together with an abundance of evergreen trees and shrubs. A profusion of bryophytes and lichens thrive in the mild Killarney climate. The native red deer are unique in Ireland, with a presence in the country since the last Ice Age. At the heart of the National Park is Muckross House and Gardens. The house, a late 19th century mansion features period furnishings and artefacts and is a major visitor attraction in itself. Killarney National Park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

International Hotel - More Info - Killarney, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check in time is after 2pm on your arrival day. Check out time is 12 noon.


Must-See Sites

Ross Castle, County Kerry

On The Map: Ross Castle is located on the southern outskirts of Killarney, County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. From Killarney town centre, head south on the N71/Muckross Road for Kenmare. Ross Road is right turn off the N71, and is well signposted.

Ross castle overlooks the Lower Lake in Killarney, and commands magnificent views of Purple Mountain, Innisfallen Island & Ross Island. The Castle is a typical example of an Irish Chieftain stronghold during the Middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but construction was most likely completed in the late 15th century, by one of the O'Donoghue Ross chieftains. The castle is surrounded by a fortified bawn, and its curtain walls defended by circular flanking towers, two of which remain. Ross was the last Munster stronghold to hold out against Oliver Cromwell's infamous British forces, before eventually being taken by General Ludlow in 1652. The castle contains an impressive collection of 16th & 17th century oak furniture. Legend has it that Brian Boru, Ireland's most famous High King was educated on the site of the castle by the Monks in the 9th Century. Please note that this is a very popular attraction, and visitors may experience a delay entering the castle during the busy summer months.


Killarney to Kenmare, County Kerry

We appreciate that your time in Ireland is precious, and you simply won't be able to do absolutely everything. Completing the 110 mile Ring of Kerry, for example, might be a stretch on this tour. We do however highly recommend that you at least drive the section from Killarney to Kenmare (or vice-versa), which forms a portion of the Ring. It's only 30 kilometres/ 30 minutes each way on a narrow, winding road, but you are scenically rewarded at almost every turn. Highlights include 'Ladies View', so named for the excitement the vista illicited from Queen Victoria's Ladies-in-Waiting, during her famous 1861 visit. There's a little cafe and plenty of spots to pull in and admire the view that so stimulated the Royal Entourage 150 years ago! A little further along the road, you'll arrive at Moll's Gap. Set high on a rocky ridge, The Gap overlooks mountains, rivers, lush countryside and the famous Lakes of Killarney, with truly breathtaking views - Carrauntoohill, Ireland's highest mountain to one side, the Gap of Dunloe to the other. There's also an Avoca Store & Cafe at The Gap, selling the finest of Irish goods and souvenirs.


Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

On the Map: The Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula) is in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. Killarney is the usual starting point for people completing the Ring, although Kenmare is another good option for this purpose. The N70 road encircles the entire peninsula.

The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most scenic touring routes. At 110 miles long, it circles the awe-inspiring Iveragh Peninsula. You’ll feel as if you have moved into nature’s mystic arena, and truly you have, as you pass between soft mountains, through forest glades, around bogs, rivers, lakes and pristine beaches. The road between the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountains presents secret passes and valleys dotted along the fabled shores of Dingle and Kenmare Bays. Ireland’s natural beauty sings throughout the Ring of Kerry. You may wish to explore several charming villages along the route, including Glenbeigh, Waterville, and Sneem. Stroll and talk to people—this is what makes your travel experience unique. The Ring attracted Ireland’s first settlers, and has a wealth of ancient sites. A 6th century monastery, clinging to the windswept cliffs of the Skellig Islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Staigue Stone Fort is an Iron Age stronghold dating from 300BC. This is also an area of Ogham Stones, the first mysterious forms of writing and art, nestled along the Ring. Follow the drive to Killarney by way of the Ladies View and the legendary Lakes of Killarney and the National Park. The Ring of Kerry is the stuff of dreams and lifelong memories.


Kenmare, County Kerry

On the Map: Kenmare is located in scenic County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is accessed via the scenic N71 road that connects the cities of Killarney (to the north) & Glengarriff (to the south).

Kenmare, with its pastel coloured houses, is along with Killarney, a usual starting point for the Ring of Kerry round trip. The small charming town, founded by a handful of Englishmen in 1670, has every tourist convenience imaginable, including 2 of the most luxurious hotels in Ireland, both of which have been awarded much coveted Michelin stars: The Park Hotel and Sheen Falls Lodge. Kenmare boasts a remarkable number of excellent restaurants and quality pubs for a town of its size, and has garnered a fantastic reputation as a gourmet destination in recent years. Owing to its enviable location adjacent to Kenmare Bay and the River Finnehy, all set against the backdrop of the Kerry Mountains, Kenmare's picturesque aspect is hard to match.


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

International Hotel - More Info - Killarney, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check in time is after 2pm on your arrival day. Check out time is 12 noon.


Must-See Sites

Blarney, County Cork

On the Map: Blarney is located in County Cork in the south of Ireland. The village is a mere 20 minutes/ 11km northwest of Cork City. It is accessed via the R617, which intersects with the main N20 (Limerick City to Cork City) road just north of Cork City.

Blarney is a charming village, most renowned for its famous castle and stone. The impressive Blarney Castle, perched on solid limestone, dates from 1446 and is situated on magnificent grounds. The castle was constructed by one of Ireland's greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since.To acquire 'The Gift of Gab' one must kiss the Blarney Stone - located just beneath the battlements at the very top of Blarney Castle. This involves bending over backwards at quite a height - perhaps not to be attempted by the faint-hearted! Rumor has it that if you kiss the legendary 'Stone of Eloquence', you'll never again be lost for words!


Cobh, County Cork

On the Map: Cobh is a picturesque town situated on Great Island in Cork Harbour off Ireland's southern coast. Just southeast of Cork City, the island is connected to mainland Ireland by both rail and road.

Cobh has a relatively short history by Irish standards. It was established in 1750, but has played an important role in Ireland's past. From 1848 to 1950, over six million Irishmen and women emigrated from Ireland and over 2.5 million of these departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration in Ireland. Many of those emigrating left from Cobh and sailed to America to start a new life. You can find out more about Cobh's role in Irish emigration at the fascinating "Queenstown Story" visitor attraction at the Cobh railway station. Highly recommended! Cobh is also famous for being the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic, which sank after striking an iceberg on Sunday April 14, 1912. Though a tragic story, Cobh has become quite a draw for romantic couples, ever since the release of the famous 1997 movie! Today, Cobh is a pleasant town with streets that climb up the steep slope of a hill to the top where the impressive St. Coleman's Cathedral stands. There are wonderful restaurants to choose from, many serving fresh seafood dishes.


Cork, County Cork

On the Map: Cork City is located off the southern coast of Ireland. As Ireland's second city, it is well served by good roads - The M8 northeast to Dublin, the N20 north to Limerick & the N25 east to Waterford.

In the bustling city of Cork (often referred to as 'Ireland's Second Capital'), stroll the river walk at the University and pop into the Glucksman Gallery.  Relax in a café, and hit Shandon Street, just a short walk from the main shopping district.  Climb the 120 foot steeple, and ring the bells of Shandon.  Soak up the city views as they fade into the countryside. Award-winning restaurants line the streets, and nightlife choices include Irish Traditional, classy nightclubs, theater, opera, plays, and dance.  (Take the haunted night tour of the city jail—it’s a great way to start your evening with a bang.) Of course, there’s the Jameson Old Middleton Distillery in east Cork.  Learn how Irish whiskey is made, and finish with a tasting. 


Kinsale, County Cork

On the Map: Kinsale is located in County Cork on Ireland's southern coast. From the main N71 road connecting Cork City (to the north) & Skibbereen/ Bantry (to the west), Kinsale is accessible via a variety of country roads.

Located just 16 miles from Cork City in a naturally protected harbour, Kinsale is one of the most picturesque, popular and fashionable towns on the southwest coast. Kinsale is a centre for yachting, sea angling, gourmet eating and golf. Restaurants in Kinsale pride themselves on their high reputation for culinary expertise, and the Good Food Circle has been organizing a Gourmet Festival here every autumn for over 25 years.  A charming town, its narrow streets are steeped in history and its harbour is always full of boats. Visit the museum housed in the French Prison or, just outside the town, the star-shaped Charles Fort with its spectacular views, before retiring to one of the town's many cozy atmospheric pubs.


Tralee, County Kerry

Accommodation

Ballyseede Castle - More Info - Tralee, County Kerry

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2pm. If your arrival will be earlier, please call the property on 066 712 5799.


Enroute Sightseeing

Conor Pass, County Kerry

On the Map: The Conor Pass is located just northeast of Dingle town on the Spa Road.

The Conor Pass is the highest mountain pass in Ireland, and provides the most dramatic and scenic way of entering or leaving Dingle. This narrow, twisting road runs between the town of Dingle and Kilmore Cross on the north side of the peninsula, where roads fork to Cloghane/Brandon or Castlegregory. The views from the road are breathtaking, as the glaciated landscape of mountains and corrie lakes comes into view. From the scenic carpark at the summit there are views as far as the Aran Islands, located off the coast of County Galway


Enroute Sightseeing

Slea Head, County Kerry

On The Map: Slea Head is located on the Dingle Peninsula in the south west of Ireland. From Dingle town, head west on the R559 that encircles Slea Head and eventually returns to Dingle.

The Slea Head Drive is a circular route, beginning and ending in Dingle, that takes in a large number of ancient & megalithic attractions as well as offering stunning views on the western end of the peninsula. The route is clearly labelled by road signs throughout its length. To properly enjoy the Drive, a half-day should be set aside for the journey. The route is suitable for motorists, but is also ideal for cyclists: it is possible to hire a bike at a number of locations in Dingle.


Enroute Sightseeing

Dingle, County Kerry

On the Map: Dingle is located in County Kerry on the beautiful southwest coast of Ireland. The town is most easily accessible via the N86 road from Tralee, a major town 50 minutes/ 50km to the east.

The residents of Dingle, or An Daingean as it is now officially known, are the envy of everyone in Ireland. They live in what many agree is the most beautiful part in the country, in a strikingly attractive fishing village with fantastic pubs, rousing music, great restaurants and more characters per head of population than anywhere in the world. The key to Dingle is to visit as many pubs as you can while there. Seek out the old pubs frequented by the locals, sit up to the bar, order a drink and prepare to be entertained! The Dingle Peninsula on which the town is located is littered with ancient archeological sites including stone forts and many beehive huts. Scenically, the Peninsula is an absolute delight with every turn of the road revealing more of the achingly beautiful landscape. One highlight is the Slea Head loop drive from Dingle which is easily driven in an hour or cycled in an afternoon. For the energetic, a day spent climbing Mount Brandon, the peninsula's highest, will be richly rewarded. The views from the top on a clear day are absolutely stunning.


Overnight Location

Tralee, County Kerry

On the Map: Tralee lies on the scenic southwest coast of Ireland in County Kerry. The town is accessed via the N21 from Limerick (to the northeast) and N22/N21 from Cork City (to the southeast).

Tralee is the capital town of County Kerry, and is almost 800 years old. Its setting is lovely, surrounded by mountains, and looking out over a sheltered bay. Today Tralee has all the facilities of a county capital: historic buildings, spacious parks, superb golf courses, horse and greyhound racing stadium, vibrant night-life and a range of all-weather visitor attractions unmatched anywhere in Ireland. If you want to see a show that truly reflects the wealth of Irish culture, then go to one at Siamsa Tíre Theatre. You don’t have to speak or understand Irish to appreciate the magic they create on stage. The end of August sees the hosting of the International Rose of Tralee Festival - Ireland's largest festival.


Galway, County Galway

Accommodation

Kilbrack House - More Info - Galway, County Galway

B&B
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 2:00pm & 6:00pm on your day of arrival. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the B&B owners in advance on 091 590 802.


Enroute Sightseeing

Bunratty, County Clare

On the Map: Bunratty is located in the west of Ireland in County Clare. The main N18/M18 road connecting the cities of Limerick (to the south) & Ennis (to the north) passes right by the village. Shannon Airport is only 15 minutes to the west, also accessed via the N18/M18.

In Bunratty Village, one can enjoy the medieval grandeur that awaits in Bunratty Castle and its lively Folk Park. The castle, overlooking the River Shannon, is in excellent condition and well worth a visit. It is one of the finest surviving examples of an Irish tower house, and it's current peaceful and picturesque state belies its bloody and violent history. The strategic location of the castle on the river Shannon ensured it was the focal point of many battles, and it has it has been destroyed and re-built on at least eight occasions. The Folk Park adjoins the castle and vividly portrays what everyday life was like in rural Ireland about 100 years ago. It contains reconstructed farmhouses, cottages and shops, replete with authentic furnishings. The Park is a living museum: animals are tended, bread is baked, milk is churned, walls are whitewashed and roofs are thatched. You may visit an Irish farmhouse, watch the blacksmith fit a horseshoe, or attend a weaving demonstration. The village also reflects the fundamental changes that led to increased mobility in Irish society. Once you've explored the Castle & Folk Park, be sure to sample a relaxing cup of tea and freshly baked scones in one of the quaint thatched cottage cafes. The famous Durty Nelly's pub is in the heart of town, adjacent to the castle.


Enroute Sightseeing

Adare Heritage Village, County Limerick

On the Map: Adare is located just 20km southwest of Limerick City / 43km south of Shannon Airport. The main N21 road (connecting the cities of Limerick & Tralee/Killarney) passes right through the centre of the village.

Adare is a quaint picturesque place, lined with traditional thatched-roof cottages. Snuggled in a wooded and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Ireland's prettiest and most unique village. Situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: "Ath Dara" - the "ford of the oak" - from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of world famous, ornate, thatched cottages line part of the village's broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins. Situated in the centre of County Limerick, with just 15 minutes from Limerick City and 45 minutes from Shannon Airport, Adare Village is an ideal base from which to explore County Limerick's many visitor attractions such as Lough Gur and King John's Castle.


Overnight Location

Galway, County Galway

On the Map: Galway is a coastal city, located in County Galway in the west of Ireland. Galway is well-served by a good network of roads - the M6/N6 from Dublin (to the east) and M18/N18 from Limerick & Cork (to the south).

In a recent nationwide survey the people of Galway were found to be Ireland's happiest! And visiting Galway City, the capital of their county it is not hard to see why. It is a lively university city of narrow streets, quaint shopfronts, bustling pubs and stunning surrounding scenery. It has always attracted a bohemian mix of musicians, artists and intellectuals and that attitude is palpable as you walk the streets. Galway has been commercially important since the 11th century when it was a centre for trade with Spain and Portugal. In 1477 Christopher Columbus paid a visit. Galway earned the title “City of the Tribes” around that time, when it was ruled by 14 wealthy merchant families. Today it is lively, with loads of things to do, and is so popular that it can get very crowded in summer, especially during the annual Galway Races. The annual Arts Festival also attracts thousands, especially for its street parade, organized by the multi-award winning production company, Macnas. Its famous Druid Theatre produces and stages plays and has toured internationally, winning awards, including Tonys on Broadway.


Must-See Sites

Salthill, County Galway

On The Map: Salthill is a coastal suburb of Galway City in the west of Ireland. The seaside resort is located just 3.5 kilometres west of town.

Salthill, once a small seaside resort west of Galway City, is now an important suburb of this ever-expanding town. The Promenade at Salthill is approx. 2 miles long, and offers wonderful views over Galway Bay. On clear days, the hills of County Clare are visible across the bay, and benches are provided along the seafront. Aside from its great location, Salthill offers much to the visitor.  The Leisureland complex, with its host of children's entertainments, including an indoor heated swimming pool, is always popular with the young, while the 'golden half-mile' of casinos, pubs and gourmet restaurants cater to older clientelle. Galway Bay and its lapping waters will always be the main attraction, however, and the visitor has a host of safe, sandy beaches from which to choose. Swimming, sunbathing, sail-boarding, snorkelling, sea angling and high board diving, can be enjoyed here. For the less energetic, a stroll along Ireland's longest promenade, is strongly recommended, for the fresh Galway Bay sea air is a tonic in itself!


Galway, County Galway

Accommodation

Kilbrack House - More Info - Galway, County Galway

B&B
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 2:00pm & 6:00pm on your day of arrival. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the B&B owners in advance on 091 590 802.


Must-See Sites

Connemara National Park, County Galway

On The Map: Connemara National park is located in County Galway in the west of Ireland. The main park entrance is close to the village of Letterfrack on the main N59 road that connects Clifden to the south, and Westport to the northeast.

Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park's mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980. Much of the present Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard 'Humanity Dick' Martin, who helped form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. The Park has a Visitor's Centre (open March to October), that offers an audio-visual presentation about the region. 4 rewarding hiking trails begin at the centre, and a tea-room, playground and picnic area are also available. As well as its great natural beauty, many remains of human presence can be found in the Park. The oldest are megalithic court tombs some 4,000 years old. There is also an early 19th century graveyard about which little is known. Ruined houses, a disused lime kiln, old sheep pens, an ice house, drainage systems and old walls in various parts of the Park, are all evidence of a greater population and more extensive use of these lands in the past.


Kylemore Abbey, County Galway

On the Map: Kylemore Abbey is located in County Galway, in the midwest of Ireland. The Abbey is accessed via the N59 road that connects the towns of Clifden (to the southwest) and Westport (to the northeast). 

Set in the Connemara mountains is Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful neo-Gothic Castle. Given it's picture-perfect location, Kylemore is often touted as Ireland's most romantic castle. Built by the English industrialist Mitchell Henry in 1868, visitors to the three reception rooms in the Abbey are touched by its history steeped in romance and tragedy. Kylemore Castle was sold to Benedictine nuns fleeing war-torn Belgium in 1920 and the Castle became an Abbey. The Community of Nuns re-opened their International Boarding School here and also established a day school for local girls. Mitchell Henry built the recently re-opened Neo-Gothic Church (under restoration) between 1877 and 1881 as a memorial to his wife following her untimely death. The Church, a ‘cathedral in miniature’, is a centre of reflection and prayer for many visitors. Visitors can also see the Mausoleum where the original owners are buried.


Sky Road, Clifden, County Galway

On The Map: The Sky Road drive begins in Clifden Town. Clifden is located on Ireland's west coast in the Connemara Region of County Galway. Clifden is reached via the N59 road from Galway to the southeast, and Westport to the northeast.

The Sky Road is an exhilarating 11km/7ml circular drive west of Clifden Town. The Sky Road is well signposted from Clifden. You will first pass Abbeyglen Castle Hotel (on your left), and after approx 400 metres beyond the hotel, take a look back towards Clifden. The 12 Bens mountains provide a wonderful backdrop to the town, and its two church spires, complete Clifden's distinctive skyline. The scenery along the Sky Road is quite simply, stunning. As you travel, the Sky Road separates into the lower and upper roads. The lower road takes you along the shoreline, and although pleasant, the upper road is more popular, owing to the commanding views it offers over the entire area. As the upper road rises, you are treated to breathtaking island & coastline views. There is a good-sized car park at the highest point of the upper road for wonderful photo opportunities. If you continue along the Sky Road thereafter, you will eventually join the main N59 Road, a few kilometres north of Clifden.


Celbridge, County Kildare

Accommodation

Celbridge Manor - More Info - Celbridge, County Kildare

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out before 11:00am.


Enroute Sightseeing

Clonmacnoise, County Offaly

On the Map: Clonmacnoise is located on the banks of the River Shannon in the very middle of Ireland. The major town of Athlone is only a few miles to the north, through which the main M6 road passes. The M6 connects Dublin City (to the east) and Galway City (to the west)

The ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise is situated at the crossroads of Ireland in County Offaly and dates back almost 1,500 years. St. Ciaran, the son of an Ulsterman who had settled in Connaught, chose the site in 545 AD because of its ideal location at the junction of river and road travel in Celtic Ireland. The location borders the three provinces of Connaught, Munster and Leinster. The monastery is on the east side of the River Shannon, in what was then the Kingdom of Meath, but occupying a position so central it was the burial-place of many of the kings of Connaught as well as those of Tara. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th  -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave-slabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of grave-slabs are on display in the visitor centre. The long and varied history of Clonmacnoise is recounted in an audiovisual presentation shown in the visitor centre. There are also exhibitions that are dedicated to the flora, fauna and landscape of the region.


Enroute Sightseeing

Belvedere House & Gardens, County Westmeath

On The Map: Belvedere House is located just south of the town of Mullingar in County Meath. The Estate is easily accesseed from the M6 motorewsay connecting Dublin & Galway. Exit the M6 at Junction 4 and proceed north on the N52 road for approx. 11 kilometres.

Belvedere House & Gardens is a magnificent 160 acre Lakeside Estate, replete with a fully restored 18th century Georgian Villa. The Estate includes a Victorian Walled Garden, The Enchanted Glen - a secret Faery Garden, and a number of 'Romantic Follies', including the largest in Ireland - 'The Jealous Wall'. Belvedere House was designed by the famous architect Richard Castles, and was built for Lord Belvedere in 1740, as an 'escape' from the ordeals of family life at his nearby main residence - Gaulstown House. Robert's wife, Mary Molesworth, spent 31 years under house arrest at Gaulstown, owing to a suspected affair, and led to Robert being known as The Wicked Earl! A different but related argument with his brother George, led to Robert erecting the Jealous Wall in 1760 to block his view of his brothers much larger house, Rochfort (now Tudenham) house!


Overnight Location

Celbridge, County Kildare

On The Map: Celbridge is located 23 miles west of Dublin City. It is most easily accessed by the R403 & R405 roads, which intersect with the main M4 Motorway connecting Dublin & Galway Cities.

The development of Celbridge commenced with the building of Kildrought House in 1720. The present day houses on Main Street and in the town centre were built over the subsequent two hundred year period. Celbridge boasts several important historical buildings and famous sons. Number 22 Main Street was for a time occupied by Richard Guinness and his son Arthur was born there. Arthur went on to form the Guinness Brewery. Castletown House (pictured), was constructed in 1722, and is situated at the end of an avenue extending from the main street of Celbridge. Castletown is Ireland's largest and arguably finest Palladian Country House. Two features of particular note are the 80-foot blue and gold Long Gallery, and the main cantilevered staircase. Reputedly, only three staircases of this kind were ever constructed, and one lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, aboard the doomed Titanic. Celbridge Abbey was built in 1703, and is another beautiful structure, with many tales of woe to tell. In recent years Celbridge has expanded dramatically, yet most of the towns services and amenities still centre on the single main street.


Must-See Sites

Boyne Valley, County Meath

On the Map: The Boyne Valley is a fairly large region located in the east of Ireland in County Meath. Only 30 minutes/ 20km north of Dublin City, the Boyne Valley is accessed via the N2 or N3 roads heading northwest from the city.

The Boyne Valley contains the largest and most decorated megalithic sites in all of Ireland and has been described as "the largest and most important expression of prehistoric megalithic art in Europe". The large Megalithic sites were built over 5000 years ago between 3800 and 3200 BC, built before both Stonehenge in England and the great pyramids in Egypt. Within a three square mile radius in the Boyne Valley are grouped more than 30 prehistoric monuments including the great passage tombs and their satellite structures, standing stones, barrows and other enclosures. The great sites of the Boyne Valley include Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Loughcrew, Fourknocks and the Hill of Tara. Neolithic communities built these sites over earlier sacred spots and it is suspected that they were used for a combination of different purposes, including use as burial tombs, sacred temples and astronomical observatories. The nearby towns of Trim, Slane and Navan make ideal bases from which to explore the area.


Depart From

Depart from Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Return to Dublin Airport at least two hours prior to your flight's scheduled departure. This will allow ample time to check in for your flight home.

After check-in and passenger security, browse the array of shops on offer at 'The Loop' in Dublin Airport. With an extensive range of stores, bars and cafes, any spare time you have will fly!


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Dec 5, 2016 by Donald Barratt. Your Hometown: Lombard

Our Vacation was outstanding. The hotel (City stay St. Augustine) in Dublin was centrally located to everything we wanted to visit. The staff there was courteous, and helpful.Our visit to Roscommon was grand, and our stay at Gleeson's B & B was also nice with great food.Authentic Ireland did a great job setting everything up, and making our vacation worry free.A million thanks to Lonna a job well done.

“5 days in Ireland”

Dec 5, 2016 by Dan Karns. Your Hometown: Dillsburg, PA

Authentic Ireland was referred to me by a customer/friend of mine....and... i am so glad he did. We worked with Shannon, one of the representatives, and i couldn't be more happy with the experience and expertise that she had regarding details of our trip. I told her when we were arriving and leaving Ireland, what were the "must do" things during our stay, and what kind of accommodations we wanted to stay in. within a day or two, she had a full trip package, with other recommended things to do while there, sent to my email. the price was very reasonable, and after going on the trip, i appreciated the fact we used Authentic Ireland to get everything set up. kudos to the site and staff, especially Shannon. anytime i had a question, she had an answer. regarding car rental, electricity usage, what kind of money to keep on hand, anything... she was so much help. thank you so much!, you made our 20 year anniversary "holiday" that much better! the only thing i can even think about regretting, was that we didn't spend enough time there we spent the previous week in London, and think we should have cut that shorter and spent more time in Ireland... but.... that can be fixed by another visit! thanks again! your friends in Pennsylvania!

“Ireland Adventure”

Dec 4, 2016 by Jesse. Your Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Had a great experience working with the Authentic Ireland associate! I probably asked 9 million questions (this being my first international trip I'd planned), and patience and courteousness definitely describes the person that personally handled my account.The trip was great as well, including an itinerary that was well chosen, then tweaked for us. Rental car was indeed perfect for our crew that was traveling, as well as the accommodations arranged for us. I'm more of a researcher, but the website definitely put me leaps ahead with suggested places to visit at our lodging locations, as well as places to stop along the way.One of the only things I would have done differently was the transportation for our time in Dublin. I was so glad that we did not rent a vehicle for Dublin, but the sightseeing bus tour passes were not the most convenient for our purposes, in retrospect. We would have been better served with normal city bus passes. I also would have passed on the castle stay in our trip, but perhaps we just caught them at a bad time, as everything was great there, except the smell of cat urine just on the outside of the side door near our room.Authentic Ireland definitely impressed both myself and the members of my family that joined us on this trip! Definitely recommend them! Really great trip and a good price!

“Wonderful First Trip to Ireland”

Dec 4, 2016 by Alyssa Sommers. Your Hometown: Mahwah, NJ

This was our first trip to Ireland. You guys did a wonderful job of taking care of all of the details in regards to hotels, sites to visit with passes and car rentals. Each hotel and bed and breakfast was wonderful. All establishments offered breakfast in the morning. They all had WIFI. After spending 2 days in Dublin we left for the west coast in the car we rented. We spent the next 6 days traveling around the west/southwest part of Ireland. Maggie was the person that we dealt with at Authentic Ireland and she was great- she noticed that our hotel on the last night was over 2 hours away from Shannon airport so she moved us to a closer location... and what a location a 5-star castle!! There are no other words then amazing!! When we come back which we plan to do... we will be staying there.

“Outstanding Vacation”

Nov 5, 2016 by Anthony M. Kolankiewicz. Your Hometown: Jerusalem

The company did an outstanding job of arranging our circumnavigational tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland over a period of 17 days. We did the driving ourselves with an upgraded rental car, which offered the utmost flexibility in sightseeing destinations and route options. Our accommodations were in a combination of country homes, B&Bs, hotels, and a couple of castles.. Even the weather generally cooperated over such an extended period of time; only one day and one evening of steady rain that interfered with our plans. Overall, it was a delightful vacation that encouraged us to return for catch the attractions we didn't have time to see. There were only two quibbles we would mention. First, some of the driving directions left a lot of details out, especially in trying to get through larger towns and cities, such as Galway. More details would have saved us lots of time. Second, we very much enjoyed every place we stayed with the exception of the Lissyclearig Thatched Cottage in Kenmare. Unlike all the other places we stayed, our hosts' main concern was saving money and doing everything on the cheap. No heat in the rooms despite a chilly, rainy night and two cloudy days -- very uncomfortable! No WiFi connection (the only place not to offer it during our entire stay in the country). Even the breakfast was second-rate. Few choices on the buffet table and canned fruit instead of the fresh fruit we received in every other location. Might be time to drop this inn from the inventory! Otherwise, a great trip that we would do again through Authentic Ireland.

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