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10-Night Best of Ireland Vacation

Price: From $1,987 Per Person - For a Limited Time, Save $250 pp with code: BOI10 and Book with $100 per person10 Nights

Immerse yourself in the Emerald Isle’s top tantalizing charms on this Ireland vacation. Begin with a deluxe private transfer to your Dublin accommodation. Leave baggage behind and set out for your first authentic adventure—enjoying Afternoon Tea tea atop an iconic Routemaster bus while touring the city. Day Two includes plenty of leisure time and the coveted Guinness Connoisseur Experience.

Drive south to Kilkenny, featuring Kilkenny Castle and the storied St. Canice’s Cathedral, on Day Three. Exciting escapades and breathtaking scenery abound over the coming days in County Kerry. Gain a unique perspective on the Wild Atlantic Way’s stunning coastline with an included boat eco-nature boat tour (seasonal). Explore Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry. Savor a gourmet meal in Kenmare. See ancient sites along the Dingle Peninsula and partake in lively pub culture.

On Day Seven, drive to delightful Doolin—ideal for further pub crawling and convenient to the incredible Cliffs of Moher. Feel like royalty at Abbeyglen Castle the following two nights, with one sumptuous dinner included. Discover the astonishing Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden in Connemara. Your Ireland tour concludes at the luxurious Leixlip Manor and Gardens, where you might start planning your return trip!

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

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

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

TRANSPORTATION

  • Private Chauffeur Transfer from Dublin Airport to your Downtown Hotel
  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 10 Full Irish Breakfasts

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Guinness Connoisseur Experience
  • Dublin Vintage Tea Tour
  • Safari boat ride out of Parknasilla
  • Abbeyglen Castle Dinner
  • Kylemore Abbey Admission

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Shop On Famous Grafton Street
  • Check-Out the Guinness Storehouse
  • Overnight at an Authentic Irish Castle
  • Take in The Rock of Cashel & Glen of Aherlow
  • Enjoy Stunning Views at Killarney National Park
  • Jaw-Dropping Southwest Scenery
  • Dingle & Slea-Head Rugged Beauty
  • Marvel at Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey

Dublin, County Dublin

Arrive at

Arrive at Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Arrive at Dublin Airport after your overnight flight if you are coming from the U.S. or Canada.

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 - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

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

Vintage Tea Experience

Dublin, County Dublin

Enjoy our renowned Afternoon Tea delicacies, good conversation and tap along to some fabulous 1950’s jazz. This is Afternoon Tea with a difference. Board your vintage Routemaster bus near Custom House and sit at your appointed table. Soak up the nostalgia as your sociable tour escort gets the conversation started, the 1950s jazz starts up, and a classic afternoon tea is served. Savor all your afternoon tea favorites- finger sandwiches, desserts, cakes, and pastries—as your bus travels through downtown Dublin. Pass sights such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church, Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green, Wood Quay, O’Connell Street, Phoenix Park, and the grand buildings of Georgian Dublin. There’s no formal commentary, but expect to hear some favorite Dublin stories from your host before you return to where you started.


Meet & Greet Private Airport Transfer - Dublin

Dublin, County Dublin

Your tour includes a luxurious private transfer from Dublin Airport to your Downtown Hotel. Once you have collected your luggage, proceed through to the Arrivals Hall, and look for your driver. He/She will be holding an iPad with your name thereon, and will quickly escort you outside, where your ride awaits. Before you know it, you will have arrived at your Dublin City Center Hotel, and your Irish adventure can truly begin! That's right, no endless searching for the right airport shuttle, bus or taxi. No trying to figure out where you're going or which bus stop is yours. Just the perfect start to a well-deserved, relaxing vacation... All part of our Authentic Vacations 5-star Customer Service!


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

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.


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 runs between Nassau Street and College Green and contains the 18th century Trinity College Provost's House, home to the head of the college. 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.


Dublin, County Dublin

Accommodation

Davenport Hotel - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

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

Guinness Connoisseur Experience

Dublin, County Dublin

The Connoisseur Experience is the ultimate tasting experience for the ultimate Guinness fan. Gather in the luxurious private bar, discreetly tucked away in a secluded area of the Guinness Storehouse where you will embark on a journey through tastes, traditions, and stories of the most popular variants of Guinness beer - Guinness Draught, Guinness Original, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, and one of the beers from The Brewers Project range. You will also have the opportunity to learn the craft of how to pour the perfect pint of your very own Guinness. This experience is an exclusive added feature to the general admission tickets which include a self-guided tour of the visitor experience and a complimentary pint of Guinness or soft drink.


Must-See Sites

Dublin Castle, County Dublin

Since its foundation in 1204, Dublin Castle has been at the heart of the history and evolution of Dublin.  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 (the most important state rooms in the country). The grounds of the Castle 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.


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.


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. Best known for being Dublin’s major nightlife center, Temple Bar comes alive after dark, with many pubs, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from. For those visiting during the day, the area boasts a timeless charm, with narrow cobbled streets and a plethora of cultural organizations, such as the Irish Film Centre & Project Arts Centre. There are also a variety of small galleries and stores - perfect for a day of shopping. While Temple Bar after dark might not be for everyone, the area is the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon. 


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

The Pembroke Hotel - Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

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


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.


Saint Canices Cathedral, County Kilkenny

On The Map: St Canice’s Cathedral is located in the oldest part of Kilkenny City – an area known as Irishtown, located just north of downtown.

St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower are an essential part of the structural heritage in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny. This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Worship has taken place at this site for over 800 years. The Cathedral has wonderful stained glass that includes two windows from the Harry Clarke Studio, Dublin. Local stone masters The O’Tooneys carved some of the tombstones many of which are unique to the Cathedral and Kilkenny. The See Chair of the Bishop of Ossory dating back to 1120 can be seen inside the Cathedral. The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (weather permitting). St Canice’s Round Tower is one of only two Round Towers that visitors can climb in Ireland.


Smithwick's Experience, County Kilkenny

On The Map: The Smithwick's Experience is just a 5 minute walk north of Kilkenny Castle - located on Parliament Street in the heart of Kilkenny City.

Smithwick's unique ale, with its rich ruby glow and creamy head, is the perfect marriage of innovation and tradition. It's infused with hints of caramel and biscuit, a tingle of orange marmalade and a finish so crisp you could snap it in two. The story of Smithwick's is as interesting as the ale itself - truly a beer forged in adversity... It arrives in your glass by way of a darkened medieval abbey, a reprehensible royal, heinous laws, two world wars, two fat turkeys and more! If you choose to take the Smithwick's tour, you will learn all about this crafty beer. The tale begins in 1231 when some clever monks discovered a way of turning water into ale. Find out how the brew gained worldwide notoriety in the 18th century, and in the Brewhouse portion of the tour, learn how the varied ingredients are combined to create a unique character and flavor. Finally, it's onto the Taste Room to sample a pint and insure that the secrets of Smithwick's wonderful brewing process have been applied with good effect!


Sneem, County Kerry

Accommodation

Parknasilla Resort - Sneem, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in is after 2.00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out is before 12.00 noon.


Included Experiences

Kerry Coast Exploration By Boat

Sneem, County Kerry

Panoramic views of Kenmare Bay from the ocean! Experience an exhilarating RIB boat ride across the bay to experience the Kerry coastline and explore the fascinating shoreline. The speed of the boat varies from fast to slow as you move around the bay and its many islands. Watch seals in their natural habitat and even whales have been spotted on occasion. 


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.


Overnight Location

Sneem, County Kerry

On the Map: Sneem is located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. Sneem is situated on the southern portion of the famous Ring of Kerry (N70) road that encircles the Iveragh Peninsula.

Sneem means 'a knot' in Irish, today referred to as "The Knot in the Ring" (of Kerry ).  It's not very clear when the town was formed, but there are map references to Sneem since 1756. Today Sneem is a peaceful and romantic little village offering visitors unspoilt nature, fishing, a sheltered harbour at Oysterbed Pier and Parknasilla golf course. The town won the National Tidy Towns Award in 1987, and in 1997 the National Landscape Award.
In 2003 The Garden of the Senses was completed.


Must-See Sites

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.


Sneem, County Kerry

Accommodation

Parknasilla Resort - Sneem, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in is after 2.00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out is before 12.00 noon.


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).


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.


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.


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.


Sneem, County Kerry

Accommodation

Parknasilla Resort - Sneem, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in is after 2.00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

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


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.


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.


Doolin, County Clare

Accommodation

Sheedy's Doolin - Doolin, County Clare

Guesthouse
Room Type: Deluxe King

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 2.00pm & 7.00pm on your day of arrival. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the property on 086 070 6263.


Enroute Sightseeing

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, County Clare

On The Map: Bunratty Castle is located in Bunratty Village - just off the main M18 motorway in the southwest of County Clare.

The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. We invite you to wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country, which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park, where 19th century Irish life is vividly recreated. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. Meet and chat with the Bean an Ti (Woman of the House) and various street characters including the Policeman and Schoolteacher. Enjoy the tastes, scents, sights and sounds of this enchanting place as you stroll from house to house or around the charming village complete with school, post office, doctors house, hardware shop, printers and of course the pub!


Overnight Location

Doolin, County Clare

On the Map: The small village of Doolin is located on County Clare’s west Atlantic coast. The village is accessed via the R479 - a small country road that intersects with the R478 connecting the towns of Lisdoonvarna (to the north) and Lahinch (to the south).

People flock to Doolin from all over the world to sample wonderful, top quality traditional music in the local pubs. Until recently Doolin had only three pubs. There are now some new establishments on the scene but we recommend sticking to the old reliables: McGann’s, McDermots and O’Connor’s. Even at that you will be spoiled for choice. Each pub is full most nights with musicians and music lovers alike. Be sure to check out all three! The surrounding area has much of interest including the barren yet strikingly beautiful Burren region with, among other things, the 5,000 year-old Poulnabrone Dolmen. Also worth a visit is Doonagore Castle and of course the spectacular 650-foot high Cliffs of Moher, which are only a few miles from Doolin.


Must-See Sites

Poulnabrone Dolmen and Stone Fort, County Clare

On The Map: Poulnabrone Dolmen & Caherconnell Stone Fort are less than 1 kilometre apart, in the dramatic limestone Burren Region of County Clare, in the west of Ireland. Both sites are located just off the R480 road, which connects the towns of Corofin (to the south) and Ballyvaughan (to the north).

Poulnabrone Dolmen (pictured) is a Portal Tomb, and one of the most famous megalithic monuments in Ireland, mainly due to its memorable shape and easy access from the road. The thin capstone sits on two 1.8m (6ft) high portal stones to create a chamber in a 9m (30ft) low cairn. The site was excavated in 1986 and the human remains of more than 20 adults and children, plus other artefacts were discovered. Examination of these items allowed archaelogists to date the tomb to approx 3000 B.C. Just how the people of the time managed to get the truly massive capstone in place is unknown. Just 1 kilometre south of the dolmen, lies the impressive Caherconnell Stone Fort. Caherconnell is almost a perfect circle, and 140-145 feet in external diameter. It's walls are 12 feet thick and from 6-14 feet high, and it is an exceptionally well preserved example of stone ring-fort. The fort is in its original state, and its location, overlooking virtually all-surrounding areas, suggests a defensive settlement. This may not have been defensive in a modern military sense, but more for personal security from wild animals and raiders. Ringforts such as Caherconnell are thought to have been inhabited from 400-1200A.D.


Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

On the Map: The Cliffs of Moher are located on the western coast of County Clare. The Cliffs are accessed via the R478 road that connects Doolin (to the north) and the seaside town of Lahinch (to the southeast).

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's top Visitor attractions. The Cliffs stand 214 metres (700 feet) tall at their highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower, constructed by Sir Cornellius O'Brien in 1835, stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. There are two paths to take north and south along the cliff edge, providing spectacular views all the way.  Construction of an award winning eco-friendly Visitor Centre was completed in 2007. The interpretive centre named 'Atlantic Edge' contains state of the art displays and visitor facilities. The grass-roofed building is cleverly set into the hillside - a unique cave-like structure which minimises the visual impact on this fabulously scenic location. 


Connemara, County Galway

Accommodation

Abbeyglen Castle - Connemara, County Galway

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:30pm, check-out is before 12:00 noon. Hotel will try and accommodate alternative times, just call on 095 21201.


Included Experiences

Abbeyglen Castle Dinner

Connemara, County Galway

The Castle Restaurant is renowned for its gourmet food, offering the very best local seafood, live lobster, and of course, delicious Connemara lamb. Relax, sit back and enjoy live music, friendly staff and beautiful views. An A La Carte and extensive Table d'Hôte menus are available, and change daily. The Chefs at Abbeyglen are more than happy to accommodate any special dietary requirements you may have. Tuesday night is Irish night at Abbeyglen. An Irish menu, written in Gaelic is provided, serving a number of traditional dishes. All accompanied by a wonderful evening of traditional Irish music and song. The Abbeyglen Castle Restaurant has the distinction of 2 Rosette Awards from the AA (Irish Automobile Association) for great food and attentive service. Enjoy!


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Overnight Location

Connemara, County Galway

On the Map: Connemara encompasses a large area northwest of Galway City in the west of Ireland. It is most easily accessed via the N59 road that loops around the region and connects the cities of Galway (to the southeast) & Westport (to the northeast).

Northwest of Galway lies the rocky, barren, but breathtakingly stunning region of Connemara. This area is one of the few remaining in Ireland where the native tongue (Gaeilge) is still fluently spoken as a first language. Stop off in the fishing village of Roundstone, where currachs, old style featherweight rowing boats are still in everyday use. The village also boasts an impressive crafts complex, selling everything from teapots and sweaters to traditional Irish music instruments. Clifden, Connemara's capital is well worth a visit and the scenic Sky Road drive just outside town should not be missed.  From here travel north to see the exquisite neo-gothic Kylemore Abbey, nestled in a lush forest on the edge of Kylemore Lake. However long you spend in Connemara you will be constantly enchanted by the ever changing scenery of mountains and valleys, lakes and beaches and bays. This is Ireland's big sky country.


Connemara, County Galway

Accommodation

Abbeyglen Castle - Connemara, County Galway

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:30pm, check-out is before 12:00 noon. Hotel will try and accommodate alternative times, just call on 095 21201.


Included Experiences

Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden

Connemara, County Galway

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. Mitchell Henry built the recently re-opened Neo-Gothic Church 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 explore the 6-acre Victorian Walled Garden with it’s magnificent restored buildings. Discover woodland walks, lakeshore walks & nature trails throughout the 1,000 acre estate. Visitors can also see the Mausoleum where the original owners are buried. In the A.V. Room, attached to the Visitor Centre, get a sense of the history of Kylemore Abbey & Garden while viewing the twelve-minute video. No need to pre-book - use your included admission voucher to visit anytime today!


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.


Clifden, County Galway

On The Map: 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.

Northwest of Galway leads you through the rocky, barren, and breathtakingly stunning region of Connemara. This area is one of the few remaining in Ireland where the native tongue (Gaeilge) is still fluently spoken as a first language. Stop off in the fishing village of Roundstone, where currachs, old style featherweight rowing boats are still in everyday use. The village also boasts an impressive crafts complex, selling everything from teapots and sweaters to traditional Irish music instruments. Finally arrive in the quaint and beautiful town of Clifden, Connemara's capital.  From here travel north to see the exquisite neo-gothic Kylemore Abbey, nestled in a lush forest on the edge of Kylemore Lake. This abbey is the only one in Ireland that is run entirely by nuns.


Leixlip, County Kildare

Accommodation

Leixlip Manor - Leixlip, County Kildare

Manor
Room Type: Manor Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time: 2 PM

Check-out time: 12 PM 


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

Leixlip, County Kildare

On the map: The name "Leixlip" comes from the Old Norse Lax Hlaup which means "salmon leap". The was the name given to the area by Vikings when they established a settlement near the confluence of the river Liffey and Rye Water in the 9th century. The salmon leap itself was a pair of large waterfalls which are now gone from view following the installation of a hydroelectric power station in the mid-1940s.

After the Vikings, the Normans arrived and built a Castle overlooking the two rivers in 1132 known as Leixlip Castle. In 1732, the nephew of Speaker Connolly, William Connolly, bought the castle, and in the same year, Arthur Guinness began a small brewery on the banks of the Liffey beside the Main Street. The brewery moved to St. James’s Gate, Dublin in 1759 and has become one of the best- known global brands.

Thomas Connolly’s wife, Lady Louise, was responsible for the building of The Obelisk between Leixlip & Celbridge known as Connolly’s Folly, in 1740 and the Wonderful Barn, built in 1743.


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!


LOW SEASON
Jan - Mar | Nov - Dec
From $1,987 per person
MID SEASON
Apr - May | Sep - Oct
From $2,198 per person
HIGH SEASON
June - August
From $2,548 per person

Your Price Includes

ACCOMMODATION

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

TRANSPORTATION

  • Private Chauffeur Transfer from Dublin Airport to your Downtown Hotel
  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 10 Full Irish Breakfasts

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Guinness Connoisseur Experience
  • Dublin Vintage Tea Tour
  • Safari boat ride out of Parknasilla
  • Abbeyglen Castle Dinner
  • Kylemore Abbey Admission

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Shop On Famous Grafton Street
  • Check-Out the Guinness Storehouse
  • Overnight at an Authentic Irish Castle
  • Take in The Rock of Cashel & Glen of Aherlow
  • Enjoy Stunning Views at Killarney National Park
  • Jaw-Dropping Southwest Scenery
  • Dingle & Slea-Head Rugged Beauty
  • Marvel at Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey

Prices Based On

  • All Taxes & Fees Included
  • Prices are Per Person based on 2 people traveling together and sharing a room.
  • Traveling Alone? No Problem. Just Ask Us for a Single Supplement Price.

“2 week Ireland vacation”

Oct 9, 2019 by Brian Cass. Your Hometown: Redding, Ca

Recently returned from a wonderful Ireland trip. My wife and I traveled with another couple which is a challenge of its own. I was the only one who had been to Ireland before so it was left up to me to plan for and drive for the group! With Lauren's help, we had a fantastic time. She found a great blend of hotel and B&B accommodations for us that was perfect for our needs. Beautiful weather and super friendly locals didn't hurt either. Our friends told us it was their best vacation ever!!!

“Best B&B’s”

Oct 9, 2019 by Barbara. Your Hometown: Kennewick

Every B&B was fantastic. The hostesses were the nicest people you could ask for. The accommodations were beautiful. I would love to visit each one again.

If I were to travel to Ireland again I would not travel on Aer Lingus. The plane is uncomfortable and the flight attendants are only as nice as they have to be.

“Awesome trip to Ireland”

Oct 9, 2019 by Barb Callahan. Your Hometown: Janesville Wi

Our trip to Ireland was fantastic! Six of us traveled the countryside with our wonderful driver and guide for 7 days. We loved the places we stayed and the places visited, Michelle from Authentic Vacations helped us plan this chauffeured trip. It was beyond our expectations! Our driver was so knowledgeable and kind. His love for Ireland came through. I don't think we would change a thing. ( Well, maybe the weather!)

“Ireland Done Right”

Oct 9, 2019 by Dave. Your Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

Our group consisted of two couples, and Amanda A. put together a great itinerary with wonderful lodgings for our 11 days in south and west Ireland. The food was great (always piping hot!), the people extremely friendly, the scenery outstanding, and Guinness was always readily available! We had a few ideas of places to see and to stay from friends who recently visited the area, and Amanda was more than accommodating in pulling together a plan that worked. We did a driving tour. While we adapted very quickly to driving on the left, the narrow roads in the country were a real challenge, but it worked out fine in the end (good knowing we had insurance coverage!). So, if driving on narrow roads would be an issue for you I recommend you hire a driver. We had one small reservations glitch, but the 24/7 helpline came to the rescue and resolved the issue. I would highly recommend Authentic Vacations and Amanda A. for future travel needs!

“Self drive trip thru Southern Ireland”

Oct 9, 2019 by Lionel & Pauline Thomas. Your Hometown: Chipman, Alberta, Canada

The wife & I did a self-drive tour through Southern Ireland after doing one through Scotland. The signage in Ireland is much better than Scotland and using the rented GPS, we had no real driving problems. The only recommendation we have is, try and stay more than one night at any location to give you time to see the sights. Thanks to Heather for her work on our tour.

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At Authentic Vacations, each of our self-drive and chauffeur tours are tailor made to your specific requirements. We work with all budgets and group sizes to deliver a personalized experience that remains true to the authentic brand. When you book with Authentic Vacations, you can always expect a package rich with cultural experiences, secret spots and insider knowledge, unique and boutique accommodations and more.

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