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8-Night Ancient and Medieval Mysteries
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8-Night Ancient and Medieval Mysteries

Price: From $1,750 Per Person.
8 Nights

Who were the people that built monuments older than the Pyramids? On our Ancient & Medieval Mysteries vacation, explore ancient megalithic tombs, clamber through age-old fortresses, castles and ancient abbeys. Then treat yourself to a medieval banquet filled with sumptuous food and ribald music. Take a walk through time and feel the power of this land. Take our Ancient & Medieval Mysteries of Ireland Vacation and prepare to be amazed!

Read all about driving in Ireland from Authentic Ireland's master chauffeur!

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

  • 8-nights of 4-Star Hotel Accommodation

TRANSPORTATION

  • Personal Meet & Greet Transfer Service from Dublin Airport to your Downtown Hotel
  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 8 Full Irish Breakfasts
  • Dinner at The Brazen Head - Ireland's Oldest Pub

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • St Michan’s Church and Crypt
  • Mystical Tara Day Tour
  • Viking Splash Tour, Book of Kells
  • Food Folk and Fairies
  • Entrance/Admissions to Kilkenny Castle, the Rock of Cashel, and Blarney Castle
  • Horse and Carriage Ride to Ross Castle

 

 

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

Brooks 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

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!


St Michan's Church and Crypt

Dublin, County Dublin

St Michan’s, which was founded in 1095, was the only church located on the north side of Dublin City until 1686. The present structure dates from 1685 and was renovated in 1825. The interior, which has changed little since Victorian times, still has its original organ. Another notable artefact is the Penitant’s Desk, commissioned in 1724 and used for public confession. 

 
Below the church are five long burial vaults containing the mummified remains of many of Dublin’s most influential families from 1600 to 1800. In the vaults, guests can view the death mask of Wolfe Tone and the coffins of the 1798 rebels John and Henry Sheares.
 
Full guided tours of vaults with Tour Guide. Guide leaflets in various languages. Gift shop with books, postcards and souvenirs.

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

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.


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 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.


Dublin, County Dublin

Accommodation

Brooks 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

Viking Splash Tour

Dublin, County Dublin

Viking Splash Tours are a great, fun way to learn about the history and sites of Dublin City. Our costumed Viking tour guides will lead you through the streets of Dublin in reconditioned World War II vehicles -  The Duks. The Duks are amphibious vehicles, so offer customers the unique opportunity of touring Dublin’s streets and waterways without changing seats! The staff at Viking Splash Tours are committed to providing all passengers with an informative and enjoyable experience. All drivers, guides and support staff aim to ensure a good time is had by all.


Book of Kells at Trinity College

Dublin, County Dublin

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 famous Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid-19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. Two volumes are on public view, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. The volumes are changed at regular intervals. Your ticket includes entrance to The Old Library and The Book of Kells - just present your Authentic Ireland voucher on arrival.


Food, Folklore & Fairies

Dublin, County Dublin

Discover how Irish people lived in times past while enjoying a traditional candlelit dinner in Dublin's oldest pub, The Brazen Head (est. 1198). The evening unfolds in an intimate setting above the pub. As you relax between courses, be taken back in time by renowned storytellers, to the fascinating world of Ireland long ago, when the culture was one of the mind, spirit and imagination. Discover how Irish people lived off the land and why the humble potato so influenced our history. Explore their beliefs and superstitions surrounding the otherworld of the fairies. Listen to the magical tales they told as they gathered around the fire at night, and enjoy live traditional Irish music and ballads while having dinner.


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. 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, County Dublin

Accommodation

Brooks 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

Newgrange and Hill of Tara Day Tour

Dublin, County Dublin

Your journey through ancient Ireland begins bright and early at Lower O’Connell Street in Dublin, where you’ll embark en coach to Boyne Valley. Be sure to grab your own breakfast to enjoy for the trip through the Irish countryside and the County of Meath.  Your first stop is the Hill of Tara, one of Ireland’s most prized relics of spiritual and political heritage. Used as far back as the Stone Age for rituals and festivals, the Hill of Tara is revered as the ceremonial seat of the Celtic High Kings from the 1st-century AD  through to the 1100s. Its continued political significance stretches to the turn of the 19th century, when it became a battle site for the Irish Revolution. Explore some of the ancient monuments before continuing on to Newgrange.  The UNESCO World heritage site of Newgrange dates back to 3200 BC – preceding Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids! Follow your guide into the cairn to tour the passage tomb, where you’ll witness mystical Neolithic stone carvings and ‘basin stones’ that once held sacred human remains.  Before heading back to Dublin, your coach will stop in the picturesque coastal village of Howth. Enjoy sweeping views of Dublin Bay – spotted with colorful fishing boats – and see more impressive Viking-Era monuments. Your 8.5-hour tour returns to the starting point on Lower O’Connell Street in late-afternoon.


Must-See Sites

Howth, County Dublin

On The Map: Howth is a coastal suburb of Dublin, located just northeast of the city. Howth is most easily reached via the northeastern portion of the M50 motorway that encircles Dublin. When the M50 ends, continue straight ahead on the N32 road, following signs for Sutton & Howth.

Howth (rhymes with both!), is a fishing and yachting port, and popular suburban resort on the north side of Howth Head, Just 15 kilometres (9½ miles) northeast of Dublin City Centre, its attractions are easily appreciated, particularly at the coast. Howth Head (pictured) offers fine views of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow Mountains, Boyne Valley & beyond. In the bay is the rocky bird sanctuary and monastic island of Ireland's Eye, to which boat trips may be taken in summer. Cliff paths lead around the coastline, through Howth village and its ruined abbey, and past Baily Lighthouse. The 15th-century Howth Castle is inland, partly in ruins, but with fine rhododendron gardens. Howth's pubs, hotels and fish restaurants, along with spectacular coastal scenery, make it a wonderful location to visit when in the area!


Hill of Tara, County Meath

On The Map: The Hill of Tara is located in County Meath, in the province of Leinster, just 30 minutes drive northwest of Dublin City on the M3 Motorway.

Meath is a county rich in Irish mythology, heritage and plays host to some of the most beautiful rural landscapes on the Emerald Isle. Though best known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Hill of Tara has been an important site since the late Stone Age when a passage-tomb was constructed there. Tara was at the height of its power both a political and religious centre in the early centuries after Christ. As you walk this historic hill, it is well to keep in mind that in prehistory and historic times, 142 Kings are said to have reigned in the name of Tara. The coronation stone called The Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny has rested here down the ages. And it was here that the most powerful of Irish Kings held their great inaugural feasts and were approved by Earth Mother Goddesss Maeve.  In ancient Irish religion and mythlogy, Tara was revered as a dwelling of the gods and an entrance place to the otherworld of eternal joy and plenty where no mortal ever grew old. In the legends of St Patrick’s mission to Ireland he is said to have first come to Tara to confront the ancient religion at its most powerful site.


Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Accommodation

The Pembroke Hotel - Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

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

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Kilkenny Castle is perched dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates 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 Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke (c.1146-1219) during the first decade of the  thirteenth century. Kilkenny Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. The Butler ownership began when James (c.1360-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in c.1391, and lasted until 1967 when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50. The buildings have been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1969, and many important programmes of archaeological excavation, conservation, and restoration have since been carried out. No need to pre-book - use your included admission voucher to visit anytime today!


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

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.


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

Arbutus Hotel - Killarney, County Kerry

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

Rock of Cashel

Cashel, County Tipperary

One of the most visited sites in Ireland, The Rock of Cashel 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 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. No need to pre-book - use your included admission voucher to visit anytime today!


Blarney Castle and Park

Blarney, County Cork

Historic Blarney Castle is most famous for its Stone, which has the traditional power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it. The word 'Blarney' was introduced into the English language by Queen Elizabeth I and is described as 'pleasant talk, intended to deceive without offending.' The Stone is set in the wall below the battlements, and to kiss it, one has to lean backwards (grasping an iron railing) from the parapet walk. Many treasures are to be found on the grounds of the castle. The Rock Close, and its surroundings, is a curious place of ancient trees and far more ancient stones, by legend a garden of druidic origin and a centre of worship in pre-Christian days. The entire Blarney Castle Estate has an aura of magic and mystique with Wishing Steps, Witch's Kitchen, Druid's Cave and many other delights, telling a story of centuries past. No need to pre-book - use your included admission voucher to visit anytime today!


Enroute Sightseeing

Cahir, County Tipperary

On The Map: Cahir is located in the southern midlands of Ireland in County Tipperary. The town is in very close proximity to both the M8 motorway (connecting Dublin & Cork) and the N24 road (connecting Limerick & Waterford)

Cahir is a small heritage town, with a nice shopping area centred around the town square. Up to very recently, Cahir stood at the intersection of two of Ireland's busiest national routes: from Dublin to Cork, and Limerick to Waterford. As a result, the town was perennially plagued by heavy traffic, until it was eventually by-passed by newly constructed roads and motorways in the last few years. Cahir is now a far more pleasant location to visit and spend time in. Cahir is best known for the impressive Cahir Castle, located in town on an island of the River Suir. The castle is one of the largest & best-preserved in Ireland, and was originally founded in the 12th century. Much of the current structure dates from the 13th century. An audio-visual presentation of the castle's long and varied history is available on-site. The other location of note in Cahir is the Swiss Cottage. The 'Ornamental Cottage' was constructed around 1810, and primarily used for guest entertainment on the Cahir Estate.


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.


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

Arbutus Hotel - Killarney, County Kerry

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

Horse & Carriage Roundtrip Ride to Ross Castle

Killarney, County Kerry

Your tour includes a true step back in time to enjoy Irish tradition at its best. Come on board a horse and carriage jaunting car, and take a unique tour of some of Killarney’s most scenic and historic highlights. Your eye will first be drawn to the majestic high spire of St Mary’s Cathedral. This tour through history, legend & folklore then rambles its way through magnificent Killarney National Park, before arriving at Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Léin. Your journey takes you through areas where no motor traffic is permitted, allowing you to experience a peaceful paradise, where the excess and noise of our modern world is blessedly absent. A short stopover at the restored 15th Century castle, allows for a real glimpse of ancient Ireland at its finest. Ross Castle was home to the legendary Gaelic Chieftain O’Donoghue Ross and the last Irish fortress to fall to Cromwell in 1652. You will be returned to the town centre or your hotel awed by the experience.


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.


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.


Muckross House and Gardens, County Kerry

On The Map: Muckross House is located just 6 kilometres south of Killarney, County Kerry, in the southwest of Ireland. From Killarney, take the N71 south for Kenmare. The only vehicle entrance is located approximately 1km beyond the Muckross Park Hotel - on the right.

Muckross House, set close to the shores of Muckross Lake & amidst the beautiful scenery of Killarney National Park, was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolourist Mary Balfour Herbert. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was the designer. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843. Today the principal rooms are furnished in period style and portray the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century land-owning class. While in the basement, one can imagine the busy bustle of the servants as they went about their daily chores. During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. Between the months of April and July, Muckross Gardens are spectacularly adorned with the red and pink flowers of mature Rhododendrons. Other features include a Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and Stream Garden. An Arboretum, containing many trees from the Southern Hemisphere, was established in 1972. Muckross Traditional Farms are situated adjacent to Muckross House. These working farms recreate and portray the traditional farming methods, and way of life, of a typical local, rural community of the 1930s. The Walled Garden Centre incorporates the Garden Restaurant, Mucros Craft Shop and three Mucros Craft Workshops.


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

Arbutus Hotel - Killarney, County Kerry

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

Ancient Dingle, County Kerry

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

The Dingle Peninsula is world-renowned as a place of great scenic beauty, and many would argue that it is indeed the most picturesque location in all of Ireland. There is however, simply no argument with regard to its massive archaeological importance. No other landscape in western Europe boasts the density and variety of ancient monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. It has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years, and because of its remote location and lack of agricultural development, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments! From Stone Forts & Monastic sites to Ogham Stones & ancient Sun Dials, the peninsula literally has it all. One of the most notable sites is the 6th century Gallarus Oratory - a remarkably well-preserved early Christian church. Quite how it has survived the ravages of Atlantic weather for so long is a testament to its builders. No mortar was used in its construction, and aside from a slight sag in the roof, it is in perfect condition! Overlooking the village of Camp, you'll find Cathair Con Ri, the finest promontory hill fort in the country. Stunningly located at 2000 feet above the valley, this impressive cliff-top stronghold dates from 500 BC to 500 AD.


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.


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


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.


Wicklow, County Wicklow

Accommodation

Brooklodge at Maccredin Village - Wicklow, County Wicklow

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12:00 noon

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

Wicklow, County Wicklow

On the Map: Wicklow Town is located on Ireland's eastern coast, approximately one hour south of Dublin City. The town is accessed via the N11 road that connects the cities of Dublin (to the north) and Wexford (to the south).

Known as “the Garden of Ireland”, Wicklow has wonderful scenery, with mountains, wooded valleys and lakes. It is fringed on the east by golden sandy beaches. Major routes to the east and west go through two of the highest passes in the country – Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap. Among its spectacular valleys are Glenmalure, Glencree, Glenmacnass, the Glen of Immal, and the most famous of all – Glendalough, the home of one of the country’s most famous early Christian sites. The county is very popular with outdoor enthusiasts for the range of activities it offers – walking, cycling, shore, coarse and game angling, golf, riding, watersports. There are also a number of historic gardens and houses to visit, Powerscourt House being the most famous and impressive.  Because of its wonderful scenery, the county has been used as a location for many films over the years, including Excalibur, Braveheart, Far and Away and Michael Collins. The very successful Irish television series Ballykissangel was made in the pretty village of Avoca.


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 $1,750 per person
MID SEASON
Apr - May | Sep - Oct
From $1,822 per person
HIGH SEASON
June - August
From $2,275 per person

Your Price Includes

ACCOMMODATION

  • 8-nights of 4-Star Hotel Accommodation

TRANSPORTATION

  • Personal Meet & Greet Transfer Service from Dublin Airport to your Downtown Hotel
  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 8 Full Irish Breakfasts
  • Dinner at The Brazen Head - Ireland's Oldest Pub

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • St Michan’s Church and Crypt
  • Mystical Tara Day Tour
  • Viking Splash Tour, Book of Kells
  • Food Folk and Fairies
  • Entrance/Admissions to Kilkenny Castle, the Rock of Cashel, and Blarney Castle
  • Horse and Carriage Ride to Ross Castle

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.
Sep 11, 2019 by Dona Seekins. Your Hometown: Zephyrhills

Awesome. Ireland self guided tour. Hotel were set up and were a A+ rated. Our trip was amazing.

“Awesome!!”

Aug 28, 2019 by Cheryl.

Lainie booked our trip to Ireland and Scotland and did such an amazing job. We simply had the best time and saw so much. She provided so much detail and was thoughtful in the amount of time we had to travel. The trip was smooth and relatively easy. I would highly recommend Lainie and Authentic Vacations to anyone. Thanks Lainie for your hard work on our behalf

“Awesome Trip to Scotland”

Aug 21, 2019 by Maggie McCoy. Your Hometown: Hopkinton, MA

This was our visit trip to Europe in years and the first time our 14-year-old daughter was out of the country. It was a fantastic trip. Amanda spent so much time with me planning and arranging our itinerary. I asked for boutique type of places to stay and that is exactly what we got. We also got a driver who was absolutely fantastic. He was so knowledgeable and took us to some lovely out of the way places, away from all the tourists...he became part of our family. Every day was an adventure and so much fun....my husband was able to get on the Old Course at St Andrew's totally unexpectedly and Edinburgh, the Highlands, Oban, and Machrihanish were all wonderful. We did not want to come home!!

“Heart of Scotland”

Aug 14, 2019 by Jennifer. Your Hometown: CT

This was our second trip through Authentic Ireland (the first one was to Ireland 7 years ago), and we thoroughly loved the experience. Yes, driving is challenging because we were driving on the "wrong" side of the car and on the "wrong" side of the road, but you'd be surprised at how quickly you adapt and how much having your own transportation allows you to see so much more than you would with a bus or guided tour. All of our hotels were in converted homes or castles, which made the experience so much more, well, authentic. We were able to go to all of the sites on our itinerary, saw a large amount of the country, and were able to experience the local cuisine. Our agent, Tim, was great at answering any questions and providing all of the travel documents well in advance of the trip. We will definitely be going back to Ireland and Scotland one day, and I have no reservations about going through Authentic Ireland again.

“Amazing Family/10 Year”

Aug 14, 2019 by Kilipaki Harris. Your Hometown: Skagway AK/Yuma AZ

We just spent 14 amazing days in Ireland. It was myself, spouse, a 14-year-old and a 9-Year-old. Talk about amazing, Amanda did such a great job at planning our trip for us. Each day was something new and exciting. All I did was give a few details and somehow this magician was able to pull off the best trip we have ever had. There were multiple things for all of us each day just about. So not only was my 9-year-old saying every day was EPIC, my 14-year-old even had an amazing time. The only suggestion I can give is to get the rental car added into your package. Don't be like me and try and get it cheaper, it will not work. Other than that such a great time. Thank you.

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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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