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6-Night Journey through Ireland's Heartland

Price: From $698 Per Person.
6 Nights

Fall in love with the Emerald Isle on our 6-Night Journey Through Ireland’s Heartland. With visits to whimsical castles and overnight stays in stunning manor houses, this romantic Ireland vacation is the perfect way to celebrate romance. Your tour begins with two nights in Dublin, where you and your beloved will be treated to visits to Dublin Castle and the EPIC Irish Immigration Centre (featuring 1500 years of Irish history). You will also have plenty of time to explore the city at your leisure - we suggest visiting the National Museum of Ireland and the Book of Kells to discover more of Ireland’s history. 

Leave the city lights behind and journey through the beautiful Irish countryside to your next overnight destination - Lough Rynn Castle. Along the way, you will have a chance to see Boyne Valley, Trim Castle and Kells - be sure to take advantage of the many photo opportunities! During your three-night stay at Lough Rynn Castle, you will have ample time to explore its surroundings. Stop by the grave of famed Irish poet WB Yeats, visit the sacred Hill of Uisneach, or marvel at the breathtaking Glencar Waterfall. 

On your last full day, you will head back towards Dublin for your overnight stay at Leixlip Manor (only an hour outside the city). On your way, you will have time to stop at Belvedere House and Gardens, Kilbeggan Distillery and Castletown House. With beautiful scenery and romantic atmosphere, this Ireland tour will bring you and your sweetheart lifelong memories. 

Your Price Includes

ACCOMMODATION

  • 6-Nights in Unique 4-Star Accommodations

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Car with Automatic Transmission & Exclusive Insurance Coverage

DINING OPTIONS

  • Full Irish Breakfasts Each Morning

INCLUDED UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Entrance to Dublin Castle
  • Admission to EPIC - The Irish Emigration Museum

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • See the Home of Ireland's Famous Brew at Guinness Storehouse
  • Visit the Shrine of St. Valentine - The Patron Saint of Love
  • Take in Christchurch Cathedral - Dublin's most historic building
  • Visit the heart of Irish whisky at Jameson Distillery
  • Learn about Archaeology, Decorative Arts & History, or Natural History at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin
  • Gaze upon the beautifully illustrated Book of Kells at Trinity College
  • Explore the cobbles lanes of Temple Bar and shop along Grafton Street
  • Journey through the Boyne Valley and the heritage town of Kells
  • Walk in the Trail of W.B. Yeats in Sligo and visit his grave at Drumcliffe
  • Wonder at romantic Glencar Waterfall - Featured in W.B. Yeats poem The Stolen Child
  • Behold 12th-century decorated stonework at Boyne Abbey
  • Take in the spiritual significance of the Hill of Uisneach - Ireland's mysterious Sacred Centre
  • Visit the medieval town of Athlone and it's 13th-Century Castle
  • Marvel at the Celtic high crosses and tower of Clonmacnoise
  • Take a step back in time at Kilbeggan Distillery - Ireland's oldest licensed distillery
  • Pass by stunning Belvedere House and Gardens and Castletown House

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

Ashling Hotel - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

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


Included Experiences

Dublin Castle

Dublin, County Dublin

Since its foundation in 1204, Dublin Castle has been at the heart of the history and evolution of Dublin City. Currently spanning an area of over 44,000 square meters (11 acres), the Castle is home to Government Buildings and the State Apartments - the most important state rooms in the country. The facility also boasts two museums, two cafés, two gardens and an international conference centre. The grounds of the site are free to explore, but today, with your included admission, you will have the pleasure of taking a guided tour of the Castle's most prized areas - The State Apartments, The Chapel Royal & The Medieval Undercroft.


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

St. Valentine's Shrine, County Dublin

On The Map: The Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church is located on Aungier Street in the heart of Dublin City. The Church is less than 500 metres west of St Stephen's Green.

On February 14th, 269 AD, Saint Valentine was excecuted by Roman authorities. His crime?: Secretly marrying couples after Emperor Claudius the Cruel had banned marriage and engagements (The Emperor believed love and marriage was the cause of a decrease in Roman soldier conscriptions!) More than 200 years later (in 496 AD), Pope Gelasius I named February 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day. On each Valentine’s Day, messages of affection, love and devotion are still exchanged around the world. In 1836, a gift from Pope Gregory XVI was granted to Father John Spratt of Dublin - a portion of the exhumed remains of St Valentine, and a small vessel tinged with the blood of the martyr. These items now form the Shrine to St Valentine at the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. The casket sits beneath the marble altar in a niche which is protected by an ornate iron and glass gate. Throughout the year, the shrine is visited by couples who come to pray to Valentine and to ask him to watch over them in their lives together. February 14 is a particularly popular date at the church!


Christ Church Cathedral, County Dublin

Christ Church Cathedral (founded c.1028) is the spiritual heart of the city, and one of the top visitor attractions in Dublin. Step inside and you can enjoy the cathedral’s beautiful interior and fascinating medieval crypt. There’s so much to see and discover at Christ Church Cathedral. Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Explore the Crypt:
Follow the steps that bring you beneath the cathedral and explore the medieval crypt, one of the largest in Britain & Ireland, and the earliest surviving structure in the city. The crypt houses fascinating memorials, the cat and the rat, The Treasury, an audio visual presentation, the cathedral shop and the Cathedral Café. The crypt can also be hired for events.
Follow in the Footsteps of Pilgrims:
Christ Church Cathedral was a major pilgrimage site in the medieval period, with an important collection of relics ranging from a miraculous speaking cross to a piece from the crib of Jesus. Today, it is still possible to see one of these relics, the heart of Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin.
Visit the ‘Cat & the Rat’:
A mummified cat & rat are the most unusual inhabitants of the crypt, but also the most popular. Mentioned by James Joyce in Finnegans wake, they are known locally as ‘Tom & Jerry.’
Experience Evensong:
The choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, enjoys an enviable reputation as one of Ireland's finest choirs, and is constantly in demand to perform in concerts, on tours and on radio broadcasts nationwide. Tracing its origins to 1493 with the founding of the choir school, the cathedral choir has always been highly regarded in Dublin's musical life and took part in the first performance of Handel's Messiah in Dublin in 1742. The choir sings Evensong four times a week during term time.  
Treat yourself to tasty delights in the Cathedral Cafe in the atmospheric 12th Century Crypt Relax after your visit with tea and coffee and culinary delights in the Cathedral Café. You can enjoy delicate sandwiches, scones with cream, a sumptuous variety of cakes as well as a selection of coffees and teas.


Guinness Storehouse, County Dublin

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

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


Old Jameson Distillery, County Dublin

On The Map: The Old Jameson Distillery is located in the Smithfield area of Dublin City. Walking from Trinity College (approx 20 minutes), head west on Dame Street to Lord Edward Street to Christchurch Place. Carry on past Christchurch Cathedral and take the next right onto Bridge Street. Head straight over Merchants Quay and Fr. Mathew bridge across Arran Quay. Walk up Church Street past St. Michans Cathedral and then take the next left onto May Lane /Bow Street. Alternately, the Distillery is Stop 20 on the 'hop-on, hop-off' Dublin Bus tour.

Set in the heart of Ireland’s thriving capital city, Dublin, The Old Jameson Distillery captures the imagination and the spirit of Ireland. Originally built in 1780, this Distillery was once considered one of the largest and finest Distilleries in the world. Tours operate 7 days a week all year, except selected dates at Christmas. The journey begins with an audio visual presentation. Expert guides then lead you through the fascinating story of Jameson, one of the world’s most famous whiskies. Follow the path through malting, milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling and maturing. The journey is completed with a visit to the Jameson Discovery Bar where you can enjoy the ultimate whiskey tasting experience - a complimentary glass of Jameson and mixer plus a chance for selected volunteers to become a "Qualified Irish Whiskey Taster". After your tour, browse in the gift shop or lunch in the restaurant or bar and soak up the unique atmosphere.


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

Ashling Hotel - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

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


Included Experiences

EPIC Ireland

Dublin, County Dublin

EPIC Ireland is an extraordinary new visitor experience, showcasing the unique journey of the Irish nation. Located in the iconic CHQ building, an historic stone and iron warehouse, built in 1820, EPIC Ireland tells the amazing story of the Irish people’s dispersal throughout the world over the ages. At EPIC, you will be taken on a journey that begins on the island of Ireland, and ends with the global presence of the Irish today. The state-of-the-art exhibition is spread across 21 galleries, categorized into four thematic groups - Migration, Motivation, Influence & Connection. The aim is to bring to life the story of Ireland’s communities overseas - past, present and future – in a way that is highly entertaining, engaging and educational. The story is told using innovative techniques and cutting-edge interactive technologies, in combination with more traditional photographic, film, sound recordings and historic objects. A truly immersive, multi-sensory experience awaits!


Must-See Sites

Grafton Street, County Dublin

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

Grafton Street is without doubt Ireland's premier shopping street - in terms of retail rent, it's the fifth most expensive in the world! With beautiful historic buildings housing iconic Irish businesses such as Brown Thomas, Weir & Sons and Bewley’s Grafton Street Café, Grafton Street offers an experience that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. Since the 1980s, the street has been mostly pedestrianized, with the exception of a short stretch that 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.


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. 


O'Connell Street, County Dublin

On The Map: Located in the heart of Dublin city, the street's layout is simple but elegant. Within O'Connell Street and it's side streets you'll find endless historical monuments, dining choices and shopping districts, both traditional and high street.

O'Connell Street has often been centre-stage in Irish history, attracting the city's most prominent monuments and public art through the centuries, and formed the backdrop to one of the 1913 Dublin Lockout gatherings, the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish Civil War of 1922, the destruction of the Nelson Pillar in 1966, and many public celebrations, protests and demonstrations through the years – a role it continues to play to this day. State funeral corteges have often passed the GPO on their way to Glasnevin Cemetery, while today the street is used as the main route of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, and as the setting for the 1916 Commemoration every Easter Sunday. It also serves as a major bus route artery through the city centre.

Attractions:

General Post Office (GPO), Statue of Daniel O'Connell, The Spire, Staute of James Stewart Parnell, Clery's Department Store, Major Shopping Districts.


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.


Mohill, County Leitrim

Accommodation

Lough Rynn Castle Hotel - Mohill, County Leitrim

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

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

Kells, County Meath

On The Map: Kells is located on County Meath, in the east of Ireland, and just one hour northwest of Dublin City, along the M3/N3 Road.

Kells is a quiet small town in the historical Boyne Valley area. It is believed that the beautifully illustrated Book of Kells was completed by the monks of the Kells monastery. The monastery was founded by St. Colmcille in the 6th century and it remained an important centre of religion and learning for over 700 years. Only a few of the buildings remain to this day, but visitors can still admire the well preserved round tower, celtic crosses and a small stone church across the road from the site.


Enroute Sightseeing

Trim Castle, County Meath

On the map: Located in Trim, County Meath, Trim Castle is the largest, best-preserved & easily one of the most impressive Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland.

Trim get its name from the Irish áth Truim, meaning ‘The Ford of the Elder Trees', indicating that this was once an important fording point on the River Boyne. In 1172, shortly after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland, King Henry II granted Hugh de Lacy the Kingdom of Meath, along with custody of Dublin. For strategic reasons, de Lacy decided to make Trim, rather than Drogheda, the centre of his newly acquired lordship. The castle was converted from a ringfort into a wooden castle. The castle was seen as a threat by the Gaelic Irish and in 1174 it was destroyed by Rory O'Connor, King of Connacht. The following year work began on a more permanent stone replacement and over the following decades, Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter constructed the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Europe. Most of the castle visible today was completed by 1220.


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Overnight Location

Mohill, County Leitrim

On the Map: Mohill is located in County Leitrim in the northwest of Ireland. From the main N4/M4 road connecting Sligo town (to the northwest) & Dublin City (to the southeast), Mohill is accessed via the R202, which intersects with the N4 just south of Carrick-on-Shannon.

Leitrim's name derives from the Irish Liath Druim, meaning "grey ridge."  In ancient times Leitrim formed the western half of the Kingdom of Breifne. The Kingdom of Bréifne (also Breffny, Brefnie, Brenny) was the traditional territory for an early Irish tribal group known as the Uí Briúin Bréifne. The Bréifne territory included the modern Irish counties of Leitrim and Cavan, along with parts of County Sligo.  Breifne means hilly in Irish, a description which describes the topography of this part of Ireland. It is also believed to mean a place of great beauty. Leitrim has a dramatic hilly and mountainous landscape in its northwest and is relatively flat in the southeast, each separated from the other by Lough Allen in the middle of the county. It is an unspoiled, peaceful land of great natural beauty, consisting of lofty mountains, deep valleys, pastures, lakes, rolling hills and rivers. Leitrim is not a landlocked county as it has a short length of Atlantic coastline (5km) between Sligo and Donegal in the northwest.


Mohill, County Leitrim

Accommodation

Lough Rynn Castle Hotel - Mohill, County Leitrim

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Grave of W.B Yeats at Drumcliff (Sligo), County Sligo

On The Map: Drumcliff is located just 8 kilomeotres north of Sligo Town, along the N15 Road.

Drumcliff is the final resting place of famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865–1939), who is buried in the graveyard of St. Columba's Church of Ireland church. Although Yeats died in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France in January 1939, his remains were brought home to Ireland by the Irish Naval Service and re-interred at Drumcliff in 1948. Yeats' epitaph reads: "Cast a cold eye, On life on death, Horseman, pass by". Yeats himself chose this peaceful churchyard at Drumcliffe in County Sligo as his final resting place, with it’s stunning location at the foot of Benbulben mountain. The graveyard also contains the remains of a round tower and a high cross constructed in the 11th century, when there was a Christian monastery, founded by Saint Columcille in 574 AD on the site.


Sligo, County Sligo

On the Map: Sligo Town is located in County Sligo in the northwest of Ireland. Sligo is well-served by a good network of major roads - the M4/N4 from Dublin (to the southeast), the N17/N4 from Galway (to the south) & the N15 from Donegal town (to the north).

The mediaeval town of Sligo was initially established in 1245, when the Castle of Sligo was built. The town was attacked and burned many times in subsequent centuries, and the only mediaeval building currently standing in the town is Sligo Abbey. The current Abbey dates from 1414, and Bram Stoker (whose mother was from Sligo), claims that ghost stories about the eerie structure in large part inspired him to write his famous novel, 'Dracula'. Sligo is probably most famous for its close association with the poet W.B. Yeats, and his artist brother, Jack. There's a fine museum and gallery, much of which is devoted to the great man, and his grave at Drumcliff Cemetery is a well-visited attraction. At Carrowmore, in very close proximity to Sligo you will find the 5,000 year-old megalithic tombs of an ancient Celtic people. This is only one of many world-famous megalithic sites in Sligo. Ben Bulben, the distinctive flat-topped mountain (pictured) is right next to the city, and is steeped in Irish folklore, legend and mythology.


Boyle Abbey, County Roscommon

On the Map: Boyle is located in County Roscommon in the northwest of Ireland. The N61 road passes through town, just south of where it intersects with the major N4/M4 road that connects the cities of Dublin (to the east) and Sligo (to the north).

The famous Abbey at Boyle was the first successful foundation in Connacht of the Cistercian order of monks, which had opened its first Irish house at Mellifont, County Louth, in 1142. Though mutilated during the 16th & 17th centuries, when it was used to accommodate a military garrison, Boyle Abbey is nevertheless a very well preserved monastery. Dominated by a squat square tower dating from the 13th century, the Abbey has certainly retained its ability to impress visitors. The Abbey design was influenced by styles from Burgundy, from where Cistercians came to Ireland. The decorated corbels and capitals were likely carved by local masons, some of them members of the so called ‘School of the West’. This same School is responsible for creating some of the most inventive architectural sculpture of the 13th century in Ireland's west. A restored gatehouse dating from the 16th & 17th centuries houses an exhibition.


Glencar Waterfall, County Leitrim

On The Map: Glencar Waterfall lies about 8 miles north of Sligo town, and 5 miles west of Manorhamilton, just off the N16 road that connects the two towns.

With a drop of approx. 50 feet, Glencar Waterfall is not the largest in the world. It does however occupy a wonderfully scenic and romantic location, and is particularly impressive after rain. The setting and charm of the waterfall inspired Ireland's famous poetic son, W.B Yeats, and is mentioned in his poem, 'The Stolen Child'. The falls are accessed via a lovely wooded walk and on-site picnic facilities are provided. There are more waterfalls visible from the road, but none are quite as romantic as this one! The waterfall is adjacent to serene Glencar Lake on the Sligo / Leitrim border - a most enchanting area.


Mohill, County Leitrim

Accommodation

Lough Rynn Castle Hotel - Mohill, County Leitrim

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Clonmacnoise, County Offaly

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

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


Athlone, County Westmeath

On the Map: Athlone is situated in the very middle of Ireland. The N6/M6 road connecting the cities of Dublin (in the east) & Galway (in the west) passes right by Athlone's town centre.

Athlone in County Westmeath, has been a strategic crossing point on the River Shannon for many centuries. Because of this position Athlone has played a prominent role in many Irish battles. Today Athlone is a busy boating centre as cruising on the Shannon has become very popular in recent years. During the summer months there is a constant stream of crafts of all size navigating up and down the river and through the loughs in the town. This makes Athlone seem more like a bustling port than an inland town. The town also has some great shopping with a vast array of knitwear, celtic crafts and souvenirs can be found. The town's most imposing historical feature is Athlone Castle situated on the west bank of the Shannon. It was built by the Normans in 1210 on the site of an older wooden fort. Also, do not miss the impressive monastic site of Clonmacnoise which is situated on the banks of the Shannon south of Athlone in County Offaly and dates back almost 1,500 years. St. Ciaran, the son of an Ulsterman who had settled in Connaught, chose the site in 545 AD because of its ideal location at the junction of river and road. You will see that he chose wisely.


Hill of Uisneach, County Westmeath

The Hill of Uisneach is located in County Westmeath in the heart of Ireland. Uisneach's storied past predates recorded history, but its surviving monuments and relics indicate that it has been a very important place of human activity for more than 5,000 years. Indeed, the Hill of Uisneach is one of the most sacred and historic sanctuaries in the world. Although the hill is barely 600 feet tall, it offers commanding views over the surrounding countryside, and on a clear day, no fewer than 20 counties are visible. Uisneach's prominent features include the Royal Palace Ring Fort, Lough Lugh, Carn Lugdach and the summit - Saint Patrick's Bed. Uisneach's most famous feature is undoubtedly Ail na Mireann (The Stone of Divisions), known as The Catstone. This huge glacial erratic symbolizes Ireland, and it is underneath the stone that Éiru, after whom Ireland is named, was laid to rest.


Leixlip, County Kildare

Accommodation

Leixlip Manor - Leixlip, County Kildare

Manor
Room Type: Courtyard 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!


Enroute Sightseeing

Kilbeggan Distillery, County Westmeath

The Kilbeggan Distillery is the oldest licenced distillery in Ireland. Dating back to 1757 a visit today lets you discover real artisanal Irish whiskey distilling at its finest.


Enroute Sightseeing

Castletown House, County Kildare

Castletown is Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian style house.  Built between 1722 and 1729 for William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland.  The façade was almost certainly designed by the Italian architect, Alessandro Galilei, while the Irish architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce added the wings.


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.


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

Feb - April '19

From $698 per person

Med Season

May - June '19 | Sep - Oct '19

From $1,138 per person

High Season

July & August '19

From $1,248 per person

Low Season

Nov - Dec '19

From $748 per person

 

Please Note: Travelers arriving on a Sunday will avail of the lowest cost for this tour.

 

Your Price Includes

ACCOMMODATION

  • 6-Nights in Unique 4-Star Accommodations

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Car with Automatic Transmission & Authentic’s Exclusive Car Insurance Coverage

DINING OPTIONS

  • Full Irish Breakfasts Each Morning

INCLUDED UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Entrance to Dublin Castle
  • Admission to EPIC - The Irish Emigration Museum

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • See the Home of Ireland's Famous Brew at Guinness Storehouse
  • Take in Christchurch Cathedral - Dublin's most historic building
  • Visit the heart of Irish whisky at Jameson Distillery
  • Learn about Archaeology, Decorative Arts & History, or Natural History at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin
  • Gaze upon the beautifully illustrated Book of Kells at Trinity College
  • Explore the cobbles lanes of Temple Bar and shop along Grafton Street
  • Journey through the Boyne Valley and the heritage town of Kells
  • Walk in the Trail of W.B. Yeats in Sligo and visit his grave at Drumcliffe
  • Wonder at romantic Glencar Waterfall - Featured in W.B. Yeats poem The Stolen Child
  • Behold 12th-century decorated stonework at Boyne Abbey
  • Take in the spiritual significance of the Hill of Uisneach - Ireland's mysterious Sacred Centre
  • Visit the medieval town of Athlone and it's 13th-Century Castle
  • Marvel at the Celtic high crosses and tower of Clonmacnoise
  • Take a step back in time at Kilbeggan Distillery - Ireland's oldest licensed distillery
  • Pass by stunning Belvedere House and Gardens and Castletown House
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. Solo travelers may pay a Single Supplement Price from US$440 per person

“40th Anniversary Trip”

Jul 10, 2019 by Kenneth Elder. Your Hometown: Katy, TX

My wife and I spent 16 days traveling all over Scotland. We had an amazing trip! We had read many of Con's blogs and planned many of our activities based on his blog.

Con and his team set up the hotel/B&B stops for us along the way and my wife and I drove the rental car over 1500 miles touring the countryside, castles, distilleries, and sites around Scotland, as we pleased.

Most of the accommodations were very nice, but, like most anywhere you travel in Europe, many of the showers in the bathrooms are more like a phone booth. Very cramped.

Except for being a little warmer than we anticipated, the weather was perfect. Out of 16 days, we had two days of rain.

Driving on the wrong side of the road, from the wrong side of the car, on some of the narrow, single lanes, winding coastal roads, with your wife navigating and yelling at you to slow down, was an adventure all by itself. I wish we had taken a "GoPro" camera to put on the dash to record some of the roads we drove on! Make sure you have an international phone plan or a GPS! Google Maps worked great for us.

As someone else mentioned in their review, the "Spirit of Scotland" dinner show was underwhelming, as was the food, but it was already included in our package. Probably could have spent those 2-3 hours doing something more interesting.

Con was very helpful in helping arrange our trip and gave some very useful tips and insight.

One suggestion I would make to Authentic Vacations for those who are renting a vehicle and driving in Scotland is that they provide some explanation of road signs and some details about highway speed limits. Such as, unless posted differently, the speed limit on Scotland highways is 60 MPH.

AND, in Scotland, the speed limit is in MPH, not Kilometers. Speed cameras are used extensively in Scotland, so mind your speed.

Thanks, Con and Authentic Vacations. We had a wonderful vacation!

“Ireland trip”

Jul 10, 2019 by Traci.

We took our first trip to Ireland to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It was such a fun trip. Lonna, our agent, made sure all our arrangements were too good to go before we left. And we had no problems with the rental car or hotels. She made planning the trip less stressful for us since we'd not been there before. We opted for the self-driving authentic castle tour. We saw so many old castles and churches. It was fantastic.

We went to Kylemore Abbey, which is located in a beautiful mountainous setting. Blarney castle's gardens were amazing. Killarney is set near a National Park (named after the town) and the mountains and lakes there are beautiful. Galway was a cute, lively seaside town and Dublin had the hustle and bustle a large city.

A few tips I can offer when planning your trip are: if you're traveling with someone tall (my hubby is tall) make sure you request king-size beds (it seems they are less standard in hotels over there compared to the US). Not all hotels over there have AC so if that is an important must-have for you make sure you tell your agent that.

I loved our trip. I would not hesitate to use Authentic Ireland to plan any future trips. They were great to work with.

“Second Trip”

Jul 10, 2019 by Moira.

This is our second time using Authentic Ireland and they did not disappoint! Lauren has helped me both times with our vacations last year and this year and she did an amazing job both times. This year especially because we made a lot of customizations.

“Flawless Vacation”

Jul 10, 2019 by Elle. Your Hometown: Loveland, CO

What a fantastic week we had traveling Ireland's northwest and part of Northern Ireland! From the rental car, to the sights to see to the B&B's everything was flawless. The Blackrock B&B in Portrush is a MUST!!!

“Ireland 2019”

Jul 10, 2019 by John Noyes. Your Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

The entire family took a graduation/anniversary trip to Ireland with Authentic Vacations. It was amazing and was everything we could have asked for. Our agent Heather took great care of us and made changes based on what the girls wanted to do and made sure we were taken care of every step of the way. What a hassle-free vacation. The rooms that were booked were fantastic and very nice, All the attractions we wanted were taken care of and never did we rush with the exception of Dublin. We tried to do way too much in one day. The only negatives of the trip were the flight, we were not sitting together, and the rental vehicle was not what we booked as it was way too small and not in the class that was booked. Overall Authentic Vacations took the stress and worries of our vacation out and let us just enjoy our family time together. Thank you, Heather, and thank you Authentic Vacations you made a lot of memories for us and we will be booking with you again on our next trip. 

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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.

We have been known to customize some pretty exceptional experiences: from jousting exhibitions to fly fishing to romantic serenades, there is nothing outside of the scope of what we will plan for our clients.

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