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8-Night Northern Exposure

Price: From $1,242 Per Person. 8 Nights

Are you looking to discover the sights and sounds of Northern Ireland? Well, look no further than our Northern Exposure tour. This package offers you the opportunity to see a wonderful part of Ireland that is often overlooked. Enjoy three nights at unique Castle accommodations. Spend two nights in Belfast - a city filled with lovely gardens and neighborhoods, sublime Victorian homes and buildings. Take in one of the most exciting coastlines in the world: The famous Glens of Antrim, volcanic Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle and the massive sea cliffs at Slieve League all await! Round-off your amazing tour with a cozy & peaceful night at Cabra Castle, in the midst of Cavan's rolling lake country.

Get some tips about driving in Ireland before you trip!

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

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

  • 8 nights Accommodation – From Luxury City Hotel to Castle Estate!
  • Spend 3 nights in Authentic Castles!

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Car - Includes Insurance, Unlimited Mileage & All Taxes

DINING OPTIONS

  • 8 Breakfasts - Sumptuous Full Irish Breakfasts Each Morning

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Explore 5000 year old Newgrange & The Boyne Valley 
  • Visit Medieval Towns and Ancient Castles
  • Enjoy two Nights in Belfast City
  • Visit Dunluce Castle and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
  • Explore the Giants Causeway, Antrim Coast and Donegal
  • Discover Sligo's Yeats' Country & Hidden Waterfalls 

Portmarnock, County Dublin

Arrive at

Arrive at Dublin Airport, County Dublin

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

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


Accommodation

Portmarnock Hotel - More Info - Portmarnock, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check in time is after 2.00pm on your day of arrival. Check out is before 11.30am.


Overnight Location

Portmarnock, County Dublin

On The Map: Portmarnock is a suburb of Dublin City, and lies on the east coast of Ireland between Malahide and Baldoyle.

Portmarnock has been settled in Neolithic times, with a number of remains of activity in the area still evident today, such as flints and other tools having been excavated at the northern fringe of Portmarnock. The remains of a ring fort are visible from the air at the south of the town. The son of famous Irish Queen Maedhbh of Connaught – Maine – is also said to have been buried locally. Adjacent to Portmarnock is a narrow beach which extends onto a sandy peninsula with beaches on all sides. The beach is nicknamed The Velvet Strand due to the beautiful smooth sand along the beach. Portmarnock's beach was the starting point for an important pioneering flights. On 23 June 1930 Australian aviator Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew took off in the Southern Cross aircraft on the second, westbound transatlantic flight. Portmarnock is also world-famous for its golf course which formally opened on 26 December 1894.


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!


Glasnevin Cemetery, County Dublin

On The Map: Glasnevin Cemetery is located in the Dublin suburb of Finglas. The Cemetery Museum is located on the Finglas Road approximately 3km north of the City Centre. Bus Route 140 departs from O’ Connell Street.

If you have an interest in Irish history, or have Irish ancestry, Glasnevin Cemetery is well worth a visit. Glasnevin was established in 1832 under the direction of one of Ireland's most famous sons, Daniel O’Connell. In the great man's own words, the purpose of Glasnevin is to bury “people of all religions and none”. The cemetery encompasses 124 acres and 1.5 million burials. Glasnevin is a national, historical treasure and is the final resting place of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, O’Donovan Rossa, Eamonn De Valera, Michael Collins, Countess Markiewicz, Maud Gonne McBride, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Brendan Behan, Christy Brown, Jimmy O’Dea, Luke Kelly, Alfred Chester Beatty, Michael Cusack and Liam Whelan....to name but a few! The Cemetery’s most famous architectural feature is the 51 metre (167 feet) high O’Connell Round Tower, designed by George Petries and made of Wicklow granite. The remains of Daniel O’Connell are interred in a family crypt directly below the tower. The Mortuary Chapel, designed in the 1870s, is appointed with stone carvings by James Pearse (father of Padraig and Willie). Museum visits are available daily, as are themed, expertly guided tours of hte Cemetery.


Malahide, County Dublin

On The Map: Malahide is a coastal suburb of Dublin, located just north of the city and east of the M1 motorway linking Dublin and Belfast

Malahide can trace its origins to the coming of the Vikings, who landed in 795 A.D., and used the Malahide Estuary as a convenient base. The village is an affluent spot, and boasts many retail boutiques, nice pubs and restaurants. Traditional shopfronts and several cobble-lock side streets give the village an intimate and welcoming feel. As well as being quite picturesque, the village also boasts the 800 year old Malahide Castle (pictured). Set on a 250 acre estate, Malahide Castle has a rich and varied history, not to mention being reputedly haunted by no less than 5 ghosts! There is an ancient covered well - St. Sylvester's - on the old main street. Malahide also has a substantial marina.


Belfast, County Antrim

Accommodation

Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast - More Info - Belfast, County Antrim

5 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 3.00pm and 6.00pm. Please call the hotel in advance if you expect to arrive earlier or later. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon. If calling from within Northern Ireland please dial: 028 9044 2080. If calling from the Republic of Ireland dial: 044 28 9044 2080.


Enroute Sightseeing

Carlingford, County Louth

On the Map: Carlingford is located in the northeast of Ireland, and splits the distance between the major cities of Dublin (to the south) and Belfast (to the north). From the main M1 motorway connecting Belfast & Dublin, Carlingford is accessed via the R173, intersecting just north of Dundalk.

The small fishing village of Carlingford on the Cooley Peninsula nestles between Slieve Foy, Carlingford Lough and the Mourne mountains. A unique blend of natural beauty, spectacular panoramas, myths and legends combine to make Carlingford a very special place. It is Ireland's best preserved medieval town giving it a unique feel and atmosphere. Carlingford is also the Oyster capital of the country and every August the oyster festival draws huge crowds into the pretty village of white washed cottages and ancient clustered buildings. The mythical Tain Way walking route starts in the town and completing even a short portion of it will reward you with magical views of Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains.


Overnight Location

Belfast, County Antrim

On the Map: Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is located in the northeastern corner of the country in County Antrim. Belfast is well served by a network of good roads, including the M1 motorway from Dublin City.

Approximately one third of the population of Northern Ireland - about half a million people - live in Belfast. It's setting is very attractive, nestling in a semicircle of hills, where the River Langan enters Belfast Lough. The city got it's name from Beile Feirst  "the mouth of the sandy ford" - and was founded in 1177 when the Anglo-Normans built a castle here. It began to really expand in the 17th century with the development of the local linen and shipbuilding industries (the Titanic was built here).  Sights to see in Belfast City, the Belfast City Hall, built of Portland stone in Classical Renaissance style, dominates the city center.  The Linen Hall Library, founded in 1788 is an absolute delight, a cultural centre with exhibitions, a Theater & Performing Arts Archive and a Genealogy and Heraldry collection. Away from the city center you have the Ulster Museum in the Botanic Gardens, near Queens University which has miles of galleries and exhibitions. This lively and friendly city, with historic buildings standing side-by-side with modern creations is a delight not to be missed.


Must-See Sites

Belfast Botanic Gardens, County Antrim

First established in 1828, the Belfast Botanic Gardens became a public park in 1895. Situated near Queens University Belfast, the Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists. Designed by Charles Lanyon, The Garden's Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouse. Its construction was initiated by the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society in the 1830s, and the two wings were completed in 1840. Over the years, the Palm House has acquired a reputation for excellent plant collections. The cool wing houses year-round displays of color and scent, using plants such as geranium, fuchsia, begonia in bespoke displays. The Tropical Ravine, or Fernery, completed in 1889, is a fine example of horticultural Victoriana. The plants grow in a sunken glen overlooked by a balcony. The stove wing and dome area contain a range of temperate and tropical plants with particular emphasis on species of economic value.


Belfast, County Antrim

Accommodation

Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast - More Info - Belfast, County Antrim

5 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 3.00pm and 6.00pm. Please call the hotel in advance if you expect to arrive earlier or later. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon. If calling from within Northern Ireland please dial: 028 9044 2080. If calling from the Republic of Ireland dial: 044 28 9044 2080.


Must-See Sites

Belfast City Hall, County Antrim

On The Map: City Hall is located on Donegall Square, in the very heart of Belfast.

Featuring towers at each of the four corners, with a lantern-crowned 173 ft copper dome in the centre, City Hall dominates Belfast's skyline. Plans for the City Hall began in 1888 when Belfast was awarded city status by Queen Victoria. This was in recognition of Belfast's rapid expansion and thriving linen, rope-making, shipbuilding and engineering industries. Construction began in 1898, and was completed in 1906 at a cost of £369,000. The exterior is built mainly from Portland stone and is in the Baroque Revival style. The interior has a number of notable features including The Porte-Cochère and Grand Entrance, The Grand Staircase, The Reception Room and The Great Hall. The gardens surrounding the City Hall are a popular summer lunch spot, and various statues adorn the grounds. These include a granite column dedicated to the American Expeditionary Force, many of whom were based in Belfast prior to D-Day in 1944. Interesting and informattive public tours of City Hall are available Monday thru Saturday. Led by experienced guides, tours last one hour and are free!


Belfast Castle and Cave Hill, County Antrim

On The Map: Belfast Castle is located just 4 miles north of the city centre on the slopes of Cave Hill. It is well signposted from the nearby Antrim Road.

Belfast Castle Estate is adjacent to one of the highest spots in Belfast, Cave Hill - at 400 feet above sea-level, the castle offers stunning views over Belfast Lough and the city. For generations, Cave Hill has been synonymous with Belfast, with its imposing outline visible throughout the city. The landmark, named for the five caves located on the side of the cliffs, contains a wealth of natural, archaeological and historical features, including Belfast Castle. Its most famous feature, known locally as Napoleon's Nose, is believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift's novel, Gulliver's Travels. Cave Hill Visitor Centre is located on the second floor of Belfast Castle. This fascinating and intriguing museum is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 10pm, and Sundays from 9am to 5.30pm, and admission is free! The Cellar Restaurant within the castle is open every day from 11am-5pm serving snacks, light refreshments and lunch.


Titanic Belfast, County Antrim

On The Map: Titanic Belfast is located on Queen's Road in Belfast's northeastern 'Titanic Quarter'. The land on which it stands was formerly owned by the famous Harland & Wolff Shipping Company - builders of Titanic in 1912.

Opened on March 31, 2012, Titanic Belfast is a very impressive, state-of-the-art facility that covers more than 130,000 square feet. The striking building took more than 4 years to construct at a cost of GB 77 million pounds. It stands at 126 feet high - the exact same height as the hull of the famous, doomed ship. Titanic Belfast extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way; from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. The journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking, to the discovery of the wreck and continues into the present day with a live undersea exploration centre.


Derry, County Derry

Accommodation

City Hotel - More Info - Derry, County Derry

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.


Enroute Sightseeing

Glens of Antrim, County Antrim

On The Map: County Antrim is located in the northeast corner of Northern Ireland.

The Glens of Antrim (there are 9) are beautifully unique and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Within twenty square miles you can enjoy natural landscape that covers glacial valleys, sandy beaches, vertical cliffs, tundra plateau, boglands, wooded decidious glens, coniferous forests, waterfalls and picturesque villages! Antrim's coast, from the busy port of Larne to the resorts of Portrush and Portstewart, is dotted with beaches and rocky inlets. Ancient sites and places of intrigue abound too. In addition to wonderful scenery, the landscape is dominated by spectacular ruins of fortresses built by Gaelic chieftains and Norman invaders. Ireland's first inhabitants, nomadic boatmen from Scotland, are believed to have landed in this area around 7000 BC. 


Enroute Sightseeing

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim

On The Map: Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is located near the small town of Ballintoy, in County Antrim Northern Ireland. The rope bridge connects the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick in the northeast corner of Northern Ireland.

Spanning a chasm some eighty feet deep is the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, it's construction once consisted of a single rope hand rail and widely spaced slats which the fishermen would traverse across with salmon caught off the island to which it leads. The single handrail was subsequently replaced by a two hand railed bridge, and the current, caged bridge was installed by the National Trust during Easter of 2000 as a further safety measure. Although no-one has ever been injured falling off the old or new bridge, there have been many instances of visitors being unable to face the return walk back across the bridge, resulting in them being taken off the island by boat, so not an activity for the faint-hearted!


Enroute Sightseeing

Giant's Causeway, County Antrim

On the Map: The Giant's Causeway is located in County Antrim on the northeastern coast of Northern Ireland. The Causeway is accessed via Causeway Road that runs north from the main A2 road (connecting Bushmills to the west and Ballycastle to the east).

The Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO Heritage site located in Northern Ireland. During the Paleogene period, County Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity. As lava rapidly cooled, unique contraction and fracturing occurred, creating the distinctive hexagonal columns seen today. Irish legend of course has an alternate tale of the Causeway's creation!: The Irish giant Fionn MacCumhaill (Fionn McCool) built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Benandonner. One version of the legend tells that Fionn fell asleep before he got to Scotland. When he did not arrive, the much larger Benandonner crossed the bridge looking for him. To protect Fionn, his wife Oonagh laid a blanket over him and pretended that the sleeping giant was actually their baby son. When Benandonner saw the size of the 'infant', he assumed the alleged father, Fionn, must be gigantic indeed. Benandonner fled home in terror, ripping up the Causeway in case he was followed by Fionn, and therefore only the Irish coastal steps remain.


Enroute Sightseeing

Dunluce Castle, County Antrim

On The Map: Dunluce Castle is located on the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. The town is accessed via the A2 road that connects the towns of Portrush to the west & Bushmills to the east.

Dunluce Castle is sited dramatically close to the edge of a headland, along the North Antrim coast. One could spend hours marvelling at such a wondrous feat of construction 500 years ago! Surrounded by jaw dropping coastal scenery, this medieval castle stands where an early Irish fort was once built, and its history can be traced back to early Christians and Vikings. The Castle has a rich and varied history, connected with such famous names as Richard de Burgh, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and Sir John Perrott. Dunluce Village which once surrounded the castle was destroyed by fire during the siege of 1641, but some archaelogical remnants of walls remain. Also nearby are the ancient church ruins of St. Cuthbert's, and the site was witness to the sinking of the colony ship the Exmouth, bound for Quebec, which broke up on rocks off Islay with 240 deaths in 1847. The site features a visitor centre, shop and guided tours of the ruins, gardens and remnants of the town.


Overnight Location

Derry, County Derry

On the Map: Derry City is located close to the northern coast in Northern Ireland. Derry is accessed via the N15/N13 from Donegal (to the southwest) and the A6 from Belfast (to the southeast).

The story of Derry is a long and tumultuous one. Set on a hill on the banks of the Foyle estuary, strategically close to the open sea, it came under siege and attack for over a thousand years. You can walk along the great 17th-century walls, about a mile round and 18 feet thick, which withstood several sieges and even today are unbroken and complete, with old cannon still pointing their black noses over the ramparts. The great siege lasted for 105 days. Today, there’s an atmosphere of optimism in Derry and the city buzzes with life. It’s an artistic city, with theatres, galleries and other cultural centres and a number of annual festivals. Its people, with their gentle accent, are very welcoming.


Derry, County Derry

Accommodation

City Hotel - More Info - Derry, County Derry

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

Killybegs, County Donegal

On the Map: Killybegs is a County Donegal coastal town in the northwest of Ireland. The town is accessed via the N56 and R263 from Donegal town (30 minutes away to the east).

Killybegs is Ireland's premier fishing port. Located on the northwest coast of Ireland, this natural harbour provides a perfect gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. It is an excellent place to base yourself when touring the south west of Donegal. A lively fishing town with Ireland's largest fleet of trawlers. Killybegs is a bustling town where local and foreign ships tower over the quayside. With large numbers of both trendy and modern restaurants and the more traditional pubs, Killybegs offers the visitor a variety of good food, drink and entertainment.


Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal

On The Map: Glenveagh National Park lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the northwest of County Donegal, in the northwest corner of Ireland. Access from Letterkenny Town is via the N56 road through Kilmacrennan, turning left onto the Gweedore road - R255, or alternatively via Church Hill, and past Gartan and Akibbon Lakes on the R251.

Glenveagh National Park is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains and pristine lakes. Donegal gets fewer tourists than other locations in Ireland, but with the remarkable backdrops of Mount Errigal (Donegal’s highest mountain) and Muckish, this is one of the most tranquil and scenic national parks in the country. Populated with red deer, the Park, which covers more than 40,000 acres, consists of three areas. The largest of these is the former Glenveagh Estate, including most of the Derryveagh Mountains. To the west are the quartzite hills around Crocknafarragh and to the south, the peatlands of Lough Barra bog, Meenachullion and Crockastoller. Glenveagh Castle and Gardens are at the heart of the park. The castle was built in the 19th century by the controversial John Adair, who evicted no less than 244 tenants from the homes, because they were spoiling his view! Access to the interior is by tour only, but morning and afternoon teas are served in the castle tearooms all season. The Park Visitor Centre houses exhibitions and an audio-visual show.


Slieve League, County Donegal

On the Map: Slieve League is located in County Donegal on the northwest coast of Ireland. The area is accessed via the R263 road that heads west from the fishing village of Killybegs.

The Slieve League cliffs are said to be the highest and one of the finest marine cliffs in Europe. To fully enjoy the spectacle of Slieve League, it is best to leave your car at the car park and walk the few miles to the cliffs so as not to miss the exciting scenery of the area. There are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you walk towards the terrifyingly high top of Slieve League, where the cliff face of Bunglas rises over 600 metres above the raging seas below. Experienced walkers only should venture beyond the viewing point onto One Man's Pass which loops around onto the Pilgrim's Path.


Donegal, County Donegal

On the Map: Donegal town is located in County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland. The N15 road connecting the cities of Sligo (to the southwest) and Derry (to the northwest) passes-by just east of the town.

Donegal Town is famous for being the former home to the O'Donnell Clan, who played a pivotal role in Irish history. From the 15th to the 17th century, they provided the main opposition to the colonisation of Ireland by England. The town itself contains Donegal castle, on the banks of the River Eske and the remains of a Franciscan abbey which dates back to the 15th century on the Southern shore of the Bay. The Annals of the Four Masters are traditionally thought to have been started in the abbey in the early 17th century. The story of Red Hugh O'Donnell, Lord of Tyrconnell, was the inspiration behind many books and films, not least, Disney's The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966).


Mohill, County Leitrim

Accommodation

Lough Rynn Castle Hotel - More Info - 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

Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, County Sligo

On The Map: Carrowmore is located just 4 kilometres southwest of Sligo Town, and is reached via the R292 (Strandhill) road which intersects with the main N4 to Dublin.

This is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also among the country's oldest, with monuments ranging from five and a half thousand to six and a half thousand years old. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs of which 30 are visible. A restored cottage houses an exhibition relating to the site. Access to the tombs may be difficult for people with disabilities. Visitors are advised to wear shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain.


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


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 - More Info - 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

Croagh Patrick, County Mayo

On The Map: Croagh Patrick is a 2507 ft mountain, located just 5 miles southwest of Westport town in County Mayo.

Croagh Patrick is Ireland's sacred mountain, and has been since ancient times. In pre-Christian Ireland it was the focus of the harvest festival of Lughnasa, traditionally held around August 1. The mountain was especially important for women, who would sleep on the summit during Lughnasa to encourage fertility. According to Christian tradition, St. Patrick went up the sacred mountain at festival time in 441 AD. After fasting at the summit for 40 days, he banished all the snakes and demons from Ireland. The site quickly became an important place of Christian pilgrimage & a stone oratory dating from between 430 and 890 AD was recently discovered on the summit. Nowadays, as many as one million pilgrims and visitors make the trek to the top to pray at the stations of the cross, participate in Mass, do penance (in which case the rocky journey is undertaken barefoot!) or simply to enjoy the spectacular view.


Achill Island, County Mayo

On the Map: Achill Island is located off County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. The island is accessed via land bridge from the N59 road connecting the cities of Westport & Bangor. 

Achill Island is the largest island in Ireland at 60 square miles and is accessible from the mainland by a land bridge. Here you can visit the quaint villages of Dooagh and Dooega, the high cliffs at Slievemore and Minaun and the magnificent beaches at Keel and Keem, under Achill Head. No visit to the Island would be complete without taking a journey of scenic splendour on the famous Wild Atlantic Way Drive which circuits the island. Achill's beautiful unspoiled, remote scenery and clear waters make it ideally suited to outdoor pursuits. You can explore the island's peaceful countryside with a beach walk, hill walk, or even a road walk! You can rent bicycles on the island if you would like to cover more distance. You can climb the highest mountain on the island, Mt. Slievemore (about 1800 feet), with ease and have a remarkable view of the area, or opt take a walk up the third highest point, Mt. Minaun and walk along the Minaun cliffs.


Westport, County Mayo

On the Map: Westport enjoys a coastal location in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland. The town is accessed via the N59 road from Clifden (to the south), or N5 road from Castlebar (to the east).

Westport is a postcard-pretty town with as lovely a main street as you'll be likely to find anywhere in Ireland. The town lies in the shadow of Croagh Patrick with Clew Bay and its 365 islands just to the west. While in Westport be sure to visit Westport House and climb at least a little of Croagh Patrick. Westport House dates from 1730 and offers everything from a dungeon to a zoo! Croagh Patrick is a 765-meter hill where St. Patrick is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland. This hill is climbed (often barefoot) by thousands of Catholic pilgrims each July. South of Westport are some stunning scenic drives leading into the Connemara region. A trip northwards will bring you to remote Achill island which is accessible by a small bridge. Even further off the beaten path is Belmullet in the northwest corner of County Mayo. Westport also boasts a great selection of traditional pubs, among them Matt Molloy's of the Chieftains. 


Kingscourt, County Cavan

Accommodation

Cabra Castle - More Info - Kingscourt, County Cavan

Castle
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.


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Overnight Location

Kingscourt, County Cavan

On the Map: Kingscourt is located in the southeast corner of County Cavan, in the northeast midlands of Ireland. From the main N2 road connecting Monaghan town (to the north) & Dublin (to the south), Kingscourt is accessed via the R165, which intersects with the N2 just south of Ardee town.

Kingscourt is a busy market town. With Cabra Castle hotel and several B&Bs in the locality, visitors to the town are spoiled for choice. Kingscourt's Catholic Church, sitting on a ridge high above the town, displays excellent stained glass windows by the renowned Irish artist Evie Hone, who also provided designs for Eton College Chapel. Visitors can explore Dun a Rí Forest Park or play 9 holes of golf at Cabra Castle Golf Course. Situated one mile from Kingscourt, Dun a Rí Forest Park is a place of beauty. Situated in a tranquil glen, Dun a Rí is home to stoat, hare, mink, rabbit and otter, as well as red and grey squirrel along the banks of the River Cabra, which runs through the park. Take a romantic walk through deep, leafy glades & over old bridges. See marvellous views north to Slieve Gullion in County Armagh and the Mountains of Mourne. Some interesting features in the park include Cromwell's bridge, a wishing well and an ice house. There are four walks of approximately 1.5 -2km in length around the park.


Must-See Sites

Dun na Ri Forest Park, County Cavan

On The Map: Dun na Ri Forest Park is located just 1.5 kilometres north of Kingscourt in County Cavan, and lies adjacent to the Cabra Castle Estate. From Kingscourt, take the Carrickmacross Road (R179) which initially heads east out of town, before shortly turning north.

The 565 acre Dun na Ri Forest Park runs along the banks of the River Cabra, and features a dramatic gorge embracing part of the Cabra Castle Estate. The area is steeped in both legend & history. It is said that Cuchulain (Ireland's Ancient Superman!) camped in the Park at night, while by day conducting a single-handed defence of Ulster against the armies of Queen Maeve. In the 1600s, the glen echoed to the sounds of Cromwell's marauding British armies. There are four walks of approximately 1.5-2km in length, all with points of interest and plentiful, varied wildlife. Some more unusual highlights of a visit to Dun na Ri are the Ice House, Toba na Splinne Holy Well and Cromwell’s Bridge (pictured). The ruins of Fleming's Castle can still be seen as well as Sarah's Well. Sarah's Bridge, built in 1801, is the starting point of many of the walks in the park. The Park also has an extremely varied plant community and as a result it is rich in a wide range of wild animals. Red and grey squirrels are common, as are stoats and rabbits. Mink flourish along the river and otters have been spotted occasionally. The Irish hare is a resident of the Park as is the pigmy shrew. Norway spruce and oak are two important species in the Park.


Cavan, County Cavan

On the Map: The county is bordered by County Monaghan, County Leitrim, County Longford, County Meath, County Westmeath and County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland.

Cavan is known as 'The Lakeland County' and is reputed to contain 365 lakes. The O'Reilly clan (still a very common surname in the area) established a castle in Cavan town in the late 13th century. A Franciscan monastery was also established at around the same time. In the 15th century the local ruler, Bearded Owen O'Reilly set up a market which attracted merchants from Dublin and Drogheda. King James I granted the town a charter in 1610. Later, during the seventeenth century, local administrative influence and power transcended to the Maxwell family, descendants of the Bishop of Kilmore from the 1640's, who later became titled Lords Farnham. Development in Cavan during the early 19th century saw the building of a new wide street that still bears the name Farnham Street.


Depart From

Depart from Dublin Airport, County Dublin

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

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


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

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

“5 days in Ireland”

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

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

“Ireland Adventure”

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

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

“Wonderful First Trip to Ireland”

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

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

“Outstanding Vacation”

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

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

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