Welcome to Ireland! Whilst a small country, Ireland offers an enormous amount to see and do. As we travel around and meet the locals they certainly live up to their reputation as being one of the friendliest people in the world. Ireland has an embarrassment of riches and beauty – blue beaches, nature resurrections, amusing golf courses, history loaded settings and warm hospitable smiles from its people. Truly, an Irish experience is something that will be hard to beat. Sure, the beauty of nature abides everywhere, but when you get right down to Ireland, what better compliment could a destination have? Ireland holds a great number of wonders worth a visit. The most inviting factor that Ireland is proud of is the warmth of its welcome and the hospitality its people extends to its guests. So join our wonderful group and travel to this idyllic haven - Ireland greets you openhandly.
Our private tour to Ireland is totally informal, relaxed and not reliant on anyone’s schedule except our own. To assist passengers to budget accordingly, we have included a full Irish breakfast each day and 6 delightful suppers on our tour. Lunches will be on your own and convenient lunch stops will be made where you can choose either a light meal or a full lunch menu. As this is a private tour with our own charter vehicle and driver, we can deviate wherever we need to in order to get the very best out of our visit to this amazing destination.
Day 1 – Rapid City to Ireland
This morning we depart Rapid City Regional Airport and head out on our overnight journey to the beautiful Emerald Isle. Your ABS Travel Escort(s) will be with you throughout.
Overnight Trans-Atlantic flight – Meals aboard aircraft
Day 2 – Arrive Ireland and transfer to Galway in the County of Galway
We arrive at Dublin Airport this morning, pass through immigration and then pass through customs with our baggage. On exiting the Arrival Hall we are met by our Irish driver/guide. He will offer us a Failte or a Cead Mile Failte, (Welcome). We board our private motor coach and then we’re off on our Irish Adventure! Our journey this morning will take us West to Galway where we arrive mid-afternoon and check into our hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean – home for the next two nights. Galway is an ancient city in Ireland, a walled city of Viking and Spanish origin, and it retains much of its medieval character together with the graceful buildings from its 18th century expansion. Free time to explore the city before supper and a well earned night’s sleep in a real bed!
Overnight Galway – Welcome Supper included
Day 3 – Connemara figure of 8 Tour
The Figure of Eight Tour today will take us around the wild and very scenic ‘Gaeltacht of Connemara. The Gaeltacht are areas where the Irish language is spoken as the first language. Today we have lots of photo stops, coffee breaks and for sure, an occasional pub stop. We see the mountains of the 12 Bens, afternoon we visit Kylemore Abbey the spectacular home of the Benedictine nuns and an exclusive girl’s high school, here we have lunch. The village of Leenane is on Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord. Leenane is a tiny village where we visit a traditional pub for ‘refreshments’. After our visit, we return to the hotel.
Overnight Galway – Breakfast included Supper on your own tonight
Day 4 – Cliffs of Mohar & Bunratty
Leaving Galway after breakfast we travel south to county Clare. Around Black Head we travel on the southern shore of Galway Bay to the Burren. This area, the Burren is an area of ‘Karst’, bare limestone eroded by the ancient farmers a few thousand years ago. Our next stop is at the 700 foot high Cliffs of Mohar; we visit here and have lunch. Ennis is the county town of Clare and we travel through to Bunratty. We visit the castle and Folk Park this afternoon. After we check into our Hotel and tonight we have an evening of music, song, stories and dinner at the Irish Night at the ‘Barn in the Castle’.
Overnight Bunratty – Breakfast & Traditional Irish Supper & Show
Day 5 – Limerick, Adare & Killarney
Limerick is the gateway to the Shannon region with King John’s Castle protecting this ancient river crossing. Here we stop to see the Treaty Stone and the castle on the Shannon River. We travel on to the pretty village of Adare. Another stop here to visit the Trinitarian church built by the Crusader Monks, the village gardens and the curious thatched houses. Next we travel on through the Golden Vale to Killarney, Killarney, the capital of tourism in Ireland and famed for its scenic beauty. Tonight we experience an ‘Irish Night’ with Song & Dance at Kate Kearney’s Cottage Pub.
Overnight Killarney – Full Irish Breakfast included & Irish Supper & Show
Day 6 – The Ring of Kerry Tour
Today is the famous "Ring of Kerry" tour, 110 miles of spectacular scenery as we circle the Iveragh peninsula, enjoying the high cliff-side views of the Atlantic. It’s a great day to relax, take our time, and enjoy the amazing scenery. We will have many stops today including the Bog Village (where you can get an Irish Coffee) and the Sheepdog Trials where Brendan Ferris will show us how the Shepherd works his dogs on the rough mountain terrain. A special stop is made at Waterville where Charlie Chaplin had his holiday home. A lunch break is taken at the Scariff Inn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean near the westernmost point of the Ring. We continue the breathtaking ride along the cliffs to Sneem village for a rest break and then it’s over the mountains to Ladies View, made famous by Queen Victoria and her entourage. We continue through the National Park to Killarney and our hotel arriving at around 4.30pm. Supper tonight is on your own, maybe eat at the hotel or take a 10 minute stroll downtown to enjoy a typical ‘Pub Style’ meal, the choice is yours.
Overnight Killarney – Full Irish Breakfast included (Supper on own)
Day 7 – Blarney & Cork
The drive to Blarney is through Macroom the home of the Penn Family, they founded Penn State. Kissing the Blarney Stone is recognized to give you the Gift of the Gab, eloquence! Here also are the famous woolen mills a shopping Mecca. We next travel to Cobh which is located on Great Island in Cork Harbor, one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Cobh has a very long and interesting history. Being a major transatlantic port, Cobh was the departure point for many Irish emigrants to North America, and was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic. In 1915 The RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat off the old head of Kinsale and the survivors and victims were brought to Cobh, with over one hundred deceased interred in the old church cemetery. Cobh was also a major port for many who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia. The town has had very strong nautical ties over the years and facing Cobh on Haulbowline Island is the home of the Irish Naval Service. In 1849 the town’s name was changed from Cove to Queenstown to honor Queen Victoria's visit to Ireland that year. The final name-change to Cobh took place in 1922. After leaving Cobh, we take the short drive back to our hotel for overnight.
Overnight Cork – Breakfast & Supper included
Day 8 – Jameson Distillery & Waterford.
This morning we take a short tour of Cork City before we travel east to the town of Middleton for our first visit. Our Jameson Experience commences with an informative audio-visual presentation. Guests, accompanied by a tour guide as we follow the Old Distillery Trail through the various historic and architecturally unique distillery buildings such as - Mills, Malting Houses, Corn Stores, Stillhouses, Old Offices and atmospheric Warehouses. We encounter superbly restored machinery and dramatic recreations of many of the steps in Irish Whiskey production, going back in time to when farmers would have delivered sacks of locally grown Irish barley by horse and cart to the finished product that is now the world renowned Jameson Irish Whiskey. Next we get to the serious part, the ‘tasting’ we sometimes have a little trouble finding volunteers for this! Youghal is another medieval town once Sir Walter Raleigh was Lord Mayor here. The original B&W film Moby Dick was set in the waters near the town, we have a stop here before travelling to Waterford to the famous Waterford Crystal Factory where we take a tour and see the craftsmen at work.
Overnight – Waterford – Breakfast & Supper included.
Day 9 – Waterford to Dublin & Clontarf Castle
Leaving Waterford City we travel north to another medieval city, Kilkenny. Known as the Marble City this was once the capital of ancient Ireland. We stop her for a short walking tour and a coffee break. We travel on through the midlands, flat country to Kildare. We stop for a break in Kildare Town; here we visit the National Stud & Gardens. The Irish National Stud belongs to the people of Ireland but prides itself on being enjoyed and appreciated by visitors from all parts of the globe. Nowhere better symbolizes all that is great about County Kildare, the beating heart of Ireland's thoroughbred industry, than the stud, a unique attraction of outstanding natural beauty that is home to some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world. We continue our journey to Dublin where we explore this fair city on a short city tour which takes in a visit to the amazing St Patrick’s Cathedral. On departing St Patrick’s a short drive takes us to our last night in Ireland and our last night is to be spent in a castle….Clontarf Castle Hotel which is located near the scene of the Battle of Clontarf where Brian Boru, King of Ireland, defeated the Danes (Vikings) in the year 1014 AD. Our Gala Dinner is served at 7pm and the rest of the evening is at your leisure in the Castle bar!!!
Overnight Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin - Breakfast & Supper included
Day 10 – Return Home
After breakfast we make the short drive to Dublin International Airport for our return to the USA. We allow at least 2 1/2 hours for check in and airport procedures. US Customs are at Dublin airport making it much easier when we arrive back in the USA. We have time at the Duty Free for last minute gifts and to cash in any Tax Free vouchers… you may be able to re-claim Irish sales tax on any qualifying purchases you have made. Your Irish Driver/guide will wish you a ‘Slan Abhile’, Translated this means “Safe Home”.
Breakfast included plus meals on aircraft
Starts: Tuesday April 30th 2019
Ends: Thursday May 9th 2019
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