A 9 day trip to Ireland
Fall in love again in Ireland. Sumptuous interiors and elegant facades, rich and supple furnishings and striking balustrades, the castles and manor houses of Ireland are among the finest in the world. Throw in the unmatched grandeur of the Irish countryside, breathtaking sceneries and the inimitable warmth of her incomparable people, and this is a trip that any duke, duchess or a couple would die for.
Description of your trip
- Hit the highlights in Dublin, from the celebrated halls of Trinity College to the boisterous lounges in the city’s best pubs, from the artifacts on display at the National Museum to the fascinating exhibit and spectacular views at the Guinness Storehous
- Witness the undeniable majesty of the region of Connemara, including the elegant facade and gorgeous gardens at Kylemore Abbey
- Ogle at the incredible formations on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast, from the towering reaches of the Cliffs of Moher to the multihued village of Adare
- Enjoy the best drive of your life in Kerry, as you’ll make a trek filled with climbing mountains, pristine lakes, diving valleys and an incredible assortment of wildlife
- Pass by the Rock of Cashel, one of the most well-preserved castles in the nation, and visit Kilkenny, filled with dazzling buildings that earn it the nickname of the “Marble City”
Day 1: Dublin (Welcome to the Capital)
Day 2: Dublin (A Morning in Dublin, An Evening in the West)
Day 3: County Galway (Around Unparalleled Connemara)
Day 4: County Kerry (Down the Coast to the Kingdom of Kerry)
Day 5: County Kerry (A Ride Around the Ring)
Day 6: County Cork (From Killarney to Cork)
Day 7: Throughout Ireland (Heading East, Stops Between)
Day 8: Dublin (One Last Morning Before Returning Home)
- Architecture Tours / Arts & Crafts Tours / Cultural Activities / Historical Sites / History & Archaeology Tours / Landmarks / Market / Bazaar / Museums & Galleries / Performances: Concerts – Theaters – Shows – Dances & Musicals / Volunteering / World Heritage Sites / Gourmet Dining / Beaches / Music / Shopping / Walking Tours / Biking Tours / Boating & Sailing / Ecotourism / Gardens / Hiking / National Park / Reserve / Nature / Outdoor Adventures / Safari / Wildlife / Waterfalls
Dublin, Connemara, Killarney, Cork
Day 1: Welcome to the Capital
You land this morning in darling Dublin, the capital city of the Republic of Ireland and its political center for centuries, the home and heart of some of Ireland’s greatest literary minds. After dropping your bags off at your hotel, take a stroll through Dublin’s enchanting streets, wondering at how a city so large can be so intimate. Explore the cultural offerings available to the south of the River Liffey, including the National Museum, the National Gallery, and the Old Library and Treasury at Trinity College, Dublin, where you’ll find the indescribable Book of Kells, the pride and joy of Ireland’s monastic past.
The scene north of the Liffey is also a treat, with prominent statues of prominent Irish poets and patriots found on the entire stretch of O’Connell Street. Take in a pint or two at a pub in Temple Bar, a bustling strip of streets cordoned off from most vehicular traffic and filled with the hearty smells of traditional Irish fare, the stirring sounds of Irish music, and the sights of native Dubliners celebrating the end of another work day.
Day 2: A Morning in Dublin, An Evening in the West
Today take in some of the older sights in Dublin, like the stolid and ponderous outer walls of Dublin Castle, the seat of British power on the island for nearly eight centuries. The State Apartments are richly decorated and available for touring, and one of Ireland’s best-kept museums is located right on the grounds: the Chester Beatty Library, home to an impressive collection of books and manuscripts from throughout the world and throughout history.
Explore the venerable edifices of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral, two of the most important in Ireland and both featuring daunting exteriors and inspiring interiors that are among the most impressive in Europe. And should you wish to engage in the lighter side of Dublin life, there’s always the Guinness Storehouse, where you can learn about the process by which Ireland’s most famous export is produced, and enjoy a perfectly poured pint eight stories up and surrounded by glass walls, offering stunning views of the city and country beyond.
Then it’s west to the heart of Celtic Ireland, passing by Clonmacnois Castle, where you’ll feel the weight of history and the spirits of the ancient kings of Tara who lie buried in this famous site. From there continue on to Galway, the “City of the Tribes” and the cultural heart of the Gaeltecht, to finally arrive at Connemara, an ancient and venerated area of romance and history that will dazzle you with its beauty.
Day 3: Around Unparalleled Connemara
Where the wind from the Atlantic sweeps the verdant pastures of western Erin, where the rolling cadence of Irish supplants all other tongues, where native inhabitants lived much as their ancestors did for centuries, you’ll find the beating heart of the Gaeltecht region and the true charm of Connemara. You’ll be beset by incredible instances of natural and man-made beauty, including Connemara National Park and the Maam Valley, the quaint and alluring villages of Roundstone and Clifden, and the gorgeous facade and immaculate walled gardens of Kylemore Abbey, one of western Ireland’s most fantastic buildings and the home to an order of Benedictine nuns who fled Belgium during the fighting of World War I. You’ll spot native Irish species of all types, and feel the powerful pull of the Celtic heritage that is more prominent here than in perhaps any other corner of this remarkable island. After just one day in Connemara, you’ll know why the Irish are so fiercely proud of their heritage, and you’ll understand that this place is truly, unequivocally, one-of-a-kind.
Day 4: Down the Coast to the Kingdom of Kerry
Head south from Galway and the Gaeltecht through County Clare, where you’ll find two of Ireland’s most rousing natural wonders and her most incredible stretch of coast. Start through the Burren, a limestone terrain that resembles nothing so much as the surface of the moon; despite this spare appearance, the area teems with life, including many species that can be found nowhere else on earth. Birds and butterflies soar through the sky, hares rush along the ground searching for food and fun, and through the cracks of karst sprout some of the most beautiful flora you can imagine. Then experience the soaring majesty of the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most recognizable sea cliffs, rising hundreds of feet above the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and offering views of the climbing mountain ranges inland and the cresting Aran Islands far from shore in Galway Bay. Then you stop by Bunratty Castle and the adjacent Folk Park, where you can experience life as it was during the age of castles and the reigns of their masters, all while enjoying the modern conveniences of and knowledgeable guides. Continue through the charming town of Adare, lauded as one of Ireland’s most picturesque, before continuing on to the impeccably kept town of Killarney.
Day 5: A Ride Around the Ring
Comprising the most noteworthy stretch of road in the entire island, the Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations and certainly one of the most beautiful reaches of country in Europe. Climb the ridges of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and peer through the Gap of Dunloe into the valleys of Killarney National Park and the three famous Lakes of Killarney below. Stop by Torc Waterfall, where you can hike to the top of this delightful feature, and tour Muckross House and its incredible grounds and gardens. Stop to take a picture at the Ladies’ View, a panoramic viewpoint that offers perhaps the most complete views of the Ring of Kerry, and venture onto discover Ross Castle or Derrynane House, notable sites in the history of Ireland. If time permits, you might just be able to grab a ride in a jaunting car to give yourself a different perspective from which to review this magnificent region.
Day 6: From Killarney to Cork
Drive inland to the heart of the rebellious southwest and the city of Cork, which natives proudly pronounce the “true” capital of Ireland, steeped in the songs of her heroic past and continuing to offer a charming view into Irish life. Grab a bite at Kinsale, a coastal village known as the “gourmet capital of Ireland” by those in the know, set off the explore the spectacular reach of the trio of towers at St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, or climb the battlements and dangle below the ramparts at Blarney Castle to lay your lips on the legendary Blarney Stone, reported to bestow the gift of free speech and witty eloquence to all those who manage to kiss it. You’ll also want to spend some time in Cork city, where you’ll find a wide array of charming pubs, delicious restaurants, fine stores and spectacular sights, including the Bells of Shandon at the Church of St. Anne’s and the Cork City Gaol, featuring wax figurines reproducing life in the prison in the earlier parts of Ireland’s recalcitrance against encroaching English rule.
Day 7: Heading East, with Stops Between
Return to the Pale as you drive through southern Ireland and the Midlands, taking in some of the underappreciated scenery of the area and some of the Emerald Isle’s most handsome structures. Cruise by the Rock of Cashel, the history seat of the Kings of Munster and the site of one of the most notable assortments of medieval architecture and Celtic art to be found in Europe. The complex has been immaculately preserved, and you can find stone towers, ancient church complexes and high crosses that dot the graveyard. Then stop by the “Marble City” of Kilkenny on the River Nore, home to some of the best examples of architecture in Ireland, including the imposing Kilkenny Castle, the round tower and sanctuary at St. Canice’s Cathedral, the Black Abbey, and the unique and unforgettable St. Mary’s Cathedral. Kilkenny is also lauded by many travellers as the best spot for bar life in Ireland, as it offers an eclectic array of some of the most comforting and engaging public houses in the country. Then return to Dublin for your last full night in Ireland, taking in a meal at one of the many fine restaurants to be found around St. Stephen’s Green or on Dawson or Kildare Streets.
Day 8: One Last Morning Before Returning Home
Squeeze a few more hours in Ireland’s capital before you have to return home by walking the length of Grafton Street, the center of Irish high fashion and the home to a number of small shops and elegant department stores, or by escaping the bustle of city life in the calming walks around Merrion Square or St. Stephen’s Green. Then it’s off to Dublin International Airport to return home, filled with memories and remembrances of your unforgettable week in this singular nation.
**Roundtrip Airfare from Washington D.C. (All other departure cities available at extra cost. See table below for examples). Flights are into Dublin and out of Dublin.
*7 Nights Manor House/Castle Hotel Stays – Assignments will be confirmed soon after reservation is completed. *Please note: Although requests for specific Manor Houses and Castle Hotels can be taken, these requests cannot be guaranteed.
*Full Irish Breakfast each morning
*Economy Car Rental – Manual Transmission, Unlimited Mileage (upgrades available)
Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.