Ireland is one of the wildest, most enchanting, culturally rich countries in the world. Wherever you travel you’ll find magic, adventure, history and beauty in abundance.
This is more of a menu from which to choose than an itinerary, as you will not have time to do everything on it. It is an encyclopedia of what there is to see in the area that you travel through. Your advisor is the jeweler who will turn this rough diamond into a sparkling gem.
Day 1 – Dublin
Arrive at Dublin airport - Meet and greet with your driver for a transfer to your hotel in the city centre.
In the afternoon, enjoy a half day walking tour of Dublin.
Dublin has long been a centre of art and culture. Stroll through the elegant Georgian streets of Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares, shop in the elegant emporiums of Grafton Street and Powerscourt Townhouse, explore the collections of the National Museum and National Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and many fine small private collections. The range of art and artefacts is enormous, and you will have no problem spending many hours enthralled. The city is over a thousand years old, and many of the towns and settlements that surround it are equally ancient. Successive centuries have left their distinctive overlays of character and architecture, so Dublin has a wealth of historically significant and fascinating sights to explore such as Dublin Castle, where the Normans ruled from the 12th Century, St Patrick's Cathedral, of which Jonathan Swift was Dean, and Trinity College, famous for The Book of Kells and for its alumni who include Oscar Wilde & Oliver Goldsmith.
Overnight the Merrion Hotel
Day 2 - Wicklow Mountains to Kilkenny
Meet your driver guide and set off for a tour via Wicklow Mountains & Powerscourt Gardens
From the Coast to the Mountains Go "completely off the beaten track". Discover remote Film locations Braveheart, Excalibur, Michael Collins, Reign of Fire, Ballykissangel, King Arthur (2003).
County Wicklow , known as the Garden of Ireland, is 750 square miles of rolling hills, mountains, and waterfalls, there is only one way to see the real County Wicklow.
Visit Powerscourt House and Gardens, located in a stunning natural setting at Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, approximately 45 minutes from Dublin city centre. A magnificent period home dating from mid 18th century, overlooking wonderful terraced gardens and an ornamental lake, Powerscourt House was partially destroyed by fire in 1974. A long restoration project ensued during which the ballroom and the garden rooms were rebuilt. On site at Powerscourt is also Ireland's premier shopping emporium "Avoca Hand Weavers".
Explore Glendalough, follow in the footsteps of Saint Kevin, who established this spectacular 6th century monastic settlement, deep within the Wicklow Mountains, surrounded on all sides by steep mountain passes. Glendalough the valley of two lakes is one of the most spectacular locations to visit in Ireland. We will guide you through this mystical location, explore the round towers, cathedrals, high crosses, and enjoy a truly memorable stroll through the valley of two lakes.
Continue to Portlaoise.
Dinner and overnight Ballyfin Demesne
Day 3 – Kilkenny and Cork
Explore the medieval city of Kilkenny. Beside the 12th century castle, the old stables are the headquarters of Ireland’s Crafts’ Council & contain many studios & workshops. The castle itself has a beautifulloy restored interior giving a glimpse of the aristocratic life of bygone times, as well as a very cutting edge contemporary art gallery. Walk down High Street past the medieval Rothe House & Quirkes Castle to St Mary’s Abbey where Smithwicks Beer is brewed & then by way of Kytler’s Inn where the 15th Century witch Alice Kytler lived. Enjoy the narrow streets lined with all types of shop.
Then continue to Cork - You could spend a week exploring the Cork area and still not have seen all the highlights. The Glucksman Gallery is in the grounds of the Victorian university, right beside the hotel. The bells of Shandon, The English Market, a covered food market dating from the 1850s and world famous for its artisanal food, St Finbarre's Cathedral & The Crawford Gallery are a few of the other highlights.
Overnight Hayfield Manor
Day 4 – Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry, When going around the Ring of Kerry be sure to visit St Flanans Bay where the wild fuchsia carpets the countryside & the Skellig Chocolate Company for the best chocolate in the world. A very spiritual place is the shrine in the slate quarry on Valentia Island.
Valentia is an island of unique scenic beauty, tropical vegetation, breathtaking cliffs and magnificent seascapes. The island is an excellent centre for sea angling and diving in unpolluted waters. The bridge was built at Portmagee in 1970. The island, about 11km long by 3km wide is one of the most westerly points of Europe. The surface is bold and rocky, two prominent features being Geokaun Mountain 268 meters on the north and Bray head 180 metres on the south, both are splendid vantage points for the sightseer. The Skellig Experience is located here. This is where the story of the Skelligs is told. The themes include the monastic settlement, the lighthouse, the bird and underwater life.
Overnight Sheen Falls Lodge
Day 5 –The Burren area and the Cliffs of Moher
Visit the Cliffs of Moher, a sheer precipice 8 km long and rising to a height of 203m, one of the most impressive stretches of the coast in the West of Ireland, remarkable especially at nesting seasons for the quantity and variety of seabirds there.
Explore The Burren - Words simply cannot do justice to the Burren, an eerie, peculiar 193-square mile area of ancient seabed that suffered glacial activity during its long history.
Some of local sites:-
• Dunguaire Castle – once the home of King Guaire The Generous whose right arm was longer than his left arm from so much giving
• Kinvara Harbour, the home port of ancient sailing barges known as Galway Hookers
• The Burren Perfumery
• Caherconnel Stone Fort, 3,000 years old
• Poulnabrone Dolmen - 5,000 years old
• The Cliffs of Moher – 700 feet above the Atlantic
Overnight Dromoland Castle
Day 6 – Galway
Galway City, which is still known today as the City of the Tribes, the name referring to 14 important Anglo-Norman merchant families who lived there and dominated the life and trade of the city during the middle ages.
Eyre Square is the centre of Galway and the pivot around which the city moves. The land here was given to the city 1710 by Edward Eyre, then mayor of Galway. In 1965, the square was officially renamed “Kennedy Memorial Park” and there is a bust of J.F. Kennedy in the park. The Eyre Square Shopping Centre, a modern mall, may be of interest for picking up some souvenirs. It is also unique in that the Medieval City wall runs right through the middle of it!
Continue to the Connemara.
Overnight Ashford Castle
Day 7 – The Connemara
Set off for a tour of Connemara. Connemara is the area of Western Galway & South Mayo bounded by the Atlantic & Lough Corrib. It is an area beloved by artists & poets who find magical inspiration in its wide open bogs & its towering cloud capped mountains. Cottages nestle into hillsides where wild looking sheep with thick fleeces & great curling horns freely graze. The rugged coastline is punctuated with little fishing villages, where you will see the traditional canvas built currachs & black hulled Galway Hookers moored beside the lobster pot strewn piers. Learn about the Irish Bodhran, the Irish drum in Roundstone & visit the Duc de Stacpoole at the Roundstone Art Gallery.
Enjoy a Sheepdog demo on the way.
Overnight Ashford Castle
Day 8 – Depart
Meet your driver for a transfer to Shannon