Bio Diversity & Ancient Tree Tour

Bio Diversity & Ancient Tree Tour

Introducing a journey through the mists of time while exploring the last remnants of Ancient Irish Forests, whose legends and stories are Chieftians from the Clans of Ireland with Andrew St Ledger, a native woodland specialist/enthusiast who will interpret these special places and show how the remnant forests contain the Past, Present and the Future & Dermot Buckley Approved National Driver Guide. Andrew & Dermot will be your guides throughout the tour from start to finish offering their own unique perspective and knowledge and guarantee a very personal unforgettable experience.

You will also be immersed in Irelands Legends and the Mythology behind this great folklore tradition, whilst visiting a range of Irelands antiquities from the Neolithic period to the present day. You will walk through a karst limestone landscape formed some 340 million years ago at the bottom of what was a warm shallow sea, in the expert company of a local walking guide.

The tour can and will be as flexible from day to day and customised according to the wishes of each group as there are so many off the beaten track places to visit close to the main tour routes. This is a new type of tour for Ireland so if you wish to see an Ireland off the beaten track, travelling in the comfort of a luxury vehicle, staying in five star accommodation, experiencing the finest of traditional Irish music with a relaxing day to day itinerary including relaxing down time for everyone on the tour, then please contact us to see Ireland as you never imagined. This tour is for small groups up to fourteen or individual travellers making up fourteen. As this is a new introductory tour we need a minimum of ten people per tour to commence.

A percentage of the profit from each tour will be used to plant authentic native trees as part of the restoration of Irelands great forests in partnership with the Woodland League, a not for profit NGO, dedicated to restoring the relationship between people and their native woodlands.

Please note, this tour requires 10/14 pax to commence.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1-9

Day 1: Arrive Dublin Airport

13.00hrs group introduction and welcome drink in the Cellar bar below the Merrion Hotel. Continue with a short stroll with a local guide.
Dublin was founded by the Vikings. At the end of the 8th century Vikings began raiding Ireland and in the 9th century Norwegians used the mouth of the River Liffey as a base from which to raid the rest of Ireland. When they landed the Vikings dragged their ships up onto the beach. They built an earth rampart with a wooden palisade on top around this area to protect them. Later the Vikings turned from raiding to conquest. In 918 the Danes landed in eastern Ireland and conquered the area surrounding the Liffey. The Danes founded a new town on the south bank of the Liffey in 841. It was called Dubh Linn, which means black pool. The new town of Dublin was fortified with a ditch and an earth rampart with a wooden palisade on top. In the late 11th stone walls were built around Dublin.

Overnight Dublin 1 night

5 Star Hotel

Day 2: Newgrange & Uisneagh Hill

We depart the Merrion Hotel at 09.00hrs and travel North of Dublin into the Boyne Valley to Newgrange and view the Neolithic passages that pre-date the Pyramids of Egypt. Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Newgrange has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognized to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest.

After pub lunch and maybe a pint of Guinness we travel to Uisneagh Hill known as the centre of Ireland on this hill can be found the Capstone or “Ail Na Mearainn”, said to be the meeting point of the five ancient provinces of Ireland. This is the hill on which King Tuathal Teachmar erected his royal palace in the second century. An imposing hill, 180 metres high, “Uisneagh” provides a magnificent view of the midlands. It was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland for 200 years prior to the coming of St. Patrick and the great pagan festival of Bealtaine was held here during that time.

Overnight County Mayo 2 nights

5 Star Castle

Day 3: Cong & Clonbur

After a leisurely breakfast the morning is yours to explore the grounds of Ashford Castle take a boat ride from the Castle, try some fishing or falconry all activities can be booked in advance.

Take a stroll in Cong village known for its underground streams that connect Lough Corrib with Lough Mask to the north. It was also the home of Sir William Wilde, historian and father to prominent playwright, novelist, poet, and short story writer, Oscar Wilde. Cong also has a fine example of a ruined medieval abbey, The ‘Cross of Cong’ is now held in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin. Cong was the filming location for John Ford’s 1952 Oscar-winning film, The Quiet Man featuring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara

After lunch in a small Irish pub we take a short drive to Clonbur a rare woodland on limestone pavement, a special area of conservation located on Lough Mask on the Mayo Galway border. The main habitat is Limestone pavement with a range of other habitats, like alluvial woodland comprising Ash, Willow, Alder, species, as well as heath, grassland, alkaline fen and well developed calcareous woodland. This is the largest limestone habitat outside the Burren, co Clare. It contains extremely rare wild Yew woodland with Juniper, Buckthorn, Alder Buckthorn, Birch, Ash, Scots Pine, and Holly

Tonight dinner in the George V restaurant (Jacket & Tie for the gentlemen) and nightcap drinks in the cellar bar.

Day 4: Ashford Castle to Adare Manor

Ashford Castle to Adare Manor via Walk on The Burren , Cliffs of Moher & Killinaboy
Today we take a walk with a specialized guide through the Burren we encourage our clients to explore the Burren at a slow pace, and to take nothing from the landscape except precious memories we are committed to sustainable tourism, you are also placing sustainable tourism at the core of your holiday experience.
The Burren’ is an anglicisation of the Gaelic term ‘An Bhoireann’ which means “a stony place”. The Burren is of international significance for three reasons – geological, botanical and archaeological.

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher one of Ireland’s top Visitor attractions. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometers over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O’Brien’s Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs.

Killinaboy church seems to have been a focus for, or at least an important element of, this aspect of Christian worship in the Burren. Its early history is obscure, but it may have been a type of convent or monastic settlement for nuns. The boundary was marked by at least three “tau crosses”, a distinct type of staff or crozier associated with monasticism. Another distinctive type of cross, in the Byzantine double-armed style, is also associated with Killinaboy. It is believed to indicate that a relic, possibly a fragment of the “true cross” was housed at Killinaboy and was the focus that attracted pilgrims.

The only round tower in the Burren was built at Killinaboy, and the remaining stump can be seen in the cemetery. The tower was destroyed by Cromwellian cannon in the mid-17th century. Another interesting feature of the church is the sheela-na-gig over the entrance doorway in the south wall. These grotesque figures were occasionally placed at windows or doors in medieval buildings and were believed to protect against evil.

Overnight County Limerick 2 nights

5 Star Manor

Day 5: Adare Manor to Holy Island on Lough Derg, Raheen Woods via Killaloe

Ashford Castle to Adare Manor via Walk on The Burren , Cliffs of Moher & Killinaboy
Today we take a walk with a specialized guide through the Burren we encourage our clients to explore the Burren at a slow pace, and to take nothing from the landscape except precious memories we are committed to sustainable tourism, you are also placing sustainable tourism at the core of your holiday experience.

The Burren’ is an anglicisation of the Gaelic term ‘An Bhoireann’ which means “a stony place”. The Burren is of international significance for three reasons – geological, botanical and archaeological.

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher one of Ireland’s top Visitor attractions. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometers over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O’Brien’s Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs.

Killinaboy church seems to have been a focus for, or at least an important element of, this aspect of Christian worship in the Burren. Its early history is obscure, but it may have been a type of convent or monastic settlement for nuns. The boundary was marked by at least three “tau crosses”, a distinct type of staff or crozier associated with monasticism. Another distinctive type of cross, in the Byzantine double-armed style, is also associated with Killinaboy. It is believed to indicate that a relic, possibly a fragment of the “true cross” was housed at Killinaboy and was the focus that attracted pilgrims.

The only round tower in the Burren was built at Killinaboy, and the remaining stump can be seen in the cemetery. The tower was destroyed by Cromwellian cannon in the mid-17th century. Another interesting feature of the church is the sheela-na-gig over the entrance doorway in the south wall. These grotesque figures were occasionally placed at windows or doors in medieval buildings and were believed to protect against evil.

Day 6: Killarney

Today we travel to Killarney our first stop to meet the man who pronounces is the real President of Ireland. Every Irishman, Irish woman and Irish child should be able to pull a coin from their pocket, look at the number of strings on the harp, know what it represents, and remember where this symbolism originated from. This symbolism – on our coins, passports, and even the deeds of our homes – is something which is often overlooked, but each year on the 21st January while a harp is played in the background the sovereign republic of Eire, Dail Eireann, its courts and the War of Independence the sovereignty of the Irish nation is reasserted in the Mansion House in Dublin, this tradition has been passed down from generation to generation. The sovereign seal, an IRB emblem first used in 1919 to symbolise the transition of Ireland from a colony to an independent country is commemorated. Each year our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) is called on to officially declare January 21 “as our Independence Day to celebrate our sovereignty and independence”. )

Killarney National Park co Kerry.
The Park contains the most extensive remnants of natural/authentic woodlands in Ireland. On the old red sandstone mountains are the native Oakwoods dominated by Sessile Oak with Holly as the understorey. On the low-lying Carboniferous Limestone on the lake edges, swamp forest is dominated by Alder, while on the limestone reefs of the Muckross peninsula is a unique wild Yew Wood. The mild oceanic climate permits a luxuriant growth of mosses and firmy ferns, many of them growing as epiphytes on the branches and trunks of the trees. In the uplands, the park contains interesting areas of bog and moorland vegetation. Due to the intact nature of the Woods, the area is rich in native flora and fauna. These Woods give one a sense of what Ireland’s authentic landscape looks like. A visit here can be compared to journeying back through time.

Overnight Killarney 2 nights

5 Star Hotel Killarney

Day 7: The Ring of Kerry

Today you have a choice to spend a leisurely day in Killarney, relax at the spa or take the day touring. This is the only early morning departure throughout the complete tour, if you decide to take the boat ride to the Skelligs.
We depart Killarney at 08.00hrs and drive on the Ring of Kerry to Portmagee, to catch a ferry ride to the Skelligs. After you return to shore approx 14.00hrs, lunch in a local pub we continue on the Ring and visit Staigue Fort before making our return journey passing Ladies View and returning to your hotel.

Skellig Island
Skellig Michael (from Sceilig Mhichíl in the Irish language, meaning Michael’s rock), also known as Great Skellig, is a steep rocky island about 15 kilometers west off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland. It is the larger of the two Skellig Islands. For 600 years the island was an important centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. An Irish Celtic monastery, which is situated almost at the summit of the 230-metre-high rock, was built in 588 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is one of Europe’s better known but least accessible monasteries. Since the extreme remoteness of Skellig Michael has until recently discouraged visitors, the site is exceptionally well preserved. The very spartan conditions inside the monastery illustrate the ascetic lifestyle practiced by early Irish Christians. The monks lived in stone ‘beehive’ huts (clochans), perched above nearly vertical cliff walls.

The monastery on Skellig Michael survived a number of Viking raids in the 9th century, notably in 823, was later significantly expanded, with a new chapel built around the start of the second millennium. The community at Skellig Michael was apparently never large – probably about 12 monks and an abbot. Sometime in the 12th century the monks abandoned the Skellig and moved to the Augustinian Monastery at Ballinskelligs on the mainland. Starting in the 1500s, Skellig Michael became a popular destination for annual pilgrimages, but had no permanent residents. In the 19th century two lighthouses were built and the Great Skellig was again inhabited, this time by a changing rota of lighthouse keepers. The second lighthouse still operates, though it was largely rebuilt during the 1960s and has been automated since the 1980s.

3. Staigue Fort
Staigue stone fort is a partly ruined round stone fort, located three miles west of Sneem, on the Iveragh peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. Dating is difficult, but the fort is thought to have been built during the late Iron Age, probably somewhere between 300 and 400 AD, as a defensive stronghold for a local lord or king. The fort’s walls are up to 5.5m (18ft) high in places, 4m (13ft) thick and 27.4m (90ft) in diameter. The interior is reached through a 1.8m passage roofed with double lintels. The fort is surrounded by a large bank and ditch, to be seen on the north side. Staigue Fort represents a considerable feat in engineering and construction. It was built without use of mortar, using undressed stones. There is evidence that copper was excavated in the surrounding area and appears to be a place of worship, an observatory and a place of defense.

Day 8: Killarney to County Offaly continue to Dublin

On route we visit a 15thc Castle considered one of the most spiritulist places in Europe, not surprising considering its bloody history particularly during the occupation of the O’Carroll family. Be prepared for some Irish music, stories of the spirits that walk the castle, folklore and how the castle and its past clan has connections to the 1776 War of Independence, the signing of the US Declaration and the White House on Capital Hill.

Overnight Dublin 1 night

5 Star Hotel

Day 9: Transfer to Dublin Airport

3hr Check in to US.

Slán Abhaile