Choice of Accommodation – 4 star Hotel, 5 Star Hotel or Castle, Guesthouse, Farmhouse
10 Days / 9 Nights – Arrive Dublin, Depart Dublin
Starting and ending in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, the Discover Ireland Tour gives you the best of both worlds, taking in some of the most luxurious hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and farmhouses in Ireland, yet also offers several nights in traditional Irish accommodation to give you a feel for the real Ireland.
All the while you’ll travel in our most luxurious vehicles, while you take in some of Ireland’s most famous attractions and a couple of lesser-known hidden gems! As with all our tours, you’ll have your very own Tourist Board approved Irish driver/guide, who’ll be only to happy to tell you all you need to know about the wonderful sights you’ll see along the way.
All you have to do is get here, and we will do the rest.
All our tours are private driver/guide for your group only, we do not mix or share groups on our Discover Ireland Tour.
Day 1: Dublin City
Once the introductions are complete, your private driver/guide will transfer you to your hotel where you can store your luggage until check in. During coffee you can discuss your itinerary including any special requests you have, before we set off for the first attraction of the day – the historic Book of Kells at Trinity College. Close by we’ll visit Duvblina, Dublin’s medieval exhibition, outlining the history of the Vikings in the region, Georgian Dublin and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Along the way, of course, your driver will give you a good introduction to the city of Dublin.
Overnight Dublin 2 nights
4 Star Hotel
Day 2: Newgrange & North County Dublin
Our day begins by travelling north into the Boyne Valley and on to Newgrange with its mysterious Neolithic passages pre-dating the Egyptian pyramids.
We continue to the quaint village of Malahide and fishing village of Howth. The highest point here offers sweeping views of the Irish Sea looking down on Howth lighthouse before we head back to Dublin, passing Clontarf where the last high king of Ireland Brian Boru was killed in battle of Clontarf in 1014
Day 3: Wicklow & County Waterford
Our day starts with a visit to Wicklow, also known as ‘the garden of Ireland’. We’ll take the coastal road south east visiting James Joyce Tower and Museum and 40 Foot Cove where you might be tempted to join the locals for a swim. Next we come to Dalkey, a quaint village on the outskirts of Dublin before heading on into the beautiful countryside of Wicklow.
This scenic mountain drive takes us to Glendalough with its two lakes and 6th century round tower. Here you can view the audio-visual tour outlining the history of the area. We continue to County Waterford over the Wicklow mountains to one of our ‘hidden gems’, a rural farmhouse with homemade cooking and a pub were you can meet the locals without competing with any other tour coaches.
Overnight County Waterford 2 nights
4 Star Farmhouse
Day 4: Kilkenny & Tipperary
Our day begins with a visit to the medieval city of Kilkenny. The first stop is Kilkenny Castle overlooking the River Noir. Here you’ll learn all about the Butlers of Kilkenny, an Anglo-Norman family who came to Ireland in 1171 during the first wave of the Norman invasion.
Kilkenny castle was also the venue for the meeting of the General Assembly, or parliament, of the Confederate Ireland government in the 1640s. There’ll be time to browse Kilkenny with the locals and take lunch before we visit the Rock of Cashel sitting on a limestone bastion known as Cashel of The Kings. Here, you’ll also get the chance to see St. Patrick’s rock, some interesting Celtic art and medieval architecture.
Day 5: Cobh & Blarney Castle
Cobh Queenstown Heritage Centre is our first port of call today. Cobh is where the Titanic set out on its ill-fated journey. Here you can visit a heritage centre to find out about the great migration when 2.5 million adults and children emigrated on ‘coffin ships’, steamers, and great ocean liners, as well as learning about the historic sinking of the Lusitania off Cork harbour in World War 1.
No trip to Ireland would be complete without kissing the Blarney Stone, said to endow the speaker with extraordinary powers of eloquence – what we call ‘the gift of the gab’ in Ireland. There’ll be time to browse Blarney Woollen mills and perhaps pick up some traditionally crafted Irish products, before continuing on to Killarney (‘Church of the Sloes’ in gaelige).
Overnight County Kerry 2 nights
4 Star Hotel
Day 6: The Ring of Kerry
Your sixth day takes you on one of the most popular drives in Ireland – the Ring of Kerry, offering unrivalled lake, ocean and mountain views – 100 miles of pure heaven.
Along the way we’ll stop at the Gap of Dunloe where a private horse and carriage will take you through a ‘U’ shaped glaciated valley returning to Kate Karney’s Cottage. Next is the Bog village to take in a history of the area and sample their famous Irish coffee, before a walk along Derrynane beach off the beaten track and a visit to the beautiful village of Sneem. All in all, this is an unmissable chance to discover a mystical and unspoilt region of Ireland that has attracted visitors for hundreds of years.
Day 7: Killarney to Galway
We depart Killarney and head forGalway (City of the Tribesmen) via the River Shannon by ferry, Cliffs of Moher, Poulnabrone & the Burren. It is generally agreed that Galway was named after the river, which was known until recently as the Galway River rather than the Corrib. The Irish name for river is ‘Gaillimh’, but the precise meaning of this is disputed. One version has it that Gaillimh was the name of the daughter of an Iron-age chieftain who was drowned in the river. Recent finds of stone implements suggest that there has been human habitation at the site since Neolithic (New Stone Age) times.
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.
The Burren: The name Burren comes from the Irish – bhoireann meaning a stony place. The unusually geological formations of the region has lain unspoiled since the ice age and is composed of karstic limestone – the largest area of such in Western Europe
Poulnabrone dolmen is a portal tomb located in Co. Clare. It is one of the most famous dolmens in Ireland. The large capstone rises up from the limestone bedrock of the Burren, supported by two portal stones that are 1.8 meters high.The people that were buried in Poulnabrone dolmen were Neolithic farmers.The radiocarbon dates from the bones produced an age of 3800 to 3200 B.C. The name Poulnabrone literally means ‘The hole of the sorrows’
Overnight Galway 2 nights
4 Star Hotel
Day 8: Day Tour to the Aran Islands or Connemara
Today we give you a choice, a day tour to the Aran Island Inismór by ferry or day tour with your driver guide looping Connemara, staying in Galway. Or day tour looping Connemara to Cong County Mayo staying at the 5 Star Ashford Castle.
The Aran Islands encompass three thousand years of human history, and one billion years of natural history. Once part of a craggy ridge of limestone that extended from the Burren in County Clare, there is evidence of people living on the islands from as far back as 2300-2000 BC. These early settlers were most likely farmers who came from the Burren and the Irish mainland.
Dún Aonghasa is situated on the cliff side or south side of Inismór. It is a semi-circular stone fort overlooking the Atlantic. It is deemed to be one of the best examples of its kind in Europe. Archaeologists, scholars and tourists come here from all over the world and it is likely to be given the official status of a world heritage site in the near future.
Cong is 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
Kylemore Abbey originally a Castle was built by Mitchell and Margaret Henry from 1867 – to 1871. In 1920, The Irish Benedictine Nuns purchased Kylemore Castle along with 10,000 acres for a little over £45,000. Some of the lands were later purchased by the Land Commission and divided out among the tenants, and the Castle was converted into an Abbey
Alcock and Brown
Made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919.They flew a modified World War I Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Clifden Winston Churchill presented them with the Daily Mail prize of £10,000 for the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in “less than 72 consecutive hours”
Clifden (Irish: An Clochán, meaning “bee-hive cell”) is a town on the coast of County Galway, Ireland and being Connemara’s largest town, it is often referred to as “the Capital of Connemara”. It is located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay.
Day 9: Ashford Castle or Salthill Galway to Dublin
Time to browse Ashford Castle estate or mingle with the locals in Galway City before departing to Dublin via Clonmacnoice.
The monastic site of Clonmacnoice in County Offaly borders three provinces: Leinster, Connacht and Ulster. Founded over 1500 years ago by St. Ciaran he chose Clonmacnoice to found his monastery because it was at the junction of river and road in Celtic Ireland. Shortly after his arrival he built a small wooden church, the first of many small churches that now dot the area. Unfortunately, St. Ciaran died four years later at 33 years of age, before his monastery began to flourish. It attracted scholars from all over Europe and soon became world-famous. From the eighth to tenth centuries, it was a scriptorium where skills of calligraphy and illustration were perfected. Metal workers produced some fine Celtic craftwork in gold, silver and bronze. The settlement was frequently attacked from the eighth to the twelfth century by the Vikings, Anglo Normans and the native Irish and was destroyed by fire thirteen times. Each time, the monks rebuilt it. In 1552, it was completely destroyed by the English garrison in Athlone and lay in ruins for hundreds of years, until the Office of Public Works decided to turn it into one of Ireland’s most important heritage sites. The original high crosses and grave slabs are on display in the Visitor Centre where an audio-visual show is available, along with exhibitions.
Overnight Dublin 1 night
5 Star Hotel
Day 10: Depart Dublin Airport
Alas we transfer you from your hotel to Dublin Airport with fond memories of the Emerald Isle and your driver, we say slan abhaile (safe home).
Please Contact Us to express your interest in this tour and specify number travelling and your preferred month of travel.