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Kylemore ... Cliffs of Moher ... Galway ... Our Lady of Knock ...Glendalough ...
Waterford ... Connemara ... Dublin ... Clonmacnois the Ring of Kerry ...
Dingle Peninsula ... Bunratty Castle
Day One – Departure: Today we begin our journey to Ireland.
Day Two – Dublin: Upon arrival in Dublin and after clearing airport formalities, we will be greeted by our professional tour manager. Our panoramic city tour of Dublin this morning is an ideal introduction to “Dublin’s Fair City.” Highlights of the tour will include Trinity College founded in 1592, to view the 8th century Book of Kells and the Long Room with its 200,000 books. Pass by Christchurch and St. Patrick’s Cathedral on our way to the Phoenix Park with its many monuments including the Papal cross. We’ll return to the city centre via the Quays to visit the Guinness Storehouse. The Guinness Brewery in Dublin is Europe’s largest stout producing brewery and home to the Guinness Storehouse. Later, we check into our hotel for our overnight.
Day Three – Dublin / Wicklow / Waterford: Following our Irish breakfast, we travel to County Wicklow and the Valley Glendalough. It was here that St. Kevin founded a monastery in the 6th century. Much of what is to be seen today dates from the 10th to 12th century. Our next visit will be Powerscourt Gardens situated at the foot of the mountains of Wicklow. Powerscourt is one of the most beautiful estates in Ireland, and is a magnificent example of aristocratic gardens from the 19th century. The gardens have many features including the Triton pool with its 90 foot fountain. The house was gutted by fire in 1974 but recently has been reborn as an exceptional tourist destination. Dinner and overnight in the Waterford area.
Day Four – Waterford / Sneem: Today we visit the Waterford Crystal Visitor Center. A unique highlight of our visit is the factory tour which gives an up close insight into the centuries-old tradition of Waterford Crystal making. After the tour, visitors can view the world’s most famous crystal in a lavish retail store, which houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal found anywhere in the world. Later, we continue to Blarney Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic castles. Built in 1446, Blarney Castle is famous for its Blarney stone, called the Stone of Eloquence, which is traditionally believed, to have the power to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who kiss it. Our next stop is the Blarney Woolen Mills ... time for shopping and then continue to Sneem, a village, famous for its brightly colored houses. Overnight in Sneem (The Ring of Kerry).
Day Five – Sneem: All day at leisure in Sneem. For those tour members who would like to have time for shopping in Killarney, our motor coach will provide transportation. Overnight Sneem.
Day Six – Ring of Kerry: The astonishing beauty of this peninsula, Iveragh, comes from the great diversity of its scenery, which offers incessant contrasts and takes in spectacular scenery ... mountains, peat bogs, lakes and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean as one travels along the coastal road. Continuing to Cahirciveen, you’ll pass the birthplace of our national hero, Daniel O’Connell. Next, continue on through peat bogs to the town of Waterville and then on to Molls Gap and Ladies View with superb views of the famous Lakes of Killarney. This evening we might want to enjoy Irish songs & music in a local pub. Overnight in Sneem.
Day Seven – Sneem / Dingle Peninsula: Following Mass this morning, we’ll enjoy some of the finest coastal scenery to be seen in Ireland ... the Dingle Peninsula. This area is famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. The town of Dingle is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savoring the atmosphere of a typical Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbour. The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. From Inch, a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s Daughter,” admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach. The Dingle Peninsula will charm you with its villages painted in bright colors and will bewitch you with the dramatic beauty of its landscapes. Overnight in Sneem.
Day Eight – Adare / Bunratty Castle & Folk Park / Clare: This morning we visit Adare which is regarded as one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages with thatched cottages dotted throughout the town. This afternoon we visit Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Bunratty Castle is one of the most complete and authentic medieval castles in Ireland. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is the Folk Park where 19th century life is vividly recreated. This evening begins with a reception in the Great Hall of the castle, then downstairs to enjoy a four course meal with red & white wine. This is followed by entertainment by the world renowned Bunratty Castle Entertainers accompanied by harp and violin. Overnight in Clare.
Day Nine – The Cliffs of Moher / Galway: This morning we’ll visit the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights. Standing 900 feet above the ground at their highest point and over one mile long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. Later, we travel through the Burren, which means “large stones.” It is composed of limestone pavements, which have been eroded to a distinctive pattern. Your next stop is the ruins of the Corcomreo Abbey. The Abbey is a well-preserved abbey and it is picturesquely sited among the grey hills of the Burren. It is best known for its lonely situation, lying close to another interesting monastic settlement, a group of three small early Christian Churches which nestle in the pass of Oughtmana and which are dedicated to St. Colman. Continue on to Galway and enjoy a leisurely afternoon exploring the city. Overnight in Galway.
Day Ten – Galway ... excursion to Knock: Today we plan to celebrate Mass at one of the world’s leading Marian shrines. The story of Knock began on the 21st August 1879 when Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. Fifteen people, young and old witnessed the apparition. From this miraculous occurrence, Knock has grown to the status of an internationally recognized Marian Shrine. This afternoon we will visit Kylemore Abbey where we will enjoy tea & scones. One of Kylemore Abbey’s most famous features is its miniature cathedral, built in 1870 and known locally as the Gothic church. Overnight in Galway.
Day Eleven – Galway / Dublin: En route to Dublin, we will visit Clonmacnoise, situated in the wilds, on the banks of the Shannon. Sixth century Clonmacnoise is nowadays partly in ruins and is the most important monastic site of Ireland. During our tour you will admire original Celtic crosses, high towers, the eleventh century cathedral and wonderful artifacts. On arrival in Dublin we’ll enjoy some leisure time for personal shopping or sightseeing. This evening we’ll enjoy our farewell dinner at Merry Ploughboys Pub. This is a state-of-the-art music venue that features Irish dancing and well- known guest artists as well as fine food. Overnight in Dublin.
Day Twelve – Dublin / After our final Irish breakfast, your driver will bring you to the Dublin Airport for your return flight. Arrive home in the mid-afternoon.
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