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Dublin ... Waterford ... Killarney ... Ring of Kerry ... Bunratty ... Cliffs of Moher ...
Galway ... Drumcliff ... Derry ... Belfast ... Downpatrick
Day One – US Departure
Day Two - Dublin / Rock of Cashel / Waterford: Upon arrival in Dublin we will meet the tour manager and driver who will accompany us until our departure from Ireland. We immediately begin our exploration of the stunning scenery and fascinating history of the Emerald Isle as we travel to the Rock of Cashel. Considered to be a cradle of Irish Christianity, where St. Patrick drove out the devil and baptised the King of Munster, it dominates the landscape now as it once dominated both political and religious life in the early Middle Ages. Following our visit we continue to our hotel in Waterford for our overnight.
Day Three - Waterford / Cobh / Blarney / KIillarney: A full day of sightseeing brings us first to the Waterford Crystal Visitor Center, to learn about the history and manufacture of one of Ireland’s most famous exports. Next we travel to the seaport town of Cobh, the departure point for millions of Irish emigrants traveling to the New World. Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic, as she stopped here to pick up mail and passengers on her ill-fated voyage to the USA in 1912. After our visit to Cobh we will drive the short distance to Blarney for a visit to the castle and woolen mills before continuing to our hotel in Killarney for our overnight.
Day Four – Killarney (Ring of Kerry Excursion): Today begins with a visit to Muckross House and Gardens, followed by a full-day tour of the spectacular Ring of Kerry. Known throughout the world for its beautiful cliffs, harbors, valleys and rugged coastline, the Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland's most visited areas. Rest stops, picture stops and a lunch stop will take place along the route. We will then return to Killarney for an evening at leisure. Be sure to visit some of the local establishments featuring the live music and friendly atmosphere for which Ireland is famous!
Day Five – Killarney / Adare / Bunratty area: Following breakfast this morning, we depart Killarney and travel first to Adare, considered to be one of Ireland's prettiest villages. We will have some free time to explore the village before continuing on to the Limerick area, to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. We will enjoy a tour of the Castle and experience a window on Ireland’s past in the reconstructed village street and rural buildings, which give an insight into the traditional way of life a hundred years ago. In the late afternoon we will check into our hotel, before returning to the Castle for this evening’s medieval banquet.
Day Six – Bunratty area / Cliffs of Moher / Galway: Today’s drive takes us through the lunar-like landscape of the Burren en route to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher – carved by time, ocean and weather into spectacular formations, they are one of the most breath-taking of Ireland’s natural wonders. Later we'll continue to Galway for a panoramic tour of the city and cathedral. If time permits, we will have time to view the interior of the cathedral and its floors of Connemara marble before continuing to our hotel for our overnight.
Day Seven – Galway (Connemara and Kylemore Abbey Excursion): This morning’s excursion takes us through breath-taking Connemara countryside to look down on Killary Harbour, one of only three fjords in Ireland, and visit Kylemore Abbey, with free time to explore the Abbey and its Victorian Walled Garden. In the afternoon, we will return to Galway for our overnight.
Day Eight - Drumcliff / Belleek / Derry: Today we head north through the countryside of W B Yeats, passing by his burial place and Ben Bulben, the mountain that gave him so much inspiration. We continue to Belleek, famous for its Irish pottery, for a visit and lunch. This afternoon we will proceed to Derry, in Northern Ireland, for our overnight.
Day Nine - Derry: Our day begins with a walking tour along the historic city walls of Derry. Traditionally founded as a monastery in the 6th century by St. Columba, before he left Ireland to found the monastic settlement on Iona in Scotland, Derry is now the second largest city and port of Northern Ireland. After our tour we have the remainder of the day and evening free to explore Derry at leisure. Overnight Derry.
Day Ten - Derry / Antrim Coast / Belfast area: Today we enjoy a drive along the famous Giant’s Causeway. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, this coastal area of 40,000 unique basalt columns has become one of Ireland's most popular attractions. This afternoon we will proceed to Belfast, traveling (if time permits) along the scenic coast road with its picturesque glens and coastal villages. Upon arrival we proceed to our hotel for check-in.
Day Eleven - Downpatrick / Armagh / Dublin: Today begins with a visit to Downpatrick, a city closely associated with St. Patrick. Here we will have time for visits to the St. Patrick Centre, Down Cathedral and St. Patrick's grave. After leaving Downpatrick we continue to Armagh, a city unique because of its two cathedrals - both built on hills and both named after St. Patrick. Our guide will provide some insight about how the people have fared in the valley between the two churches. Late this afternoon we’ll arrive in Dublin and proceed to our hotel for our overnight.
Day Twelve - Dublin: After breakfast we will embark on our tour of Dublin - the Capital of Ireland and also its largest city. Highlights include St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, St. Mary's Pro Cathedral and the Papal cross in the Phoenix Park. The remainder of the afternoon is free for individual sightseeing, and shopping. This evening we’ll enjoy dinner and traditional Irish entertainment at the Merry Ploughboys Pub. Overnight Dublin.
Day Thirteen - Dublin / USA: This morning we will be transferred to the airport to begin our journey home.