The Best of Ireland
September 17-26, 2020
Welcome to Ireland!
You will be met upon your morning arrival by a private driver and brought to your city center hotel. Dublin, the capital of Ireland, boasts quite a history and an a reputation! Founded in 841 by the Vikings, Dublin is a city with an interesting past and numerous monuments to tell its history. A visit to one of its major cathedrals will take you back to Medieval times, while a walk around Merrion Square will remind you of the glory days. Dublin was ranked as the second largest city of the British Empire.
Let’s take a stroll to beat the jet lag and admire the gracious buildings that line O’Connell Street, the city’s main thoroughfare. We will discover Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university and we will visit the Old Library containing thousands of manuscripts including the 9th century Book of Kells, famous for its precious illuminations. You will have the afternoon at leisure until we meet again for a welcome dinner and sharing thoughts about the week ahead!
A taste or two…
After your full Irish breakfast, we will continue to explore enchanting Dublin. We will visit Christchurch Cathedral, first built as a wooden church in 1038, rebuilt in 1172 and fully restored towards the end of the 19th Century. The Cathedral is adorned with funeral monuments and possesses a crypt that stretches under nearly its entire length. Much of the Cathedrals memorabilia is displayed here. We will then continue to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the lovely Marsh Library. After lunch, our biggest decision is beer of whiskey! We can continue with a fascinating visit to the Guinness Storehouse located in the Guinness Brewery, Europe’s largest stout producing brewery. Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness. Today it houses a fine exhibition dedicated to the Guinness story. You’ll discover what goes into the making a pint of Guinness, the ingredients, the brewing process, the time, the craft and the passion. Once the visit concludes you are invited to the rooftop Gravity Bar to enjoy a pint of Guinness and savor the spectacular views. Or we choose the whiskey route….Group decision over a pint or two? The balance of the day is at leisure to explore at your own pace.
“…and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood”
A day of serendipity! Let’s meet after breakfast for a leisurely morning stroll along the River Liffey, shopping along Grafton Street, a long lunch in a pub with Irish musicians, a visit to the Littlest Museum of Dublin, and maybe a late afternoon tour of Kilmainham Gaol or a visit to the National Art Gallery.
“You know, she played the fiddle in an Irish band…”
Never, have you ever, met a driver like our Liam! After breakfast, we will meet Liam and will travel from Dublin to Galway via Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest walled city parks and home to the presidential residence, as well as the boyhood home of Winston Churchill. We will stop along the way and visit Athlone Castle, have lunch at Sean’s Bar, the oldest bar in the world and raise a pint or two or even try an Irish coffee! We will continue on our way to Clonmacnoise Monastery. The monastery sits on the River Shannon and
was built in AD 544. High crosses, fairy stones and an interpretative center! Views to behold!
Once we arrive in Galway, we will check into our boutique hotel before taking a walking tour with Liam of Galway City and enjoy a dinner with local music.
“finding tragedy in the simple things and simplicity in the tragic things”
Today Liam will take his on his favorite excursion to the exhilarating Connemara Region, a land of emerald green lakes, pristine rivers, bogs and mountains. It is also an area with small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed little since the beginning of time. Connemara is widely considered Ireland’s wildest and the most romantic region. While in Connemara, we will visit Kylemore Abbey, a lovely neo-gothic castle built in 1868. We will have time to wander both the mansion and the lovely Victorian walled gardens. Then, we will enjoy a scenic cruise of Killary, a charming calm-waters fjord. The nine mile long inlet boasts some of the finest scenery in the West of Ireland. We will return to Galway later in afternoon for an evening on your own to explore.
“Serendipity is the art of making an unsought finding…”
Today we depart Galway. We may stop and visit a farm, a typical Irish farm where you’ll learn from your hosts about the life of an Irish farm family. We may visit a Fairy Fort, where we learn about Irish folklore and the belief in fairies. We may stop at an oyster farm and taste firsthand the local oysters of the area. With Liam, we may not know. His serendipity ways and passion for Ireland leads us down roads less traveled! We could stop and enjoy coffee or tea with freshly baked scones at someone’s personal castle. Let’s trust Liam for a day we will always remember!
As we journey through the bizarre and unique Burren Region and along the coast to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, we will be making memories for a lifetime! Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights. Standing 668 feet above the ground at their highest point, the cliffs boast magnificent views of the Atlantic coast and provide nesting sites for thousands of seabirds. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara. Later today, we will take the Shannon Ferry over to County Kerry and proceed to the lovely town of Killarney.
“As sure as the lakes of Killarney reflect the blue heavens above…”
Oh, another beautiful day in Ireland! This morning we travel to Molls Gap and Ladies View, two excellent outlook points overlooking Killarney, the valleys and pristine lakes. Molls Gap is a spectacular viewing point on the famous Ring of Kerry. We will journey on to the enchanting village of Kenmare, nestled between the high mountains and the sea. A heritage town, Kenmare is strategically situated on the Ring of Kerry and is renowned for its natural beauty, fine restaurants, cafes and interesting craft shops. We will be able to enjoy some free time to explore Kenmare before returning to Killarney for a leisurely afternoon. In the evening we will head to Kate Kearney’s Cottage for traditional Irish night.
“Hang in the memory like a myth and a song…”
Today’s scenery is reputed to be one of the most breathtaking in the world. Some of Ireland’s finest coastal scenery can be found in West Kerry, on the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry Peninsulas. Here, the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. The narrow passage around the Peninsula is truly spectacular and Liam will entertain us with song and folklore. Our passage carries us through a chain of mountains and continues along a beach bordered by dunes and made famous by the movie Ryan’s Daughter before we reach Dingle.
The town of Dingle is a thriving fishing village and offers plenty of opportunities for savoring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and scenic harbor. It is magical! We will continue to journey around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found. A lovely evening will be spent on our own exploring the many quaint music pubs.
Cloch na Blarney
This morning we will depart Dingle for the 15th-century Blarney Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic castles. It was made famous for its Blarney stone, which is traditionally believed to have the power to bestow the “gift of gab” on those who kiss it. Many legends tell the story of the Stone, but why not kiss it and find out the truth behind the legend. We will also visit the nearby Blarney Woolen Mills, with an excellent selection of Irish crafts as well as knits and woolens of all kinds. As we make our way to the picturesque village of Adare, we may stop for a spot of whiskey! The village will be dotted with pretty thatched cottages built in the 1820’s. Later we depart for a memorable farewell evening at the medieval Bunratty Castle. A fabulous farewell to the lovely time we have had in Ireland.
Shannon Departure (mid day flight) Transfer on your own
Our tour ends after breakfast. You may choose to spend an extra night in Dublin and depart from Dublin at your own expense.
The Best of Ireland includes:
Dublin: 3 nights
Galway: 2 nights
Killarney: 2 nights
Dingle: 1 night
Limerick: 1 night
Does Not Include: International flight or mandatory all inclusive travel insurance. Tips for guides, drivers, meals, drinks, & personal spending
*Itinerary is subject to change based upon weather and unknown events. Final itinerary with listed hotel accommodations, contact information, transfer schedule will be sent prior to departure.*
THIS IS NOT A BUS TOUR. Private transportation, trains and ferries. After final payment, you will be sent additional information with travel and packing tips, final day to day itinerary, logistics and needed details.
Our small group women’s tour of Ireland includes many extras that you are not expecting. Because we are a small women’s group tour, we have the luxury of flexibility including necessary changes. We stop when we want to, we add in an extra site and we start our day when it makes sense. Some days are easier than others and you do have some free time built in. It is important to me that you take care of YOU. Do you want to get a massage? Go shopping? Or just chill in your room with a good book?
We have expert guides and drivers who answer questions one on one, and transportation that is typically a Mercedes Van.
We immerse with the locals and there is a lot of serendipity! We visit the “planned by me” but unknown to you and surprises along the way are built in.
Early reservations are advised and a minimum non refundable deposit of $800.00 is required at the time of your reservation. If you are making your reservation, less than 90 days of departure, the entire amount of the trip must be paid in full at the time of reservation.
Guests will receive an invoice for balance due when reservation and deposit is received. Full payment is due 120 days prior to commencement of trip.
Your Total Cost: $5695.00
$800 non refundable reservation fee. Final Payment June 15, 2020 or terms with HDV.
Pay either by Credit Card through Stride or inquire about paying by check, or call (1-800-416-3169) or email (email@example.com) about making a payment plan.