Literary Tour of Ireland (8 Night)

Detailed Itinerary for the 8 Night Literary Tour of Ireland

This is just a summary of the day to day itinerary. You will be provided with a considerably more comprehensive daily itinerary upon booking your Ireland vacation package.

Day 1 Literary Dublin

Given that Dublin was named as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, there can be no better place to start your literary tour of Ireland beginning with a visit to the William Butler Yeats Exhibition at the National Library. The National library has the largest collection of Yeats manuscripts in the world and in addition holds other fascinating material donated by Mrs George Yeats. You may choose to visit The Chester Beatty Library which houses a great array of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty or The James Joyce Centre which is located in a beautifully restored Georgian house and includes an exhibition area with computer installations, videos, re-creations of period rooms, and items relating to the life and work of James Joyce.  Near the James Joyce Centre you will find the Dublin Writers Museum where Dublin’s literary personalities are brought to life through their books, letters, portraits and personal items. Other attractions include Christchurch Cathedral which was founded in the year 1030 by Sitric, King of the Dublin Norsemen, Trinity College which houses the famous Book of Kells which is widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure. Transcribed by Celtic monks around the year 800, it contains the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin, and is a spectacular example of the tradition of illuminated manuscripts.  You may decide to end your day’s touring with a trip to the Guinness Storehouse which provides an unforgettable welcome and a magical journey deep into the heart of the world famous Guinness brand and company and finishing with a pint of the famous 'Black Stuff’ in the Gravity bar!

Day 2 Dublin to Sligo

Today you will travel from Dublin to Sligo which is long renowned for being associated with the Irish playwright William Butler Yeats. En-route you may decide to visit the ancient sites of Newgrange or Knowth or to break up your journey you might decide to stop along the way at the heritage village of Ardagh which has an interesting literary past.  In 1744 one of the most famous incidents in Ardagh’s history occurred; this was the visit of young Oliver Goldsmith who was tricked into mistaking the mansion (Ardagh House) for an inn. His endeavors to court the Fetherston daughters in the belief that they were servant girls formed the plot of his most successful play ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ , a comedy which explores the contemporary themes of sexual morality and double standards. You may wish to visit the Ardagh Visitor Centre which recounts the tale as well as the curious history of the area. You may choose to visit Strokestown Park House& Famine Museum before travelling onward to Sligo. The Famine Museum which is located in the original Stable Yards commemorates the history of the famine through informative and interesting interactive displays. The Great Famine is now regarded as the single greatest social disaster of 19th century Europe and hence has been the subject of many books, poetry and song. In Sligo you will find the William Butler Yeat’s Memorial Building which has a photographic exhibition detailing the famous writer’s life, the churchyard at Drumcliffe where Yeats is buried and the Sligo County Museum & Art Gallery which also has Yeats’ work on display.

Day 3 Sligo to Galway

From Sligo, travel to Galway via the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar. This award winning museum is home to the national Folklife Collection which represents traditional life in Ireland throughout the 19th and early 20th century. Here you will see for yourself the traditions, folklore and history of the real people of Ireland that would have inspired many famous Irish writers. Or take an alternative route via the Coleman Irish Music Centre where Interactive multimedia terminals will tell you about local lore, traditional music, Irish dancing, how musical instruments are made and much more. Other attractions on your route include King House a magnificent Georgian Mansion, or the village of Knock which is best known for its religious associations. On arrival in Galway, places of interest include Galway City Museum, Galway Cathedral and Nora Barnacle’s House.  Wife of James Joyces, Nora Barnacle House was the Barnacle family home from 1894-1940. It is now a small private museum, faithfully restored to its former character. Galway, the ‘City of the Tribes’ is also known as Ireland’s Cultural and festival capital. With its street entertainers and traditional pubs with great music, Galway and in particular, the Quays area of the city centre will enthrall you particularly in the evening time. Other sites in Galway include Ireland’s largest medieval parish church, the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra dating back to 1320. Christopher Columbus reputedly worshipped in this church in 1477. Also nearby are Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square.

Day 4 Connemara or The Aran Islands

Today you might decide to tour Connemara or take the ferry to Inis Meáin*, which is the middle of the three Aran Islands. The characteristic features of Connemara include its rugged, unpolluted coastline, dramatic mountains, numerous lakes and rivers and woodlands and the renowned Connemara National Park, Lough Corrib and Kylemore Abbey. Inis Meáin has managed to suppress the intrusion of the modern world to a large extent and remains the quietest and most traditional of the three Islands. The islanders still speak their native language but will have no problem in communicating in English. This enchanting island was frequented by the distinguished playwright John Millington Synge. It is the subject of numerous books, and proves continually to be of inspiration to visual, dramatic, literary and other artists. On the Island you will visit many sites including the historic fort of Dún Chonchúir, an impressive oval fortress measuring approximately 20ft in height, Dún Fearbhaí, the second stone fort on the island most notable for its unusual shape (almost square in shape as opposed to the normal round shape), ‘Cathaoir Synge’, the place where Synge was inspired and regularly wrote and ‘Teach Synge’, the cottage where Synge stayed while on the Island.

Day 5 Limerick & Kerry

Today you will travel to Limerick which was made famous by Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer Prize winning book ‘Angela’s Ashes’. Along the way you may decide to visit such famous sites as The Burren, The Cliffs of Moher, The Poulnabrone Dolmen or Bunratty Castle. Your Irish Tourism full itinerary will give you all the details you need to make your sightseeing decisions! On arrival in Limerick, you might visit the Frank McCourt Museum which depicts the classroom of the 1930’s where Frank and his siblings attended as pupils as well as a collection of memorabilia including items such as school books of the period and old photographs. After your visit you may decide to take the Angela’s Ashes Walking Tour which includes locations featured in the book and subsequent film.  From here travel to the heritage town of Listowel for your overnight stay via one of Ireland’s prettiest villages, Adare in County Limerick. In Listowel you can visit the Seanchaí Visitor Centre* which shows the works of the great Kerry authors in a unique audio-visual experience. Located in a 19th century Georgian residence in Listowel’s magnificent square, the centre features five of County Kerry’s most esteemed writers – John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Brendan Kennelly and Maurice Walsh. The writings of these national and internationally renowned literary figures are filled with an abundance of rich characters, humour, romance and tragedy drawn from the towns and villages of North Kerry.

Day 6 The Dingle Peninsula

Today your journey will take you to the beautiful Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. You might wish the visit Inch Strand which is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. Not far from Inch you will find Minard Castle, said to have been built by the Knight of Kerry, it is the largest fortress on the peninsula and one of the locations used in the film "Ryans Daughter". On the tip of the Dingle Peninsula, stop at the Blasket Centre which celebrates the story of the Blasket Islanders, the unique literary achievements of the island writers and their native language, culture and traditions. Sadly, An Blascaod Mór was abandoned in 1953 as a result of the decline of its once vibrant population.

Day 7 The Ring of Kerry

You have a number of touring options today. Chief amongst these is the Ring of Kerry driving tour. The Ring of Kerry is a journey through some of the country’s most outstanding scenery around the Iveragh Peninsula. Stunning mountain and coastal scenery combined with colourful towns and villages will make this one of the highlights of your tour. For those who wish to take a break from driving we can arrange a bus tour through this route. Following the peninsula drive, you then arrive at Muckross House. Muckross House is a magnificent Victorian mansion completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert. The location of the House is spectacular, close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake and set beneath the impressive backdrop of Torc and Mangerton Mountains. As an alternative to the Ring of Kerry tour you may prefer to take a wonderful tour by pony and trap that takes you through the Black Valley in the Gap of Dunloe. After a snack at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you will return to Killarney by boat via the beautiful Lakes of Killarney.

Day 8 Return to Dublin

Today you will travel back to Dublin, your Irish Tourism detailed itinerary will help you decide which route to take. On arrival you may decide to continue your sightseeing in Dublin visiting the many historical and modern attractions that this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Of course, you may wish to take time out to shop in Grafton Street or any one of a number of narrow and quaint streets that the café strewn city centre has to offer or spend some time in the Temple Bar area. This small area boasts a dazzling choice of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops to suit all tastes and pockets, all within easy walking distance of Temple Bar's many cultural centres and galleries. Its narrow cobbled streets are pedestrianised and are ideally suited to a leisurely stroll through the quarter.  This evening we recommend that you partake in a Literary Pub Crawl of Dublin (which we can arrange for you in advance) where you will tour Dublin's historic pubs in the company of two actors who introduce writers such as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan and Oscar Wilde and perform fascinating scenes from their works along the way.