Geological Tour of Ireland

Day 1: Arrive Dublin - Trinity College

Arrive at Dublin Airport, proceed through immigration and pick up your baggage. Go to the Arrivals Hall where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. As you will be unlikely to be able to check in to the hotel until after 2pm, drop your luggage at a secure storage facility at the hotel and visit Trinity College's Geology Museum & Library. A member of the faculty will give a short introduction to the College’s objectives and Ireland’s major sites, many of which will be visited during your stay, weather permitting. Back to your hotel to check in. Dinner tonight is not included in the tour, so why not try one of Dublin’s superb restaurants followed by an evening’s entertainment in one of the many entertaining pubs. Overnight Dublin. BB

Day 2: University College Dublin – School of Geological Science and Dublinia

After breakfast, a visit to University College Dublin School of Geological Science has been arranged. Continue to Dublinia and the Viking World, where exhibitions display Dublin in Viking & Medieval times. After all this “culture” a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery to learn about the making of Irish Whiskey will be a welcome respite. Overnight Dublin DBB

Day 3: Loughcrew Cairns, Four Knocks, National Museum

This morning, visit Loughcrew Megalithic Cairns and Four Knocks Megalithic Passage Tomb. In the afternoon, return to Dublin to see the National Museum – Archeology to view their current exhibition. Overnight Dublin DBB

Day 4: Boyne Valley, Belfast

Today we leave Dublin to discover the historic and archeological treasures of the Boyne Valley, first visiting the ancient Celtic site of the Hill of Tara, then Trim and Kells Heritage Towns. Trim’s 12th Century Castle featured in the film Braveheart and Kells is famous for its 8th Century monastic settlement, Book of Kells and Celtic High Crosses. We will also visit the 5000 years old Megalithic tombs at Newgrange and/or Knowth. Onwards to Belfast. Overnight Belfast DBB

Day 5: Giants Causeway, Derry

We depart for one of Europe’s most magnificent coastlines where its unique rock formations have, for millions of years, stood as a natural rampart against the unbridled ferocity of Atlantic storms – The Giant's Causeway. A guided walking tour has been arranged. After the visit, travel on to Derry where, after checking in to your hotel, you will take an inner city guided walking tour. Overnight Derry DBB

Day 6: Marble Arch, Arigna

After breakfast, travel south to visit Marble Arch Caves, European Geopark, one of Europe’s finest showcaves. Your knowledgeable guide will take you through a bewildering variety of cave formations. Following your visit, continue on to the Arigna Mining Experience. This energy center will provide you with a unique insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700's until closure in 1990. Local geology and the formation of coal deposits are explained in the exhibition area and you will be able to experience what it was like to work in some of the narrowest coal seams in the western world. Overnight Westport DBB

Day 7: Cong

A leisurely morning to revitalize the senses. Stay around the hotel or visit the Clew Bay Heritage Centre to learn more about this Georgian town. Then depart for Galway travelling via Cong, the site of many scenes from the classic 1952 movie The Quiet Man. Overnight Galway DBB

Day 8: Connemara

Tour around the stunning Connemara region today with its unspoilt scenery. Along the way visit Kylemore Abbey with its lovely walled gardens and Connemara Marble Visitors Centre before returning to Galway City. The remainder of the day is free. The Quays area in the city is home to a number of lively music pubs including the popular Quays Bar and great choice of restaurants. Overnight Galway. BB

Day 9: The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty

Today, visit the Burren, a karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq km which lies in the north west corner of Co Clare, composed of limestone pavements, which are eroded in a distinctive pattern known as karren. Two stops will be made, at Aillwee Caves and Caherconnell Stone Fort. Continue on to the Cliffs of Moher which rise up to 214 metres above the Atlantic Ocean. Here visit Doolin Cave before travelling on to Ireland’s third city, Limerick. After checking in to your hotel, take the short drive to Bunratty Castle for an evening of fun at the Bunratty Medieval Banquet & Show. Overnight Limerick BB

Day 10: Cragg Cave, Killarney

Leave Limerick in the morning traveling through what is known as Ireland’s prettiest village, Adare and onwards into County Kerry to Cragg Caves. After visiting Cragg, continue to Killarney and visit the National Park or walk through the Gap Of Dunloe. Killarney has many pubs and restaurants and is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations. Overnight Killarney BB

Day 11: Dingle Peninsula

Today we will tour the spectacular Dingle Peninsula. Perhaps not as well known as the Ivergah Peninsula where the Ring of Kerry is located, the Dingle Peninsula is less busy but every bit as beautiful. The town of Dingle is a small fishing port where you will find .plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants to have lunch. Then to the west of the town the scenery is particularly rugged with views out to the formerly inhabited Blasket Islands. Visit the Blaskett Centre which documents the islands until they were vacated in 1953. En-route, visits to Dunbeg Fort Visitors Centre, Celtic Museum and Bee Hive Huts may be possible, subject to weather. Overnight Killarney DBB

Day 12: Blarney, Cashel

This morning, travel to Blarney where, at Blarney Castle, you may kiss the stone which according to legend will give you the “gift of eloquence”. Onwards to Cashel for lunch (not included) at Bru Boru, a national cultural centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. Time for class discussion over lunch. Overnight Kilkenny DBB

Day 13: Dunmore Caves, Wicklow

After breakfast, visit Dunmore Caves, mentioned in the annals which tells of a Viking massacre at the cave in the year 928 A.D. After the visit we head back to Dublin via Wicklow, visiting Wicklow Gaol, reputedly one of the most haunted places in Ireland. Overnight Dublin DBB

Day 14: Guinness Storehouse

After all the educational sights visited, time for a bit of R & R. A visit to Guinness Storehouse is something that no visitor should miss, especially the finale, a complimentary pint in their 7th floor Gravity Bar, which has 360 degree panoramic views of the city. The rest of the day is free for last minute shopping or sightseeing. . The day will conclude with a night of entertainment at one of Dublin’s best traditional music evenings, the Irish House Party. As well as experiencing the great music and dance on offer, the group can even join in and learn a jig or two on stage in this fun and casual evening. Overnight Dublin BB

Day 15: Departure from Dublin

Transfer to Dublin Airport in time to check in for your flight home and that last minute duty free shopping.

BB = Bed & Irish Breakfast DBB = Dinner, Bed & Irish Breakfast

N.B. Due to the time of the year for this tour, it may not be possible to adhere to this itinerary. Weather permitting, all sites & attractions listed will be visited, but we do reserve the right to make changes during the tour if the weather dictates that it would not be safe to continue with the above itinerary. All efforts will be made to adhere to the itinerary and the driver/guide will liase with the tour leader & our office daily. Entrance to sites will also be subject to suitable weather conditions, especially the cave visits. Should site visits not be possible, alternative attractions, such as museums, exhibitions etc, may be arranged.