Irish Gold Tour

B= Breakfast; L= Lunch; D= Dinner

Day 1: Dublin Tour & Book of Kells

Your vacation starts at your Dublin hotel at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour director. Head out to see Dublin’s main attractions including O’Connell Street, St. Stephen’s Green, the seat of government at Leinster House and other public buildings. View Dublin’s famous Georgian squares and elegant town houses with elaborate doorways. Take a stroll through Trinity College’s campus in the center of the city with a student guide and in the Old Library view the priceless 8th century Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels. Your tour director will host a welcome drink with your fellow travelers and advise where to dine independently.

Day 2: Clonmacnoise Monastic Site & Galway City Tour

Leave Dublin and journey across the rolling pastures of Ireland’s heartland to visit Clonmacnoise. This monastic settlement was founded in 545 AD by St. Ciaran and is set on the banks of the mighty River Shannon. See elaborate high Celtic crosses decorated with biblical scenes. Walk around the many church ruins and two round towers. Drive to Galway and view the main sights of the city before checking into your hotel. Your hotel is located within easy walking distance of lively streets with fun specialty stores, cafés and pubs. Enjoy free time to browse around on your own before dining in your hotel. (B, D)

Day 3: Connemara Catamaran Cruise & Kylemore Abbey

Today explore scenic Connemara to admire how constantly-changing cloud formations give granite hills, sparkling lakes and peat bogs an added dimension. While visually stunning, this area is not good for farming with many tracts of bogland and sturdy sheep that wander over the hills. Drive through the picturesque Inagh Valley to Leenane where you embark on a short catamaran cruise of Killary Harbour, a 9-mile fjord. Enjoy views of hills where traces of “lazy beds” of potato ridges from the 19th century and earlier can still be seen. Drive to Kylemore Abbey to tour elegant rooms in the mansion and the charming church, set beside a tranquil lake. Enjoy a casual lunch and savor more views of Connemara before returning to Galway where the evening is free to explore the city. (B, L)

Day 4: Cliffs, Sheepdogs & Jarvey's Irish Night

Travel south around Galway Bay and through the Burren, a region of rounded limestone hills which has a curious lunar-like appearance. Wild flowers thrive in the sheltered cracks and cattle thrive on the excellent pasture. In Caherconnell watch trained sheepdogs obey their owner as they direct sheep through various obstacles. On the coast view the Cliffs of Moher, which rise almost 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic surf. Walk to O’Brien’s Tower at the highest point for great views of the Aran Islands and Connemara. Drive south to take a ferry across the River Shannon Estuary and head to Killarney, a little town that is world-famous due to its exquisite location beside lakes and mountains. Check in to your hotel in the center of the town and head to Jarvey's Irish Night for a lively show with dinner. (B, D)

Day 5: Ring of Kerry Tour & Muckross House

Set out on Ireland’s most popular scenic drive – the Ring of Kerry. The variety of scenery in such a small area will amaze you and there will be plenty of photo opportunities. The road winds between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountains, and the heavily-indented Atlantic coastline. Cross to Valentia Island by bridge and tour the Skellig Experience to learn about the rocky offshore islands where early Christian monks lived. Savor a light lunch and continue along the scenic route, stopping in the village of Sneem and also at Moll’s Gap for panoramic mountain views. Take a horse-drawn jaunting car ride through the Killarney National Park to Muckross House for a guided tour to see period furnishings and learn about its history. Stroll through the mature gardens before returning to Killarney where the evening is free for independent dining or checking out some of the pubs with live music. (B, L)

Day 6: Blarney Castle & Traditional Music Session

Drive through the mountains into richer farming country on the way to Blarney. Climb to the ramparts of Blarney Castle to kiss the famous stone or, if you don’t feel like a climb, take a gentle walk through the lovely parklands and colorful gardens. Shop for Irish-made goods at the Blarney Woollen Mills before traveling along the coast to the Marine Bar in Dungarvan for a creamy Irish coffee and informal traditional music. Continue to Waterford and check into your historic hotel, located on the waterfront of this ancient port city. Tour the House of Waterford Crystal to watch the many stages of glass blowing, cutting and polishing by master craftspeople. At the end of the tour admire the huge display of magnificent trophies and you will have an opportunity to purchase elegant tableware and gift items. (B, D)

Day 7: Waterford Walk & O’Connell’s Restaurant

This morning join a local guide for a fun walking tour through the narrow streets of the old city to discover Waterford’s long history and some of its colorful characters. Visit the nearby Medieval Museum, a modern building which incorporates a 13th century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault. See a range of treasures including the stunning cloth-of-gold 15th century vestments. Travel along the east coast to your hotel in Dublin and in the evening drive to O’Connell’s Restaurant for a superb dinner. (B, D)

Day 8: Bus Tour with Guinness or General Post office

For clients on our 8-day tour, your program ends after breakfast. If you have booked our 9-day tour, spend an additional day in Dublin with an independent Dublin open-top bus tour (valid for 48 hours), plus a visit to Guinness or General Post Office. (B)

Day 9: Depart Dublin for Home

Your tour ends after breakfast. (B)