B= Breakfast; L= Lunch; D= Dinner

Day 1: Dublin Arrival & Book of Kells

Your Irish trip starts at 2:00 pm when you meet your tour guide at your Dublin hotel. Set out to see central Dublin’s public buildings, tranquil parks and bustling shopping streets. Drive past Leinster House, the seat of government, and St. Stephen’s Green. Cross the River Liffey and see the wide O’Connell Street with many monuments and the General Post Office, where the 1916 Uprising started. Walk through Trinity College with a student guide to see stately buildings and visit the Old Library where the priceless 8th century manuscript of the Book of Kells is housed. In the evening discuss your itinerary with your tour director and your fellow travelers over a welcome drink and dine independently.

Day 2: Irish National Stud & Farmhouse Lunch

Travel to Kildare to visit the Irish National Stud to learn about the valuable horse breeding industry and see some of the magnificent animals. Take a walk around the delightful grounds to see St. Fiachra’s Garden, created in 1999 and the miniature Japanese Gardens. Enjoy a home-style lunch at a farmhouse and chat about country living with the owners. Continue your drive south through the scenic Knockmealdown Mountains and the “V” Gap to your hotel in Ballycotton. This intimate country house property is located on the south coast, overlooking the ocean and is a delightful haven of tranquility. Enjoy a superb dinner in the hotel’s fine restaurant with locally-sourced ingredients. (B, L, D)

Day 3: Cork & Blarney Castle

Drive through the rich farming countryside of east County Cork and into the city of Cork for a gentle walking tour around the central areas with a local guide. Cork is set on the River Lee which divides into two branches and winds through the center. Then drive a few miles 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 west into the mountains of County Kerry. On arrival in Killarney take a leisurely jaunting car ride through the Killarney National Park to Ross Castle, set on the shores of Lough Leane, the largest of the region’s famous lakes. Check in to your hotel and relax before dinner. (B, D)

Day 4: Ring of Kerry & Killeen House Restaurant

Today travel around the Ring of Kerry drive, one of Ireland’s most popular scenic routes. Every bend in 100 miles of road reveals breathtaking views of mountains and the Atlantic Ocean and there will be plenty of stops to admire the vistas and take photos. At the tip of the peninsula visit the Skellig Experience, which shows the austere conditions of early Christian monastic life on the nearby rocky islands. The islands were used as a location for the “Star Wars VII” movie made in 2014. Return through the attractive village of Sneem and pause at Moll’s Gap for panoramic mountain views. Watch a shepherd and his skilled dogs round up sheep before returning to Killarney. In the evening enjoy a warm welcome and delicious cuisine at award-winning Killeen House Restaurant. (B, D)

Day 5: Cliffs of Moher & Dromoland Castle

Take a 20-minute ferry ride across the wide River Shannon Estuary and drive along the coast. View the Cliffs of Moher, majestic walls of rock, which extend five miles along the coast. You may walk to O’Brien’s Tower at the highest point for panoramic views of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, if the weather is clear. Journey through part of the Burren, a region of rounded limestone hills, to the lovely Dromoland Castle Hotel. Relax in the wonderful setting, play a round of golf or use the extensive spa and leisure facilities. In the evening experience gourmet dining in the hotel’s elegant dining room. (B, D)

Day 6: Gaelic Ireland & Ashford Castle Hotel

Drive south for a gentle walking tour around central Galway to see Eyre Square, Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch and parts of the medieval city walls. On Shop Street view the medieval Lynch’s Castle that gave the English language a new word. Then drive to Spiddal to visit Cnoc Suain, a restored 17th century hill-village set in a beautiful landscape where you will be immersed in local Irish culture. Take a short cruise on Lough Corrib to approach Ashford Castle from the water so you can take photos of the incredible views. Unwind in luxurious surroundings and enjoy an excellent dinner in Ashford Castle’s lovely restaurant. (B, D)

Day 7: Kylemore Abbey & Ballynahinch Castle

Travel through the scenic Connemara region today to view rugged hills interspersed with tiny lakes. Visit Kylemore Abbey, a stately 19th century mansion in a tranquil lakeside setting that is owned by an order of Irish Benedictine nuns. Walk along the lake shore and tour the fine reception rooms and the elaborate church. Continue your drive through Connemara and stop in the town of Clifden. Head to Ballynahinch Castle, a luxurious manor house hotel with a long history. Take a gentle guided tour through the grounds to learn of the colorful characters who lived here. Then sit down to an early dinner, created with the finest of local ingredients. Return to Cong where the evening is free. (B, D)

Day 8: Kilbeggan Distillery & O’Connell’s Restaurant

Travel through the center of Ireland to visit Kilbeggan Distillery, the oldest distillery in the world, to see artisanal whiskey production and enjoy a creamy Irish coffee at the end of the tour. Continue your drive to Dublin and check in to a different hotel in the city center. In the evening travel a short distance to O’Connell’s Restaurant. Watch a demonstration of how to make the brown soda bread that is served everywhere throughout Ireland and sit down to an excellent dinner. (B, D)

Day 9: Russborough House & Dublin

This morning take a short ride through the Wicklow Mountains for a guided tour around Russborough House, an elegant Palladian mansion noted for its art and photography collections. In the afternoon use your included voucher for an open-top bus tour around the main sights of Dublin. You may stay on the bus for the entire circular tour or get off and on at 24 different places of interest. You will also have a voucher to visit either Guinness Storehouse or the General Post Office. (B)

Day 10: Depart Dublin for Home

Your tour ends after breakfast. (B)

B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner