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This tour can be accessed from any of Ireland's International airports although ideally entering and departing via Dublin would be the easiest option.
This 3 Centre Tour is perfect for the traveller who prefers to explore the countryside from a number of bases rather than switch accommodations every night or two. The tour will allow the customer a greater amount of time to get to know the areas in which they are residing and of course the locals that reside in those locations.
One of the greatest advantages of the 3 Centre Tour is that you will undoubtedly feel considerably more rested at the end of the tour than someone who has taken the alternative 11 day tour where they stay in each location for just one or two nights. Your first journey will depend on your airport of arrival, whether it be Dublin, Shannon or Cork. For this itinerary, we will be using Dublin airport as the starting point.
This 10 night tour will enable you to visit Ireland’s most famous sights including Trinity College and Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, Powerscourt House & the Waterford Crystal Factory in the South East, Blarney Castle and the Cobh Heritage Centre in Cork, Killarney and the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher and the ‘Burren Landscape’ of County Clare and Ireland's most visited attraction, the ancient Megalithic Tombs at Newgrange, just 45 minutes north of Dublin.
This tour will leave the traveller with a wonderful array of memories of the diverse scenery and cultural differences that they will encounter from one side of the country to the other. While the accents and dialects of the spoken word will vary greatly while journeying from County Dublin in the East of Ireland to the western counties of Cork, Kerry and Clare, the one unchanging constant will be the level of friendliness, humour & welcome that you receive throughout your travels.
While the suggested tour itinerary clearly outlines how you will be able to visit many of Ireland’s most historical locations and attractions, make sure to take timeout to get to know the local people and their culture.
After collecting your rental car your first stop is the National Stud and Japanese Gardens where a Horse Museum tracing the history of the horse in Ireland using artifacts, illustrations and text is located. In fact the winner of the 2003 Californian ‘Breeders Cup Mile’ race is a National Stud horse, the 3rd in the last 9 years. The Japanese Gardens are situated in the grounds of the Stud Farm and were created between 1906 and 1910. They are planned to symbolise the 'Life of Man' from the cradle to the grave. On to Kilkenny - Long renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital, the city’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. Characterized by beautifully restored old buildings, Kilkenny City is small and compact enough to explore on foot, yet full of fascinating, historical buildings. Kilkenny Castle is a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands. Also in Kilkenny is Saint Canice's Cathedral, the second longest of Ireland's medieval cathedrals. Built on the site of an earlier church, the major portion of the work that produced the beautiful Gothic structure was carried out in the middle of the 13th Century. Also well worth a visit is the Smithwick’s Brewery Tour in the centre of the city.
Today, you have a number of sightseeing options. The South Eastern corner of Ireland is an option to visit the ancestral home of the Kennedy’s in Wexford at the Kennedy Homestead as well as visiting the Dunbrody Famine Ship which is one of the top tourist attraction in the South East of Ireland. This exhibition is extremely interactive and it re-enacts life on the Dunbrody as she carried her passengers from New Ross to the US and Canada 150 years ago. Continue down the east coast and you will enter the area known as ‘Sunny South East’ where you will visit the interpretive centre for Waterford Crystal that has been opened since the closure of the famed Crystal Factory.
There is also the option to discover and experience the Monastic settlement and ruins at Glendalough as well as the beautiful Powerscourt House and Gardens and the Avoca Woollen Mills in the vale of Avoca, all of which are situated in the garden county of Ireland, County Wicklow.
There are some excellent day trip options from Kilkenny and are all within easy reach and offers excellent discovery options to find out more about Ireland. These include a trip to The Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle in the neighbouring County of Tipperary. Cashel is best known for the imposing Rock of Cashel and the site encompasses a Gothic cathedral, a 15th century castle and a round tower. St Patrick is known to have preached on the rock as well as the Kings of Ireland and Munster came to the Rock of Cashel. It was an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family and is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles.
Waterford is another tour option where you will see the Waterford Crystal factory. If you decide to explore the South East Coast as an alternative; a visit to the county of Wexford is a must. Some attractions here are the Irish National Heritage Park, the 13th Century Tintern Abbey, Hook Lighthouse, Dunbrody Abbey, the Kennedy Homestead, ancestral home of JFK and finally the Dunbrody Famine Ship. This is centered on the authentic remake of the 1840’s emigrant vessel with its world class interpretation of the emigrant experience during the famine. The original Dunbrody was a three-masted barque built in Quebec, Canada, for the Graves family of New Ross, Co. Wexford in 1845.
Your first stop today, if you didn’t visit it whilst staying Kilkenny, is the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. Kings of Ireland as well as Munster came to this spot and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock and converted the local King, Aenghus, here in the 5th Century. Just 10 miles further on stop is Cahir Castle, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family and is one of the largest castles in Ireland and is regarded as one of the best-preserved castles. The castle offers guided tours and audiovisual shows. As you continue to Killarney and want to detour the main M8 route to Cork, you can detour to Blarney Castle. Blarney Castle is one of the most popular places in Ireland and it is a great site to explore the gardens and climb the steps and kiss the stone that will bestow you the ‘gift of the gab’. Onwards to Killarney, an extremely vibrant town surrounded by countryside and the Killarney National Park. There are many walks and trails around Killarney. You will also have a chance to visit Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe or simply take a stroll through the streets of this quaint town to enjoy the great pubs and enjoy the traditional Irish music on offer.
On everyone’s bucket list while in Killarney is to discover the Ring of Kerry through a 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 an optional snack at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you will return to Killarney by boat via the beautiful lakes of Killarney.
The Dingle Peninsula has more interesting historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland. Some of the scenery includes sandy beaches and craggy cliffs and further inland you will see rolling hills and mountains including 952m Mount Brandon (second highest mountain in Ireland). The main town Dingle is the most westerly in Europe and attracts large numbers of visitors each year, many of whom come to learn the Irish language in the surrounding Irish speaking district. Also in the area are An Dún Beag Promontory Fort from 800 BC as well as the Blasket Islands and Gallarus Oratory. Gallarus Oratory was built between the seventh and eighth century and is the best preserved early Christian church in Ireland. On to Brandon Creek from where legend has it that St. Brendan discovered the North American continent in the 6th century. If you wish to stay closer to Killarney, take a wonderful walk or pony and trap through the Gap of Dunloe and the Black Valley, returning to Killarney by boat across the Lakes of Killarney.
Today you head east to County Cork if you have not seen Blarney Castle and Garden, Cork City, Cobh already. Another option is to continuing your local sightseeing in Kerry and perhaps pay a visit to the short but lovely Beara Peninsula just south of Kenmare. Also in this area can be found Garinish Island. . A short boat trip brings you to the island – look out for seals basking on the nearby rocks – to see the beautiful Italian style gardens that are home to numerous rare and sub-tropical plants.
Your next destination is Castletownbere taking the R572, one of the largest white fishing ports in Ireland. Situated on Berehaven Harbour and looking out towards Bere Island, the town has a spectacular background of the Slieve Miskish Mountains. Return to Kenmare via the stunning Healy Pass across the Caha Mountains that divide Cork from Kerry.
Today’s journey brings you from Killarney to Dublin. First stop is the Village of Adare in County Limerick. Adare is regarded by many a seasoned traveller as Ireland’s prettiest village with its charming thatched cottages, manicured public park and ancient church. From Adare continue along the N20 towards Limerick City of ‘Angelas Ashes’ fame and home to King Johns Castle. From here continue to Dublin. Dublin city centre is a compact area, with all points of interest being easily accessible on foot. As a result you will find a large number of walking tours available, the most popular of which include the “Historical Walking Tour” and the “Literary Pub Crawl”. You may of course wish to visit many of the sights in your own time either on foot or with the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus service that stops at all of the major attractions including Dublin Castle, Trinity Castle & the Book of Kells, Kilmainham Gaol, the National Museum of Ireland and The Guinness Storehouse to name just a few.
Continue your sightseeing in Dublin today visiting the many historical and modern attractions that this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Other attractions include Christchurch Cathedral which was founded in the year 1030 by Sitric, King of the Dublin Norsemen, the James Joyce Centre & the Dublin Writers Museum. 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. The Dublin Hop On Hop Off Bus is an excellent way of visiting many of Dublin’s most historic locations. This evening, why not 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. Also worth a visit is EPIC, the Irish emigration museum and the GPO (General Post Office) which houses the ‘GPO Witness History’ visitor attraction. This exhibition tells the story of the 1916 rising and the aftermath of this historic rebellion.
Dublin has remained one of Europe's most intimate capitals boasting elegant shops, hotels, galleries, coffeehouses and a stunning variety of excellent restaurants. While you will undoubtedly be struck by the fact that more than half of the capital's population is aged under 25, it is still the Georgian elegance of Merrion Square, the magnificence of Christchurch Cathedral and the old-style atmospheric pubs that will enchant you. Dublin city centre is a compact area, with all points of interest being easily accessible on foot. You may of course wish to visit many of the sights in your own time. To that end, we are happy to provide you with a detailed map of Dublin, complete with a number of suggested walking tours. All landmarks, museums, etc. are clearly marked on the map, including a short description of each.
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Below, you will find a price for this self drive tour including your car rental. Pricing for other accommodation and transport options is also available upon request. Please also note that all of our driving tours itineraries and sightseeing guides are available to those wishing to avail of one of our experienced driver guides.
|Accommodation Type||B&B's||3* Hotels||4*Hotels & Manor Houses||Combination|
|Jan-Mar & Nov-Dec||€771||€1,035||€1,354||€1,046|
|April & October||€771||€1,201||€1,539||€1,090|
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