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This tour does entail quite a bit of driving but it will leave the traveller with a wonderful array of memories of the diverse scenery and cultural differences that they will encounter from one end of the country to the other. While the accents and dialects of the spoken word will vary greatly while journeying from County Cork on the southern tip of Ireland to the northern counties of Donegal and Antrim, 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 time-out to get to know the local people and their culture.
Some of the major attractions include Guinness Storehouse and Trinity Collegein Dublin, Powerscourt gardens in Wicklow, Waterford Crystal Factory in the south east as well as the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle.
In the Cork/Kerry region, as well as visits to Blarney castle and the Cobh Heritage Centre (The Titanic Trail) you can tour the Ring of Kerry & Dingle Peninsula. In the west there is the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, Galway City and the Aran Islands.
From there travel north to the remote counties of Donegal & Sligo (Yeats county) before travelling into northern Ireland to walk the walls of Derry and the Giant's Causeway in Antrim, not forgetting some time in Belfast to learn more about it’s turbulent history in the words of one of the local impartial & qualified guides. Finally, after Belfast it is time to travel south to the Capital with a stop on route at the Ancient Megalithic Tombs of Newgrange, Ireland’s most visited attraction.
Upon collection of your rental car, you will be traveling south through County Wicklow, also known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’. First stop will be Powerscourt House & Gardens. Surrounding this 18th Century Palladian House in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, you will find a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statuary and ornamental lakes together with secret hollows, rambling walks and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs. Shortly after this, you will arrive at the ancient monastic settlement at Glendalough. Glendalough “the glen of the two lakes” is a truly spellbinding place - an ancient monastic settlement and two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep valley, which was carved out by glaciers during the Ice Age. The monastic settlement has been a centre for pilgrims and visitors since its foundation by St. Kevin in the 6th century. From here, follow the signs for Avondale House. Built in 1779 Avondale House is set in the spectacular surroundings of Avondale Forest Park, now a museum to the memory of one of the greatest political leaders of modern Irish history, Charles Stewart Parnell, who was born in Avondale on 27th June, 1846. Continue on to Avoca where you will find the Avoca Handweavers factory, famed worldwide for the quality of its woven fabrics. As well as visiting its shop, you will be able to take a tour of the factory in this most picturesque of villages. The village was also the setting for the top television series “Ballykissangel”.
What a day in store! Travel down to Waterford today. En-route you will have a number of sightseeing opportunities. Continue to Wexford where you can visit the Irish National Heritage Park. The Park, which is one of the country’s top attractions, features replications of Irish homesteads, burial and worship sites, and takes the visitor on tour through 9,000 years of Irish history. Further down towards Waterford visit The Kennedy Homestead. The Kennedy Homestead, birthplace of President John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy, celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty and is still farmed today by his descendants. Joining the multitudes of Irish fleeing the Great Famine, Patrick Kennedy departed from this homestead for the port of New Ross on a wet day in 1848 to set sail for the United States where his descendants were to become one of the world’s most famous families.
On to the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross. The Visitor Experience provides a unique, authentic re-creation from a period in history which shaped modern day America and Ireland. Visitors climb the gangplank to the main deck of the Dunbrody and descend a companionway to enter the quarters of the captain and mate and the stateroom assigned to important passengers. These quarters are fitted out exactly as they were for a voyage. From here to Waterford where you can tour the Waterford Crystal Facility.
Travelling on from Waterford to Cork, you will pass through Dungarvan, a lovely town in Waterford and a great place to cycle the Waterford Greenway along the old rail trail which was opened in 2017. The Greenway is one of the premier attractions in Waterford. Also, the route includes visits to Youghal and Midleton – Home of the Jameson Whiskey Distillery and Cobh. Youghal is famous for its point lace (point d'Irlande) which is distinguished by its vivid patterns as well as the fact that the film ‘Moby Dick’ starring Gregory Peck was filmed here in 1956. After Youghal, you will travel to the village of Cobh. Cobh, situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbours, was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic in 1912 and was the closest port to the site of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. The heritage centre sympathetically recounts these events and tells the story of emigration from Ireland to the United States and Australia from the time of the famine in 1847 up to the 1950s. A stop to climb to the Blarney Castle ramparts to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’, said to bestow the gift of eloquence, and is a must for those who dare. Across the village green you will find the Blarney Woolen Mills store, a one stop shop for Irish knitwear, crystal, linen and much more. On to Killarney with its three famous lakes and majestic mountain ranges. Killarney has been the inspiration of poets and painters over many centuries & the Killarney National Park is internationally renowned both for its scenic beauty and scientific interest. Other major visitor attractions in Killarney include the 19th Century Muckross House & Gardens & their Traditional Farms, the Torc Waterfall & Ross Castle overlooking the Lakes of Killarney and of course the Gap of Dunloe.
You have a number of touring options. 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.
One of the most dramatic days of your tour brings you from Killarney to the west coast of County Clare. First stop will be 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 towards Limerick City of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ fame and home to King Johns Castle. Shortly after this, you arrive at Bunratty Castle. Built in 1425, this majestic castle was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour. Within the grounds of the Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th century Irish life is vividly recreated. Continuing on to the magnificent ‘Cliffs of Moher’. The majestic Cliffs of Moher are without doubt one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and overlook the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of West Clare. You then arrive at the village of Doolin. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions in any one of its excellent pubs. Just north of the Cliffs you then have the lunar like Burren region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs.
Today you travel to the university city of Galway via the lunar like Burren Region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs. Also on route, you will have a chance to visit Dunguaire Castle on Galway Bay which was built in 1520 by the O'Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay. 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.
The hauntingly beautiful Connemara Region awaits you. Just west of Galway, situated on the most western seaboard of Europe, this unspoilt region boasts breathtaking scenery. The characteristic features of Connemara include its rugged, unpolluted coastline, dramatic mountains, numerous lakes and rivers and woodlands and the renowned Connemara National Park. Visit Kylemore Abbey and the Lough Inagh Valley as well as the spectacular Sky Road near the town of Clifden. You can also visit the fishing village of Roundstone and see how a ‘Bodhran’ (traditional Irish Drum) is made. Alternatively, you may prefer to take the ferry to the Aran Islands. Aran will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians. Take a pony and trap, or a guided tour from the pier up the island to the stone fort of Dun Aengus. Dún Aengus is located on top of a 300ft high sea cliff and is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe. This evening, back to the Quays area of the city for some of the best traditional entertainment in the country.
The most direct route to Donegal will have a driving time of less than 4 hours. On route to Donegal you will travel by Ireland’s most visited pilgrimage location, the Shrine at Knock. Shortly after this, you can take a slight detour to the Coleman Irish Music Centre is a celebration of Irish Music, Culture and Heritage as expressed in the South Sligo style of music played by Michael Coleman and other musicians of his time. Southwest of Sligo Town you will find the Ancient Tombs of Carrowmore. Over 60 tombs have been located by archaeologists to date. Dating back to nearly 5,000 B.C. and centuries older than the Pyramids of Egypt, Carrowmore is Ireland’s largest megalithic cemetery and is considered to be one of the most important in Europe. Shortly after leaving Sligo on route to County Donegal you will arrive at Drumcliff Churchyard, perhaps the most visited graveyard in Ireland. William Butler Yeats is buried here under the epitaph that he penned, “Cast a Cold Eye on Life, on Death. Horsemen, pass by!” The Churchyard stands in the shadow of the magnificent Benbulben. Continue north until you reach Belleek home to Belleek Pottery, where there is an excellent visitor centre that is open from April to October. Set up in 1857, the factory is famous worldwide for its ornate fine Parian China. Other major touring attractions in Donegal include the Railway Heritage Centre, Donegal castle and Donegal Craft Village in Donegal town. Heading west from Donegal Town, on the edge of the Atlantic is Ireland’s premier fishing port of Killybegs. Nearby are the magnificent Slieve League Cliffs which at over 1,000 ft. (300 meters) the cliffs are the highest marine cliffs in Europe. Next stop along this route is the Gaelic speaking village of Glencolumbcille where you can take the opportunity to relive local rural life as experienced in 18th, 19th and 20th century Ireland.
There are a number of other options available to you today including the ancient territory of the Inishowen Peninsula is the most northerly part of Ireland. Monuments of an earlier age seem to grow from the landscape as castles, towers and ancient churches shimmer in the sunshine. Your tour begins at Grianan an Aileach, the ancient Temple of the Sun that was Christianized by St. Patrick. Founded by the Druids, this ring fort dates back to some 2,000 years B.C. The panoramic view from the walls of this ancient palace is truly magnificent; seven counties can be seen on a clear day. Onwards north to Buncrana and the Tullyarvan Mill - a tastefully restored corn mill dating from the 19th century, today developed as a local craft centre and tourist amenity. From Buncrana to Dunree Head and Fort Dunree, constructed in 1798 by the English as a defensive measure against Napoleonic invasion. At the top of the Inishowen Peninsula is Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head. It is not just Ireland’s most northerly point, but also an area of great scenic beauty and of historical, scientific and ecological importance. The area is steeped in history and folklore. Continuing around the peninsula, you arrive at the pretty village of Culduff with its stone circle. Deep in the heart of County Donegal is Glenveagh National Park and is considered by many to be Ireland's finest national park. At the core of the park is the Glenveagh Estate, originally the home of the notorious landlord John George Adair, much despised for his eviction of Irish tenant farmers in the 1860s.
You will find touring around the city of Derry / Londonderry to be a multi-layered experience that takes in all periods of its tumultuous history and vibrant present. The fortified walls of the city are among the best preserved city fortifications in the Western World. They rise to a height of 26ft (8m) and in places are 30ft (9m) wide. Completed in 1618 to defend the Plantation City, the walls have never been breached in three major sieges - even during the 105 day siege of 1689 when 7,000 of the 30,000 population died of starvation. Beyond Derry, the major attractions in Antrim include The Giants Causeway, Bushmill’s Distillery, Dunluce Castle and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Many of these sites are located close to each other which means minimal between each location. The fact that the Causeway was formed 70,000,000 years ago by massive volcanic activity is contradicted only by local legend that claims the causeway was created by a fabled giant. The Old Bushmills Distillery is the world's oldest licensed Whiskey Distillery. King James I granted the original license to distil 'Aqua Vitae' in April 1608, and since then Bushmills has been making the finest Irish Malt Whiskey for almost four hundred years. Dunluce Castle was shaped when the sea cut deep into the land, exploiting cracks in either side of the rock. The early Christians and the Vikings were drawn to this romantic place and an early Irish fort once stood here. Further along the coast near the harbour of Ballintoy the stunning Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge spans a gaping chasm between the coast and a small island used by fishermen. The terrifying eighty foot drop can be crossed via the swinging bridge - not for the faint hearted!
From North Antrim you will be heading down towards the picturesque coastal villages of Cushendun, Cushendall and Glenarm in the stunning Glens of Antrim. Many monuments can be found in this area from the Stone Age and early Christian period. From Glenarm it's time to travel to Belfast. Unless you approach Belfast from the sea you cannot help but come upon the city suddenly because of its fine setting: a 'Hibernian Rio' as one writer has called it. A village in the 17th century, this robust northern metropolis now has a population of nearly half a million people. The world's largest dry dock is here and the shipyard's giant cranes tower over the port. More than 30 years of conflict to become one of the safest and friendliest cities in Europe. Take one of the cities famed Black Cab Tours and let your experienced, impartial and friendly driver acquaint you with the history & culture of Belfast. Tours include The Titanic and Cathedral Quarter and other areas of the city including visiting some of the famous murals that represent both sides of the political divide.
Continue your sightseeing of Belfast today taking in visits to those major attractions that you did not have the time for the previous day including the Titanic Quarter where you can take one of the excellent local tours or the Black cab Tours. Other major areas of interest in Belfast include St Anne's Cathedral, City Hall, and The Belfast Wheel. Of course in the evening, pay a visit to the Crowne Liquor Saloon. It's amazing how many visitors from abroad don't realise that the Titanic was actually built in Belfast! Because she bore the name of the port of Liverpool on her stern people assume that this was where she was built. In fact Liverpool was simply the home port of the White Star Line fleet of which Titanic was the ultimate flagship. Titanic was conceived, designed, built and launched in Belfast and... as the locals fondly say "She was alright when she left here!!!" Another option as a day trip from Belfast is to follow the trail of the Game of Thrones filming locations that have taken place across Northern Ireland. It promises not to disappoint.
Time to travel south to Dublin. However, if you wish to prolong the return to big city life, a slight detour by way of Ireland's most visited attraction, the megalithic tombs in Newgrange. One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt. Also in this historic county of Meath, you will find the seat of the ancient kings of Ireland at the Hill of Tara as well as the splendid Trim Castle, just north of Dublin. The quandary that you will be faced with when you reach Dublin is, not what you should see but that you should leave out. Knee-deep in history and with its own unique sense of humour and wit, Dublin is an invigorating city. Take the opportunity to visit some of Ireland’s most history laden locations, including Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, The National History Museum and not forgetting The Guinness Brewery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral & why not finish up the day in Dublin’s Temple Bar section and enjoy the wonderful pubs and music it is famous for. If you are interested in sports, you can take a museum tour of Croke Park – Ireland’s National Stadium for Gaelic Football and Hurling or Aviva Stadium home to soccer or rugby. This is a selection of attractions in Dublin. View your detailed travel itinerary for a full list of Dublin amenities.
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. There is also the opportunity to experience an evening’s entertainment at any one of a number of excellent traditional Irish shows. 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.
The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. The largest island is Inishmore the middle and second-largest is I...
Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and it is the largest urban area in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster, always warm to tourists.
Bunratty Castle is now a very popular tourist attraction. The interior has been furnished by Lord Gort with tapestries & artifacts from various eras in the history
The Burren is a unique karst-landscape region in northwest County Clare, in Ireland and one of the largest Karst landscapes in Europe.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a rope suspension bridge near Ballintoy Co.Antrim Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island.
Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin is the elder of the city's two mediæval cathedrals, the other being St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is officially claimed as the seat of both the Ch...
The Cliffs of Moher boast one of Ireland's most spectacular views On a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as are the valleys and hills of Connemara.
The Conor Pass is the highest mountain pass in Ireland. It is situated on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, on the road that crosses the peninsula between Dingle Town and the...
There are so many things to see, to do, to explore, to experience on the Dingle Peninsula . . . from almost 2,000 archaeological sites, to more walking than you could fit into a ...
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||$1,281||$1,607||$2,224||$1,666|
|April & October||$1,297||$1,737||$2,384||$1,776|
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