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Irish pubs are known throughout the world for the friendliness and warmth of their hospitality and also for being the meeting place for like minded souls who find themselves in search of quality conversation, humour, music and food. Of course, let’s not forget that your typical Irish publican has also been known to occasionally provide the odd drink or two.
While the Irish pub is indeed a focal point for so much of the Irish social scene, there are a number of locations that simply seem to have more than their fair share of excellent watering holes. To this end, the Irish Pub & Folk Tour takes you to towns that offer numerous great pubs renowned for their atmosphere, food and superb traditional music.
As you travel between these towns in the east, south and west of Ireland, you will also have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful & picturesque landscapes that Ireland has to offer. Combine that with the history of the regions that you are passing through and you have the makings of an unforgettable vacation.
This tour will provide you with a real insight into both the country of Ireland and its people and their way of life.
After collecting your rental car, your Irish Tourism itinerary will direct you as far as Kilkenny where your vacation begins. Often referred to as ‘Ireland’s Medieval Capital’ Kilkenny has a varied collection of pubs for you to enjoy, some are tranquil sanctuaries to engage in pleasant conversations and others are contemporary hot-spots well known for late night sessions. On route to Kilkenny from Dublin there are a number of places that you might wish to stop. The National Stud & Japanese Gardens for example has been a stop for many the horse enthusiast since the early 1900’s. Here you will find a museum detailing the history of the horse in Ireland, the stud farm itself where race horses are conceived, born and raised and the magnificent Japanese Gardens, regarded by many the seasoned traveller as the finest of their kind in Europe. Characterised by superbly renovated old buildings, Kilkenny City is small and compact enough to explore on foot, yet full of interesting sites to see. You might visit Kilkenny Castle, a 12th century castle renovated in Victorian times or Saint Canice's Cathedral with its neighbouring round tower which is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny. The round tower may be climbed by visitors who wish to gaze over Kilkenny’s interesting and varied scenery from above.
There are a number of exceptional day trips to be experienced from Kilkenny and all within easy reach. These include a trip to The Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle in the neighbouring County of Tipperary. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. The Rock of Cashel, which rears above the plain, dominated the land routes southwards. Kings of Ireland as well as Munster came to the Rock of Cashel and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock. Cahir Castle, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure and is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. You can then travel on to Waterford where you will see the Waterford Crystal factory. An alternate route would be to visit the county of Wexford to the south east. This would allow visits to 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.
On your tour route you will have the opportunity to see the magnificent Rock of Cashel or Cahir Castle, one of Ireland’s best preserved castles if not seen the previous day. Your first stop today could be the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. The Rock, which rears above the plain, dominated the land routes southwards. Just 10 miles further on stop is Cahir Castle in the heart of the heritage town of Cahir. Just east of Cork City is the harbour town 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 – known as the Queenstown Story, a time when Ireland’s population fell from over 8 million to just over 4 million. From Cobh to Kinsale. As well as being a charming coastal fishing harbour, Kinsale's International Museum of Wine tells the romantic story of the Irish emigrants who colonised the wine trade throughout the world after being forced to leave their own shores. Also in Kinsale is the 17th century Desmond Castle was turned into a prison. The Charles Fort is also close by.
If you did not have a chance to visit the following of Kinsale's major attractions, make sure to include them today. Desmond Castle and the International Museum of Wine, which was built in about 1500, had many uses. In 1600 and 1601 it was used as an arsenal by Don Juan Aguilla during the Spanish occupation of the town which lasted for 100 days prior to the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. In the 17th century the castle became popularly known as the "French prison" and was used for prisoners of war, most of whom were captured at sea. During the American war of Independence, the crews of many American vessels were held prisoner in Kinsale in poor conditions. Other notable attractions include Charles Fort, the 17th Century star-shaped fort. St. Multose Church is well worth a visit and was built in 1190. The Courthouse and Regional Museum in was used for ceremonial occasions in the 18th century. In 1915, the Courthouse was used for the inquest into the sinking of the Lusitania. The Regional Museum is now housed in the Courthouse. If you did not manage to visit Cobh or Blarney the previous day, then you will have the option of doing so today.
Today you have the option of the scenic but longer coastal route or the shorter route via Blarney Castle. The longer route includes visits to Mizen Head, the southernmost point in Ireland, as well as Bantry House and Gardens and the French Armada Centre, also in Bantry. From Bantry, you will be heading north to Killarney via the Healy Pass. Have your cameras at the ready for some breathtaking scenery across the Caha Mountains that divide Cork from Kerry. After the mountain pass, you come to the town of Kenmare. The town was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty and has a history of lace making, demonstrations of which can be seen at the town’s Heritage Centre. The alternative route for today’s journey is a shorter one. First stop is the famed Blarney Castle where a climb to the ramparts to kiss the Blarney Stone is said to bestowe the gift of eloquence, otherwise known as ‘the Gift of the Gab’. From there it is straight 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. There are many walks and trails around Killarney including a 2-hour tourist trail around the town itself. 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.
The Ring of Kerry is a stunning journey through mountain and coastal scenery combined with the colourful towns and villages that are dotted around the Iveragh peninsula. Some popular stops include Kenmare which is famed for its many traditional pubs and restaurants, Waterville which is impressively positioned between the rough Atlantic Ocean and the fresh water lake of Lough Currane, the traditional market town of Cahersiveen with its traditional shop fronts and Valentia Island where a walk to the top of Geokaun Mountain will offer you unforgettable views. This driving tour will take you approximately three hours and for those that need a rest from driving we can arrange a bus tour through this route. As a substitute to the Ring of Kerry tour you may favour a wonderful tour by pony and trap that takes you through the Black Valley in the Gap of Dunloe. After an optional bite to eat at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you will return to Killarney by boat on the beautiful Lakes of Killarney.
The Dingle Peninsula has more interesting antiquities, historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of 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. Alternative routes include day trips to Blarney Castle and the Titanic Train in Cork or the northern route to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren region of County Clare including Bunratty Castle. If you wish to stay closer to Killarney, take a wonderful tour of Muckross House and Gardens.
One of the longest but 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 as Ireland’s prettiest village with its charming thatched cottages, pretty Public Park and ancient churches. Shortly after this, you arrive at Bunratty Castle. Built in 1425, this grand castle was restored in 1954 to its former medieval glory. Within the grounds of the Castle, 19th century Irish life is accurately recreated through the reconstructed traditional Irish buildings in the folk park. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this fascinating place as you stroll from cottage to cottage or around the delightful village complete with post office, school, doctors house, printers, hardware shop, and of course the local pub where you can indulge in a pint of Guinness or an Irish Coffee! A short distance away, the majestic Cliffs of Moher are without doubt one of Ireland’s most spectacular attractions, offering stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean. You then arrive at the village of Doolin which is often referred to as ‘the music capital of Ireland’. With a great many pubs and restaurants to enjoy, over the last number of years Doolin has been attracting considerable crowds to spontaneous music sessions!
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, head back to the Quays area of the city for some of the best traditional entertainment in the country.
Today’s journey to Dublin takes in some of Ireland’s most historical landmarks. First of these is the ancient monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise. Clonmacnoise is an early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon and includes the remnants of eight churches, a cathedral, a number of Christian high crosses, two round towers and a large collection of early Christian grave stones. From here, travel either to Dublin or take a slight detour to the ancient passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth. One of the greatest wonders of the world, Newgrange is older than the Pyramids of Egypt and is the most notable passage-tomb in Europe. The many attractions and museums in Dublin are easily accessible on foot or with the help of the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus service that stops at all of the major attractions including Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, Trinity Castle & the Book of Kells, Kilmainham Gaol, the National Museum of Ireland and The Guinness Storehouse to name just a few. In the evening Dublin City comes alive with its myriad pubs complete with excellent food and traditional & contemporary Irish music and entertainment.
Continue your sightseeing in Dublin today visiting the many historical and modern attractions that this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Other attractions include Saint Patrick’s Cathedral which has a spectacular choir featuring banners and stalls decorated with the insignia of the Knights of St. Patrick, the James Joyce Centre a well restored Georgian town house which contains a museum dedicated to this famous writer & the Dublin Writers Museum which contains exhibits relating to all Irish literature from 300 years ago to the present day. Of course, you may wish to take time out to shop in busy Grafton Street or any one of the quaint streets that the café strewn city centre has to offer. 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...
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.
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 Cobh Heritage Centre provides information on life in Ireland through the 18th and 19th centuries, the mass emigration, the Great Famine, and on how criminals were transported...
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 ...
Doolin is small fishing village on a sandy bay world-famous for its wealth of Irish music & has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals. Overlooked by Doonag...
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||$1,091||$1,365||$1,738||$1,407|
|April & October||$1,091||$1,567||$1,959||$1,522|
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