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The counties of Cork, Kerry & Clare lay claim to some of the most varied and spectacular scenery in the country.
The south western coastline, sculpted by the ice-age and influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, is steeped in ancient history and folklore. This rugged, mountainous terrain, dotted with crystal clear lakes and traversed by meandering rivers, is the perfect destination for a truly memorable vacation. With its rocky and moonlike landscape, County Clare, the Burren region and the spectacular Cliffs of Moher present an interesting contrast to the Cork/Kerry region. You will truly enjoy the end of your tour in Counties Clare & Galway, the home to so much of our traditional music and dance.
However there is more to the South West region than just stunning scenery; it is the people that really make a lasting impression. Warm and friendly, always willing to help a visitor with directions and a smile, you will feel very welcome. In the evenings you can enjoy the ‘craic’ - the Irish for having a good time - in a local village pub, many of which host impromptu traditional music sessions. Ireland’s South West - once visited, never forgotten!
Travel to Kinsale via Limerick City, Blarney and Cork City. Among the most interesting attractions in Limerick are King John’s Castle and The Hunt Museum. From there, the direct route to the small coastal town of Kinsale will allow you to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’ at Blarney Castle and visit the Cobh Heritage centre near Cork. 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 also recounts the story of those Irish who left Ireland during ‘The Famine’. An optional detour includes visits to ‘The Rock of Cashel’ and ‘Cahir Castle’, both in Tipperary and both are amongst Ireland’s premiere historic attractions. Kinsale is a delightful harbour town that has retained its old world charm and has a myriad of old Irish pubs and excellent restaurants as well history laden attractions such as the Desmond Castle Museum and the star shaped ‘Charles Fort’ from the 17th century.
Kinsale prides itself to be the gourmet capital of Ireland, boasting abundant superb restaurants and atmospheric traditional pubs. A great deal of your vacation time could indeed be spent in Kinsale itself but if you wish to venture out further afield, your Irish Tourism tailor-made itinerary will help you do just that! 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
The Gap of Dunloe is a beautiful glacial valley in the Macgillacuddy Reeks mountain range, which dominate the skyline of Killarney on the Ring of Kerry. Here you can enjoy an ene...
This little town is world-famous due to its exquisite location beside lakes and mountains.Take a horse-drawn jaunting car ride through the grounds of the Killarney National Park ...
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||$749||$873||$1,093||$872|
|April & October||$749||$950||$1,237||$977|
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