Welcome to Ireland’s capital city, Dublin or in Gaelic, Dubhlinn referring to the black pool that lies beneath the grounds of Dublin Castle.
The original castle was built during the Medieval period, which forms a significant part of the city’s chequered history from its establishment by the Vikings at the end of the 9th century, through the splendor of the Georgian period and on to the conflicts of the War of Independence and the Civil War.
Dublin today is a welcoming intimate city that blends its modern outlook with its colourful past. Overnight: Dublin (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Depart for the West of Ireland from where you will join the Wild Atlantic Way route in the North West region. Travel to Sligo also known as Yeats Country as the scenery inspired many of the great works of W.B. Yeats, the Nobel Prize winning Irish writer.
At Parkes Castle you can depart for a cruise on Lough Gill (an inspiration for some of Yeat’s poetry) on the Rose of Innisfree tourboat where the captain will regale you with some of Yeats poems.
Sligo is also famed for its beaches and Surfing at places such as Strandhill and Mullaghmore or you could always indulge yourself by taking a rejuvenating traditional seaweed bath. These therapeutic baths are available at award-winning Voya Seaweed Baths at Strandhill, and the Edwardian Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths at Enniscrone. Overnight: Sligo/Donegal (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Today discover the magnificent Cliffs at Slieve League (in Gaelic: Sliabh Liag) that are amongst the highest sea cliffs in Europe and the huge panoramas presented to you from these cliffs can look different in every segment.
Travelling from Sligo via Donegal town and Killybegs, the home of Ireland’s largest fishing fleet, continue to the village of Carrick. From the nearby Slieve League visitor centre you can walk to the Cliffs face or take the shuttle bus.
Or if you want to get closer still, why not take a cruise in the small open Nuala Star boat from Teelin Harbour.
Near Sligo town on the road to Donegal is Drumcliffe Churchyard where W.B. Yeats is buried as requested “under bare Benbulben’s head”. Make the easy climb to the top of Knocknarea mountain to view Queen Maebh’s Cairn.
She was the legendary chieftan Queen of Connemara and from the mountain top enjoy the vista over Sligo Bay and the mountains and lakes of this beautiful county. Overnight: Sligo/Donegal (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Journey further west towards and stop off to explore the Céide Fields at Ballycastle. This is the largest Stone Age monument and the oldest known field systems in the world, set in a vast prehistoric landscape of bog, dramatic cliffs and coastline.
Displays, walking tours and AV shows tell the story of the everyday lives of a farming people, their organized society, their highly developed spiritual beliefs. Continue via picturesque Newport town famous for both its fresh water fishing and Sea angling.
The town is now situated in the heart of the 42km Great Western Greenway (opened in 2011), the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland. Overnight: Mayo/Connemara (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Today take time out to explore the island of Achill, cross the road bridge to experience many outdoor activities from hillwalking to fishing and angling, from golf, painting or horse-riding to surfing, windsurfing or scuba diving.
Why not tour the island to absorb the magnificent scenery on the island’s Atlantic drive that provides a spectacular journey with breathtaking views and see the Deserted Village abandoned in the early 20th century for an unknown reason.
Achill also offers the opportunity to cycle the spectacular Greenway route that stretches from Achill Island to Westport town.
Discover the small charming Heritage town of Westport that is much loved by the Irish and tourists alike. It has delightful Georgian streetscapes and stone bridges over the Carrowbeg River and is home to Matt Molloy's pub famed for its music and owned by the flute player from the world famous Chieftains trad Irish band.
On the edge of the town you can visit Westport House and Country Park where there are activities for all the family. The impressive stately home itself was originally built by Richard Cassels, the German architect, in the 1730s, on the site of the original Ó’Máille Castle, home of the pirate queen Grace O ’Malley. Overnight: Mayo/Connemara (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Travel South via Leenane to see the Unspoilt beauty of Connemara, a place of contrasts, colours, and wilderness that stretches from the bogs and lakes of the Gaelic speaking South Connemara, to the mountain vistas of the Twelve Bens in North and West Connemara.
Stop off just outside Leenane and take a spectacular cruise along Ireland’s only fjord aboard Killary Cruises’ “The Connemara Lady “, travelling along the 16 km long inlet with a depth of up to 45m.
Continue to Clifden, the largest town in Connemara and stop off at Kylemore Abbey, set in a dramatic landscape.
Originally built as a private home in 1868, it became home to the Irish order of Benedictine nuns who still live there today. Explore the visitor centre, part of the house and the beautifully restored Victorian walled garden.
Nearby Creggan Village you could enjoy a walk on the unique tidal island of Omey which is accessible on foot or even by car two hours before low water & high water (check tides beforehand on sailing.ie). South of Clifden in Ballyconneely the spectacular Connemara Championship Golf Club will test the ardent golfer on its links course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Drop into the nearby family run Connemara Smokehouse where you can find a range of award winning wild, organic, and farmed, smoked salmon & seafood. You could continue to the fishing village of Roundstone to sample some locally caught Lobster or crab.
While there check out Ireland’s foremost Bodhran maker, Malachy Kearns, at Roundstones Musical instruments and learn about the art of creating this unique traditional Irish instrument.
If you are looking for entertainment near Galway City, Trad on the Prom show runs three times weekly during the summer months, one of Ireland's best known music, song and dance experiences celebrating the passion of Ireland's past with a contemporary production. Overnight: Galway (Bed & Full Breakfast)
This morning take to the streets of the City of the Tribes, Galway, one of the most popular and lively cities in Ireland. From the centuries old Claddagh area to the pedestrianized streets of pubs and restaurants and the seafront Promenade of Salthill, Galway has so much to offer the visitor.
It hosts a myriad of festivals and events every summer such as the Galway Arts festival and the famous Galway Races. Then travel to County Clare and along the Black Head coastal route and discover the unique lunar-like landscape of the Burren.
The Burren, is a Karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq. km, that consists of imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. On route why not stop at the Cafe Linnalla where they serve fresh handmade Ice Cream with milk and cream from their shorthorn cows on their family farm. Continue to the world famous Cliffs of Moher.
Then journey off the beaten track along Loop Head Drive on Loop Head peninsula to see the views from the Loop Head lighthouse where nearby the 19th Century light keepers house now offers modern accommodation.
If you like Dolphins then don’t miss the opportunity to take a boat trip with Dolphin Discovery Kilrush who have a 98% success rate on locating dolphins on their trips.Overnight: Clare (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Take the 20 minute Shannon Car ferry ride from Killimer to Tarbert and cross one of Europe’s longest and deepest estuaries.Twenty kilometres east of Tarbert along the Shannon estuary is the unique visitor attraction, Foynes Flying Boat Museum.
From 1939 to 1945 Foynes was the centre of the aviation world for air traffic between the United States and Europe and the museum recalls this era with a comprehensive range of exhibits and graphic illustrations.
The museum features the original Terminal Building including the authentic 1940's cinema; the Radio and Weather Rooms, complete with transmitters, receivers and Morse code equipment.
Irish Coffee was invented in Foynes. Chef Joe Sheridan made the first one in 1942 to warm up some damp and miserable passengers. Since then Irish Coffee has become one the most popular welcoming drinks in the world.
Continue to Tralee and check out the new Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre which is an activity and nature based visitor experience beside the Tralee Bay Nature Reserve.
Visitors are introduced to the fresh and saltwater habitats through AV shows and interactive displays. Guided nature boat tours are available through the wetland reed and willow canals spotting wildfoul, wildlife and wetland habitat while the 20 m high viewing tower provides a panoramic view of the bay.
Head west to the Stunningly beautiful Dingle Peninsula, a Gaelic speaking area and where you will find some of the finest coastal scenery in Ireland and is also famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish.
At Inch beach, take a stroll along the strand bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s daughter”. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savouring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful charming pubs, narrow streets and busy harbour.
From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953.The Blasket Centre celebrates the story of the Blasket Islanders, the unique literary achievements of the island writers and their native language, culture and tradition.
Near Ballyferriter on Slea Head, why not try your hand at throwing pottery at the workshop of the Famous pottery maker Louis Mulcahy. Visitors can throw a bowl and learn the basics of pottery making and ceramic techniques. Tours of the factory are also available, next to retail centre. Overnight: Kerry (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Travelling along the Ring of Kerry stop off at Valentia Island where you can visit the Skellig Experience, a heritage centre dedicated to life on the Skellig islands. The Skellig Islands are found 12km off the coast of Kerry.
The larger Island, Skellig Michael, an UNESCO World Heritage site, was a monastic site occupied from the 6th until the 12th century. Boat trips to see Skellig Michael depart from the nearby harbour. For a unique chocolate experience stop off at Balinskelligs to visit the family run Skelligs Chocolate factory on the edge of the Atlantic.
Continue to Waterville, home to superb golf courses and excellent sea trout and salmon angling. Further on the Ring of Kerry route, you will find Derrynane House, which was the home of Catholic emancipator Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847).
An impressive speaker, he was Ireland's first Catholic MP. O'Connell was born into a very old, wealthy Irish family who had made their fortune through smuggling and trading. Ironically, these illegal gains enabled Daniel O'Connell to pursue a career in law and politics.
The charming house has been carefully restored and includes many unique pieces of furniture, silverware and possessions. The 120 hectares of parkland around the house form part of the Derrynane National Park and are worth a visit. Kenmare is the next stop, an attractive town associated with the Lace industry in the 19th and 20th centuries. Overnight: Kerry (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Depart for Cork and travel along the scenic tunnels route to Glengarriff where the road leads you through a number of rock tunnels as you travel by the Caha mountains on the Beara peninsula. You will encounter stunning views of Bantry Bay before arriving in Glengarriff.
The Gardens of Ilnacullin (Garinish Island) are well worth a visit. It is a unique Island that plays host to a multitude of plant variations, and the blanket of Summer colouring which covers the Island and creates a rainbow of colour.
The Island has a wonderful history and its unusual micro climate allows a range of exotic subtropical plant species to flourish. There are a number of walks and interesting buildings on the Island. On route to the Island you will enjoy the magnificent views of the bay and also pass Seal Island with its colony of harbour seals.
The Harbour Queen Ferries provides a regular service from Glengarriff Pier to the Gardens of Ilnacullin on Garinish Island. Continue to Cork via Clonakilty and Skibbereen. Overnight: Cork (Bed & Full Breakfast)
This morning visit the famous Victorian English market in Cork City centre which is a covered market for fish, fruit & veg, breads and cheese and much more.
The origins of the market can be traced back to James 1st in 1610, but the present building dates from 1786. Before departing Cork why not Ring the world famous Shandon Bells in the tower of St Anne's Church.
Depart for Dublin. Continue via Ireland’s Golden Vale region in Cork and Tipperary where much of the country’s cattle heard is reared on the fertile land to produce Ireland’s high quality Beef and Dairy products.
Stop in Cashel town to visit the famous Rock of Cashel. One of the most photographed sites in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel towers over the town from its perch on a 200-foot high outcrop of limestone. Once the seat of the Kings of Munster. St. Patrick visited the rock in 450, while Brian Boru was crowned the first high King of Ireland here in the tenth century.
Continue to Dublin for the last evening of your tour. Option Irish House Party or Merry Ploughboys. Overnight: Dublin (Bed & Full Breakfast)
Slán Abhaile. Transfer to Dublin Airport for your flight.
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I've lived most of my life on the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. My Itineraries demonstrate my knowledge of Ireland. which is why you will be in the best hands.You will be assured that your vacation will be most memorable. Benny's Ireland Vacations is proudly partnered with the most able, reliable & experienced ground handlers in the business in Ireland, The Abbey Group.
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