Arrive at Dublin airport and meet your driver and transfer to Dublin City Centre. In Dublin City meet your step on local guide for your day of sightseeing. On arrival enjoy a panoramic tour of Dublin City. Here you will discover the north side of the River Liffey.
This area offers great striking monuments such as the GPO (General Post Office) on the city main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, or the Custom House along the quays, as well as the Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe.
The south side appears more sophisticated with its vast Georgian squares, such as Merrion Square, where Oscar Wilde’s House can still be found (today owned by an American College), its colourful doors, along with Grafton Street and its quality shops. Not so far from St. Stephen’s Green, in Kildare St., you will see the house of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
This part of the city is also dominated by the students of Trinity College, where the famous Book of Kells is permanently exhibited in its library. The university is facing the medieval district where Dublin Castle and the two Anglican Cathedrals can be found.
Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st on grounds confiscated from an Augustinian priory and is the oldest University in Ireland. The Campanile, erected in 1852, was built on what is believed to be the centre of the monastery.
Built to further the education of the ruling Anglo-Irish families, restrictions were imposed to prevent Catholic from attending courses. These restrictions were not fully lifted until the 1970’s. Trinity, however admitted women in 1902, earlier than most British universities.
Most of the main buildings off the main square were built during the Georgian period, some of which replaced older buildings. Within its walls, you will be able to admire Parliament Square and its 18th Century edifices.
Trinity College has had many famous students such as Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett who later became a lecturer in French at the university. The Inter-denominational Church is very much worth a visit, should it be open during your visit.
The Guinness Brewery in Dublin is Europe's largest stout producing brewery and home to the Guinness Storehouse. Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness. Today it houses a very fine exhibition dedicated to the Guinness story.
Visitors will discover what goes into the making a pint of Guinness - the ingredients, the brewing process, the time, the craft and the passion. The exhibition shows how the brew has been marketed and how it is today sold in over 150 countries.
Once the tour has finished your group is invited to the Gravity Bar to enjoy their pint of Guinness. Regular demonstrations on the art of pulling a pint of Guinness also take place in the Storehouse.
Continue to your hotel for check in. Please note check in may not be possible until 15h00. Tonight enjoy a Welcome Dinner at your hotel. Overnight, dinner, bed and breakfast at your Dublin hotel or area.
After breakfast depart for Dublin for Derry in the North of Ireland Passing through Omagh, visit the Ulster American Folk Park. Located on the outskirts of Omagh town.
The Folk Park grew up around the restored boyhood home of Judge Thomas Mellon (founder of the Pittsburgh banking dynasty). It has a permanent exhibition, called "Emigrants", which explains why two million people left Ulster for America during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Ship and Dockside Gallery features a full-size reconstruction of an early 19th century sailing ship. The park has more than 30 historic buildings ~ some of which are original, some are replicas.
Costumed guides and craftspeople are on hand to chat and explain the art of spinning, weaving, and candle making. meeting with the craftspeople, observing their craftsmanship working on the different handmade pieces. *Please note this visit is not open to the public on Monday’s
Continue to Derry and enjoy a Walking tour of Derry City Walls Founded in the 6th century by St Columba, Derry is the second largest city and port of Northern Ireland. Columba named it “Doire” or “Oak grove” which was later anglicised as Derry.
In 1613 the city was selected as a major plantation project, organised by the London livery companies, and as a result it acquired the prefix London. In the same year the walls of Derry were built to protect the town from the Gaelic chieftains in Donegal.
A walk on the walls is a must on any visit to Derry as they are among the best-preserved fortifications in Europe. Rising to a height of 8m they are 9m wide in some areas.
Today these walls separate two communities, the Bogside ~ a Catholic ghetto with its famous murals and the Waterside ~ a Protestant enclave. Overnight, bed and breakfast at your Derry hotel.
The Inishowen Peninsula named after Eoghan son of Niall, High King of Ireland offers the visitor stunning natural surroundings and a superb coastline. Malin head at its tip is the most northerly point of Ireland’s mainland. The peninsula’s northern shore is on the restless Atlantic Ocean with Lough Swilly forming its western boundary and Lough Foyle to the east.
Monuments of an earlier age grow from the landscape as castles, towers and ancient churches. The Inishowen Peninsula possesses such a range of sights and attractions that is often referred to as 'Ireland in Miniature'.
Visit Doagh Famine Village. The Famine Village tells the story of a family and community living on the edge and surviving, from the Famine of the 1840s to the present time. Remoteness, isolation and reliance on small plots of land made this a harsh place to live.
This outdoor museum tells the story of life in the area from the Famine back in the 1840s, through the 1900s to the present day. The Famine Village depicts life in Ireland as it was, uncommercialised, interdenominational interspersed with humorous anecdotes of Irish life.
Visit Grianan an Aileach Situated near Burt in Donegal, Grianan of Aileach is a magnificent stone ring fort mapped by Ptolomey in his second century AD map of the world.
The fort built on an ancient site that is said to date back 4000 years, was the base for northern Irish chieftans.
Standing 245 metres (800 feet) above sea level, it offers the visitor superb views of the Inishowen peninsula, the Foyle, Lough Swilly and the surrounding countryside. Overnight, bed and breakfast at your Derry hotel.
Today discover the magnificent cliffs at Slieve League (in Gaelic: Sliabh Liag), they are amongst the highest sea cliffs in Europe and the huge panoramas presented to you from these cliffs can look different in every segment.
Travel via the villages of Carrick and then Teelin to the Slieve League visitor centre where you can walk to the Cliffs face or take the shuttle bus.
Or for small groups if you want to get closer still, why not take a cruise in the small open “Nuala Star” boat from Teelin Harbour. Supplements will apply for this.
Continue along the Atlantic Coast to Sligo via Killybegs, which is a port town with Ireland’s largest fishing fleet and visitors can experience the history of the town’s traditions at the Killybegs International Carpet Making & Fishing Centre.
Continue your journey to Donegal town, which is a coastal town that is home to the 15th century, O Donnell clan’s Donegal Castle. Further south the seaside town of Bundoran has become one of Ireland’s best known surfing destinations and was host to the European surfing championships a number of times. Continue to Sligo and check into your hotel. Overnight, bed and breakfast at your Sligo hotel or area.
Today journey further west towards Achill Island, Ireland’s largest island. Cross the road bridge to experience the wild and savage beauty of Achill Island with its tall seacliffs, bare mountains and sweeping sandy beaches.The island offers many outdoor activities from hillwalking to fishing and angling, from golf, painting or horse-riding to surfing, windsurfing or scuba diving.
Absorb the magnificent scenery on the island’s Atlantic drive that provides a spectacular journey with breath-taking views all the way to the Signature Discovery point of Keem Strand. Take time out to see the Deserted village abandoned in the early 20th century for an unknown reason.
Return to the mainland and discover the 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 Molloys pub famed for its music and owned by the flute player from the world famous Chieftains traditional Irish band.
On the edge of the town visit Westport House. 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. A guided tour of the house features 30 rooms with original architecture, artwork and antiques.
Overnight bed and full Irish breakfast at your hotel Westport
Travelling south via Leenane to see the unspoilt beauty of Connemara. It is 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.
Enjoy a cruise along Killarey Harbour. Just outside Leenane, you will see Killary Harbour,. Killary is Ireland’s only fjord and is sheltered by mountains north and south.
The 16km (10 mile) stretch of breath-taking beauty also hosts mussel and salmon farms. Stop off just outside Leenane and take a spectacular cruise along Ireland’s only fjord aboard Killary Cruises’ “The Connemara Lady “.
The catamaran cruise boat travels along the 16 km (10 mile) long inlet with a depth of up to 45m (150ft). An English language guided commentary gives the history of the region and informs the visitor about the marine life activity in the area where mussel and salmon farms exist.
Continue along Killary harbour, to visit Kylemore Abbey which is 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. Visitors can explore the visitor centre, part of the house and the beautifully restored Victorian walled garden.
Continuing to Clifden and heading south to Ballyconneely you will pass near Derrigimalagh bog (a Signature discovery point) where Alcock and Brown crash landed after the first non stop transatlantic flight. It was also the location for Marconi’s first permanent trans-Atlantic radio Station.
Continue to the charming fishing village of Round Stone famous for its lobster and crab fishing. Passing through Maam Cross and Screeb to Galway bay from where on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands where ancient traditions are still carried on by the inhabitants.
Continue to Galway by the village of Spiddal well known for its local crafts and its Gaelic language school that welcomes students from all over Ireland and the world to learn the Irish language, culture and traditions. Overnight bed and full Irish breakfast at your hotel in the Galway region
It hosts a myriad of festivals and events every summer such as the Galway Arts Festival and the famous Galway Race Week (Horse racing)
Travel via the midlands region famous for its unique bogland, part of which has been preserved as a national reserve for its unique flora and fauna. Continue via Athlone and Kilbeggan to Dublin.
Visit Kilbeggan Distillery. Kilbeggan Distillery established in 1757, is believed to be the oldest licensed pot still whiskey distillery in the world. For almost 200 years, until it closed in 1954, the distillery produced a traditional pot stilled Irish malt whiskey.
Today the distillery hosts a museum and since 2007 when distillation commenced again in Kilbeggan, visitors can experience a real working distillery.
The guided tour follows the process of making triple distilled Irish whiskey, from the grinding of the grain to the casking of the final product. At the end of the tour you will receive a complimentary sample of Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey.(Supplement per person).
Spend the balance of your day at leisure in Dublin City for personal shopping or further exploration.Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with entertainment at Merry Ploughboy’s Pub Overnight bed and full Irish breakfast at your hotel in the Dublin region
After a final breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Dublin airport for your return flight home.
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