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Photo by Carmelita Watkinson


Saturday, July 8th

Land at Dublin Airport in the early morning. (As flights to Dublin from the U.S. tend to be overnight, you will need to have left the night before.)  Check in to Wynn's Hotel in Dublin and take a nap or spend the day exploring Dublin City. It's all walkable! Choose to visit Trinity College and the Book of Kells Exhibit, the Guinness Storehouse and its rooftop Gravity Bar with the 360° view of the city, St Patrick's and Christchurch Cathedrals, Dublinia: The Viking Experience, EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum, or just enjoy the cobblestone streets and sights of Temple Bar. Grab a bite to eat and a cup of tea or a pint at Davy Byrnes Pub, established in 1798 and a favorite haunt of the Irish author James Joyce, who mentions the public house in his book of short stories, Dubliners, and in his magnum opus, Ulysses. (Or, like the main character in the novel, Leopold Bloom, indulge in a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and a glass of red wine!) Get a good night's sleep at Wynn's Hotel and refuel for a full day tomorrow as we journey northwest of Dublin, through County Meath. 

Sunday, July 9th

After a full complimentary breakfast at the hotel, board a luxury coach for your introduction to Ireland's Ancient East. Learn about Ireland's oldest historic sites in the Boyne River Valley. Enjoy the bucolic view from the seat of Ireland's ancient High Kings at the Hill of Tara, and explore the 12th century Norman stronghold of Trim Castle in County Meath. Tour New Grange, the Neolithic passage tomb dating to 3200 BC, making it older than Britain's Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. Return to Dublin City for a relaxing evening. Sleep at Wynn's Hotel.

Monday, July 10th

After a full complimentary breakfast at the hotel, check out and board the coach for a trip across Ireland's midlands to tour Clonmacnoise Abbey, a medieval monastic site founded in 544 by St. Ciarán, in County Offaly on the River Shannon. Have Lunch in Athlone, the geographic center point of Ireland, and stop in at Sean's Bar, Ireland's oldest pub. Check in to our elegant hotel on Galway Bay. Spend the evening exploring the art and music rich Galway City, designated the European Capital of Culture in 2020. (Admittedly, bad timing...)  Sleep at Galway Bay Hotel.

Tuesday, July 11th

After a full complimentary breakfast at the hotel, we all spend the afternoon meandering around the mountains, lakes, bogs and heath of Connemara on Ireland's western shore. Connemara is a photographer's delight! Enjoy the view of and from Kylemore Abbey, nestled in the mountains of Connemara, and Killary Fjord, Ireland's only fjord straddling the border of counties Galway and Mayo. We return to Galway City for a show of traditional Irish music and dance at "Trad on the Prom" in the Salthill section of Galway, the seaside resort overlooking Galway Bay. 

Wednesday, July 12th

After a full complimentary breakfast, board our coach for a quick trip to the port at Rossaveel to take the ferry to the largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor. On the island, enjoy a guided tour of the island's history and the walk up to Dun Aengus, the Iron-Age fort on the cliffs' edge. Next parish, Boston! Return to our hotel on Galway Bay and take a leisurely stroll on the prom and watch the sun go down on Galway Bay. 

Thursday, July 13th

Check out of our hotel and board the coach for County Clare and the Burren, Ireland's lunar landscape! Stop for photo ops in the village of Kinvara on Galway Bay and at the Poulnabrone Dolmen, the oldest dated megalithic monument in Ireland. Enjoy a sheepdog demonstration at Caherconnell and enjoy a relaxing lunch in their cafe. Cap off a busy afternoon with a wind-swept stroll along the iconic Cliffs of Moher, Ireland's most recognizable landmark. (But do NOT lean over the edge!)  End a full day with a sumptuous and quite filling medieval feast and show at 15th century Bunratty Castle. Sleep at Old Ground Hotel in Ennis, the county seat. 

Friday, July 14th

After a full complimentary breakfast, check out of the hotel and board the coach for the Kingdom of Kerry. Travel through County Limerick with a stop for lunch in the picturesque village of Adare. Weather and time permittting, stop by the beach at Ballybunion and explore the caves. Check in to Ballygarry Hotel in Tralee. Meet local teacher and legend John Stack and the teen musicians and dancers of the Ballydonoghue-Lisselton Comhaltas-Ceoltoiri Eireann. Enjoy an evening of music and dance. Sleep at The Ballygarry.

Saturday, July 15th

After a full complimentary breakfast, board the coach for a day on the Dingle Peninsula with lunch and shopping in Dingle town. Visit the bee hive huts, hold a baby lamb, and take in the breath taking scenery of Slea Head. If you're the brave and cold blooded sort, take a dip in the sea at the magnificent blue flag Inch Beach, with the majestic Slieve Mish Mountains as your backdrop. Return to Ballygarry to enjoy the (warmer!) pool and spa. 

Sunday, July 16th

After a full complimentary breakfast, check out of the hotel. Board the coach to leave Kerry via the Lakes of Killarney for photo ops and Killarney town for lunch and shopping. Cross into County Cork, known as "the rebel county" as its residents have an historical reputation for political recalcitrance. ) Enjoy strolling around the charming town of Cobh (pronounced "Cove") the last port of call for the Titanic, then known as "Queenstown" as Ireland was still under British rule.  Learn about Irish emigration through the centuries, and the fates of the Titanic and the Lusitania in the Cobh Heritage Center. Check in to our hotel in Cobh (pronounced "Cove") or Kinsale (TBD.)

Monday, July 17th

After a complimentary breakfast, check out of the hotel and board the coach for Kilkenny via County Tipperary (it's not really a long way to Tipperary!) for a guided tour of the seat of the High Kings of Munster and medieval ecclesiastical site: the Rock of Cashel. Check in to Lyrath Estate Hotel, a 17th century manor house with 170 acres of countryside, lakes, gardens, woodland, and an indoor pool. Bonus point: two friendly golden retrievers in residence, Reilly and Rudy!  Putter around Kilkenny for a last shopping spree. Enjoy our sumptuous farewell dinner at Lyrath and spend the evening strolling the grounds or enjoying a drink on the veranda.

Tuesday, July 18th

After a full complimentary breakfast, check out of the hotel for a beautiful drive through the Wicklow Mountains to the early medieval monastic site of Glendalough, "the valley of two lakes", founded in the 6th century by St Kevin. After the guided tour, walk down to the lake and enjoy a tranquil moment one of our favorite spots on the planet!  Last stop Powerscourt House and Gardens for a relaxing lunch and stroll through the 47 acre garden, voted 3rd best garden in the WORLD, and browse the many specialty shops full of beautiful hand crafted wares! Board the coach for our journey back to Dublin Airport and our last night together, at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Plan your next trip to Ireland - as Ireland ALWAYS beckons! 

Wednesday, July 19th

Fly home. Plan your next visit to The Emerald Isle, because... Ireland Always Beckons!

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