Best of Ireland
Join us for 11 days exploring the history and culture of Ireland from 1500BC to present day
Enjoy stunning views of Irish coasts, cliffs and stone-walled countrysides
Tap your feet to the Irish music in local pubs while enjoying beer and whiskey throughout the trip
Get lost in the rhythm of the Irish language and culture of the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas of Ireland
See Irish history from the pre-historic hill fort of Dun Aengus to Dublin Castle built in the 13th century and still in use by the Irish government today
Get inspired by the ancient churches of Ireland from the Seven Churches on Inishmore to Medieval Abbeys that dot the countryside to more recent Christ Church and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin
Revel in stone walls dating to 4000BC and deserted villages left behind when residents died or emigrated.
Stay in a 19th century Manor House complete with a bar constructed with salvaged wood of a Spanish Armada Galleon
Jun28-Jul 9, 2020
* Tour dates are the first day in Ireland. If you are traveling from North America, you will need a flight departing one day earlier than the Tour start date.
** Prices are per person double occupancy. A $750 supplement will apply for single occupancy. All accommodations are en-suite and include breakfast. Transportation (air and ground) to our starting hotel in Galway and from our ending hotel in Dublin is not included.
Day 0, Saturday: Depart North America
Overnight: In Transit
Depart from your North American gateway city for an overnight flight to Ireland
Day 1, Sunday: Arrive Ireland (Tour Start Date)
Transfer from Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport to Galway (optional)
Drop your bags at your hotel in the city center and explore Galway (Gaillimh) on your own before a mid-afternoon introductory tour of Medieval Galway, followed by a Welcome pint and a group dinner at a very traditional upscale pub. After dinner, hit the sack early or join your hosts at one of the Traditional Music pubs of Galway.
Day 2, Monday: Galway
Start your day with a morning boat tour of Galway Bay. Immerse yourself in Galway's maritime history including the opportunity to explore a traditional Hooker Sail Boat followed by a harbour tour. Spend the rest of the afternoon on your own exploring Galway's pubs and shops. Dinner is on your own. That evening, we'll gather for an exciting show of Irish music, song and dance.
Day 3, Tuesday: Galway to Doolin
Check out of the hotel and gather in the Lobby to meet our luxury transport for the day. We'll travel south to County Clare and the amazing Burren region. We'll visit a portal tomb dating back to 3600BC and a Medieval stone ringfort with a sheep dog demonstration. Our last stop will be at the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most famous sites. Check into our B&B and explore the village of Doolin. Dinner is on your own.
Day 4, Wednesday: Doolin
Today is a free day for you to explore on your own. There are many options in Doolin -- take a day trip to one of the smaller Aran Islands; take in beautiful views by hiking into the Cliffs of Moher; opt for a cruise to view the Cliffs from sea level; play a round at the Doolin Pitch and Putt; or just hang around town for some shopping or a pint. That evening, travel to a 19th century manor house for a gourmet dinner.
Day 5, Thursday: Doolin to Inishmore
Check out of our B&B and we will taxi over to Doolin pier for the transfer to Inishmore. The ferry will offer stunning views of the Irish scenery as we pass by the two smaller Aran Islands, Inisheer (Inis Oírr) and Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) before arriving on the largest island, Inishmore (Inis Mór). After meeting up with our guide, we'll see the breathtaking views from Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa) and marvel at the ring fort built around 1500BC. Later, imagine yourself as an eighth century pilgrim as we wander through the Seven Churches (Na Seacht dTeampaill). Take a break before dinner or wander the roads and marvel at the pastoral views.
We will meet up for a group dinner at an upscale local pub with live music.
Day 6, Friday: Inishmore to Westport
Rise early and take an invigorating hike to the Black Fort (Dún Dúchathair) before breakfast or do some last minute shopping at the local Aran Sweater Market. We'll take the noon ferry to Rossaveal where our luxury coach will be waiting. We'll travel through the hills and fields of Connemara to the iconic Kylemore Abbey estate. Tour the main house and take a stroll up to the Neo-Gothic Church built by Mitchell Henry in honor of his wife Margaret. Take the shuttle bus up to explore the 6-acre Victorian Walled Garden, half a formal flower garden and half a "kitchen" garden of vegetables, herbs and fruits.
Upon arriving at our hotel, check in, freshen up and then meet for a walking tour of Westport that ends with a pint. Dinner is at an award-winning restaurant featuring local and seasonal ingredients.
Day 7, Saturday: Westport
Westport is a bustling little Georgian town that will provide a lot of options. We will tour the Westport House which traces 300 years of Irish history. The remainder of the day can be spent on your own with a Clew Bay Cruise, hire a bike and ride the Great Western Greenway or just stroll the streets of Westport. Dinner is on your own, but you can join your hosts afterwards for a traditional music session.
Day 8, Sunday: Westport to Ballina
Today we'll head out to explore the Northwest coast of County Mayo. We'll explore the Ceide Fields, a Stone Age field system, the enchanted cliffs of DownPatrick Head and a 15th century Friary. We'll arrive at Belleek Castle with time to explore the grounds and enjoy a pint in the Spanish Armada Bar. Dinner is on your own.
Day 9, Monday: Ballina
The day starts with a formal tour of Belleek Castle including the Medieval Banquet Hall, the Spanish Armada Bar and one of Ireland's finest collections of arms, armour, fossils and antiques.
The rest of the day is on your own to relax at the Castle, catch up on your journal, venture into Belleek Woods or continue to explore Ballina for the day. We will gather together to share a dinner worthy of a Castle.
Day 10, Tuesday: Ballina to Dublin
Leaving the west coast behind, we'll head inland for a tour and tasting at a Distillery on our way to Dublin. After checking into our boutique hotel, take some time to settle in and relax before enjoying dinner on your own. Meet up with the group later for a Literary Pub Crawl to explore historic pubs and hear of the writings of many famous Irish scribes.
Day 11, Wednesday: Dublin
With so many different options in Dublin, your hosts will help you find the right experience for you. Whether it is visiting Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, a Distillery, Guinness Storehouse or completing your last minute shopping, enjoy your last full day in Ireland! We will gather together that evening to share your trip experiences and enjoy a group Farewell Dinner.