12 Day The Emerald Isle
12 Day Small Group Tour from Dublin to Dublin with Back-Roads
From north to south, this is one Irish journey that delves into the Emerald Isle’s fascinating history, rich traditions and cultural heritage like no other. Starting with the legendary Giant’s Causeway, our road will lead us to Ireland’s rugged peninsulas, quaint villages and ancient landmarks – all while drawing on local knowledge to transport you to the heart of this captivating country.
Day 1: Dublin – Belfast
Warm, welcoming and unmistakably charismatic, Dublin is where we’ll meet the group and begin our adventure. But we won’t stick around for long – the fascinating Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre is calling. After a history-filled day (a taste of what’s to come), we’ll move on to Belfast – where we’ll get to know each other a little better over a welcome dinner. Stay: Malone Lodge Hotel (or similar)
Day 2: Belfast – Londonderry
You don’t have to delve deep into Northern Ireland’s past to see its influences on contemporary culture – and this morning’s Black Cab tour of Belfast’s street art and political murals will serve as proof. We’ll make another stop at the Titanic Museum, where we’ll discover the personal stories surrounding the infamous ship’s fateful journey, before continuing to Ballyscullion Park (a private country house) for lunch. Then: we’ll take some time to explore Ireland’s natural geological wonder, the Giant’s Causeway, before arriving at our accommodation in Londonderry. Stay: Beech Hill Country House (or similar)
Day 3: Londonderry – North Irish Coast – Londonderry
After a morning spent strolling along Londonderry’s old city walls, we’ll board the mini-coach and head to the North Irish Coast for the day. At the Isle of Doagh, we’ll visit the Famine Village and Visitor Centre – where we’ll gain an insight into Irish life during the time of the Great Famine.
Day 4: Londonderry – Roscommon
More fascinating history is on the cards today! After breakfast, we’ll kick things off with a visit to the Ulster American Folk Park, where we’ll learn why two million Irish people sailed away to start a life in the New World. This afternoon we’ll visit the Belleek Pottery Centre (the home of Ireland’s oldest working fine china pottery) before moving on to Roscommon, where we’ll regroup for dinner. Stay: Kilronan Castle (or similar)
Day 5: Roscommon – Connemara – Galway
The morning will see us taking a wander around the award-winning Connemara Heritage and History Centre – where we’ll learn a thing or two about the area’s culture and traditions from a local family. After visiting the homestead of Dan O’Hara (he of the famous ballad), we’ll hit the road to the harbour city of Galway for an evening of leisure. Stay: Park House Hotel (or similar)
Day 6: Galway
Today we’ll see the likes of the Spanish Arch, Galway Cathedral and Eyre Square on a walking tour of the city. Then: the afternoon will be yours to spend exploring brightly coloured pubs, tasting local seafood and listening to the ever-present throng of tuneful street performers. Buzzing, bohemian and utterly charismatic, you’re sure to fall for Galway’s many charms!
Day 7: Galway – The Burren – Dingle Peninsula
Out of Galway and onwards to the karst landscapes of the Burren – where the exceptionally well-preserved Caherconnell Stone Fort awaits us. Here, we’ll be fortunate enough to witness the local sheepdog trials in action. Before we reach our accommodation in the Dingle Peninsula, we’ll round off the day with a visit to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Stay: Dingle Benners Hotel (or similar)
Day 8: Dingle Peninsula
Today will begin at one of the Dingle Peninsula’s most famous landmarks: the Gallarus Oratory, a unique stone chapel that resembles an upturned boat. After that, there’s one more stop in store – the fascinating Blasket Centre, which celebrates the history of the beautiful Great Blasket Island – before we return to Dingle for the evening, where we’ll have plenty of free time to explore the quaint fishing port.
Day 9: Dingle Peninsula – Kenmere – Cork
Peaks and lakes are on the menu today! First, we’ll take in the views across the stunning Lakes of Killarney as we travel to pretty Kenmare, the ‘head of the sea’. Then, we have an appointment to keep with a true Irish icon: Blarney Castle. Legend has it that you’ll be blessed with the ‘gift of the gab’ if you kiss the famous Blarney Stone – a block of limestone built into the castle’s battlements. Tonight, we’ll make the most of our new-found eloquence over dinner in Cork. Stay: The Kingsley Hotel (or similar)
Day 10: Cork – Kinsale – Cork
After boarding the mini-coach in Cork, the port and fishing town of Kinsale will be our first stop of the day. Here, we’ll get the lay of the land on a walking tour before turning our attention to Charles Fort, one of Europe’s best-preserved star-shaped forts. We’ll return to Cork this evening – but before that, there will be plenty of time to soak up Kinsale’s laid-back atmosphere in the local pubs and restaurants.
Day 11: Cork – Tipperary – Kilkenny
As we approach the final few chapters of the tour, we’ll find ourselves travelling through rural Tipperary on the way to Kilkenny – Ireland’s ‘most perfect’ medieval city. A walking tour will help us to orient ourselves before we come together for our last hurrah: a delicious farewell dinner. What an adventure it’s been! Stay: Kilkenny River Court Hotel (or similar)
Day 12: Kilkenny – Avoca – Dublin
After breakfast, we’ll have two more stops to make before we say goodbye: the imposing Huntington Castle, where we’ll be treated to a guided tour, and the famous copper mining town of Avoca. After that, we’ll return to cosmopolitan Dublin – where our tour will come to a close. Stay: Kilkenny River Court Hotel (or similar)
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
- Discover Northern Ireland’s history on a Black Cab Tour of Belfast’s street art and political murals
- Set foot on the basalt columns of the legendary Giant’s Causeway
- Discover the moon-like landscape of the Burren
- 11 nights in boutique accommodation
- Premium mini-coach transportation
- Included Meals
17 Meals: 11 Breakfasts, 1 Lunches, 5 Dinners
- Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
- Prices are for land/cruise and internal flights as specified only. Flights not specified are not included.
- Malone Lodge Hotel (or similar)
- Beech Hill Country House (or similar)
- Kilronan Castle (or similar)
- Stay: Park House Hotel (or similar)
- Dingle Benners Hotel (or similar)
- The Kingsley Hotel (or similar)
- Kilkenny River Court Hotel (or similar)