8 Day Irish Elegance – Insight Vacations
Insight Vacations Country Roads Tour starting in Dublin and finishing in Dublin
Showcasing the very best sights and scenery of Ireland including the Wild Atlantic Way and a magnificent night at the stylish, distinguished and luxurious Ashford Castle.
Day By Day
Day 1 In Dublin’s Fair City
Welcome to Dublin! On arrival at Dublin Airport, your airport shuttle service leaves for your hotel at 07:00, 09:30 & 12:00. Later, join your Tour Director for a city tour that brings to life Dublin’s architectural treasures and history stretching back more than 1,000 years. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1190, tour Dublin’s beautiful Georgian squares, walk the cobbled courtyards of Trinity College to its famed library and see the 9th century Book of Kells. Upstairs, in the magnificent barrel-vaulted Long Room, 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books are housed in a procession of oak bookcases. Back at your hotel, join your Tour Director for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception, with drinks and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine. (WR/D) Stay: Trinity City Hotel, Dublin
Day 2 Travel To Cashel And Blarney, Heading For Killarney
Depart Dublin, and pass the famous Curragh Racecourse and green meadows where many of the finest Irish racehorses are bred. Driving south, stop to visit the spectacular Rock of Cashel, crowned with medieval buildings, dominating the flat countryside for miles around. Continue to Blarney Castle where you can climb to the ramparts and kiss the magical stone to ensure a lifetime of eloquence. Head to Cork for a visit to the bustling English Market. Meet a local market stallholder who introduces you to a taste of delicious farmhouse cheese. Afterwards, head to Killarney. If you fancy a ‘pint of porter’, this town on the lakes is famous for its lively pubs, so why not join in the ‘craic’ tonight. (BB/D) Stay: Killarney Plaza
Day 3 Ring Of Kerry Experience
In the morning, travel the road that winds around the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula, better known as the Ring of Kerry. It is undoubtedly one of the most magical places in all of Ireland. Here, mountains, valleys, lakes and sea blend into a landscape that is often breathtaking beyond words. Stopping at Torc Waterfall for photos, there is a chance to join a hike with a local along the lake shore and past the farmlands of the Muckross Estate, admiring the spectacular scenery. Walk by West Meadow Bay and visit Muckross Abbey. (While there are no mountains to climb, walkers should be fit, have good walking shoes or boots, sunscreen and rain gear.) For those who do not want to join the hike, the motorcoach will return you to Killarney, where the balance of the day is free. (FB) Stay: Killarney Plaza
Day 4 Drive To The Cliffs Of Moher And Rathbaun Farm, Then On To Galway
This morning, cross the Shannon Estuary by ferry and enter County Clare. Stop at the Exhibition Centre and enjoy a walk along the Cliffs of Moher, rising approximately 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic waves. Then travel north across the Burren, a suddenly stark and barren landscape. Drop in for afternoon tea at Rathbaun Farm and meet a Galway farming family as they carry out their everyday chores. Watch as the farmer shears a sheep and manoeuvres his flock with the help of his dog. Next, on to tour Galway, ‘City of the Tribes,” including lovely Galway Cathedral. Tonight, your hotel is spectacularly set on the shores of Galway Bay. (BB/D) Stay: Connemara Coast, Galway
Day 5 Head To Galway And Connemara
After a peaceful night’s rest, embark upon a superb excursion through a wonderland of rivers, lakes and silent hills. Stop at lakeside Kylemore Abbey, a castellated neo-Gothic mansion, occupied today by a Benedictine community of nuns who came from Ypres after World War I. Then travel through bogland and villages to the Connemara Marble Factory and learn of the origin and uses of the area’s splendid marble. (FB) Stay: Connemara Coast, Galway
Day 6 Along The Shores Of Loch Corrib To Ashford Castle
Board ‘The Isle of Innisfree’ for an exclusive scenic cruise of Loch Corrib with lunch. The captain, also the author of ‘A Voyage of Discovery” (the history of Ashford Castle), will share his wealth of local knowledge with you. As you disembark, a lone piper escorts you over the drawbridge to majestic Ashford Castle. Your signature hotel provides a romantic backdrop in superior surroundings, offering guests both relaxation and comfort. There are many opportunities to explore the vast estate, pamper yourself at the spa, or get to know the hawks and woodland surroundings at the hotel’s Falconry School. Dining at Ashford Castle ranks among the finest culinary experiences in the world. Creative cooking, seasonal ingredients and an innovative menu await at your Highlight Celebration Dinner tonight. (Gentlemen, a jacket and tie required). (BB/L/CD) Stay: Ashford Castle, Cong
Day 7 Across The Emerald Isle To Dublin
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning and perhaps a stroll on the estate. Then cross the midlands to Dublin where the balance of the day is free for independent activities and maybe some last minute shopping. (FB) Stay: Trinity City Hotel, Dublin
Day 8 Depart Dublin
Your tour comes to an end after breakfast this morning. Departure transfers arrive at Dublin Airport at 07:30, 09:30 & 11:30. (FB)
Additional Included Highlights
- Dublin: Visit St Patrick’s Cathedral and tour some of the elegant squares.
- Shannon Estuary: Cross by ferry.
- Burren: Drive through the rocky limestone landscape.
- Galway: See the Roman Catholic Cathedral.
- Connemara: Visit the Marble Factory to learn the origin and uses of the area’s splendid marble.
- Scenic drives: Wicklow Mountains, Ring of Kerry, the ‘Burren’, Connemara.
Highlight Hotels And Locations
- Galway: The luxurious Ardilaun House in Galway is located perfectly between the city and the Connemara coast. This country house hotel offers excellent accommodation and exceptional service.
- Ashford Castle: The famous medieval castle is your home for the night, enjoy the beautiful grounds and exemplary service of this stunning signature hotel.
- Ashford Castle: Simply one of the finest culinary experiences in the world – please join your Tour Director and fellow guests for a convivial evening of dinner and wine.
- Welcome Reception (WD), 7 full Breakfasts (FB), 1 Lunch (L), 1 Afternoon Tea (AT), 2 three-course Evening Meals with choice, plus tea or coffee (D) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).
- Dublin: Breathe the air thickened by the musty tomes of Trinity College Library and admire the lavish Book of Kells, written and decorated by Celtic monks in the 9thC.
- Cashel: Visit this historic site, former seat of Irish kings.
- Blarney: It is said that those who kiss the stone are bestowed with the power to persuade, flatter and coax. You are invited to dangle from the ramparts of Blarney Castle to acquire the ‘gift of the gab’.
- Cork: Visit the English Market and meet a local market stallholder who introduces you to a taste of delicious farmhouse cheese.
- Killarney: Venture into a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and remote villages, as you tour the magical Ring of Kerry.
- Killarney: Join a local for a two and a half hour hike over wooded paths and along lakeshore trails.
- Cliffs of Moher: Stop by the Exhibition Centre and look out over the Wild Atlantic Way from these majestic cliffs.
- Lough Corrib: Join a local historian to cruise the serene waters of Lough Corrib. Whilst enjoying lunch, take in the breath-taking scenery.
- Rathbaun Farm: Join the Connolly family for an Irish afternoon tea and glimpse the daily workings of a traditional sheep-farm.
- Connemara: Visit the turreted Neo-Gothic Kylemore Abbey, steeped in history and tales of tragedy and romance.
- An expert Insight Tour Director – at the pinnacles of their careers, will smooth your way throughout your journey. They are your ‘travelling concierges’, expert guides, consummate organisers and friends in a foreign land.
- Insight motor coach – Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight’s luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It’s business class comfort.
- Personal radio headsets – gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your local expert’s fascinating insights and commentaries.
- Baggage handling everywhere – with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
- Hotel and restaurant tips included – you’ll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
- Complimentary WiFi – the majority of Insight hotels have free WiFi access in lobby or bedroom areas. You will also find that WiFi is generally available on most touring coaches.
- Insight Flourishes – from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
- Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.