An Ancient Ireland Coastal Adventure with St. Patrick's in Killarney
With Fishing Villages, Seaside Drives, Afternoon Tea, Cosy Pubs, Gardens, Stone Circles, Portal Tombs and Dolmens and Megalithic Cemeteries.
March 11th - 26th, 2024
Take us to the water and we will be happy! Some of our favourite days in life have been spent exploring fishing villages, hidden coves and beaches and listening to the waves lap against the shore. There are many coastal villages, coastlines and seascapes that we love exploring, and we also have many favourite places to eat fish and chips, have afternoon tea and enjoy great pub grub, so we decided to combine them into a wonderful coastal adventure! There are so many amazing places to see and visit in Ireland, but we wanted this tour to be all the water. The Irish Sea, the Celtic Sea, the Wild Atlantic and all of the smaller bodies of water to include Loughs, Rivers, Bays, Springs and Inlets. Yes, take us to the water, let us play in the sea and we will be happy!
Highlights include: Greystones, Enniscorthy Castle, Brittas Bay, Selskar Abbey, Kilmore Quay, Hook Lighthouse, Duncannon Fort Viewpoint, Dunbrody Abbey, Waterford City, Waterford Crystal Factory, Kilfarrasy Beach, Bunmahon Viewpoint and Bunmahon Beach, Copper Coast, Cobh and Cobh Titanic Walking Tour, Queenstown Titanic Experience, Kinsale, and Kinsale Harbour, Charles Fort, The Meadery, Desmond Castle and Wine Museum, Drombeg Stone Circle, Uragh Stone Circle, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, the Burren, Poulnabrone Dolmen, Caherconnell Fort, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway and Galway Bay, Sligo, Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, Knocknarea, the Hill of Tara and More!
Price includes a full Irish breakfast each morning and all meals as indicated in itinerary. 16 nights in 4 or 5 Star Irish Tourist Board rated accommodations. We try to show you as many different kinds of accommodations as possible so you may stay in manor house, a farmhouse, an old coaching inn and a small hotel all on the same visit! Full Irish Breakfast each morning. all meals as listed in itinerary. Guided minibus tour with luggage handling. All sightseeing including any entrance fees. Tour guide for all venues. All taxes and service charges.
$8495US per person.
$1295 Single Supplement.
$500 per person deposit to reserve.
Pre-Tour - March 10th - Arrive into Dublin International Airport and make your way to our airport accommodation to get rested up and adjusted to the time change if necessary. Overnight Dublin International.
Day 1 - March 11th - You will be met this morning at our Dublin Airport Accommodation and then our journey will take us south of the city with a stop just south of Bray Head at the small fishing town of Greystones sandwiched between the Wicklow Mountains and the sea. Our next stop will be Avoca where on the banks of the Avoca river, we find the Avoca Handweaving Mill, Store and Cafe. Dating from 1723, this very special Avoca location tells the story of the mill from the beginning. There are even third generation weavers to show you what goes into the making of an Avoca throw. After a tour we will lunch in the cafe before making our way further south to Enniscorthy Castle in the heart of Enniscorthy Town. The castle was originally built in the 13th century, and has been home to Norman knights, English Armies, Irish Rebels and Prisoners, and Local Merchant Families. We will have a Tour of the Castle and then make our way to down the coast to Rosslare, a seaside resort town with the stunning Rosslare Strand where you can stroll along picturesque Rosslare Harbour and watch majestic ships cruise by. We will explore the Sunny South East which prides itself on being the Sunniest Spot in Ireland before continuing to Waterford to check into our accommodation before dinner. Welcoming Dinner and Overnight Waterford. (B,L,D)
Day 2 - March 12 - This morning we make our way to the small attractive fishing village and harbour of Kilmore Quay. It has become the ideal port of refuge for pleasure craft of all types and is becoming a fashionable and regular destination for all cruising enthusiasts. We then make our way further along the coast to Hook Lighthouse, as the Oldest Operational Lighthouse in the World it is truly one of a kind! It was purpose built 800 years ago by Knight William Marshal, and on a Guided Tour we will take a step back in time hearing tales of medieval times and life as a light keeper. After our tour we will have a Traditional Fish and Chip Lunch in the Light-Keeper’s Conservatory. We then continue along the coast with a stop at Duncannon Fort Viewpoint to take in the beautiful Waterford Estuary. From here we visit Dunbrody Abbey, founded in 1170 on the instructions of Strongbow, by Herve de Montmorency (his uncle), after the Norman Invasion of Ireland. We will have a tour of what is considered one of the finest examples of a Cistercian Monastery in Ireland. Then we make our way to back to Waterford where you can find some dinner on your own. Dinner and Overnight Waterford. (B,L)
Day 3 - March 13 - This morning we will have a Guided Tour of the Waterford Crystal Factory taking us through the manufacturing facility. During the factory tour we will hear and see in detail exactly how their stunning crystal is made. Their Master Craftsman will demonstrate the traditional methods that are still used to this day and we will learn all about crystal making from modern day back to their beginnings in 1783. After our tour you will have some time to Explore Waterford and find some lunch. After lunch we will take one of our Favourite Drives in Ireland along the Copper Coast taking in dramatic cliffs and stunning strands. We will travel along the coast taking in Dunmore East, Rathmoylon Cove and Tramore before stopping at Kilfarrasy Beach, famous for its distinctive cliffs and rock formations, which both surround the beach and pop up out of the sea! We then continue to Annestown before stopping at Bunmahon Viewpoint and Bunmahon Beach, famous for its 2 mile trail of some of the most Unspoiled Coastline in the Southeast of Ireland. And then through Youghal and Middleton and then to get settled into our accommodation at Cobh. Dinner and Overnight Cohb. (B,D)
Day 4 - March 14 - This morning will be spent in Cobh which was the last docking point of the Titanic before its fateful voyage. We will take a Guided Titanic Walking Tour that will bring us through the streets and environs of Cobh, revealing locations and incidents directly connected to the Titanic, Lusitania, and about the many millions of Irish Emigrants who departed on ships from its port. We will also learn many other aspects of Cork Harbour History and Irish Heritage. After our walking tour we will take in the Titanic Experience located in Casement Square in the heart of Cobh Town in the original White Star Line Ticket Office, a building steeped in history dating back to the early 19th century and the departure point for many thousands of White Star Line Passengers. When we arrive, we check in, get our Boarding Card and learn about the 123 passengers who boarded Titanic on Thursday April 11th 1912. Each boarding card will have the name and some information about one of those passengers and you will find out their fate as we go along. Cobh was known as Queenstown in the early 1900's and we will view the original pier also known as Heartbreak Pier, which was the last point of land contact for the Queenstown passengers. We then have Afternoon Tea before we make our way to Kinsale along through Carrigaline with a stop at Rocky Bay whose name needs no explanation. Then we get checked into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Kinsale. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - March 15 - Today will be spent here in Kinsale with a first visit to Charles Fort, a Star Shaped Military Fortress that has stood firm for centuries. As one of the country’s largest military installations, Charles Fort has been part of some of the most momentous events of Irish history including the Civil War of the early 1920s. Its dimensions are awe-inspiring as some of the outer defences are over 50 Feet High and the view from the ramparts looking out over Kinsale Harbour is spectacular! We then spend an hour at Kinsale Mead on a tour learning all about Mead in the Meadery. We will learn the Myths and Legends and the evolution of Mead through the centuries, taste three unique raw honeys used in the process and learn about modern mead making from fermentation, through to maturation and bottling. The very best part of course, is the Tasting in the Meadery’s Oak Bar Tasting Room. We will have Afternoon Tea here in Kinsale and then the rest of the day is yours to explore Kinsale, famous for its colourful streetscapes and rich history, fuelled by great people, food, boutiques & events. This vibrant coastal town makes it easy to explore the wild landscapes and seascapes of the area as well as immerse yourself in our the rich history, and re-charge in the breath-taking setting of Kinsale Harbour. Overnight Kinsale. (B,L)
Day 6 - March 16 - This morning we make our way to Kenmare with a first stop to experience 5000 years of history at Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm with a Real Taste of Old Ireland. We will enjoy a guided tour of Molly’s Cottage and Farm with all demonstration and tastings. During this fascinating guided visit, the O’Sullivan family welcome us onto their farm to experience rural Ireland’s lifestyle long before electricity and modern conveniences arrived. We will hear about the relics and stories associated with the on-site famine ruins and then wonder at ancient Ireland on an exploration of the astronomical significance of the Neolithic Stone Row that forms part of a sun calendar. We will learn how, help to bake and taste traditional soda bread and butter. We will learn all about Poitin whiskey and Mead wine. We will also cut our own sod of turf and smell its aroma in the open fire. All of this while enjoying the animals and 5000 years of history. This of course will be followed by lunch in the Barn Restaurant. Then we continue on to Kenmare for a visit to the Shrubberries Stone Circle, one of the largest stone circles in Southwest Ireland. Unlike any other ring in Muster, this one is egg-shaped composed of 15 heavy boulders. At the centre is an impressive Boulder-Dolmen with a giant capstone. Kenmare is known as the lace capitol of Ireland, so we will also make time for shopping. Then we make our way to Killarney to get settled into our accommodation before dinner. Pub Dinner and Overnight Killarney. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - March 17 - Happy Paddy's Day! Killarney is a wonderful location to take in the festivities of St. Patrick's Day. Following breakfast we will travel back in time as we take a traditional Jaunting Car Ride through the Killarney National Park and on to Ross Castle situated on the banks of the spectacular Killarney Lakes. We will take in the sights of some of Killarney’s most popular scenic hotspots like the iconic high spire of St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Deenagh Lodge and River as your private carriage takes a ramble through the magnificent landscape of the Killarney National Park. We will then be transported back to 15th century Ireland with stories of the legendary stronghold of the O’Donoghue Chieftains and the ancient Castle’s tragic fall to the Cromwellian Army on their conquest of Ireland, the legend of the Lake and much, much more. Ross Castle is considered a typical example of the stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain but it was probably built in the late 15th century by one of the O'Donoghue Ross Chieftains. We then make our way to the High Street of Killarney for Lunch at the Laurels before the parade. After the parade we will find a pub to settle into for an Afternoon Session of Traditional Music. This evening after dinner we head to Danny Mann's Pub, a well known music pub. We'll take in a bit of live music at Danny Mann's and then many of the pubs offering Traditional Music Sessions. Stay out as late as you like as many places will have music until late! Pub Dinner and Overnight Killarney. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - March 18 - As we are half way through the tour, today will be spent at your leisure in Killarney. Nestled in a valley surrounded by the magnificent McGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range is the vibrant town of Killarney. At the foot of these mountains lies thousands of acres of National Park comprising of the world famous lakes of Killarney, ancient woodlands, waterfalls and pristine parkland. This is what gives Killarney its extraordinary and magical beauty. Nestled in a valley surrounded by the magnificent McGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range is the vibrant town of Killarney. At the foot of these mountains lies thousands of acres of National Park comprising of the world famous lakes of Killarney, ancient woodlands, waterfalls and pristine parkland. This is what gives Killarney its extraordinary and magical beauty. Take the time to walk down each narrow alleyway because you never know what you might find around the corner. Don’t miss out on the pub scene in Killarney. After a day of sightseeing, venture to downtown Killarney in the evening to have a pint or two with the local crowd. There’s always live music happening all over town. The locals in Killarney are so warm and friendly, so you’re bound to make some new friends! Then get a good nights rest for the second half of the tour. Overnight Killarney. (B)
Day 9 - March 19 - We take in more of the west coast of Ireland today with a journey around the Dingle Peninsula before we make our way north to Miltown Malbay. A drive around Dingle reveals fascinating antiquities ranging from Iron Age Stone Forts to Inscribed Stones, early Christian Oratories and Beehive Huts. Stops include Dunbeg Fort, Slea Head, Ballyferriter, Kilmalkedar and Gallarus Oratory Drystone Church. The Gallarus Oratory was built and used by local farmers of the area at an early date, estimates of which generally range from the 6th century to the 9th century. Nearby is Kilmalkedar Church, a very important monastery in the early medieval period. The ruined 12th- Century Romanesque Church displays fine carving, especially on the doorway and on the chancel arch. Near the chancel arch is an Alphabet Stone, which has been dated to the 6th century and an Ogham Stone dating to the 5th century! We will stop in Dingle for Afternoon Tea before making our way further north with a stop for photos of the ruins of Ballybunion Castle, standing proudly on the cliff top overlooking the sandy beaches. The ruins bear testament to the Bunyan Family who gave the village its proud name. It is also the perfect opportunity to take a stroll on the beach. We will make a final stop at Donegal Point for a breathtaking view over the Wild Atlantic! Then we get settled into our accommodation before a Pub Dinner. Overnight Spanish Point. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - March 20 - This morning we make our way into The Burren National Park, a unique botanical environment in which Mediterranean and Alpine Plants rare to Ireland, grow side by side. There are more than 700 species of flowering plants here, roughly three-quarters of Ireland’s native flora. Our first visit will be to Caherconnell Stone Fort, where from generation to generation, Stone Lined Pathways and Drystone Walls have been crafted with care. The ancient pathways will guide you around this prehistoric site as archaeologists work to unearth the secrets held within their magnificent walls. While here we will also have a Sheepdog Demonstration which was created by the landowner, John Davoren to see the combined skills of the Border Collie and his master. Next we visit the Poulnabrone Dolmen Portal Tomb. The dolmen consists of a twelve foot, thin, slab- like, tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones, which support the capstone. It is truly magnificent! We then make our way back home for some free time before we gather for dinner. Overnight Spanish Point. (B,L,D)
Day 11 - March 21 - This morning we travel north along the coast to eventually end up in Galway on Galway Bay. Here in the southern part of the Burren, limestone gives away to black shale and sandstone to form the dramatic Cliffs of Moher. Even when shrouded in mist, the Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking, rising to a height of 650 feet out of the sea and extending for 5 miles. We next stop in Doolin boasting some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland with a colourful and welcoming village, Doolin has something for everyone. Doolin is a vibrant place full of characters, stories, and experiences and we will take some time to experience them and let you find some lunch before we make our way to Lisdoonvarna, the Matchmaking Capitol of Ireland for a quick stop. Next we take a lovely drive along Galway Bay to Kinvarra and Dunguaire Castle, whose history lies at the heart of the Ireland’s Literary Revival in the early 20th century. It was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes Clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay. We will have a tour of his restored 16th Century Tower House spectacularly sited on its rocky outcrop on the Shores of Galway Bay. After our tour we make it further around Galway Bay to Galway to get settled in before dinner. Pub Dinner and Overnight Galway. (B,D)
Day 12 - March 22 - We will spend some time taking in Galway this morning before we make our way north to Sligo. Galway is one of the brightest and most intriguing jewels of the West of Ireland. It marks the halfway point on the Wild Atlantic Way and has a wild and bohemian atmosphere while at the same time full of culture, artistry, exceptional food and music. We will also stop in the lovely village of Cong where the Quiet Man was filmed and where the great Irish writer Oscar Wilde spent a lot of his summer holidays as a youngster. It is a true delight and following our visit we make our way just a few minutes down the road to Ashford Castle to have their amazing Afternoon Tea! We then make our way to Urlaur Friary, a Dominican foundation, on the shores of Urlaur Lake in Co Mayo is one of Ireland’s best kept secrets. It is such a great secret that we have just found out about it and we will discover it for the first time together. The friary was founded around the year 1430 and was dedicated to St. Thomas. The friary survived the Reformation and in the early 17th century, the property was confiscated and handed to Viscount Dillon, a local loyal landlord. The community continued to reside here and the last friar of Urlaur, Patrick Sharkey, died in 1846. He lived in a cottage beside the ruins of friary and he sometimes said mass within the church.We then get checked into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Sligo. (B,L,D)
Day 13 - March 23 - As we have taken over this entire Luxury Country House here in County Sligo, the first part of the day will be spent here in the house and its Private Estate of over 1,000 Acres. The house overlooks a 13th Century Lakeside Castle of the Knights Templar. The Perceval Family home since 1665, the present manor was redesigned in 1864 and enjoys the authentic and unpretentious luxury country house atmosphere. With 1,200 acres of gardens, farm, lake and parkland at your disposal, as well as the house itself, there is a wealth of space in which to relax and play. In the afternoon we make a trip into Sligo for Afternoon Tea before taking time to explore this lovely city. Nestled between majestic Benbulben Mountain to the north, ancient Knocknarea Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, beautiful Lough Gill to the east, and the rugged Ox Mountains to the south, Sligo is one of the most picturesque places in all of Ireland. The town straddles the Garavogue River where it meets Sligo Bay. It’s known for its literary heritage and rugged countryside. Ruined medieval Sligo Abbey has carved tombs and a 15th- century altar. Sligo County Museum displays memorabilia of local poet W.B. Yeats, Paintings and Stone Age Artefacts. You will be able to find some dinner in Sligo before we return home. Overnight near Sligo. (B,L)
Day 14 - March 24 - Today will be spent visiting ancient sites around Sligo. The Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is the second largest Cemetery of Megalithic Tombs in Europe and is among Ireland's oldest. Archaeologists have found over 65 tombs, stone circles, passage graves and standing stones. The site is thought to be over 700 years older than the spectacular Newgrange, which was built in 3200BC. Our next stop is Carrowkeel Megalithic Hilltop Tomb, a beautifully situated megalithic hill top passage tomb cemetery consisting of 14 passage cairns. We then make our way back into Sligo Town for Afternoon Tea followed by some time to explore this lovely town. After some exploring, we make our way to Knocknarea and Queen Maeve's Cairn. This 1100 foot high mountain totally dominates the Cuil Irra Peninsula. Sitting proudly on top is Queen Maeve's Cairn, a neolithic passage tomb. The cairn is 180 feet wide by 32 feet high and has never been excavated. It is quite a hike to the top, but everyone who has navigated it has been so glad they did as the views are spectacular! We then return to our accommodation to get settled in before Dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Sligo. (B,L,D)
Day 15 - March 25 - This morning as we make our way back to Dublin our first stop is at Tullydermot Falls, a spectacular waterfall located in the Cuilcaigh Mountains near Swanlinbar. The Falls occur in the upper reaches of the Claddagh River, which is a tributary of the river Erne which flows through Belturbet town. There are a series of waterfalls and rapids here as the river works its way down through the mountains towards Swanlinbar. The falls and rapids are caused by the action of the water upon the underlying bedrock of which consists of both sandstone and softer limestone shale which is constantly being eroded. We will stop for lunch before making our way further south to the Hill of Tara. The Hill of Tara has been important since the late Stone Age, when a passage tomb was built there. However, the site became truly significant in the Iron Age (600 BC to 400 AD) and into the Early Christian Period when it rose to supreme prominence – as the seat of the high kings of Ireland. All old Irish roads lead to this critical site.St Patrick himself went there in the fifth century. As Christianity achieved dominance over the following centuries, Tara’s importance became symbolic. Its halls and palaces have now disappeared and only earthworks remain, even so, you can feel the magic amd jystery as it surrounds you. Then make our way to our accommodation just north of Dublin to get settled in before dinner. Farewell Dinner and Overnight near Dublin. (B,L,D)
Day 16 - March 26th - This morning we return you to the Dublin International Airport to make your journey home.