Day 1: Glendalough
Take delivery of your Hertz car and travel south through the Wicklow Mountains and the region known as “The Garden of Ireland”. You take a guided tour of the 6th century monastic settlement, with its round tower and Celtic cross at Glendalough. You visit Avoca Hand Weavers. Continue south to Waterford City which was founded by Viking traders in 914 and has an exciting medieval flavour and riverside bustle. Overnight in Waterford City.
Day 2: Waterford
A visit to the House of Waterford Crystal includes an opportunity to choose from the world’s largest selection of Waterford Crystal. The factory tour offers first hand access to all areas of traditional crystal production.Depart from Waterford and tour to Cashel where the impressive Rock of Cashel looms up in front of you as you approach the town. This cathedral-fortress dates to the time of St. Patrick when he used the shamrock as the symbol of the Holy Trinity as he converted the King of Munster to Christianity. Continue to Mallow for overnight.
Day 3: Blarney & Killarney
Tour to Blarney. Stop at Blarney Castle to climb to the battlements of the castle to kiss the famous “stone of eloquence”. You will have time to visit the Blarney Woolen Mills for traditional Irish handcrafts, fashions and crystal. On to Kinsale and visit Charles Fort. Via Bantry & Kenmare and into Kerry and Killarney which is set beside the Lakes of Killarney at the foot of the mountains. “Heaven’s Reflex” as it is called for its beauty.
Day 4: Dingle Peninsula
Tour the spectacular Dingle Peninsula to Dingle, one of Ireland’s most picturesque spots. You will stop for lunch in the town of Dingle. Drive to Slea Head and admire its rugged beauty. Return to Killarney via Tralee. Try out a ‘singing’ pub tonight.
Day 5: Limerick & Bunratty
Option to take an Irish Jaunting Cart Ride this morning through the National Park and take in the breathtaking scenery of mountains and lakes and beautiful. Depart Killarney and drive north, to the city of Limerick via the picturesque village of Adare, where the main street is lined with thatched cottages. You stop for the night at Bunratty and this evening you have the option to dine like the Lords and Ladies of the 15th Century at the Bunratty Castle Banquet. Overnight in Shannon. Optional Add On: Jaunting Car Ride: $30.00 per person. Take a Jaunting Car Ride through the National Park and take in the breathtaking scenery of mountains and lakes and beautiful. Step back in time and enjoy Irish tradition at its best, come on board a horse and carriage and take a unique tour and visit some of Killarney’s many beauty spots. Optional Add On: Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle: $80.00 per person. Enjoy a feast and entertainment at the Bunratty Medieval Banquet in Bunratty Banquet
Day 6: Cliffs of Moher & Burren
Depart Bunratty and tour through County Clare, along the Clare Coast to visit the Cliffs of Moher which rise 700 feet above the sea and extend five miles along the coast. Drive on through the Burren – an area of limestone hills which supports a wide range of flora. Continue on into Galway City. Explore the city this evening.
Day 7: Aran Islands & Connemara
Travel through the Connemara region which is known for its mountains, the Twelve Bens and the beauty of the landscape with its changing colors. Tour to Rossaveal Harbour this morning and board the ferry to Kilronan, Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. You will be met by Hernon Tours upon arrival and taken on a two hour tour of the island. You will have the opportunity to climb up to Dun Aengus, a 2000 year old stone fort on the cliff face overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. You will have time to explore the village of Kilronan, have lunch or do some shopping for hand-knit Aran wool sweaters before returning back to the mainland. Return to Galway City where you can continue your exploration of the town.
Day 8: Sligo
Tour north from Galway and visit the village of Cong made famous by the movie ‘The Quiet Man’ starring John Wayne. Visit the Quiet Man Museum before heading north through Castlebar to Sligo, a county of gentle mountains, lakes and coastline. This area is associated with the great Irish writer, William Butler Yeats. Explore Drumcliff and the Yeats Center, north of Sligo town, where Yeats is buried in Drumcliff Churchyard. Overnight near Sligo Town.
Day 9: Donegal
It’s off to tour Donegal, famous for its tweeds and woolen goods. You will have a chance to shop at Magee’s of Donegal, before you tour out along the coast to Killybegs. On to explore Donegal Town; stroll about this interesting old town with 16th century castle ruins, a 17th century church and a ship’s anchor shorn from one of Napoleon’s frigates when his fleet unsuccessfully tried to thwart the British in an Irish uprising in 1798. The center of town is diamond shaped, with streets spoking off in all directions with wool and tweed shops lining the street fronts. Overnight in Donegal Town.
Day 10: Omagh & Derry
Cross into the North, touring to Enniskillen and Omagh where you visit the Ulster-American Folk Park, located on the farm of Thomas Mellon, whose cottage home has been preserved. Exhibits trace the strong connections between Ulster and colonial America and 12 US Presidents. Continue on your scenic drive through Counties Fermanagh and Derry, staying tonight in Derry City – a 6th century walled city founded by St. Columcille.
Day 11: Derry City
You tour the city this morning, see the massive City Walls and Gates and the Guild Hall where the City Council sits. Visit the Derry City Museum, which takes you back through time from St. Columcille in the 5th century to the ‘Troubles’ of the late 20th century. Be sure to stop at the Heritage Center on Bishop Street. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon exploring and shopping in this vibrant city.
Day 12: Antrim Coast
You tour along the Antrim coast to the Giant’s Causeway. This impressive area of hexagonal columns was formed over 60 million years ago by cooling lava and has given rise to many legends as the basalt resembles giant steps. The legend has it that Finn McCool, the mythical giant, built this bridge to Scotland to reach his beloved. The hexagonal shaped stone pilings and pillar are a geological marvel. Overnight in Portrush.
Day 13: Glens of Antrim
Tour Dunluce Castle, the main fort of the Irish MacDonnells, chiefs of Antrim. You will stop at Bushmills Distillery which is the world’s oldest whiskey distillery, having received a license in 1608. Continue along the coast road to admire the spectacular views of the “Nine Glens of Antrim” before you reach your home for the night in Carnlough.
Day 14: Belfast
Visit the robust northern metropolis of nearly half a million people. Belfast was the center of the industrial revolution in Ulster. The capital of Northern Ireland is a cosmopolitan city with a vast and varied history. Frommers voted it as one of their Top 12 destinations to visit. Take a sightseeing tour of the city which will include Stormont, the parliamentary buildings and a stop at the Titanic visitor center. The newly built center is located on the slipways where RMS Titanic was built. Enjoy the pedestrianized city center, the architecture, museums and the shopping. Overnight in Belfast. Optional Add On: Titanic Centre: $26.00 per person Visitors will re-live the entire storey from her birth, to the faithful maiden voyage and the eventual discovery on the seabed.
Day 15: Belfast
Travelling south to Lisburn and the Irish Linen Center to see the recreation of Ulster’s greatest industry during the 19th century. Continue east to Downpatrick to visit Down Cathedral which is the reputed burial place of St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. Continue our scenic drive through County Down, viewing the beautiful Mountains of Mourne. Overnight in Newcastle.
Day 16: Boyne Valley
Return to the Republic of Ireland and travel to Bru Na Boinne Visitor Center at Newgrange. It presents one of Europe’s great archaeological mysteries, along the Boyne Valley, and Newgrange or Knowth Neolithic burial tomb, which predates the pyramids. Continue south as you return to Dublin for your final night in Ireland. Overnight near Dublin Airport.
Day 17: Depart for Home
Travel to Dublin Airport where you will return your car rental and check in for your departure flight.