Day 1: Arrive in Shannon, Ireland
Welcome to Ireland! On arrival into Shannon Airport, you will be met by your professional driver and transferred to Galway City. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city. View Eyre Square, Spanish Arch, the Claddagh District and Galway Cathedral, built on an island in the River Corrib on the site of an old prison. Explore the pedestrianized streets of this vibrant city this evening.
Accommodation: Option A: 3* Forster Court Hotel, 2 nights Option B: 4* Meyrick Hotel, 2 nights
Day 2: Connemara Excursion
Travel through the Connemara region which is known for its mountains, the Twelve Bens and the beauty of the landscape with its changing colors. Stop at the Connemara Marble Factory just outside Moycullen and then keep an eye out for “The Quiet Man” bridge outside Oughterard. Enjoy the breathtaking views as we drive through the Maam Valley in the shadow of the Maamturk Mountains. Continue on to the picturesque town on Leenane at the top of the Killary fjord and onto the famous and beautiful Kylemore Abbey, a former Benedictine Abbey and private school for girls. Take the scenically breath-taking Inagh Valley road by the 12 Bens Mountain Range back to Galway.
Day 3: 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.
Accommodation: Option A: 3* Mill Park Hotel, 1 night Option B: 4* The Sandhouse Hotel, 1 night
Day 4: 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 to Derry City – a 6th century walled city founded by St. Columcille. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city, 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.
Accommodation: Option A: 3* Waterfoot Hotel, 1 night Option B: 4* Tower Hotel, 1 night
Day 5: Antrim Coast
Depart Derry and visit to Dunluce Castle, the main fort of the Irish MacDonnells, chiefs of Antrim. 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.Perhaps try the Carrick-a-Rede rope challenge before continuing along the coast road to Belfast City.
Accommodation: Option A: 3* Ibis City Centre Hotel, 2 nights Option B: 4* Europa Hotel, 2 nights
Day 6: Belfast
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.
Day 7: Boyne Valley
Travelling south to Lisburn and the Irish Linen Center to see the recreation of Ulster’s greatest industry during the 19th century. Continue our scenic drive through County Down, viewing the beautiful Mountains of Mourne. 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. Accommodation: Option A: 4* Carlton Airport Hotel, 1 night Option B: 4* Carlton Airport Hotel, 1 night
This morning you are transferred to Dublin airport for your return flight home.