Ireland is not all about leprechauns and Guinness. It is a land with a complex history where religion and nationalism shapes the fabric of the nation to this day. It is also a place of great beauty. From barren islands divided into a patchwork by ancient stone walls to wooded mountainsides, Ireland has something for everyone.
Day 1 - Arrive Belfast
- Welcome to Northern Ireland!
- Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting which is at 6pm on Day 1.
- You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
- Birth place of the Titanic, Belfast is a compact city with many things to see and do. Wander the streets of the bohemian Cathedral Quarter, walk to the leafy suburbs of South Belfast full of restaurants and bars, or visit City Hall in Donegall Square.
The Crescent Townhouse or similar
Day 2 - Belfast - Giant Causeway - Belfast
- We get an opportunity to explore the local neighborhoods of Belfast on a city tour to get more of a feel of this regenerated city. Using a Black cab the tour will take you into to the areas that are synonymous with "The Troubles", namely The Shankill Road, the unionist protestant area and the Falls Road which is the nationalist and catholic area, as well as the "Peace Wall". We stop to discuss individual murals on the roads as well as memorials, stories and life in Belfast.
- This afternoon we drive to an iconic natural wonder - The Giant's Causeway. This part of the rugged, wild, north Atlantic coastline is home to roughly 40,000 basalt columns which have inspired artists and storytellers for centuries. Depending on the school of thought you wish to believe, they are either the result of an ancient volcanic eruption or the impressions of a giant's footsteps!
Dukes at Queens or similar
Day 3 - Belfast - Enniskillen - Galway
- We travel to Enniskillen Castle. It was built in the 16th Century and is now home to the Fermanagh Country Museum. Built by Gaelic Maguires, the castle stands beside the River Erne in County Fermanagh. It was one of the most strategically important castles in the area thanks to its proximity to Ulster.
- We'll then move across the border and into Southern Ireland and on to Galway where we'll spend the next two nights.
- You'll need to switch your Pounds for some Euros at this point.
The Eyre Square Hotel or similar
Day 4 - Galway - Cliffs of Moher - Galway
- Day 4 will start with a drive to Doolin, where you will embark on a boat tour along the spectacular Cliffs of Moher (weather dependent). The sheer rocky cliffs rise from the deep blue ocean, and are topped with rolling green fields.
- You will also visit the Galway Cathedral. Its full name, the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, is far more elaborate than the simplicity of the structure.
The Eyre Square Hotel or similar
Day 5 - Galway - Limerick - Dingle - Ring of Kerry
- We will visit St John's Castle in Limerick, a medieval masterpiece that has just undergone a major refurbishment, before taking in sweeping views during a scenic drive to Dingle Peninsula.
- We will spend the next 2 nights at the Ring of Kerry.
Day 6 - Ring of Kerry
- You will embark on a sightseeing tour around the Ring of Kerry this morning, before tucking into a traditional Irish lunch at a local pub.
- Pubs are the heartbeat of Ireland, whether you're interested in guzzling beer or simply getting to know more about Irish culture, pubs are definitely an important part of any Irish adventure.
- Chowders, stews and fish and chips are Irish pub staples, but some of the more classic dishes like coddle, boxty and champ are definitely worth sampling.
- If you just order a beer in an Irish pub, you'll get a Guinness. The Irish take their beer seriously, so this is a great chance to taste a variety of rich 'real ales'.
Day 7 - Ring of Kerry - Blarney - Dublin
- Today brings with it the opportunity to take in some history at Blarney Castle, built in 1446, and Jerpoint Abbey.
- A ruined Cistercian abbey that dates back to the second half of the 12th century, Jerpoint Abbey is especially noteworthy due to its stone carvings.
- We then continue onto Dublin for our farewell dinner.
Albany House or similar
Day 8 - Dublin
- Your tour will come to an end today after breakfast.