Cultural Ireland Tour

ROUTE

Day 1 Limerick

car tour

cultural experience self drive

Day 2 Dingle

Day 3 Killarney

Day 4 Kilkenny

Day 5 Dublin

Day 6 Galway

Day 7 Bunratty

  ITINERARY

 Day 1

Arrival in Shannon Airport after collection of your car, take the N18 into Limerick. En route – suggest a visit to Bunratty Castle and Folkpark. The castle is notable for its perfectly restored example of Norman – Irish Castle keep. This castle was originally built in 1277, but has been rebuilt more than once in the centuries that followed. The folk park in the castle grounds gives visitors a glimpse of a traditional lifestyle in the Shannon Region. It features a complete reconstruction of a 19th century village street, including craft shops, general stores and post office.

On to Limerick City, built in 922 by the Norsemen, Limerick ranks as one of the oldest cities in Ireland. This city of the Treaty is of great historical importance to Ireland. Its position on the mouth of the river Shannon makes it one of the most important ports on the west coast.

New to the city: A statue of Harris was unveiled in Bedford Row in Limerick on the 07.09.07, which was officially unveiled by the Mayor of Limerick with the Harris family in attendance. The statue is located outside the Bank of Ireland on Bedford Row (near O Connell Street) and stands at a height of about 9 feet. The statue depicts Harris in the role of King Arthur. Surrounding the statue are four plaques, containing information about some of Harris’ films as well as a brief biography of the actor.HARRIS

Richard St. John Harris – (01.10.1930 – 25.10.2002) was an Irish actor, singer and songwriter. He was featured in many films and was best known for the film role of King Arthur in “Camelot”, as Oliver Cromwell in “Cromwell” and for the portrayal of Albus Dumbledore in “Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).He died before filming commenced on the third movie.

He also played a British aristocrat and prisoner in “A Man Called Horse”.

Harris was born in Limerick, one of 9 children of farmer Ivan Harris and his wife Mildred. He went to school to the Jesuits at Crescent College. A talented rugby player, he was on several munster junior and senior cup teams for Crescent, and played for the well-respected Garryowen Club. He might have been a provincial or international rugby player if he had not contracted tuberculosis in his teens.

Overnight in Limerick

3* hotels

– The Pery Best Western, Jurys Inn Limerick or Castleoaks House Hotel

4* hotels

– Absolute Hotel, Clarion Hotel or the Strand Hotel 

Day 2

Limerick to Dingle

adare

Adare village car tour

Leaving Limerick follow the Killarney/Tralee road to Dingle. En route you will pass Adare – which is one of Limerick’s special places. With thatched roof cottages and Tudor style houses, beautiful gardens and ivy clad medieval churches in beautiful surroundings on both sides of the street beside the river Maigue, this town is the perfect photo stop.

Continue to Tralee and then take the road to Dingle. The Peninsula has some of the most rugged Atlantic coastline in Kerry. The Gallarus Oratory is a 7th Century Celtic Christian Church, Ireland. (An oratory is a small chapel for private worship).

The most perfectly preserved of its kind in Ireland the Gallarus Oratory dates from some time between the 9th and 12th centuries. A place of prayer for monks, the oratory is built by a method known as corbelling, without the use of mortar. The style – seamless walls that curve into the roof – is thought to represent a transition between the beehive huts of Skellig Michael, and the latter rectangular churches. Much of Irish heritage is maintained in this Irish (Gaelic) speaking region. Slea Head is the most westerly point in Europe. There are splendid views around Slea Head, especially of the Blasket Islands.

Dingle’s St. Mary’s was a neo-Gothic church built to designs by JJ McCarthy and O’Connell. The foundation stone was laid in 1862. It originally had a nave and aisles separated by arcades, supported on columns capped by octagonal tops. The arcades were demolished in one of the most radical reordering schemes to have been executed in Ireland. The project also saw the demolition of the exterior walls to below the original clerstory level, and, most notably, of the attic and upper ranges of the west elevation.

There are many opportunities to hear traditional Irish Music in the town, particularly during the summer tourist season. Dingle has a number of pubs as well as restaurants and cafes. For a number of years it has been possible to rely on a resident bottlenose dolphin named Fungi or Fungie showing up for tour boats operating from the harbour. The town has a growing arts scene and jeweller Brian de Staic is based there, as is the potter Louis Mulcahy and master crystal craftsman Sean Daly.

Overnight in Dingle

3* Hotels: Dingle Bay Hotel or Dingle Benners Hotel

4* hotel: Dingle Skellig Hotel

Day 3

Killarney

Today depart Dingle for Killarney where you will join the famous Gap of Dunloe Tour; today is more of an adventure than a tour. It combines a bus and boating tour. You start the tour at Kate Kearney’s Cottage where you chose you mode of transport for the first part of your 7 miles tour. The options are a jaunting car (Pony & Trap seats 4) ride a pony, or for those with the energy you can choose to walk. The 7 miles will take approx 2 1/2 hours; you travel through the famous gap – a glaciated valley – to Lord Brandons Cottage, where snacks are available. After lunch, the traditional style boat takes you through the three Lakes of Killarney to Ross Castle where a bus will return you to Killarney. (Rain jacket advisable)

 Tourism is by far the largest industry in Killarney. With the exception of Dublin, there are more hotel beds in Killarney than in any other Irish town or city. The tourist population is increasingly diverse however a significant proportion of tourists originate from the USA, Ireland, the UK, Germany and other European countries.

Killarney’s tourism history goes back at least to the mid 1700s, when Thomas, fourth Viscount Kenmare, began to attract visitors and new residents to the town. The date of 1747 was used in recent 250-year celebrations to honour the history of Killarney tourism. A visit by Queen Victoria in 1861 gave the town international exposure, which it has enjoyed ever since. In the Summer months, Killarney is busy with tourists perusing the town’s numerous shops and tourist attractions. Many shops are tourist oriented with many gift shops around the town. The town centre also offers a wide range of hotels, pubs and restaurants to cater for every requirement. Killarney is also famous for its jaunting cars (horse drawn carts) operated by local jarvies. Tourists can avail of jaunting car rides and a guided tour of the town’s attractions offered by the jarvies.

 JOUNTING CARS 1

Killarney SummerFest is a highlight of the year in the town, featuring outdoor and indoor concerts from major Irish and international acts. Previous acts include Snow Patrol, The Cranberries, Bryan Adams, The Corrs, Westlife, Tom Jones, Kris Kristofferson, David Gray and Pink. In 2008, Westlife returned to headline the outdoor concerts, supported by Shane Ward. Singer KT Tunstall and comedian Des Bishop were among the other acts announced. Other events scheduled for SummerFest 2008 include outdoor theatre, hot air ballooning, Riverdance, art exhibitions, children’s events, and the annual SummerFest Black Tie Ball. Sporting events during the festival include the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle, the Killarney Regatta, the 5km SummerFest Fun Run and the Killarney Races. 

Overnight in Killarney

3* Hotels – Best Western International, Castlerosse Hotel or Killarney Court

4* Hotels – The Brehon, Cahernane House Hotel or The Lake Hotel

Day 4

Killarney– Kilkenny / (via Mallow & Clonmel / 195km)

This Morning why not visit Muckross House. This magnificent Victorian mansion was completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert. It is the last in a series of large houses constructed by the Herbert family on their lands at Muckross. The location of the House is spectacular, close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake.

 muckross

Mallow –  Magh Eala “valley of the swans” is the “Crossroads of Munster ” and the administrative capital of north County Cork. Set deep in the Blackwater Valley, Mallow was traditionally an agricultural market town but due to vast improvements in infrastructure, coupled with significant promotion and investment from the Mallow Town Council and the private sector, the town has become a thriving business and satellite Town.

Clonmel grew significantly in medieval times, and many remainders of this period can be found in the town. A small section of the town walls remain in place near St Mary’s (Old) church. One of the former entry points into the town is now the site of the ‘West Gate’, a 19th century reconstruction of an older structure. There were originally three gates in the walled town, North, East and West – with the South being protected by the river Suir and the Comeragh Mountains. The ‘West Gate’ is now an open arched entrance on to O’Connell street, the main street of the town.

Then travel on to Kilkenny, Kilkenny is regarded as one of the finest cities in Ireland. It has been described as the medieval capital of Ireland. It is steeped in history and the buildings that date back to of the Normans there are several the twelfth and thirteenth century buildings throughout the city. An example of some of the heritage can be seen when visiting Kilkenny Castle which is superbly set above a crossing of the River Nore, this great Norman castle has undergone many alterations over the centuries. Kilkenny Castle was built in the 1190s, and occupied until 1935; the Castle was donated to the Irish people in 1967 by descendants of the Anglo Norman Butler family, who had held power over the city for 500 years. Finally you will visit St Canice’s Cathedral, built in 1285, is Ireland’s second largest medieval church. Black Abbey is also fascinating: founded in 1225, it is the last remaining gateway to the medieval city. It was turned into a courthouse in the 16th century, but it is in use today as a monastery by members of its founding order.

Overnight in Kilkenny

3* Hotels – Days Hotel Kilkenny, Kilkenny Inn Hotel or Langton House Hotel

4* Hotels – Hotel Kilkenny, Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel or River Court Kilkenny

Day 5

Kilkenny – Dublin

Dublin – is the capital of Ireland and one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Home to over a quarter of the Ireland’s population, almost one million in all, Dublin is a youthful, vibrant and dynamic city with an ever-increasing cosmopolitan influence.

Time permitting, we would recommend that you take the Dublin “Hop On, Hop Off” tour – just over one hour this guided tour which lasts all day and allows you explore the history and culture of Dublin at your leisure. An all day ticket means you can hop on and off as often as you wish throughout the day. Join the tour every 30 minutes at any of the 10 bus stops and buy your ticket from the driver. Each stop is located at one of Dublin’s most interesting attractions.

All tours start and end at 59 Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.  Tel +353 1 873 422 

Dublin is a city of great culture, history and beauty – Trinity College, which was founded in 1592, is Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious college and is the home of the book of Kells, which dates back to 800 AD. There’s Majestic St Patrick’s Cathedral, which houses the remains of Jonathan Swift. There’s Guinness Store House – an insight into the history and the brewing of the famous black stuff, Guinness stout. You should explore, sightsee, shop or simply relax and soak up the atmosphere of Dublin’s capital.

 Dublin  1 

Overnight in Dublin

3* Hotels – Best Western Academy Hotel, Grafton Capital Hotel

or Jurys Inn (Custom House or Christchurch)

4* Hotels – Clarion Hotel IFSC, Clontarf Castle or Dublin Hilton

Day 6

 Dublin – Galway

Leaving Dublin you head west to Athlone where you can board an Authentic Viking Ship. This trip gives you the opportunity to experience the 300 years of Viking History as you voyage Down River to Clonmacnoise.

VIKING SHIP

Visit the monastic site of Clonmacnoise, founded on the eastern side of the Shannon by St Ciaran in the middle of the 6th century; the monastery grew over the next six hundred years, establishing itself as a centre for learning and prayer for monks from all over Ireland and Europe. Three 9th century high crosses that remained on the site have been moved inside the nearby heritage centre for safekeeping.

 The crosses are made from sandstone, with one of them depicting biblical scenes on one side, and scenes St Ciaran on the other. The largest building on the site is the Cathedral, which began in the 10th century as a church, and was added to over the following 200 years. Other ruins include six temples, one of which contains a round tower. Galway is famous for it’s warm charm, busy cultural scene and extensive shopping. On Arrival in Galway you should take a walk through Galway City, know throughout the years as the City of the Tribes. The City itself is small and easy to explore musicians can be found on most street corners and it is rare to walk through the heart of the city and not hear the notes of a harp, accordion, guitar or fiddle. The Arts thrive in this bohemian city and music is its lifeblood. Rare is the pub or hostelry which does not have a music session going on and the spontaneity of someone pulling a tin whistle out of a pocket and launching into a tune makes music what it should be, a shared and wonderful experience.

 Overnight In Galway

3* Hotels – Flannerys Hotel, Days Hotel Galway or Jurys Inn Galway 

4* Hotels – Galway Bay Hotel, Ardilaun House Hotel or Menlo Park Hotel

Day 7

Galway – Bunratty

Making our way from County Galway to County Clare you will find Dunguaire Castle on the outskirts of Kinvara. It was built in the 16th. century but is said to be on the site of the 7th. century stronghold of Dunguaire, one of the Kings of Connaught the town of Kinvara is a sleepy looking town with ancient and famous sailing traditions. Then visit the Burren Smokehouse. The Burren Smokehouse is a leading supplier of wild and organic smoked Irish salmon. They use traditional smoking techniques; they smoke the salmon with oak shavings to give it a distinctive and succulent flavour.  The salmon is gently smoked over a smouldering fire for a long period of time - giving it that moist, smooth and lightly smoked texture. The Burren takes its name from the Irish – bhoireann meaning a stony place. Its formation has lain unspoiled since the ice-age and is composed of karstic limestone, the largest area of such in western Europe. The Burren occupies an area of approximately 300 sq. kilometres. The area itself is very bleak in appearance with glacial soil loss at a maximum. However is does have sufficient soil to grow a wide variety of the most unusual and rarest of plants, many of them strange bedfellows. Finally before heading to Ennis you visit the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs stretch along the Atlantic coast for 8km and are over 214m high. The views are spectacular from O’Brien’s Tower you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins and the Maam Turk Mountains to the north in Connemara and Loop Head to the South.

This evening after checking into the accommodation you should explore Bunratty Folk Park – this is a re-creation of a typical 19th-century Irish village including thatched cottages, farmhouses, and an entire village street, with school, post office, pub, grocery store, print shop, all open for browsing and shopping. Fresh scones are baked in the cottages, and craftspeople ply such trades as knitting, weaving, candle making, pottery, and photography. Nestled beside the O’Garney River, Bunratty Castle (1425) is Ireland’s most complete medieval castle. The ancient stronghold has been carefully restored, with authentic furniture, armorial stained glass, tapestries, and works of art. By day, the building’s inner chambers and grounds are open for public tours; at night, the castle’s Great Hall serves as a candlelit setting for medieval banquets and entertainment and tonight why not take the opportunity to take part in the Medieval Banquet.

Overnight In Bunratty

3* Hotels – Bunratty Castle Hotel or Bunratty Manor Hotel

4* Options – Hotel Doolin (Doolin/County Clare)

or Radisson SAS (Limerick)

 Day 8

Return Flight from Shannon Airport.

High Season Sample Price based on 3* Hotel accommodation plus a standard compact car

€ 530.00 ($724) per person / twin sharing B&B / Single Supplement = € 195.00($266)

High Season Sample Price based on 4* Hotel accommodation plus a standard compact car

€ 635.00 ($867) per person / twin sharing B&B / Single Supplement = € 230.00 ($314)

High Season

  •  01 April to 31 October

Low Season

  • 01 November to 31 March = 10% reduction in price.

B&B Accommodation Option plus a standard compact car

High Season – €390.00pp ($533) / 7 Nts

route car drive ireland

cultural Ireland route

Low Season – €375.00pp ($512) / 7 Nts

B&B SINGLE SUPPLEMENT =€105.00 ($143)

 

All prices are quoted in Euro & payments will be received in Euro currency.  Above USD $ prices were calculated at an exchange rate of 1 EUR = 1.366 USD on 29.01.2014