Rural Meets Urban

This 7 night Rural meets Urban tour is a mix of unspoilt locations and the vibrant Dublin city

 

This 7 night tour is accessed through Shannon airport  and travels through the unspoilt west coast of Ireland. Experience the magnificent scenery including the Cliffs of Moher , Aran Islands and the stark landscape of the Burren region. From there travel east to Dublin where you will experience the vibrancy of the capital city.

 

Overnight Locations

Arrive Shannon airport

  • Night 1: Bunratty , Co Clare
  • Night 2: Galway
  • Night 3: Westport, Mayo
  • Night 4: Sligo
  • Night 5 & 6  : Dublin
  • Night 7: Limerick

Depart Shannon airport

 

Day 1: Bunratty

Arrival in Shannon Airport after collection of your car, take the N18 into Limerick. En route you could visit The 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. At night-time the Castle is the impressive setting for medieval banquets that are held year round subject to demand.
Close by is also the iron age fort and settlements of Craggaunowen or depending on how you feel you could travel the short journey into 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.

Overnight in Bunratty
3* Hotels: Bunratty Castle Hotel or Bunratty Manor Hotel
4* Hotels: Radisson SAS Limerick

Day 2: Galway

While there is the direct route to Galway that will take just over 1 hour to drive, there is also a wonderful scenic route via the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren region of County Clare. The Cliffs lay claim to one of the most astonishing views in Ireland, on a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of the Connemara region. The Cliffs of Moher rise from Hag’s Head to the south and reach their highest point (214 meters) just north of O’Briens Tower. There are over seventy megalithic tombs in The Burren region of County Clare, the most well known and most easily accessible being the Poulnabrone Dolmen Tomb. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the burials in this tomb took place 3800 and 3200 BC. The Burren lunar like landscape is an area of limestone rock covering imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. Next stop is Ireland’s Cultural Capital, Galway City. The pubs in Galway’s city centre are noted for their excellent traditional music.

Overnight in Galway
3* Hotels: Flannerys Hotel, Days Hotel Galway, Jurys Inn Galway
4* Hotels: Ardilaun Hotel, Galway Bay Hotel, The House Hotel, Menlo Park Hotel

Day 3: Westport

Today we travel north west of Galway to the hauntingly beautiful Connemara Region and on to Westport. Situated on the most western seaboard of Europe, this unspoilt region boasts breathtaking scenery. The characteristic features of Connemara include its rugged, unpolluted coastline, dramatic mountains, numerous lakes and rivers and woodlands and the renowned Connemara National Park. Visit Kylemore Abbey and the Lough Inagh Valley as well as the spectacular Sky Road near the town of Clifden. You can also visit the fishing village of Roundstone and see how a ‘Bodhran’ (traditional Irish Drum) is made. Touring north from Connemara, you will also be able to walk along the fjord at Killary harbour or indeed take the catamaran cruise through Ireland’s only fjord. From there travel just south of Westport to see Croagh Patrick, otherwise known as Ireland’s ‘Holy Mountain’ upon which St. Patrick (according to Irish folklore) spent 40 days fasting. The area around Croagh Patrick is rich in archaeological remains which provide an interesting insight into life in times past. Findings date back to 200 B.C. Just north of the town of Westport in the county of Mayo is Ireland’s least populated region where you can walk the open countryside for miles with no company other than the local sheep. The amazing geology, archaeology, botany and wildlife of this region of North Mayo is interpreted for us at The Céide Fields Visitors’ Centre with the aid of an audio-visual presentation and exhibitions. You may also wish to visit Westport House – Designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century, Westport House is located west of the Shannon and is one of Irelands’ most historic homes open to the public.

Overnight in Westport
3* Hotels: Castlecourt Hotel, Clew Bay Hotel, Westport Woods
4* Hotels: Westport Plaza or Knockranny House Hotel

Day 4: Sligo
On route to Sligo you can travel by Ireland’s most visited pilgrimage location, the Shrine at Knock. Shortly after this, you can take a slight detour to the Coleman Irish Music Centre is a celebration of Irish Music, Culture and Heritage as expressed in the South Sligo style of music played by Michael Coleman and other musicians of his time. Southwest of Sligo Town you will find the Ancient Tombs of Carrowmore. Over 60 tombs have been located by archaeologists to date. Dating back to nearly 5,000 B.C. and centuries older than the Pyramids of Egypt, Carrowmore is Ireland’s largest megalithic cemetery and is considered to be one of the most important in Europe.
Upon arrival to Sligo, take a trip to Drumcliffe a small settlement under the mighty table mountain Ben Bulben – in a small churchyard here lies the grave of the famous poet, William Butler Yeats. Yeats was born here and returned often in his lifetime. Located in the county library in Sligo town is the Yeats Memorial Museum. It contains a huge collection of Yeats memorabilia including photos, letters and the Nobel Prize Medal for literature awarded to Yeats in 1924. Also nearby is Sligo Abbey, a Dominican Friary that was founded in the mid 13th Century.

Overnight in Sligo
3*Hotels: Sligo Southern Hotel, Sligo City Hotel
4* Hotels: Sligo Clarion, The Glasshouse, Radisson SAS Hotel

Day 5: Dublin

On your journey to Dublin , the first stop will be the town of Belleek on the banks of the River Erne, and home to Irelands oldest pottery. For more than 137 years this little village has been famous for its distinctive parian china. Today, as ever, Belleek holds a special place in the hearts of china collectors the world over. A trip to Belleek Pottery Visitors Centre is like a step back in time and offers a fascinating insight into this most historic pottery. Travel into Enniskillen in the County of Fermanagh. Fermanagh is a paradise for fishing, cruising and other water based holidays. The largest lake – Lough Erne is 50 miles long and some of the best monastic sites in the area are located on the islands of the lake from Enniskillen.
Travel on the A509/N3 to Cavan and Kells famous for its high crosses. These are decorated with biblical scenes and the Market Cross is located at the junction of John Street and Castle Street. Its original location was probably at the entrance of the ancient monastery. The other four crosses are situated in the grounds of St Columba’s Church. From Kells take the R163 to Newgrange/Boyne Valley. Newgrange is older than the pyramids in Egypt, the great megalithic tomb in Newgrange is over 5,000 years old. This area is an United Nations World Heritage Site. On the shortest day of the year the winter solstice, the rising sun creeps up the passage way and bathes the chamber in sunlight for twenty minutes. From here it is a direct drive to Dublin

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 City

Dublin City is, by international standards, small and compact. The city centre, stretching between Parnell Square and St Stephens Green, north to south and Dublin Bay and Pheonix Park, east to west, can be covered easily by foot. The dilemma that you will be faced while in Dublin is, not what you should see but that you should leave out.Take the opportunity to visit some of Ireland’s most history laden locations, including Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, The National History Museum and not forgetting The Guinness Brewery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral & why not finish up the day in Dublin’s Temple Bar section and enjoy the wonderful pubs and music it is famous for.

Day 7: Limerick

Today you have the option of heading direct to Limerick ( about 2.5 hrs) or taking the longer journey through County Tipperary. Enroute you can visit the National Stud and Japanese Gardens in Kildare. The 1,000 acre Farm at Tully has been in use as a Stud Farm since 1900 when it was owned by Col. William Hall-Walker. It is home to some of Ireland’s finest thoroughbreds. There’s a Horse Museum tracing the history of the horse in Ireland using artifacts as well as the Japanese Gardens which are situated in the grounds of the Stud Farm and were created between 1906 and 1910. From Kildare, head to Cashel in County Tipperary for the famous Rock of Cashel. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. Kings of Ireland as well as Munster came to this spot and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock and converted the local King, Aenghus, here in the 5th Century. Next stop is Cahir Castle, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, which retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure. It is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. From here head to Limerick and check into your hotel for your last night.

Overnight in Limerick.
3* Hotels: The Pery Best Western, Jurys Inn Limerick or Castleoaks House
4* Hotels: Absolute Hotel, Clarion Hotel, The Strand Hotel

Day 8:

Depart Limerick for Shannon for return flight home.