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All Around Ireland

On this tour of Southern and Northern Ireland we begin in Dublin with its fine Georgian squares and lively pubs.
Dublin has been home to many of Ireland's greatest authors who immortalized their country in poetry and prose: Wilde, Shaw, Swift, O'Casey, Behan, Joyce, Yeats, Samuel Beckett and more. For such a small island the literary traditions and legacies are astounding.

Venturing south we explore regal cities, Gothic cathedrals, medieval castles and picturesque villages. We then move to the northern coastline and highlands of Donegal's National Park, with visits to Derry and the wondrous Giant’s Causeway. Continuing through the idyllic glens of Antrim, we end our tour at the foot of the Mountains of Mourne and a visit to Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast - a delightful city with magnificent Victorian architecture.

As we tour the Emerald Isle we will enjoy the variety of spectacular scenery for which it is known: heather-cloaked moors, soaring cliffs, deep blue lochs and rolling green hills - about fifty shades of green!

We will also experience the magic and mystery of this historic land which celebrates its past in poems, traditional dancing and beautiful music. We will kiss the Blarney Stone (an  option!), sing at a traditional Ceilidh and listen to the myths and legends. We stop at local inns and pubs to join the friendly Irish in a pint or two of Guinness or a tot or two of Irish whiskey. All of this, combined with the genuine warmth of Ireland's people, will have you singing the praises of the Emerald Isle.

* Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart with Air Canada for Dublin (a direct flight from Toronto).
We arrive and transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner.
On our full-day city tour we see the beautiful 18th century Georgian squares and houses, the 12th century St. Patrick Cathedral and Leinster House (the Irish parliament). We continue to Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells. Tonight enjoy a rousing evening of Irish food and entertainment at an Irish cabaret.
We proceed to Waterford and visit the factory where they once made the famous crystal. Later we visit a small historic pub for local Irish music and drinks.
We travel to County Cork, site of Blarney Castle. En route we tour Cork City and visit Cobh Heritage Centre, a portside display depicting the exodus of potato famine victims to America in the 19th century. We continue to Blarney for an opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone, an act that bestows the "gift of the gab”.
We head west for the quaint town of Killarney. This afternoon we take a jaunting car ride to the lakes, and visit Muckross House, an old Irish estate. This evening we enjoy a performance of SIAMSA, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland.
A day of splendid scenery as we tour the famous Ring of Kerry. We pass Daniel O'Connell's Cahirsiveen, the fishing village of Waterville and Molls Gap in the heart of the Black Mountains. We will also stop at a sheep farm to watch a sheep dog demonstration and learn about the different types of sheep and herding techniques, before returning to Killarney.
Following the coast, we drive through many pretty villages until we reach the Cliffs of Moher, which rise 700 feet above sea level and display a magnificent, lush landscape. We continue through the beautiful countryside to Galway, a quaint old town of narrow streets and stone houses. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant.
We pass through beautiful Connemara National Park and the rugged mountain ranges of Twelve Pins. We stop at Kylemore Abbey, with its dramatic setting overlooking Kylemore Lough (now a convent for Benedictine nuns). We overnight in Westport, a charming Georgian town with a delightful tree-lined mall and quaint shopping area.
We head north to the town of Drumcliff and visit the grave of the poet W.B. Yeats, who set many of his poems in and around Sligo. We then enter Northern Ireland and visit the Belleek pottery factory, known for its exquisite cream-coloured china. Our next two nights are in Letterkenny, Donegal County.
Our guided tour of Derry shows us this fascinating city’s controversial history, depicted on many houses in the form of striking murals. We visit the old city walls for panoramic views of the city and countryside. Then we proceed to Glenveagh National Park, in the Derryveah Mountains, for a guided tour of Glenveagh Castle and its beautiful Victorian Gardens.
We drive to Antrim's north coast and the Giant's Causeway. These vast outcroppings were formed by volcanic action millions of years ago. We view this wonder from a cliff top and allow time for those who wish to climb them. Then it's on to the small town of Bushmills, home to Bushmills Irish whiskey since 1608, to view the distilling process. We drive through Antrim’s lovely glens and coastal villages to Belfast (Northern Ireland’s capital), for a 2-night stay.
Belfast is a beautiful city of imposing Victorian architecture set within picturesque hills. On our guided tour we see the City Hall with its copper-domed roof, the Grand Opera House and the Parliament Buildings set amid beautiful parklands. This afternoon we visit the newly-opened Titanic Museum, which features special effects, original drawings, full-scale constructions and interactive elements to explore the Titanic story. The rest of the day is at leisure.
We see the picturesque mountain scenery of the Mourne Mountains as we drive to the charming medieval coastal town of Carlingford. We will explore the town before continuing on to Trim - a designated heritage town. This afternoon we will explore Trim Castle - a stunning Norman castle on the bank of the River Boyne. It is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We return to Dublin for our flight to Canada.
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