Legendary Wales and Ireland’s Ancient East

Ireland

Tour Highlights

This tour takes in two Celtic countries with constantly changing landscapes, seascapes and myth-filled countryside waiting to be explored!
North Wales is one of Britain’s oldest established tourist regions - rich in history, steeped in legend, distinct Celtic traditions and heritage, some of Britain’s most spectacular mountainous scenery (Snowdonia) and a pace of life more relaxed than the rest of Britain. The Ancient Welsh tongue is one of the oldest languages in the world ... we can start by learning ‘Croeso’ - the legendary Welsh welcome!

After our visit of Wales we will wander through time in Ireland's Ancient East. The first impression here is a land carpeted by lush landscapes and idyllic towns, framed by the River Shannon and the Irish Sea. But this region is also full of secrets (just ask the locals and the stories will spring to life). With over 5,000 years of history, there are legends here from both ancient times and modern day. 

Tour Highlights:

  • Llandudno - one of Wales’ most popular seaside resorts
  • Betws-y-Coed and Snowdonia National Park
  • Conwy Castle - a masterpiece of medieval architecture
  • Bodnant Gardens - one of the oldest and most visited formal gardens in Wales
  • Welsh Male Choir
  • Welsh Home Hosted dinner
  • Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
  • Kilkenny - the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East
  • Waterford - Ireland’s oldest city
  • Rock of Cashel
  • Tullamore Distillery
  • Hurling demonstration (Ireland's national sport)
  • Bru Na Boinne - one of the world’s most important prehistoric landscapes

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

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Manchester, direct from Toronto.
Upon arrival we transfer to Llandudno for a 3-night stay. This is one of Wales’ most popular seaside resorts due to its sandy beaches and picture-perfect seaside promenade. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
We begin with an orientation tour of this Victorian seaside resort, and then board The Great Orme Tramway - Britain's only cable-hauled street tramway. We will have free time to stroll on the immaculate seafront with its ornate pier and nearby canopied shopping streets (the Victorian forerunner to the shopping mall).
With its well-preserved ancient walls, cobbled streets and heritage buildings, Conwy is one of Britain’s best-preserved medieval towns. We’ll visit Conwy Castle - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as The Smallest House in Britain. Tonight we attend a rehearsal of one of Wales’ famous Male Choirs.
Our first stop is Bodnant Gardens - one of Wales’ oldest and most visited formal gardens. The garden has fine Italianate terraces, a gorge garden and waterfall. Then we visit the deeply atmospheric Gwydir Castle - an ancient Welsh house situated at the foothills of Snowdonia and one of the finest Tudor houses in Wales. We proceed to Betws-y-Coed for a 3-night stay.
We first visit the National Slate Museum, and learn about Wales’ industrial heritage. Then we visit Nant Gwrtheyrn - the National Welsh Language and Heritage Centre - a magical place located in a former quarrying village. We’ll learn a bit of the Welsh language and enjoy a cuppa tea and Welsh cakes. For our very special dinner this evening we will be welcomed in to the homes of Welsh families to dine with them!
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is an engineering marvel and one of the most famous landmarks from Victorian Britain. This spectacular 18-arched stone and cast iron structure is the world's highest navigable aqueduct, and the longest in Britain. We will cross this incredible structure by boat, then return to Betws-y-Coed for some free time.
We proceed to Holyhead and board our ferry to Ireland, then on to Dublin. Dinner will be at Taylor’s Three Rock - Ireland's most loved pub and entertainment venue, for a rousing evening of traditional Irish song, dance and food!
Kilkenny is an atmospheric and compact medieval city with curious, narrow alleyway, historic buildings and brightly coloured shops. On our walking tour we meander along the Medieval Mile linking the Anglo-Norman Castle to the 13th Century St. Canice’s Cathedral, and visit the Cathedral, the Castle and the Medieval Mile Museum. There will be free time before we make our way to our luxurious hotel, set amidst 170 acres of Irish countryside, for a 3-night stay.
In Waterford we take a walking tour of the Viking Triangle. Full of narrow streets oozing with character this is the heritage quarter of Ireland’s oldest city. We learn about the world-famous Waterford Crystal and visit the Bishop’s Palace - a must-see historical museum of Ireland’s past. Lunch will be at a local Waterford pub.
We first visit the Rock of Cashel - a symbol of royal and religious power for over 1000 years, as many medieval Irish Kings were crowned here. Then we visit a local Sheep Farm where we watch a demonstration and enjoy Tea and Scones! Later we enjoy a demonstration of Hurling - one of Ireland's National sports. You might even try it yourself, followed by a pint with the pub owner!
We start at Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum, a unique attraction depicting the lives of the families who lived and died within these walls during the Great Famine. Then we proceed to Tullamore and learn about the history and art of Irish whiskey-making. Later we arrive at our premier spa hotel for a 2-night stay.
We go back 1200 years by boarding a Viking Ship and cruising down the River Shannon to the famous 6th century Christian Monastic Settlement at Clonmacnois. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, old churches, high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave slabs in Europe. Next is Belvedere House and Gardens - a restored country estate with 160 acres of parkland. The estate boasts Ireland’s largest folly - the Jealous Wall, a stunning Gothic ruin.
We first visit Brú na Bóinne - a 5000-year-old Neolithic site, and learn about the ingenuity of the ancient Irish. We then visit the Battle of the Boyne Museum - site of the famous 17th century battle. We end at our splendid hotel in Blanchardstown, near Dublin, for our final 2 nights!
On our city tour of Dublin we’ll see the statue-lined streets, elegant Georgian squares and the townhouses boasting the famous coloured doors. There will be free time to enjoy the buskers on Grafton Street, discover the cobbled lanes of Temple Bar, walk along the River Liffey or enjoy a pint in a pub made famous by James Joyce. Our Farewell Evening will be in an intimate setting where we’ll enjoy a traditional Irish dinner, folklore, storytelling and music.
We fly non-stop from Dublin to Canada.

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