8. 9-Day All Ireland Tour
Relax on a 9-day tour of Ireland that includes the wild landscapes of the "Ring of Kerry” Dingle Peninsula, and the legendary Giant’s Causeway. Take a scenic coastal drive along Slea Head, enjoy a pint of Murphy’s at a traditional pub in Cork, and wander the cliff-edge trails of the Cliffs of Moher. Be amazed by the lunar landscape of The Burren, visit the Museum of Country Life, explore the Donegal Mountains, and walk across the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge.
With round-trip transfers from Dublin, the tour is at a leisurely pace, with plenty of time to party if you prefer, including a night in Belfast's "Golden Mile." Take hikes in the mountains, and enjoy drinks with the locals.
Day 1: Dublin - Glendalough - Kilkenny Castle - Waterford City
This 9 Day All Ireland tour begins at 9:00 AM in central Dublin. Leave the city behind and drive through rolling countryside to the Wicklow Mountains. The first stop is the monastery ruins at Glendalough, the Valley of Two Lakes. This is an area of natural beauty and you'll have time at leisure to enjoy the local walks and trails and take some great photos of the ancient Celtic crosses and round towers. Afterward, continue to medieval Kilkenny with its cobbled streets and famous red ale. Potential sights to explore at leisure include the Castle, Cathedral, Abbeys, and Churches, all dating back to the Norman period following the invasion of the 12th Century. In the afternoon you continue south to the Viking settlement of Waterford. Not far from Waterford Harbour on the south-east coast, Waterford City is a relaxing spot to spend the evening with a handful of pubs and some great seafood restaurants.
Day 2: Waterford City - Waterford Crystal - Blarney Castle - Dingle Peninsula
Begin day 2 with a visit to the world famous Waterford Crystal factory. Stock up on fine cut glass at the outlet store or simply pause a while to watch the artisans at work. Afterward, continue the journey with a scenic drive through County Waterford and a panoramic drive-through of Cork city. The highlight for many today is world renowned Blarney Castle. Spend plenty of time (2 hours) visiting the Castle, with the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone (to receive the gift of eloquent speech, also known as the gift of the gab). Surrounded by beautiful and majestic gardens, you may also shop for souvenirs at Blarney Woolen Mills, the world's largest Irish shop. After lunch, continue on to the Dingle Peninsula and overnight amongst the last parishes that before America.
Day 3: Dingle Peninsula - Slea Head - Killarney
This morning starts with a short drive to Dingle, a charming Gaelic speaking fishing village. Famed in many films like Far and Away and Ryan's Daughter, Dingle is celebrated for having most pubs in Ireland for a town of its size, 52 pubs and 2000 people. Don't forget Dingle's most famous resident, Fungi the Dolphin who you will have a chance to visit in the early afternoon. Then you're off on a pleasant trip around Slea Head with amazing views of Sleeping Giant Island, the Blasket Islands, and Beehive Huts dating back to 2000 B.C. Regarded as the most beautiful Peninsula in the world by many photographic magazines, Slea Head has some of Ireland's most fabulous beaches and is definitely the highlight of Ireland's famed Wild Atlantic Way. This area is completely Gaelic speaking, and you may even get to hear some of the locals converse in this ancient language. Then it's back to Dingle where there is ample time for shopping in traditional arts and crafts stores, lunch in one of the many colorful pubs with local musicians playing some mystic tunes. Complete your day with a visit to Ireland's longest beach at Inch, connecting Dingle Peninsula to the Ring of Kerry before continuing on to the next exciting destination: 2 days in Killarney.
Day 4: Killarney - Ring of Kerry - Killarney
Embark on the world famous Ring of Kerry. The day begins with a horse and cart ride through Killarney National Park (optional) or horseback ride through the park for the energetic and adventurous (optional). Next, it's off on the journey that combines emerald pastures and villages with jaw-dropping views of cliffs, mountains and ancient pagan forts. Highlights include vistas of the Skellig rocks, and the beautiful town of Waterville, once home of the legendary Charlie Chaplin. After lunch, you'll find yourself in the homeland of Daniel O'Connell, known as the father of the nation and the man who brought Catholic emancipation to Ireland in the early 1800s. Your afternoon is packed with many highlights including Moll's Gap, Ladies View, Leprechaun Crossing, Killarney National Park, Lakes of Killarney, Torc Waterfall, and much more.
Day 5: Killarney - Cliffs of Moher & Burren - Doolin - Galway
Leaving Killarney, the first stop will be for a photo of the beautiful Bunratty Castle (photo opportunity & refreshments). Today's emphasis will be the Wild Atlantic Way and visiting Cliffs of Moher, the most popular natural tourist destination in Ireland and most spectacular cliffs in Europe. Rising over 700 feet in height, these cliffs are home to some of natures most majestic birds including puffins, gannets and many more. Doolin, the home of Irish traditional music is a perfect lunch stop before continuing onwards to explore the Burren, a lunar landscape dating back 300 million years with unique features like underground rivers and waterfalls. From here the journey takes you along the West Coast of Clare, and Galway Bay. Enjoy fabulous vistas of the Aran Islands before stopping at Corcomroe Abbey, one of Ireland's finest examples of the Island of Saints and Scholars. Overnight in Galway, known as the city of the tribes and Ireland's cultural capital, with a vast array of fine seafood eateries, and home to an endless selection of traditional Irish music venues. Galway was also once home of Christopher Columbus, the famous explorer.
Day 6: Galway - Cong - Country Life Museum (Castlebar) - Letterkenny
After a great night in Galway, the first stop today is the charming village of Cong famed by John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in the film the Quiet Man. The village is home to Ashford Castle a regular haunt for the rich and famous and wedding venue for a host of international stars. There will be time to visit Cong Abbey before heading off through parts of Connemara to the Museum of Country Life. Here you'll be introduced to the Irish way of life that has existed in this rugged and beautiful part of the country since the 1800s. Watch some of Ireland's finest breakers roll against the Atlantic shores before heading off through the poetic heartland of Ireland, W.B. Yeat's country. Visit his final resting place in Drumcliff Abbey, and admire the beautiful Benbulben referenced in many of his poems. The overnight destination tonight is in Letterkenny in rural County Donegal.
Day 7: Letterkenny - Glenveagh National Park - Derry - Letterkenny
Begin today with a tour of Glenveagh, Ireland's premier National Park. Take the opportunity to enjoy nature with lakeside walks and a visit to Glenveagh Castle. Onwards to Grianan of Aileach a hilltop fort, 3000 years old with panoramic views of 5 of the counties of Ulster and legendary stories from every era of Irish history. Then it's off to Derry / Londonderry for an excellent in-depth walking tour of Derry's walls (1613) and the well known Bogside district, famed in the U2 song "Bloody Sunday" after the tragic events of January 1971. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure with time to explore Derry before returning to Letterkenny for a relaxing evening.
Day 8: Letterkenny - Giants Causeway - Rope Bridge - Glens of Antrim - Belfast
Cruise the beautiful North Antrim Coast to world famous Giant's Causeway. Its 37,000 basalt columns form stepping stones leading from Ireland to Scotland and are featured in the Celtic legend of Fionn MacCool. Continue along the coastal route, with fantastic views of Whitepark Bay and through part of the Glens of Antrim. Overnight in Belfast
Day 9: Belfast - Dublin
Begin the last day with a city tour of the highlights of Belfast including City Hall, Queen's University, Botanic Gardens and much more. Visit Titanic Belfast, a fascinating exhibit housed in the very docklands where this most famous ship was built and launched before her tragic maiden voyage. Enjoy some leisure and consider taking a Black Taxi tour (optional) of the political murals, and of course the Peace Walls, which divide the Catholic Republican from the Protestant Loyalist communities. Enjoy time for lunch and shopping downtown.
The tour will depart Belfast around 2:00-2:30 PM making a stop at Dublin Airport at approximately 4:30 PM and finish in Dublin around 5:00 PM.