Sightseeing: Visits to Downpatrick, Giant’s Causeway, Derry, Donegal town, Knock, Galway, Cliffs of Moher, Adare, Killarney, Blarney, Tramore, handweaving mill at Avoca, Glendalough; orientation drive in Dublin
Scenic Highlights: Boyne Valley, Mountains of Mourne, Northern Ireland’s Antrim coast, Donegal Bay, The Burren, Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry and Lakes of Killarney, Wicklow Mountains
Local Guide for visit to House of Waterford Crystal. Service of a professional Tour Director
Day 1Arrive in Dublin, Ireland
Check into your hotel. At 3 pm, meet your traveling companions for an afternoon orientation drive through statue-lined O’Connell Street and elegant Georgian squares to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College. End the day with an optional Irish cabaret evening including dinner, dance, song, and laughter.
Day 2Dublin–Downpatrick, Northern Ireland–Belfast
On your northbound route today, pass Drogheda, scene of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, then through the fertile landscape of the Boyne Valley, known for its prehistoric passage graves. Cross the border into Northern Ireland and drive past the Mountains of Mourne to Downpatrick, the burial place of Patrick, Ireland’s Patron Saint, and on to the vibrant city of Belfast, where the Titanic was built. Later, why not join a Local Guide on a “living history” tour including a visit to the fascinating Titanic Exhibition. (B)
Day 3Belfast–Giant’s Causeway–Derry–Donegal, Ireland–Sligo
First stop this morning is Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let the province’s story unfold as you head for the city of Derry before returning to the Republic to visit Donegal, the ancient town founded by Danish Vikings and home of the O’Donnell Clan. Drive along Donegal Bay with its small fishing ports and hidden beaches before arriving in Sligo, tonight’s destination. (B,D)
Day 4Sligo–Knock–Galway–Cliffs of Moher–Ennis
South to Knock, a village that has attracted pilgrims from all over the world since the townsfolk saw apparitions. Then, to Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with cobblestone streets, colorful shops, and a busy café and bar culture. Cross the limestone plateau of The Burren to visit the spectacular 668-foot Cliffs of Moher. Tonight’s optional opportunity: a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle. (B)
Day 5Ennis–Adare–Dingle Peninsula–Killarney
Skirting the city of Limerick, head to Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages. Breathtaking scenery this afternoon on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. See the Blasket Islands and hear about the way of life and unique literary achievements of its inhabitants prior to their evacuation in 1953. The next two nights are spent in the popular resort of Killarney. (B,D)
Day 6Killarney. Ring of Kerry Excursion
At Killorglin, join the road known as the “Ring of Kerry” for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive: sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and spectacular views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. Back in Killarney, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle. Tonight, enjoy the optional outing to Tralee for dinner and a performance at Siamsa Tire, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre. (B)
More scenic splendor as you head over the Kerry Mountains into County Cork. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence, with time at your leisure to see the castle and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, drive past Cork, the country’s second-largest city. Youghal and Dungarvan are further milestones on your way to Waterford, where a guided tour of the House of Waterford Crystal is included. Spend the night at the nearby seaside resort of Tramore. An optional pub tour might be fun this evening. (B,D)
Highlights on your northbound journey: Enniscorthy, site of the final battle of the Great Rebellion of 1798; a visit to Ireland’s oldest handweaving mill at Avoca; views of the Wicklow Mountains; and Glendalough with its ruins of a center of Irish Christianity, founded by St. Kevin. Back in Dublin tonight, celebrate the success of your tour with an optional dinner evening at the Guinness Storehouse. (B)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Transportation: Scheduled transatlantic flights and airport transfers in Dublin if Cosmos issues the air tickets. Private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach
Full Irish breakfast; 3 three-course dinners with choice of menus
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Years of Experience: 21 years
It's hardly a secret...Irish people love to talk-and I'm certainly no exception to that rule. So, guiding visitors around the scenic and historically rich British Isles is a natural fit for me, and has to be the best job for an Irish girl with a love of history and stories. In all reality, it's not like a job at all, but don't tell anyone!