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Centuries of Irish heritage and culture are revealed on this adventure across the windswept valleys of Ireland from Dublin’s Crypt at Christ Church Cathedral to the Anglo-Norman Kilkenny Castle on the River Nore. See the ‘lost’ town of Newtown Jerpoint founded in the 12th century and visit a traditional Irish farm for tea, fresh scones and a bit of sheep herding.
Welcome to Dublin. Meet your Local Specialist this afternoon for a guided city tour. View the colourful doors in elegant Georgian Squares, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and more. Later gather for a Welcome Reception and exclusive visit to the Crypt at Christchurch Cathedral. Built in 1172 the underground chambers house memorials, artefacts, and altar-pieces. (WR)
Admire the rolling green countryside as you cross from Dublin to Ballina. Stop for a visit to magnificent Strokestown Park House, an 18th century mansion with original furnishings. In the old stables is the Irish Famine Museum, one of the world’s best private archives dedicated to the potato famine of the 1840s, where you gain a Cultural Insight into the plight of the Irish people. After time to view the exhibits, continue to Ballina set on the River Moy. (FB, D)
Travel to the pretty town of Westport, then on to Connemara. Visit Kylemore Abbey, once a family home. Strikingly situated on Lake Kylemore, this 19th century neo-Gothic wonder now serves as a Benedictine monastery. After time to see the walled Victorian gardens, continue to Galway, the “City of Tribes”. View Galway Cathedral, an impressive stone church dating back to only 1965. (FB)
Gain a Cultural Insight into the life of a sheep farmer on a stop at a traditional Irish farm. Sip a cup of morning tea and enjoy a freshly baked scone, then watch the farmer herd sheep with the help of his dog. Afterward head to the coast and the rugged Cliffs of Moher. There’s time to take in the endless ocean views before taking the ferry across the Shannon estuary and on to Killarney. (FB, D)
This morning enjoy free time in Killarney or stop at Torc Waterfall for a chance to join a Local Specialist for a leisurely guided walk, taking you along the lakeshore and past the farmlands of the 19th century Muckross Estate. Continue your day travelling around the Ring of Kerry, one of the most scenic drives on the Emerald Isle. Lakes, mountains, ocean and coast come together in a landscape that has inspired poets, artists and musicians for centuries. (FB)
Please Note: The walk travels over wooded paths and lakeshore trails. While there are no mountains to climb, walkers need to be reasonably fit, have good walking shoes or boots, sunscreen and raingear. Approx. 3 miles/2 hours
Your first stop today is at Blarney Castle, where you’ll have a chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone and receive the “gift of the gab”. Browse through the Blarney Woollen Mills, then travel on to Co. Kilkenny. Here you will discover the ‘lost’ town of Newtown Jerpoint which was founded in the 12th century before meeting Joe and Maeve O’Connell at their home, Belmore House, where the town was unearthed. Hear the tale while relishing a Be My Guest dinner, before arriving at your hotel in Kilkenny. (FB, BG)
Visit Kilkenny Castle, an Anglo-Norman mansion that sits majestically over the River Nore, with a Local Specialist. In the castle basement you’ll find the Butler Gallery, one of Ireland’s most important art galleries outside of Dublin. Later return to Ireland’s capital where you visit Trinity College to admire the Book of Kells. Toast the Emerald Isle with your fellow travellers at a Farewell Dinner at a traditional Irish pub. (FB, FD)
Slan abhaile or “safe homeward” as you transfer to the airport where your holiday ends. Transfers are available. Conditions apply. (FB)
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