Ireland | April 20 - April 28, 2023

Ireland, The Emerald Isle

Experience the dramatic scenery of Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland, enjoy delightful Dublin pub dinners, and climb Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone as we soak in the mystery and majesty of Ireland.

Join Our State as we immerse ourselves in the culture, mystique, and soul-stirring scenery of the Emerald Isle from the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry in the south to the Titanic Museum and Hillsborough Castle in the north.

April 20-28, 2023

Package Includes:

  • Round-trip airfare from Raleigh/Durham International Airport
  • 7 nights’ accommodations
  • 13 meals: seven breakfasts, five dinners, one lunch
  • Overnight stay in Dromoland Castle
  • Deluxe coach transportation for the tour
  • Full-time professional guide
  • Our State host
  • Transfers to and from European airport
  • All sightseeing as per itinerary
  • All tips and taxes (except for motor coach driver and tour manager)
  • Baggage handling

 

Itinerary Highlights:

  • Belfast living history tour
  • Titanic Museum
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Bushmills distillery
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Dublin city tour, including Trinity College’s library and the Book of Kells
  • Little Museum of Dublin
  • Blarney Castle
  • Irish Night at Kate Kearney’s Cottage
  • Ring of Kerry
  • Irish coffee demonstration at the Red Fox Inn
  • Kissane Sheep Farm
  • Wild Atlantic Way
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Dromoland Castle

 

Itinerary:

DAY 1: DEPART U.S. – OVERNIGHT FLIGHT

 

DAY 2: ARRIVE IN DUBLIN – TRAVEL TO BELFAST

Welcome to Ireland! You are met at the airport by your driver and guide. Stop at a local restaurant for a full Irish breakfast. Upon arrival in Belfast, meet a local guide for a living history tour, which takes you through the landmarks that have played their part in the city’s colorful development — from its great industrial triumphs to the civil unrest. During the tour, you will see many well-known features of the city, including City Hall, Queens University, Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, and Albert Clock. End your tour at the impressive Titanic Museum, which extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibits drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale constructions, and interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way — from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. Enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel tonight.

Meals: B, D
Hotel: Europa Belfast (or similar)

 

DAY 3: THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY

Travel to the Antrim Coast this morning, where you’ll be constantly delighted as pretty fishing villages or dramatic headlands come into view around each bend in the road. Your journey continues to the Giant’s Causeway, where centuries of visitors have marveled at its majesty and mystery. The unique rock formations have stood as a natural rampart for millions of years against the unbridled ferocity of the Atlantic storms, and the rugged symmetry of the columns never fail to intrigue and inspire. Be introduced to the legend of the giant Finn McCool. Enjoy lunch before traveling to Bushmills distillery to enjoy the craft and skill of making an Irish single malt whiskey. Old Bushmills was granted its license to distill whiskey in 1608 by King James I and production has been ongoing for almost 400 years since. And, of course, no visit would be complete without enjoying a complimentary glass of the final product. Return to Belfast and enjoy dinner at your leisure.

Meals: B, L
Hotel: Europa Belfast (or similar)

 

DAY 4: BELFAST – DUBLIN

Visit Hillsborough Castle, the late Georgian mansion built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, the first Marquis of Downshire, and was later remodeled in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, it is a working royal palace functioning as the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland, and it has been the home of the Secretary of State since the 1970s. A tour of the house will guide you through the elegant State Rooms, still in use today, including the majestic Throne Room and the graceful Drawing Room. Wander through 100 acres of beautiful gardens developed from the 1760s onwards, offering a contrast of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodlands, meandering waterways, and trimmed lawns. Look out for the statue of Ossian outside the main entrance, Lady Alice’s Temple, the Quaker Burial Ground, and the Ice House. Enjoy morning tea or coffee with scones served in one of the grand and elegant State Rooms. Travel on to Dublin for the true Guinness experience, where we will enjoy a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. The journey begins at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass and continues up through seven floors filled with interactive experiences that tell the dramatic story that began more than 250 years ago. As you walk through the Storehouse museum, you’ll learn what goes into making the “Black Stuff” — the ingredients, the process, the passion. And at the top, you’ll be rewarded with a pint of perfection in the world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar. Enjoy a dinner at your hotel tonight.

Meals: B, D
Hotel: The Alex Hotel (or similar)

 

DAY 5: DUBLIN CITY TOUR

Meet a local guide this morning for a city sightseeing tour. Dublin offers a fine introduction to Georgian mansions, with side streets and spacious squares. You’ll pass the Custom House on the north bank of the River Liffey and many mid-18th century public buildings back in Dublin’s Southside, including Trinity College, where you will visit the library that holds the famous Book of Kells – a hand-illuminated manuscript of the Gospels. You will pass Dublin Castle, City Hall, Christ Church Cathedral, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral — the latter founded in 1190 and best known for its association with Jonathan Swift, who was Dean there from 1713 to 1745.

Then, we will visit the Little Museum of Dublin. This much-loved museum tells the story of Dublin in the 20th century. The collection was donated by the public, and the museum is housed in a beautiful Georgian building on St Stephen’s Green.

Spend the balance of your afternoon at leisure exploring Dublin’s fair city. Dinner tonight is at the Hairy Lemon pub within walking distance of your hotel.

Meals: B, D
Hotel: The Alex Hotel (or similar)

 

DAY 6: BLARNEY CASTLE – KILLARNEY

This morning, travel to Cork and visit Blarney Castle, built nearly 600 years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy. At the top of the castle is the Blarney Stone, which according to legend, imparts the gift of eloquence to those who kiss it. Blarney is also home to the famous Blarney Woollen Mills, a building that dates back to 1793. Here, you will have time to enjoy and browse through the wide range of Irish clothing, crystal, linen, and handcrafts. Enjoy lunch on your own before continuing to Killarney. This evening, enjoy Irish Night at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, which includes a traditional Irish dinner and entertainment, featuring a lively performance of the very best Irish music, song, and dance.

Meals: B, D
Hotel: Killarney Towers Hotel (or similar)

 

DAY 7: RING OF KERRY

This morning, you are picked up by your driver for a full-day excursion. Travel the road that winds around the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula, better known as the Ring of Kerry. It is undoubtedly one of the most magical places in all of Ireland. Here, mountains, valleys, lakes, and sea blend into a landscape that is often breathtaking beyond words. Enjoy an Irish coffee demo at the Red Fox Inn. Later visit Kissane Sheep Farm, a traditional working sheep farm with approximately 1,000 sheep. You can clearly see the dogs and the shepherd at work during the sheep dog demonstration. Dinner is on your own this evening in Killarney, which is known for its lively pubs and open cheerful atmosphere and is full of what the Irish call ‘craic!’

Meal: B
Hotel: Killarney Towers Hotel (or similar)

 

DAY 8: CLIFFS OF MOHER

Following breakfast, we will be on our way to the Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy a short ferry ride across the Shannon Estuary. Experience the rugged nature of the land and sea as you breathe in the fresh sea air of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Then, travel to the Cliffs of Moher, rising approximately 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic waves and stretching eight kilometers. Visit the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, a huge domed cave at the center of the building that contains images, exhibits, displays, and experiences that will delight young and old alike. There’s time to explore the center or perhaps eat lunch on your own. Continue to Newmarket-on-Fergus and Dromoland Castle. The castle offers deluxe accommodations, breathtaking scenery, absolute luxury, and exceptional service. It is one of the few castle hotels that can trace its ownership back through history to Gaelic Irish families of royal heritage. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at the castle.

Meals: B, D (Recommended attire for dinner is dressy casual/cocktail attire for ladies and jacket and dress shirt for men.)
Hotel: Dromoland Castle

 

Day 9: RETURN FLIGHT HOME

Breakfast is at the hotel depending upon flight departure times. You will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.

 

Tour rates:

$4,799 per person based on double occupancy

 

For reservations and more information:

AAA Vacations
Beth Rackham
(919) 832-0543 ext. 16012
barackham@aaacarolinas.com

 

Additional Information:

What to expect on an Our State trip:

Traveling with a group of Our State readers is an enriching, enjoyable, and safe way to experience new cultures, people, and places. In addition to the informative narration from the tour director and local guides, an Our State host will be available to assist in making your trip successful.

We usually fly to our destination, then travel by a comfortable motor coach with anywhere from 35 to 50 people who appreciate learning about new regions. Your entire trip will be guided, planned, and arranged for your upmost enjoyment. Many activities are things you can only do because you are traveling with Our State. There is some free time built in for you to explore on your own.

You can also choose not to attend an activity if you prefer something different. Please let your tour director know if you are not coming on a scheduled day.

Many meals are included. Where you have meals on your own, suggestions will be provided.

Most of the motor coaches have restrooms but every effort will be made to make regular rest stops.

One of the best parts of traveling with Our State is that you will meet new people, many of whom you will already have much in common with since most travelers read the magazine. Many guests often develop friendships that go on long after the tour is finished. Our State trips are generally filled with dynamic and friendly people.
 

Physical requirements:

Our tours are physically active but not meant to be strenuous.

Please be aware you will be on your feet, walking and standing for much of the day, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions and terrains. There will also be extended time on the motor coach when we travel from place to place. If there are any mobility issues you will need to have an able-bodied traveling companion to accompany and assist you.

Most days are moderately paced with approximately two to three total miles of walking, possibly including some hills and stairs.

We regret that we’re unable to provide individual assistance to guests with walking difficulties or other personal needs. The responsibility of the Trip Director who accompanies your trip is to ensure that the larger group enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing individual assistance to any one guest. Guests requiring such individualized assistance must be accompanied by an able-bodied companion who can provide it.

If you have additional questions, please call Our State’s Travel Director Amy Wood Pasquini at 336-286-0600, or email apasquini@ourstate.com.

 

COVID-19 Travel Precautions:

At this time, all trips currently posted on this site will go on as scheduled. Because our primary concern is our travelers’ safety, health, and enjoyment, Our State and our travel partners are constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We will follow all CDC COVID-19 guidelines and requirements on all trips.

Please note, all passengers traveling with Our State must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID‐19 for tours. Passengers will be asked to show the Tour Director the following when joining the tour:

Proof of Vaccination against COVID‐19. Proof must include the passenger’s name and date of the final dose, which must have been given at least 14 days before the tour departure date. Proof can be a photocopy or electronic vaccination record document issued by either: (a) the health authority that administered the vaccination (i.e., U.S. CDC’s Vaccination Record Card); or (b) the participant’s medical provider that administered the vaccination; or (c) approved electronic certification from your county, state, or health provider.

We will keep everyone who has booked a trip updated and will make changes as necessary. We know one of the great joys of life is the anticipation of an upcoming excursion. We invite you to look at our future trips and consider booking.