Join Our State as we tour the breathtaking scenery and rich history of Ireland.
September 20-28, 2019
- • Roundtrip airfare from Raleigh-Durham
- • 7 nights’ accommodations
- • 13 meals – 7 breakfasts; 5 dinners; 1 lunch
- • Overnight stay in Dromoland Castle
- • Transfers to and from Dublin airport
- • All sightseeing as per itinerary
- • All tips and taxes (except for motor coach driver and tour manager)
- • Baggage handling
Day 1: Overnight flight from Raleigh-Durham airport to Ireland
Day 2: Arrive in Dublin
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, 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 course of 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.
Hotel: Jurys Inn Belfast
Day 3: The Giant’s Causeway
Travel to the Antrim Coast this morning where you’ll be constantly delighted as you travel around each bend in the road and pretty fishing villages or dramatic headlands come into view. 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 MaCool. Enjoy lunch before traveling to Bushmills distillery to enjoy the craft and skills 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 a local restaurant tonight.
Hotel: Jurys Inn Belfast
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, the Lady Alice 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 over 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.
Hotel: The Alex Hotel
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 Customs 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. There is free time this afternoon for shopping or visiting some of the city’s many museums. Later, make an exclusive visit to one of the city’s unique treasures, the Little Museum of Dublin, after it has closed its doors to the public for an intimate reception. Dinner following the museum visit will be at a local pub for traditional Irish fare.
Hotel: The Alex Hotel
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 chieftans, 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 on to Killarney. This evening enjoy a traditional Irish dinner with entertainment featuring a lively performance of the very best Irish music, song, and dance.
Hotel: Killarney Towers Hotel
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 1000 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, full of what the Irish call ‘craic!’
Hotel: Killarney Towers Hotel
Day 8: Cliffs of Moher
Travel to the Cliffs of Moher, rising approximately 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic waves and stretching 8 miles. 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 on 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.
** Note: Recommended attire for dinner is dressy casual/cocktail attire for ladies and jacket and dress shirt for men.
Hotel: Dromoland Castle
Day 9: You are transferred to the airport for your return flight home.