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Dublin – Cork – Killarney – Galway – Derry/Londonderry – Kingscourt – Trim
Your day is free to explore Dublin with your included vouchers. Take a Hop On Hop Off bus tour, and see all the city’s highlights with the freedom to stop off to explore further as you please. You Hop On Hop Off ticket also gives you admission to the Little Museum of Dublin, an old Georgian townhouse with a fantastic collection of 5,000 objects telling the story of the city. Plus, you will have a voucher to admit you to one of Dublin’s top attractions. Choose from the Guinness Storehouse – a seven-story attraction telling the story of Dublin’s iconic brew, complete with a pint at the Gravity Bar on the top floor, Teeling Distillery – the first new whiskey distillery to open in Dublin in 125 years, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum – telling the story of the people who left Ireland and how they shaped the world (winner of Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2019) or GPO Museum – innovatively detailing the fascinating story of the 1916 Rising, the pivotal event that led to Ireland’s independence. Dine independently in your choice of Dublin’s restaurants or pubs.
Pick up your Hertz rental car and begin your driving journey. Drive north to the medieval town of Downpatrick and see the ancient burial site of St Patrick at Down Cathedral. Visit the St Patrick’s Centre to explore the life and legacy of the Welsh born patron saint and discover his profound impact on Ireland. Next head to Belfast and visit Victorian era Crumlin Road Gaol, for a fascinating look at 150 years of history, and learn about the lives of the 25,000 men, women and children who were imprisoned there. Dine at your hotel in central Belfast this evening and perhaps enjoy some of the city’s lively nightlife. (B, D)
Visit Titanic Belfast to learn about the ill-fated liner, which was built in the city in 1912. Spend the rest of the day exploring Belfast as you wish. There is so much to see, Victorian buildings, Queen’s University, the imposing City Hall in Donegall Square, and many sites associated with the city’s often turbulent history including the Peace Wall. Your afternoon is free so you might spend some time exploring the sights outside the city. Dine independently this evening. (B)
Drive north along the Nine Glens of Antrim for views of mountains, valleys, and coastline. This scenic region is one of the locations for “Game of Thrones.” Stop for photos at the ruins of Dunluce Castle. Explore the Giant’s Causeway, enormous hexagonal columns formed by volcanic activity 60 million years ago, though legend says they were built by local giant Finn MacCool. In historic Derry, walk around the medieval defensive walls that encircle the compact old city, and cross the Peace Bridge, built to unite two communities that were long in conflict. Then visit the Walled City Brewery for dinner and a flight of their craft beers. (B, D)
Travel through the rugged countryside of Donegal, renowned for heathery hills, sheep and the many tweeds made from their wool. You may choose to visit Triona Design in Ardara or Donegal town, a CIE Tours preferred shopping partner and you might even catch a demonstration of hand weaving. Continue on towards County Mayo and take a stroll through historic Westport before dinner in your hotel this evening. (B, D)
You might take a drive to the beautiful town of Leenane and Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord. Or visit Achill Island and be charmed by its dramatic scenery, long a source of inspiration to writers and painters. See the haunting Deserted Village, the remains of stone cottages abandoned in 1845. Achill is easily accessible via a scenic bridge. Along the way, enjoy views of the pilgrimage mountain of Croagh Patrick; near the base of the mountain sits the National Famine Monument, commemorating the suffering of the Famine and emigration of the 19th century. Return to the lively town of Westport to spend the evening at your leisure. (B)
Travel to Galway for some time soaking in the energy of this bustling, creative city. Check out its medieval streetscape, its charming shops and many cafes and restaurants. Head out to visit the majestic Cliffs of Moher which soar 700 feet above the Atlantic. Walk along the cliffs to see stunning views and miles of cliffside. Check into your hotel in Bunratty, where you will enjoy an evening at a medieval-style banquet in an authentic castle. (B, D)
Your tour ends after breakfast. Drop your rental car at Shannon Airport (B) B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
*Breakfast is not included on Day 1
Take in the glorious landscape and one of a kind experience as you drive to all the stops in Ireland on this extensive tour. Visit famous attractions like Blarney Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, and Giant’s Causeway. Additionally explore the overlooked areas of Listowel, Claremorris, Belleek. Visit Listowel Castle and Cabra Castle located in Kingscourt.
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