Tour of Ireland July 13th 2017 13 Nights
Tour of Ireland
Itinerary at a glance
2 nights in Dublin
2 nights in Belfast
1 night in Derry
2 nights in Galway
3 nights in Killarney
1 night in Limerick
Merrion Square (Dublin)
Christchurch Cathedral (Dublin)
Guinness Brewery (Dublin)
Castle Ward House & Gardens (Northern Ireland)
Titanic Belfast Experience
Giant’s Causeway (Antrim)
Kylemore Abbey (Galway)
Cliffs of Moher (Clare)
Ring of Kerry
Dingle Peninsula (Kerry)
Medieval Castle Banquet
Your Ireland vacation package includes
Round trip non-stop airfare from New York
Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
Ground transportation in air-conditioned motor coach
Accommodations at First Class hotels
17 meals: 11 buffet breakfasts (B) and 6 dinners (D)
Farewell medieval banquet dinner at Bunratty Castle or Knappogue Castle with wine
Comprehensive sightseeing tours including admission fees as indicated in the itinerary
Professional English-speaking Driver / Tour Director throughout
$2,995.00pp with air from New York Land Only $2,295.00pp
Your fascinating Ireland vacation packages in the Emerald Isle, begins as you depart this evening on your overnight non-stop flight to Dublin.
Arrive Dublin (Ireland).
Morning arrival in historic and elegant Dublin, the capital of Ireland. You’ll be greeted at the airport by your tour director. Founded in 841 by the Vikings, Dublin is a city with an interesting past and numerous monuments to tell its history. A visit to one of its major cathedrals will take you back to Medieval times, while a walk around Merrion Square will remind you of the glorious days of Dublin when it was ranked as the second largest city of the British Empire. Embark on an included guided tour of the “Fair City“. You’ll see Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest walled city parks and home to the presidential residence as well as the boyhood home of Winston Churchill. Admire the gracious buildings that line O’Connell Street, the city’s main thoroughfare and discover Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university. Here you’ll visit the Old Library, containing thousands of manuscripts including the 9th century Book of Kells, famous for its precious illuminations. The tour concludes at your upscale, conveniently located hotel with the balance of the afternoon at leisure. This evening your tour director hosts a welcome dinner and orientation at your hotel. O’Callaghan Stephen’s Green Hotel (D)
This morning continue your guided exploration of enchanting Dublin. You’ll visit Christchurch Cathedral, first built as a wooden church in 1038, rebuilt in 1172 and fully restored towards the end of the 19th Century. The Cathedral is adorned with funeral monuments and possesses a crypt that stretches under nearly its entire length. Much of the Cathedrals memorabilia is displayed here. Continue with a fascinating visit to the Guinness Storehouse located in the Guinness Brewery, Europe’s largest stout producing brewery.Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness. Today it houses a fine exhibition dedicated to the Guinness story. You’ll discover what goes into the making a pint of Guinness, the ingredients, the brewing process, the time, the craft and the passion. Once the visit concludes you are invited to the rooftop Gravity Bar to enjoy a pint of Guinness and savor the spectacular views. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore at your own pace, relax in one of the lovely parks or at an outdoor cafe. (B)
Depart Dublin this morning to the Ards Peninsula in County Down, Northern Ireland. En route, visit the magnificent Castle Ward House & Gardens, the 18th-century eccentric house with two distinctly different styles, classical and Gothic. The mansion is situated in a stunning location overlooking Strangford Lough. Expect to be enthralled by the expansive walled gardens, with their vast collection of rare and unusual plants. Later, board a ferry from Strangford to Portaferry and pass by a number of charming towns and villages before arriving in Belfast, a thriving city rich in history, culture and architecture. An included guided tour takes in the leaning Albert Memorial Clock tower and the Opera House. You’ll also see the Edwardian City Hall, the Crown Bar dating back to 1885, Queens University and the Botanic Gardens. A visit to the Shankill and Falls Road will be of interest as it will give the visitor an indication of how life was in Belfast during its troubled times. Dinner tonight is included at your hotel. The Fitzwilliam Hotel (B,D)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before departing to the dockyard area for an included fascinating visit to the Titanic Belfast Experience with multiple dimensions exhibitions, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way. The Experience brings alive the story of the Titanic from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. The journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking, to the discovery of the wreck and continues into the present day with a live undersea exploration centre. The afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration. Perhaps visit the newly renovated Ulster Museum or take advantage of Belfast’s many cultural opportunities. (B)
This morning depart Belfast, travel along the remote North Antrim Coast and discover the amazing geological wonder of Giant’s Causeway. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it consists of 40,000 basalt polygonal columns stretching into the sea and formed after an ancient volcanic eruption. At the Visitors Centre explore the major themes of mythology, geology and landscape, ecology, culture and social history related to this unique phenomenon. Irish legend tells that the Giant’s Causeway was built by the giant Finn McCool as a walkway to Scotland to fight a Scottish giant. This afternoon arrive in the picturesque port town of Derry, founded in the 6th-century by St Columba. In 1613 the city was selected as a major plantation project, organized by the London livery companies and as a result it acquired the prefix London. In the same year the walls of Derry were built to protect the town from the Gaelic chieftains in Donegal. Enjoy a guided walking tour to view the main highlights including the exceptionally preserved medieval city walls that you’ll walk along. Dinner tonight is included at your hotel. City Hotel Derry or White Horse Hotel (B, D)
Today journey south via County Sligo’s beautiful scenery that was an inspiration for W. B. Yeats, a Nobel Prize winning poet that is buried in this area. The lakes of Sligo, with their still waters and wooded islands are truly spectacular and form a striking contrast to the county’s rugged uplands. Enjoy a visit to Carrowmore Cemetery (Closed Oct.-Apr.), the largest cemetery of Stone Age tombs in Ireland, with monuments ranging from five and a half thousand to six and a half thousand years old. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs of which 30 are visible. The central tomb has been restored so that you may explore the interior of a court tomb and see how it was when built thousands of years ago. Continue to Galway on Ireland’s west coast and enjoy a guided orientation tour. Galway is a delightful city with narrow streets, old stone and wooden shop fronts, bustling restaurants and busy pubs. The city has attracted many musicians and artists, which add to its unique character. Dinner tonight is included. Ardilaun Hotel or Connemara Coast Hotel (B, D)
Connemara Region & Kylemore Abbey Optional Excursion.
Enjoy a day at leisure in Galway to explore at your own pace. We recommend an optional full day excursion to the exhilarating Connemara Region (euro 60), a land of emerald green lakes, pristine rivers, bogs and mountains. It is also an area with small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed little since the beginning of time. Connemara is widely considered Ireland’s wildest and the most romantic part. The optional excursion to the Connemara includes a visit to Kylemore Abbey, a lovely neo-gothic castle built in 1868. You’ll have time to wander both the mansion and the lovely Victorian walled gardens. Then, enjoy a scenic cruise of Killary, a charming calm-waters fjord. The nine mile long inlet boasts some of the finest scenery in the West of Ireland. Return to Galway later this afternoon. (B)
Farm Visit/The Burren/Cliffs of Moher/Killarney.
Today depart Galway and visit Rathbaum Farm, a typical Irish farm where you’ll learn from your hosts about the life of an Irish farm family. View a demonstration of sheep sheering and maneuvering the flock with the help of a sheep dog and enjoy coffee or tea with freshly baked scones. Journey through the bizarre and unique Burren Region and along the coast to the majestic Cliffs of Moher. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights. Standing 668 feet above the ground at their highest point, the cliffs boast magnificent views of the Atlantic coast and provide nesting sites for thousands of seabirds. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara. Later, take the Shannon Ferry over to County Kerry and proceed to the lovely town of Killarney. Dinner tonight is included at your hotel. Randles Court Hotel (B, D)
Ring of Kerry Highlights/Kenmare/Killarney.
Travel this morning to Molls Gap and Ladies View, two excellent outlook points overlooking Killarney, the valleys and pristine lakes. Molls Gap is a spectacular viewing point on the famous Ring of Kerry. Savor a magnificent view of Death Valley. Close by is the renowned Ladies View viewing point which gives a different perspective of the stunning countryside, with the three Lakes of Killarney all surrounded by the dramatic Kerry Mountains. Proceed to the enchanting village of Kenmare, nestled between the high mountains and the sea. A heritage town, Kenmare is strategically situated on the Ring of Kerry and is renowned for its natural beauty, fine restaurants, cafes and interesting craft shops. Enjoy some free time to explore Kenmare before returning to Killarney for a leisurely afternoon. This evening perhaps enjoy the optional Kate Kearney’s Cottage traditional Irish night including dinner (euro 50). (B)
Dingle Peninsula Excursion.
Today’s included excursion is reputed to be one of the most breathtaking in the world. Some of Ireland’s finest coastal scenery can be found in West Kerry, on the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry Peninsulas. Here, the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. The narrow passage around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It travels through a chain of mountains and continues along a beach bordered by dunes and made famous by the movie Ryan’s Daughter. The town of Dingle is a thriving fishing village and offers plenty of opportunities for savoring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and scenic harbor. Proceed your magical journey around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found. Visit the Blasket Islands Center (Closed Nov.-Mar.) on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula which celebrates the story of the Blasket Islanders, the unique literary achievements of the island writers and their native language, culture and tradition. As you continue your scenic drive, the Dingle Peninsula will charm you with its villages painted in bright colors and will bewitch you with the dramatic beauty of its landscapes. Return to Killarney late this afternoon and enjoy dinner on your own at one of the many pubs or inviting restaurants. (B)
Blarney Castle/Adare/Medieval Castle Farewell Banquet/Limerick.
This morning depart Killarney for the 15th-century Blarney Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic castles. It was made famous for its Blarney stone, which is traditionally believed to have the power to bestow the “gift of gab” on those who kiss it. Many legends tell the story of the Stone, but why not kiss it and find out the truth behind the legend. You’ll also visit the nearby Blarney Woolen Mills, with an excellent selection of Irish crafts as well as knits and woolens of all kinds. Proceed to the picturesque village of Adare, dotted with pretty thatched cottages built in the 1820’s. Enjoy some free time to explore independently before traveling to your nearby hotel in Limerick. Later depart for a memorable farewell evening at the medieval Bunratty Castle or Knappogue Castle on the banks of the Rathy River. As you reach the castle’s gate a kilted piper plays a welcome tune. Cross the drawbridge and enter the castle. In the Upper Great Hall, resplendent with tapestries and period furniture, you will be offered a goblet of Mead. The Butler relays the history of Bunratty and the Earl & Lady of the evening are crowned before descending to the candle lit banquet hall where the medieval style banquet takes place. A sumptuous dinner is served complete with wine and lively entertainment. Clarion Hotel (B,D)
Early this morning transfer to Shannon Airport for your return non-stop flight. Your memorable tours of Ireland end a you arrive back in the USA later today. (B)
International Flight: Delta Airlines or United Airlines
To enhance and make your visit to Ireland more complete and memorable, you tour director will offer optional tours. Optional tours are subject to a minimum number of participants and may be cancelled if the minimum is not met. Additional optional tours may be added for your enjoyment, and the optional tours listed below may not be available on all departure dates.
Connemara Region & Kylemore Abbey Optional Excursion (euro 60 per person)
We recommend an optional full day excursion to the exhilarating Connemara Region (euro 60), a land of emerald green lakes, pristine rivers, bogs and mountains. It is also an area with small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed little since the beginning of time. Connemara is widely considered Ireland’s wildest and the most romantic part. The optional excursion to the Connemara includes a visit to Kylemore Abbey, a lovely neo-gothic castle built in 1868. You’ll have time to wander both the mansion and the lovely Victorian walled gardens. Then, enjoy a scenic cruise of Killary, a charming calm-waters fjord. The nine mile long inlet boasts some of the finest scenery in the West of Ireland. Return to Galway later this afternoon.
Kate Kearney’s Cottage Traditional Irish Night including Dinner (euro 50 per person)
Nestled at the entrance to the world famous Gap of Dunloe is Kate Kearney’s Cottage, a 150-year-old family-run pub and restaurant. Here, you’ll enjoy a memorable traditional Irish night full of entertainment, music and song all presented after an excellent meal. All who come will enjoy excellent food and the best of music and dance. The musicians will introduce you to some of their unique instruments while the dancers will set you toes and hands tapping. Guests are encouraged to join the dancers who are pleased to pass on some of basic steps of a good Irish jig or hornpipe. Transfer from and back to your hotel are included.
Your flights from New York to Ireland and back are on the following airlines with the corresponding schedules. We recommend that you arrive at the airport at least 3 ½ hours before the scheduled departure.
Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight. We recommend at least 3 ½ hours. Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.
ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT
Delta Airlines and United Airlines do not assign seats in advance. Please note that smarToursis not involved with your seat assignment. It is between you and the airline! Seat assignments can only be arranged upon check-in at the airport.
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. Visa not required for American passport holders. Non U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates as to the most current visa requirements to all their travel destinations. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.
TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS
Your airline tickets along with final instruction and some additional travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 7 days before the scheduled departure of your tour. Please advise us in writing should your address change.
Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities as to their suggestions.
You may expect daytime temperatures averaging in the 60’s and low 70’s in June through August, upper 50’s and low 60’s in May and September, 40’s to low 50’s in April and November. Nights will be cooler.
NON-INCLUDED MEALS AND SIGHTSEEING
The hotels used on this tour have several dining choices from coffee shop to specialty restaurants. Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in the coffee shop is about $20 – $25 per meal per person. Optional sightseeing tours and evening activities will be offered. Your hotel will accept credit cards for your non-included meals.
CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY
Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency. Your hotels will be able to exchange for you cash to local currency. It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations.
Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase maximum 44 pounds) and one carry-on piece not to exceed 18”x10”x8”. We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.