For a small country, Ireland sure offers a gob-smacking amount of culture and beauty. From its traditional pub scene and authentic whiskey distilleries to its lovingly cultivated music heritage. From its centuries-old megalithic tombs, ancient monastic settlements and magnificent cathedrals to its carefully preserved old towns, medieval castles and stone fortresses. And from its serene countryside and tranquil valleys to its breathtaking cliff tops and stunning coastlines, tiny Ireland can literally wow visitors with the length and breadth of its varied offerings.
9 Nights / 10 Days
Dublin, Galway, Doolin, Killarney, Kilkenny
Upon arrival in Dublin, pick up your vehicle from the car-rental agency and make your way to the hotel. Check-in and freshen-up. Today, you head out on a Hop-on Hop-Off tour of Dublin. The capital of Ireland is knee-deep in history and has its own unique sense of humor. Spend the day exploring its many historic locations. The all-day ticket means you can hop on and off as often as you wish and at your own pace. In the evening, spend some time in the famous Temple Bar area. Bursting with a dazzling choice of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, not to mention cultural centers and eclectic art galleries, Temple Bar pleases all tastes and temperaments. Take a leisurely stroll down its narrow cobbled streets or better still, sign up for an evening of entertainment at any one of a number of excellent traditional Irish shows. Overnight in Dublin.
Continue exploring Dublin today. Visit the James Joyce Centre, the Dublin Writers Museum and one of Dublin’s oldest buildings, the Christchurch Cathedral which has been a place of pilgrimage for more than 1000 years. Later, squeeze-in a bit of shopping at the popular Grafton Street or more importantly, try out the new Guinness Experience, located in the heart of the Guinness brewery in Dublin. It is a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in Gravity, the sky bar, with a complimentary pint of Guinness and an astonishing view of Dublin. Overnight in Dublin
Just north of Dublin, you’ll find Ireland’s most visited attraction, the megalithic tombs in Newgrange. One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt! Admire its magnificent entrance slab – ‘one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art’ before heading out to explore the Hill of Tara, the seat of the ancient high Kings of Ireland, and of course, Trim castle, the setting of Mel Gibson’s ‘Braveheart’. You may now choose to travel directly to Galway City (2 hours) or take a slight detour at Moate to visit the ancient Monastic Settlement of Clonmacnoise – a sprawling, 6th century, Christian site which includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight ancient churches, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs. On to Galway, the ‘City of the Tribes’, is also known as Ireland’s cultural capital. With its talented street entertainers and traditional pubs featuring great music, Galway’s Quays area will light up your evenings. Other interesting sites in Galway include the Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch, the Eyre Square and the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra dating back to 1320, where Christopher Columbus is known to have worshipped in 1477. Overnight in Galway.
A most hauntingly beautiful landscape awaits you west of Galway. Head out to the serene and completely unspoilt Connemara Region and drink in the stunning views of its rugged, unpolluted coastline, dramatic mountains, shimmering lakes and rivers and dense woodlands. Visit the renowned Connemara National Park, the Kylemore Abbey and the Lough Inagh Valley as well as the spectacular Sky Road near the town of Clifden. You can also visit the fishing village of Roundstone and see how a ‘Bodhran’ (traditional Irish Drum) is made. Alternatively, you may take the ferry to the Aran Islands and travel back in time to an Ireland of Celts and early Christians. Take a pony and trap, or a guided tour from the pier to the stone fort of Dun Aengus. Dún Aengus is located on top of a 300ft-high sea cliff and is one of Europe’s finest prehistoric monuments. This evening, go back to the Quays area of Galway, for another dose of Ireland’s best traditional entertainment. Overnight in Galway.
Today, you make a quick stop at the Dunguaire castle, overlooking the Galway Bay, before proceeding to the west coast of County Clare. Here you’ll encounter ancient megalithic tombs at Poulnabrone, stunning, one-of-a-kind, views at the Cliffs of Moher and limestone covered majestic mountains flanking tranquil valleys, in the lunar like Burren Region. Before you reach the cliffs however, you arrive at the village of Doolin, a small fishing village, world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music. In recent years, music lovers have been flocking to Doolin for spontaneous sessions and festivals or ‘fleadhanna’ of Irish and international music. Overnight in Doolin.
Today, the day is free to relax and enjoy Doolin and its many musical pubs and restaurants. You can even take the ferry from Doolin Pier for a day trip to the Aran Islands. Overnight in Doolin.
Today, you head to Killarney and depending on the route you choose, be prepared to take in some excellent sights. If you take the road, you’ll find Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare, Limerick city of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ fame and the pretty village of Adare in County Limerick. Whereas if you choose to cross the Shannon estuary by ferry, this more direct route will allow for additional sightseeing time beyond Killarney in County Kerry. Of course, in case you have not made it to the Cliffs of Moher at this stage, then they will be your first stop on both routes. Time permitting, a visit to Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney’s National Park is a must, as well as a stop at one of the great traditional pubs in the town complete with excellent music. There’s also the Torc Waterfall, Ross Castle and the gap of Dunloe, just a few miles beyond Killarney. You can choose to pack it all in or simply slow down and enjoy the town’s new Irish Whiskey experience. Developed by whiskey lovers for connoisseurs and novices alike, this is a sensory and interactive experience that guides you through the history of Irish whiskey and its distilling process, followed by a delicious whiskey tasting. Overnight in Killarney.
Today, you proceed to Killorglin, famous for its 3000-year-old Puck Fair festival where a wild mountain goat is crowned king and reigns supreme over a town for three whole days! Intrigued? We knew you’d be. Your next stop is Glenbeigh and its beautiful 3-mile-long sandy beach at Rossbeigh. Later, head back to the N70 to Kells or go over the mountain at Cahill’s pub and enjoy fabulous views of Dingle bay. As you proceed, keep an eye out for Valentia Island, where the first Transatlantic Cable was laid all the way to America in 1857. You can also visit the Slate Quarry and the Light House. From Valentia proceed towards Waterville. Continue along the coastal road, over the Coomakista Pass where there is a spectacular viewing point at 700ft (225m) above sea level. Travel onwards through Caherdaniel and Castlecove to Sneem. The final leg of the tour takes you through some of the most stunning scenery. From Sneem you drive through Parknasilla and Tahilla to Kenmare and then up the mountain road to the infamous Moll’s Gap and Ladies View where you will be treated to unrivalled views of the Killarney Valley. You’ll pass through the Killarney National Park, the Upper Lake and the Middle Lake before you get to Torc Waterfall and the Muckross House and Gardens, a stop truly worth your time. Overnight in Killarney.
Today your journey to Kilkenny will take you to Waterford via the Cork towns of Blarney, Cobh, Midleton and Youghal. Stop to climb to the Blarney Castle ramparts and ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’ - said to bestow the gift of eloquence on those who dare. Visit the Blarney Woolen Mills store, a quaint one-stop-shop for Irish knitwear, crystal and linen, before heading south towards the village of Cobh. The Queenstown Story or the Cobh Heritage Centre is your next stop. Cobh, situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbours, was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic in 1912 and was the closest port to the site of the sinking Lusitania in 1915. At the cultural center, listen to their moving tales as well as the story of emigration from Ireland to the United States and Australia from 1847 up to the 1950s. En route to Waterford, you could stop at the Old Middleton Distillery for a fascinating guided tour of Irish whiskey. From here, travel to Kilkenny City, long renowned as Ireland’s medieval capital, with an intriguing 1,500-year-old history. Characterized by beautifully restored old buildings and covered slipways, Kilkenny City is small enough to explore on foot, yet full of alluring, historical buildings sitting side by side contemporary shops, design galleries, cafés and restaurants. Overnight in Kilkenny.
Your journey back to Dublin today should take just under 2 hours. If you wish to make a little side trip, we recommend the National Stud & the Japanese Gardens just outside Kildare Town. Situated in the grounds of the Stud Farm, the Japanese Gardens were planned to symbolize the ‘Life of Man’ from the cradle to the grave. While St. Fiachra’s Garden was designed as a Millennium project and is sprawled across 4 acres of beautiful woodland & lakeside walks. At the National Stud, visit the 1,000 acre farm at Tully to see some of Ireland’s finest thoroughbreds and follow it up by a visit to the Horse Museum to trace the history of the most famous and greatest amongst all Irish horses, legendary steeple chaser, Arkle. No trip to the south would be complete without Dublin’s newest attraction: EPIC Ireland. Over the centuries, some 10 million people have left the island of Ireland. EPIC Ireland tells the dramatic story of how these people have spread around the globe, and how they changed the world. Through 20 state-of-the-art galleries, visitors immerse themselves in the stories of some of the most remarkable tales of sacrifice, endurance, adventure and discovery the world has ever known. Spend your last evening in Ireland at Dublin’s Temple Bar section, enjoying for one more time, the wonderful pubs and music it is famous for. Overnight in Dublin.
Today post breakfast, you drop-off your vehicle at the car rental agency and head to the airport, for your flight back home. Road trips make for great stories. And these will last you at least until you can come back for your next visit!
Killarney- Ring of Kerry Day Trip
A preview of the wonder that awaits you.
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Hello there, I am Sunita. I have over 23 years of experience in Travel and Tourism, spanning across Marketing, Tour Planning and Operations, having worked at major travel brands like SOTC, Kesari Tours, Cox & Kings and Thomas Cook. I also happen to be a multi-country expert personally having traveled to almost every continent on the map. With rich know-how on travel and tourism, I am the best-placed expert you could possibly find in this part of the country. I love traveling and talking about it, making me a good friend, guide and the go-to person if you want to design an outstanding experience. At Awakeful we operate on a philosophy that travel today is not just about covering every possible place on the map or keeping your Instagram popping with images, but about going to places that enthrall you, give you an experience that will touch every sense of yours, engaging with the locals, dining with them, seeing what they love and how they celebrate, to fill you up with an Awakeful experience. This, I promise will bring you back as an enlightened person and not just a tired, home-longing tourist. It’s an honest promise that we want to make and live by. One, that will want you to see places from the lens of an Awakeful Experience. I bring honesty, delight and country expertise to the Awakeful table and it will surely brighten your day. Cheers, Sunita.
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