Day 1 :
Departure from Airport
- Air Travel:
Relax and enjoy your flight to Dublin, arranged by you.
Day 2 :
Arrive in Dublin
- Private Transportation:
We will have use of a private coach and driver guide while touring for the next nine days.
- Meet Your Guide:
Our WorldStrides Representative will meet us at the airport and remain with us until our final airport departure.
- Tour Glendalough:
Visit Glendalough, a former monastery in an idyllically secluded setting. Its name is derived from Irish meaning “The Glen of the Two Lakes.” We will stroll from the upper lake to the lower lake and walk through the remains of the monastery complex, long since converted to a burial place. Although much of the monastic city is in ruins, the standing remains include a nearly perfect round tower, hundreds of timeworn Celtic crosses and a variety of churches. Our visit will include the new Visitor Center, which provides a helpful orientation that comprises exhibits on the archaeology, history, folklore, and wildlife of the area.
- Enjoy Amenities:
We will continue to Kilkenny, our base for the next night. Breakfast and dinner will be included at the hotel.
- Tour Ireland's Loveliest City:
Visit Kilkenny, at the heart of County Kilkenny, is considered to be Ireland’s loveliest inland city. Once the stronghold of an ancient Irish kingdom, the city grew to prominence in the 13th century and became the medieval capital of Ireland. Its continued prosperity is evident in the well-preserved center exhibiting medieval and Georgian architecture.
Day 3 :
Kilkenny - Rock of Cashel - Cork
Today we will travel from Kilkenny to Cork. En route, we will stop at the Rock of Cashel.
- Tour a Castle:
Visit Kilkenny Castle, standing majestically beside the River Nore on the south side of the city. This landmark medieval castle, built in the 12th century and remodeled in Victorian times, was the principal seat of the Butler family. In 1967, the castle was given to the Irish government to be restored to period splendor as an enduring national monument. The exquisitely restored interior includes a fine collection of Butler family portraits, some from as far back as the 14th century. We will spend time exploring the 49-acre grounds, which include a riverside walk and extensive gardens.
- Historical Visit:
See the Rock of Cashel, an extraordinary ruined abbey at the top of a hill near the town center of Cashel. This outcrop of limestone, stretching 197 feet into the sky, possesses sixteen centuries of history. It was the castled seat of the kings of Munster as far back as 360 AD and remained a royal fortress until 1101. Today there are ruins of a two-towered chapel, a cruciform cathedral, a round tower, and a cluster of other medieval monuments. Inside the cathedral, ancient carvings survive in excellent condition.
- See an Authentic Irish Performance:
Enjoy a trip through Brú Ború Heritage Centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This modern complex adds a musical element to the historic Cashel area. Operated by Ireland's foremost traditional music organization, Brú Ború presents daily performances of authentic Irish traditional music at an indoor theater. A subterranean "Sounds of History" exhibition gives an audio tour of Ireland through the ages.
- Enjoy Amenities:
Our base for the next two nights will be in Cork, where breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
- Tour Cork:
Cork is Ireland’s city on water, built on the River Lee with the historical heart located on an island. The city began with the founding of a monastery in 650 AD, and it has continued to grow and prosper. With its beautiful canals and bohemian spirit, Cork is a lively and enjoyable place to explore.
- Dinner with Friends:
We will enjoy dinner together at the hotel tonight.
Day 4 :
Cobh - The Titanic's Final Port
- Today will be spent in Cobh:
Cobh, located on Great Island in Cork Harbor, is a lovely port town with a rich history. The Victorian seafront was a port of call for luxury liners, including the Titanic, and was the last view for many Irish emigrants until the early 20th century.
- Explore the Cobh Heritage Center:
We learn the history of this important port, and the 2.6 million people who emigrated from it.
- Take a guided walking tour along the Titanic Trail:
Explore the last port of call for the RMS Titanic. Re-live the Titanic timeline as we journey through historic Cobh, which has changed little since the ship was docked here nearly 100 years ago.
- Explore St. Colman's Cathedral:
Visit an exquisite gem of neo-Gothic architecture. The Cathedral took 47 years to build and boasts a Carillon of 47 bells. The Cathedral organ, by Telford and Telford, contains 2,468 pipes.
- We will take The Jameson Experience Tour:
This is a fully guided tour around the original Midleton Distillery which brings the stories of Jameson's rich heritage to life. Learn about the hard working people and field-to-glass processes responsible for the whiskey that bears John Jameson's name. The tour finishes with your chance to do a guided comparative tasting of three famous whiskeys, one being Jameson.
- Free Exploration:
You will have some free time to explore the area.
This evening we will have dinner as a group in a local restaurant.
Day 5 :
Cork - Blarney Castle - Cliffs of Moher - Galway
- Today we will travel from Cork to Galway:
Enjoy some exciting stops along the way.
- Visit Blarney Castle:
This is one of the most haunting and striking castles in Ireland. The remains of this impressive fortification include a massive square tower and the famous Blarney Stone, wedged underneath the battlements. It is traditional to kiss the stone to ensure the gift of eloquence. We will also have time to stroll through the gardens and along Blarney Lake before having the opportunity to visit Badger Cave and adjacent dungeons, which penetrate the rock at the base of the castle.
- We will stop in Limerick:
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Founded by Vikings, the city thrived due to its position on the River Shannon until the Cromwellian conquest. After years of neglect, the city is now experiencing a rebirth, and the historic districts of the city center offer plenty to see and do.
- Visit St. Mary’s Cathedral:
. Founded in the 12th century on a hill on King's Island, this was originally the site of a palace belonging to one of the kings of Munster that was then donated for use as a church. The building has many interesting architectural features including a Romanesque doorway, a pre-Reformation stone altar, 15th-century misericords (supports for choristers) with carvings in black oak, and a reredos (ornamental partition) on the high altar.
- Spend time at the Cliffs of Moher:
View a series of dramatic undulating cliffs plunging 700 feet down to the Atlantic Ocean, offering unforgettable views of Ireland's west coast. On a clear day we may be able to see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay as misty shapes off in the distance. Those who choose may climb O'Brien's Tower, a viewing point built for the benefit of Victorian tourists.
- Enjoy Amenities:
Our base for the next two nights will be Galway area, where breakfast will be provided at the hotel.
- Visit the historic city of Galway:
Galway is strongly associated with Gaelic language, music, and dance, and is one of the most Irish cities in the country. The lively and bustling university town was very prominent in the Middle Ages, and was the site of a nine-month siege during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. With history, culture, and beautiful surroundings, Galway is a favorite of visitors to the west coast.
- Special Dinner:
Tonight, dinner is provided at the hotel.
Day 6 :
Clifden and Kylemore Abbey
- Tour Clifden:
This is the largest town in Connemara. The picturesque market town is nestled between the Twelve Bens mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, at the mouth of Clifden Bay. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the town of Clifden is loved by all who visit. Clifden is populated with friendly and welcoming people and is well known for its history, heritage, activities, and world class hospitality.
- Visit Kylemore Abbey:
Experience one of the most beautiful sights in Ireland, sheltered by the slopes of the Twelve Bens. We will view the abbey, explore its gardens and visit the Craft Shop.
- Enjoy Dinner:
Dinner will be by the group's own arrangement and cost.
Day 7 :
Galway - Conmacnoise - Dublin
- Travel & Sightseeing:
Today we will travel from Galway to Dublin. We will visit Conmacnoise en route.
- Explore an Ancient City:
Resting silently on the eastern bank of the Shannon, Clonmacnoise is one of Ireland’s most profound ancient sites. Founded in 548 AD by St. Ciaran, it soon became one of Europe’s great centers of learning and culture. For the next three evenings we will enjoy our Dublin area hotel, where daily breakfast will be included.
- Visit Dublin:
Dublin is a complex small city, whose 19th-century architecture conceals a modern place filled with trendy shops, pubs, restaurants and boutiques. Long perceived to be stuck in the past, Dublin has experienced a rebirth that has brought new life to the historic, modern, charming, and entertaining city. Spend time wandering the Victorian streets, visiting the incredible churches and museums, exploring the vibrancy of the Temple Bar area, and discovering why Dublin is one of the most popular destinations for Europeans and the world.
Take an introductory Walking Tour to orientate you to the city of Dublin. We will stroll in St. Stephen’s Green, the loveliest of Dublin’s many parks, and visit Merrion Square, famous for its elegant Georgian houses and once the home of such Irish luminaries as Oscar Wilde, Daniel O’Connell, and William Butler Yeats.
- Enjoy a Special Dinner:
Dinner will be served in the hotel, followed by a Musical Pub Crawl.
Day 8 :
Dublin - An Epic Finale
- An Irish Museum Visit:
Explore EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, located in the original departure point in Dublin's Docklands for so many Irish emigrants. The interactive museum will lead us through emigrants reason for leaving, how they influenced the world and the connection between Irish be they near or far.
- Board a Ship:
Climb aboard the Jeanie Johnston, a cargo ship turned famine escape vessel. The original Jeanie Johnston was built in Quebec in 1847. Originally intended as a cargo ship, she ended up carrying a very different kind of cargo - desperate men, women and children fleeing the Famine. She carried emigrants out to Canada and brought timber back. She transported 2,500 Irish emigrants on 16 transatlantic voyages to North America. The Jeanie Johnston is moored next to EPIC.
- Discover Trinity College:
This is the oldest university in Ireland. Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. The beautiful campus features cobbled squares, gardens, a picturesque quadrangle and buildings that date from the 17th to 20th centuries. Trinity College is also home to the Book of Kells, an 8th-century version of the four Gospels decorated with elaborate scripting and illumination. We will view this famous treasure and other early Christian manuscripts in the Colonnades, an exhibition area on the ground floor of the Old Library.
Dinner will be by the group's own arrangement and cost.
Day 9 :
Dublin - Legendary Dublin
- Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral:
Enjoy St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. It is said that St. Patrick baptized converts on this site. Consequently, a church has stood here since 450 AD, making it the oldest Christian site in Dublin. The cathedral’s design is primarily Early English in style, and features a 300-foot-long interior and a square medieval tower that houses the largest ringing peal bells of Ireland. St. Patrick's is closely associated with Jonathan Swift, who was dean from 1713 to 1745, and whose tomb lies in the south aisle.
- Irish History:
Enjoy a moving visit to Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum, a key sight for anyone interested in Ireland's struggle for independence from British rule. Political prisoners were incarcerated, tortured and killed within these walls from 1796 until 1924. The leaders of the 1916 Easter Uprising were executed here, along with many others. Future Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Eamon de Valera was its final prisoner.
- Free Exploration:
Spend some free time to explore and shop at your leisure in Dublin.
- Enjoy Dinner:
Tonight, we will enjoy a farewell meal at Abbey Tavern to celebrate our final evening and our tour coming to an end. We will experience Traditional Irish Music and Entertainment while we dine.
Day 10 :
Departure from Dublin
- Return Home:
Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our WorldStrides representative accompanies us to the airport on our final day.