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Irish Culture & Castles


Package Includes

  • Small groups of 10-18 travelers guaranteed
  • International flights NYC-Belfast, Dublin-NYC
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 9 nights in First Class accommodations that evoke the local character
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 22 meals: 9 buffet breakfasts, 6 lunches & 7 dinners (including a home hosted lunch, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions. Water, coffee and tea with all meals. Beer and wine included with dinner
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size of 10-18 travelers, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Live like royalty during overnight stays in two magnificent castles
  • Explore the Titanic Experience, a new museum in the shipyard where the fated liner was built
  • See the grave of Yeats - and join a local family for a "poetry lunch" that honors the poet’s verse
  • Watch a sheep-shearing demonstration and learn to make real Irish scones at Rathbaun Farm
  • Enjoy lunch with a local family on Molanna Farm and learn about life on an Irish homestead
  • Tour the Flying Boat Museum, where an airstrip served World War II aircraft
  • Learn about thoroughbred breeding at the Irish National Stud, and stroll its breathtaking Japanese garden
  • Tour the Guinness Storehouse and learn about Ireland most famous export

This is a moderately active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend 2-3 hours on our feet during tours. The pace is moderate, with 1 one-night stay and 4 two-night stays. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.


DAY 1, Thursday - Depart the USA
Depart New York for Belfast, Northern Ireland. Your overnight flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for the journey

DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Belfast
Upon arrival in Belfast, transfer to our hotel. You’ll have the balance of the day to rest or explore on your own. Tonight, join your Tour Manager & fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner
Overnight: Radisson Blu Hotel, Belfast
Meals: Dinner

DAY 3, Saturday - Discover Belfast
Belfast rests at the mouth of the River Lagan and on the western shores of Belfast Lough. To the northwest, mountains rise to the Antrim Plateau. This lovely setting has given the city a microclimate that nurtures its green spaces. And its location on calm waters has made it ideal for shipbuilding; the most famous vessel christened here was the Titanic. It’s a city rich in history, architecture, and culture, as we’ll see during a full-day tour. The colonnaded façade and towering dome of the Edwardian City Hall start off our exploration. We continue to the hallowed quads of the university district and the newly renovated Ulster Museum, a repository of historic and artistic treasures. We will also visit a neighborhood where buildings are still scarred from The Troubles, which came to an end with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. After lunch at a local pub, we explore the Titanic Experience, a nine-gallery museum in the dockyard where the ship was built. Tonight, you’re free to take in the nightlife of Belfast on your own
Overnight: Radisson Blu Hotel, Belfast
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4, Sunday - Travel to Donegal / Explore Giant’s Causeway /Discover Ulster American Folk Park
Leaving Belfast, we stop at the imposing Dunluce Castle. These dramatic ruins seem to have been carved directly into a basalt cliff overlooking the sea. Local legend and lore make visiting Ireland especially unique. And there is no shortage of tales to accompany the Giant’s Causeway, our next stop. The giant Finn McCool is said to have created this geological wonder so he could walk to Scotland to confront another giant. From there, the story varies. Today, a massive floor of 38,000 hexagonal stones stretches into the sea. Next we visit Omagh and the Ulster American Folk Park. This open-air museum examines the historic link between Ulster and America by telling the story of 18th- and 19th-century immigration to the U.S. We’ll walk through the Old World of preserved houses, stroll through a full-size replica of an immigrant ship, and "arrive" in the New World via a recreated American street circa 1720. Later, we enjoy dinner at our hotel in Donegal
Overnight: Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa, Donegal
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, Monday - Visit to Derry/ Donegal Town
After breakfast, We make an excursion to Derry, where we enjoy a walking tour of its main sights, including the magnificent St. Columbs Cathedral, Guild Hall, and the medieval walls, among the best preserved fortifications in the Western World. Back in Donegal tonight, we head to the quaint seaside village of Killybegs for a delicious dinner of fresh fish
Overnight: Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa, Donegal
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Tuesday - Visit Belleek / Drumcliff for a "Poetry Lunch" / Explore Knock Shrine
Begin today with a drive to the famed Belleek pottery factory. Here, porcelain is shaped into thin, iridescent keepsakes. Continue to Drumcliff. This lovely town was home to a young William Butler Yeats. The poet died in 1939 in France, and ten years later his remains were re-interred here by the Irish navy. We’ll visit his gravesite. For lunch, we join a local family to enjoy the vistas over Lough Hill and the "Land of Hearts Desire" that inspired Yeats. They’ve invited us to join them for a "poetry lunch," accompanied by some of his early landscape verse. Sated and inspired, we continue to the town of Knock in County Mayo. Many believe that the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist appeared here in 1879, and so the Knock Shrine in this tiny village hosts 1.5 million pilgrims each year. We’ll visit the shrine that commemorates the sighting. Tonight, we take our meal and rest our heads at luxurious Ashford Castle
Overnight: Ashford Castle, Cong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7, Wednesday - Travel to Ennis / Cruise Lough Corrib / Cooking Demonstration / Discover Cliffs of Moher
After breakfast, we journey to the tranquil Lough Corrib. Oscar Wilde’s father had a summerhouse on its shores. We'll take a cruise on its calm waters and later continue to Galway, where we’ll tour this lively college town on the sea. After lunch on your own, we return to the countryside and stop at Rathbaun Farm, where sheep-shearing is a fine-tuned skill reserved for the welcoming farmers we’ll meet. While here, we’ll learn the secrets to making traditional Irish scones. Our final stop today is also the most dramatic – the Cliffs of Moher. This rock wall towers 700 feet over the crashing surf of the Atlantic. It’s sure to be one of the most spectacular meetings of land and water you’re likely to see. We conclude our day in Ennis, whose actual name is a mouthful: Inis Cluain Ramh Fhada, or "island of the long rowing meadow"
Overnight: Old Ground Hotel, Ennis
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Thursday - Enjoy Home-Hosted Lunch / Visit Adare & Flying Boat Museum
We journey to Limerick City this morning to tour the 13th-century King John’s Castle on King’s Island in the River Shannon.* The fortress has a long history of struggle among Vikings, Normans, Catholics, and Protestants. We continue to Molanna Farm, where we’re invited to join a local family for lunch, complete with stories of life on an Irish homestead. Our hosts have true local charm, but our next stop is prettier than a picture – the village of Adare. We’ll take some time admire its pastel-hued storefronts and thatched-roof houses. Our next stop is Foynes and its Flying Boat Museum. Here, we learn the history of Ireland’s first international airport, used during World War II. During our talk with museum expert, we’ll enjoy an Irish Coffee – invented here in 1943 to keep cold, wet passengers warm
Overnight: Old Ground Hotel, Ennis
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Friday - Travel to Dublin / Tour Irish National Stud
On our way to Dublin today, we pay a visit to the Irish National Stud, a thoroughbred breeding center established in 1946. Horses are bred here for royalty, and we’ll stroll the grounds to admire immaculate stallions, graceful mares, and playful foals. Our guide will explain all that goes into producing high-caliber horses that have won all five racing Classics. We’ll also have time to enjoy the property’s century-old Japanese gardens, considered by many to be the finest in Europe. For many, it’s a soothing experience to amble along paths and cross tiny arched bridges. When the gardens were laid out in 1906, their aim was to symbolize the "Life of Man." We arrive in Dublin, Ireland’s academic and literary center, later today. Our introduction to this historic city takes place in its oldest pub, the Brazen Head, dating to 1198. Irish folklore and storytelling are on the menu amidst candlelit splendor
Overnight: Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10, Saturday - Explore Dublin / See Book of Kells / Lunch at Guinness Storehouse
We begin our exploration of Dublin with a visit to Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest walled city parks. More than green space, it is home to numerous monuments, the presidential residence, and Ratra House, the boyhood home of Winston Churchill. We might also see fallow deer grazing in the fields. We continue to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Cathedral of Ireland founded in 1191. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was dean of the cathedral from 1713 to 1745. On O’Connell Street, we admire the handsome buildings that line the city’s main thoroughfare. Next, at Trinity College, one of the oldest gospel books grabs our attention, the Book of Kells. This illuminated manuscript was created in the year 800 by Celtic monks. For lunch, we stop at the Guinness Storehouse. You can pull your own pint here, and browse the award-winning multimedia exhibits about the city’s best-known export. This evening, we bid farewell to Ireland during our Farewell Dinner at a special venue
Overnight: Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11, Sunday - Depart for the USA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home
Meals: Breakfast

*May 9 Departure: Day 8, The King John’s Castle tour will not operate due to closure for renovation. A visit to Bunratty Folk Park will be included followed by a view of King John’s Castle.

    Book your Optional Tours before you travel and see more, save time, save money, and protect your investment. Tours purchased while traveling may cost an extra 10% or even more! Tours often sell out - avoid disappointment! Save your cash - many countries do not accept credit cards. Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure.

    Book your Optional Tours before you travel and see more, save time, save money, and protect your investment. Tours purchased while traveling may cost an extra 10% or even more! Tours often sell out - avoid disappointment! Save your cash - many countries do not accept credit cards. Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure.

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    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include optional tours and gratuities for guides/tour managers.


    Additional Information:
    Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.


    Entry Requirements:
    Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.




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