This combined rail and private chauffeured tour takes you to Belfast, Dublin, the Southwest and West of Ireland
This combined rail and private chauffeured tour takes you to Belfast, Dublin, the Southwest and West of Ireland. You spend 3 nights in wonderful Killarney in County Kerry, 2 nights in one of the world’s best hotels, the stunning Ashford Castle, 3 nights in the Northern capital of Belfast and finally 2 nights in Dublin. In Killarney you will have the opportunity to visit some of the famed scenic attractions in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. You will tour both the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. For the next 3 days, you will have the services of an experienced private driver as you travel to the west of Ireland and Ashford Castle via the magnificent Cliffs of Moher and lunar like Burren region of County Clare before travelling to Belfast via Clonmacnoise and the ancient Newgrange Tombs.
As well as visiting some of Belfast’s most iconic landmarks including The Titanic Experience, Crumlin Road Gaol and Belfast City Hall, your private Black Cab tour will take you to the famed Murals of Belfast in both the republican and loyalist areas of the city, giving you a local’s perspective of ‘The Troubles’ that plagued Northern Ireland during the conflict. The next day, you will take a tour of the Causeway Coast visiting the world famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Bushmills Distillery and the highlight of the tour, The Giant’s Causeway. After Belfast travel back to Dublin by rail for a 2 night stay. In Dublin, with your city sightseeing tickets, you can see such places as Trinity College and the Book of Kells, The Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol and Christchurch Cathedral to name but a few of the numerous Dublin highlights.
Day 1 – To Killarney by Rail
Upon arriving in Dublin Airport, you will be met by our driver who will take you to Heuston Station for your train journey to Killarney. For your first day in Kerry we recommend that you take in Killarney Town and the surrounding attractions.
You may decide to visit Muckross House and Gardens on the outskirts of the town or take a tour around Killarney national park by horse and carriage. One of the main attractions in Killarney is the town itself with its colourful shops, cute cafes and ample fine restaurants. There is always plenty of traditional Irish music on offer in Killarney in its many old style pubs!
Day 2 – Ring of Kerry Tour
Today we have pre-booked a Ring of Kerry bus tour for you. On your tour discover landscapes of magnificent beauty alongside the backdrop of the grand MacGillycuddy Reeks mountain range, rivers and rolling countryside. Along the way, you will encounter larger bustling towns to the more traditional quaint Irish villages.
Visit such places as Glenbeigh which holds the famous Kerry Bog Village, a cluster of reconstructed cottages dating back to the 1800’s, Cahersiveen, the principal town of the peninsula and Sneem with its brightly painted buildings and quaint village green. Return to Killarney via Ladies View, a famous stopping point to view the three Lakes of Killarney in all of their splendour.
Day 3 – Dingle Peninsula Guided Tour
This morning hop on the coach to do a comprehensive day tour of the Dingle Peninsula which offers some of Ireland’s best scenery and spectacular views. The Dingle Peninsula or the Corca Dhuibhne as it is named in our native tongue is believed to have more than 2000 ancient monuments, the locals here speak fluent Irish and the town is well known for its fantastic traditional music and dance culture.
On your travels you will discover Dingle Town with its brightly coloured shops and Slea head which is known to be the most westerly point in Europe and has astonishingly beautiful view especially of the nearby Blasket Islands. Your tour also takes in the countryside where David Lean filmed ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ and the landscape backdrops for the Irish scenes of film ‘Far and Away’.
Day 4 – Killarney to Ashford Castle
This morning, you will meet your private chauffeur who will take you touring the west of Ireland and then bring you to Belfast over the next 3 days. Today travel north from Killarney via the magnificent Cliffs of Moher and Burren region of County Clare before continuing into the unspoilt west of Ireland and the luxury of Ashford Castle. Enjoy the wonderful facilities at the Castle or continue touring in the immediate vicinity. The castle is situated in the village of Cong, famed for being the location of the Double Oscar winning movie, ‘The Quiet Man’ starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Day 5 – While in Ashford Castle
Today, you have the choice of continuing touring in the hauntingly beautiful Connemara region or further north in County Mayo, equally picturesque and the least populated area of Ireland. Alternatively, you may prefer to spend some time enjoying the many facilities in Ashford Castle.
There is also the option of taking the ferry from Rossaveel to the Aran Islands. Aran will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians. Take a pony and trap, or a guided tour from the pier up the island to the stone fort of Dun Aonghus. The fort is located on top of a 300ft high sea cliff and is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe.
Day 6 –Ashford Castle to Belfast
The journey to Belfast will be broken up with visits to 2 of Ireland’s most iconic visitor attractions, the monastic ruins of Clonmacnoise and the ancient tombs at Newgrange. Clonmacnoise is an early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon and includes the ruins of a cathedral, two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs. From here, take a slight detour to the megalithic tombs of Newgrange. One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt and is foremost among the passage-tombs of Europe. On to Belfast.
Today, the remnants of Belfast’s troubled past make it an interesting destination for tourists from all over the world. First stop on your tour of Belfast might be Titanic Belfast, built on the site where the Titanic was originally constructed; galleries reconstruct scenes from Belfast at the time of its construction, the launch, the maiden voyage, the sinking and the aftermath. Explore Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. Visitor attractions include the Metropolitan Arts Centre (the MAC), St Anne's Cathedral, the NI War Memorial, the Oh Yeah Music Centre and the Discover Ulster Scots Centre. Full of colourful street art, this area of town is buzzing with music, entertainment and fun at night.
Day 7 – Belfast Sightseeing
This day in Belfast will give you more time to explore the heritage and culture of the city using your Hop on Hop off Bus Tickets. One of the highlights of your tour will be the private Black Cab tour with a local cab driver who will take you to the famed Murals of Belfast in both the republican and loyalist areas of the city, giving you a local’s perspective of ‘The Troubles’ that plagued Northern Ireland during the conflict.
Another place worth visiting is The Crumlin Road Gaol which dates back to 1845 and closed in 1996. Tours of the prison tell the fascinating history of the site and the underground tunnel that connects the Gaol to the Crumlin Road Courthouse is an interesting feature. Tonight get out and about and discover Belfast’s stylish pub scene, of great interest to many is the Crown Liquor Saloon, one of the most famous Victorian gin palaces which once flourished in industrial cities, the saloon dates back to 1826, and its furnishings and fittings are authentic and fascinating.
Day 8 - Causeway Coast Guided Tour
Enjoy the first stop of the day at Carrickfergus Castle, before travelling onward to the world famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge where the brave members of the group make the journey across the 30m chasm! The not so brave can enjoy the stunning views or enjoy an exhilarating cliff walk.
Travel onward to Bushmills distillery and enjoy a swift taste or two of their famous tipple before journeying to the highlight of the tour – The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. Spend some time climbing over the ancient stones, taking photographs, and appreciating the folklore and legend that surrounds this famous attraction. Re-board the coach again and make the return journey to Belfast stopping at the ancient ruins of Dunluce Castle on the way.
Day 9 - Return to Dublin by Rail, Dublin City Sightseeing
After travelling by train from Belfast to Dublin, use your Dublin sightseeing tickets to bus your way around Dublin City. The Dublin sightseeing ticket lasts for two days and includes stops close to all of Dublin’s main attractions including The National Museums, Trinity College and The Book of Kells, St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral to name just a few places. You will also visit the Guinness Storehouse or if you prefer a visit to the Jameson or another Irish Whiskey experience, that can be arranged.
Take a relaxing walk through the lovely city centre park of St. Stephen’s Green. On one night of your time in Dublin, we would certainly recommend that you visit Dublin’s busy Temple Bar to check out its famous traditional Irish music and vibrant nightlife!
Day 10 - Dublin City Sightseeing
Continue your sightseeing in Dublin today. Visit Dublin Castle which was built in the early thirteenth century on the site of a Viking settlement and served as the headquarters of English administration in Ireland prior to Irish independence. Kilmainham Gaol is also a must. One of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe, it covers some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland's history.
Also worth a visit are EPIC, the Irish emigration museum and the GPO (General Post Office) which houses the ‘GPO Witness History’ visitor attraction. This exhibition tells the story of the 1916 rising and the aftermath of this historic rebellion. Of course, you will also have the opportunity to visit such places as The James Joyce Centre and the The Little Museum of Dublin where you will discover the fantastic story of Dublin on the museum’s famous 29-minute guided tour, where the quirky staff offer brilliant Irish storytelling, which will make you laugh a lot.
Finally, enjoy a final evening at the ‘The Irish House Party’ complete with Food and superb traditional music and dance.
Day 11 - End of Tour
This morning, check out of your hotel for the journey home.
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