Discover Cork, Kerry, Galway, Dublin and Belfast on this 14 night Irish Rail Tour. Get familiar with Cork City with its remarkably preserved Georgian Buildings, the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula and Galway city before travelling by rail to Belfast city in Northern Ireland. Here in Belfast, experience the Titanic Belfast and take a wonderful day trip to the Giant’s Causeway and the famous Carrick-a-Rede footbridge.
The best of Ireland by Rail 14 night tour is best accessed by Dublin airport. On arrival in Dublin Airport, travel into the city and take a train from Dublin to Cork City. Cork City’s narrowed tapered streets and Georgian architecture give the city a continental feel. The city has fantastic shopping, sightseeing and entertainment opportunities and on this tour we will use it as a base to discover the seaside town of Cobh, the last port of call for millions of Irish emigrants and Blarney where the world famous Blarney Castle is located. From Cork travel west to the Kingdom County of Kerry! Here discover the amazing Ring of Kerry as well as the unspoiled Dingle Peninsula. After Killarney travel Galway where you will have ample time to explore this festival capital and see the city’s sites. A day trip to Inis Mór in the Aran Islands has been included for you, and you will have plenty of time to explore the festival city of Galway.
After a one night stopover in Dublin, travel directly to Belfast by rail. In Belfast we recommend a visit to Titanic Belfast, the city’s newest and most popular museum and the Belfast murals which have become world recognised symbols of religious and political divisions. On your second day in Belfast take a tour of the Causeway Coast visiting the world famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge, Bushmills Distillery and the highlight of the tour, Giant’s Causeway. After your time in Belfast travel back to Dublin by rail, for a 2 night. Here with your city sightseeing ticket you can see such places as Trinity College and the Book of Kells, The Guinness Storehouse and Christchurch Cathedral but to name a few places.
Included in this tour:
Overnights for this tour
Day 1: Cork City
After arriving at Dublin Airport, travel by train to the City of Cork. Cork City’s narrow streets and Georgian architecture give the city a continental feel. The city has a great number of great places to visit including the well renowned Cork City Gaol, The Church of Saint Anne Shandon and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. First stop on your list of places to visit may be the English Market, a covered fruit and vegetable market established in the 1600s and a famous Cork meeting point. From here you can easily explore the city centre on foot perhaps making your way to Paul Street noted for its ethnic restaurants, chic bars, trendy bookshops and boutiques.
Day 2: Cobh & Blarney Castle Day Tour
Travel to Blarney where you will have plenty of time to explore the Castle grounds at your leisure. A must see is the Rock Close area and Poison Garden where the world’s most poisonous plants are kept behind large cage like structures. After, climb the ramparts of Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone where legend says you will be awarded with the ‘gift of the gab’ which is the skill of great eloquence! After Blarney hop on the coach again and travel onward to Cobh. Cobh is famous for having been the last port of call for millions of Irish emigrants escaping their harsh lives here in Ireland and also for being the last port of call for the Titanic. Two excellent museums explore these events in greater detail; the Cobh Heritage Centre & the Titanic Experience. Saint Coleman’s Cathedral in the town is also well worth a visit. After free time in Cobh, your coach returns you back to Cork city where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Day 3: Cork to Killarney by Rail
Begin the next stage on your Irish rail tour with a scenic train journey from Cork to Killarney in county Kerry. For your first day in Kerry we recommend that you take in Killarney 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 4: The Ring of Kerry
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 5: The Dingle Peninsula
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 6: Killarney to Galway by Rail
Set off early this morning and take a scenic train journey from Killarney to Galway. Galway is the principle city of the West of Ireland and a lively University City. In fact, Galway is often referred to as Ireland’s Festival capital due to the frequent festivals that the city holds. Due to its compact size, the city can be explored easily on foot and you will find many bars to quench your thirst as well as many great restaurants with an excellent food offering. We recommend that you take a stroll down Shop Street where on any given day you are sure to find a variety of buskers and other street performers. Shop Street contains Galway's best preserved ancient building, Lynch's Castle and numerous old brick buildings, bright storefronts and a great selection of excellent shops.
Day 7: Inis Mór, Aran Islands Day Tour
Depart early morning for your journey to Inis Mór, the largest of the three the Aran Islands. Protected from outside influence due to their remote location, the Aran Islands display the traditional Ireland that the rest of the country has largely left behind. Learn about the Aran Jumper and traditional crafts such Basket Weaving. On Inis Mór, you will still find the traditional horse and trap and hear the Gaelic language spoken as the first language. There are more than 50 different monuments of pre-Christian importance on the islands, the most popular being the fort of Dun Aonghasa which stands dramatically against the cliff edge over the western part of the Island. After a long day to explore the island at your leisure take the return ferry back to Rossaveal and the return shuttle back to Galway City.
Day 8: Cliffs of Moher & Burren Day Tour
It is few people that visit Ireland and not take in a trip to Ireland’s most famous attraction, the Cliffs of Moher! Travel by Galway Bay and stop first at the village of Kinvara, where Dunguaire Castle can be found. Dunguaire Castle was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan; its name derives from the Dun of King Guaire, the legendary king of Connacht. Continue through the Burren where you will witness a lunar landscape like you have never seen before, the Burren is home to numerous ancient monuments including the 5,800 year old Poulnabrone Dolmen Tomb. Settle at the coastal village of Doolin in County Clare for a lunch stop before visiting the 200-metre high Cliffs of Moher. Revel in astonishing views over the Atlantic Ocean and the Aran Islands and take some time to appreciate the natural beauty of the cliffs before returning to Galway.
Day 9: Return to Dublin by Rail
This morning check out of your hotel and travel by rail back to Dublin City, arriving in time to take in some of its most famous visitor attractions. If the weather is nice you might decide to talk a walk in Dublin’s famous ‘Stephen’s Green’ or check out the shops and cafes on Grafton Street, stopping like many people do to take a picture with Molly Malone, one of Dublin’s most famous statues. You may feel like learning more about Ireland’s political history by taking a trip to Leinster House where the current parliament sits or Dublin Castle which was the seat of English rule from the 13th Century. Dublin Castle also houses the Chester Beatty Library which displays manuscripts, prints, miniature paintings and early printed books from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The Chapel Royal with its fine plaster decoration and carved oaks and galleries can also be visited at Dublin Castle. This evening, take another opportunity to check out Dublin’s traditional music and pub scene. The Cobblestone and the Auld Dubliner are famous venues and many of our past customers have enjoyed a drink or two in Kehoe’s Bar, one of last great heritage pubs of Dublin, this pub retains much of its Victorian trappings leaving the visitor feeling like they have stepped back in time!
Day 10 & 11: Travel to Belfast by Rail & Belfast Sightseeing
Travel from Dublin’s Connolly Station to Belfast by train & on arrival begin your Belfast City sightseeing. 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. The Belfast Murals are another must see in Belfast, these have become famous symbols of Northern Ireland, depicting the religious and political divisions. The Crumlin Road Gaol is also well worth a visit, this dates back to 1845 and closed in 1996. Tours of the prison tell the fascinating history of the site and the underground tunnel that connect 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 12: 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 13& 14: 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. 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 15: End of Tour
This morning, check out of your hotel for the journey home.
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