5 CENTRE TOUR OF IRELAND
This tour can be started from any of Ireland's airports although the ideal situation would be starting from and returning to Dublin.
This tour can be started from any of Ireland's airports although the ideal situation would be starting from and returning to Dublin.
The longer 5 Center Tour is ideal for the traveler that wishes to see the best parts of the whole island of Ireland but would prefer not to be in different accommodation every night. This tour means you will be based in 5 locations using them as a base from which to explore the surrounding areas. As a result, this tour is more relaxing and less hectic than other tours.
Your first excursion will depend on which airport you arrive at, whether it be Dublin, Shannon or Cork. Throughout the 14 nights, you'll visit attractions such as Trinity College and Kilmainham Gaol in the capital. In the southeast, there's Powerscourt House, Kilkenny Castle and the Waterford Crystal exhibition. In Cork, there's the Cobh heritage center and of course Blarney Castle while the Dingle peninsula and Killarney are your stops in Kerry, In Clare, you'll visit the famous Cliffs of Moher and the Burren landscape. Just above Clare is Galway and from here you will see the Aran Islands and Connemara. You will then travel north to Donegal and Derry and while there will have the chance to visit such famed sites as The Bushmills Distillery, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and of course the Giant's Causeway. Finally, just 45 minutes north of Dublin you'll find the ancient Megalithic Tombs at Newgrange, Irelands most famous attraction as well as Trim castle and The Hill of Tara.
Even though the Tour itinerary provided clearly shows how you will be able to pack as many of Irelands most historical and beautiful attractions into your stay, it is advised that you take some time out to enjoy the people and culture, for the full Irish experience!
Overnights for this tour:
Included in your price:
Rental of a economy-size car. Included with your car is all compulsory insurances - Collision Damage Waiver insurance (CDW with an excess/deductible), theft protection insurance, location fee of €30, Road fund tax, sales tax at 13.5%, unlimited free mileage, third party liability insurance, 24 hour peace of mind breakdown cover.
Prices are per person based on 2 persons in each room with full Irish breakfast and taxes included. A single supplement will apply to rooms and car rental in the case of single occupancy.
Please note that we charge in Euros (€). Prices in other currencies are for indication only and subject to fluctuation.
Day 1: Dublin to Kilkenny
After collecting your rental car your first stop is the National Stud and Japanese Gardens where a Horse Museum tracing the history of the horse in Ireland using artifacts, illustrations and text is located. In fact, the winner of the 2003 Californian ‘Breeders Cup Mile’ race is a National Stud horse, the 3rd in the last 9 years. The Japanese Gardens are situated in the grounds of the Stud Farm and were created between 1906 and 1910. They are planned to symbolize the 'Life of Man' from the cradle to the grave. On to Kilkenny - Long renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital, the city’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. Characterized by beautifully restored old buildings, Kilkenny City is small and compact enough to explore on foot, yet full of fascinating, historical buildings. Kilkenny Castle is a 12th-century castle remodeled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands. Also in Kilkenny is Saint Canice's Cathedral, the second-longest of Ireland's medieval cathedrals. Built on the site of an earlier church, the major portion of the work that produced the beautiful Gothic structure was carried out in the middle of the 13th-century.
Days 2 & 3: While in Kilkenny
There are a number of exceptional day trips to be experienced from Kilkenny and all within easy reach. These include a trip to The Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle in the neighboring County of Tipperary. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. The Rock of Cashel, which rears above the plain, dominated the land routes southwards. Kings of Ireland, as well as Munster, came to the Rock of Cashel and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock. Cahir Castle, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure and is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. You can then travel on to Waterford where you will see the Waterford Crystal factory. An alternate route would be to visit the county of Wexford to the southeast. This would allow visits to the Irish National Heritage Park, the 13th-century Tintern Abbey, Hook Lighthouse, Dunbrody Abbey, the Kennedy Homestead, the ancestral home of JFK and finally the Dunbrody Famine Ship. An interactive exhibition re-enacts life on the Dunbrody as she carried her passengers from New Ross to the US and Canada 150 years ago. Visitors will experience life on board an emigrant ship as they explore the authentically recreated decks of the ship. The original Dunbrody was a three-masted barque built in Quebec, Canada, for the Graves family of New Ross, Co. Wexford in 1845.
Day 4: Kilkenny to Killarney
If you did not visit the Rock of Cashel or Cahir Castle while staying in Kilkenny, then make sure to visit them en route to Killarney. Otherwise, Blarney Castle awaits. Onwards to Killarney. With its three famous lakes and majestic mountain ranges, Killarney has been the inspiration of poets and painters over many centuries. The Killarney National Park is internationally renowned both for its scenic beauty and scientific interest. There are many walks and trails around Killarney including a 2-hour tourist trail around the town itself. You will also have a chance to visit Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe or simply take a stroll through the streets of this quaint town to enjoy the great pubs and enjoy the traditional Irish music on offer.
Days 5 & 6: While in Killarney
There are numerous day trips to be had while based in Killarney. The two most scenic drives in the area include the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula Driving routes, two of Ireland’s most picturesque drives. The Ring of Kerry includes visits to colorful villages, ancient heritage sites dotted around the peninsula including Skellig Michael just off the Kerry coast and Staigue Fort. The Dingle Peninsula has more interesting antiquities, historic sites, and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland. The main town Dingle is the most westerly in Europe and attracts large numbers of visitors each year, many of whom come to learn the Irish language in the surrounding Irish speaking district. Also in the area are An Dún Beag Promontory Fort from 800 BC as well as the Blasket Islands and Gallarus Oratory. Gallarus Oratory was built between the seventh and eighth century and is the best-preserved early Christian church in Ireland. On to Brandon Creek from where legend has it that St. Brendan discovered the North American continent in the 6th century. Alternative routes include day trips to Blarney Castle and the Titanic Train in Cork or the northern route to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren region of County Clare including Bunratty Castle. If you wish to stay closer to Killarney, take a wonderful walk or pony and trap through the Gap of Dunloe, returning to Killarney by boat across the Lakes of Killarney.
Day 7: Killarney to Galway
One of your longest but most dramatic days of your tour brings you from Killarney along the west coast to Galway City, Ireland’s festival capital. First stop will be the Village of Adare in County Limerick. Adare is regarded by many a seasoned traveler as Ireland’s prettiest village with its charming thatched cottages, manicured public park, and ancient church. From Adare continue along the N20 towards Limerick City of ‘Angelas Ashes’ fame and home to King Johns Castle. Shortly after this, you arrive at Bunratty Castle. Built-in 1425, this majestic castle was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor. Within the grounds of the Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th-century Irish life is vividly recreated. Continuing on to the magnificent ‘Cliffs of Moher’. The majestic Cliffs of Moher are without doubt one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and overlook the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of West Clare. You then arrive at the village of Doolin. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions in any one of its excellent pubs. Then it’s on to Galway via the lunar-like Burren Region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs.
Day 8: While in Galway
The hauntingly beautiful Connemara Region awaits you. Just west of Galway, situated on the most western seaboard of Europe, this unspoiled region boasts breathtaking scenery. The characteristic features of Connemara include its rugged, unpolluted coastline, dramatic mountains, numerous lakes and rivers and woodlands, and the renowned Connemara National Park. Visit 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 prefer to take the ferry 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 Aengus. Dún Aengus is located on top of a 300 ft high sea cliff and is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe. This evening, back to the Quays area of the city for some of the best traditional entertainment in the country.
Day 9: Galway to Donegal
The most direct route to Donegal will have a driving time of less than 4 hours. On route to Donegal, you will travel by Ireland’s most visited pilgrimage location, the Shrine at Knock. Shortly after this, you can take a slight detour to the Coleman Irish Music Center is a celebration of Irish Music, Culture and Heritage as expressed in the South Sligo style of music played by Michael Coleman and other musicians of his time. Southwest of Sligo Town you will find the Ancient Tombs of Carrowmore. Over 60 tombs have been located by archaeologists to date. Dating back to nearly 5,000 B.C. and centuries older than the Pyramids of Egypt, Carrowmore is Ireland’s largest megalithic cemetery and is considered to be one of the most important in Europe. Shortly after leaving Sligo on route to County Donegal you will arrive at Drumcliff Churchyard, perhaps the most visited graveyard in Ireland. William Butler Yeats is buried here under the epitaph that he penned, “Cast a Cold Eye on Life, on Death. Horsemen pass by!”. The Churchyard stands in the shadow of the magnificent Benbulben. Continue north until you reach Belleek home to Belleek Pottery, where there is an excellent visitor center that is open from April to October. Set up in 1857, the factory is famous worldwide for its ornate fine Parian China. Other major touring attractions in Donegal include the Railway Heritage Center, Donegal castle and Donegal Craft Village in Donegal Town. Heading west from Donegal Town, on the edge of the Atlantic is Ireland’s premier fishing port of Killybegs. Nearby are the magnificent Slieve League Cliffs which at over 1,000 ft (300 meters) the cliffs are the highest marine cliffs in Europe. Next stop along this route is the Gaelic speaking village of Glencolumbcille where you can take the opportunity to relive local rural life as experienced in 18th, 19th and 20th century Ireland.
Days 10 & 11: While in Donegal
There are a number of other options available to you today including the ancient territory of the Inishowen Peninsula is the most northerly part of Ireland. Monuments of an earlier age seem to grow from the landscape as castles, towers and ancient churches shimmer in the sunshine. Your tour begins at Grianan an Aileach, the ancient Temple of the Sun that was Christianized by St. Patrick. Founded by the Druids, this ring fort dates back to some 2,000 years B.C. The panoramic view from the walls of this ancient palace is truly magnificent; seven counties can be seen on a clear day. Onwards north to Buncrana and the Tullyarvan Mill - a tastefully restored corn mill dating from the 19th-century, today developed as a local craft center and tourist amenity.
From Buncrana to Dunree Head and Fort Dunree, constructed in 1798 by the English as a defensive measure against Napoleonic invasion. At the top of the Inishowen Peninsula is Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head. It is not just Ireland’s most northerly point, but also an area of great scenic beauty and of historical, scientific and ecological importance. The area is steeped in history and folklore. Continuing around the peninsula, you arrive at the pretty village of Culduff with its stone circle. Deep in the heart of County Donegal is Glenveagh National Park and is considered by many to be Ireland's finest national park. At the core of the park is the Glenveagh Estate, originally the home of the notorious landlord John George Adair, much despised for his eviction of Irish tenant farmers in the 1860s.
Day 12: Donegal to Dublin
Today you will be traveling to Dublin. Travel the scenic coastal route to Dublin via Belfast. Continue your sightseeing of Belfast today taking in visits to those major attractions that you did not have the time for the previous day including the Titanic Quarter where you can take one of the excellent local tours or the Black cab Tours. Other major areas of interest in Belfast include St Anne's Cathedral, City Hall, The Belfast Wheel and of course in the evening, pay a visit to the Crowne Liquor Saloon. It's amazing how many visitors from abroad don't realize that the Titanic was actually built in Belfast! Because she bore the name of the port of Liverpool on her stern people assume that this was where she was built. In fact, Liverpool was simply the home port of the White Star Line fleet of which Titanic was the ultimate flagship. Titanic was conceived, designed, built and launched in Belfast and... As the locals fondly say, "She was alright when she left here!!!" The quandary that you will be faced with when you reach Dublin is, not what you should see but that you should leave out. Knee-deep in history and with its own unique sense of humor and wit, Dublin is an invigorating city. Take the opportunity to visit some of Ireland’s most history-laden locations, including Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, The National History Museum and not forgetting The Guinness Brewery, St. Patrick’s Cathedral & why not finish up the day in Dublin’s Temple Bar section and enjoy the wonderful pubs and music it is famous for.
Days 13 & 14: While in Dublin
Continue your sightseeing in Dublin today visiting the many historical and modern attractions that this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Other attractions include Christchurch Cathedral which was founded in the year 1030 by Sitric, King of the Dublin Norsemen, the James Joyce Center & the Dublin Writers Museum. Of course, you may wish to take time out to shop in Grafton Street or any one of a number of narrow and quaint streets that the café strewn city center has to offer. The Dublin Hop On Hop Off Bus is an excellent way of visiting many of Dublin’s most historic locations. This evening why not spend some time in the Temple Bar area. This small area boasts a dazzling choice of restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops to suit all tastes and pockets, all within easy walking distance of Temple Bar's many cultural centers and galleries. Its narrow cobbled streets are pedestrianized and are ideally suited to a leisurely stroll through the quarter. There is also the opportunity to experience an evening’s entertainment at any one of a number of excellent traditional Irish shows.
Day 15: End of Tour
Check out of your hotel and bid farewell (for now) to Ireland!
|Jan-Mar & Nov-Dec||€1,650||€2,190||€2,980||€2,390|
|April & October||€1,650||€2,490||€3,280||€2,690|
|July & September||€2,070||€2,890||€3,950||€3,190|