Highlights of Ireland
The Highlights of Ireland Tour, our most sought-after vacations, is a 6-night tour that can be started from any Irish Airport and is specifically tailored to include many of the most popular visitor attractions in the country.
The Highlights of Ireland Tour, our most sought-after vacation, is a 6-night tour that can be started from any Irish Airport and is specifically tailored to include many of the most popular visitor attractions in the country. With attractions such as Trinity College and Kilmainham Gaol in the capital, Powerscourt House and the Waterford Crystal exhibition in the southeast, Cobh heritage center and of course Blarney Castle in the south as well as the Dingle peninsula, Ring of Kerry and Killarney in Kerry. In Clare, you'll visit the famous Cliffs of Moher and the Burren landscape. just above Clare is Galway, the Aran Islands and Connemara and finally, just 45 minutes north of Dublin, you'll find the ancient Megalithic Tombs at Newgrange, Irelands most visited ancient attraction. Depending on where you fly into, the route taken will change accordingly.
Although only a 6-night tour, the memories made whilst here will last a lifetime, from the incredible scenery, the culture, and the people, this is a vacation you'll never forget!
Speaking of the people, as Irish we pride ourselves on being some of the friendliest and welcoming in the world, and although Ireland is not a big country, you'll undoubtedly notice the differences in accents and dialects as you travel across it.
Even though the tour itinerary provided clearly shows how you will be able to pack as many of Irelands' most historic and beautiful attractions into your stay, we advise you to take some time out to enjoy the people and culture, for the full Irish experience!
Overnights for this tour:
• Galway 2 Nights
• Killarney 2 Nights
• Kilkenny 1 Night
• Dublin 1 Night
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.
Itinerary for the 6 night Highlights of Ireland self-drive tour
This is merely a brief summary of the actual itinerary, the complete and detailed version of which will be provided upon booking the tour.
Day 1: Dublin to Galway
Just north of Dublin, you will find Ireland's most visited attraction, the megalithic tombs in Newgrange. One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt. The magnificent entrance slab - 'one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art' - is especially satisfying, the confidently executed spiral and lozenge motifs still crisply defined after 5,000 years. Also close by are the Hill of Tara, said to be the seat of the ancient High Kings of Ireland and of course Trim castle, the setting for the Mel Gibson movie ‘Braveheart’. You may, of course, prefer to travel directly west to Galway City which can now be achieved is just over 2 hours. However, another slight detour at Moate just before the town of Athlone will bring you to the Ancient Monastic Settlement of Clonmacnoise. An early Christian site founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th century on the banks of the River Shannon, the site includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight churches (10th -13th-century), two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs. On to Galway, the ‘City of the Tribes’, also known as Ireland’s Cultural and festival capital. With its street entertainers and traditional pubs with great music, Galway and in particular, the Quays area of the city center will captivate you, particularly in the evening time. Other sites in Galway include Ireland’s largest medieval parish church, the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra, dating back to 1320. It’s said that Christopher Columbus reputedly worshipped in this church in 1477. Also nearby are Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square.
Day 2: 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, rivers, 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, you can head back to the Quays area of the city for some of the best traditional entertainment in the country.
Day 3: Galway to Killarney
The most direct route will take you via Bunratty Castle in County Clare, Limerick City of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ fame and the pretty village of Adare in County Limerick followed by the town of Killarney. The longer, more scenic route will take you to Killarney via the west coast of County Clare where you will encounter the lunar-like Burren Region, the ancient megalithic tombs at Poulnabrone and of course the truly spectacular Cliffs of Moher. The Burren, from the Gaelic word Boireann, is an area of limestone rock covering imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. The Cliffs lay claim to one of the most astonishing views in Ireland, on a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of the Connemara region. The Cliffs of Moher rise from Hag's Head to the south and reach their highest point (214 meters) just north of O’Brien’s Tower. Before the cliffs, however, is the village of Doolin. Doolin is a small fishing village on the northern end of the Cliffs of Moher which is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions and festivals or 'fleadhanna' of Irish and international music. A ferry operating from Doolin Pier is a daily service that can take groups of up to 150 people across to the islands or to the base of the nearby cliffs. Time permitting, a visit to Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney’s national park is a must as well, as is a visit to at least one of the great traditional pubs in the town complete with excellent music and company.
Day 4: While in Killarney
You have several touring options for your day in Killarney. Chief amongst these is the Ring of Kerry driving tour. The Ring of Kerry is a journey through some of the country’s most outstanding scenery around the Iveragh Peninsula. Stunning mountain and coastal scenery combined with colorful towns and villages will make this one of the highlights of your tour. For those who wish to take a break from driving, we can arrange a bus tour through this route. Following the peninsula drive, you then arrive at Muckross House, a magnificent Victorian mansion completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert. The location of the House is spectacular, close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake and set beneath the impressive backdrop of Torc and Mangerton mountains. As an alternative to the Ring of Kerry tour, you may prefer to take a wonderful tour by pony and trap that takes you through the Black Valley in the Gap of Dunloe. After a snack at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you will return to Killarney by boat via the beautiful lakes of Killarney.
Day 5: Killarney to Kilkenny
The direct route to Kilkenny will take in the region of 3 hours to drive (stops not included). An alternative route would be to travel via Blarney Castle where a climb to the Castle ramparts will allow you the opportunity to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’ for the ‘Gift of Eloquence’ in County Cork. The next stop is Cahir Castle, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, which retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure. It is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. 10 miles further on and you arrive at the Rock of Cashel. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and the 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 this spot and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock and converted the local King, Aenghus, here in the 5th Century. Brian Boru was also crowned King of Ireland on this spot in the early 11th Century. King Cormac built his superb Royal Chapel in the 12th century. Visit Cashel town to experience and understand the historical relationship between the Rock and the town. Travel to the medieval city of Kilkenny with its excellent nightlife and numerous historical sites including Kilkenny Castle and St. Canice’s Cathedral.
Day 6: Kilkenny to Dublin
This journey will take just under 2 hours. If you wish to make a side trip on route to the capital, a visit to the National Stud & Japanese Gardens just outside Kildare Town would be an option. 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. St. Fiachra's Garden was designed as a Millennium project and has 2.5 hectares (4 acres) of Woodland & Lakeside walks. You can also visit The National Stud. The National Stud comprises three separate attractions. The 1,000-acre Farm at Tully has been in use as a Stud Farm since 1900 when it was owned by Col. William Hall-Walker. It is home to some of Ireland's finest thoroughbreds. There's a Horse Museum tracing the history of the horse in Ireland using artifacts, illustrations and text and the skeleton of the legendary steeplechaser 'Arkle'. 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 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.
Day 7: End of Tour
Check out of your hotel and bid farewell (for now) to Ireland!
|Jan-Mar & Nov-Dec||$559||$730||$1,004||$760|
|April & October||$559||$814||$1,140||$798|
|July & September||$707||$974||$1,447||$1,014|