18 days
Duration
British Isles, Europe
Destination
Level 2 - Introductory to Moderate
Activity

Small Group escorted tour exploring Historic Ireland

Small Group escorted tour exploring Historic Ireland. This small group tour of Ireland explores the country’s history and culture. Nowhere else in the world is so much tragedy, exaltation, hope, and disappointment quite so compressed as they are in Ireland. Nowhere else are these historic trials, tribulations, and triumphs such a part of contemporary events and so integrated via song and words into daily life. In Ireland, the past is the present and the present is the past. In this small group tour, Exploring Ireland, we step out into the evocative place that is Ireland. Absorb the poignant history and culture that the country has to offer.

This Small Group escorted tour exploring Historic Ireland is a popular program for the couple or the single traveller. It  is for travellers seeking to get beyond the main destinations. In this escorted tour our local guides share their stories and knowledge of Ireland with you.

This tour begins in Dublin and then travels clockwise round Ireland to finish in Northern Ireland’s city of Belfast.

Fabulous scenery

For participants it is the fabulous landscape and the visit to the Arran Isles that creates the memories. These memories are paired with the locals stories heard and enjoyed over a meal or drink.

The mature traveller joining us will enjoy the opportunity to spend time just being in one place for several days. Time is spent learning and sharing in a country that has experienced one of the largest historic migrations of  people, one that touches so many today.

Highlights of the Small Group escorted tour exploring Historic Ireland.

Highlights of our tour of Ireland include a stop in Belfast, to learn the history of the area, including a visit to the famous political murals as well as a visit to the Harland Wolff shipyard. During the tour you also enjoy performances at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the National Folk Theatre (Siamsa Tire) in Tralee. We also experience a walking tour of Powerscourt Manor in the Wicklow Mountains, taking in its glorious gardens and grounds.

This Small Group escorted tour exploring Historic Ireland  is an 18 day program. Your tour finishes allowing  you  to join one of the Scottish isles programs. Odyssey also offers a short version of this program.

This tourSmall Group escorted tour exploring Historic Ireland was previously called Treasures of Ireland.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

 

 

Tour Notes
  • Group size limited to 18.
  • Itineraries may change if flight schedules, site availability, and other inclusions have to be amended prior to departure.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Tour a country so steeped in history that relics from its antiquity are part of the everyday landscape.
2
Visit Powerscourt Manor in the Wicklow Mountains to see its glorious gardens and the picturesque house of Kylemore in Connemara.
3
Enjoy performances at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the National Folk Theatre (Siamsa Tire) in Tralee.
4
Spend 2 nights on the Aran Island of Inis M’hor with its ancient pilgrimage churches and the prehistoric promontory fort of Dun Aonghus.
5
Visit Belfast to learn the history of the area and see the famous political murals, as well as the Harland Wolff shipyard.

Overview: Upon arrival in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, we will arrive individually at the Camden Court Hotel and meet for an introductory welcome dinner.

(D)

Accommodation: 4 nights at Camden Court Hotel or similar

Overview: During the next 2 days we will enjoy guided tours of the city of poets, playwrights, and brewing. At Trinity College we will meet a Trinity graduate for a tour of the grounds and explanation of the university. Here we will also view the ancient Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s most treasured works. In the afternoon we are treated to an expert-led literary walking tour of Tara, site of the High Kings of Ireland. After dinner, we will experience a lecture on the history of the country at the hotel.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Camden Court Hotel or similar

Overview: After breakfast, we will enjoy a guided tour of Dublin. Highlights include St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. After some free time for lunch, we will take a literary walking tour of the city, then enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, before seeing a performance at the Abbey Theatre.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Camden Court Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we will drive south to County Wicklow to visit Powerscourt House and Demesne (domain) at Enniskerry. Where Powerscourt House stands today there was once a 13th century medieval castle, owned by the Le Power Family from which “Powerscourt” takes its name. Powerful Irish families including the O’Tooles and the Fitzgeralds battled for possession of the castle and its lands over the succeeding centuries. Powerscourt remains the archetypical example of the “Big House” of Ireland. The Palladian-style manor overlooks immense terraced gardens which are also in the Italianate style. The estate now belongs to the Slazenger family of tennis racquet fame. Light lunch is included today. Our excursion continues to Glendalough, or the “Glen of Two Lakes.” Founded in the 7th century AD by St. Kevin, this site is regarded as one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. The evening is at leisure to explore the local fare.

(B,L)

Accommodation: Camden Court Hotel or similar

Overview: En route to Killarney in County Kerry, we will visit the famous Rock of Cashel, which is an outcrop of limestone dominated by a 12th century round tower as well as a Romanesque chapel, a 13th century cathedral, a 15th century castle, and a restored Hall of Vicars Choral. We then continue to Blarney Castle in County Cork where you may (should you wish!) kiss the world-renowned Blarney Stone at the top of the castle. Tradition dictates that the gift of eloquence will be bestowed on all those who kiss the stone! Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Clarion Hotel or similar

Overview: Accompanied by a local farmer and storyteller, we will depart on an excursion around the Ring of Kerry, often considered the world’s single most picturesque drive. Running through an area of outstanding natural beauty, the circuit takes in the towns of Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel and Sneem. We will return to the hotel for an early dinner before setting out for Tralee where we will attend a performance of “Fado Fado, Life in Ireland in Times Past” at the National Folk Theatre, Siamsa Tire.

Accommodation: 2 nights Meadowlands Hotel or similar

(B,D)

Overview: We continue our journey to the picturesque town of Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula to explore the area’s rich archaeological heritage and unique culture, including the beehive huts, Celtic ‘Ringforts’ which have stood for over 4,00 years, and the tiny Gallarus Oratory.

In Dunquin (Dun Chaoin) we will stop for free time for lunch and a visit to the Blasket Centre to discover the history, culture, language, and unique literary achievements of the island writers. We will return to the hotel for dinner.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Meadowlands Hotel or similar

Overview: En route to County Galway we will experience a guided visit to Bunratty Castle, followed by free time for lunch and exploration of the Castle’s Folk Park to learn about rural life in Ireland during the last century. Our transfer continues via The Burren, a vast limestone plateau featuring the “Poulnabrone Dolmen” and the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s West Coast’s most dramatic landforms. Dinner is included tonight in the hotel.

(B,D)

Accommodation: 2 nights at Loughrea Hotel & Spa or similar

Overview: We will begin our day with an expert-led walk of Galway city with local writer and historian Peadar O’Dowd (subject to availability), during which we will see Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch, and part of the original city wall.

Later, there will be free time for lunch and to explore Galway city.

(B)

Accommodation: Loughrea Hotel & Spa or similar

Overview: We will transfer to Rossaveal for our ferry to Inis M’hor, the largest of the Aran Islands, to enjoy an overnight stay. A local poet and singer will welcome us to this unique place – a remnant of authentic Gaelic civilisation, where Christian ruins stand side by side with remarkable Pagan relics, and where the Irish language and Irish traditions live on in daily life. This evening we enjoy a dinner and traditional Irish music in a local pub.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Aran Islands Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we will tour the island and visit the “7 churches,” an ancient pilgrimage centre dating back to the 6th century, as well as explore the spectacular Bronze Age promontory fort of Dun Aonghus. Lunch is at leisure today, giving us time to explore. We then return to the mainland, and head to Galway City. Dinner is included in the hotel.

(B,L,D)

Accommodation: Connacht Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we will visit the Connemara National Park for a gentle hike with a park ranger. A broad peninsula between Killary Harbour and Kilkieran Bay in the west of County Galway, Connemara has long been regarded as the real emerald of Ireland. Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands, and woodlands. Much of the present National Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals. The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. We will also visit Kylemore Abbey and its delightful, extensive gardens. Nestled on the lake shore in the heart of the Connemara Mountains, and originally built in 1867 as a romantic gift, Kylemore Abbey is regarded as one of Ireland’s most romantic buildings.

(B,L)

Accommodation: Connacht Hotel or similar

Overview: We depart for County Donegal, undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most untouched and ruggedly beautiful counties. Donegal’s striking landscape has remained relatively unaffected by the passage of time. After free time for lunch in Sligo, we will be joined by a local expert for a lecture at the Yeats Society in Sligo. We will continue our journey to Drumcliffe, the final resting place of the famed Irish poet WB Yeats, under the majestic mountain of Ben Bulben. This evening we will arrive in Donegal in time for dinner and a two-night stay.

(B)

Accommodation: 2 nights at Central Hotel Donegal or similar

Overview: Today, we will enjoy a heritage walk of Donegal town and a guided visit of the 15th century Donegal Castle. There will be some free time for lunch in Donegal town. This afternoon we will visit the seaside town of Killybegs, home to Ireland’s largest fishing fleet. We continue along the Donegal coastline to Glencolmcille. A unique and beautiful place, Glencolmcille was chosen as a base by St. Columba, one of Ireland’s 3 patron saints, along with St. Patrick and St. Brigid. Here we will take an expert led walk of the “Turas,” a traditional pilgrimage site. This gentle hike includes megalithic tombs, cross pillars, and breathtaking scenery. We will visit Slieve League, home to the tallest sea cliffs in Europe, and then drive back to our hotel via the spectacular Glengesh Pass.

(B)

Accommodation: Central Hotel Donegal or similar

Overview: We will transfer to Derry and enjoy an expert-led historical guided walking tour of Derry’s walls. There will be some free time for our own exploration this afternoon. Derry-Londonberry made history in July 2010 when it was awarded the inaugural UK City of Culture designation in 2013. The city has been rapidly developing its tourism  and its exceptional assets include the most complete walled city in Europe. Its peace-making history and the lively youth culture make it a “cultural powerhouse.”

(B)

Accommodation: 1 night at Ramada DaVincis Hotel or similar

Overview: En route to Belfast via the North Coast, we will visit the Bushmills Whisky Distillery, the world’s oldest licensed whisky distillery, then continue on to the spectacular formations of the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A National Trust expert will lead us on a guided tour of the natural amphitheatre made up of hexagonal shaped basalt rocks.

(B)

Accommodation: 2 nights at Park Avenue Hotel or similar

Overview: Our morning lecture is entitled “Sign of the Times: Murals & Political Transformation of Northern Ireland.” We then depart for our Black Taxi tour of Belfast, visiting the colourful and evocative murals of West Belfast. It has been said that a city can be defined by its taxi drivers and nowhere is this truer than in Belfast. We will visit the Titanic Quarter of Belfast & the Titanic Experience Exhibition. We will enjoy a farewell dinner at the “Flame Restaurant,” and enjoy the rest of the night at the Crown Liquor Salon, an institution and historical landmark of Belfast.

(B,D)

Accommodation: Park Avenue Hotel or similar

Overview: Our tour will conclude today after breakfast.

(B)

What’s included in our Tour

  • Services of a tour leader for the duration of tour.
  • 17 nights of hotel accommodation.
  • 17 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 10 dinners.
  • Transport in comfortable and modern coaches.
  • Ferry services.
  • All lectures, excursions, entrance fees, and local guides.
  • Service charges and gratuities.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • International airfares and departure taxes.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
Small Group escorted tour exploring Historic Ireland
Irish fields in the sunset in County Kerry just outside of Dingle Ireland

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