Ultimate Introduction to Ireland
June 25th to July 10th 2023
$2385 per person sharing
$500 supplement for single traveler.
We at Secret Ireland Tours are delighted to offer you the opportunity to join us in Ireland on this really special tour. The Ultimate Introduction to Ireland was the dream child of Rob Croskery who has visited Ireland on a few occasions.
We were delighted to guide him in putting this itinerary together to cover places along the Wild Atlantic Way to the Rugged North, to Irelands Ancient East to the Sunny South before returning to the West to fly back to the States again. You will stay in 4 and 5 star hotels starting with The Trump International Hotel and Golf Resort which is a 5 star hotel. You can spend a day golfing if you wish, or come with us to explore the Aran Islands.
We stay in Yeats Country Hotel just beside another golf club along the Wild Atlantic way in Rosses Point where some might want to have another game of golf. This hotel is a 4 star hotel and it is only 4 mins walk from a beautiful golden sandy beach with amazing scenery.
You then Stay in Fitzwilliams Hotel in Belfast, again another beautiful hotel while we spend time exploring the Glens of Antrim, Giants Causeway, Belfast city and much more. Then just in time for 4th of July celebrations in Dublin you will stay in Fitzpatrick's Castle hotel which is a 4 star hotel in South Dublin in a quaint coastal village of Killiney. This area is where all the big stars like Bono and Van Morrison reside. We go to Cork where we stay in the Maldron Hotel in the famous historic district of Shandon, Cork City, before moving on to our last hotel in Killarney staying at the Killarney Court Hotel.
The beauty of this tour is that you stay in your accommodation for more that just 1 day, so if you don't feel like coming with us on our daily excursions, you can just take the day off and do your own thing!
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Itinerary is subject to slight change, depending on availability, weather, traffic.
We pick you up at Shannon Airport and bring you to the Trump International Hotel and Golf Resort in Doonbeg near Lahinch Co Clare. But on the way we stop in two places:
Our first stop in Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and then we travel to Quin to explore the Crannógs and learn their history. We then bring you to the 5 star Trump International Hotel and Golf Resort in Doonbeg Co Clare. You will stay there for two nights
Today, after a good hearty Irish breakfast we take a trip to the famous Aran Islands. Here you will see how Island people live through the medium of the Irish Language. We visit Inis Mór which is the largest of the islands, with its amazing scenery, ancient sites, sea food restaurants, great bars, craft shops and so much more. We spend the day there exploring and when we arrive back in Doolin we take a quick drive to the Cliffs of Moher.
For those who like Golf, you can let us know if you would like to stay and play the golf links. We will have an add-on button on the booking platform for you to use.
You will leave Co Clare today and go North West to Sligo. On the way you will visit a very special Craft village on the outskirts of an Irish speaking Spiddal in Connemara. This village houses Craft shops and workshops of all kinds, from jewelry, to weaving, to instrument making, knitting, glass cutting to baking.
We then bring you into Galway city to explore, we bring you to the amazing museums, Art Gallery that houses some amazing wire sculpture work and you will experience the music on the streets as you roam around the city.
The we bring you to the world famous Knock Shrine. You will see the spot where Our Lady of Knock appeared and you can go into the amazing Basilica there too!
We then make our way to Rosses Point in Co Sligo to Yeats Country Hotel, your 4 star hotel which is 4 mins walk from a beautiful beach and just outside the front door is another golf links course. Some might want to play on this course.
Scenic drive today around Mullaghmore Coast, which is in North Sligo. It is one of the places that surfers come to all year round because of it high waves. It also has breath-taking scenery. We keep going North to Donegal's version of the Cliffs of Moher, which is the magnificent highest cliffs in Europe and this place is called Sliabh Liag. The scenery on the way to the cliffs is amazing and you will want to stay taking photo's all day, but we have to visit Donegal town on the way back to Sligo. Donegal is a quaint little town with a Castle and the ruins of an Abbey that you can explore before we make our way back to Sligo for the night.
First you visit ancient tombs called Carrowmore Tombs. These predate the pyramids. You will learn all about them from the guide there and be amazed. We then bring you to Roscommon
to Lough Key Forest Park, again full of history as you will see the ruins of an 11th century castle on Castle Island. There are many stories and songs composed about this Castle. There are beautiful walks around this park which we will bring you on and point out some special places too. We then go back into Sligo town to explore. There is a wood carver called Michael Quirk who has a little place in the town. You might like to go in and chat to him. He will tell you all sorts of stories. Return to the hotel where we have organized some local traditional musicians to entertain us. If there are singers in the group who would like to preform you would be welcome to do so.
We leave Sligo today and make our way to Belfast. On the way we take a break in Enniskillen and visit the Castle there. The Castle can be explored and they have a great museum there and a genealogy dept there also.
We then make our way to the hotel in Belfast and you can relax there or go exploring because the rest of the day is yours to do what you wish.
We travel North of Belfast today visiting Gobbin's Path which is a scenic cliff walk. The local guide will tell us all about the history of the walk and the area. Stunning scenery all around, and that is also true for our journey further north through the Glens of Antrim towards the famous Giants Causeway. We then return to our hotel in Belfast. You can go for a pub crawl if you wish or check out some of the restaurants in Belfast city.
We take you on a bus tour around Belfast today pointing out some historic sites before going to the Titanic museum. Located beside the Titanic Slipways, the Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock – the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched, Titanic Belfast tells the story of Titanic from her conception, through her construction and launch, to her maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.
We then visit Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Technically not a castle but a traditional Irish Georgian house, Hillsborough provides elegance and grace from the start. Boasting facilities fit for the royal family, several State Rooms provide visitors with not just a history of the house itself but of Northern Ireland. The walls of the Throne Room are lined with green, silk damask fabric, while the Red Room takes its name from the red fabric which covers its walls.
We make our way to Dublin today. But on the way we visit the underground passage tombs of Newgrange. These tombs pre-date the pyramids by 5 hundred years and are visited by thousands of people from around the world. The local guide tells us about the history and also explains about the winter solstice and what happens to the light going into the inner chambers there. We then get to our hotel in Dublin where you can rest because the afternoon and evening is yours to explore Dublin as you wish or just enjoy the Castle and its facilities.
Today is the 4th of July, Happy Independence Day to you all.
You have the day off today to enjoy and celebrate this special day. There are celebrations around the city and we will supply you with information of what is on and where to go.
We take you South today to the magnificent Powerscourt House, Gardens and waterfall. Avoca woolen mills. Dating from 1723, this very special Avoca location is home to the handweaving mill, Avoca Store, Cafe and a visitor centre which tells the story of the mill from the beginning. There are even third generation weavers to show you what goes into the making of an Avoca throw.
Powerscourt gardens are stunning with its ponds, walks and gardens. The Japanese and butterfly gardens are amazing and you will not want to leave, but you will also enjoy the powerful waterfall too! Glendalough is one of those places you don't want to miss.
For thousands of years people have been drawn to ‘the valley of the two lakes‘ for its spectacular scenery, rich history, archaeology and abundant wildlife. Glendalough is a remarkable place that will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul.
We leave Dublin today and make our way down south. First we visit Kilkenny Castle and grounds. Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle. Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years. Other features include a formal terraced rose garden, woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century. There is also a tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.
We then go on to visit the iconic Rock of Cashel.
Set on a dramatic outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale, the Rock of Cashel, iconic in its historic significance, possesses the most impressive cluster of medieval buildings in Ireland. Among the monuments to be found there is a round tower, a high cross, a Romanesque chapel, a Gothic cathedral, an abbey, the Hall of the Vicars Choral and a fifteenth-century Tower House.
Originally the seat of the kings of Munster, according to legend St. Patrick himself came here to convert King Aenghus to Christianity. Brian Boru was crowned High King at Cashel in 978 and made it his capital.
In 1101 the site was granted to the church and Cashel swiftly rose to prominence as one of the most significant centres of ecclesiastical power in the country.
We then take you to your hotel in Cork, which is in historic area or Shandon. There you can listen to the famous Shandon Bells.
We take a scenic drive around the Ring of Beara today. But for those who like to golf, we have an add-on where you can take in a game of golf at the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Course.
Half in Kerry and half in Cork, the Ring of Beara - the Beara Peninsula is Ireland in a nutshell, with a landscape that is beautiful, magical and full of rugged charm.
The most westerly of Cork's peninsulas, and arguably its most spectacular, the Beara Peninsula is shared by county Kerry and presents exhilarating hill walking along the 196km Beara Way and a drive circuit of breathtaking scenery in the Ring of Beara. A route much less travelled than the Ring of Kerry, Beara's secret is one that is still quite well kept. The Ring of Beara links the towns of Glengarriff in Cork with Kenmare in Kerry, in a round about fashion. Glengarriff is an attractive little village deep within Bantry Bay. We pop into Clonakilty, and Skibbereen on our way too!
We go towards Killarney visiting Barney Castle where you can kill the Blarney stone if you wish, you can also explore the gardens and have a cuppa in the court yard.
Then we visit Muckross House and Ross Castle when we get to Killarney. You have the evening to explore the town yourself.
Muckross House located approximately 3.6 miles from Killarney town centre, Muckross House and Gardens represent the focal point and nucleus of Killarney National Park. This is Ireland's oldest National Park and it includes the world famous Lakes of Killarney, as well as the mountains and woodlands that surround them. This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park. The house stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney's three lakes, famed world wide for their splendour and beauty. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape.
Ross Castle sits on the edge of Killarney’s lower lake and was built by O’Donoghue Mór in the 15th century. The Castle came into the hands of the Brownes who became the Earls of Kenmare and owned an extensive portion of the lands that are now part of Killarney National Park . Legend has it that O’Donoghue still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. On the first morning of May every seven years he rises from the lake on his magnificent white horse and circles the lake. Anyone catching a glimpse of him is said to be assured of good fortune for the rest of their lives. The large rock at the entrance to the bay is known as O’Donoghue’s prison. Ross Castle was the last stronghold in Munster to hold out against Cromwell. It was eventually taken by General Ludlow in 1652.
Last full day in Ireland and we finish this tour with a scenic drive around the famous Ring of Kerry. We take many stops along the way to take photo's of the breath-taking scenery, we visit places like Torc Waterfall, Ladies view, we go through Moll's gap, stop in the little quaint village of Sneem, visit lookout points on the way to Waterville, before visiting the Bog Village and Killorglin before returning to Killarney. The Kerry Bog Village explores Ireland’s rural history, heritage and lifestyle. You will experience the culture, customs and living conditions of our great ancestors through the famine years, and late 19th century. The village has period thatched cottages, fully furnished with authentic antiques, complete with sound effects and figurines. Outdoors, we display a fabulous array of rural farm equipment, used by turf cutters and farmers of the time period.
We return to Killarney to spend our last night there before departing for the airport in the morning.
We return you to Shannon airport where we will wish you a safe flight home and hope you will join us again in Ireland for a different kind of tour again soon.