Day 1 - Belfast and Giant’s Causeway
Explore historic Belfast with an insightful city tour and learn about the tragic history of the world’s most famous maritime disaster in the museums and attractions of the Titanic Quarter. Wander the glens and coast at Antrim, an area of outstanding natural beauty overlooking the superb Scottish coast then walk where giants fought and changed the earth at the unique and stunning Giant’s Causeway.
Departing Dublin you head north to Belfast, a city famed for its industrial heritage and turbulent past. You take a short city tour which covers the capital’s triumphs, tragedies and soul. You then have time for lunch and exploring in the Titanic Quarter, a regenerated hub where the famous liner was built and launched in 1911. Here you can visit the award winning Titanic museum, board the HMS Caroline or take a black cab tour of the city.
Leaving bustling Belfast behind, you travel through the phenomenal scenery of the Antrim Coast and Glens, an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Moving along the winding roads from Ballycastle, you enter the awe inspiring setting of the Giant’s Causeway, a place where history and myth collide spectacularly with raw geological power.
Waving farewell to the giant’s steps, you head to Portrush, a charming fishing village and your home for the night.
Day 2 - Derry, County Donegal and Glenveagh National Park
Marvel at the 17th century walled city of Derry, with its famous seven gates and bustling markets and immerse yourself in the ancient Gaelic culture of Donegal as you pass through its rugged mountains then experience the haunting beauty of the remote Glenveagh National Park.
You head to Derry, the fabulous 17th-century walled city that boasts seven ornate gates. Derry was designated as UK City of Culture in 2013, and you get time to explore its museums, galleries and excellent markets.
From here, you head to County Donegal, which boasts stunning scenery and a strong Gaelic heritage. You then head into the picturesque Glenveagh National Park and past the soaring peak of Mount Errigal, before travelling through the traditional fishing villages of the area.
Along the way there will be plenty time for walks, photos and soaking up the local culture before arriving at your overnight stop in Donegal.
Day 3 - Carrowmore, County Mayo and Achill Island
Wander amongst the ancient standing stones of Carrowmore and explore the bogs and misty moors of County Mayo then gaze in awe at the magnificent sea cliffs of Achill Island.
In the morning, you pass south along the coast near Donegal and into County Sligo. This area is home to the burial site of famed poet WB Yeats, and dramatic views of the gorgeous mountain, Benbulben. Outside Sligo Town lays Carrowmore, where you have the chance to visit the largest collection of megalithic tombs in Ireland, some of which date back over 6000 years.
Moving westwards, you enter County Mayo, an area ravaged by the Great Potato Famine. Winding roads curve through the picturesque farmlands, bogs and open moors, offering views of distant hills and the Atlantic coast, where you’ll visit the dramatic Achill Island.
Here you have time to savour the rugged sea and peaceful beauty.
From here it is a short drive to Westport – your base for the next two nights.
Day 4 - Connemara National Park and Westport
Explore the Connemara National Park’s verdant marshes and incredible historical sites and stroll through the superb grounds at Kylemore Abbey then roam Clifden, site of the first transatlantic flight landing, and home to a delightful castle. Be enchanted by the seemingly infinite blend of earth and sky at sunset on the Sky Road and prepare to be stunned by the legendary Twelve Bens, the famous jagged mountain range of Connemara.
Westport and the Connemara National Park are the areas you explore today. The itinerary is flexible today and your guide will ensure you take the route that best suits the weather .
Your options include the beautiful house and grounds at Kylemore Abbey, the Connemara National Park, Clifden (the first transatlantic flight landed here), the Sky Road and the Twelve Bens of Connemara.
After an incredible day of exploration you return back to Westport, where you can dine on the delicious local seafood in the town’s top notch restaurants.
Day 5 - Cong and Galway City
Gaze into the past at the iconic 7th century ruins of Cong Abbey and walk the iconic locations of “The Quiet Man” on the scenic shores of Lough Corrib then enjoy the culture, sea views, and historic streets of Galway City.
Travelling through the heart of Connemara, you arrive in the town of Cong on the shore of Lough Corrib. This area was where “The Quiet Man” was filmed and you’re free to wander the local museum devoted to the movie. Alternatively, you can visit the magnificently restored 12th century Cong Abbey.
Your route then weaves through the Maam Valley, a stunning pass lined by gorgeous mountains. Exiting the valley, you head to Galway City, a vibrant harbour city that combines traditional market life with high quality restaurants and pubs.
The afternoon and evening are free to explore this lively university city.
You will be collected from your accommodation the following morning by your new tour guide.
Day 6 - Burren, Kilfenora and Cliffs of Moher
Roam the Burren, home to some of Ireland’s most profound spiritual and natural experiences and marvel at the steep Cliffs of Moher and the stunning 700ft drop into the waves of the Atlantic Ocean then relax with traditional Irish music in the atmospheric pubs and bars of Killarney.
A short drive along the coast from Galway City lies the Burren, one of Ireland’s national treasures. It’s home to one of the earliest Christian settlements in Ireland and broad limestone pavements and rare flora.
After time to explore the area, you travel to Kilfenora, the “town of the crosses”. You can visit the town’s fabulous ancient cathedral and before we stop for lunch in one of the area’s charming villages.
You then head to the incredible Cliffs of Moher. Walk the stunning cliff trails as seabirds swoop through the clear air above you and learn about the unique ecosystem in the excellent and award winning environmental exhibition nearby.
The tour then moves south through County Clare, passing its famous golf course on the way to the picturesque beach at Lahinch. From here you board a ferry across the Shannon Estuary to the lakeside town of Killarney.
This energetic, charming area will be your base for the next three nights, so take your time sampling the superb collection of traditional pubs and live music.
Day 7 - Dingle Peninsula
Traverse the Dingle Peninsula, famous for its scenery and Gaelic culture and wander ancient forts and religious sites of the past at Slea Head then stroll the beautiful length of Inch Beach on your way to Dingle.
Today, your tour explores the fabulous Dingle Peninsula. Your first stop is Inch Beach, a vast expanse of sand stretching out into the Atlantic. Venturing down the narrow roads away from the beach leads you through the town of Dingle.
You continue towards Slea Head, an area loaded with ancient forts and prehistoric dwellings. The impressive views of the nearby Blasket Islands make this an excellent spot for panoramic photos. If the weather is pleasant, you can ramble along the beaches and cliff tops to fully appreciate the incredible vistas.
Arriving back amidst the brightly coloured houses and jolly harbour of Dingle, you can spend the remainder of the afternoon enjoying delicious seafood in this idyllic setting.
In the evening, you head back to Killarney, with time for an evening stroll in the National Park that encapsulates the town.
Day 8 - Ring of Kerry
Tour the world renowned Ring of Kerry, hailed globally for its incredible scenery and cultural heritage and today, you explore the Ring of Kerry, a spectacular route through some of Ireland’s most visually spectacular areas.
You head out in the morning, stopping first at Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil. After snapping some shots of its rugged majesty, you join the scenic coast road through Glenbeigh and Kells on the way to Cahersiveen. Possible stops include the site of “The Liberator of Ireland” Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace and an impressive ring fort outside Portmagee.
You stop for lunch in the quaint fishing village of Portmagee. Alternatively, you can have a quick snack and head to the island of Valentia for a visit to the Skellig Experience. This excursion teaches you about the ancient community of monks who made the outcrop of rocky islands their home.
In the afternoon, there’s a photo stop in Charlie Chaplin’s “home away from home” at Waterville, before enjoying fine views at the top of Coonmakista pass.
Winding down from the peaks, you head to Derrynane House, home of the family O’Driscoll. Daniel O’Driscoll holds a special place in Irish hearts, as an emancipating force from colonial rule. Enjoy a walk in the scenic gardens here, as well as a visit to the main house.
Continuing along the Ring, you stop at Moll’s Gap and the Ladies View. Stroll a short way from here to the Torc Waterfall before heading back to Killarney.
(On some tours, days three and four are switched).
Day 9 - Blarney Castle and Kilkenny Castle
Kiss the famed Blarney Stone within the walls of the medieval stronghold of Blarney Castle and explore Kilkenny Castle and its impressive craft centres.
Heading east through the mountains of West Cork, you weave along the Lee Valley until you reach Blarney Castle. You have time here to take in the castle grounds, and maybe kiss the famous Blarney Stone and receive the “gift of the gab”!
In the afternoon, the tour heads to the heritage town of Cahir, where there’s a distinctive island castle in the River Suir.
The final stop of the tour is Kilkenny, a bustling city with a fine Castle, riverside walks, and an impressive National Craft Centre.
There’s also the chance one last Guinness before heading back on the road again for the last leg of the journey, back to Dublin.