COUNTRY ROADS OF IRELAND END BELFAST (SUMMER 2020) 12 DAYS
Experience the wild, enchanting coastal routes as you explore the Emerald Isle. Along the way you'll encounter ruined castles, quiet lakes, natural wonders and legendary characters.
- Killarney: Choose between a memorable ride on a horse-drawn jaunting car with the local jarveys or join a gentle hike with a Local Expert along the lake shore and past the farmlands of the Muckross Estate, admiring the incredible scenery.
- Dublin: Enjoy VIP priority entrance to the Book of Kells and a guided walk though Trinity College with a university insider.
- Kildare: Join an equine professional for a behind-the-scenes look at the Irish National Stud. Then visit the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe, for a ‘journey through life' as you wander by the beautiful floral displays.
- Kilkenny: Kilkenny has the greatest amount of All-Ireland titles of its national sport of hurling. Meet a player to gain an exciting insight into this unique Irish cultural experience and have a go for yourself on the pitch.
- Londonderry: There's no better way to experience sightseeing than with one of Northern Ireland's best storytellers, Ronan, as he takes you on a tour inside the city walls. See the Gothic Guildhall and the Georgian houses of Shipquay Street.
- Belfast: Meet Hilda, a true Belfast local, having lived in the same house her entire life. During your panoramic tour, hear the history of the city and learn why Hilda is proud of its progress and current prosperity. You'll also see the City Hall, Queen's University, Parliament Building at Stormont and murals in different locations indicating political sentiments of local residents.
TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS
- Dublin: During your orientation with your Travel Director, see the Custom House, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle and the Georgian townhouses as you travel down O'Connell Street and along the River Liffey.
- Cahir: See one of the largest castles in Ireland.
- Cork: Relish this university city with its interesting waterways and grand Georgian parades of houses.
- Blarney: Dangle from the ramparts to kiss the Stone of Eloquence, and never be lost for words again!
- Killarney: Enjoy hearing of the history of Killarney during your city orientation.
- Ring of Kerry: Venture into a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and remote villages, as you travel the magical Ring of Kerry. Journey through Sneem, pass the Black Mountains, Moll's Gap and admire Queen Victoria's Ladies View.
- Dingle Peninsula: Enjoy a scenic drive to Slea Head.
- Adare: Experience a village walk through the main street lined with thatched cottages.
- Cliffs of Moher: Stop by the Exhibition Centre and overlook the Wild Atlantic Way from these majestic cliffs.
- Galway: Enjoy an orientation tour of the many landmarks in Galway such as the Lynch Memorial, Church of St. Nicholas, Spanish Arch and Eyre Square.
- Drumcliffe: Visit the final resting place of Irish poet William Butler Yeats.
- Giant's Causeway: Learn about the towering hexagonal basalt columns - a geological spectacle to behold.
- Ballygally: Explore this seaside town with your Travel Director.
- Carrickfergus: See the immense Castle as your drive around it.
- Scenic Drives: Irish scenery is some of the most beautiful in the world. Relax and admire the views as your travel past the Derrynasaggart Mountains, the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Burren, the Blue Stack Mountains of Donegal and the Antrim Coast.
- Killarney: Join John and his wife, Freda for drinks and a personal insight into classic Irish recipes that are loved throughout the world. Your Farm-to-Table experience is all about locally-sourced ingredients prepared with skill, so that you can taste the freshness in every mouthful.
- Ballygally: The Irish call it 'craic' - the warm feeling resulting from the confluence of music, drink, good food, laughter, and conversation. And after circumnavigating the Emerald Isle, there's bound to be a fair share of craic at your grand finale Celebration Dinner. Sláinte!
- Dining Summary: 11 Breakfasts (B), 2 Dinners (D) and 3 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.
INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES
- Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
- Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
- Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
- We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
- Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
- Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
- From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
- If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.
WELCOME TO DUBLIN.
On arrival at Dublin airport, transfers leave for your hotel at 08:30, 11:00 and 13:00. Join your Travel Director at 18:00 for a warm and friendly Welcome Dinner with the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a meal with wine.
DAY 2 - RELAXED START
IN DUBLIN’S FAIR CITY.
Become acquainted with Dublin’s elegant squares during an orientation of the city. Discover famous O’Connell Street, Custom House and Dublin Castle. Enjoy your VIP priority entrance to the 9th century Book of Kells and a walk through the cobbled courtyards of Trinity College accompanied by a university insider, who will share their insights into modern life and the establishment’s impressive history. The afternoon is free to explore.
A JOURNEY FROM DUBLIN TO CORK.
In the morning, visit one of the country’s main racehorse breeding centres. Continue to the acclaimed 100 year old Japanese Gardens where you can ‘journey through life’ during a walk through the beautiful surrounds. Travel to the medieval city of Kilkenny, home of the world's fastest field game. The ancient Celtic sport of Hurling is over 3,000 years old and Ireland's national sport. Meet a player who will share his passion as you test your skill during a lesson. Continue through Cahir and see its imposing 13th century castle, featured in the film 'Excalibur', on the way to Cork. On arrival, your Travel Director will show you around the compact university city, with its vibrant waterfront and grand Georgian parades.
DAY 4 - RELAXED START
ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS TO KILLARNEY.
Travel to the ruined Blarney Castle. Will you hang upside down from the ramparts to kiss the stone and ensure a lifetime of eloquence? Travel across the majestic Derrynasaggart Mountains to the peaceful town of Killarney. For your Farm-to-Table dining experience, enjoy some Irish home cooking in the kitchens of chef John Sheehan. Join John and his wife, Freda for drinks and a personal insight into classic Irish recipes that are loved throughout the world. Then, settle down for a night of great food and drink in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
DAY 5 - RELAXED START
RING OF KERRY EXPERIENCE.
Start your day with Insight Choice. Choose between a memorable ride on a horse-drawn jaunting car with the local jarveys or join a gentle hike with a Local Expert along the lake shore and past the farmlands of the Muckross Estate, admiring the incredible scenery. While there aren't any mountains to climb, walkers should be fit, have good walking shoes or boots, sunscreen and rain gear. Take a leisurely excursion around the magnificent Ring of Kerry. Here, mountains, valleys, lakes and sea blend into a landscape that is breathtaking beyond words. Journey past lush lakelands and around towering cliffs as you appreciate sweeping sea views. Continue through delightful villages like Sneem and cross the peat bogs of the Black Mountains to Moll’s Gap to admire Queen Victoria’s Ladies View. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Maybe take the opportunity to hire a bicycle and enjoy one of the many scenic trails around the lake or through the National Park?
DAY 6 - RELAXED START
AROUND THE DINGLE PENINSULA.
Continue driving with views of wide skies, peaceful towns and coastal scenery of the Dingle Peninsula - the setting for the film Ryan’s Daughter. Drive to dramatic Slea Head at the peninsula’s far end, before reaching your hotel on the shores of Dingle harbour. With the evening at leisure, why not treat yourself to a relaxing experience at the hotel's spa? Offering holistic and therapeutic treatments, the Peninsula Spa is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day of exploring the coast.
THE CLIFFS OF MOHER AND GALWAY.
Journey to the Visitor Centre at the 700-foot Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Clare Coast before a delightful drive through the strange, rocky landscape of the Burren to Galway Bay. On arrival, see the Lynch Memorial and Church of St. Nicholas, where Christopher Columbus reputedly prayed before his voyages to America. See the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square, dedicated to the late US President, John F. Kennedy.
DAY 8 - RELAXED START
FREE DAY GALWAY OR ARAN ISLANDS.
Spend a day at leisure to relax and enjoy Galway. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to the Aran Islands - a genuine highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way. With their cliffs and spectacular coastal views, the islands are a true Irish experience.
Continue on to County Sligo, stopping at a peaceful churchyard in Drumcliffe to visit the final resting place of Ireland's famous poet, William Butler Yeats. Admire the Blue Stack Mountains of Donegal as you cross into Northern Ireland bound for the ancient walled city of 'Derry.' What better way to experience sightseeing than with one of Northern Ireland's best storytellers, Ronan, as he takes you on a tour inside the city walls, still topped with cannons. Walk down steep Shipquay Street, with its elegant Georgian houses, to the Gothic Guildhall.
DAY 10 - RELAXED START
WALK IN THE GIANT’S STEPS.
Journey to the legendary Giant's Causeway, a geological masterpiece created by the cooling of lava which burst through the earth's crust millions of years ago. Next, prepare yourself for miles of breathtaking beauty as you travel along the road clinging to the Antrim Coast. Continue onto your hotel, overlooking Ballygally Bay. For those who are brave enough, perhaps check out The Ghost Room, in one of the castle’s turrets? In the evening, please join us for a finale Celebration Dinner, where old-fashioned hospitality is blended with good food and wine for an experience that delights the senses.
DAY 11 - RELAXED START
THE ANTRIM COAST TO BELFAST.
Continue around the Antrim Coast, past the huge Norman castle at Carrickfergus, to arrive in the Northern Ireland capital of Belfast. Meet Hilda, your Local Expert, for a passionate city tour including views of the City Hall, Queen's University, the Parliament Building at Stormont and murals in different locations indicating political sentiments of local residents.
Departure transfers arrive at Belfast George Best City Airport at 07:15 and Belfast International Airport at 08:00.