Real Irish Travel

Ireland - October 2018

"Southern Gems From East to West"

October 2-13, 2018

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This is our 'Southern Tour' of Ireland.

This tour starts out in Dublin on Ireland's east coast for the first two days then we head west and south. We'll take in counties including Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Cork, Kerry and Clare. To make life easy we'll depart from Shannon airport, just a 15 minute drive form our final hotel which is the 5 star luxury Dromoland Castle.

 

 
 
 

Before The Trip

Three to four weeks or so before our departure we'll meet up at Stout Irish Pub in Brighton, MI to enjoy some snacks and get to know each other. We'll also go over some trip details and answer any lingering questions.

 
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Day One: The Adventure Begins

Tuesday, October 2nd

Today's the day!
If you fly out of Detroit with me we'll meet up at the airport and board together for a short flight to New York. If you're joining us from another city, we'll all come together at JFK airport in New York as we continue on to our transatlantic, overnight flight to Dublin (which includes an evening meal and breakfast).

 
 
 

Day Two: Hello, Ireland

Wednesday, October 3rd

After our long flight we're going to take things slow so we can all unwind and relax. Our driver guide, Gary Tierney, will meet us at the airport, ready to lead us on a driving tour to some charming villages located along Dublin Bay. Gary's been doing this for over 23 years, he's taken hundreds of tours in that time including those for Rick Steves who many of you will know from his PBS shows, and I can honestly say there's no one else I'd trust more to take us about. We'll also be traveling in a full-size motor coach so there's plenty of room to stretch out and get comfy (we only take 30 people max, so the bus is barely half full!).

Malahide

First up is the seaside village of Malahide, where medieval meets modernity. The 12th century Malahide Castle with its secret gardens blends perfectly amongst the chic boutiques and stores throughout the village.

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Howth

We'll grab a bite to eat next in the fishing village of Howth and take a nice afternoon stroll. Stellar ocean views, the Baily lighthouse, and all kinds of little shops offer a great start to our trip.

Dublin

After our coastal visits, relaxed and bellies full, Gary will give us a short, narrated tour of Dublin. Pointing out some highlights and helping us all get our bearings, this is a great way to get some ideas for tomorrow's adventures.


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Dinner & Hotel

Located in the heart of Dublin, we'll check into The 5 star Fitzwilliam Hotel for a quick freshen up before an early dinner at a local restaurant.


Learn more about: Malahide, Howth, Dublin, The Fitzwilliam.

 
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Day Three: Explore Dublin

Thursday, October 4th

 

Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour

Explore every nook and cranny of Dublin on your own today with a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour pass. Your pass allows you to travel freely all over the city and stop at all the main shopping areas, museums, attractions, and points of interest. The Guinness Factory, Trinity College, the National Museum of Ireland, Grafton Street...there's no shortage of things to discover!

Sound overwhelming? No worries, I'm very familiar with the city and can help plan your day's activities around whatever you're most interested in.


Dinner & Hotel

Dinner is open for you to try a cozy little hole-in-the-wall, a 5-star restaurant, or whatever suits your taste in-between.

We'll spend a second night here at The 5 star Fitzwilliam Hotel.

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Day Four: Equines & Knighthood

Friday, October 5th

 
 
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The National Stud

This morning we head to the village of Tully in Kildare to visit the Irish National Stud, a thoroughbred horse breeding facility that produces championship thoroughbreds. The Irish horse breeding/racing industry is renowned worldwide for its excellence and Irish-trained horses are always amongst the top places in the World Thoroughbred Rankings. The winners of five Classics for the English Crown were raised here and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself visited in May 2011 to tour the stables. 


Japanese Gardens

The National Stud is also home to what may be the finest Japanese gardens in Europe. Peaceful and picturesque, they're over 100 years old!


Kilkenny

After lunch we drive on to the historic, medieval city of Kilkenny for an afternoon walking tour and a bit of free time. There may no longer be noble knights to inhabit the city but it doesn't take much to imagine what it would have been like!


Dinner & Hotel

We'll enjoy dinner and spend our first night at The River Court Hotel in Kilkenny. Aptly named, it sits on on the banks of the River Nore right across from Kilkenny Castle.

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Day Five: The Medieval Mile

Saturday, October 6th

Kilkenny Castle

Barely a few minutes from our hotel (take the bridge across the river and we're there!), this Anglo-Norman castle, built by the legendary Strongbow and dating back to 1195, is where we'll start the day with a guided tour. 

The Medieval Mile

The rest of the day is yours to explore Kilkenny's multitude of attractions. Some places of note are the Medieval Mile Museum, Rothe House, Smithwick's brewery, and the Gothic-era St. Canice Cathedral & Round Tower (one of only three medieval round towers in Ireland that can still be climbed all the to the top!).


Dinner & Hotel

Kilkenny is often called Ireland's gourmet capital, with two restaurants awarded Michelin stars, so dinner is your own to discover this evening.

We'll spend the night once again at The River Court Hotel.

 
 

Day Six: Famous Rocks

Sunday, October 7th

 
 

Rock of Cashel

Departing Kilkenny this morning, we'll head southwest to Cashel in Tipperary to visit one of Ireland's greatest treasures. The 13th century Rock of Cashel cathedral stands atop a massive limestone outcrop in an otherwise flat and fertile land known as the Golden Vale.

Local legend tells it that Cashel is the site where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster to Christianity in the 5th century, as well as being the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of years prior to the Norman invasion. This picturesque complex also has one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.

 

Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle, just outside of Cork, is a medieval stronghold built in 1446 and is famously known for the Blarney Stone. Once kissed the Stone is said to bestow the gift of eloquence or "blarney".


Dinner & Hotel

Tonight we dine at the Actons Hotel in Kinsale, where we'll also spend the night.

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Day Seven: Island Life

Monday, October 8th

 
 

Spike Island

Today's a day of boating. First we'll head to Cobh, an island in Cork Harbor, famous for being the Titanic's last port of call. From there we'll take a short and scenic ferry ride to Spike Island to visit the 18th century star-shaped Fort Mitchell and learn about the island's history. Over the years it's been home to a 6th century monastery, a military fortress, and the largest convict depot in the world during Victorian times.


Jameson Whiskey Distillery

After our island escapade we'll visit Midleton, a town very near Cobh and home to the Jameson whiskey distillery. We'll take a tour, learn how the triple-distilled whiskey is made, and sample the famous beverage that translates from the Gaelic as "water of life".


Dinner & Hotel

Upon returning to Kinsale we'll enjoy another dinner and night at the Actons Hotel.

 

Day Eight: We Go To Market...Killarney Too!

Tuesday, October 9th

The English Market

Famous for its mid-19th century architecture and locally produced artisanal food, we're heading to the English Market in Cork City this morning. Be sure to save some room during breakfast!

Killarney

Next up is a leisurely drive along west Cork's scenic routes, including a stop or two at points of particular interest, before arriving in Killarney, our home base for the next three nights. Set in the midst of of sublime scenery and in close proximity to several lakes, waterfalls, and woodland - all spread beneath a skyline of 3,000-foot tall mountain peaks - it really is a stunning locale.


Dinner & Hotel

We'll check into the Plaza Hotel & Spa for dinner and the first of several nights here.

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Day Nine: A Ring For Kerry

Wednesday, October 10th

The Ring of Kerry

All of today is dedicated to exploring the Ring of Kerry. With its rugged and verdant coastal landscapes to rural, seaside villages including mountains, lakes, valleys, and seaward views...Mother Nature has a little bit of everything on display here.

Along the way we'll stop at places like the Staigue stone fort, the Gap of Dunloe, Bog Village, Kerry Woolen Mills, Rossbeigh Beach, Moll's Gap, Torc Waterfall, Lough Leane, and Ladies View (an incredible panoramic viewpoint within Killarney National Park).


Dinner & Hotel

After such a full day of adventuring we'll stop for an early dinner along the way or grab a bite to eat upon our return to the Plaza Hotel & Spa.


 
 
 

Day Ten: The Next Parish Over Is Boston

Thursday, October 11th

The Dingle Peninsula

A finger of land that stretches 30 miles into the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland's southwest coast, the Dingle Peninsula is the westernmost point in Europe; residents are fond of saying that the next parish over is in Boston. The classic 1970 film Ryan's Daughter is set in a village here, in the aftermath of the Irish 1916 Easter Rising and World War I.

Akin to the Ring of Kerry, we'll experience the beauty of Dingle's breathtaking views combining sky, sea, and mountain. Due to the range of mountains forming the spine of the peninsula its coastline consists of steep sea cliffs, occasionally broken by sandy beaches. Home to a thriving Irish language community and many talented craftspeople there's plenty to do and see, including visits to the Fahan Beehive Huts, Slea Head Drive, and the Gallarus Oratory.

 
 

Dinner & Hotel

We'll spend our last night at the Plaza Hotel & Spa in Killarney along with a local dinner.


 
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Day Eleven: The Prettiest Village In Ireland

Friday, October 12th

Adare

On our last full day we'll visit the charming heritage town of Adare in County Limerick, renowned as Ireland's prettiest village. The village is a pleasure to stroll around, with its many well-preserved thatched cottages which today house craft shops and fine restaurants.

Dromoland Castle

After having a lunch in Adare we'll head to the magnificent 5-star Dromoland Castle Hotel, with plenty of time to relax and explore the castle's grounds and gardens.


Dinner & Hotel

Our final evening in Ireland holds a five course dinner and stay at Dromoland Castle Hotel in County Clare.


Learn more about:  Adare, Dromoland Castle

 
 
 

Day Twelve: Saying Goodbye

Saturday, October 13th

After breakfast we'll head to Shannon Airport as we begin our journey home. Until next time!

 

For pricing on this tour click here

 
 
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