Real Irish Travel

Ireland’s Southern Gems Tour

October 6-17, 2020

$4255 Land Only - Per Person

**20 people limit on this tour tour**

We have airfare reserved, please contact us for pricing

Call Stuart Marley at 734-846-2025 or email

to book your place

~All prices subject to change until fully booked~

Single supplement $900 Ireland


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 five weeks or so before our departure date, for those who can make it, we'll meet up at a local pub in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to enjoy some dinner together, get to meet our fellow travelers, go over the itinerary, and answer any questions.


Day One: The Adventure Begins

Today's the day!
Depart from your local airport for an overnight flight to Dublin airport (which includes an evening meal and breakfast). We’ll meet up at Dublin airport, and that’s when the tour starts.


Day Two: Hello, Ireland

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!).


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.



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.


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.

The Fitzwilliam Dublin Bedroom.jpg

Dinner & Hotel

The Fitzwilliam Hotel - 5 Star

4.5/5 Google Customer Rating with over 380 verified customer reviews.

We'll spend our first two nights at the superbly located 5 star Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin, on St. Stephen's Green and steps from Grafton Street. 

Dinner is on your own this evening, with any type of meal imaginable at close hand in Ireland's capital city.

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


Day Three: Explore Dublin


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

The Fitzwilliam Hotel - 5 Star

4.5/5 Google Customer Rating with over 380 verified customer reviews.

This is our second and final night in the capital city at the 5 star Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin.

We'll finish off our day with a traditional Irish dinner and a grand "hoolie" with entertainment by the Irish House Party featuring music, song, and dance.



Day Four: Equines & Knighthood


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!


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

Butler House Kilkenny - 4 Star

(4.6/5 Google Customer Rating with over 270 verified reviews)

We will enjoy dinner together this evening at Butler House.


Day Five: The Medieval Mile

Kilkenny Castle

Barely a few minutes from our hotel 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

Butler House Kilkenny - 4 Star

(4.6/5 Google Customer Rating with over 270 verified reviews)

This will be our second and final night at Butler House

Dinner is on your own this evening. With so many Pubs & Restaurants in this small town, you are spoiled for choice.


Day Six: Famous Rocks


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

Acton’s Hotel Kinsale - 4 Star

(4.4/5 Google Customer Rating with over 590 verified reviews)

This is our first of two nights at Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale. Situated on the waterfront and just minutes from the town, it is an ideal location, with great views of the bay.

We will enjoy dinner together this evening at a local restaurant.


Day Seven: Island Life


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

Acton’s Hotel Kinsale - 4 Star

(4.4/5 Google Customer Rating with over 590 verified reviews)

Dinner will be on your won this evening, in the pretty and charming village of Kinsale.


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

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!


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

The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa - 4 Star

(4.5/5 Google Customer Rating with over 940 verified customer reviews)

The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa is situated just on the edge of the town center and is the perfect location to explore from. A 2 minute walk from the front door will have you in the middle of town.

This is the first of 2 nights for us at The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa.

We will enjoy dinner together tonight at a local restaurant.


Day Nine: The Ring of Kerry

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 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

The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa - 4 Star

(4.5/5 Google Customer Rating with over 940 verified customer reviews)

Our second and final night at The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa.

Dinner is on your own tonight, with no shortage of great options.


Day Ten: The Next Parish Over Is Boston

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 Blasket Islands center.


Dinner & Hotel

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


Day Eleven: The Prettiest Village In Ireland


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

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


For pricing on this tour click here