10 Day Ireland (Start in Dublin)
*** DAILY MASSES INCLUDED ***
Day 1 Depart USA. Tour members meet at the airport 3 hours prior to departure for our flight to Dublin. Dinner and entertainment onboard our transatlantic flight.
Day 2 Welcome to Ireland. Arrive at Dublin airport and meet your driver and guide and depart for Galway. En route visit Clonmacnoise, a wonderful early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. In a stunning setting, the site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of early Christian grave slabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of grave slabs are on display in the visitor centre. Upon our arrival in Galway, enjoy an orientation tour of the city. We start at Galway’s modern Cathedral, which was built in 1965. The visit then continues across the Salmon Weir Bridge and along the trout stream to the Collegiate of St Nicholas of Myra, which was built in 1320. The Collegiate is close to Nora Barnacle’s house (Mrs James Joyce) and to the famous Lynch window from which the English language receive the word to Lynch (hang). We visit The Kings Hear Pub and find out exactly how it got its name. Continue to our hotel for time at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 Knock Shrine & Ballintubber Abbey This morning visit Knock Shrine. This little town is an important pilgrimage centre and has been famous for over a century as the site of visions, apparitions, and miraculous cures. The story of Knock began on the 21st August 1879 when Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. Fifteen people, young and old witnessed the apparition. From this miraculous occurrence Knock has grown to the status of an internationally recognised Marian Shrine. The personal pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II in 1979, commemorating the centenary of the apparition, inspired an even greater devotion to the Shrine and endorsed the indelible seal of Vatican approval. Next visit Ballintubber Abbey, built in 1216, for the Canon Regulars of St Augustine, Ballintubber Abbey is the only church in Ireland that was founded by an Irish King and which is still in use today. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 4 Galway – Limerick Today after breakfast depart Galway for Limerick. En-route, we visit the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Standing 230 metres above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. Continue to and visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This is one of the most complete and authentic medieval castles in Ireland. Built in 1425 and plundered on many occasions, it was authentically restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings and tapestries capturing the mood and the style of the times. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 5, SAT SEP 9: Limerick to Killarney This morning, enjoy a panoramic tour of Limerick. Visit St. Mary’s Cathedral. St. Mary’s Cathedral is Limerick City’s oldest church. It began as a palace, and some parts of the original building still stand. A mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles, the majority of the present day structure survives from the restoration of the building in 1580. Then we visit King John Castle situated on “King’s Island” in the heart of medieval Limerick City. The Castle overlooks the majestic river Shannon. Depart Limerick and travel to Killarney. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Killarney.
Day 6, SUN SEP 10: Ring of Kerry We set off on an exciting day after breakfast embarking on the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is the most famous and panoramic route in Ireland. The astonishing beauty of this large peninsula, Iveragh, comes from the great diversity of its scenery, which offers incessant contrasts. En route around the Ring, take in spectacular scenery - mountains, peat bogs, lakes and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean as one travels along the coast road. Upon our return to Killarney enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the 5-star Muckross Park Hotel. Tonight, we enjoy dinner and traditional Irish entertainment at famous Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Kate Kearney's Cottage hosts a traditional Irish night which consists of dinner, traditional music and costumed dancers. Overnight at our hotel.
Day 7 Killarney to Waterford Today travel to County Cork and visit Blarney Castle, an ancient stronghold of the McCarthy's, Lords of Muskerry, it is one of Ireland's oldest and most historic castles and one of the strongest fortresses in Munster. Built in 1446, Blarney Castle is famous for its Blarney stone, The Stone of Eloquence, which is traditionally believed to have the power to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who kiss it. Afterwards we visit Blarney Woollen Mills. Originally established in 1823, Blarney Woollen Mills now houses a large selection of Irish products. With a wide selection of sweaters and woollens, crystal and china, gifts and souvenirs for all the family, this famous store has something for everyone. With five locations across Ireland, Blarney Woollen Mills offers an essential Irish shopping experience. Continue to Waterford and visit the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 8 Waterford to Dublin Following breakfast, depart Waterford and travel to Dublin via Wicklow. We visit the Glendalough Visitor Centre. Set in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and decorated crosses. Journey on into the Wicklow Mountains. Discover the romantic and quiet beauty of County Wicklow, the deserted mounts where nothing but heather grows, the small forests and the lush prairies illuminated by yellow gorse in spring. Continue to Dublin and check in to your hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 9 Dublin Fair City Today we enjoy a panoramic Dublin City Tour. We visit the north and south side of the River Liffey. This area offers great striking monuments such as the GPO (General Post Office) on the city main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, or the Custom House along the quays, as well as the Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe. The south side appears more sophisticated with its vast Georgian squares, such as Merrion Square, where Oscar Wilde’s House can still be found (today owned by an American College), its colourful doors, along with Grafton Street and its quality shops. Not so far from St. Stephen’s Green, in Kildare St., you will see the house of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. This part of the city is also dominated by the students of Trinity College, where we will visit the famous book of Kells which is permanently exhibited in its library. We visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland (a church of the Anglican communion). St Patrick’s is Gothic in style and its splendid interior is adorned with funeral monuments, such as The Boyle Family Memorial and the grave of Dean Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels). Swift was dean here until his death in 1745. The Chancel has ornate stained-glass windows, and spectacular choir stalls, once used by the knights of St Patrick, adjoin the Altar. The massive west towers, houses a large peal of bells whose ringing tones are so much part of the character of Dublin. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in the city centre. We recommend a stroll down Grafton Street where you can enjoy the best in street entertainment. The shopping is also great in this area of the city! Tonight enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at our hotel.
Day 10 Dublin / USA. After a final farewell breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Dublin airport for your departure flight.