May 13-25, 2023
It is often said that each day in Ireland is like a festival. Ireland is, after all, a country bustling with activity. Activity that ranges from cultural to traditional and from music to theatre and dance. Ireland is also a country of ancient landscapes that are ever changing. In fact, it is a country that boasts “40 shades of green”.
Join us on a delightful journey to the Emerald Isle. Your visit will take you to some of Ireland’s most treasured landmarks: You will visit Dublin; Blarney Castle, famous for its Blarney Stone; the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle. You will even visit Galway Bay!
You will also journey into Northern Ireland with visits to Belfast, famous for its Titanic museum, enjoy a drive along Northern Ireland’s famous coastal route and Giant Causeway. Your holiday will also take you to Derry, Londonderry and Donegal.
During your vacation, you will be accommodated in 3 or 4 star hotels. Irish breakfast daily and 3 dinners are included. Previous tours to Ireland sold out very quickly. Booking early therefore is your only guarantee of space on this adventure!
Ottawa to Ireland
This afternoon you will depart on your overnight flights from Ottawa to Dublin.
Dublin Airport to Belfast
Ceád Mile Fáilte – “One Hundred Thousand Welcomes” to Ireland!
Upon your arrival in Dublin you will be met by your local driver/guide and begin your journey to Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital. Your first stop will be Titanic Belfast. This museum is the world’s largest RMS Titanic visitor attraction, comprising nine interpretive and interactive galleries focused on the short history of the famous ship. Its exhibits fill six floors and includes interactive discovery zones, full-scale reconstructions with special effects and real-life accounts from survivors of the tragic wreck. Highlights include the Ocean Exploration Centre with live links to modern underwater explorations and the luxurious Titanic Banqueting Hall. (D)
Overnight in Belfast
Costal Route & Giant’s Causeway
This morning we will follow Northern Ireland’s famous coastal route and Giant’s Causeway. Considered to be one of the top scenic drives in Great Britain, this 212-kilometer route winds along the craggy coast of Northern Ireland. Stretching from Belfast all the way to Derry, the Causeway Coastal Route leads to castles, cliff walks, beaches, waterfalls, Game of Thrones filming locations and other scenic locales. (B)
Overnight in Belfast
Londonderry & Donegal
After breakfast we will begin our journey to Sligo. Our first stop en route will be in Londonderry. This town is the only completely walled city left in Ireland. It has also played a big role in Northern Ireland’s troubled past.
Our next stop will be in Donegal. Donegal was voted the coolest place on the planet by National Geographic Traveler in 2017. This is because of its rugged interior, remote mountain passes and shimmering lakes. (B)
Overnight in Sligo
Sligo to Galway
Today we will make our way to Galway. While steeped in history, Galway has a unique energy that makes it one of Ireland’s most visited cities. Galway has a thriving and cosmopolitan city centre. It is always a joy to explore with its wonderful cobbled streets, colourful shop facades and its unusual array of coffee shops. Your tour of Galway will encompass all of its major historical sites. (B, D)
Overnight in Galway
Today you can explore some of the beautiful countryside of Connemara, with its rolling hills, flowing rivers and coastal landscapes. Connemara is a wild and beautiful region of mountains, lakes, tumbling streams, undulating bog, unspoiled beaches and panoramic views. It is a Gaelic- speaking region and has attracted many artisans, who can be visited at work in their studios. The centre of Connemara is composed of mountain peaks, the Twelve Bens or Pins, which culminate in Benbaun. The sharp grey peaks of quartzite rock which is resistant to weathering are too steep and hard to be clothed in blanket bog. The region is now largely uninhabited, although in the past the more fertile lowlands were cultivated and the uplands were used as pasture for cattle and sheep.
Stop and visit Kylemore Abbey & Gardens. Kylemore Abbey is the only home of the Benedictine nuns in Ireland. The Abbey was acquired by the nuns in 1920. Set in the heart of Connemara, this unique Abbey offers the warmth and hospitality of its peaceful environs. Its enchanting history is interpreted in detail in rooms at the Abbey. It was originally built by Mitchell Henry, M.P. for County Galway (a native of Manchester city) as a gift for his wife. The Gothic Church, set in the grounds of the Abbey, is the jewel in the crown of Kylemore. It has been lovingly restored and any visit would not be complete without seeing it. Explore the magical 6 acre Victorian walled garden, where Victorian varieties of flowers and vegetables are grown. Vegetables and herbs from the garden are used in the café where they offer traditional home cooked food made to the recipes of the Benedictine nuns. (B)
Overnight in Galway
The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty
Travel through the Burren – The Burren takes its name from the Irish word ‘bhoireann’ meaning, ‘a stony place’ or ‘a rocky place’, which is a good description for this 350 sq. kilometres limestone plateau in North Clare. The rough, intriguing and attractive landscape was formed 320 million years ago under a tropical sea. Later it was shaped by ice, hard weather and, of course, man and his beasts. The many wedge tombs and megalithic tombs prove that people have been living in the Burren for more than 5000 years.
Then travel to the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights. Standing 600ft above the ground at their highest point and 5 miles long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara.
In the afternoon, visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Bunratty Castle is one of Europe’s finest. Pride of more than 100 castles built by the McNamara chieftains in 15th century Clare, it is faithfully restored and refurnished. Built in 1425, it is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland and contains furnishings, tapestries and works of art from the period. In the shadow of the castle is Bunratty Folk Park set on 26 acres, illustrating 19th century Irish life from grand manor houses to peasant dwelling and from farm activities to cobble-stone village streets. (B, D)
Overnight in Tralee
Scenic Tour Around the Dingle Peninsula
Our first stop will be in Dingle. Dingle is a small port town on southwest Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, known for its rugged scenery, trails and sandy beaches. It is considered to be one of the most picturesque parts of Ireland.
In the afternoon, we’ll return to Tralee and the rest of the day will be at your leisure. (B)
Overnight in Tralee
Blarney & Cork City
This morning we depart for Blarney and the Blarney Stone, which has the traditional power on conferring eloquence on all who kiss it! The word ‘Blarney’ means pleasant talk, intended to deceive without offending. The battlements crowning the castle keep are typically Irish in form. Having climbed more than 100 steps, the famous Stone is set in the wall below the parapet, and to kiss it, one has to lean backwards from the parapet walk of the battlements. You can also visit the Blarney Woolen mills for some fine quality Irish produce.
After lunch, you will enjoy a panoramic tour of Cork and learn the history of Ireland’s third city known as the Rebel City. The city’s origins lie early in the seventh century when St. Finbarr, founder and patron saint, founded a small monastic community close to where Gilabbey Street now stands, and it grew into an extensive and wealthy establishment. It attracted the attention of the Viking sea-pirates who raided and burned the infant city, but returned in later years to settle and trade. The Anglo-Norman invasion in 1172 resulted in both the Danish lords and local MacCarthy chiefs having to submit to Henry II, but Cork has always had a reputation for independence and stubborn resistance – it came to be known as “Rebel Cork”. (B)
Overnight in Cork
Midleton & Waterford
This morning, visit the Jameson Experience at the Old Midleton Distillery, Co Cork. The original buildings at the Middleton Distillery date back as far as the 1800s, and were used to mature Cork Distillery Whiskey (now known as Paddy Whiskey). Visitors come face to face with original kilns and pot stills from that time and explore warehouses that have matured whiskey for more than 2 centuries. Enjoy a signature drink of Jameson at the end of the tour.
Afterwards, you will travel to Waterford with an included city tour. Waterford is one of Ireland’s oldest and most historic cities. The walled city withstood siege on several occasions in the past but fell to the Normans in 1170 AD. It prospered under the Normans and emerged as the second city of Ireland after Dublin. The city was the chief port of Ireland throughout the middle ages.
Your final destination today is Kilkenny City. Located in the heart if Ireland’s Ancient East, the medieval city of Kilkenny is named after a 6th century monk called Saint Canice. His memory lives on in the beautifully preserved St. Canice’s Cathedral built overlooking the city in the 13th century. (B)
Overnight in Kilkenny
Visit Kilkenny Castle – The Normans arrived in the 12th century and their legacy remains in the superb and fully restored Kilkenny Castle and in the thriving and cosmopolitan merchant city. The 17th century was a time of great social and political turmoil for Kilkenny. It was the seat of national parliament for a six year period. The famous Oliver Cromwell invaded the city in 1650 and Kilkenny College was attended by such luminaries as Jonathan Swift and Bishop Berkeley.
This afternoon, make our way to Dublin. We will have a city tour of Dublin before being taken to our hotel. (B)
Overnight in Dublin
Free day in Dublin- Your Travac Tours Director can assist you with ideas on what to do
Dublin is a lively capital city that’s as intimate as a village and as friendly as your local Irish pub. With its seamless blend of classic visitor sights, excellent social scene and the natural playgrounds of Dublin Bay and the Dublin Mountains framing it on all sides, this laidback city is an adventure in itself. (B)
Overnight in Dublin
Ireland to Ottawa
Alas it is time to depart. The driver will transfer the group to Dublin Airport and depart for return flights to Ottawa. (B)
The Ardilaun Hotel (Galway) or similar
Hotel AddressTaylor's Hill Rd
+353 91 521 433
The Kilford Arms (Kilkenny) or similar
Hotel AddressJohn Street Upper
+353 56 776 1018
Buswells Hotel or similar
Hotel Address27 Molesworth St
+353 1 614 6500
Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre (Belfast) or similar
Hotel Address15 Hope St
+44 28 9031 3335
The Glasshouse Hotel (Sligo) or similar
Hotel AddressSwan Point, Abbeyquarter North
+353 71 919 4300
The Rose Hotel (Tralee) or similar
Hotel AddressDan Spring Rd, Cloon Beg
+353 66 719 9100
Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City (or similar)
Hotel Address11 John Redmond St
+353 21 452 9200