Northern & Southern Ireland
|Resort:||Northern & Southern Ireland|
Keep an eye out for elves and fairies as you journey over the green plains of Ireland. Visit medieval castles and ancient sites filled with folklore and whimsy. Take in the views of Ireland’s rugged coastline, including the famous Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway. Don’t forget to enjoy a pint of Guinness and some live music in one of Dublin’s pubs.
Day 1 Belfast
Welcome to Belfast and the Emerald Isle! If you arrive early spend the day wandering the streets of the bohemian Cathedral Quarter, or perhaps visit the leafy suburbs of South Belfast or the stately City Hall in Donegal Square. Make sure you also visit the revitalised waterfront area where you will find the Titanic Belfast monument on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard where the legendary RMS Titanic was built. The monument tells the story of the ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage in 1912.
Day 2 Giant’s Causeway / Belfast
Take a train/bus combination to the iconic natural wonder known as The Giant’s Causeway (approx 2,5 hours). This part of the rugged wild coast is home to roughly 40,000 basalt columns. The landmark has inspired artists and storytellers for centuries. Depending on the school of thought you wish to believe, they are either the result of an ancient volcanic eruption or the impressions of a giant’s footstep! Upon return to Belfast in the evening perhaps visit the areas that are synonymous with the Troubles, such as Shankill Road, the unionist Protestant area, the nationalist and Catholic area, as well as the “Peace Wall”. Explore the local neighborhoods to get more of a feel of this regenerated city.
Day 3 Galway
This morning travel by public bus to the harbour city of Galway, capital of the county of the same name. We will be crossing the border from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, so you’ll need to switch your Pounds for some Euros at this point. While you’re in Galway, perhaps visit to the impressive Galway Cathedral. Its full name, the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, is far more elaborate than the simplicity of the structure.
Day 4 Aran Islands / Galway
Enjoy a day trip by ferry to the Aran islands, which have been crafted by centuries of blowing winds and smashing waves. The islands are one of the few places where the Irish language is still spoken on an everyday basis. We travel by minibus and on foot to explore the native flora and fauna, with visits to the ruins of a church and a lighthouse. There are also some remains from Bronze and Iron Age fortresses to be found. If you’re lucky you may even spot a seal lounging on the rocky shore. We return to Galway for a free evening and time for more exploration. The best way to take in the spirit of this city is by attending a live performance in one of the many pubs, accompanied by a pint of Guinness of course.
Day 5 Cliffs of Moher / Adare / Killarney
The magnificently precipitous Cliffs of Moher will leave you in awe with their sweeping views of the Irish coastline. The sheer rocky cliffs rise from the deep blue sea and are topped with rolling green fields. The daring can walk to the edge and watch puffins nesting along the cliff face (April to late July). Learn about the history of the famous site and it’s feathered inhabitants at the Cliffs Exhibition. Next stop is the quaint village of Adare. Arrival into Killarney is in the late afternoon. Upon arrival you may want to join the group for a few pints at a local pub. You’ll learn quickly that pubs are the heartbeat of Ireland, whether you’re interested in guzzling beer or simply getting to know more about Irish culture, pubs are definitely an important part of any Irish adventure – the place for infectiously cheerful music, tall tales and making friends over a pint or two. The Irish take their beer seriously, so this is a great chance to taste a variety of rich ‘real ales’. Get to know classic pub fare such as Irish stew, chowders and fish and chips, while also sampling less familiar dishes such as coddle, boxty and champ.
Day 6 Ring of Kerry / Killarney
Prepare for picturesque rolling green hills and breathe in the salty coastal air as you travel along the Iveragh Peninsula, better known as the Ring of Kerry, a mystical and unspoilt region of Ireland. You’ll pass through bucolic villages and enjoy views across some of Ireland’s greatest beaches, beautiful lakes and rivers as well as some dramatic coastal scenery. Travelling by private vehicle will allow you to stop frequently at any of the numerous outlooks along the way for photos. Arrive back into Killarney in the early afternoon. If there is enough time perhaps head out to Ross Castle, picturesquely sitting on the shores of Lough Leane.
Day 7 Dublin
Travel by train to Dublin, the proud capital of the Republic of Ireland. Spend the afternoon exploring the cobbled streets of this humming city or drop into the pub for a pint of Guinness and a yarn. Dublin has much to offer, so make sure you go out and maximise your time here. In the evening perhaps meet up with the group as it is time to say goodbye to your fellow travellers.
Day 8 Dublin
There are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart at any time. You might want to return to Belfast by train or further explore Dublin and surrounding area. Your leader can be of assistance in organising train tickets back to Belfast. Additional accommodation can be booked in both locations (subject to availability). Please ask your travel agent at the time of booking.