Arrive at Dublin Airport. Meet with our driver/guide and transfer into the city for sightseeing. Enjoy a panoramic tour of Dublin City with local guide
Discover 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 the famous book of Kells is permanently exhibited in its library. The university is facing the medieval district where Dublin Castle and the two Anglican Cathedrals can be found.
Visit Trinity College & The Book of Kells
Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st on grounds confiscated from an Augustinian priory and is the oldest University in Ireland. The Campanile, erected in 1852, was built on what is believed to be the centre of the monastery.Built to further the education of the ruling Anglo-Irish families, restrictions were imposed to prevent Catholic from attending courses.
These restrictions were not fully lifted until the2 1970’s. Trinity however admitted women in 1902, earlier than most British universities.Most of the main buildings off the main square were built during the Georgian period, some of which replaced older buildings.Within its walls, you will be able to admire Parliament Square and its 18th Century edifices. Trinity College has had many famous students such as Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett who later became a lecturer in French at the university.The Inter-denominational Church is very much worth a visit, should it be open during your visit. Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dublin.
This morning we Visit to Old Jameson Distillery. The Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield Village is located in the heart of Old Dublin. This old barley storehouse, once the centre of Distilling in Dublin, was renovated in 1998 and converted into a museum where all the secrets of Irish whiskey’s distillation will be revealed.
An audio-visual show will introduce the history of this spirit and it is followed by a guided visit which will take our group through the various stages of whiskey distilling from grain intake to malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, maturation and finally bottling. The visit culminates in the Jameson bar with an opportunity for all to taste the signature Jameson drink.
During the visit a number of volunteers are selected to take part in a tasting session to compare a Jameson whiskey with a Scottish Whisky and American bourbon. Participants will receive a Diploma for their achievement.
This afternoon we will enjoy the Musical Pub Crawl A great way to experience the Dublin pub scene and the rich heritage of Irish music is to venture on the Musical PubCrawl. The tour will be led by two professional musicians who will perform tunes and songs, while telling the story of Irish Music.
The tours normally start in St John Gogarty’s Pub in Temple Bar this can be changed to suit our groups requirements. Lasting 2 hours approximately the group will have plenty of time to enjoy the music while enjoying a drink (in each pub of course!).This evening join a session in the Temple Bar area of Dublin.Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dublin
Welcome to the prosperous and vibrant town of Thurles. Set between the valley of the River Suir and bounded by the Silvermines to the North West and the Slieveardagh hills to the south east, the area around Thurles is rich and varied in scenery with its mild climate that helps produce some of the finest agricultural land in the world.
The Gaelic Athletic Association, also known as GAA was originally founded in Thurles and visitors can find out all about the history of the GAA with a visit to Lár na Pairce musuem in the town centre. Thurles is also home to the second largest GAA stadium in Ireland, Semple Stadium.
Visit the Holy Cross Abbey
Located on the banks of the River Suir, the picturesque Cistercian Holy Cross Abbey was originally built in 1168 by Donal Mor O’Brien for the Benedictine Order. The monastery was colonised by monks from Monasteranenagh in County Limerick. It was given the name Holy Cross as the monastery housed a portion of the true cross.
This relic is now enshrined in the Abbey.It became a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the country. Under the patronage of James Butler, the fourth Earl of Ormonde, much of the abbey was rebuilt in the 15th century, but after suppression, it was eventually left in ruins The church has many interesting features including a variety of fascinating windows, mural paintings and many fine carvings.
The abbey was in ruins until the early 1970’s, but a massive restoration project turned the Cistercian cloisters and chapels into a living church. In the restored West Range is a tourist office, an exhibition area featuring an audio-visual, a shop and toilet facilities. *Please note that it may be possible to meet a stone mason. Supplements will apply.
Continue to the Rock of Cashel
Possibly the most photographed site in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel towers over the town of Cashel from its perch on a 200-foot high outcrop of limestone. Once the seat of the Kings of Munster. St. Patrick visited the rock in 450, while Brian Boru was crowned the first high King of Ireland here in the tenth century.
Granted to the church in the twelfth century, by the O'Brien clan, today the impressive stone walls enclose a round tower, a cathedral, a twelfth century Romanesque chapel and high crosses. The Vicars Choral has been recently restored and its basement houses a small museum of artefacts found on the site.
One of the leading visitor attractions in Ireland, in 2011 it was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on her historic first visit to the Republic of Ireland. A guided tour is strongly recommended. Conservation work will be carried out on Cormac’s Chapel over a number of years from 2009. Access may be restricted to the chapel and other parts of the site in the future.
Late in the afternoon, we will visit Bru Boru Sounds of History Museum
Brú Ború (translated as “The Palace of Boru”) is a national heritage centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This cultural and interpretative village is designed around a village green and is home to the study and celebration of Irish music, song, dance, storytelling, theatre and Celtic studies.
Located at the foot of the historic Rock of Cashel, Brú Ború is an affiliate of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the Irish cultural movement which has over 400 branches worldwide. The state of the art theatre seats 250 people and hosts some of the best shows in traditional Irish entertainment throughout the year. The venue is home to the resident Brú Ború performance group.
The Teach Ceoil (house of music) comes alive with the sound of Irish traditions; from singing a song, to dancing a step, playing an air or telling a story. The Sounds of History exhibition takes place in subterranean chambers, seven metres underground, which echo to the story of Ireland from ancient times to the present day.
Through the passage of time, the journey is marked by milestones of achievement, conflict and renewal. A recent state-of-the-art extension has been added, where visitors can explore 3000 years of Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. Brú Ború also hosts the Genealogy service of the Irish Family History Foundation for South Tipperary. Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Tipperary
This morning we will journey to the South of Tipperary on Butlers Trail.
Visit Cahir Castle. Superbly set on a rocky island in the River Suir in Cahir town, County Tipperary, this impressive 15th century castle - the largest of its period in Ireland - was considered impregnable until the advent of heavy cannon. Once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family, the castle retains its keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure.
The origins of the castle are traced back to the third century when a Dun (earthen fort) was built upon the rocky island. This gave the town of Cahir its original name "Dun Lascaigh" (town of the fish fort). There is an audio-visual presentation, and guided tours are also available to help fully understand the history of Cahir, its town, its castle and the surrounding area.
Continue to Swiss Cottage. This delightful "cottage orné", or ornamental cottage, was built in the early 1800s by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall. Based on a design by the famous Regency architect, John Nash, and inspired by nature, the cottage's unusual and rustic features include a distinctive thatched roof while its external woodwork resembles branched trees.
The nature theme is continued throughout the former guest cottage's internal furnishings and wallpaper. Its interior contains a graceful spiral staircase and some elegantly decorated rooms. The wallpaper in the salon, manufactured by the Dufour factory, is one of the first commercially produced Parisian wallpapers. Swiss Cottage is situated on an elevated site with access by stone steps.
Visit Ormond Castle. Ormond Castle is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. Built in the 16th Century, this manor house fronts a larger complex dating from the 14th century. Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond added the ‘new’ north range, which became known as the Manor House, to the existing buildings.
It boasts a typical manor house layout including a magnificent long gallery. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Tudor house is the decorative plasterwork, which provides some of the finest early examples of the craft in Ireland, including plasterwork portraits in the 'state rooms'.
Carrick-on-Suir was the home to the famous Clancy Brothers, Paddy, Tom, Liam and Bobby who together with Tommy Makem were folk superstars in the 1960s. Liam later working with his nephew, Carrick on Suir native, Robbie O'Connell.
Late in the afternoon, visit St. Patrick’s Well. Located in Clonmel is one of the largest Wells in Ireland. Situated in a small glen surrounded by trees is a large swallow pond with an Irish Stone Cross that dates back to the 5th Century. Continue to Kinsale. Overnight, bed and breakfast at our hotel in Kinsale.
The Island has a wonderful history and its unusual micro climate allows a range of exotic subtropical plant species to flourish. There are a number of walks and interesting buildings on the Island. On route to the Island you will enjoy the magnificent views of the bay and also pass Seal Island with its colony of harbour seals.
The seals are very photogenic and are happy to pose for photos! Continue to Killarney in County Kerry for an evening of entertainment with the World renowned Irish Music & Dance Show, Celtic Steps. Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Killarney
Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dingle
Free days coaching to explore the Dingle Peninsula starting with Slea Head.. From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found.
Continue around the peninsula exploring some of Ireland’s nicest & most picturesque local shops, pubs, cafes etc. Return to our hotel in Dingle. Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dingle
The flora on the Burren is a mixture of Arctic and Mediterranean and rare flowers such as gentian, orchids and bloody cranesbill are the rule rather than the exception. The Burren is truly an exceptional part of Ireland. Continue onto Galway for an evening of music in a local pub. Overnight, dinner, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Galway.
Whereas the landlord class had the resources to leave an indelible mark on the landscape, the Irish tenants lived in poverty and nothing of a physical nature has survived to commemorate their lives. Continue to Dublin to enjoy an evening of music at a local pub. Overnight, bed & full Irish Breakfast at our hotel in Dublin
Lunch at Paudi O Se's, Ventry
11 Nights accommodation at good 3/4 star Hotels
Full Irish Breakfast at hotel each day, Day 2-12 Inclusive
Dinner at our Hotel on Day 9 & 10
Iveagh Garden Hotel,Dublin
The Horse & Jockey Hotel, Cashel
The Trident Hotel,Kinsale
Old Ground Hotel, Ennis
Westport Coast Hotel,Westport
Jury's Inn Parnell,Dublin
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I've lived most of my life on the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. My Itineraries demonstrate my knowledge of Ireland. which is why you will be in the best hands.You will be assured that your vacation will be most memorable. Benny's Ireland Vacations is proudly partnered with the most able, reliable & experienced ground handlers in the business in Ireland, The Abbey Group.
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