A 10-day tour of Ireland. From Shannon a counter-clockwise loop takes in Killarney, West Cork, Kinsale, Kilkenny, Dublin and Galway.
A vibrant schedule to hit the highlights of four cities! This energetic tour combines the hustle and bustle of Ireland’s main cities with the relaxed atmosphere of West Cork and the freedom of Connemara.
- Get it all in one hit!
- A mix of fast and furious with slow and relaxed; all within a day’s drive.
From Shannon, drive south to Killarney via the pretty village of Adare. Explore the Killarney area, famous for its lakes and mountains and the National Park. Your town centre accommodation affords ample opportunity to explore – and walking distance from a wonderful world of tradition and craft.
(Drive Time: 2.5 Hours)
Day 2 – Gap of Dunloe Tour
A free day to explore Killarney by foot, by pony & jaunting cart or on your own wheels. One suggestion is a Gap of Dunloe Tour. A coach will take you to Kate Kearney’s Cottage from where the ascent to the Gap is on foot or by traditional jaunting car. Through the Gap descend to Black Valley (the last place in Ireland to be electrified in 1967) and lunch at Lord Brandon’s cottage. A boat trip across the Lakes of Killarney returns you to Ross Castle from where a coach will return you to Killarney.
Day 3 – West Cork Coastal Route
Leave Killarney via the National Park and Ladies View and cross the mountains at Moll’s Gap. Through Kenmare and over the eastern slopes of the Caha Mountains to Glengariff and the famous gardens of Illnacullin. From here the West Cork Coastal Route is lined by fuschia…it’s beauty and simplicity symbolises all that is best about the area. Be sure to visit the Model Railway Village in Clonakilty and see West Cork at your feet. Follow the coast via 13th century Timoleague Abbey to Kinsale, wonderfully located, snug between the waters of the harbour and the estuary of the Bandon river. For dinner, don’t miss the freshly caught fish! Overnight Kinsale.
(Drive Time: 5 hours)
Day 4 – Kinsale to Ardmore
Cork City is home to the wonderful Old English Market for the best of local flavour and Cork wit. Journey east to the Jameson Distillery, home of Midleton whiskey. Be sure to volunteer for the tastings! A short detour to Fota House & Gardens and the heritage town of Cobh on Cork Harbour, the 2nd largest natural harbour in the world. The 12th century round tower remains of St. Declan overlook the seaside village of Ardmore. It’s a great place to be.
(Drive Time: 2.5 hours)
Day 5 – Ardmore to Dublin
Drive through the Comeragh Mountains, stop at Kells Abbey – the most peaceful abbey remains imaginable – and into vibrant Kilkenny City. Take a walking tour with Tynan’s to feel the heart of this medieval place. In Dublin, your central hotel allows plenty of opportunity to explore the city. Or follow an optional route via Waterford Crystal factory and watch the master craftsmen at work.
(Drive Time: 4 hours)
Day 6 – Explore Dublin
A free day to explore Dublin. See the Book of Kells at Trinity College before browsing Grafton Street to Stephen’s Green. The National Museum is fascinating and located next door to The Dail, Ireland’s parliament. The Guinness Storehouse is always popular before ending the day at one of the many restaurants or bars in Temple Bar. Don’t miss the Irish entertainment evening at your hotel.
Day 7 – Dublin to Galway
Westward Ho! Through the midlands to the eclectic city of Galway. En route stop at Donadea Forest Park to see the 9/11 memorial, inspired by a New York fire fighter who’s family emigrated from this area. Visit 6th century monastic remains at Clonmacnoise, the Turoe Stone at Bullaun or Dartfield, Ireland’s only Horse Museum. Your accommodation is by the shores of Galway Bay and walking distance from the old city.
(Drive Time: 4 hours)
Day 8 – Explore Connemara
Connemara- wild and exciting countryside, dramatic loughs, lanes and landscapes. Visit Roundstone, Clifden, the Connemara National Park Centre and lunch at the Victorian Walled Gardens of Kylemore Abbey. Under the shadow of the Twelve Bens, drive through the haunting Lough Inagh valley back to Galway.
(Drive Time: 3 hours)
Day 9 – Galway to Ennis
An option today to spend time in Galway. Drive south via Kinnvara and the 7th Century tower at Kilmacduagh. Cross wild, bog covered hills to Craggaunowen Megalithic Centre and nearby Quin Abbey before the short drive to the historic town of Ennis, a lovely market town, perfect for exploration by foot. Boutique coffee shops by antique alleys…
Optional drive to the Burren to explore by car and foot.
(Drive Time: 2.5 hours, 4 hours via Burren)
Day 10 – Departure from Shannon Airport
Return hired car at Shannon airport and depart.
Prices & Booking
- 6 nights accommdation in quality B&B/Guesthouse accommodation
- 2 nights accommodation in 3*** Dublin City Centre hotel
- 1 night accommodation in 3*** Ennis hotel
- All breakfasts
- Day by Day suggestion guide including route notes
- Local maps and guides
What’s not included:
- Meals other than breakfasts
- Entries and excursions
October 2011 – Thea & Bert, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
We had a wonderful week in one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland. We enjoyed the nice B&B’s, the very friendly people and the great walks. Even the rain was nice. Now we have only two of your tours we have not done!