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Gems of Ireland
Emerald Isle Tour
We help you plan your trip
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Tour the gems of the “Emerald Isle” starting in the cobbled streets of Dublin. Far from a cliche, a pint of Guinness in one of the classic pubs is a must. Pop into Belfast to clap along to a traditional music session and leave the city life behind to explore Connemara National Park. Of course, you’ll want to trod the docks of Cork and medieval streets of Kilkenny. The whole journey leads you back to where you started, in Dublin with a foaming pint.
Emerald Isle Tour
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Start your tour in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland where the streets overflow with cozy pubs and the pints overflow with Guinness. Here you’ll find must-sees like Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Book of Kells, and the Jameson Distillery mixed in with Georgian architecture and trendy coffee shops. This port town is also known for its oysters, so why not order a dozen for dinner tonight with a glass of white wine?
From one capital to another, Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast wears its history on its sleeve. Hop on the Black Cab tour of this once industrial town to see the political murals for which the town is famous, then onto the Titanic Museum where the tragic story comes alive. In the afternoon you’ll head into nature to see the basalt columns of Giant’s Causeway. Legend has it that warring giant’s built these pillars as a bridge between Ireland and Scotland.
Enjoy a morning stroll along 17th-century walls of Londonderry before a day’s exploration of the north Irish coast. You’ll walk the rugged peninsula of the Isle of Doagh, where you can visit the historic Famine Village to learn more about life during the Great Famine of 1845-49. Delve further into Irish history at the Ulster American Folk Park, where you’ll learn about the Irish diaspora in the United States.
Today you’ll venture into the wilds of Connemara National Park. See Kylemore Abbey, the elegant Victorian monastery that rises like a fairy palace from its wooded environs, then join a local family on a tour of the Dan O’Hara homestead and learn about the flora and fauna of the region, including the adorable Connemara pony you’re likely to see grazing in the fields.
Return to city life in the bohemian charm of Galway. Here you’ll see the famous Spanish Arch, Galway Cathedral and Eyre Square—and that’s just the morning. In the afternoon you’ll have the freedom to explore the bustling pubs, tasty lager goes well with the local catch of the day.
On your way to the small port town of Dingle, you’ll see some of Ireland’s top sites. First head to Burren to the 10th century Caherconnell Stone Fort built by Vikings. This is also the site of the local sheepdog trials and you’ll get a chance to see these adorable creatures in action. From there you’ll cruise west to the dazzling heights of the Cliffs of Moher overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Get a perfect photo of the view, before setting into Dingle for the night.
Ask the locals and they’ll say Cork is the “real capital of Ireland,” and after an enchanting morning in one of the third-wave coffee shops, you may agree. Renergized, make your way east to Blarney Castle, home of the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that anyone who kisses the mystical rock will be gifted with eloquence.
Travel through rural Tipperary on the way to Kilkenny. Built in 1195 by the Normans, this city is Ireland’s best-preserved medieval hub. Take a walking tour through the well-trod lanes to see epic spots like the Cistercian Abbey. These 12th and century stone cloisters are thoughtfully embellished with carvings and statues. You’ll close the day with a lively group dinner, Irish stew anyone?
On your way back to the lively streets of Dublin you’ll stop at Huntington Castle, for a private tour of this classic 17th-century Irish estate. Take a stroll through the elegant gardens and get up close to the luxurious interiors. Upon your arrival in Dublin, you’ll take leave of your tour, but perhaps they’ll be time for one last pint and a hearty stack of Boxty Pancakes.
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