- Tour County Cork and rural Ireland
- Kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle
- Visit the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland
- Taste some of the finest Irish whiskeys at a Dublin distillery
|Day 1||Arrival in Cork||Cork|
|Day 2||Visit Blarney Castle - Cork City Tour||Cork|
|Day 3||Kinsale and West Cork Tour||Cork|
|Day 4||Travel to Dublin||Dublin|
|Day 5||Tour the Streets of Dublin||Dublin|
|Day 6||Giant's Causeway Tour - Visit Belfast||Dublin|
|Day 7||Sample Irish whiskeys||Dublin|
|Day 8||Farewell, Ireland!|
Day 1: Arrival in Cork
Welcome to Ireland! County Cork, located in the southwest of the country, is the Ireland you see on postcards. This is the Ireland of rolling green hills, patchwork fields, ancient castles, and ruggedly beautiful coastline. It makes sense, then, to begin your grand Irish adventure in the city of Cork, which is the region's capital. From the moment you arrive at the airport, you'll enjoy first-class service as we whisk you via private car to your hotel in the city center. After checking in, you'll have the remainder of the day free to relax.
Even though you'll likely be tired from your journey, we recommend getting out and exploring on foot, as you'll find Cork to be easily walkable. This is a cosmopolitan university city abounding with pubs, cafés, restaurants, historic churches, art galleries, and art house cinemas. Plus, there's no better way to stretch your legs after a long flight than a leisurely stroll around the colorful houses lining the River Lee, which runs east-west through the city.
Day 2: Visit Blarney Castle - Cork City Tour
In the morning you and your guide will head about 20 minutes northwest of the city to Blarney Castle. This is your chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone and gain what the Irish refer to as the "gift of gab" (eloquence and persuasiveness). This limestone slab is located in the battlements of the 15th-century Blarney Castle, and its origins are the stuff of legend. Some say its powers are due to being blessed by Clíodhna, the mythical "Queen of the Banshees;" others say it's a stone brought back to Ireland from the Crusades.
Whatever the origin, the Blarney Stone is one of Ireland's most famous tourist attractions. To kiss the artifact, however, isn't as simple as one might think: the process involves leaning backward over a parapet and smooching the stone while upside down. If you find you talk a better game after the fact, consider all that effort a success. Afterward, you'll return to Cork City for a guided tour along the banks of the River Lee and down the narrow 17th-century alleys that characterize much of Old Cork.
Day 3: Kinsale and West Cork County Tour
Today is another opportunity to leave the city behind and explore Ireland's beautiful countryside. This full-day tour of West Cork County is a whirlwind, as you'll visit the enigmatic stone circle at Drombeg (an archeological site that dates back to at least 800 BCE), the harbor town of Glandore (a popular summer retreat for locals from Cork City), the endearingly tiny fishing village of Union Hall, and the town of Timoleague, home to a 13th-century Franciscan friary that is one of the most impressive landmarks in the country.
You'll continue to enjoy amazing coastal views as you head to your final stop: Kinsale. This is another historic port village nestled amid green hills and featuring colorful houses and charming pedestrian lanes. What's truly noteworthy about Kinsale, however, is its reputation as the food capital of Ireland. The fare here is rustic, featuring only the freshest ingredients from land and sea delivered to the townies via weekly farmers markets. If you'd like, your guide can recommend a local restaurant to enjoy Kinsale's famed cuisine.
Day 4: Travel to Dublin
Next, you're off to the beating heart of Ireland: Dublin. As a part of our luxury travel service, we will arrange your journey to Ireland's capital, including private car transfers, so you can relax and arrive in style. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day and evening is yours to enjoy as you see fit.
One great option is to head to Dublin's cultural quarter for a pub crawl. As you wander around the River Liffey, visiting one historic pub after another, you'll enjoy typical Irish merrymaking in the form of traditional live music and convivial conversation over pints of frothy Guinness. There's no better way to spend an evening in Dublin.
Day 5: Tour the Streets of Dublin
After breakfast, you'll head out and enjoy Dublin's famous sights on a private tour tailored to your interests. Over two hours, you'll stroll through the city with an expert guide. He or she will point out the top historic landmarks such as City Hall, Trinity College, the 18th-century St. Mary's Church, Dublin Castle, and the former House of Parliament.
You'll also visit some of the liveliest areas around town, including the Temple Bar District and the Italian Quarter, which boasts some of the best restaurants in Dublin. Finally, you'll stretch your legs with walks along the scenic Liffey River and bustling O’Connell Street. By the end of the day, you can rest easy in the knowledge you've experienced the best the city has to offer.
Day 6: Giant's Causeway Tour - Visit Belfast
On this full-day tour, you'll head north from Dublin to County Antrim and the famed Giant's Causeway. This section of coast is home to some 40,000 cylindrically shaped basalt rocks closely packed together and thus creating a unique geometric formation. The name refers to the legend of Finn MacCool, an ancient Irish giant who supposedly built a causeway in order to do battle with an invading Sottish giant. In reality, the basalt columns are the result of volcanic eruption and cooling in the area some 60 million years ago.
After hiking around the causeway, you'll make the quick jaunt over to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. This is a reinvigorated, modern metropolis abounding with great restaurants, busy thoroughfares, upscale shopping districts, and historic landmarks (the Belfast City Hall is a particularly impressive example of Baroque Revival architecture). After some time strolling the city, you'll return to Dublin and can spend the remainder of the evening relaxing.
Day 7: Sample Irish Whiskeys
Ireland is justifiably famous for its high-quality whiskeys. Few are more popular around the world than Jameson, which was first introduced in Dublin way back in the year 1780. The itinerary for today involves a visit to the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street to enjoy a 40-minute tasting tour of various blended whiskeys. Not only that, but you'll learn all about the complex distillation process that the distillery has been using for over two centuries to produce this iconic Irish product.
Day 8: Farewell, Ireland!
And so your grand vacation comes to an end today. In the morning you'll enjoy a private transfer from your hotel to the airport where you'll catch your flight home. Come back soon!