A GLIMPSE OF IRELAND FROM AN IRISHMAN'S VIEWPOINT
A tour composed for the discerning traveller, the aim being to avoid the tourist traps bearing in mind that we have
a small country over here and some areas have a visitor population far greater than natives. The idea is to feel
like one of our own.
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Day 1. Arrive at Dublin.
A tour of the city, full of ancient medieval and modern sites and buildings is a must.
The tour includes a visit to the Book of Kells at Trinity College,and to the most famous brewery
in Ireland, Guinness, here you can have a taste of "the black stuff".
- Day 2. Across the Plains of Kildare.
Crossing the plains of Kildare, head for Kilbeggan to sample another Irish brew.
At Locke's Distillery, take a guided tour and sample a "drop of the hard stuff".
In 1757 Locke's was established and it is believed to be the oldest pot still in the world.
Next travel south through Tullamore, also a whiskey town to Birr, a town with a
unique history. The Parson family, astronomers,
inventors and scientists lived here for 14 generations. Take a look at the telescope
built in 1845 with it's 72inch reflector.
Now head north to the most important monastic site in the country Clonmacnoise.
Rory O'Connor, the last High King is buried here.
A guided tour of the monastery, founded by St. Ciaran in 545 AD, a worthwhile visit.
Become like the Vikings who raided these monastic sites for the gold and
manuscripts they held by taking a trip in a Viking longship on the river Shannon to
Athlone Town. The Normans built a castle here in 1210 AD., in 1690 the castle held out against
William of Orange during the Jacobite war. John McCormac, tenor supreme, was born here in 1884 AD.
Travel to Ballinasloe, Aughrim and Loughrea, associated with the La Tene Celts who had
a fort here circa 300 BC, then on to Galways.
Day 3. Galway Bay a trip to the Aran Islands.
Our bus will take us along the north of Galway bay through Connemara, a
Gaelic-speaking region to Rossaveel. Here board the high-speed ferry to Inishmore, the
largest of the Aran Island chain. When the power of medieval Galway waned, Aran became a
backwater preserving the Gaelic culture and language to modern times. Take the pony and
trap ride about 4 miles to Dun Aengus a promontory stone fort about 2500 years old. This is
a magical place with its back to the Atlantic Ocean, it has a remarkable chevaux de frise,
a forest of sharp stones to deter would be attackers. Great care must be taken here the
cliffs are high.
The Firbolg are said to be the early Celts that built this fort with Aengus, their chief.
South of Kilronan Dun Duchathair is less visited. Seaweed collected by the farmers lay on
stone walls that could be thousands of years old.
Day 4. The Caves and the West Coast of Clare.
Travelling south cross from Connacht to Munster outside Kinvara, into County Clare.
At Ballyvaughan we visit Aillwee Cave where a guided tour of this limestone
wonderland is provided. The Burren world-renowned by botanists is a lunar like landscape with
rare flowers growing in the cracks and faults in this ancient rock.
Go around Black Head and south to the Burren smokehouse, watch and sample salmon
smoked in the Celtic tradition. At the Cliffs of Mohair, with swirling sea birds under your
feet, look westwards over the Atlantic from O'Brien's Castle. Past Liscannor famous
for its stone and Lahinch with its Golf course.
At Kilimer cross the Shannon to County Kerry.
Pass through Listowel, famed for its
Day 5. Slea Head as far West as you can go.
Off to Dingle. Travelling south to Castlemaine turn west to Inch,
where some of the scenes in the film "Ryan's Daughter" were shot.
Look over Dingle Bay as you head west to the town of Dingle, another Gaelic speaking area.
Have a look around this charming area and take lunch in the many restaurants or
pubs, seafood is a must.
Next round Slea head, the most westerly point of Europe,
on route we see beehive huts, ring forts and high crosses for this was a major settlement
of the Iron Age Celts. To the west the Blasket Islands, now uninhabited since 1950, were
the homes of great writers in Gaelic, Peig Sayers, Blathin and Maurice O'Sullivan whose
works have been translated into many languages.
Through Ballyferriter we return to Dingle, then head over the Sliabh Mish Mountains,
with its panoramic vista, to Tralee bay.
Afternoon tea is at the largest working windmill in Europe. Blennerville is a small
village on the outskirts of Tralee. Corn was ground for the farmers of the 19th
Day 6. Shannon Airport return to U.S.A.
A two hour journey to Shannon this morning through the Golden Vale, the most
fertile land in Ireland, to Limerick.Visit King John's Castle or
Bunratty Castle and a farewell drink at "Durty Nellie's".
The Heather Tour
Day 1. Arrive Shannon.
Your coach will be waiting to take you to Killarney, via the Golden Vale or the coast
road along the banks of the river Shannon.
Day 2. The Gap of Dunloe.
The coach will transfer you to Ross Castle where you board your boats. The
boat trip will take you across the three Lakes of Killarney to Lord Brandon's cottage for
lunch. After lunch a breathtaking walk through the Gap of Dunloe, a glacial valley, to
Kate Kearney's cottage. Here your coach will be waiting to return you to Killarney.
Day 3. The Ring of Kerry.
Probably the most popular tour in Ireland, the "Ring", is a circular tour of the Iveragh
peninsula, by coach, we can include some walking if you need it. With the Atlantic Ocean on
the right, the scenery is spectacular.
170km (110miles) seems short for a day tour but with all the interesting stops and our
narrow roads this will be one of the highlights of your tour.
Day 4. Mt. Brandon Hill Walk.
Our guide is an expert on the Kerry mountains and hills, he will take you on a
walking tour of our sacred mountain Mt. Brandon (St. Brendan's mountain). For hill walkers
this is not a difficult assent at 953 metres the views are superb.
See the Lonely Planet guide book on Ireland page 320.
After the "walk" we will descend
on Tralee town for a visit. Your coach will then return you to Killarney, your last night
Day 5. The Atlantic Coast.
Heading north you will travel through the literary capital of Ireland, Listowel. We can
have a coffee stop here, perhaps meet one or two of the resident authors, before we cross
the Shannon River by ferry to west Clare. From the river we travel to the Cliffs of Mohair,
they are as spectacular as the guide books say they are. Then we travel through the Lunar
like landscape of the Burren to Galway City for three nights.
Day 6. A Day Off.
A lazy day today to explore Galway, soak in the atmosphere or take a trip offshore to the
Aran Islands. Inishmore, the largest is, probably the best for a short trip.
Day 7. The Figure of Eight tour.
We will acquire a foreign language, Gaelic. We will be travelling through
Connemara, a Gaelic-speaking region west of Galway. This region has been made famous in
France by the song "Les lacs du Connemara"-
Clifden, Kylemore Abbey (Irish home of the Benedictine nuns from Ypres) Leenane and
Spiddal are the villages we will be travelling through on the figure of 8 tour.
At night sample the culture of Galway, city of the tribes.
Day 8. Return Home.
A two-hour bus ride will take you to Shannon airport in plenty time to
find those last minute gifts for those at home. Bon Voyage.
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