Rugged coastlines, beautiful rolling hills, and dramatic castles
are all within reach on this tour of the Emerald Isle. Our
highlights include the Ring of Kerry, Cork, Killarney, the
legendary Blarney Stone, the Cliffs of Moher, and Ireland's
wonderful capital, Dublin.
1 night at the 4-Star Red Cow Hotel near Dublin, 1 night at the 3-Star Midleton Park Hotel near Cork, 1 night at the 4-Star Oranmore Lodge Hotel near Galway and 2 nights at the 4-Star North Star Hotel in Dublin
Luggage transfers from Dublin
Return ferry from Holyhead
Excursions & Entertainment
UK Tour Manager from start to finish
Food & Drinks
16 meals including 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 7 dinners
An evening of food and entertainment at the Merry Ploughboys Pub
What’s not included
Cancellation & Travel Insurance is not included in the price of the tour but can be arranged
Days 1 - Dublin
Our tour begins in Holyhead, where our Tour Manager meets us at
the ferry* port for the crossing to Dublin. The capital of the
Republic of Ireland, this gorgeous city is steeped in history and
tradition, and is the perfect place to start our Irish adventure,
with every turn revealing a myriad of historic architecture,
welcoming locals and lively music. We transfer to our hotel, just
outside the city and enjoy dinner together.
*Please note: your luggage will travel on the ferry with you,
rather than via our luggage
Day 2 - Discovering Cork
We transfer into the centre of Dublin by coach today, and take
the train to Cork, for free time to explore. This afternoon, we
visit the Jameson Distillery for a tour. Whiskey is one of
Ireland's most famous exports, and Jameson Whiskey was brewed at
the Midleton site from 1780 to 1971, when it moved out of Dublin.
In its heyday, this distillery was a community within the city,
boasting numerous workshops, including a smithy, a coppersmith, and
a saw mill. During the tour, we learn fascinating aspects of the
whiskey distilling process, hearing about the method of triple
distilling for a smoother taste. Afterwards, we also have the
opportunity to enjoy a wee dram before transferring to our hotel in
Day 3 - Blarney Castle
We begin the day with a visit to Cobh, the last port of call of
the Titanic in 1912. We continue to the famous Blarney Castle. One
of Ireland's greatest treasures, this iteration of the medieval
castle was built in 1446, but sources suggest that there have been
dwellings here since perhaps the 12th century. Of course, the most
famous attraction here is the Blarney Stone. Legend has it, if you
hang upside down and kiss the stone, you are said to become
extremely eloquent. Because of this, the world 'blarney' has become
Irish slang for someone who possesses the 'gift of the gab'.
There's time to explore the castle and its gardens, be sure to look
out for the fascinating poison garden, filled with a number of
nefarious plants, including wolfsbane, ricin, and opium.
Afterwards, we continue to our hotel in Killarney for dinner.
Later this evening, we are whisked off to the Celtic Steps Show for
an evening of Irish music and dance.
Day 4 - Killarney and the Ring of Kerry
We enjoy a scenic drive around the beautiful Ring of Kerry
today, one of the most dramatic areas of scenery in Ireland. From
the tumultuous sea, to the craggy windswept mountains and cliffs,
experience the Irish countryside before our visit to the Kerry Bog
Village Museum to discover more about Ireland's rural heritage.
Here, we experience what the culture, living conditions and customs
of Irish ancestors from the 19th century would have been like. The
village offers an immersive experience, complete with thatched
cottages, genuine antiques and realistic figurines.
Later, we take a horse and carriage ride on the Jaunting Cars of
Killarney. Step back in time with tales of a bygone era and Irish
folklore, all whilst exploring the stunning views of Killarney
National Park and the Lakes of Killarney. Jaunting Cars have been a
traditional mode of transport in Ireland since the early 19th
century, and they are a wonderfully unique way to see the Emerald
Days 5-6 - Iconic Ireland
We travel to Galway today, via the famous Cliffs of Moher -
Ireland's most dramatic natural attraction. A UNESCO Global
Geopark, it is easy to see why, as the cliffs rise to great effect
out of the sea, staggering into the distance. The cliffs are also
home to over 20 species of seabirds, including puffins, razorbills
and kittiwakes. The landscape of these cliffs is incredibly
calming, and just offshore, other animals such as dolphins and
sharks, also gather. Later, we continue along the coastline of
County Clare to Oranmore, where we stay for the night.
On Day 6 we make a visit to the
Celtic Crystal Factory in Connemara today, where we enjoy a
demonstration of glass cutting. We then continue to Glen Keen Farm
for a sheep dog demonstration, followed by a buffet style lunch
accompanied by traditional dancing and singing. This afternoon, we
visit Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore Abbey is relatively young in the
history of Ireland, only being founded in the 1920s on the grounds
of a late 19th-century castle, but it has served as a Benedictine
monastery for nearly 100 years and is a truly remarkable example of
Victorian architecture. Here we see the restored rooms of the
Abbey, uncovering a vast history of romance, deception and
spirituality. The gardens are also a delight to explore, with 1,000
acres to wander, and a Gothic church not far from the Abbey.
Later, we visit the famous Quiet Man Cottage. This museum is an
exact replica of the cottage used in the 1952 film 'Quiet Man',
starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 7-9 - Discovering Dublin and home
We return to the vibrant city of Dublin by rail today, and check
into our hotel. We enjoy a sightseeing tour on Day
8, including a visit to the Book of Kells, an ancient
codex believed to have been written in around 800 AD. The intricate
detail on this book is remarkable, and well worth lingering over.
We continue to Kilmainham Gaol for a guided tour, before we are
treated to a farewell dinner at 'The Merry Ploughboys."
On Day 9, we return to Holyhead by ferry*,
where our tour concludes upon arrival.
*Please note: your luggage will travel on the ferry with you,
rather than via our luggage service.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature
the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be
found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices
& Availability' button. We write to all booked customers
approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise
the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.
The Enchanting Emerald Isle trip was very good. We enjoyed the places visited, but would like to have had more time in Dublin. The guided tours (Jameson, Kilmainham Gaol, Titanic Experience and Glen Keen Farm) were excellent, except for the guide picked up in Dublin--she was knowledgeable, but did nothing at the Book of Kells.
The Royal Marine Hotel had excellent service, great rooms, and very accommodating personnel as did the Innisfallen. The Oriel left a lot to be desired. The Ardilaun was okay.
The bus driver, Dan, was excellent!!! I understand the amount of people for the trip was doubled at the last minute, which wasn't fair for us or the tour manager.
Excellent help in setting up the trip and answering our questions from Great Rail Journeys. Thank you.
Overall this was a wonderful tour that allowed us to see a good part of Ireland.Ireland does not have a lot of trains,so this tour has only 2 train trips.You will be on a bus for the majority of the tour travel.The hotels were wonderful with great staff.We had a great tour director named Paul and a lovely bus driver named Dan.The only thing not good is that I wish we had been given more free time in the small cities to do shopping.
Good trip although some of the hotels were not quite up to standard
Mr A Poole
We have never been to Ireland before. It was a well rounded introduction to the pleasures of the island.
Mr D Arnold
Everything was excellent and I am now home for a rest!
Mr A Harding
Recurrence of a foot problem somewhat restricted my movement. Tour Manager sympathetic and suggested alternative activities that meant less walking.