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Dublin and The Enchanting Emerald Isle

(14 reviews)
Small Group

Explore the highlights of Ireland by rail

9 days From £1,595 per person
Flexible Booking

Book your 2021 holiday before 31st October and you can transfer your holiday for free - no questions asked. T&C's apply

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2021 Tour code: IRS21

About the tour

Rugged coastlines, stunning rolling hills, dramatic castles, and a culture rich in legend; the Emerald Isle is as beautiful as it is fascinating, and we see the best of it on this holiday. Explore vibrant Dublin, see the iconic Blarney Stone, and admire the natural beauty of the dramatic Cliffs of Moher


What’s included


Days 1-2 - Dublin

We meet at the ferry* port in Holyhead for the crossing to Dublin, Ireland's lively capital. We transfer to our hotel just outside of the city. On Day 2 we transfer into Dublin for the train to Cork, where you have time to explore. The centre is surrounded by waterways, creating an island of Georgian streets packed with great shops, pubs, and cafés. This afternoon, we visit the Jameson Distillery for a tour. Whiskey is one of Ireland's most famous exports, and we learn about the method of triple distilling for a smoother taste before enjoying a tipple.

*Please note: your luggage will travel on the ferry with you, rather than via our luggage

  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Blarney Castle

We begin the day by calling at Cobh, the last port of call of the Titanic in 1912. We continue to the famous Blarney Castle. This iteration of the medieval castle was built in 1446, but it's believed there have been dwellings here since the 12th century. The castle is most famous for housing the Blarney Stone. Legend has it, if you hang upside down and kiss the stone, you'll become extremely eloquent. There's time to explore the castle and gardens. Look out for the poison garden, filled with nefarious plants including wolfsbane, ricin, and opium. We continue to our hotel in Killarney for dinner, before we're whisked off to the Celtic Steps Show for an evening of lively entertainment. The show combines authentic Irish music and dancing, and is a perfect way to soak up traditional Irish culture.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Blarney Castle
Day 4 - Killarney and the Ring of Kerry

We enjoy a scenic drive around the dramatic Ring of Kerry today. From the tumultuous sea to the windswept cliffs and mountains, this is one of the most scenic areas in Ireland.

Next we visit Kerry Bog Village Museum. We explore thatched cottages filled with antiques, gaining an insight into the culture, living conditions, and customs of 19th-century rural Ireland. Later, we take a horse and carriage ride on the Jaunting Cars of Killarney, a traditional mode of transport here since the early 19th century. This unique experience takes us back in time with tales of Irish folklore, accompanied by stunning views of Killarney National Park and the Lakes of Killarney. Finally, we call by a local pub where we have the chance to pull our own pint of Guinness - Ireland's iconic ale.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Killarney National Park
Days 5-6 - The Cliffs of Moher and Connemara

We make our way to Galway via the dramatic Cliffs of Moher - Ireland's most iconic natural attraction and a UNESCO Global Geopark. Here, towering cliffs rise up out of the sea, staggering into the distance. Over 20 species of sea birds, including puffins and razorbills, make their homes in the cliffs, and offshore, the waters are home to dolphins and sharks. We're indulged with a delicious traditional Irish seafood lunch before continuing to Galway, where we spend the night.

We start Day 6 with a visit to the Celtic Crystal Factory in Connemara to learn about glass cutting. We continue to Glen Keen Farm where we watch a sheep dog trial, followed by lunch with traditional entertainment. This afternoon, we visit Kylemore Abbey. The abbey was founded in the 1920 and has served as a Benedictine monastery for nearly 100 years, and is a remarkable example of Victorian architecture. Later, we visit the Quiet Man Cottage, an exact replica of the cottage used in the 1952 film 'Quiet Man', starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cliffs Of Moher
Days 7-9 - Discovering Dublin and home

We return to vibrant Dublin by rail and check into our hotel. This is a gorgeous city steeped in history and tradition, with every turn revealing historic architecture, welcoming locals, and lively music.

Our guided tour on Day 8 includes a visit to the Book of Kells, an ancient codex believed to have been written in around 800 AD. We visit Trinity College before a guided tour of Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison which was notorious in the 19th century. Later, we are treated to a farewell dinner at 'The Merry Ploughboys', known as one of the best traditional pubs in Dublin.

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.

  • Day 7 - Breakfast
  • Day 8 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 9 - Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

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.


Midleton Park Hotel

Midleton Park Hotel, Cork

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The Address Connolly Hotel

The Address Connolly Hotel, Dublin

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Oranmore Lodge Hotel

Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Galway

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Irish Railways

Enhance your holiday


UK rail to and from Holyhead


93% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 14 verified reviews

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Mrs M Hemmelman

Submitted 25/10/2019

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.


Submitted 12/10/2019

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.


Submitted 22/07/2019

Good trip although some of the hotels were not quite up to standard

Mr A Poole

Submitted 21/07/2019

We have never been to Ireland before. It was a well rounded introduction to the pleasures of the island.

Mr D Arnold

Submitted 06/07/2019

Everything was excellent and I am now home for a rest!

Mr A Harding

Submitted 14/07/2018

Recurrence of a foot problem somewhat restricted my movement. Tour Manager sympathetic and suggested alternative activities that meant less walking.

Europe & UK by Rail 2021

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Dublin and The Enchanting Emerald Isle

Explore the highlights of Ireland by rail


Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
Luke Simpson
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