Day Tour: Dublin – Monasterboice – Battle of the Boyne site – St. Peters Cathedral, Drogheda - South Armagh Border crossing – Belfast
Leaving Dublin we begin our adventures by driving North to the bustling town of Drogheda closeby are slaughter fields of the Battle of the Boyne (1690), hear how the Irish Jacobite cause was crushed and William of Orange became the inspiration for Northern Ireland’s ‘marching season’. We view the decapitated head of St. Oliver Plunkett (1681) in Drogheda Cathedral. Then we visit the highest Celtic crosses in Ireland at Monasterboice. Cross the border at Newry, viewing the British military fortifications in the Celtic mythology-steeped mountains of South Armagh. Then it’s on to intriguing and beautiful Belfast, birthplace of the Titanic and once the second richest city in the British Empire. We’ll view majestic Queens University and the famous Botanic Gardens.
Day 2. Belfast – Glens of Antrim – Ballycastle – Carrick a rede Rope Bridge (seasonal) – Giants Causeway – Dunluce Castle – Derry (Bonus 2 night stay!)
One of the greatest touring Days in the world!! You can begin the day with a world famous Black Taxi Tour (optional) through the tragically divided streets of West Belfast, view the ‘Peace Wall’ and the political/cultural wall murals. We then present you with a contrast extraordinaire. One hour from the division of Belfast lie the 9 Great, glorious Glens of Antrim – ‘Switzerland in Miniature’, Ballycastle for some Dulce and Yellow Man! (Ask your driver!), the Carrick a rede Rope bridge (summer only) and the 8th wonder of the world … the Giants Causeway. A marvellous photo opportunity at the haunting clifftop fortress of Dunluce Castle. Golden sandy beaches, Palm Trees, crystal clear water, we proudly present our beloved North Coast! We stay tonight in Ireland’s most historic City, beautiful Derry built by St. Columba in 546 AD! Famous for the musical talent, physical beauty and overwhelming friendliness of its proud citizens! Our first night in Derry. Savour the legendary Derry nightlife and maybe spend the night with locals singing the Irish folk songs you’ve learned on tour – Happy Days, Happy Nights!!
Day 3: Derry Walking Tour – Discover Donegal Day Tour – Malin Head - Derry
No need to pack this morning, we’re back in our Derry Georgian Townhouse tonight whilst today we cross over into wild and rugged Donegal for a relaxing half-day Tour. After breakfast we take the award-winning ‘Essential Walking Tour’ and visit the only complete city walls (1613-1617) in Ireland or the UK. Politics & History buffs are sure to have their thirst for knowledge quenched here. Referred to as Londonderry by Northern Ireland’s Unionists Community, this will be a truly memorable experience. Murals, Celtic Christian history and winding hilltop streets. Derry was the scene of Bloody Sunday in 1972. Then we cross the Donegal border to An Grianan Aileach, the finest stone fort in All Ireland. Coronation site of the O’Neills, the most illustrious clan in Ulster. We bring you up to Malin Head, Irelands most Northerly point. Lots of time off the bus to discover Ireland’s Highlands before returning to our homebase in Derry for a relaxing evening.
Day 4: Derry – Donegal - Bundoran (surfing) – Creevykeel Court Cairn – WB Yeat’s Grave – Sligo – Westport.
As the mist rolls in from Donegal Bay, we set off for the North West. Enchanting Donegal is the home of World Star Enya and her music reflects the haunting landscape of Irelands most remote county. We visit seaside Bundoran, a holiday mecca (yes world championships!) for Northern Irish families. The town will host the World surfing championships in 2004 (yes world championships!) We immerse ourselves in ancient history at the pagan burial tomb of Creevykeel Court Cairn. Your guide will wax lyrical at the grave of our National poet, WB Yeats, in the foot of Ben Bulben Mountain. We take in Ballyshannon, Sligo (home of Westlife!), and beautiful Mayo as we head for the lively, enchanting town of Westport. You may consider taking a massively popular traditional seaweed Bath (optional) at glorious Strandhill. We stay tonight in the heartland of Irish music and dancing. Be sure to check out Matt Molloy’s world famous pub!
Day 5: Westport – Croagh Patrick – Doolough FamineWalk – Leenan – Killary Harbour – Connemara National Park – Kylemore Abbey scenic stop – Galway.
Today we follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick. Hopefully most of us will climb (weather permitting) the 2,500 ft high mountain – Croagh Patrick, one of the worlds 7 holy mountains. The reward is a truly spiritual experience, with unrivalled views over the West of Ireland and the site where the Great Patrick banished snakes from our beautiful Island forever in the 5th century. We make a poignant stop at the Black Lake/Doolough, where many perished during our great famine of 1845-49. Depending on the agility of our morning mountain-climbers we may choose to visit Leenan, where the oscar winning ‘The Field’ was filmed with Tom Berenger at the bottom of Killary Harbour, Irelands only fjiord. This drive takes us through Connemara National Park, Europe’s last real wilderness, the silence is awesome. We may see Golden eagles or wild Irish wolfhounds, the world’s largest dog on our way to Kylemore Abbey for a scenic photo stop. This evening we stay in Galway, the city of the tribes. Gaelic Galway - Irelands most hip, most historic medieval Party City.
Day 6: Galway – Clonmacnoise – Ferbane – Bog of Allen –Phoenix Park – Dublin
You should arise early and view the Spanish arch, the Claddagh area and the 12th century walls before we journey on the road to Dublin. Cross the Shannon by bridge this time into the province of Leinster and County Offaly Our first stop today is relaxing and spiritual. The idyllic and very remote Monastic ruins of Clonmacnoise. Wonderful Celtic crosses and 9th Century Round towers which protected our ancestors from pesky Vikings! After a guided tour and informative audio-visual on Irelands early Christian Golden Age, the Hiney Family feed and water us in Ferbane in anticipation of the Great Bogs of Allen. We finish our adventures together in the largest urban park in the world, Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Our Uachtaran (President) lives here, the Pope did a gig here in 1979 to 1 million young Irish and the herd of Irish Red Deer running free provide much entertainment. Arrive back in Dublin’s Fair City, relaxed and refreshed with memories of a lifetime. Happy Days!!
Departs Dublin every Monday at 08.00 am
Standard accommodation is hostel (dorm) accommodation. It is possible to upgrade your accommodation to a private room - there is limited availability for this so please request at time of booking. Pricing for this option is as follows:
The tours are run by our professionally trained staff - the very best Irish driver-guides who really make the difference to your Ireland experience. They will take you 'off the beaten track' and help you make the most of your time in Ireland with their own individual style of commentary - myths & legends, historical events, current affairs and a bit of 'craic' and 'blarney'.
Discover the REAL Ireland.............