Enjoy the “Emerald Isle’s” scenic vistas and fascinating history. Begin in Dublin with a welcome dinner and orientation tour featuring a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Cross the River Boyne and stop in Downpatrick for a visit to the Saint Patrick Centre. In Belfast, your Local Guide takes you on a “Living History” tour before you visit the fascinating Titanic Exhibition. The next day, enjoy an excursion to awe-inspiring Giant’s Causeway. Then, travel via Armagh, seat of the Archbishop of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland, to Knock. The Virgin Mary appeared to the townsfolk in 1879 and pilgrims today come from around the world. Visit Knock Shrine, the Church of the Apparition, the Basilica, and the Folk Museum—also attend mass if you wish. Stop to visit the Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre in Murrisk and the massive Benedictine Kylemore Abbey, then spend two nights in Galway. From here, enjoy an excursion to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, including lunch at a local pub, a tour of the island and a visit to clifftop Dun Aengus, one of Europe’s most dramatic prehistoric stone forts. After a coffee stop at Rathbaun Farm, where you see the farmer maneuver a flock with the help of his sheep dog, travel across the limestone plateau known as The Burren and stop for photos of Poulnabrone Dolmen, a portal tomb dating back to the Neolithic Period. Next, admire the spectacular views from the Cliffs of Moher. For the conclusion of your tour, explore pretty and vibrant Kilkenny, and then visit Glendalough, the early Christian monastic site founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Return to Dublin for an overnight and the end of your wonderful Irish holiday.
Welcome dinner; orientation drive, visit St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Visit the Saint Patrick Centre, St. Patrick's grave, Down Cathedral, the High Cross Galleries and Saul Church.
Visit the Titanic Exhibition.
- COUNTY ANTRIM
Visit Giant's Causeway.
Visit the ecclesiastical metropolis of Ireland.
Attend Mass, visit the Shrine, the Church of the Apparition, the Basilica and the Folk Museum.
- MURRISK (CROAGH PATRICK)
Visit the Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre.
Visit the Benedictine abbey.
- ARAN ISLANDS
Ferry to and from Inishmore; hear a presentation about life on the island by a local historian; take a minibus tour with a driver-guide; visit Dun Aengus, enjoy lunch at a local pub.
- RATHBAUN FARM
See the farmer at work and enjoy morning coffee at the farmhouse.
- CLIFFS OF MOHER
Savour the spectacular views.
Explore this pretty county town.
Guided tour of the medieval monastic settlement.
Motorcoach; Aran island ferry and minibus.
Throughout your tour.
- FREE WI-FI
Available on your motorcoach and in most hotel lobbies.
INSIDE VISITS and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Personalise your tour ahead of time with additional excursions. Visit our website for details and conditions.
Day by Day
- ARRIVE IN DUBLIN, IRISH REPUBLIC.
Welcome to Dublin! The rest of the day is free to relax and prepare yourself for your upcoming spiritual journey on the Emerald Isle. At 6 pm, join your Tour Director and travelling companions for a welcome dinner with wine at the hotel. (D)
Today's orientation drive introduces you to the vibrant Irish capital. See statue-lined O'Connell Street with its landmark Spire of Dublin, bustling town squares surrounded by elegant Georgian architecture and colourful doorways, and Trinity College-Ireland's oldest university and home to the legendary Book of Kells. Visit ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL, built in honor of Ireland's patron saint. Founded in 1191, St. Patrick's has served as the country's national cathedral since 1870. As you explore, take a quiet moment to reflect and marvel at the magnificent stained glass that told the stories of the Bible at a time when most people were unable to read and write. Why not join an optional dinner this evening at the Guinness Storehouse? (B)
- DUBLIN-DOWNPATRICK, NORTHERN IRELAND-BELFAST.
On your way to Northern Ireland, cross the Boyne River, whose waters have recently revealed remains of an ancient log-boat and a Viking ship. Continue in the peaceful lee of the Mountains of Mourne, which inspired C.S. Lewis to write his Christian allegory The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. On to Downpatrick, the final resting place of St. Patrick. Stop at the SAINT PATRICK CENTRE for a fascinating interactive journey through Patrick's world and the introduction of Christianity in Ireland. Visit ST. PATRICK'S GRAVE and the medieval DOWN CATHEDRAL followed by a guided tour of the HIGH CROSS GALLERIES at Down County Museum. For the conclusion of your visit, drive to SAUL CHURCH, which was founded by St. Patrick in 432 AD, and where he died on March 17, 461. Later, travel to Belfast for a fascinating visit to the TITANIC EXPERIENCE and learn about the construction of the largest passenger steam ship, its maiden voyage, and the tragic night of April 14, 1912. (B,D)
- BELFAST. GIANT'S CAUSEWAY EXCURSION.
After a leisurely start to the day, make your way north to the Antrim Coast to visit awe-inspiring GIANT'S CAUSEWAY. Hear the legend of Finn McCool, the Irish giant whose battle with a rival Scottish giant created the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns here-then, learn how they were really formed! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the Creator's most impressive natural wonders. Back in Belfast this afternoon, there's time to discover the city on your own. (B)
- BELFAST-ARMAGH-KNOCK, IRISH REPUBLIC- CLAREMORRIS.
First on the agenda is a stop in Armagh, the island's Ecclesiastical capital. It is said that St. Patrick established his primary church here, and decreed that only those educated in Armagh could spread the gospel. Continue west through rolling hills and reed-fringed lakes to Knock, a major pilgrimage site since 1879 when 15 townspeople saw apparitions that included the Virgin Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as the Lamb of God. Attend Mass, then visit KNOCK SHRINE, the CHURCH OF THE APPARITION, the BASILICA, and the FOLK MUSEUM. Overnight is at Claremorris. (B,D)
- CLAREMORRIS-MURRISK-KYLEMORE ABBEY-GALWAY.
This morning, visit the CROAGH PATRICK VISITOR CENTRE at the foot of the holiest mountain in Ireland, where St. Patrick fasted on the summit for 40 days in 441 AD. Next, visit KYLEMORE ABBEY, a graceful castle acquired by Benedictine nuns as a precious heirloom for Ireland. Arrive in Galway, a popular seaside destination and Ireland's "cultural heart." On the west bank of the Corrib River is the ancient Claddagh fishing village, which has produced the famous Claddagh Rings since 1700. (B,D)
- GALWAY. ARAN ISLANDS EXCURSION.
At Rossaveal, board a comfortable FERRY for the 45-minute crossing to Kilronan on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands and where Gaelic is the primary language. Your fascinating day features a presentation by an island historian about life on Inishmore. After LUNCH at a local pub, board a minibus for a tour of the island that includes fascinating commentary by your driver/Local Guide and a visit of clifftop DUN AENGUS, one of the most dramatic prehistoric stone forts in Europe. Return to the mainland and attend Mass in Galway before enjoying an evening at leisure. (B,L)
- GALWAY-CLIFFS OF MOHER-LIMERICK.
A special treat this morning as you glimpse rural Irish life at RATHBAUN FARM. Watch the farmer shear a sheep and maneuver a flock with the help of a sheep dog, then enjoy your morning coffee or tea and scones, fresh out of the oven. Take the scenic route across the desolate limestone plateau known as The Burren, and stop for photos of Poulnabrone Dolmen, a portal tomb dating back to the Neolithic Period. Bask in the fresh coastal breezes as you gaze out over the breathtaking CLIFFS OF MOHER, rising 668 feet (203 metres) above the Atlantic Ocean. Tonight in Limerick, why not join an optional medieval castle banquet? (B)
Travel eastward to pretty Kilkenny and then to GLENDALOUGH, a glacial valley known for its medieval monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. See an engaging audiovisual presentation, then your Local Guide will show you the remains of the settlement, including the Round Tower, St. Kevin's Kitchen, and more. Back in Dublin, consider joining your travelling companions for a final evening of fellowship and fun at an optional cabaret dinner featuring Irish music, song, and dance. (B)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Available 2018 Tours
Where "GD" appears next to a departure, the itinerary is a “Guaranteed Departure” and therefore guaranteed to operate. Tours without the “GD” indicator are still planned to operate, however may be subject to rescheduling. Many factors determine whether a departure becomes guaranteed. Ask your travel agent for advice on the best option for you.
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