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We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.

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Seattle, WA
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Dublin touring, including Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Magnificent natural scenery of counties Galway and Kerry: Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Connemara
  • Irish sheepdog demonstration
  • Beautiful Kylemore Abbey
  • Dramatic Aran Islands
  • Ring of Kerry scenic drive
  • Historic Muckross House
  • Visit to Blarney Castle
  • Rock of Cashel
  • Kilkenny Castle
  • Outstanding small group accommodations that enhance the Irish experience
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Dublin, Ireland

Day 2: Arrive Dublin We arrive in the intimate, and beautiful, Irish capital today and check in at our hotel located right on St. Stephen’s Green. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. D

Day 3: Dublin This morning’s city tour includes a visit to Trinity College, home of the stunning 8th-century Book of Kells illuminated manuscript; and to St. Patrick’s, the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. This afternoon we embark on an informal walking tour (led by our tour director), passing some of the haunts and hiding places of Ireland’s beloved literary sons. Dinner tonight is on our own in this enchanting city. B

Day 4: Dublin/Galway We leave Dublin this morning for Galway in the West, the region some consider to be the “most Irish part of Ireland.” En route we stop for tea and coffee at Tyrrellspass Castle then continue on to 6th-century Clonmacnoise, Ireland’s most important early monastic site. After lunch on our own we resume our journey, reaching Galway City this afternoon. We dine at our hotel located in the village of Bearna just outside the city. B,D

Day 5: Galway/Connemara A day of scenic highlights is in store as we travel through western County Galway in the legendary region known as Connemara, a rugged, silent landscape of mountains, glacial lakes, endless roads, and uninhabited bog lands. Our first stop is at beautiful Kylemore Abbey, built as a private home in 1861 and one of Ireland’s most photographed castles. We continue on through this singular landscape, stopping for lunch en route. Tonight we enjoy dinner with traditional Irish entertainment at Padraicins overlooking Galway Bay. B,D

Day 6: Galway/Aran Islands Today we embark on an excursion to Inishmore, the largest of the fabled Aran Islands, whose unique culture and history have been an inspiration to artists, writers, and filmmakers. Sitting across Galway Bay in the midst of the Atlantic, the islands feature primitive stone forests, early Christian churches, and medieval castles – as well as shops, galleries, and restaurants. An islander guides our tour here, imparting local lore along the way. We stop at Dun Aenghus Fortress, the three prehistoric stone walls crowning the tallest cliffs of Inishmore; have lunch in a local pub; and enjoy some free time before returning to the mainland and our hotel late this afternoon. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant in the village of Bearna. B,L,D

Day 7: Galway/County Clare/Killarney Another day of breathtaking scenery as we leave Galway for Killarney, traveling south along the fabled coastline of County Clare. We pass through the Burren, the 116-square-mile “rocky place” of craggy gray karst (limestone) formations that stretch endlessly in all directions. Then we visit the Cliffs of Moher, the majestic flat-topped “mountains” that rise vertically from the sea for five miles from north to south. After lunch on our own here, we cross by ferry into County Kerry, reaching Killarney in beautiful Killarney National Park late this afternoon. This evening we enjoy dinners in local family-run B&Bs. B,D

Day 8: Killarney Our exploration of this attractive town, founded as a resort in the 18th century, begins with a jaunting cart ride from the center of town to 15th-century Ross Castle, the last strong­hold to fall to Oliver Cromwell’s forces in 1652. Then we travel by boat to Muckross House, a 19th-century Elizabethan-style manor housing the Kerry Folklife Centre, which showcases the art and craft of bookbinding, pottery, and weaving. We tour the elegantly furnished rooms, as well as the informal garden. Lunch is on our own here before we return to Killarney mid-afternoon. Dinner tonight is on our own in this charming town. B

Day 9: ­Killarney/Ring of Kerry Today we expe­rience one of Ireland’s most popular attractions, the stunning mountain and coastal scenery of the Ring of Kerry, a 110-mile route connecting the Dingle, Iveragh, and Beara peninsulas. This is the Ireland of postcards and pictures, with tiny villages dotting the breathtaking landscape; we stop in one of them for an Irish sheepdog demonstration and in another for lunch. We return to Killarney late this afternoon then dine tonight at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 10: Blarney/Cashel/Kilkenny On our way to Kilkenny this morning we stop in the small town of Blarney to visit the ruins of the 15th-century castle, with its celebrated Blarney Stone believed to bestow the “gift of gab” on those who kiss it. We also visit the Blarney Woolen Mills, housing an excellent selection of Irish crafts as well as knits and woolens of all kinds. After lunch on our own in Blarney, we continue on to the Rock of Cashel, the celebrated – and beloved – archaeological complex (c. 432 CE) of medieval ruins atop a limestone outcropping that presides over the surrounding plain. Late this afternoon we return to Kilkenny  and our hotel, where we dine tonight. B,D

Day 11: Kilkenny Today is devoted to Kilkenny, a well-preserved medieval city known as Ireland’s cultural capital – and the country’s smallest city. We tour 12th-century Kilkenny Castle, considered one of the country’s most beautiful, then embark on an informal walking tour of Kilkenny itself, noting the many buildings of “black” or Kilkenny marble, quarried locally. After lunch together at a local pub, the remainder of the day is at leisure. B,L

Day 12: Kilkenny/Dublin We leave Kilkenny this morning to visit the National Stud Farm, the center of Ireland’s horse racing industry. Mid-afternoon we reach our hotel outside Dublin; tonight we celebrate our adventure over a farewell dinner. B,D

Day 13: Depart for U.S. We leave this morning for the Dublin airport and our return flights to the United States. B

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 11 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels
  • 22 meals: 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2018 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Oct 4
Oct 7
Oct 14
Sep 2
Sep 9, 13
Sep 16
Sep 23
Sep 30
Aug 19
Aug 26
Aug 30
Jul 22
Aug 5
Boston, New York$4,172$4,372$4,572$4,672
Baltimore, Chicago,
Miami, Orl, Phil,
Tampa, Wash, DC
$4,472$4,672$4,872$4,972
Atlanta, Charlotte,
Cincinnati, Cleve,
Detroit, Minn
$4,572$4,772$4,972$5,072
Dallas, Denver,
Houston, Los Ang,
Phoenix, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$4,672$4,872$5,072$5,172

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $377, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $1,195. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2018 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Business Class upgrade on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: $3,595 per person from Newark, Wash, DC

A visa is not required for this tour.

Accommodations
    The Shelbourne Dublin, Dublin / Days 2-3 / Deluxe

    Well-located right on St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin city center, The Shelbourne Dublin offers easy access to shopping on Grafton Street and to Dublin’s many cultural attractions, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College. The hotel, built in 1824, offers restaurant, bar, and lounge; fitness center; Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    The Twelve Hotel, Galway / Days 4-6 / Superior First Class

    Opened in 2007, The Twelve Hotel sits on the west coast of Ireland just a short drive from Galway City and its many shops, restaurants, and pubs. This 48-room boutique-style hotel combines classic Irish culture with many up-to-date amenities including a restaurant, bar, lounge, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and wellness center. Each air-conditioned guest room comes with private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, wet-bar, TV, and phone.

    Killarney Royal Hotel, Killarney / Days 7-9 / Superior First Class

    Owned and managed by the Scally family for three generations, the Killarney Royal Hotel stands in the heart of Killarney and just minutes from the Outlet Centre. This boutique-style hotel offers a restaurant, bar, bistro, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and safe deposit boxes. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.

    Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny / Days 10-11 / Superior First Class

    Located at the top of High Street, Kilkenny’s primary shopping district, the Pembroke Hotel offers beautiful views of the city and of neighboring Kilkenny Castle. With its marble façade and tinted glass windows, the newly built hotel resembles a traditional Irish hotel enhanced with contemporary facilities including a restaurant, bar, lounge, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center, and indoor pool with spa. The 74 air-conditioned rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Finnstown Castle Hotel, Dublin / Day 12 / Deluxe

    This charming late 18th-century restored mansion is situated in a tranquil setting of 45 acres of mature gardens and conveniently located outside Dublin’s city center, a short drive from the airport. The 82-room hotel has a restaurant, coffee shop, lounge, steam room, fitness center, indoor pool, and tennis court. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, ironing facilities, TV, phone, and complimentary internet access.

    Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast, Belfast / Extension / Deluxe

    Well-located in the heart of Belfast on Great Victoria Street, the 131-room Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast offers easy access to many cultural attractions including the Grand Opera House, the Ulster Museum, and the Botanical Gardens. This classic-style hotel, opened in 2009, boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as a bar, fitness center, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and elevators. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport, Dublin / Extension / Superior First Class

    Adjacent to the Dublin airport with complimentary 24-hour shuttle service, the contemporary Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport offers a variety of amenities including a rooftop restaurant, bistro, bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and fitness center. The 100 air-conditioned guest rooms offer private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Northern Ireland

4 days/3 nights for $1,195 total price
Single Supplement: $245

Savor the dramatic beauty of the Antrim Coast, one of the most scenic in all of Ireland and the British Isles, and encounter the lively capital city of Belfast.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip private motorcoach or van transportation Dublin/Belfast
  • 3 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Belfast at Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast (Deluxe); 1 night in Dublin at Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport (Superior First Class)
  • 7 meals: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing including Belfast, Antrim Coast (Giant’s Causeway UNESCO site, Bushmills Distillery, Carrick-a-rede Bridge), and new Titanic Museum in Belfast
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited representative
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Jeremiah Daly

“Very personable, excellent knowledge of all aspects of the tour. Jeremiah showed that he really cared about the tour group and our enjoyment of the tour.”
Rod & Patty Vance
Farmville, VA

Philip Mahony

“Philip was a delight! Everyone in the group praised his knowledge, warmth, humor, and dramatic blarney and unanimously found him to be one of the best, if not best, tour guide they ever had encountered!”
James McGreevey
Iowa City, IA

Siobhan McDonald

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

Gerry O’Brien

“We cannot praise Gerry enough. Efficient, knowledgeable, helpful, great sense of humor; he left nothing out and we always were given all the information for every situation. He went above and beyond, and we felt very well taken care of.”
Michael & Patricia Arsenault
Beverly, MA

Amanda Walsh

“Amanda is a very caring, personable, experienced travel guide whose knowledge of Ireland is staggering. I love history and Amanda painted a picture that made Ireland come to life.”
Jim and Phyllis Foster
Diamond Point, NY

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Susan Cahill (Editor)
For the Love of Ireland
Organized geographically, this rich anthology introduces Ireland through the words and lives of such luminaries as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Frank McCourt and Samuel Beckett.

Bernard Meehan
The Book of Kells
Written by the keeper of manuscripts at Trinity College, this book features 110 color illustrations, including enlargements, of some of the more spectacular decorations in this most famous of medieval manuscripts.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide Ireland
This superb guide is a wonderfully illustrated introduction to the country, featuring photographs, maps and short background essays on history and culture.

Michelin
Ireland Map
A colorful map of Ireland at a scale of 1:400,000, featuring insets of the road approaches to major cities, as well as an index to cities, towns and villages.

Leo Eaton, Carmel McCaffrey
In Search of Ancient Ireland
This spirited illustrated history, the companion to a PBS documentary series, traces the foundation, archaeology and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000 B.C. to 1167 A.D. with style and substance.

Jay Adlersberg
Ireland, In Word and Image
Jay Adlersberg’s visual celebration of Ireland is accompanied by literary excerpts and poetry from Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and many others. With 75 gorgeous color photographs.

Senia Paseta
Modern Ireland, A Very Short Introduction
A remarkably concise, provocative history in the well- regarded series, touching on the major aspects of Irish history, politics, and society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

David Dickson
Dublin, The Making of a Capital City
Dickson’s expansive, magisterial work covers 1,400 years of Dublin history, reminding us of the unique importance of Ireland’s capital.

Tim Pat Coogan
1916: One Hundred Years of Irish Independence
Bestselling historian Tim Pat Coogan offers this narrative history of the Easter Rising and the 100 years that followed (1916-2016), profiling both the flaws and the nation-building achievements of the Irish Republic.

Peter Neville
A Traveller’s History of Ireland
From the Celts to the Norman invasions to modern-day Ireland, this short history is highly recommended for those who would like a brief overview of the Emerald Isle through the centuries.

Thomas Cahill
How the Irish Saved Civilization
This bestselling history tells the generally unknown story of Ireland’s preservation of classical learning in the Dark Ages. Cahill reveals how saints, scholars, monks and scribes reproduced important texts and spread them throughout Europe.

Terry Eagleton
The Truth about the Irish
An irreverent A-to-Z guide to all things Irish by a native son and shrewd comic commentator. Eagleton casts aside many myths, starting with the first entry: A for alcohol, the Irish have the lowest per capita consumption of alcohol in the E.U., after Greece and Italy.

Hilary Bradt
Connemara Mollie, An Irish Journey on Horseback
Hilary Bradt (publisher of Bradt Guides) recalls her journey across rural Ireland among the people of Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry in the 1980s in this sweet — and sublimely affecting — memoir.

Pete McCarthy
McCarthy’s Bar, A Journey of Discovery in Ireland
A droll account of McCarthy’s encounters on a bar-hopping jaunt from Cork along the west coast to Donegal. His motto, assiduously followed, was never to pass up a bar with his name on it!

J.M. Synge, Tim Robinson (Introduction)
The Aran Islands
A much-loved turn-of-the-century account of the islands (as contrasted with mainland Ireland), drenched in the Celtic soul of the Irish.

James Joyce
Dubliners
James Joyce’s unsurpassed collection of short stories depicting ordinary life in Dublin among the lower middle class — a milestone in the history of prose fiction.

James Mc Elroy
Ireland, A Traveler’s Literary Companion
Organized geographically, this anthology of short stories and tales by contemporary Irish authors captures the spirit, history and allure of Ireland.

W.B. Yeats
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales
Edited by the Nobel Prize-winning poet who spearheaded the Celtic Renaissance in the early 20th century, these enchanting stories introduce a cast of changelings, ghosts, mermaids, demons, saints, priests and fairies.

Miranda Aldhouse-Green
The Celtic Myths, A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends
A vivid introduction to Irish and Welsh folklore. Aldhouse- Green outlines recurring motifs and characters alongside quotes, full-text stories, notes on the region’s archaeological finds and plenty of two-color illustrations.

Edna O’Brien
Wild Decembers
A haunting novel of clan enmities and forbidden love in rural Ireland. Few writers have as sure a sense of place as Edna O’Brien, whose lyrical prose builds inevitably toward final tragedy.

Jim Wilson
The Birds of Ireland, A Field Guide
A complete guide to more than 240 species of birds found in Ireland, featuring over 1,400 photographs, identification features and concise descriptions.

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