Ireland, The Emerald Isle

May 2/3-15, 2023



         This new tour focused on the Emerald Isle of Ireland. We toured the best known sites of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  The itinerary included city tours of Dublin, Waterford, Derry, and Belfast and excursions to the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and Wicklow Mountains and Killarney National Parks. We traveled on two of Ireland's most spectacular coastal drives: Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula and the Antrim Coast where we walked the Giant's Causeway. Other highlights included a day excursion by ferry to the Aran Island of Inishnore; a tour of a whiskey distillery; and a sheep dog demonstration at a working sheep farm. The highlight for eveyone was the Hawk Walk at the Ireland School of Falconry at Ashford Castle!




May 2, Tuesday   

Individual departures from the U.S. for Dublin.


Note: Our tour officially begins with a welcome dinner on May 3. However, we have reserved a block of rooms for the evening of May 1 & 2 for those who wish to arrive one or two days early in Dublin.


For those in Dublin on May 2, you may wish to tour three museums within blocks of our hotel: the EPIC Emigration Museum, The Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Experience; and/or the GPO Museum, that tells the story of the 1916 Easter Rising and modern Irish history,.


On May 3, we will offer an optional bus and walking tour of Dublin that will include the Book of Kells and the Kilmainham Gaol.


May 3, Wednesday   

Individual arrivals in Dublin. Join staff and fellow travelers at this evening’s welcome dinner.

Overnight Spencer Hotel, Dublin


May 4, Thursday     

Today we travel south to Wicklow Mountains National Park, where we will walk among

the ruins of Glendalough, one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. Founded in the 6th century, this monastic city thrived until the Normans destroyed it in 1214 A.D. Most of the buildings that survived are from the 10th-12th centuries.


We will continue to Kilkenny, Ireland’s best preserved medieval town. We will visit the imposing 12th-century Kilkenny Castle, overlooking the River Nore. Proceed to Waterford and check into our hotel for two nights.   Overnight Horse and Jockey Hotel, Thurles


May 5, Friday 

Waterford grew from a settlement originally founded by Vikings in the 9th century.  On our guided tour we will visit the Waterford Viking Triangle to see an exhibit of Viking artifacts including a replica of a Viking ship; and Reginald's Tower, Ireland’s oldest civic building. Other stops will include the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in Ireland and, of course, the Waterford Crystal Factory to learn about its world-famous crystal.


This afternoon we will drive to the Rock of Cashel, an outcrop of limestone dominating the Tipperary Plain. Here we will explore the ruins of the ancient seat of the kings of Munster and a 12th-century Round Tower.  Overnight Horse and Jockey Hotel, Thurles


May 6, Saturday  

Today we travel west to visit a local sheep farm, where we will watch sheep dogs in action. We will see a Bronze Age stone circle (one of the largest in Southwest Ireland) and have lunch in Kenmare recognized as one of the prettiest towns in Europe. We will drive part of the famous Ring of Kerry and past the mountains and serene lakes of Killarney National Park. Overnight International Killarney Hotel


May 7, Sunday         Dingle Peninsula       

Today local expert Christy Mac Gearialt will join us as we travel on the famous Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula.  One of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, it features a stunning rocky coastline, rolling green hills, lots of sheep, and scores of medieval stone beehive huts. We will tour the Great Blasket Centre, where we will learn about the language, literature, and daily life of a traditional Gaelic community that lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953.    Overnight International Killarney Hotel


May 8, Monday       Cliffs of Moher   -   The Burren   -   Galway

This morning we will drive through County Clare to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher. Farther up the road, local guide Shane Connelly will lead us across the rocky moonscape of the Burren to learn about its unique ecosystem and its many prehistoric sites.  Proceed to Galway and check into our hotel for two nights.    Overnight Galway Bay Hotel


May 9, Tuesday            The Aran Island of Inishmore 

We will take a ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. There we will join local guide Gerald of Failte Tours, for a private minibus tour around this dramatic island that will include the site of an ancient cliff-hanging Celtic fortress, Dun Aengus. Portions of the Oscar-nominated movie Banshees of Inisherin were filmed on Inishmore.  On the return trip to Galway, our ferry will sail below the Cliffs of Moher.


This evening, you can attend an optional performance of “Trad on the Prom.” The show is considered by many as one of the best traditional Irish music and dance experiences in the country.  

Overnight Galway Bay Hotel


May 10, Wednesday     Cong    -   Ashford Castle   

We depart Galway for Kylemore Abbey in Connemara where we will have a private guided tour of the Abbey and its garden. We will continue to the small village of Cong, in County Mayo, where The Quiet Man was filmed starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.  We will stroll through the picturesque abbey ruins and visit the nearby School of Falconry at Ashford Castle where we will take a private "Hawk Walk."  Overnight Westport Plaza Hotel


May 11,Thursday          Derry  

We cross into Northern Ireland and stop in Derry, its second-largest city. A local guide will show us the 17th-century city walls and tell us how the city of Derry was affected by “The Troubles,” the conflict between the Protestant and Catholic populations that lasted from the 1960s to 1998.  

Overnight Maldron Hotel Derry


May 12, Friday          Antrim Coast  - Giant's Causeway  

Today we'll explore Northern Ireland's spectacular Antrim Coast. We will stop at the Giant's Causeway, an amazing geological feature made up of some 40,000 hexagonal, black basalt columns. En route to Belfast, we will explore the ruins of Dunluce Castle, perched on the edge of a clifftop overlooking the North Atlantic. Check into our hotel for a two-night stay. Overnight Belfast Holiday Inn


May 13, Saturday          Belfast

We start the day with a tour of the Titanic Belfast Museum, located on the site where the ocean liner was designed, built, and launched.  Then we will join a local guide for a tour of historic Belfast.

Overnight Belfast Holiday Inn


May 14, Sunday            Newgrange

En route to Dublin, we will tour the UNESCO site of Newgrange, a prehistoric stone passage tomb dating back to about 3,200 BC.  Time permitting, we will stop at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Center. Irish Protestants celebrate Orangemen's Day on the July 12th. The day commemorates Protestant King William of Orange's victory over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne: a pivotal moment for the Protestant cause.  We will toast our adventure at this afternoon's farewell luncheon.    Overnight Dublin


May 15, Monday 

Individual departures from Dublin for the USA.


TOUR INCLUDES (14 days/12 nights):

* Marian McCormack, a licensed Irish White Badge Guide, will accompany us throughout the tour

* Services of a professional tour director: Marty Gane is scheduled for this tour

* Private guided tours of sites and museums

* 11 nights hotel accommodations in 3 and 4 star hotels

* Private, air-conditioned, motor coach for all sightseeing

* 2 wine/beer receptions, daily breakfasts, 1 lunch and 7 dinners

* All admissions, tours and excursions as described in the itinerary

* All taxes, baggage handling (one bag per person), & gratuities

* Pre-trip notes and map book


What is Not Included:

Airfare; transfers between airport and hotel; trip insurance; personal items such as wines, liquors, a la carte orders, room service, laundry charges; and meals and other items not specifically mentioned as included.


Prices do not include airfare, however, we are happy to assist you with flight arrangements. We will post staff flight details shortly in case you would like to book seats on the same flights as Tour Manager Marty Gane.

Double Occupancy: Approximately $5795 per person

Single Occupancy:  Approximately $6395

NOTE: Prices are based on a minimum of 25 participants.



Dunluce Castle
Cliffs of Moher
Giant's Causeway
Ross Castle, Killarney
Our Hawk Walk at the Ireland School of Falconry at Ashford Castle
The Burren