The 'Emerald Isle' puts its best foot forward in this iconic exploration of its soul-stirring landscapes. We kick off our epic journey along the walled gardens and rambling walks of Powerscourt Gardens. Its sweeping terraces, ornamental lakes and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs ensure it befits its status as one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland. Enjoy a Welcome Reception this evening to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lyrics and legends await this morning as we join a Local Specialist on a city tour to visit St. Patrick's Cathedral, where Jonathan Swift was once installed as Dean. We admire the colourful doorways in the stately Georgian Squares and stroll along the cobbled courtyard of Trinity College and enjoy priority access to see the Book of Kells. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to soak up the charisma of this city. Wander along Grafton Street and see its lively performers, stop for a pint of the 'Black Stuff' in Temple Bar or relax in St. Stephen's Green.
We leave the hospitality of Dublin behind for County Kilkenny where we delve into the history of a 'lost' medieval town - Newtown Jerpoint. Take a step back in time to the 12th century and wander through its remains which are said to be the final resting place of St. Nicholas. Later, you'll join the O'Connells for lunch at their home, Belmore House. Embrace the peaceful rural setting - the perfect backdrop to Connect With Locals at a Be My Guest experience. Inspired by Irish food and the warmth of our hosts, we continue south to the lively city of Cork, enjoying a free evening to discover its sights, sounds and flavours. Our Stays With Stories accommodation is the historic Maldron Shandon Hotel. Originally Cork's first general hospital opened in 1720, the building has a colourful history that has seen it survive wars, political upheaval, fire and demolition threats before it opened its doors as a grand hotel.
Head to Blarney in pursuit of the 'gift of the gab'. Kiss the fabled Stone then head west to the lakeside setting of Killarney, our springboard to the enduring beauty of the Ring of Kerry.
Spend a leisurely morning exploring Killarney or join a Local Specialist for a scenic guided walk at Torc Waterfall, strolling over wooded paths and lakeshore trails. Circle the scenic Ring of Kerry admiring its famous 'forty shades of green' and seeing first-hand the scenic landscapes that have inspired writers and poets for centuries.
Our up-close encounter with Ireland's ravishing beauty not yet at its end, we journey north stopping for a walk along the iconic Cliffs of Moher, an extraordinary feature of the famous Wild Atlantic Way. Admire the dramatic cliffs that rise 200 metres above the pounding Atlantic and survey the endless ocean views. We continue to Galway for a two-night stay.
Dive Into Culture at the Connemara Marble Factory, watching master craftsmen carve Connemara marble. Then enjoy an orientation tour of Galway with plenty of free time afterwards to explore this vibrant city on your own.
A rugged realm of mountains, lakes, rivers and villages provides a stunning backdrop for our leisurely drive through Connemara - an unspoilt region of western Ireland that was immortalised in John Wayne's 'The Quiet Man'. We'll visit Kylemore Abbey and ramble through its exquisite Victorian walled garden. Later, board 'The Isle of Innisfree' for an exclusive cruise on shimmering Lough Corrib. Captain Patrick, Ashford Castle's Local Specialist, will share his local knowledge as you glide through its peaceful waters. Upon disembarking, a lone piper will escort you over the drawbridge to Ashford Castle, one of Trafalgar's Stays With Stories, where tonight you will dine as lords and ladies at an elegant royal dining experience (gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket).
Indulge in the sumptuous surrounds of Ashford Castle. Stroll around its exquisite estate and admire its lavish interiors before you return to Dublin. Spend the rest of the afternoon delving into the centuries-old history of the Irish capital. This evening, it's time to reminisce over shared memories at a delicious Farewell Dinner.
As the curtain falls on a memorable journey with new friends, we say a fond slán go fóill to Dublin and the 'Emerald Isle'. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.