Attention 2020 Travelers! Enrollments received by May 15 get a $175 discount.
Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $280 per person.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.
All breakfasts. All dinners.
Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.
Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.
passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.
Half-day city sightseeing: Local Guide, Visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Visit to Trinity College to view The Book of Kells
Visit to the Rock of Cashel, Visit to the Cashel Rock Museum, Visit to Blarney Castle to view the Blarney Stone, Visit to Blarney Woollen Mills
Ring of Kerry Coach Tour: Visit to the Bog Village
Flight Shannon-London, Arrival transfer
Optional Ride on the London Eye
London City Sightseeing: Local guide
Optional Excursion to Windsor Castle
West End Theatre Performance
Excursion to Hampton Court Palace
Optional Jack the Ripper guided walking tour
Optional Medieval Banquet at the Beefeater by the Tower
"Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen; we're now first in line for departure." A meal and a movie later the sky is orange off the left side, and it's Ireland that looms below. Begorra!
Settle in, relax and get ready to discover a fascinating city, the hometown of many distinguished writers such as William Butler Yeats, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), and Samuel Beckett.
A city tour highlights landmarks such as Dublin Castle, Ha'penny Bridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Georgian squares and the Dublin Spire, built to celebrate the new millennium and hailed as the world's tallest sculpture at nearly 400 feet. Of course, you'll see the General Post Office on O'Connell Street, which became the headquarters of the rebels in the Easter Uprising of 1916. From its steps, Patrick Pearse announced the establishment of a republic. See how the building still bears scars from the fighting.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Dublin, will accompany you today.
Visit Ireland's largest church, founded in 1191 near the well where, according to tradition, St. Patrick baptized converts. See the grave of Jonathan Swift, Dean of the Cathedral and author of Gulliver's Travels, who was laid to rest in 1745.
At the prestigious Protestant college established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592, you will view the Old Library and its best known treasure, the medieval Book of Kells.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
Consider a visit to the poignant Kilmainham Gaol Museum, where visitors are informed about the Easter Rising and the suffering of political prisoners once housed and executed there.
Take advantage of the free admission policy at the Archaeology and History branch of the National Museum of Ireland to view an extensive collection that ranges from 7000 BC to the late medieval period. Priceless items include the Tara Brooch, the Cross of Cong and Celtic artifacts made of gold, silver and glassware.
Save time for a stroll along Grafton Street, a pedestrian-only shopping street that meanders between grand townhouses from College Green, near Trinity College, to Stephen's Green. According to a popular song " Grafton Street is a wonderland." Check it out!
Plan a visit to the Dublin Writers Museum to get better acquainted with Irish literature and writers connected with Dublin.
Drive through emerald hills to Cashel, in County Tipperary.
Visit St. Patrick's Rock, an outcrop rising from the Tipperary plain which once was the seat of the kings of Munster. St. Patrick is believed to have come here in AD 450 to christen King Aenghus. The rock is topped by the most interesting monastic ruins in Ireland, which include a cathedral begun in 1235, a superb round tower, and Cormac's Chapel, a Romanesque sanctuary consecrated in 1134. A short film titled Strongholds of Faith takes visitors back to the times when sites like Cashel were built throughout Ireland.
Enter the museum located in the undercroft of the Hall of the Vicars Choral, a 15th-century building which now serves as the visitors' entrance. See artifacts found on the site that illustrate how, for more than a millennium, Cashel served as a symbol of royal and priestly power in Ireland.
Proceed to Blarney, a village in the south of Ireland.
Not to be missed, of course, is Caisleán na Blarnan, a medieval fortress with an impressive keep. According to tradition, or a tad of blarney, the gift of eloquence is granted there by kissing the Blarney Stone.
While you are in Blarney, as time allows, pay a visit to Blarney Woollen Mills, a restored 19th-century factory where visitors may watch the weaving process and make purchases.
Proceed westward through Killarney National Park and its many lakes to the cheerful town of Killarney. The 3,414-foot peak of Carrauntoohil dominates the view to the west, surrounded by heather-covered hills.
The Ring of Kerry, a scenic route around the Iveragh Peninsula that you will discover today, presents a breathtaking overview of Ireland's geography, including purple mountains, quaint villages, seascapes, bogs, and narrow passes overlooking the sea. View the stark Skellig Michael island off the tip of the peninsula: medieval monks and Luke Skywalker sought refuge there.
A visit is included to Bog Village, the replica of an early 18th-century community typical of southwestern Ireland with its small thatched houses. Learn how peat harvested from bogs was used as domestic fuel.
Travel to Shannon, a new town located in county Clare, established on January 1, 1982. Intended as a town to house the workers of the newly-built Shannon Airport, it quickly gained in population for the closeness it was to other towns, such as Ennis and Limerick.
Board your London-bound flight.
Settle into your hotel, then venture into your surroundings. Red, double-decker buses groan along the "wrong" side of the road, escorted by innumerable black taxicabs with engines that sound like sewing machines.
Enjoy a ride on one of the world's top ten Ferris wheels. It's magnificently situated by the River Thames, across from the Houses of Parliament. Revolving slowly above the London skyline, this "Millennium Wheel" takes visitors on a unique ride over England's capital city.
Enjoy a tour of the sights and sounds of the British capital. See such sights as St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Kensington, and Trafalgar Square.
A local guide will accompany your group.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
Consider a visit to the Tower of London to view Traitors' Gate, the Bloody Tower, the Block (where two of Henry VIII's ill-fated wives lost their heads), the White Tower and the Crown Jewels. If you choose to follow one of the Beefeaters, you'll also be able to visit the Royal Chapel.
Head to the town of Windsor, the location of royal residences for almost one thousand years, ever since William the Conqueror settled there in 1070.
A visit to Windsor Castle includes the State Apartments, Queen Mary's Dolls' House (a palace-within-a-palace with functioning lights, running water and Lilliputian-size books written by famous authors of the 1920s) and St. George's Chapel, one of the country's finest churches in the typically English style known as Perpendicular Gothic.
Attend a performance at a West End venue. In London you can find anything you're looking for, from classical drama to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Perhaps a good tear-jerker?
Visit the magnificent Tudor palace set in an idyllic park laid on the bank of the Thames. You'll hear how it became a favorite retreat of King Henry VIII. Feel four hundred years of royal history resonate as you see highlights such as the Great Hall, the exquisite ceiling of the Chapel Royal, and the Tudor kitchens. Hampton Court Gardens are also historical treasures with their flower beds, fountains, and ornamental bushes. See how long it takes you to get through the famous multicursal hedge maze!
The afternoon is unscheduled.
You may want to visit to Tower Bridge, the very symbol of London with its twin Victorian Gothic towers. The bridge was inaugurated in 1894 when the bascules of its movable span were raised several times each day. Nowadays, when they are raised, advance notice is posted on Twitter! The visit includes a walk across the modern glass-floor of the upper Walkways, suspended 138 feet above the River Thames! /p>
Experience thrills and chills on a guided walking tour of London "In the Footsteps of Jack the Ripper."
This evening, you will attend a Medieval Banquet, served by costumed hosts with Falstaffian good cheer. Revel!
With images of your journey still vivid in your mind, race the sun westward aboard your wide-bodied jet. Write down what you remember best. You'll be home before you know it, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.
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