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, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College and Book of Kells
Mount Stewart House and Gardens
Glens of Antrim scenic drive, Giant's Causeway Visitors' Centre
Ulster-American Folk Park
Scenic drive through Connemara, Quiet Man village of Cong
Tour director-led walking tour in Galway
Optional Excursion to the Aran Islands: Local guide and minivan, Inishmore, Dun Aengus prehistoric fort
"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 a museum such as the National Museum (whose precious Celtic artifacts include St. Patrick's Bell and the Tara Brooch), the Dublin Writers' Museum, or the National Gallery (with a collection of paintings featuring works by Jack Yeats).
Save time for some shopping on pedestrian-only Grafton Street. Whether it's clothes, books, CD's or jewelry you're looking for, this is the place! Window shop alongside Dubliners, or fall for that great Irish cable-knit sweater you've always wanted!
Head into the mystical Mountains of Mourne.
Visit the Mount Stewart House, one of the finest stately homes in all Ireland. Enjoy a visit to this 19th-century mansion renowned for its magnificent gardens, in particular the famous Shamrock and Italian Gardens. Recently nominated as a World Heritage Site, the Mount Stewart House is a popular destination for travelers interested in Ireland's past.
Board your coach for the short drive north to the Victorian resort of Bangor.
The breathtaking scenery of Irish land and seascapes is yours to enjoy as you skirt the North Antrim coast. Marvel at the wild beauty of the Antrim Glens and glimpse the Mull of Kintyre in distant Scotland, across the Irish Sea.
Pick up some information at the Visitor Centre's Tourist Information area before visiting the stunning volcanic rock formations known as the Giant's Causeway, said to have been built by the legendary Finn McCool. See how 40,000 mostly hexagonal columns are spectacularly stacked together in formations bearing evocative names such as Wishing Chair, Organ, and Giant's Gate.
Continue to Portrush, a popular resort set on a peninsula and flanked by sandy beaches.
Journey to Northern Ireland's Ulster-American Folk Park in Castletown, near Omagh. It commemorates the emigration of two million Irish men, women and children from Ulster to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. The folk park grew around the humble cottage where Judge Thomas Mellon was born in 1813. In 1818, the family left for the New World, where Thomas had a brilliant career. His son, Andrew Mellon, became the richest man in America in the early 1900s and served as Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.
The boyhood home of John Hughes, first Archbishop of New York, where he founded St. Patrick's Cathedral, was moved into the park, which is a re-created village, where costumed guides will explain the customs and lifestyle of a typical 19th-century Irish community.
Travel into the heart of "Yeats Country," which is one of Ireland's most beloved corners. Arrive in the busy market town of Sligo, the largest town in County Sligo, which is surrounded by the wooded valleys and lofty mountains that inspired the poetry of W. B. Yeats and the paintings of his brother, J. B. Yeats.
Today's journey takes you through the stunning landscapes of Connemara, a coastal region west of Galway. There, you will see a glorious mix of mountain scenery and bogland, gentle streams and powerful seas, pastoral vistas and jagged shores.
Today's journey takes you into the region of Connemara, where there is a glorious mix of mountain scenery and bogland, gentle streams and powerful seas, pastoral settings and charming towns.
Stop to see the remnants of an abbey founded in the 12th century, where the famous Cross of Cong, now in Dublin's National Museum, was found.
Cong is also known as the setting of the classic 1952 film The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. The Quiet Man Cottage, a town landmark, is the replica of the "White O'Mornin" cottage seen in the movie.
Arrive in the vibrant university city of Galway.
Follow your tour director on a walking tour. Highlights include Eyre Square, the focal point of the modern city, the 16th-century Lynch's Castle (now housing the Allied Bank of Ireland), St. Nicholas' Church, and the Bowling Green district with the house of Nora Barnacle, the muse and wife of James Joyce. Continue to the Spanish Arch (a reminder of the city's trading links with Spain) for a stroll along the quays of the River Corrib.
Plan your free time or consider an optional excursion.
Take a seat aboard a minivan for a tour led by a driver/guide well acquainted with the history of the Aran Islands and the way of life of its inhabitants.
Windswept, yet never touched by frost, Inishmore, like the other Aran Islands, is a paradise for wildflowers, with hundreds of varieties. These islands are also renowned for their crafts, in particular the famous Aran knitwear. You may want to begin your explorations at the Aran Heritage Centre, Ionad Arann, located near the port of Kilronan. A tour of the center will present two millennia of this Celtic island's history, language and traditions.
Visit Dún Aonghasa, the stone fort that's the island's finest prehistoric monument, located in a spectacular setting at the edge of a cliff, some sixty feet above sea level.
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.
Images of the Irish countryside are still vivid as you race the sun home aboard your jet airplane. Arrive home later today, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.
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