The Emerald Isle Educational Tour
The Emerald Isle tour map

The Emerald Isle

9 Days Dublin 2 • Killarney 2 • Limerick 1 • Galway 2


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.

Travel Protection

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.

Days 1-2: Home - Dublin

Arrival transfer

Day 3: Dublin

Half-day city sightseeing in Dublin: Local Guide, Visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Visit to Trinity College to view The Book of Kells

Day 4: Dublin - Killarney

Visit to the monastic ruins of the Rock of Cashel, notably the Hall of the Vicars Choral and its museum of artifacts, Visit to Blarney Castle to view the Blarney Stone, Visit to the Blarney Woollen Mills

Day 5: Killarney

Ring of Kerry Coach Tour: Visit to the Bog Village

Day 6: Killarney - Limerick

Visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

Tour director-led walking tour in Limerick

Optional Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet: Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle

Day 7: Limerick - Galway

Sightseeing stop at the Cliffs of Moher, Scenic drive across the Burren Plateau

Tour director-led walking tour in Galway

Day 8: Galway

Optional Excursion to the Aran Islands: Local guide and minivan, Sightseeing stop on the island of Inishmore, Visit to the Dun Aengus prehistoric fort

Day 9: Galway - Home

Days 1-2: Arrival in Dublin

"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.

You land in Dublin. 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.

Day 3: Dublin City Sightseeing

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.

Local Guide

A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Dublin, will accompany you today.

Visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral

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.

Visit to Trinity College to view The Book of Kells

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.

Free Time in Dublin

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 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!

Day 4: Cashel, Blarney, Killarney

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 of Cashel is topped by the most interesting monastic ruins in Ireland. They include a 12th-century Round Tower, a High Cross, the Romanesque Cormac's Chapel (1134), the 13th-century Cathedral, the 15th-century Castle, and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral, which serves as the Visitors Entrance and houses a small museum of artifacts found on the site.

Modern attractions include an audio-visual show and exhibitions.

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.

Pay a visit to the Blarney Woollen Mills, a restored factory complex built in 1823 for spinning and weaving wool. It's now the world's largest store with an inventory of Irish-made goods. If it's made in Ireland, food or fashion, it's there!

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.

Day 5: Ring of Kerry Coach Tour

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, a 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.

Day 6: Bunratty, Limerick, Limerick Walking Tour, Optional Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet

Travel to the village of Bunratty, set on the Ratty River, near its confluence with the wide estuary of the Shannon River.

Enjoy a visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This formidable castle has been restored to its original 16th-century beauty, Tudor furnishings and all. Bunratty Folk Park is a meticulous re-creation of rural life in Ireland at the turn of the century. Taste butter being churned or purchase some woven handicraft.

Your journey continues to Limerick, the setting for Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt's 1996 memoir. This is also the country's fourth-largest city, with an eventful history that mirrors the country's tumultuous past.

Tour director-led walking tour in Limerick

A walking tour with your tour director will introduce landmarks such as St. Mary's Cathedral (founded in 1168 by Donal Mor O'Brien, King of Munster) and, across the river, the Treaty Stone, on which the 1691 Treaty of Limerick is said to have been signed.

Optional Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet

This evening, enjoy a feast with lords and ladies while entertainers and jesters dance and sing, and maidens deliver platters to a banquet hall graced with the presence of the Earl of Thomond, lord of the castle.

Day 7: Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Galway Walking Tour

Only a short drive from Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher stand ready to stun you into silence.

View some of the most spectacular cliffs in all of Europe, with sheer drops of over 600 feet.

Ride on the Mid West portion of Western Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, crossing the vast limestone plateau of the Burren National Park, known for its unusual combination of Alpine and Mediterranean flora. Pass by Corcomroe Abbey, whose ruins, almost indistinguishable from the stones of the plateau, inspired W. B. Yeats' verse play The Dreaming of the Bones.

Proceed to a lively university city which got its name, Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe, when it was but a "Fort at the mouth of the Gaillimh."

Tour director-led walking tour in 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.

Day 8: Galway, Optional Excursion to the Aran Islands

Plan your free time or consider an optional excursion.

Optional Excursion to the Aran Islands

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.

View Dún Aonghasa, the island's finest prehistoric monument, located nearly four miles from the village of Kilronan. This semi-circular stone fort is located in a spectacular setting at the edge of a cliff, some sixty feet above sea level.

Archaeological research has found evidence of human settlements dating back to 1500 BC. Bronze Age artifacts found on the site are exhibited in Dublin's National Museum of Ireland.

Day 9: Shannon, Departure

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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