An unforgettable experience awaits you in the Republic of Ireland with its sheer, unadulterated natural beauty, medieval villages, historic cities and towns, ancient archaeological treasures, and most important of all, the memorable Irish people themselves who are world-renown for being the friendliest and most fun that you’ll find on the planet!
Wandering around it’s brilliant, green countryside, you’ll soon understand how Ireland got its nickname, the Emerald Isle, and why its land and seascape have been featured in a multitude of movies, poems, songs and postcards.
Along with remote highlands & mountains; rugged, dramatic coastlines; and, tranquil bays and beaches, you’ll find yourself time and again lost in the moment taking in the diversity of its superb natural scenery.
After immersing your senses in the striking landscape of the country, you’ll also get to soak in the distinct cosmopolitan cities, small rural villages and historic medieval towns, all full of their own unique charm and character.
During the Ireland trip, you’ll experience a really cool sampling of the best the country has to offer including the lively capital city of Dublin; bohemian yet contemporary Galway City; and charming towns and villages in southern Ireland including its fantastic, eclectic scenery – from the rugged, wild west coast and the many picturesque peninsulas, bays and headlands to its distinctively contrasting sunny east region featuring a mix of rolling hills, farmlands and beaches.
We will hit up important, famous sites such as the Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, Aran Islands, Rock of Cashel and the Burren. We’ll check out places full of authentic Irish character such as Kilkenny, Kinsale and County Cork, Kenmare, Killarney and the Invergh Peninsula, Doolin and County Clare, Connemara, and the Dingle Peninsula.
The places you’ll visit will be a mix of well-known, popular sights (because they are indeed beautiful/important) and less-known, non-touristy, local favorites that are just as fabulous.
We’ll get a good overview of the different areas of the country, while exploring at a comfortable, relaxed pace. And every day is flexible since is this is our private trip with our own private driver & guide – we can modify each day’s plans based on how we are feeling that day!
As we travel throughout the country, we’ll be enjoying and resting up at high quality, highly rated, centrally located, and locally owned hotels including a very nice castle hotel.
Interestingly, even though Ireland rivals many other destinations with its exceptional natural beauty and wonderful cities, towns & villages, its best quality and the essence of Ireland is actually the remarkable hospitality of the Irish people.
No doubt you’ll find yourself in a conversation over a pint at the local pub with locals who are chatting it up with you about everything from folk tales and legends to history lessons about their country and Guinness beer.
There is a compelling appeal about the intrinsic beauty and authenticity of Ireland, which has some how stayed true to its rich culture and traditions, laid-back philosophy and down-to-earth spirit.
No wonder, Lonely Planet named Ireland to its list of the Top 10 countries in the world to visit in 2015 describing the country as the “real deal” and “stunningly scenic.”
So if you are looking for a cool, non-touristy, fun vacation, look no further – come explore the Emerald Isle with us in September 2015! Ireland’s postcard-worthy natural beauty and eclectic cities & medieval towns full of colorful, welcoming local characters are sure to send you packing with lots of smiles, laughs, and unforgettable experiences!
Don’t miss out! Reserve your spot now by clicking on the green “Book Trip” button on the right-hand side of the page.
On our Ireland trip, we’ll focus on the southern half of the country from the city of Dublin on the east coast and Galway on the west coast to areas spreading south. Below are some of the cool highlights of what you’ll see and visit.
See the complete itinerary on the right-hand side of this trip page for full details.
We’ll be overnighting in Kilkenny (1 night), Kinsale (1 night), Kenmare (2 nights), Dingle (1 night), Galway (2 nights), Connemara (1 night at Ballinahinch Castle) & Dublin (2 nights).
Investigate city life with visits to Dublin and Galway, among the largest cities in Ireland.
- The country’s capital of Dublin is a marvelous, walking city full of traditional Irish pubs, historic buildings, fantastic shopping, festive nightlife, and ultra-friendly people with many cool and interesting things to do like a Guinness or Jameson tour and visit to Trinity College which houses the Book of Kells.
- The lively, fun city of Galway on the rugged western coast is sometimes referred to as the “Graveyard of all Ambition” (once you live in Galway, you have no ambition to ever leave) and the “most Irish” of Ireland’s cities – it’s a hub for the Gaelic language, Irish culture, the local food, and hosts a festival almost every week of the year.
Check out the southern towns of Kilkenny and Kinsale and the Rock of Cashel.
- Kilkenny, located on the River Nore, is the smallest city in Ireland, but is big on rich medieval heritage that is plainly visible to any visitor – beginning with the historic Kilkenny Castle. Kilkenny was voted the friendliest city in Europe by readers of Conde Nast Traveler.
- The majestic, super cool ancient monastic settlement of Rock of Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and later became a monastery.
- Kinsale is a sophisticated cosmopolitan seaside town nestled between steep, green hills and the shoreline with a maze of narrow, flower decorated streets and protected harbor. And most notably, Kinsale is known as the “Gourmet Capital of Ireland” with no shortage of great restaurants.
Experience the “Wild Atlantic” southwest coast.
- The spectacular Invergh Peninsula, best known for its very twisty, turny Ring of Kerry drive, embodies the quintessential image of Ireland: ancient monuments, medieval ruins, romantic castles, windswept cliffs, offshore islands, dramatic coastlines, mountains, lakes, spectacular gardens and colorful towns and charming villages.
- The small, lively town of Killarney lined with numerous shops, restaurants and pubs, is best known for its dramatic and abundant lake and mountain scenery as part of the Killarney National Park and Ring of Kerry scenic drive.
Take in the exceptional natural attractions of County Clare home of the famous Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Aran Islands and the cool Irish town of Doolin.
- The Burren is a unique lunar landscape made up of exposed weathered limestone rock, underground rivers and lakes, and intriguing geological formations carved over millions of years that cannot be seen anywhere else in Europe. (The European Union has designated most of the Burren as a Special Area of Conservation, a title reserved for the finest natural environments in Europe.)
- The famous, majestic Cliffs of Moher are vast, sheer cliffs high above the Atlantic Ocean with the most incredible and breathtaking views of the coastline that no other cliffs can do. We’ll check it out by car and boat!
- The Aran Islands off the coast of County Galway are three mystical, frozen-in-time islands that are famous for their preservation of a rural existence largely unchanged over the centuries.
- Doolin is a small seaside village on the west coast of Ireland set against the rugged Atlantic Ocean that is known as the traditional music capital of Ireland. Doolin is a great place to stop for a pint, bite to eat or a walk to enjoy this typical, countryside Irish village.
Be introduced to the breathtaking, utterly unique beauty of Connemara.
- Oscar Wilde was right when he said that Connemara is a ‘Savage Beauty’ as every turn throws up stunning views of mountains, lakes and valleys as well as a rugged coastline filled with beaches and harbors.
- This is home to Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord and Kylemore Abbey, one of Ireland’s most beautiful and impressive buildings.
Check out the stunning Dingle Peninsula and the hilltop medieval Dingle Town.
- National Geographic Traveler article said about this area: “Allow me to begin with a flat statement: The Dingle Peninsula which stretches out 30 miles from the county Kerry coast in southwestern Ireland is the most beautiful place on earth.”
- Dingle Peninsula is a traditional Gaeltacht region of Ireland meaning that the first language of the locals is Gaelic or Irish. The Slea Head scenic drive provides an abundance of amazing views, beaches, cliffs, harbors and ancient monuments.
- Dingle town offers plenty to do with its many shops, galleries, restaurants, and of course, the numerous pubs.
As you can probably imagine, we’ll be seeing and experiencing a lot of cool stuff on this trip! And remember, while these are the main areas we want to make it to, there is plenty of flexibility in the specific things we do and see while there including how long and what time.
It’s our private trip with our own private driver and guide, so besides making it to our hotels each night, we have the flexibility to modify plans on the fly.
And what could make all this even better? How about conveniently flying nonstop to Ireland. Aer Lingus just announced it’s offering new direct flights between Dublin and Washington DC for 2015! Nice… just in time for our trip.
All the hotels we are staying at are 4-star, high quality, centrally located accommodations that are highly rated from previous travelers. Full Irish breakfasts are always included.
Internet access is available at all the hotels to send those all-important trip pictures to your friends and post your Facebook status as you travel throughout Ireland. The hotels we are patronizing are independently owned (rather than international chains) to ensure that the money we spend stays in the local communities.
On many organized trips you’ll get driven all around the country staying in a different hotel every night to maximize time and see as much as humanly possible. Racing around like this is a very tiring way to travel – checking in and out of places every day.
The goal for the Ireland trip is a high-quality, well-paced, vacation with an itinerary that uses a mix of one-night and two-night stays allowing us to travel at a more relaxed pace, yet still see a good sampling of Ireland.
We are staying at the following hotels while in Ireland:
- Pembroke Hotel (Day 1 –Kilkenny)
- Perryville House (Day 2 – Kinsale)
- Brook Lane Hotel (Day 3 & 4 – Kenmare)
- Dingle Skellig Hotel (Day 5 – Dingle)
- House Hotel (Day 6 & 7 – Galway)
- Ballynahinch Castle (Day 8 – Connemara)
- Brooks Hotel (Dublin – Day 9 & 10)
The price for the Ireland trip is $2,195 per person based on double occupancy.
The single supplement fee to have your own room throughout the entire trip is $790.
The booking deadline is March 17, 2015. A 30% deposit is required at time of booking (or optionally you can pay in full). Balance is due 75 days before trip departure.
Everyone should be on the same recommended flights below. If you book a different flight, it must arrive in Dublin by 5:30am on Thu, Sept 17, 2015 – the time of the flight identified below.
Depart (overnight flight)
Aer Lingus – Flight 118
5:20pm Wed, Sep 16 IAD Washington, DC
5:30am Thu, Sep 17 DUB Dublin, Ireland
Aer Lingus – Flight 119
12:45p Sun, Sep 27 DUB Dublin, Ireland
3:35p Sun, Sep 27 IAD Washington, DC
Included in Trip Price
- 9 days guided touring with professional, local Irish guide (note: this is a 10-day trip, but the final day in Dublin is a free day in the city with no driver guide).
- 9 days of transportation services with private van and driver
- 2 airport transfers (on official arrival and departure days only)
- Accommodation for 10 nights at mostly 4-star hotels
- 10 full Irish breakfasts
- Rock of Cashel
- Cliffs of Moher
NOT included in Trip Price
- International airfare
- Travel insurance (highly recommended)
- Airport transfers if not arriving or departing with the group
- Lunches and dinners (gives everyone flexibility to eat what and where they want)
- Activities that require entrance fees (most of these are not included so that we can be flexible day-to-day, see how we feel & decide on the fly what to do, not to do)
- Personal expenses and anything not listed in the “Included” list
We highly recommend TravelSafe® optional insurance.
Here are a few reasons to get trip insurance:
- Reimbursement for cancellation penalties (which can be 100% of your investment) in the event of an unforeseeable illness, injury or death of you, your travel companion or a family member.
- Reimbursement for cancellation penalties if you are called for jury duty, your home is damaged due to fire, windstorm, flood or vandalism or military leave cancelled.
- Health insurance coverage while traveling outside of the U.S. as many health insurance companies limit or do not provide coverage outside of the U.S.
- Reimbursement for unused portion of your trip if it is interrupted.
- Medical evacuation/repatriation expenses to an appropriate medical facility or back home in the event of a serious illness or injury while traveling.
- 24-hour help line for any travel emergency, such as medical, lost tickets, lost passports, and other travel documents.
Entry Requirements – U.S. visitors do not need a visa (up to 3 months), though a valid passport is required.
Language – English is the official language of Ireland, although Gaelic (or simply, ‘Irish’) is the native language of Ireland and is still spoken in rural areas, mainly along the western Atlantic coast. A Gaeltacht is any officially recognized area where the Irish language is spoken.
Currency – The Irish Republic is part of the European Union, with the Euro its official currency. Banks, currency exchange outlets and ATMs are found in every city and town, and major credit and debit cards (primarily Visa or MasterCard) are accepted at the majority of restaurants and shops.
Time – The Republic of Ireland operates on Greenwich Mean Time, five hours ahead of Washington DC & the U.S. east coast.
Electricity – Electricity is 220V/50H with sockets and plugs conforming to the British three-square pin plug standard. For users of non-dual voltage electronic equipment from the USA, a plug adapter and a voltage adapter will be needed.
Communications – The country’s cell phone network providers operate in the GSM frequency. Internet cafes are found in the major cities, with most hotels also providing access, but less common in rural districts.
Duty-free – Arriving U.S. visitors are allowed to bring in tax-free 200 cigarettes, one liter of spirits, two liters of fortified wines, four liters of wine, 16 liters of beer and a reasonable amount of goods for personal use. On the return to the US, the limits are 200 cigarettes, one liter of alcohol and goods to the value of US $400 duty-free.