Cliffs of Moher
Caption: Cliffs of Moher
Caption: Trinity College Dublin
Caption: Henrietta St. and King's Inns, Dublin
Caption: Slea Head, Dingle, Ireland
Caption: Sunrise in Baily Lighthouse, Dublin, Ireland

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Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Destination: Discover Ireland – North & South
Duration: 15 days / 14 nights
Flight information: London Heathrow to Dublin Airport [DUB] on Day 1 and returning from Dublin Airport [DUB] to London Heathrow on Day 15.
Pickup location: Dublin Airport

Overview

Choose your own departure date for your group.

A complete tour of all that Ireland has to offer us. Enjoy the delights of the bustling cities of Dublin, Belfast and Galway as well as the history, culture, countryside and coastal beauty of the Emerald Isle.

Step back in time and visit a variety of locations and prominent must-see historical sites. You're sure to fall in love with the charming towns, music-filled pubs, seaside getaways along with stories to make you smile and entertainment that's sure to make this a holiday to remember.

Itinerary

Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Arrive Dublin
DAY 2 - Dublin to Belfast via Carlingford
DAY 3 - Day Trip to the Giant’s Causeway and Antrim Coastline
DAY 4 - Belfast to Donegal via Ulster American Folk Park.
DAY 5 - Coastal day tour of Donegal‘s “Wild Atlantic Way”
DAY 6 - Donegal to Connemara via Yeats County and Westport Town
DAY 7 - Day Trip to Connemara and Kylemore Abbey
DAY 8 - Connemara to Dingle via Galway City & Cliffs of Moher
DAY 9 - Dingle Peninsula
DAY 10 - Ring of Kerry/ Free Time in Killarney
DAY 11 - Dingle to Kilkenny via Rock of Cashel
DAY 12 - Kilkenny City walking Tour & Free Time
DAY 13 - Kilkenny to Dublin via Glendalough
DAY 14 - Day to Explore Dublin’s Fair City
DAY 15 - Farewell to Ireland for now...
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Arrive Dublin

Cead Mile Failte……On arrival at Dublin, enjoy a panoramic drive through Dublin or some free time to explore the city at leisure until hotel check-in is available (official check-in 3pm)
Check-in and rest up before joining your Irish Tour Director and fellow tour members for a welcome drink before dinner.

Included meals: Dinner 

DAY 2 - Dublin to Belfast via Carlingford

This morning after breakfast set out for Belfast in Northern Ireland traveling via the medieval coastal village of Carlingford in County Louth. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through this magical place, full of character and one of the best preserved and popular villages in Ireland. Enjoy a visit to the locally owned Carlingford Design House, showcasing the work of Irish Designer’s various handmade jewellery and giftware. Our tour then takes us North to Belfast where, on arrival we will enjoy a panoramic tour of this unique city. Highlights include City Hall, Botanic Gardens and the Loyalist and Republican colourful walled murals which tell the tale of the Troubles. Belfast is a Victorian city built on the linen and shipbuilding trades. We will also visit the Titanic Visitor Experience. Here you can re-live the entire Titanic story from its birthplace in Belfast to its fateful maiden voyage. After hotel check-in, rest up for a while before we gather in the evening to enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 3 - Day Trip to the Giant’s Causeway and Antrim Coastline

After a leisurely breakfast we set out for a day trip of the majestic Antrim Coastline. Travel along the majestic coastline through villages of Cushendall, Cushendun, and Ballycastle before stopping at the picturesque Ballintoy Harbour, made famous by the epic Game of Thrones series, and one of the most popular visited filming locations. Continuing along the coastal route we approach the wonderful Dunluce Castle and weather permitting have a photo stop before arriving at our main feature destination of the day - The Giant’s Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s top tourist attraction, and only World Heritage Site. A dramatic coastal landscape steeped in local mythology which consists of around 40,000 polygonal basalt columns, jutting out into the sea amid a spectacular coastal landscape. In the afternoon we take the direct route through Ballymena to our base in Belfast. On our return to Belfast, this evening you can dine and explore the city at as you like. Check out Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, an area for a great night out, offering a range of fantastic pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues. Or stay closer by and pop across the road to the iconic and historic Robinsons Bar and The Crown Liquor Store. Enjoy some local bar food and a pint with the locals.

Included meals: Breakfast and DInner 

DAY 4 - Belfast to Donegal via Ulster American Folk Park.

This morning we leave Northern Ireland and travel across to Donegal Town stopping along the way at the Ulster American Folk Park outside the town of Omagh in County Tyrone. The Ulster American Folk Park is a museum of emigration and folk life telling the story of the floods of emigrants who left these shores - Exhibits include “Emigrants” indoor museum. The outdoor site has 26 buildings mostly original Irish thatched and American log structures. Sail away to the new world on board the Brig Union life-sized emigrant sailing ship. Two complete streets on old and new world sites. Daily demonstrations include blacksmithing, spinning, printing and cookery. We arrive in Donegal Town in the afternoon and enjoy some downtime before gathering for dinner this evening. Afterwards you may explore the abundance of pubs and scope out the venues hosting traditional Irish music and the Ceol Agus Craic!

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 5 - Coastal day tour of Donegal‘s “Wild Atlantic Way”

After a full Irish breakfast, we start our day touring part of Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way. Donegal means “Fort of the Foreigners” after the Vikings who built a garrison here. We take the coast road to Killybegs, one of Ireland’s biggest fishing ports and then on to Slieve League Cliffs which are almost three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher although they are not as famous. After a visit to the Slieve League Cliffs Centre, we continue our journey to Ardara via the Glengesh Pass. Glengesh (Gleann Geis, Glen of the Swans) is one of two glaciated valleys that sculpture the northern edge of the Banagh peninsula. Enjoy some free time in the heritage village of Ardara, famous for its spectacular scenery & hand woven tweed. You will have the opportunity to discover more about weaving traditions and purchase souvenirs to cherish. We return to our hotel where you are free for the evening to enjoy your spectacular surroundings and local pubs and restaurants.

Included meals: Breakfast 

DAY 6 - Donegal to Connemara via Yeats County and Westport Town

This morning, we set out for Connemara in Co Galway. Our drive today takes us through Drumcliff County Sligo, where we stop off at the burial place of W.B Yeats, one of Ireland’s finest poets, set at the foothills of Ben Bulben Mountain. We continue southwest through County Mayo to our next stop at Westport. This vibrant, colourful traditional Irish town boasts tradition to the core. Located at the foothill of Croagh Patrick, Westport is a very popular spot and famous for its traditional Irish music culture where many famous musicians play in the array on wonderful pubs. Enjoy some free time to explore at your leisure before we continue to Connemara. We arrive at Renvyle Estate in the late afternoon. This historic country house and resort is a perfect hideaway, off the beaten track and set on the shores of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic way in Co. Galway. The estate, spread across 150 acres includes a private freshwater lake, par 3 golf course, tennis court, woodlands and a private beach which is perfect for an evening stroll. Following check-in and freshen up we gather for a scrumptious dinner at the award winning ‘Rusheenduff’ Restaurant.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 7 - Day Trip to Connemara and Kylemore Abbey

This morning enjoy a relaxing breakfast before we set off to explore the rugged yet serene Connemara area. Home to Ireland’s largest Irish speaking section of the country, this rocky of serrated mountains and pearly lakes encapsulates some of Ireland’s most glorious scenic attractions. The epitome of Irish culture can be recognized in this region, with the way of life coupling the native tongue. Here we visit Kylemore Abbey, the only Irish home of the Benedictine Nuns. Built originally as a castle it is one of the best examples of Irish neo-gothic architecture. The estate features include a Victorian Walled Garden, restored Abbey reception rooms, Gothic Church, tranquil walks, craft shop, pottery, and restaurant. Our next stop for today is a visit to Dan O’Hara’s Homestead & Heritage Centre. This unique hill farm in the heart of Connemara is managed by Martin & Nora and their kids and showcases the history, heritage, culture and traditions of the local area. The farm is home to cattle, sheep and the world famous Connemara Ponies. The visitor centre is based around a restored pre-famine cottage of Dan O’Hara who was forced to emigrate in the 1840s when he was evicted from his home. Enjoy the entertaining and educational demonstrations of traditional farming activities such as turf cutting, sheep herding or soda bread making on the open fire. We return to Renvyle Estate in the afternoon and enjoy some free time. This evening is free for you to dine at your leisure at the rustic Renvyle Estate or explore the popular Paddy Coyne’s Pub close by in the village of Tullycross.

Included meals: Breakfast 

DAY 8 - Connemara to Dingle via Galway City & Cliffs of Moher

We have an early start today as we set out on our longest touring day to travel southwest to Dingle in the Kingdom of Kerry. First, we travel to Galway via Maam Cross and Oughterard along the banks of Lough Corrib. Upon arrival we take a panoramic sightseeing tour of Galway City before enjoying some free time soaking up the atmosphere on the famous Shop Street and Spanish Arch area. Galway is also known as the “City of Tribes”. The name refers to 14 important Anglo-Norman merchant families who lived there and dominated the life and trade of the city during the Middle Ages. We continue onwards through the Burren region of County Clare we approach the Cliffs of Moher, one of the most outstanding features and visited sites in Ireland. After an overview and introduction at the visitor centre you have the choice to walk along the cliffs and experience firsthand the magnitude and beauty of these mighty cliffs, rising sheer above the sea to nearly 700 feet and extending along the coast for nearly five miles. On a clear day you can see across to the Aran Islands. From here we continue south towards to Killimer, take the short ferry across the Shannon Estuary to Tarbert and travel down to Dingle. Here we enjoy our central hotel base for the next three nights. After our long touring day, we gather for a later dinner this evening in our hotel. Tonight, you can rest up for the next few days of exploring the beauty of Kerry.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 9 - Dingle Peninsula

This morning after a hearty breakfast we will begin our day’s touring from Dingle. The Slea Head drive is a circular route, beginning and ending in Dingle, which takes in a large number of attractions and stunning views on the western end of the peninsula. Many of Ireland's great Gaelic literary figures were born and raised on the great Blasket Islands. We will visit the Blasket Visitor Centre which is a fascinating heritage and cultural centre/museum, honouring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953.The Blasket Centre tells the story of island life, subsistence fishing and farming, traditional life including modes of work and transport, home life, housing and entertainment. The Centre details the community’s struggle for existence, their language and culture, and the extraordinary literary legacy they left behind- classics such as The Islandman, Twenty Years A-Growing, and Peig. The Dingle Peninsula was also made famous by two movies “Ryan’s Daughter” and “Far & Away. Return this evening where you will be free to explore the famous town of Dingle at your leisure, a popular market town and fishing port.

Included meals: Breakfast 

DAY 10 - Ring of Kerry/ Free Time in Killarney

Today we have another exciting day of travel as we experience one of the most picturesque drives in all of Europe, around the famous Ring of Kerry. As we head along the chartreuse coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula through the towns of Glenbeigh, Cahirciveen, Waterville and Sneem sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular views as we circle the mountainous MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. We complete the tour via the Ladies View back to Killarney. This is Ireland as you have always imagined it! We visit Killarney in the afternoon where you are free to enjoy the wonderful lively town or you may decide to take a jaunting car through the park to Muckross House & Gardens. This evening, we will enjoy a casual dinner and music in a local pub - A true authentic Irish experience!

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 11 - Dingle to Kilkenny via Rock of Cashel

We depart Dingle this morning and travel to the cathedral city of Kilkenny. Our first stop today in the village of Blarney. Blarney Castle one of the oldest landmarks in Co. Cork, is best known for the famous “Blarney Stone” which as tradition dictates confers the gift of eloquence upon all those who kiss it. Blarney Woolen Mills flagship store is located in this picturesque village and is housed in one of Ireland’s oldest and most authentic Woolen Mills. You will have ample time to shop or walk the surrounding grounds of the Castle. We will then stop to view one of the most striking ecclesiastical ruins in Ireland, the mighty Rock of Cashel. This huge breathtaking landmark is a huge and complex site with unique character comprised of the Hall of Vicars, Cormac's Chapel, Celtic Cathedral and the round tower. The building predates the Anglo-Norman invasion and contains many historical and artistic treasures, including Ireland's oldest Romanesque wall painting. The abundant grounds also contain examples of intricate Celtic high crosses. We arrive in the city of Kilkenny in the late afternoon. This evening we meet to enjoy dinner at the hotel restaurant and later you may choose to take a stroll through this very popular and lively city.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 12 - Kilkenny City walking Tour & Free Time

After breakfast, we set out on a casual, fun filled walking tour of the city with one of Kilkenny’s finest tour guide’s Pat Tynan. Pat has been conducting medieval walking tours for nearly 30 years and this is a wonderful way to experience and overview of the history of the city. We will also enjoy time in the wonderful and grand Kilkenny Castle, built in 1195 by Norman occupiers. Kilkenny is a medieval town in southeast Ireland. The town has deep religious roots and many well-preserved churches and monasteries, including imposing St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey Dominican priory, both from the 13th century. It's also a crafts hub, with shops along its winding lanes selling pottery, paintings and jewellery. Suggested Visits (Payable locally): The Black Abbey, St Canice's Cathedral, Smithwicks Experience Visitor Centre, Kilkenny Design & Craft Store.
This evening we enjoy dinner in the famous Kytler’s Inn. With a history dating back to 1263, Kytler’s Inn, in the heart of Kilkenny city combines a rich heritage with 21st century amenities, menu and service. This evening you will learn of the original notorious resident, Dame Alice Kytler and the captivating story of her accused witchcraft and marriages which led to her execution. The evening will continue with music and entertainment.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 13 - Kilkenny to Dublin via Glendalough

This morning bid farewell to Kilkenny as we set off east to visit the “Garden of Ireland”, County Wicklow. First, we visit the famous village of Avoca where you can enjoy the oldest working mill in Ireland, famous for its knit wear which is sold and exported worldwide. The village was also used for the filming of the BBC series “Ballykissangel”. While in Glendalough we will enjoy a visit to St. Kevin’s Monastery. The beauty and tranquility of the lakes and the glacial-carved valley no doubt appealed to St Kevin, a hermit monk, who founded the monastic site near the Lower Lake in the 6th Century. Most of the buildings that survive today date from the 10th through 12th centuries. Despite attacks by Vikings over the years, Glendalough thrived as one of Ireland’s great ecclesiastical foundations and schools of learning until the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1214.We arrive in Dublin in the late afternoon. This evening we take a drive just outside the city to the popular Traditional Pub “Taylors Three Rock” and enjoy a farewell dinner with entertainment.

Included meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

DAY 14 - Day to Explore Dublin’s Fair City

Our day begins at the award winning and world Famous Guinness Store House where we enjoy a guided tour. Located in the heart of St. James Gate Brewery the journey begins at the bottom of the World’s largest pint glass and continues up through the seven floors filled with interactive experiences that fuse the long brewing heritage with Ireland’s rich history. At the top, you will be rewarded with a pint of the perfection in the world- famous rooftop Gravity Bar. Afterwards, take a relaxed panoramic tour of Dublin, which although modern and cosmopolitan, still retains the grace and atmosphere of the eighteenth century. Along the way your Tour Director will point out some of the many famous sights and fine architectural buildings and Monuments such as Trinity College, Molly Malone, The Ha’penny Bridge and River Liffey, Dublin Castle, Christchurch and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The rest of the afternoon you are free to independently explore other attractions of the city and enjoy at your own pace.
Suggested visits: (Payable locally if applicable) Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, Jameson Distillery, Epic Ireland Museum, National Museum of Ireland

Included meals: Breakfast 

DAY 15 - Farewell to Ireland for now...

After breakfast this morning, we will transfer you from the hotel directly to Dublin Airport in time to check in for your departure flight.

Included meals: Breakfast 

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • Economy flights from London Heathrow to Dublin on Day 1 and returning from Dublin to London Heathrow on Day 15.
  • Meet & Greet at Dublin airport on Day1 transfer to the hotel. Return transfer to Dublin airport on Day 15.
  • All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Transport as detailed in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary.
  • English speaking tour guide.
  • Tour Director from The Big Journey Company as well as the local tour guide (subject to minimum group size being reached.)

What's not included

  • Drinks
  • Gratuities 
  • All entrance fees to non-stipulated attractions
  • Visas, travel insurance
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Any optional activities offered

Important information

  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2:00 - 3:00 pm and check out is before 10:00am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable. Final payments are due 14 weeks prior to departure.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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