The Grand Atlantic
Departs from Dublin Heuston Station on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday (all year)
Travel South and Southwest by Train
A truly unique opportunity to visit our great Southern and Western coastal regions, with fabulous seascapes and mountain scenery and visits to Ireland's premier tourist locations such as Cork, Cobh, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry, Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay and Connemara. This tour takes in part of the Wild Atlantic Way and includes 2 nights accommodation in Killarney and 1 night in Galway.
Cork, Blarney Castle and Cobh
Check-in for 07:00 departure from Dublin Heuston Station. Arrive into Cork Kent Station for 09:35, we transfer to our Railtours Ireland tour coach through Cork City to Blarney Village and historic Blarney Castle and Gardens, built in 1446 by Dermot Mc Carthy. You will have time to kiss the famous stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eternal eloquence on those lucky enough to do so. There is also time for shopping and lunch at Blarney and we recommend that you have lunch there, as this will be the only opportunity during the day to have a substantial meal.
Depart Blarney Castle for Cóbh, via the city centre and a short city tour.
On arrival at Cóbh we will visit St Colman’s Cathedral. We will then proceed down along the sea front passing the former White Star Line offices en route to the beautifully restored Victorian railway station/transatlantic terminal. This is now the Cóbh Heritage Centre, home to the Queenstown Story. The centre also houses much information about the Great Famine and subsequent Irish Emigration; 3 million Irish people emigrated from Cóbh, (principally to the United States) including Annie Moore, whose statue is located in front of the heritage centre.
Depart Cobh by train for Killarney. The rest of the evening is free and there is a large selection of cafés, restaurants and bars in Killarney town as well as many opportunities for live traditional Irish music entertainment.
Overnight Stay: Killarney
Ring Of Kerry Tour
You will be collected from your accommodation at 09:45 (or as directed by our Killarney representative) for your Ring of Kerry tour. There are plenty of stops along the Ring of Kerry for morning tea, lunch and photo stops etc. Ireland’s highest mountains are located in Kerry and Carrauntouhil, which can be seen en route. It is the highest, standing at 1041 metres. We will make a stop at the Kerry Bog Village Museum, which gives people an insight into how people lived and worked in rural Ireland in the 18th century. The village is the only one of its kind in Europe. Later on the approach to Waterville there are views (weather permitting) of the Skellig Rocks (islands), where Star Wars 'The Force Awakens' was recently filmed. We will make several photo stops, a stop for lunch and one final stop at the pretty village of Sneem, for about 30 minutes, or as directed by your tour leader.
An essential part of any visit to Ireland, this tour circles the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks and runs through its many passes and valleys along the shores of Dingle Bay and Kenmare Bay. There is an unspoilt nature to Ireland's most beautiful region and the Ring of Kerry provides many unforgettable memories as it passes through the many picturesque villages such as Glenbeigh, Waterville and Sneem and returns via Ladies View, the famous Lakes of Killarney and through the Oakwoods of Killarney's magnificent National Park. At the end of the tour you will be brought to the railway station at Killarney.
Overnight Stay: Killarney
Limerick, Cliffs of Moher & Galway
Arrive into Limerick where we will join our Railtours Ireland tour coach. Limerick has a population of about 90,000 and its city charter was granted in 1197AD, making it older than London! As we cross the river Shannon which is Ireland’s longest river you will see views of King John’s Castle to the right. The castle was completed in 1200 and marks the origins of the city. Limerick’s most famous author, Frank Mc Court, grew up here and was the setting for his book, ‘Angela’s Ashes’. Limerick is also the birthplace of celebrated BBC radio DJ, Terry Wogan and Hollywood star, Richard Harris. We will pass the GAA grounds of Páirc na nGael –the home ground of County Limerick’s Hurling and Gaelic Football teams. Limerick is also the home of Irish Rubgy and we will pass Thomond Park, the Rugby stadium. After a brief city tour we travel onto Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The castle was completed in 1425 and, after many years of neglect, has been restored to its former glory. There is also a folk park here which you will have time to explore.
After the visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk park we make our way to Co. Clare. There is a lunch stop at O’ Connor’s Pub in Doolin before arriving at the Cliffs of Moher, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. There is plenty of time to visit Ireland’s second most popular tourist attraction and your host will advise you of the departure time. From here we take the coast road for much of the way to Galway, with time for photos along The Burren. This is a national park and the word Burren comes from the Irish Language, it means ‘rocky place’. It is a unique lunar landscape of limestone which was described in 1649 by one of Oliver Cromwell’s men as: “No tree to hang a man, no water deep enough to drown him and no soil deep enough to bury him”. Today the Burren is noted for its diverse Flora with few parallels elsewhere in Ireland or indeed, Europe. We continue along the coast road to Black Head, passing the quaint coastal villages of Ballyvaughan and Kinvara before joining the main road to Galway.
At the end of the day the coach will set you down at Eyre Square in the centre of Galway City adjacent to your hotel (and the railway station). You will be directed to your hotel by your host and your evening is free in Galway.
Overnight Stay: Galway City Centre
Connemara and Kylemore Abbey
Depart Galway and our conducted tour of Connemara leaves Galway to the village of Moycullen. From Moycullen the road rises and falls towards the lovely village of Oughterard on the shores of Lough Corrib, traditionally regarded as Ireland’s premier angling centre. Now the gateway to Connemara opens, and the breathtaking colours of this unspoilt countryside are revealed in all their natural splendour. At Maam Cross, the Connemara "crossroads", there is a replica of the cottage used in the 1950's John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara film "The Quiet Man", which was filmed here.From Maam Cross our tour heads out to Leenane, Kylemore Abbey and Letterfrack, in the shadow of purple mountains rolling down to blue and green rocky valleys, reflecting the rich and varied colours of Connemara. There is a lunch break at Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, an 18th century castle now owned by the Benedictine nuns who run an excellent pottery, gift shop and restaurant here. Letterfrack is one of Ireland’s major national parks. The colourful town of Clifden has been one of Irelands leading holiday resorts for generations. It is an excellent touring centre beloved by the walker, the biker, the hiker or the fisherman. It was here too, at Derrygimlagh Bog, near Clifden that aviation history was made when Alcock and Brown crash landed after their historic transatlantic flight in 1919.
Back at Maam Cross again and the road turns southwards now through the Screeb, Costello and Rossaveal. Rossaveal is the departure point for ferryboats to the Aran Islands and is also a major fishing port. We are now in the Gaeltacht or Irish speaking area of Connemara where Gaelic or Irish is still the everyday spoken language of a bi-lingual people.
Our tour of Connemara heads homewards towards Galway City now, along the shores of Galway bay, through the Gaeltacht villages of Inverin and Spiddal and looking out across the blue waters of the Atlantic at the unique lime-stone of the Burren and the hills of Clare. After your day's touring you will be returned to Galway Station. Upon arriving at Galway Station please present your Railtours Ireland ticket and travel pack at the ticket barrier and you will be directed to your reserved seats on the train, where you host will be waiting for you.
Depart Galway for Dublin Heuston Station. Returning to Dublin Heuston at 21:45hrs.
- Blarney Castle
- Cork City
- Cobh & the Queenstown story
- The Ring of Kerry
- Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher & The Burren
- Galway City
- Connemara & Kylemore Abbey
- Return rail travel
- Reserved seats on the train
- Railtours Ireland Host throughout
- Visitor attraction admissions
- Escorted coach
- 2 nights in Killarney
- 1 night in Galway