Best of the West
Departures on Mondays from Dublin
Five days to explore one of Ireland’s most beautiful regions. Dramatic sea cliffs with crashing Atlantic waves contrast with ancient monasteries and historic castles to give you a real flavour of the country. The tour includes famous routes such as the Ring of Kerry as well as “off the beaten track” sites that will give you memories to last forever. Wherever you go there will be the chance to meet the locals in a traditional pub, sample the best local food and listen to traditional music. This is a tour that really gets to the heart of authentic Ireland.
Stay 1 night in Galway, 1 night in Spanish Point & 2 nights in Killarney
Kilbeggan & Galway
We leave Dublin this morning and begin our journey west through the midlands towards the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland – Kilbeggan. Here we will learn everything about making Irish Whiskey, uisce beatha – the water of life, from the bog to the bottle. Continuing westward we head towards the River Shannon and the town of Athlone where we’ll stop for lunch. There’s many choices in town, but we recommend a visit to the oldest pub in Ireland, Sean’s Bar. From Athlone we head directly to the seaside city of Galway where we will be staying this evening. The rest of your day is free to explore Galway as you see fit, you can catch some buskers on William Street or find yourself nestled in a cozy pub enjoying dinner, a pint of plain, and some traditional Irish music.
Overnight—Harbour Hotel, Galway
Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher
This morning we leave Galway and make our way to the seaside town of Doolin, along the Wild Atlantic Way. Here we will board a ferry to Inis Oírr the most easterly of the Aran Islands, with the name reflecting that, Inis Oírr translates to East Island! While on the island you are free to explore and see what traditional Irish life entailed, the islands 260 permanent residents still converse in Irish!
After some free time on the island we get back on the ferry to experience the scale and majestic beauty of the Cliffs of Moher with a view that is truly breath-taking. From the Cliffs we make our way to Spanish Point for dinner at the Armada Hotel with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. After dinner you can enjoy the perfect pint around the hearth of a log burning fire at Johnny Burkes pub, which is attached to the hotel.
Dinner / Overnight – Armada Hotel, Spanish Point
After breakfast with views of the Atlantic Ocean as your backdrop we continue our journey through the Wild Atlantic Way and make our way down to the Kingdom of Kerry. With its craggy coastline, striking scenery and rich historical sites you are spoiled for choice in this beautiful county. Enroute we pass through Limerick where you will view the Treaty Stone and 13th century King John’s Castle on a panoramic tour of the city’s heritage precinct. From Limerick we make our way to the lovely village of Adare, where thatched cottages line the broad main street, here you can enjoy a coffee or a stroll through the quaint village.
We then continue on to Killarney where you will step back in time and experience Ireland’s most traditional mode of transport with a jaunting car tour. Learn about the history, folklore and the beauty of Killarney National Park and the majestic 15th century Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Leane. After checking into the hotel your evening is at leisure, so make sure you explore the town after dinner to catch some live traditional music at the many pubs lining the streets. One we recommend is J. M. Reidys, while it looks small from the outside, the pub has a sprawling interior with loads of cozy nooks that make it feel endless, and with live music almost every night of the year, you’re sure to enjoy a drink or two here.
Overnight – Killarney Riverside Hotel, Killarney
Ring of Kerry
Today we embark on one of the most scenic drives in Ireland, if not the world, the Ring of Kerry. Filled with picturesque landscapes, stunning coastlines and beautiful villages, it’ll be a wonder if there is any space left on your camera after this enchanting drive. As we make our way around the twists and turns of the Ring you will have plenty of opportunities for photos as well as tea or coffee in one of the many villages along the route. For lunch we will be stopping in the beautiful town of Kenmare, with loads of lovely boutiques and cafes lining the streets, your choices seem endless.
From Kenmare we head to Kissane Sheep Farm for a truly memorable sheepdog performance. The farm has been in the Kissane family for over 200 years and is situated on the doorstep of Killarney National Park with a stunning panoramic view of Moll’s Gap. You will be in awe watching on as the dogs’ movements are controlled by nothing more than a few whistles. After our demonstration at the sheep farm we head through the “Jewel in Kerry’s crown” Killarney National Park. Sitting at the foot of Ireland’s highest mountain range, Macgillycuddy Reeks, and home to Irelands only wild herd of red deer, the park is truly a spectacular spot of natural beauty. Once through the park, we head back to the hotel before heading out for a bit of craic at Major Colgan’s, where we will enjoy a traditional Irish dinner and show. The pub still contains its original wooden floors, stonewalls, beamed ceilings and open fires which all set the perfect atmosphere for a wonderful evening of song and dance.
Dinner / Overnight – Killarney Riverside Hotel, Killarney
Blarney & Cashel
Leaving Killarney today we head east towards Blarney Castle for a chance to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence (optional). Why the stone provides eloquence is shrouded in many different mythical origins, ranging from Queens to goddesses. However many legends there are of the origins of the stone, one thing is certain, the only way to experience the gift of the gab for yourself, is to kiss the stone. Besides the Castle, Blarney itself is a nice little village for a spot of lunch and some shopping, after which we will make our way towards the Rock of Cashel. Legend has it the devil himself formed it when taking a bite out of a nearby mountain, breaking his teeth and then spitting the rock out which landed at the site in Cashel. However, the medieval buildings, built in 12th, 13th and 15th century, that sit on the rock are the true sight to behold. From here we sadly have to make the final portion of our trip, and return back to Dublin.
Return to Dublin by 19:00
- Aran Islands
- Cliffs of Moher
- Spanish Point
- Ring of Kerry
- Transportation throughout by modern touring mini-coach
- Services of an experienced local driver/guide
- 4 nights ensuite accommodation
- Full Irish breakfast daily
- 2 x table d’hote evening meals
- Admissions to: Kilbeggan Distillery, Doolin to Aran Ferry, Jaunting Car ride through Killarney National Park , Kissane Sheep Farm, Rock of Cashel