Sample Itinerary One

Southern Ireland Discovery 7 Day Tour

A tour combining our Escape to the West and Kilkenny, West Cork and Kinsale tours to give you the chance to discover the highlights of Southern Ireland. Explore the wonderful scenery, immerse yourself in the traditional music and culture and enjoy the best local food and drink. From wild Atlantic cliff tops and ancient ruins to lively towns and villages this trip will show you the real Ireland.

Day 1

Departing Dublin you head west through the farmland and peat bogs of counties Kildare and Offally. Your first stop is the Locke’s Distillery – reputedly the oldest legal distillery in the world. Sample the local whiskey and discover the true spirit of Ireland! Further west you will reach the mighty Shannon River and the early Christian site of Clonmacnoise – with its collection of churches, stone crosses and round towers. After an afternoon stop in a traditional pub in one of the attractive little villages, travel into Galway City for your first night. This lively student town has no shortage of good pubs and restaurants.

Day 2

From Galway City it is only a short drive along the coast to the Burren – one of Ireland’s great natural treasures. This is a land of limestone pavements, barren hillsides, rare flora, early Christian settlements and ancient stone monuments. You spend most of the morning exploring this unique area. You will stop in Kilfenora, the “town of the crosses”, for a visit to the old cathedral and then have lunch in one of the pretty local villages.. After lunch you visit the stunning Cliffs of Moher, which drop almost 700 feet straight into the crashing Atlantic waves. Here you can walk the cliff top trails, watch the numerous seabirds or visit the award winning environmental exhibition. From here you travel south through County Clare passing the famous golf course and beach at Lahinch to catch the ferry across the Shannon estuary and into County Kerry to the beautiful lakeside town of Killarney – your base for the next 3 nights. The pubs here are great for food and most have live music in the evenings – your only problem is which one to choose!

Day 3

The tour today explores the wonderful Dingle Peninsula – one of the most scenic parts of Ireland and a heartland of Gaelic culture and tradition. The first stop of the day is the beach at Inch – a vast expanse of sand facing out into the Atlantic and very popular with surfers. From here increasingly narrow roads lead onto the peninsula itself through the town of Dingle and out to Slea Head. This is an area of ancient forts and dwellings going back thousands of years and you visit some of the best examples along the way. The views here are impressive with the nearby Blasket Islands rising dramatically from the sea and the mountains of the Ring of Kerry to the south. Weather permitting you will be able to walk on the beaches or along the cliff tops to fully appreciate the fabulous scenery. This area is very important in Gaelic literature and you will learn more during the day. The circuit of Slea Head leads back to Dingle town with its brightly coloured buildings and busy harbour. You spend the rest of the afternoon here before returning to Killarney. If the weather is good you could take an evening walk in the Killarney National Park – just on the edge of town.

Day 4

Today you tour one of the world’s classic routes, the Ring of Kerry - 100 miles packed full of interest. After departing Killarney on a clear day there will be views to Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil after which we join the coast road through Glenbeigh and Kells to Cahersiveen. There will be plenty opportunities for photos stops along the way with great views across to the Dingle Peninsula. Possible stops include the Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace and Cahersiveen ring fort before reaching the little fishing village of Portmagee. Here you can relax and sample local seafood for lunch or alternatively cross to the island of Valencia for a visit to the Skellig Experience where you can learn about the nearby rocky islands and the small community of monks who once lived there. In the afternoon you make photo stops in Waterville - a favourite holiday place for Charlie Chaplin and then at the top of Coonmakista Pass for one of the best views in the country. From here the road drops down to sea level for a visit to Derrynane House – family home of Daniel O’Connell. There are walks in the gardens and down to the beach as well as the house itself. The tour continues on around the Ring with stops at Moll’s Gap and the Ladies View. There will just be time for a short walk to the Torc Waterfall before arriving back into Killarney.

Day 5

Today you head back east through the mountains of West Cork and the market town of Macroom then along the Lee Valley to Blarney Castle. Here you have time to visit the castle, explore the woodland walks and mystical Rock Close as well as visiting the village of Blarney itself – a good place for a bite of lunch and a bit of shopping. There may even be the chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone although in peak season it can be very busy.

In the afternoon you will explore the beautiful coastline south of Cork before arriving into the lovely little fishing village of Kinsale in the late afternoon. This is your overnight stop and the town is known as the gourmet capital of Ireland. You will have a free evening to explore the narrow streets filled with lively traditional pubs and restaurants.

Day 6

Today is spent exploring some of the highlights of the South East staring with the historic port of Cobh - the major departure point for Irish emigration through the 19th and 20th centuries as well as famously the last port of call of the Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage. From here you will continue east towards Waterford along what is known as the “Copper Coast” – a Unesco Geopark with beautiful scenery and a fascinating history. You make a stop in Tramore – a popular beach for surfing before arriving in Waterford – Ireland’s oldest city, founded by the Vikings in the 9th Century. Here you have the chance to visit the famous Waterford Crystal factory or perhaps one of the excellent museums or just explore the Viking Triangle yourself on foot. In the late afternoon we will depart Waterford and travel north to Kilkenny, a bustling city with a fine castle and park, riverside walks, the National Craft Centre and plenty pubs and restaurants. Voted Ireland’s friendliest city this will be your overnight stop.

Day 7

You have a couple of hours free to explore the city centre before you depart Kilkenny for the Wicklow Mountains. This area contains some of Ireland’s highest peaks and most impressive valleys. The mountains are mainly made of granite and the deep valleys have been carved out by glaciers. One of the most impressive areas is around Glendalough (“valley of the lakes”) where you have the choice of taking one of the beautiful walking trails or exploring the ruins 6th century monastery with its famous round tower. After a couple of hours here you continue on the last section of the tour - travelling through the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park and crossing the famous Sally Gap before descending the short distance back to Dublin.