Ireland Wonders Small Group Journey


Start your tour with a trip to Offaly and a tour of Birr Castle Demesne for sherry and sparkling wine in the hall followed by lunch in the elaborate dining room. Travel to Galway for a walking tour of the city center with views of Galway Bay and Salmon Weir Bridge. Enjoy dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Next, travel to Co Mayo in Connemara, the wilds of Western Ireland. Hear native Gaelic spoken as you embark on your off-road walking and cycling excursion. Travel along the Great Western Greenway from Westport to Achill Island where you will visit the villages Newport and Mulranny. Transfer to Ballina for dinner. Prepare for a change of scenery as you head to Belfast in Northern Ireland. En route, stop at Enniskillin, the 18th-century home of the Earls of Enniskillen. Upon arrival in Belfast you will take part in a welcome reception at Crown Liquor Saloon, an example of a Victorian Gin Palace. Learn about Belfasts' troubled history during your Black Taxi tour and your guided tour of the Parliament Buildings at Stormont. Finish your trip by heading down to Dublin. En route you will visit Downpatrick and learn of the history of St. Patrick. Immerse yourself in his story through an IMAX presentation of how he became the patron saint of Ireland. Walk down to Down Cathedral to see the believed location of St. Patrick's mortal remains.

SMALL GROUP JOURNEY – Guaranteed departures English only tour with max. 20 participants. Scheduled departures - 7-day/6-night tour visiting Galway, Connemara, Co. Mayo & Belfast. Includes accommodation at first and superior first class hotels with breakfast daily, 3 dinners, 1 lunch, touring by minivan or small motor coach, and guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary.

Includes

  • Taxes and service charges
  • Hotels mentioned in the itinerary or similar
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary by the code letters (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner
  • Sightseeing as described in the itinerary
  • Porterage
  • ASTA TOP Tour operator travel funds protection program
  • Professional tour director throughout the tour
  • Entrance fees
  • Touring by mini van or small motor coach

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Optional tours
  • Customary tips to your drivers, guides and escorts
  • Transfers
  • Flights

Daily Itinerary

Day

1

Dublin – Galway

This morning, meet with your group at a city center location. Depart with your driver/guide to Offaly. Enjoy a visit to Birr Castle Demesne. Your tour will begin with a sherry or sparkling wine in the tapestried hall. Lord and Lady Rosse will begin with a brief history of the castle and family before taking guests on a tour of the libraries, yellow drawing room, and great Gothic Music Saloon. Your welcome lunch will then be served in the rich red dining room, making as much use as possible of the actual produce of the estate. After lunch, you will learn about the family portraits and furniture in the dining room, as well as the great staircase, which dates from the reign of Charles II and is made entirely of yew wood. Lord Rosse will then take you into the gardens to see the Great Telescope, as well as the galleries of Ireland’s Historic Science Centre, which is located at the castle’s old stable block. Lord Rosse will also show you as much of the Demesne’s beautiful gardens as time will allow for. Continue to Galway and check into your hotel. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. (L)

First and Superior First Class: Radisson Blu or similar hotels

Day

2

Explore Galway

This morning, meet with a local guide and enjoy a walking tour of Galway. The city center of Galway is mainly pedestrianized, so a walking tour is the best way to enjoy its atmosphere and discover some of its most important monuments. Galway is a thriving, bohemian, cultural city, with a long winding promenade. It also has a buzzing cosmopolitan city center. The city is a joy to explore with its labyrinthine cobbled streets, colorful shop facades and busy café / bar culture. Stroll along the promenade to Galway Bay or watch the salmon fishermen in the River Corrib from the perfect vantage point of the Salmon Weir Bridge. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Transfer back to your hotel. (B,D) 

First and Superior First Class: Radisson Blu or similar hotels

Day

3

Galway – Connemara – Co Mayo

Today, depart for Co. Mayo, travelling through the scenic Connemara Region. Connemara is a land of lakes and rivers, bogs and mountains. A land of small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed since the beginning of time. It is without a doubt the wildest and the most romantic part of Ireland. Continue to Westport and escape the bustle of urban life on the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in the country. The Great Western Greenway traverses Ireland’s Atlantic coast between Westport town and Achill Island and visits the picturesque villages of Newport and Mulranny. It passes by some of the West of Ireland’s most dramatic mountains and offers magnificent views of Clew Bay and its many islands. Continue to your hotel in Ballina. This evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel. (B,D)

First and Superior First Class: Mount Falcon Estate or similar hotels

Day

4

Co Mayo – Day at Leisure

Today, you will have a day at leisure to enjoy the many activities on site at your hotel. Besides taking advantage of the fantastic spa and leisure facilities, you can also participate in falconry, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, forest walks, and much more. Please note supplements will apply and are payable directly. Your coach and driver/guide are also available today for local touring. (B) 

First and Superior First Class: Mount Falcon Estate or similar hotels

Day

5

Co Mayo – Belfast

Today, depart your hotel in Mayo and travel to Belfast. En route, stop in Enniskillen at Florence Court for a guided tour. Florence Court is a warm and welcoming 18th-century property, the former home of the Earls of Enniskillen. The house, with a charming walled garden, enjoys a peaceful setting in west Fermanagh, with a dramatic backdrop of mountains and forests. Continue on to your hotel in Belfast for check in. This evening, enjoy a drinks reception at the historic Crown Liquor Saloon before dinner at a local restaurant. The Crown Liquor Saloon is one of Northern Ireland’s best-known bars and is a great example of a Victorian gin palace. Transfer back to your hotel. (B,D)

First and Superior First Class: Merchant Hotel or similar hotels

Day

6

Explore Belfast

This morning, enjoy a Black Taxi Tour of Belfast City. Today, you will learn about Belfast’s colored past. For over 30 years, the city was enthralled in a bloody civil war. Out of the chaos came some of Belfast’s most recognizable landmarks, its murals. Your tour will bring you through the city to both sides of the community and show you many of the famous murals and the history surrounding them. Next, enjoy a guided tour of the Parliament Buildings at Stormont. Now home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the building was originally constructed to accommodate the newly formed Government of Northern Ireland, established under the Government of Ireland Act, 1921. The building was designed in Greek Classical tradition, constructed by Stewart Partners Ltd under the guidance of architect Arnold Thornely, from Liverpool. He was a man who paid great attention to detail with many of the features in Parliament Buildings having symbolic references. Enjoy the balance of your day at leisure. (B)

First and Superior First Class: Merchant Hotel or similar hotels

Day

7

Belfast – Dublin

This morning, depart for Dublin. Stop in Downpatrick to discover the story of St. Patrick and his place in Ireland’s history at the Saint Patrick Visitor Centre. The visit begins with the impressive ‘In the Footsteps of Saint Patrick’ IMAX presentation about the life of St. Patrick and has aerial video footage of some of the landmark sites in Ireland associated with the Saint. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick’s legacy developed in early Christian times and reveal the fabulous artwork and metalwork, which was produced during this Golden Age. Make the short walk to Down Cathedral, which stands close to what is believed to be the mortal remains of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. The Cathedral is impressive inside and has a wonderful organ and a very interesting seating arrangement. Continue to Dublin where you will be dropped at a city center location. (B)