Riches of the Emerald Isle

Riches of the Emerald Isle

From storytelling to dancing and a whiskey tasting to a farm-to-fork meal, experience Ireland on a 10-night adventure with stays in Ennis, Killarney, Mallow and Dublin. Explore the Dingle Peninsula, where Irish is the first language. Visit Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College. Delve into Ireland’s natural history during a walk along the Burren’s rugged limestone terrain and the Cliffs of Moher. Cruise to Inishmore to learn more about island life from a local guide, and explore Killarney National Park by horse-drawn carriage.

 

Trip Itinerary:

June 12 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Shannon, Ireland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: SNN.

Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service

June 13 Shannon, Ireland/Ennis

Arrive at Shannon Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Enrichment and Discovery: Ennis Tour. Learn about Ennis’ unique history as you enjoy a walking tour through town. From tales of banshees to the famous local witch, hear how this area is steeped in legend, folklore and mythology. You’ll also learn how some of Ireland’s most influential political figures were connected to Ennis. Founded in the 11th century, this lively market town has a historic yet cosmopolitan character. Discover its unique charms as you wander along winding lanes and cross over the River Fergus that flows through the middle of town.

Tonight, get better acquainted with your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception and Dinner in the hotel.

Enrichment: Irish Music and Dance. Following dinner, tap your feet to the lively beat as a traditional céilí band and champion dancers entertain you with an exclusive performance of traditional songs and famous melodic airs.

Accommodations - Old Ground Hotel
Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

June 14 Burren/Cliffs of Moher

Discovery: The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark, sit on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Marvel at this stunning coastline of dramatic cliffs, sea caves and inlets, and revel in the sweeping views of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay.

Spend the day admiring Ireland’s marvelous countryside and coastline as you are immersed in one of the world’s most unique landscapes. The Burren’s rocky plateau features diverse flora and karstic limestone formations. Enjoy an audio/visual presentation at the Burren Centre and see the famous high crosses at Kilfenora Cathedral. Then, take an exclusive guided walk through the Burren with local expert Tony Kirby, and enjoy an experience rich with geological, archaeological and botanical insights. Film producer, critically acclaimed author and blogger on Burren life, Kirby has been leading walks in the Burren since 2002 and looks forward to sharing his passion and knowledge with you.

Enjoy lunch in a family-run pub in the heart of the Burren.

Continue to Poulnabrone, a vision resting on the stark limestone pavements, and Ireland’s most photographed portal tomb, which date from 2,000-2,500 B.C. Afterward, drive along to Ballyvaughan, by Galway Bay and Black Head, to marvel at the jaw-dropping sight of the majestic Cliffs of Moher, rising 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy some free time at the Cliffs of Moher and explore the visitor center.

Enrichment: Irish Seanchaí. Seanchaí, Ireland’s venerable storytellers, were the bearers of old Celtic lore and the caretakers of this oral tradition. This evening, listen as Eddie Lenihan, Ireland’s premier folklorist/seanchaí, relates stories and tales in the time-honored style. An author, storyteller, lecturer and broadcaster, Lenihan has been described as a “national treasure” and is well known for his tales of folk heroes, mythology and the supernatural.

Accommodations - Old Ground Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

June 15 Aran Islands

Discovery: Aran Island of Inishmore. From Ennis, enjoy a scenic drive to Rossaveal, where you’ll board a ferry to sail across Galway Bay to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands.

As you explore the island on a minibus, listen to entertaining stories about life on the island from your local guide. Like the Burren, the Aran Islands’ striking karst landscape is created by limestone. People have lived here since approximately 3,000 B.C., and Stone Age monuments can still be seen. The area is also famous for stone forts, which date from the Bronze Age. The most famous is Dun Aengus. From its clifftop location, enjoy a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean, which awaits you after a walk to the fort along an open pathway. Once you reach the cliff, gaze over the water. You may see traditional Curach boats, which some anglers still use. Turn around, and admire the starkly beautiful scenery of the island. While in the area, stop for a lunch break at a local restaurant.

Travel by ferry back to Rossveal and return to Ennis. This evening, gather for dinner at the hotel.

Accommodations - Old Ground Hotel
Meals - Breakfast, lunch and dinner

June 16 Killarney

Discovery: Dingle Peninsula. Following breakfast, depart for Killarney via the picturesque Dingle Peninsula. Take a short ferry ride from Killimer to Tarbert, over the Shannon estuary. If you are lucky, you may see dolphins. Continue via motor coach through the towns of Tralee and Dingle, while enjoying sweeping mountain vistas and coastal scenery on the Slea Head Drive, a highlight on the untamed Wild Atlantic Way, one of Europe’s most captivating coastal roads.

Relax during lunch at a restaurant along your route.

After lunch, visit the Blasket Island Heritage Center. The center honors the people who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until the mid-1900s and the extraordinary literary legacy they left behind. Return to Dingle and spend free time exploring its pubs, craft galleries, bookstores and other charming shops.

Later, continue to Killarney and check in to the Great Southern Killarney.

Accommodations - Great Southern Killarney
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

June 17 Killarney

Discovery: Killarney National Park by Carriage and Cruise. Situated on the Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park is a tranquil, natural oasis of oak woodlands and shimmering lakes at the foot of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range. It’s Ireland’s first national park, encompassing more than 25,000 acres, and a part of the Kerry UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This morning, ramble through the park on an entertaining, leisurely ride in a traditional, horse-drawn carriage called a jaunting car. Your “jarvey,” or driver, will share local lore and history as you make your way to see Ross Castle, a 15th-century fortress. Then, board a cruiser to glide across the serene waters of the Killarney Lakes, the park’s three connected lakes. Learn about the park’s unique wildlife and historical sites from the captain.

Free Time: Return to Killarney for an afternoon at leisure.

Accommodations - Great Southern Killarney
Meals - Breakfast

June 18 Ring of Kerry

Discovery: Ring of Kerry and Muckross House. Located on the Iveragh Peninsula, the circular drive of the Ring of Kerry is among the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. View a pastoral region of Ireland seemingly untouched by time, where pure breezes fill your lungs and emerald knolls effortlessly melt into deep blue skies. Meet a local shepherd, who will demonstrate, with the help of loyal border collies, how to move sheep around a pasture. Afterward, there is time to ask questions about the flock, which includes rare breeds of sheep from around the world, and the dogs, as well as farm life.

Stop for lunch in Waterville, and relish the wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Drive through the villages of Caherdaniel and Sneem to Windy Gap and Ladies View, a great place to take in the vistas of the pristine Killarney Lakes. Then tour Muckross House, a grand, 19th-century Victorian mansion that boasts extensive gardens by the shores of Muckross Lake, before heading back to the hotel.

Enrichment: Whiskey Tasting Delight in a whiskey tasting this evening and learn about Irish whiskey production. The rules of Irish whiskey production date back to the 1880s, and all Irish whiskey must be aged in barrels for a minimum of three years. Watch a demonstration and taste the local whiskey’s smooth, caramel flavor.

Accommodations - Great Southern Killarney
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

June 19 Mallow

After breakfast, depart for Mallow in County Cork.

Discovery: The Gift of Gab. Visit Blarney Castle and see the famous Blarney Stone. Tradition holds that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will be endowed with eloquence, or the gift of the gab. Though the first Blarney Castle was erected in the 10th century, today’s Blarney Castle is the third edifice to be constructed on the site. Over 60 acres of gardens, waterways and arboretums surround the Castle.

Upon arrival in Mallow, check in to Longueville House. This country estate is family-owned and operated, and you will be welcomed with warmth and hospitality. Spend some free time enjoying the estate’s gardens or relaxing on the patio.

Tonight, delight in a very special “field-to-fork” dining experience, prepared by the chef-owner of Longueville House, that showcases the flavors of the freshly picked produce from the estate’s gardens and farm.

Accommodations - Longueville House
Meals - Breakfast and dinner

June 20 Kildare/Dublin

Free Time: Enjoy your morning at leisure before departing for Dublin.

Discovery: Ireland’s Racehorses and Gardens. En route to Dublin, visit the Irish National Stud & Gardens, noted for its racehorse breeding program and lovely Japanese Gardens. The central goal of this unique attraction is to breed champion Irish thoroughbreds. Marvel at the beauty and grace of these majestic and beloved equines, especially the frisky foals! Then delight in the serene atmosphere and world-class horticulture of the Japanese Gardens, created in the early 1900s.

Enjoy lunch amid the farm’s wonderful, natural beauty.

Continue to Dublin and, upon arrival, check in to the Westbury Hotel, overlooking colorful Grafton Street.

Accommodations - Westbury Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

June 21 Dublin

Discovery: Cosmopolitan Dublin. In this bustling and vibrant city, medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture and lush gardens intertwine to form a captivating atmosphere. Visit historic Trinity College and see the famous hand-illuminated Book of Kells, created by monks in the eighth century. Explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral, named for the patron saint of Ireland, and discover the fashionable shops and boutiques of Grafton Street.

Free Time: Spend the afternoon at leisure in Dublin. Rich with cafés, art galleries, museums, parks, gardens and cobblestone streets, Dublin offers something for everyone. For a taste of local life, sip a pint of Guinness at a pub and enjoy the “craic,” Irish for “a good time.”

Enrichment: Irish Literature. Ireland has produced four Nobel Prize winners in Literature, and Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature. This evening, learn about the key figures who shaped Dublin’s rich literary heritage.

Accommodations - Westbury Hotel
Meals - Breakfast

June 22 Depart for gateway city

Free Time: Spend the day exploring Dublin, one of Europe’s most walkable cities. Stretch your legs in St. Stephen’s Green, people-watch over an espresso at a busy street café or visit the National Gallery or the National Museum of History and Archaeology. You may wish to join today’s Elective Activity and journey to Ireland’s lush County Wicklow.

Elective Activity: Wicklow: The Garden of Ireland. Today, immerse yourself in the verdant beauty of Ireland’s County Wicklow. Travel through a landscape known as “The Garden of Ireland.” See rolling emerald pastures, stroll amid 47 acres of beauty at Powerscourt Gardens, explore the monastic settlement of Glendalough and meander through the stately Russborough House. Enjoy lunch at a local establishment during the outing.
Available at an additional cost.

Tonight, at a Farewell Reception and Dinner in the hotel, raise your glass and toast “Sláinte” to your fellow travelers as you celebrate your Riches of the Emerald Isle adventure.

Accommodations - Westbury Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and dinner

June 23 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Dublin Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals - Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

Note: This itinerary is subject to change due to operational conditions. You will receive an updated itinerary with your final documents. Your Travel Director will advise you of any additional changes on site. Excursions require walking on cobblestones, unpaved paths or other uneven surfaces.

Map:

Testimonials:

My wife and I have yet to be disappointed in the 8 trips we have done with U of I alumni.

- Kenneth Nelson, 2017

A great tour, with knowledgeable guides, a variety of activities, no waiting in lines at museums, and enjoyable traveling companions.

- Eileen Diercks, 2017


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