1 Sean Pender Group 15 th 26 th September 2019 Tour Code: CR 2076T
2 Day 1. Sunday 15 th September 2019 Arrive into Dublin Airport and meet your driver guide who will be with you for the duration of your tour. Now, transfer to Kilkenny city visiting beautiful Glendalough in Co Wicklow on the way. Glendalough The Garden of Ireland highlights some of the best scenery, gardens and views in Ireland. Glendalough gets its name from the Irish language. Gleann dá locha literally means the Glen of the two lakes. Situated right in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Glendalough harbours one of Ireland s most atmospheric monastic sites. Established by St Kevin in the 6 th century, the settlement was attacked time and again by the Vikings, but nevertheless flourished for over 600 years. And now to Kilkenny City where you will spend the next two nights.
3 Kilkenny City There's no better place for a wander than Kilkenny City, with its medieval cobbled streets and old-world charm. In 2009 Kilkenny celebrated its 400th year since the granting of city status in Kilkenny's heritage is evident in the city and environs including historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, and St. Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower. Kilkenny is highly regarded for its culture with craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums. Annual events include Kilkenny Art Festival, the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival. In 2013, Kilkenny was voted Irelands Top Tourism Town by the Irish tourism board, and 9th friendliest city in the world by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Another Kilkenny favourite to visit is Smithwick s Experience. The passion of the guides will leave you in no doubt as to the importance of Smithwick s for Kilkenny... pride in its history, pride in its taste an excellent tour! Reopened in July 2014, this experience is a fascinating insight into the famous Irish ale. Surviving centuries of turbulent times, brewed using the finest ingredients and centuries of experience, Smithwick's, with its rich ruby glow and creamy head, is the perfect marriage of innovation and tradition. And the taste? Hints of caramel and biscuit, a tingle of orange marmalade and a finish so crisp you could snap it in two. Come and enjoy the brand new Smithwick s Experience opened on 31 st July The Victorian brewing building has been transformed into a state of the art visitor centre that will immerse you in Ireland s oldest beer, teach you about the craft of brewing and ultimately allow you to taste the perfect Smithwick s pint.
4 Day 2. Monday 16 th September Enjoy the morning at your leisure in Kilkenny there s plenty to see and do, maybe join a walking tour or see the city by bike. Kilkenny Castle One of the most instantly recognised buildings in Ireland, Kilkenny Castle has been an important site since Strongbow constructed the first castle in the 12th century. Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that dominates the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. Medieval Mile Ireland's Medieval Mile is where history meets the here and now. This is a unique discovery trail running through the heart of Kilkenny, linking St. Canice's Cathedral and a stunning Anglo-Norman castle with all sorts of medieval magic inbetween. There is no experience quite like it. Stepping through the centuries, you'll see historic buildings, streets and slipways. You will pass a Tudor inn, a Dominican abbey blooming with stained glass, and the only example of an early 17th century merchant's house in Ireland. You can visit a recreated medieval garden, climb St. Canice's Round Tower (the oldest standing structure on the city), and take a glimpse inside the lives of the Butler family and their servants at Kilkenny Castle. Re-join your group at 14:00 for a trip to nearby Graignamanagh and St Mullins.
5 Graignamanagh Visit the largest Cistercian Duiske Abbey in the gorgeous village of Graignamanagh. Enjoy the ambience by the River Barrow on the way to Duiske Glass Kilkenny, followed by a visit to see Cushendale Wollen Mills. Finish your journey by bike, on foot, or by car to the beautiful village of St Mullins. St. Mullins The picturesque village of St. Mullins in South Carlow is a scenic and charming Barrow-side village with an impressive ecclesiastical history. Nestling between the Blackstairs Mountains on one side and Brandon Hill on the other, the locality acquired its name from St. Moling, a 7th century cleric, prince, poet, artist and artisan, who built a monastery here. This evening you will enjoy dinner and music in Graignamanagh. Overnight in Kilkenny
6 Day 3. Tuesday 17 th September Today you will leave Kilkenny and journey south to Kerry with two stops along your way. The Rock of Cashel The Rock of Cashel also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick's Rock, is a historic site located at Cashel, County Tipperary. It is one of Ireland s iconic sights, a chapel, abbey and round tower perched on a plinth so perfectly poised, it rises from the Golden Vale like a vision. It s an awesome silhouette, a breath-taking complex that has dropped the jaws of generations of tourists. The Rock is the former seat of the High Kings of Munster, but the enclosure standing today on this craggy pedestal is a more recent build, containing a round tower, the remains of an abbey and the finest 12th-century Romanesque chapel in Ireland. The Ballykeefe Experience, Outside Kilkenny Discover the origins of Irish Whiskey at Ballykeefe Distillery. An expert tour guide takes you back through the ages of Irish whiskey to where it all began at its birthplace. The tour will be a journey through every part of the Ballykeefe operation, which has revived the lost traditions of a family farm distillery, with a unique commitment to environmental protection, carbon neutrality and sustainability. You will visit each stage of the brewing and distilling process, from the mill house, to the brewhouse, to the breath-taking copper pot stills to the warehouse and the onsite bottling plant. You will see up close every step in the process and also enjoy and have explained the many different aromas and smells at each stage of the brewing and distilling process. Finally, with your thirst for knowledge satisfied, there now comes the moment to quench another desire. For this, you will be taken to enjoy the wonderful ambience of our exquisite tasting room, transformed from the horses stable. There you will taste samples of our fantastic products, which you will enjoy even more, knowing their history and the craftsmanship devoted to their making. Much like a home from home you can sit back, relax and enjoy a taste of our unique spirits. Overnight in Killarney
7 Day 4. Wednesday 18 th September Today it s time to venture out around the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry What is the Ring of Kerry? Well, it s a route. A trail. A road. But this is no ordinary road. It s a road that takes you through 10,000 years of dramatic history. It s a road that takes you from deep forest to the crashing waters of the Atlantic. It s a road through rugged, majestic landscapes: where wild stag roam and where tumbling waterfalls crash into crystal streams teeming with wild salmon. It s a road that shows you the real meaning of a holiday in Kerry, Ireland. This 179km circuit of the Iveragh peninsula pops up on every self-respecting tourist itinerary, and for good reason. The road winds past pristine beaches, medieval ruins, mountains and loughs, with ever-changing views of the island-dotted Atlantic. When describing the Ring, it s easy to skip through the particulars. Beginning and ending in Killarney, towns dotted along the Ring are well worth a stop off... as places like Sneem, Waterville and Killorglin are homes to famous folks and crowned goats (at the annual Puck Fair!). On the coastal stretches, the sight of monastic marvel of Skellig Michael out in the Atlantic could be THE camera moment of your trip. Jagged Valentia Island is unique in its importance: it s Ireland s prime weather station. The foodies of the Valentia Island s King Scallop Festival in July never have far to go for a forecast. Take in a visit to Kenmare along the way. Kenmare Kenmare is a haven of tranquillity, gourmet food, superb accommodation, golf, horse riding, trekking and breath-taking scenery in one of the most natural, unspoiled environments in Europe. Cradled in the heart of Kenmare Bay, the picturesque town of Kenmare is the perfect location from which to discover the South West of Ireland, linking the world-famous Ring of Kerry with the rugged Ring of Beara. Founded in 1670, the unique charm and inherent beauty of the town remains unchanged. The Irish Tourist Board, Fáilte Ireland, officially recognized the historical, cultural and environmental significance of Kenmare by bestowing upon it the title of Kerry s first Heritage Town.
8 Day 5. Thursday 19 th September Today is at leisure to explore and enjoy Killarney town. Take a hike in nearby Muckross Park. Join a bike tour or just kick back and enjoy the town. Killarney National Park South and west of the town of Killarney in Co. Kerry is an expanse of rugged mountainous country. This includes the McGillycuddy Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland which rise to a height of over 1000 metres. At the foot of these mountains nestle the world-famous lakes of Killarney. Here where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, lies the 10,236 hectares (26,000 acres), Killarney National Park. The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies gives the area a special scenic beauty. Knockreer, Killarney House and Ross Island are all within walking distance of Killarney Town. Muckross House and Gardens is approximately 6.5 kilometres from the town. Activities in the Park For the active, walking and cycling are the best ways to see the National Park. There is a network of surfaced tracks which are ideal for both cyclists and walkers. Bicycles can be rented in and around Killarney Town. There are numerous low-level walks as well as some marked circular routes and nature trails in the Muckross area. All routes provide the visitor with wonderful views of Killarney's spectacular scenery. Maps and booklets can be obtained at the park information centres at Muckross House and at the Gate Lodge of Killarney House. For those that prefer something a little more energetic there is the magical Gap of Dunloe trip. This involves a boat trip from Ross Castle through the Lower and Middle lakes into the upper lake to Lord Brandon's Cottage. (Boat operators will take bikes on the trip) From here you can either, walk, cycle or take a pony and trap through the 12 kilometres to the Gap of Dunloe to Kate Kearney's Cottage. The trip is also done in reverse with coach transport to Kate Kearney's Cottage, pony and trap through the Gap of Dunloe and boat through the lakes to Ross Castle with coach back to Killarney Town.
9 The Irish Whiskey Experience The Irish Whiskey Experience has been developed by whiskey lovers as a first-class destination for whiskey enthusiasts and novices alike. It is a sensory and interactive experience that guides visitors through the history of Irish Whiskey, the distilling process and a comparative tasting of delicious Irish whiskeys. There are numerous masterclasses to choose from, to suit all occasions and palates. Owner, Ally Alpine has almost 30 years experience in the drinks and whiskey trade and is considered an innovative industry leader. In 2003, he opened the Celtic Whiskey Shop & Wines on the Green on Dublin s Dawson street, which was awarded with the prestigious accolade of Icons of Whisky International Whisky Retailer of the Year by Whisky Magazine. As a result of these successful ventures, the Irish Whiskey Experience Killarney has managed to establish stellar relationships with all Irish Whiskey producers and distillers, whilst remaining completely independent of any other whiskey brand or company. The Irish Whiskey Experience is a vibrant addition to Killarney s stunning surrounding countryside and lakes. It is a 5-star attraction and a must-see for any Irish whiskey lover. It is hoped that all visitors will leave the experience with a smile on their face and a new appreciation for uisce beatha (the water of life). Torc Waterfall A visit to Torc Waterfall is well worthwhile while visiting Killarney. Torc Waterfall in viewed on a pathway that had many walking options you can enjoy, you can also climb the the top of Torc Mountain where you can get an amazing view of Killarney National park. Torc Waterfall originates from the Devil s Punchbowl a Glacial lake on the top of Mangerton Mountain, it once supplied water to the town of Killarney. It flows into the Middle Lake and then on into the Lower Lake before entering the Laune River and then entering the Atlantis Ocean. We recommend walking and cycling that way you get to see more of the National Park and can easily stop at the Abbey, House and gardens in Muckross. Overnight Killarney
10 Day 6. Friday 20 th September Travel up along the Wild Atlantic Way to Galway today. Stopping off in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. Cliffs of Moher The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are Ireland s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of one million visitors every year and are a Signature Discovery Point in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way. They stretch for 8km (5miles), as the crow flies, along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland and reach 214m (702 feet) at their highest point at Knockardakin just north of O Brien s Tower. Here you can have a world class, one in a million, visitor experience. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is located almost midway along these spectacular cliffs and the site is home to an environmentally friendly visitor centre set into the hillside, O Brien s Tower a 19th century viewing tower, and 800 metres of protected cliff side pathways, viewing areas and steps. Tony Burren Walk The walk takes place in the Burren National Park in Kilnaboy. The Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Some of the highlights include the eccentrically-shaped Mullaghmore hill, great expanses of limestone pavement, stunning "wallscapes" (dry stone walls) and turloughs (seasonal lakes). Herds of feral goats are frequently spotted. The Park hosts the Burren s internationally renowned mix of wildflowers from the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Arctic. Moreover, the walking trail is set against the backdrop of hilltop tombs and nineteenth century potato cultivation ridges. The outing includes informative and entertaining commentaries on the geology, history, flora, wildlife and farming of the Burren region. All walks are tailor-made to suit the abilities of the participants but for those who prefer a gentler pace, why not visit the Burren Perfumery or the Burren Smokehouse.
11 Burren Perfumery In the West of Ireland there is a unique limestone upland of outstanding floral diversity. It is here, where 70% of Ireland's wildflower species can be found, that the Burren Perfumery was founded 40 years ago. Visitors are always welcome to the Perfumery. Watch the audio-visual presentation, enjoy wandering through the garden, chatting with the staff in their workshops or browsing in the shop. In the summer the organic Tea Rooms make delicious lunches and cakes. The Burren Perfumery is not a big brand and they don't try to compete with the big brands. They make products that they like themselves at a scale that suits the situation and sensitive location. At the Perfumery they make perfumes, creams, balms, soaps using natural and organic ingredients. Everything is made on site, by hand, in small batches. By special request, groups can arrange to spend time learning to make their own signature scent and all about the raw ingredients in abundance around the perfumery. Burren Smokehouse The Burren Smokehouse is a family-run business set up in 1989 by Birgitta & Peter Curtin. Quality Irish raw materials are sourced to produce Burren Smoked Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, and Cheese. The Smokehouse currently employs a staff of fifteen, and ships within Ireland and to countries all over the world. Associated with Slow Food Ireland and the annual Burren Slow Food Festival, they are also members of Good Food Ireland and the Burren Ecotourism Network. Totally passionate about local and Irish foods, their range includes smoked organic salmon, mackerel and trout, as well as Irish craft products, gifts, beauty products and clothes. Further local delicacies can also be purchased in the visitor shop. Talk & Tasting Experience 7-minute video in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish hands-on demonstration of the kiln: see the oak shavings, open the kiln and look inside explanation of the two different techniques: cold and hot smoking the life cycle of the Wild Salmon (Latin: salmo salar) explanation of ancient smoking techniques pictured in a painting above the kiln the legend of the Salmon of Knowledge can be seen in our unique mosaics tasting of Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon
12 Day 7. Saturday 21 st September Explore the beautiful and rugged landscapes of Connemara Connemara From the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range in the north to the lake-rich Roundstone Bog and golden beaches reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, you'll know you're in Connemara by the light that constantly changes the mood and tone of the landscape. Connemara has long been regarded as the real emerald of Ireland. This natural terrain and unspoilt environment offers the visitor a wonderland of sights, experiences, adventure and activities. The people are warm, friendly and extend a hospitality which is the essence of Ireland. Killary Fjord Cruise Killary Harbour is Ireland s only true fjord and extends 16km (10 miles) in from the Atlantic to its head at Aasleagh. It forms the border between counties Galway and Mayo and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the west of Ireland. Killary Harbour is also extremely deep, over 45m at its centre. It is a centre for shellfish farming, and strings of ropes used to grow mussels are visible for much of its length. The all-weather purpose-built vessel, the Connemara Lady, can accommodate up to 150 passengers, and offers maximum comfort and safety to guests. It allows you uninterrupted views of the spectacular scenery which makes Killary Fjord such a unique place to visit. Experience the Outdoors from Indoors! The vessel is wheel chair accessible and is very suitable for young and old alike.
13 Quiet Man Museum Quiet Man Cottage Museum will give the visitor a total Quiet Man experience as if they were actually on-set. Located by the river at Circular Road, Cong, between actual locations used for the filming, the ground floor of the cottage has been designed as an exact replica of White-o-Mornin Cottage. The Quiet Man Museum is a must for any Quiet Man enthusiasts, who can read what it was like when Hollywood took over the village of Cong in 1951 from local newspaper articles on display in the Museum. Enjoy a guided walking tour of The Quiet Man film locations around Cong village including dressing up in costumes at the Museum. Interactive tour to Innisfree, the Dying Man s house, Pat Cohan s Bar, the Reverend Playfair s House, the courting scenes, the fight scenes and the John Wayne and Maureen O Hara commemorative statute. Clifden Set between the Atlantic Ocean, 12 Ben Mountains and preserved boglands, lies the town of Clifden on the Coast of Connemara. An area at long last recognised as a new popular destination and not just a place to 'breeze through'. Enhanced by spectacular scenery, championship golfing, horse-riding, walking, cycling, beaches, fishing, scuba diving, painting, national parks, abbeys, castle ruins and over 5,000 years of living history! Overnight Galway City
14 Day 8. Sunday 22 nd September Today is a day at leisure. Take time to explore the cultural hub that is Galway City at your own pace. Here are a couple of suggestions. Galway Food Tour Treat Yourself to A Tasting Tour at Galway s Culinary Hot Spots. Galway Food Tours is a hour culinary walking tour of Galway. It gives a great overview of Galway s passionate people and the beautiful produce which combine to make Galway one of Ireland's gourmet jewels. During the tour you will meet artisan producers and sample their products with experienced guide, Sheena, giving you insights to the local favourites and treasured ingredients. Spanish Arch and Medieval Wall Galway's famous Spanish Arch is located on the left bank of the Corrib, where Galway's river meets the sea. The Spanish Arch was originally a 16th century bastion, which was added to Galway's town walls to protect merchant ships from looting. At this time, it was known as Ceann an Bhalla (Head of the Wall). Its current name "Spanish Arch" refers to former merchant trade with Spain, whose galleons often docked here. In 1755, the arches were partially destroyed by the tidal wave generated by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In recent times part of the Arch has been converted into the Galway City Museum. Overnight Galway City
15 Day 9. Monday 23 rd September Make your way back East to Dublin, with a few suggested stops along the way. Clonmacnoise Clonmacnoise is an ancient monastic site near Shannonbridge, County Offaly. It was founded by St Ciaran in the mid-6 th century and over the years it was a great centre of learning. Many manuscripts, including the 11th-century Annals of Tighernach and the 12th-century Book of the Dun Cow, were written here. Today, you will see 3 high crosses, a cathedral, 7 churches and 2 round towers. You will also pass through the visitor centre, which displays a number of cross-slabs and the 9 th century Cross of the Scriptures. The Irish National Stud & Gardens The Irish National Stud belongs to the people of Ireland but prides itself on being enjoyed and appreciated by visitors from all parts of the globe. Nowhere better symbolises all that is great about County Kildare, the beating heart of Ireland's thoroughbred industry, than the stud, a unique attraction of outstanding natural beauty that is home to some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world. From horses to horticulture, the Irish National Stud offers you a unique experience that can be enjoyed at your own leisure or as part of a guided tour. On the grounds are the world famous Japanese Gardens, a horse museum and St. Fiachra's Garden, created to celebrate the Millennium. Visit the Japanese Gardens for a relaxing stroll created between the years 1906 and 1910, they were laid out by Japanese craftsman Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. Enjoy the sight and sound of the trickling streams and vivid colours of the Japanese Gardens that provide a tranquil backdrop to the beautiful Bridge of Life and Tea House. Dublin Visiting Dublin is like taking a great big breath of fresh air. Always invigorating, this Viking city is at once modern and historic, exciting and relaxing. A thriving example of "24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year," Dublin is your year-round destination for history, art, city, mountains, sea, nature, culture, food and fun. Overnight in Dublin city
16 Day 10. Tuesday 24 th September Today you will take in a few of Dublin s favourite sites. To start your day we suggest a fun introduction to Ireland s National games. Experience Gaelic Games Experience Gaelic Games is all about participation, regardless of age, gender or skill level. The fun is to see how well you can master a new sport, dance or musical instrument. Experience Gaelic Games offers you a chance to engage in something that is uniquely Irish and embedded in our culture and day to day living. Gaelic football and hurling are exceptionally skilful games and your experienced tutors will provide you with the basic knowledge so you can show off to all your colleagues! The Experience is suitable for all ages and abilities. All you need is a pair of flat shoes, a curiosity and a willingness to have fun. Kilmainham Gaol One of the largest unoccupied jails in Europe, covering some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland's emergence as a modern nation from the 1780s to the 1920s. Attractions include a major exhibition detailing the political and penal history of the prison and its restoration. The tour of the prison includes an audio-visual show. The Guinness Storehouse The highlight of a trip to Dublin is a visit to the home of the 'black stuff'. Arthur Guinness founded the family business in 1759 at St. James's Gate. The Storehouse, impressively built in 1904 as a fermentation plant, is now an interactive museum on several floors, detailing how four simple ingredients are blended to create the famous stout. Finally, pull yourself up to the almighty Gravity Bar on the 7th floor for the most scenic complimentary pint in Dublin. The 360-degree windows afford exceptional views of the city This evening Sean has arranged Dublin House Party
17 Day 11. Wednesday 25 th September Your last day is at leisure in Dublin City. To help you get around to all the sights you will have a Dublin Hop On Hop Off Bus ticket for the day. Hop on Hop off The Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour allows you experience all the history and culture of Dublin in one visit. There are two routes on the tour, the Original route is 1 hour 45 minutes long with 23 stops conveniently located close to Dublin's most popular attractions. You can hop-off at any time to go visit attractions like Dublin Zoo, the Guinness Storehouse or The Book of Kells in Trinity College. Your guide will point out all the most famous landmarks and points of interest along the way, showing you where famous Dubliners like James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett (among others) lived and spent their time. The second route is through Dublin s Docklands, and takes 45 minutes with 9 stops including The Jeanie Johnston Famine Memorial ship, The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and The National Convention Centre. You can also hop-off at Stop 7 to take a Dublin Bay Cruise. Buses start at 9am daily and arrive at each stop every minutes. You ll enjoy live commentary from Fáilte Ireland accredited drivers, all native Dubliners who will charm and entertain you. We also provide pre-recorded multilingual tours in 10 languages, which operate every 30 minutes. Day 12. Thursday 26 th September Transfer to Dublin Airport for your flight home. We hope you enjoyed your visit!