Wednesday May 4th, 2022 ~ After a full Irish breakfast, at ‘The Ballina Manor Hotel’ you have the morning to sight-see at your own pace and interests. Like all Irish towns, Westport is easily navigated by foot and features many local, specialty shops, pubs and cafes. About 1:30 we'll leave for the church of Ballintubber, “The Abbey that refused to die”. Ballintubber (The land of the well) has been a very Special place for millenia!
The existing Church and abbey were built in 1216 by Cathal O’Connor, king of Connaught and one of the many O’Connors who reigned and influenced the spiritual and physical life in Connaught. While it is awe inspiring that a religious community has worshipped in this church for 800 years, I find it more intriguing that 800 years prior to the exisiting building , St. Patrick in the 4th century used the sacred well to baptize Christians, and at least 1,300 years before St. Patrick there is evidence that the Druid priests and the Celts worshipped here. So, from the pre-Christian dawn of Celtic settlement approx 1,000BC, this place was revered and held sacred! We will enjoy an audio presentation that condenses the history of the Abbey from the reign of terror of Oliver Cromwell 1649-1650’s to now. There is a path of pilgrimage from the abbey to Croagh Patrick which can be seen some 26 miles in the distance. Along the path there is a “Standing Stone” which is evidence that the ancient Druids (long before St. Patrick) made this same pilgrimage during the Bronze age. After the audio presentation, we’ll stop in the Church to view the 1,000 yr old Baptismal font and the 500 year old cruxifix which hangs over the central altar. The stone altar is the original 12th century altar. You will not want to leave the abbey; it possesses you with warmth. But we will! It's back on our coach to head to the Atlantic Coast and Achill Island. Along the way, we will view some of the world's most scenic beauty. We will stop to take photos enjoy the fresh sea air. The breath-taking views of the Atlantic Ocean and shoreline will remain with us for a lifetime. This evening on our way back to Westport, we’ll stop for dinner this evening at Nevin’s Inn. A family owned and operated restaurant known for their food and hospitality. We should arrive in Westport early enough for those who might like, “a last call at Matt Molloy’s”.
The Official Re-Opening Tour of Ireland
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Tuesday May 10th, 2022 ~ After a full Irish breakfast we will check-out of ‘The Grand Hotel’ and head to Dublin City. We will spend our last couple of days at ‘The Morgan Hotel in Temple Bar. On our way to Dublin we will stop for a private, guided tour of The Rock of Cashel. Cashel was a seat of secular power from 450 when St. Patrick acknowledged Aengus as High King; it formally became a seat of both secular and ecclesiastic power when King O’Brien “gifted” it to the Catholic Bishops in 1101. The church was in use by The Church of Ireland until 1749 when the Anglican Archbishop of Cashel, Arthur Price had the lead roof removed which destroyed the building. The complex consists of several buildings in various stages of restoration and a cemetery with Celtic High Crosses and a round tower. Tonight dinner and Ireland’s best Irish Show will be at ‘Taylors Three Rocks’.
We will depart Galway at 2 pm and head to Bunratty to check in at the Bunratty Castle Hotel just across from Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and Durty Nellies Historic Pub. The castle as it now stands was built in 1425 and was renovated in 1954 and open to the public in 1960’s complete with period furnishings. Tonight we dine and are entertained by the Lords and Ladies at Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet. We have an early seating starting with a reception serving Mead at 5:30.
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Saturday May 7th, 2022 ~ After a full Irish breakfast at The Bunratty Castle Hotel we leave at 9am for the Cliffs of Moher we’ll view the Atlantic from atop the 702 foot cliffs. formed about 320 million years ago creating the dramatic edge at the Atlantic ocean. Obrien’s tower was built by Cornelius O’Brien as a viewing tower in 1835 for tourists and Victorian ladies to take tea at the cliffs edge. In addition to the million tourists a year, the cliffs are also visited by puffins, kittyhawk’s, razorbills, fulmars and are home to a pair of Peregrine Falcons nesting below Obrien’s tower. Visitor center includes: restaurant, gift shop, coffee shop and public toilets.
We return to Bunratty around 12:30 to enjoy your spend the remainder of the day at the Bunratty Folk Park. The Shannon Heritage group now owns the castle and folk park. The folk park is set on 26 acres and is an authentic recreation of 18th century village in the rural area of Shannon. There are 30 typical buildings so allow several hours to walk through. The farm house actually once stood on what is now a runway at Shannon airport! For when you want a rest try the tea room or the fully licensed pub. Your Folk Park admission includes the Castle, so be sure to go back into the castle to see what you did not see last night. Try to walk up to the ramparts and enjoy a view that was once only enjoyed by Lords, Ladies and the defending archers. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner at Durty Nellies at 6pm. Durty Nellies, is the bright yellow pub in the shadow of the15thcentury castle; Nellie’s dates from 1620. Their motto is, “Eat, Drink and Enjoy.” It has been described as and in fact is the quintessential Irish pub. Although tourists find their way to Nellies, it remains “the local” for the area residents and has that feel about it. Features live Irish music.
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Sunday May 8th, 2022 ~ The coach will be available to take people to Catholic mass at 10 am at St. John and Paul Church. After a full Irish Breakfast we will check-out of ‘The Bunratty Castle Hotel’ and drive south to Tralee. On the way we’ll stop at the fascinating Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum to watch a short video and then tour this incredibly unique museum dedicated to North Atlantic air traffic of the 1940’s when passenger planes were designed for passenger comfort! Maureen O’Hara, whose husband was a pilot, opened the museum and donated a great deal of memorabilia to it. When we leave we will continue on to Killartney where will check into The Parkavon Hotel Dinner tonight will be at 'The Parkavon Hotel'.
May 1st through May 12th, 2022
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Tuesday May 3rd, 2022 ~ After an early, full Irish breakfast, we check out of ‘The Bridge House Hotel’. We’re off to the historic, monastic, Christian settlement of Clonmacnoise. At the settlement, we’ll enjoy a video which recants the significant events in the settlement during its 1500 year plus history. Then have a short, guided tour of the site. When we leave Clonmacnoise we visit a secular establishment whose lengthy history rivals Clonmacnoise, Sean’s Bar in the town of Athlone, County Westmeath. Sean’s Bar has been documented by Guinness Book of Records as the oldest bar in Ireland dating from the late 9th century. Athlone is a city at the geographic center of Ireland on the River Shannon. Your guide will buy you a pint and a light lunch. During lunch, you’ll be regaled, educated, amused and mesmerized by Tim (the senior man in management) who entertains everyone with his lively explanation of how whiskey was invented right on the spot you’re standing. Sean’s Bar is documented by Guinness Book of Records as the oldest bar in Ireland dating from the late 9th century. We reluctantly leave Sean’s and head Northwest to Westport. We will be in Westport for three nights at Ballina Manor Hotel and have daytrips to places of interest.
$3,938. PPS Full Package including Airfare
$3,193. PPS Land Package without Airfare
$686. Single Supplement
Sunday May 1st, 2022 ~ In the afternoon, We will meet our Group at the Philadelphia Airport or we will gather in Baltimore County to take a tour bus to the Philadelphia Airport. We will fly overnight to Dublin Ireland.
Friday May 6th, 2022 ~ After a full Irish breakfast, we’ll check-out of ‘The Ballina Manor Hotel’ and drive South to Galway the ‘City of the tribes’. A lively, university city with a young population, there’s great shopping and food.
Interesting Fact; Christopher Columbus visited Galway in 1477 while he was looking for nautical maps and advice in preparation for his expedition to the West in search of a short route to India. You will have time to roam about in Galway. Quay street is the main shopping street it is pedestrian. The street is usually filled with musicians and street performers (buskers).
Anne will point the direction to The King’s Head pub, on High street. It was the reward to the executioner of the English King, Charles I in 1649 but it is housed in a medieval building from the 13th century. Note the date 1612 on fireplace mantelpiece. Follow quay street to the bottom and head left to the Spanish gate, last visible remnant of the City walls and is the entrance way to The Galway City Museum. There is a nice charity shop next door
This Tour includes.
*You can start your trip from almost any U.S. or Canadian airport. We recommend that you book your flights with us Remember, changes after booking may incur change fees.
*Transportation from Baltimore County to the Philadelphia Airport.
* Roundtrip Airfare to Dublin? (if selected)
* Luxury Coach Transportation in Ireland with a professional driver.
* Anne, our seasoned and knowledgeable Guide. Anne will share
her knowledge of Ireland's recent and ancient history throughout the Tour.
* A full Irish breakfast every morning, except the day we arrive.
* Dinner every evening at a Local restaurant or at your hotel.
* A Guided Tour of Malahide Castle & Walled Gardens.
* 1 Night at ‘The Bridge House Hotel’ in Tullamore.
* 3 Nights at ‘The Ballina Manor Hotel’ in Co. Mayo.
* 2 Nights at ‘The Bunratty Castle Hotel’ in Bunratty.
* 2 Nights at ‘The Parkavon Hotel in Killarney.
* 2 Nights at ‘The Morgan Hotel’ in Temple Bar, Dublin
* A Tour of Foynes Flying Boat Museum
* A Whiskey Tour and Tasting at the Tullamore DEW Distillery.
* A step back in time Admission and private guided tour of Clonmacnoise Monastic Site.
* A private tour of the Charleville the Haunted Castle.
* A Visit to the medieval town of Athlone.
* A stop at Sean’s Bar, the oldest bar in Ireland.
* A Coach tour to Achill Island.
* Dinner at Nevin’s Newfield Inn.
* Admission to the ‘Cliffs of Moher’.
* Free time in Westport.
* Pub hopping and shopping in Westport Town.
* Shopping stop at Foxford Woolen Mills.
* Entrance to ‘Museum of Country Life’ and the grounds of Turlough Park.
* Admission to ‘Ballintubber Abbey’ and private guided tour.
* A stop and a pint at Seamus at Boland's Bar in Swinford.
* A visit to the Holy Shrine at Knock.
* An evening 'Musical Pub' stop at Matt Molloy's Pub.
* Sightseeing ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ by coach on Achill Island.
* Time to roam in and be on your own in Galway.
* View Ireland's largest pyramid in County Mayo.
* A stop in Cong, the filming location for ’The Quiet Man’.
* The Irish Show and Dinner at Taylor’s 3 Rocks, Dublin
* Transportation to Dublin Airport.
* Airfare to The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave! (If you selected
the air option).
* Transportation from the Philadelphia airport to where you were picked-up in Baltimore County.
Thursday May 5th, 2022 ~ After a full Irish breakfast we will do a short trip to the tiny but significant village of Cong and view the sight where ‘The Quiet Man’ was filmed and enjoy the serene grounds surrounding the ruins of Cong Abbey. Be sure to take a selfie with the bronze statue of John Wayne carrying Maureen O’Hara. We will then continue to The Museum of Country Life at Tourlough Park. The Museum of Country Life Where you can literally step from one century to the next and from one social class to another as you walk from the 19th century Irish Gothic Manor house to the contemporary museum of country life, all set on the beautiful grounds of the 17th Turlough Park estate. The museum showcases rural Irish life from mid nineteenth 19th to mid 20th century (the famine period 1840 to approximately 1950. Patrick's family Pub, ‘Boland’s Bar’ is on the way back to Westport. So naturally we will stop and meet Pat’s cousin Shamus Boland and have a Pint. Dinner tonight to be announced.
This Tour is at Activity Level one,
Click here to see the levels.
Monday May 9th, 2022 ~ After a full Irish breakfast at, 'The Parkavon Hotel' we’ll set off at 9 am for adventures on the Dingle peninsula, ultimately stopping in the quaint fishing town of Dingletown. On our way, we’ll take a break to enjoy the beauty of Inch Beach. Inch Beach is a cinematically beautiful, sandy beach that stretches for 3.5 miles into the waters that separate Castlemaine Harbor from Dingle Bay. It was the setting for the beach scene in the notable film, 'Ryan’s Daughter'. Be sure to bring your camera! It is a full day adventure on Dingle! “National Geographic” once called the Dingle Peninsula, “the most beautiful place on Earth”. The National Geographic and Trip Advisor still list the Dingle Peninsula in the top 100 “must-see” destinations in the World. When we arrive in Dingle town, you will have time to explore the town, have lunch and a pint. It is worthy to note that there are 24 different species of whales and dolphins who call the waters around Ireland home since 1991 when the Irish government declared their waters a European sanctuary for sea life. Dinner tonight “T.B.D.”
Wednesday May 11th, 2022 ~ After a full Irish breakfast you will have the day to explore Ireland’s Capital City. For those of us that would like to explore our Irish heritage, Anne will get you a pass for ‘The Epic Museum’. Otherwise, Anne, will give you ideas of where to go to experience what might best interest you. Traffic is always fierce in Dublin, but you will find most of what you want to see and do is just a short stroll from our hotel.
Tonight, we will have a farewell dinner at the ‘The Morgan Hotel’ in Temple Bar, Dublin.
Thursday May 12th, 2022~ After a full Irish breakfast we will check-out of the ‘The Morgan Hotel’ and be taken directly to Dublin airport. We will say our goodbyes to Ireland and fly to the land of the brave and the land of the free. For those of us who took the coach to the Philadelphia Airport from Baltimore, that same coach will meet you in Philly to take you back to your car where you were picked-up on April 30th.
Monday May 2nd, 2022 ~ After collecting out luggage at the Dublin Airport, we will take advantage of landing on a Monday and the lack of traffic to do a Coach tour of Dublin's Sights. A stop at Dublin’s McDonalds will give you a chance to get a coffee and use the toilet. Just a short coach ride and we’ll be in the to the charming, seacoast town of Malahide. Malahide had its beginnings about 795 as a Viking settlement on the Irish sea. The real reason to visit Malahide is to experience Malahide Castle and gardens. We are booked for a private, guided tour of the very impressive 12th century ‘Malahide Castle’. The castle had been in the Talbot family for almost eight hundred years from 1185 until it was sold in 1976! You will have time to stretch your legs and stroll among the famous gardens, we will allow enough time to see the ‘Walled Gardens’. The stone stables have been converted to a large and nicely done visitor center which it is full service for lunch and shopping. In the afternoon we’ll leave the Irish seacoast and head West to Tullamore, In Tullamore we'll take a short ride through the oldest, deepest forests of Charleville Demesne to Charleville Castle. Charleville Castle has a reputation as the “Most Haunted Castle and Grounds in Europe”. It appeared on Living TV's “Most Haunted “and Fox's, “Scariest Places on Earth”. It also was featured on,” Ghost Hunters International”. The most frequently seen of these ghosts is that of a little girl called Harriet, who died after a fall in a staircase. Whether it was a fall or whether she was thrown is the source of why she still appears. It has also been visited by numerous paranormal investigators and psychics. Less sensational is the story how the restoration of the castle (Although privately owned) had initially been taken on totally by volunteers from the community and now has volunteers from around the world who donate their time and talents to see its completion. Our first hotel is ‘The Bridge House Hotel’ in Tullamore where we will be for the night. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight.
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