The Republic's capital city, Dublin, lies at the heart of a region that enchants the visitor with a selection of fascinating historical monuments, beautiful natural scenery, thrilling sporting events, and unspoiled lakes, rivers and stretches of coastline.
Dublin is usually the first port of call for visitors and this energetic, youthful city pulsates with a compelling mix of history, culture, hip bars and pubs, elegant architecture, great shopping and some of the country's most sophisticated restaurants. Cosmopolitan and diverse, Dublin is now one of Europe's top urban hotspots.
Galway City is one of the most chilled out spots in Western Europe. Despite being a city, it feels like a big town in County Galway with its easy attitude and cool bohemian vibe.
Known as the City of the Tribes, after the 14 affluent tribes who ruled during the middle ages, this thriving city is the most westerly in Ireland and enjoys a strong artistic heritage and a flourishing arts, music, theatre and film scene.
Summer in Galway is a never-ending stream of excellent festivals and eating, drinking and entertainment all taking place outdoors in the balmy air of this warm-hearted city.
Enjoy the atmospheric pubs in this West of Ireland city, the beautiful location at the edge of Galway Bay, the pretty medieval streets and the lively weekend markets with a city break you'll never forget
From the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range in the north through lake-rich Roundstone Bog to the 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.
The beautiful spring flowers, buds on the trees, newborn lambs dancing on the hills and the call of the cuckoo all make Spring time a very special and magical time in Connemara. This is an ideal time to take a break as the countryside is totally renewed. On mellow Autumn days, one can enjoy the Connemara countryside, now clothed in different colours with each passing day. In the evening enjoy lovely warm turf fires after a day spent walking, cycling, painting, shooting, fishing or golfing.
Peace and tranquility are synonymous with the Dingle Peninsula. Life moves at an unhurried pace, but the local people are quick to offer you the opportunity to share their unique culture and heritage.
An Daingean (Dingle), a beautiful and charming fishing port, is the most westerly town in Europe and a most memorable destination. Gaily painted houses and busy streets lead you to the harbour, where you can meet Fungi, a playful bottle-nosed dolphin who cavorts for the enjoyment of everyone.
The Dingle Peninsula has the greatest concentration of archaeological sites in Ireland. Step back in time as you visit such treasures as the Kilmalkedar Church, the Dún an Óir Fort or Fort of Gold, and the Gallarus Oratory. Shaped like and up turned boat, the Oratory is the most perfectly preserved example of early Irish architecture. The Fahan Group is a community of clocháns or beehive huts, souterrains, standing and inscribed stones, sculptured crosses, and earthen ring-forts. The beehive huts owe their name to the 5,000 year-old method of construction in which the dry stonewalls curve gradually inward.
Famed internationally for being Ireland's horse country, Kildare is much more than just a centre for all things equine.
The county may be home to the National Stud, Punchestown Racecourse and The Curragh, but this beautifully rural spot also has excellent angling and golfing facilities as well as a wonderful selection of opulent country house hotels.
Predominantly rural, Kildare is a beautifully quiet and understated county, with tranquil expanses of green, rich peatlands, misty forests and pretty waterways. And dotted amongst this soft rural idyll are truly beautiful sights, such as the Japanese Gardens at the National Stud, Larchill Arcadian Gardens and the majestic Russborough House.
All this, and you're only 25 miles from the city centre of Dublin!
Day 1 : Dublin City (12km
Welcome to Dublin Airport, where after picking up your car your will travel into Dublin and check into your hotel. The remainder of the day can be spent exploring this vibrant and historic city capital city with its many historic buildings, Georgian streets and colorful gardens. Your first night is spent in Clontarf Castle, which can be dated back to 1172.
Day 2 : Dublin city
Today why not spend the day exploring some of Dublin's fine Museums and Galleries? Trace its history from early Viking origins, through to the medieval magnificence of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Visit Dublinia at Christchurch, which brings
the turbulent history of medieval Dublin vividly to life, 16th Century Trinity College, founded by Elizabeth 1, and now home to the famous illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells. Don't forget about the Guinness Storehouse for a tasting of this
world famous 'black stuff'. Return to Clontarf Castle for overnight.
Day 3 : Galway & Clifden (300 Km)
Leave Dublin this morning and travel across the rich midland pastures. Why not visit Belvedere House, Gardens and Park? The magnificent early 18th century stately home of Robert Rochfort, Earl of Belvedere, stands in 160 acres of parkland on the shores of Lough Ennell. Belvedere is one of the finest of Ireland's historic houses, and together with gardens and park has been exquisitely restored. Before you cross the River Shannon, Ireland's longest river you can visit Clonmacnoise a 6th century Christian site. Arrive into Galway, which has long traded with Spain and the Spanish influences are many in the city. Of note is Spanish Arch, a gateway in the old city walls and the Spanish Parade, where wealthy merchants and their families enjoyed a stroll along the promenade. Continue out into the wild and rugged Connemara region, famous for the savage beauty of its lake and mountain scenery and on to Clifden where you shall be staying in the wonderful Abbeyglen Castle which has a panoramic view of Clifden and the bay with a backdrop of the Twelve Bens.
Day 4 : Connemara Region (80Km - Based on Clifden)
Today travel through the wild and rugged Connemararegion, famous for the savage beauty of its lake and mountain scenery. Visit the Connemara National Park, where Connemara ponies and Irish red deer roam freely through 5,000 acres of scenic mountains, bogs and grassland. You can also visit the magnificent Kylemore Abbey - a beautiful mansion in a lakeside setting against a mountainous backdrop. Irish Benedictine nuns, with a tradition of over 300 years run this unique Abbey set in the midst of Connemara, overlooking Pollacapul Lake. On your return, you can take a scenic drive through Leenane where you have an option to board the Sea Cruise through Killary Fjord which will reveal some of the many hidden Coastal and Mountain Scenery of Connemara. Another night will be spent in Abbeyglen Castle.
Day 5 : Connemara Region (80Km - Based on Clifden)
Leave Clifden this morning, and travel south through Galway and into Clare, known as the "land of castles". Why not visit
Rathbaun Farm and see the animals being tended, or enjoy a traditional tea and scones break? Travel on through the strange unar landscape of the Burren region or visit the Cliffs of Moher spectacular 5-mile long cliff, which rises almost 700 feet above sea level. Stop in the heritage town of Kilrush, before boarding a ferry to Tarbert in north County Ferry. Arriving in Tarbert and continue through Listowel and on to Tralee to Ballyseede Castle for overnight.
Day 6 : The Dingle Peninsula (145km)
This morning the breathtaking landscape will unfold in front of your eyes as you drive around the Dingle Peninsula before arriving in Dunquin, on the westernmost tip of the peninsula, to visit the Blasket Islands. This living history museum explores all the dimensions of island-living, from the land, the sea, and the language, to the weather and the seasons, as well as the dstinctive character of the Blasket Islanders. Weather permitting you can embark on a 2 to 3 hour boat trip around the nine main Blasket Islands. The islands are remote, unspoilt and unpolluted and spectacularly beautiful and are home to an incredible number of breading seabirds, with the surrounding seas home to dolphins, porpoises, atlantic seals and even the occasional whale or orca. Return to Ballyseede Castle for overnight.
Day 7 : Medieval Limerick, Rock of Cashel & Kildare (290km)
This morning spend an hour or two in the medieval city of Limerick, either exploring its history and architecture or urchasing some of the splendid crafts on offer. Why not visit the Hunt Museum, an exhibit of one of Ireland's greatest private collections of art and antiquities. Leave Limerick and travel eastwards towards Straffan in Co. Kildare. En-route a small detour will bring you to the imposing Rock of Cashel which rises dramatically from the flat countryside. This site has
the best set of varied monuments in any Irish site. The rock is crowned by a group of buildings, both ecclesiastical and royal, including a round tower, a 13th century Romanesque chapel and the beautifully restored Hall of the Vicar Choral.
Continue through rich pastures of Ireland's midlands before arriving in Kildare for your overnight in Barberstown Castle, a 13th century castle, located in the heart of the horse-breeding county of Kildare.
Day 8 :Dublin & Departure (85km)
Today travel to Dublin Airport for your return flight home.
Packages starting from EUR 1000 per person Package includes the following:
7 nights accommodation in deluxe hotels as per the itinerary
Heritage Island touring guide & Explorer card
Self Drive Vehicle with third party insurance, collision damage waiver insurance, theft protection insurance, airport surcharge, unlimited mileage & 24 hour breakdown service