- Tour the Jameson Distillery and Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
- Visit caves, orchards, and a prison island in County Cork
- Take boat trips in Killarney and hike the Black Valley
- Explore the Dingle Peninsula and stroll the Cliffs of Moher
|Day 1||Arrive in Dublin, Walking Tour||Dublin|
|Day 2||Guinness & Jameson Tour, Visit St Patrick's Cathedral||Dublin|
|Day 3||Drive to Cork, Visit Dunmore Cave & Fruit Orchard||Cork|
|Day 4||Cork City Gaol Tour, Visit Blarney & Cobh||Cork|
|Day 5||Drive to Kinsale, Military Forts & Ghost Stories||Kinsale|
|Day 6||Drive to Killarney, Lake Trip & Black Valley Hike||Killarney|
|Day 7||Drive to Dingle, Archaeological Tour of the Dingle Peninsula||Dingle Town|
|Day 8||Drive to Galway via the Burren & Cliffs of Moher||Galway|
|Day 9||Whiskey Distillery Tour & Irish Dancing||Galway|
|Day 10||Drive to Dublin, Musical History Tour||Dublin|
|Day 11||Depart Dublin|
Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, Walking TourWelcome to Ireland! This nation has been a republic since it won independence from Britain in 1921. Since then, it has retained its cultural heart while moving with the times. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the capital of Dublin—a captivating mix of old and new Ireland. Upon arrival at Dublin's airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel in the colorful city center.
Day 2: Guinness & Jameson Tour, Visit St Patrick's Cathedral
Two of the most popular attractions in Dublin are the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Whiskey Distillery. You'll visit both today on fully guided, skip-the-line tours that last about four hours. After breakfast, you'll meet your guide just off Smithfield Square in Dublin's old warehouse district. This is where the Jameson Distillery is located. You'll go for a tour and tasting to sample various whiskeys from the Jameson collection, including small-batch labels that few know about. Throughout the tour, your guide will reveal insight into Ireland's long and storied whiskey heritage.
The experience continues at the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland's number-one tourist attraction. Skip the lines and enjoy a tutorial about this famous brew while sipping the perfect pint of dark stout. Learn how Guinness is made as you visit the various floors, which are packed with engaging exhibits. One highlight is the world's largest pint glass, which rises seven stories through the factory's atrium. It's an unforgettable experience that reveals the magic of Ireland's most beloved export.
After the Guinness Storehouse, you'll take in some more history with a visit to St Patrick's Cathedral. This icon of medieval Dublin dates to 1191 and is the largest church in Ireland. The church was built on the spot where, supposedly, St Patrick himself baptized Celtic Christian converts back in the fifth century. Besides fascinating artifacts, the church houses the tomb of famous Dubliner Jonathan Swift, who wrote "Gulliver's Travels."
Day 3: Drive to Cork, Visit Dunmore Cave & Fruit OrchardPick up your rental car and start your road trip as you leave Dublin on the 80-mile (129 km) drive south to the medieval town of Kilkenny. Originally a monastic settlement, the site was founded as a town after a Norman invasion in the 12th century. The scenic 1.5-hour drive will take you alongside rolling green hills dotted with sheep and separated by hedgerows. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and will have the rest of the day free to explore Kilkenny's medieval cobbled streets and walk along the banks of the River Nore.
After doing some light spelunking, you'll have the option to drive south of Kilkenny and visit Highbank Organic Farm. This working farm and its apple orchards are part of the county's rich history and date back to the 17th century. Here, you can gather apples, make your own refreshing apple drink, and enjoy some whiskey or cider. At the end of the afternoon, you'll hop back in the car for another two hours and continue on to County Cork, where you'll overnight in the capital of Cork.
Day 4: Cork City Gaol Tour, Visit Blarney & Cobh
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Then continue to Cobh. This harbor town is in the history books as the embarkation point for millions of Irish emigres who left the country during the 19th and 20th centuries. It was also famously the Titanic's last port of call in 1912. You'll have some free time here, during which you can visit the Gothic St Coleman's Cathedral and stop at the Titanic Exhibition. Afterward, you'll return to Cork.
Day 5: Drive to Kinsale, Military Forts & Ghost StoriesA short drive today takes you 30 minutes south of Cork to the coast and Kinsale. This harbor village is famous for a few things, including its gourmet cuisine, colorful houses, and Charles Fort, one of the largest military fortresses in the country. It was built in 1670 to defend the harbor, and is remarkably well-preserved to this day.
Day 6: Drive to Killarney, Lake Trip & Black Valley HikeAfter breakfast, hop back in the car for the 55-mile (89 km) drive northwest out of County Cork and into County Kerry, another gem of Ireland's southern region. After about 1.5 hours, you'll reach your destination of Killarney, a medieval town on the shores of Lough Leane. This region is filled with wonders, including national parks, castles, mountains, woodlands, river valleys, and waterfalls. It's also a major stop on the Ring of Kerry, the famous 111-mile (179 km) circuit route that passes some of the most incredible scenery in southern Ireland.
Day 7: Drive to Dingle, Archaeological Tour of the Dingle PeninsulaAn hour's drive this morning takes you 40 miles (64 km) to the western end of Ireland and the Dingle Peninsula. Here, you'll embark on a three-hour tour of the area's archaeological wonders. There are many to see, too, as this peninsula boasts around 2,500 sites dating back over 7,000 years. A typical tour includes visits to four different sites.
The highlights you'll visit span history, ranging from the Neolithic Age to the medieval era. Stops can include a dry-stone bridge, early Christian monastic sites, a famine burial ground, beehive huts, ancient rock art, sacred wells, and the earliest Irish alphabet written in stone (Ogham script). At the end of the tour, you'll head to the town of Dingle, where you'll overnight.
Day 8: Drive to Galway via the Burren & Cliffs of MoherYou'll cover the longest distance of your trip today as you leave Dingle behind and continue about 160 miles (257 km) north up the rugged Atlantic coast into County Clare. Break up the three-hour drive with plenty of sightseeing, stopping first at the Burren Geopark. Ireland's smallest national park comprises 204 square miles (503 sq km) of otherworldly karst topography, including rocky limestone formations, caves, and coastal cliffs like the famous Cliffs of Moher. After a stop to hike around, you'll break for lunch at the Burren Perfumery, where you can not only grab a bite to eat but make your own fragrance, too.
Day 9: Whiskey Distillery Tour & Irish DancingGalway is famous for a few things, such as its colorful bohemian spirit, its legacy of art and music, its incomparable pub scene, its historic landmarks dating to the Middle Ages, and its fine food and drink. It's that last one you'll focus on first as you enjoy a 1.5-hour tour of the Micil Irish Whiskey Distillery. More than a production facility, Micile is in the history books for being Galway's first legal distillery in over 100 years. The tour includes an overview of this rich history as well as a tasting of fine Irish spirits.
Day 10: Drive to Dublin, Musical History Tour
Drive 2.5 hours due east today on the 130-mile (209 km) return trip to Dublin. Upon arrival, drop off your rental car and check into your hotel, then make the most of your final day in Ireland. For a memorable end to the trip, you could join a local musician for a guided tour through Dublin's musical heritage, visiting city landmarks like Dublin Castle and the Molly Malone statue as you learn about how Ireland's history, culture, and music intertwine. Later on, continue the theme with an evening of live music in one of the city's many cozy pubs.
Day 11: Depart Dublin
Your great adventure through Ireland ends right where it began: in lovely Dublin. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport, where you'll bid Ireland a fond farewell and catch your flight home. Slán!