Day 1: Depart U.S.A.
Our tour begins today as we depart on our overnight flight to Ireland. Meals and drinks will be served aloft.
Day 2: Arrive Shannon / Cashel
Upon arrival in Shannon we will be met at the airport by our local guide. After boarding our motorcoach we will drive to Cashel for check-in at our local hotel. (D)
Day 3: Cashel / Killarney
This morning we will visit the Rock of Cashel which is the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. Then drive to Blarney where we will visit Blarney Castle, which dates back to 1446 and served as McCarthy’s stronghold. We will climb onto the Battlements to reach the Blarney Stone, said to impart the gift of eloquence to all that kiss it. After some shopping time in the Blarney Woollen Mills depart for Killarney, situated in a spectacular location amidst mountains, glens and lakes. This evening you may wish to take an optional jaunting car ride, the traditional form of local transport by horse drawn wagon.
Day 4: Killarney
Travel the road that winds around the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula, better known as “The Ring of Kerry.” It is undoubtedly one of the most magical places in all Ireland. Here bogs, mountains, valleys, lakes and sea blend into a landscape that is often breathtaking beyond words. Even the names of the towns seem to whisper their beauty: Cahirciveen, Glenbeigh, Killorglin and Sneem. Visit Muckross House and Abbey before returning to your hotel in Killarney for the night.
Day 5: Killarney / Galway
Depart Killarney and drive to the charming village of Adare for a brief visit. We will then travel via the lunar landscape of the Burren to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, a dramatic great sheer rock face rising 700 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. Continue to Galway, “the City of the Tribes”, and check into our hotel.
Day 6: Galway / Knock
This morning we will enjoy a tour of Galway including visits to the Cathedral, St. Nicholas Church and the famous Spanish Arch. We will then depart Galway and travel through Connemara, an area of outstanding scenic grandeur. There is a brooding sense of Ireland’s ancient culture and traditions in this haunted and mystical area where Gaelic is still the everyday language. Continuing on, visit Kylemore Abbey, a castellated neo-Gothic mansion, occupied today by the Irish Benedictine community of nuns who came from Ypres after World War I. Continue to Knock, where 14 people saw a vision of Our Lady with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist in 1879. (B/D)
Day 7: Knock
This morning we celebrate Mass in the magnificent Basilica next to the original church where our Blessed Mother appeared in 1879 and where Pope John Paul II announced that the Church would be known as the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland. The remainder of the afternoon will be free.
Day 8: Knock / Armagh
In the morning we will depart Knock and drive to Armagh which is one of Ireland’s oldest cities and has been its spiritual capital for over 1,500 years. Visit the Cathedral of St. Patrick, his Primatial See, and then take a tour of the historic center of the city.
Day 9: Armagh / Dublin
Depart Armagh this morning and travel to Downpatrick to visit Down Cathedral and the tombs of St. Patrick, St. Brigit and St. Columbkille. Then drive south and stop to see the Celtic crosses in the historic ruins of Monasterboice and then continue on to the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick is said to have lit an Easter fire as a challenge to the pagan High King of Tara. Continue on to Dublin for overnight.
Day 10: Dublin
Following breakfast, take a full day city tour of Dublin including visits to Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Our Lady of Lourdes Church where we will see the Shrine of Matt Talbot, the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street where we will see the Shrine of St. Valentine, the St. Teresa’s Church on Clarendon Street, O’Connell Street, the Old Town, and the Guinness Factory where we will enjoy a pint of Ireland’s favorite beer!
Day 11: Dublin
Today we will take an excursion to Glendalough. Tucked away in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough was established by St. Kevin in the 6th century. This most romantic of monastic sites was one of Ireland’s greatest pilgrimage centers up to the middle of the 19th century. Return to Dublin with the remainder of the afternoon free for personal activities. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner at a local pub with traditional Irish music.
Day 12: Dublin / U.S.A.
Following breakfast we will transfer to the airport to catch our return flight home.
The above itinerary is only a small taste of what we have to offer.
Customized itineraries and competitive quotations will be furnished upon request.