By: Francis Larmore, CTA and Senior Travel Consultant
We arrived two days early so that we could have more walking-around time in Dublin’s city center. We were able to visit the National Gallery of Ireland, spent an evening in the Temple Bar area, had dinner at The Farm (a farm-to-table restaurant), and enjoyed High Tea at The Shelbourne.
The next day, we strolled through Phoenix Park on a beautiful, sunny day. There we saw the stark bronze sculpture commemorating the Great Famine. The super Grafton Street pedestrian shopping area begins here at the corner of Grafton St. and St. Stephen’s Green.
On Day 1, we were ready to start our Ireland and Wild Atlantic Way by Globus tour. We went by cab, over to the Dublin tour hotel, Clayton Cardiff Lane. That evening everyone got together for a welcome dinner in the hotel restaurant, and we met our tour guide, Tom.
On Day 2 early in the morning, we went by motor coach to a morning orientation drive. We viewed the elegant Georgian houses (and the most-famous door in Ireland), St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, and St. Partrick’s Cathedral. After the morning’s touring was over, we went on our own to see the Book of Kells (no photos allowed), and the Long Room, Trinity College, which is a beautiful, old high-ceiling library.
On Day 3 we traveled by motor coach to Kildare, and visited the magnificent thoroughbred horses of the Irish National Stud. Then we visited Smithwick’s Brewery for a wonderful tour, with samples at the end. After a break for lunch there on our own, we traveled to the coast to New Ross, where we boarded the Dunbrody Famine Ship. There we heard an amazing story presented by costumed actors. That night we went to the Tower Hotel in Waterford.
On Day 4 in Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by Globus, we enjoyed some great open views of the River Suir, driving out to the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway. At the other end of a brief, open-air railway trip, the motor coach picked us up on the other end. Back in Waterford, we visited the Medieval Museum, where we saw breathtakingly-beautiful ancient vestments. On the same visit, we went next door to the Bishop’s Palace, which has furnishings and art from 3 centuries. After that, we were taken on a tour of the Waterford factory, where we were able to see every stage of the manufacture of their world-famous crystal. That evening we all went to dinner at a pub-restaurant in the fishing village of Dunmore East.
On Day 5 we all went along the old Copper Coast road to the ancient port town of Youghal (say “ya’ll’), with its marshy port at low tide and its charming sailboats. We were able to view the old Charles Fort and James Fort on the way in to Kinsale. Then, after checking in at the Trident Hotel, we went on an illustrated Heritage Town Walk. We learned about the history of this historic port and fishing town. Here is the lovely view from our hotel room.
On Day 6 we left Kinsale and went by motor coach to the landing for Garinish Island in Bantry Bay. By boat, we went over to the island. Here is a view from the island, which is all converted to wonderful gardens. Then we drove over part of the Ring of Kerry, with its high, wide views of the green countryside. We stopped for pictures at the Ladies View, overlooking the Lakes of Killarney. A bagpiper was there playing a delightful tune.
After checking in to the Scotts Hotel in Killarney, we went to the Optional Excursion to an authentic Irish pub. After drinks were served and the entertainers played several songs, volunteers were invited to get up and learn some Irish dancing – and so I did.
On Day 7 we had free time in the morning. Then we drove over to Limerick and had an orientation drive through the town. There we saw St. Mary’s Cathedral, King John’s Castle, and the site of the stone where the Treaty of Limerick was signed in 1691. We checked into the Clayton Hotel Limerick, with a superb view of swans and rowboats on the River Shannon, from the window of our room.
On the last day, Globus transferred us over to the Shannon airport – not far from Limerick – for our plan rides home.
We enjoyed From Ireland’s Ancient East to the Wild Atlantic Way by Globus. We plan to go back as soon as we can, to spend more time on the Wild Atlantic Way (the West Coast of Ireland)!
CTA and Senior Travel Consultant
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