The Southern Supreme with CIE experience can best be summarized in the word “authentic.” Before taking this trip, that would not have meant as much to me. But now, having had the experience of delightful Irish folk in the capable company of CIE, I find it hard to imagine a combination of country and company that so amlessly meld into a premium travel experience. CIE has managed to do this with apparent ease. And as anyone in our business can tell you, when it comes to the business of travel, it only looks easy. That seamless experience is a collection of well-executed details and CIE has done that with a deft touch in the Southern Supreme.
A relatively short tour, the 7 day program was packed with value. By focusing on the southern part of Ireland, we were able to have a more immersive experience. Our tour was comfortably paced, spending 2 nights each in Dublin and Killarney, 1 night at lovely Dromoland Castle and 2 final nights at Ashford Castle before departure from Shannon. In the course of this tour, we were treated to some local experiences that may have been lost in less capable hands. Indeed, our tour director/driver, Johnny, was not only a wealth of local lore, he was also a fun and funny character. During my tour, we were lucky enough to avoid rain so the views of the Irish countryside and coast were never compromised. One of the best values of the CIE experience is the absence of optional excursions. CIE has managed to package the most entertaining and enriching options into the tour price so there is no guesswork! For the adventurous, there are certainly times when one could bow out of the planned itinerary activities and simply go it alone. The goal is to explore Ireland in the way that best suits each guest.
Our tour had too many included features to describe in exhaustive detail, but some of the high points are definitely worth noting:
– Hotels were top-flight: the Westbury Hotel in Dublin; the Killarney Park hotel in Killarney; Dromoland Castle and Ashford Castle.
– Our days started with full Irish breakfast (that means a LOT of delicious food) and ended with hearty dinners in elegant restaurants or local pubs – all welcoming and good for the spirit!
– On arrival, we toured the Palladian showpiece, Russborough House, with its priceless collection of porcelain and art masters – and that was before meeting our tour director and fellow guests!
– In Dublin, We were treated to a view of ancient Book of Kells at Trinity College and an evening of Irish food and music from local musicians
– A visit to the National Stud Farm and Japanese Gardens
– A scenic drive on the Ring Of Kerry, with it’s exhilarating views of the Atlantic Coast followed by an evening’s fine dining experience at Rozzer’s Restaurant at the Killeen House hotel. As a special treat, LPGA Hall of Fame golfer Pat Bradley was dining at the restaurant and graciously greeted and met with us. Rozzer’s is considered a “must” for anyone visiting the area.
– After leaving Killarney behind, we made our way by coach and ferry to the Cliffs of Mohr and our deluxe hotel, Dromoland Castle. Despite spending time jogging the park-like setting in search of the “Secret Gardens”, I returned from my jog empty handed but ready for the hearty dinner at the castle’s beautiful restaurant.
– We were treated to dinner at the Ashford Castle on day 6 of our journey. As an aside, the watchword here is “Dress to Impress”. This establishment requires a jacket for gentlemen but they are happy to offer loaners for those who arrive without suitable attire.
– One of my many highlights of this great trip was participating in the Irish dancing demonstration where my teacher was an 11 year old champion named Nicole!
I’m out of space but far from out of memories of this extraordinary trip with CIE Tours. Based on my experience, I would definitely recommend CIE and this tour with the highest levels of confidence. Seeing Ireland with the Irish was definitely a highlight of my traveling career!