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Step dancers invite you to kick up your heels... a World War II amphibious vehicles makes it easy to explore must-see sites... a treasure hunt reveals secrets centuries old... and that's just in Dublin! Tauck Bridges Ireland vacation is irresistibly Irish and endlessly fun for families... from the heart of Dublin to Blarney Castle to the Cliffs of Moher... and more! Take a train into the country... learn to make pottery, Celtic jewelry and a great-tasting Irish meal... explore Killarney landscapes by bicycle... make yourself at home in a famous castle where you can walk a hawk... and discover what it's like to live on a farm with sheep, dogs, music, stories and family fun on this ultimate Emerald Island adventure!
Day 1: Arrive Dublin for a Viking welcome, Irish dancing, dinner and more
Tour begins: 3:30 PM, Conrad Dublin. A transfer is included from Dublin Airport to the Conrad Dublin hotel, centrally located in the heart of Ireland's capital city steps from St. Stephen's Green. With a bustling harbor and a river running through the middle of the city, the best way to explore Dublin is by land and on water! Board our private amphibious vehicle* for a sightseeing tour that splashes into the water right from the road so you can get a closer look at all sides of the city, from Viking Dublin to its medieval core and Georgian squares, Trinity College and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner tonight, where we kick off a week of fun with singing and Irish step dancing lessons.
Day 2: A treasure hunt in Dublin
The city of Dublin dates back to the 9th century, when seafaring Vikings founded a settlement here. This morning, you'll hunt for clues to its ancient history - and meet some costumed characters of days past - as you go on a scavenger hunt in the city's very old streets that ends in Trinity College with a look at the Book of Kells, dating back to the 9th century. Following lunch at a traditional Irish pub in a centuries-old setting, the rest of the day is free to explore as you please.
Meals: B, L
Day 3: Ride the rails to County Cork, Blarney Castle and a meeting with an Irish storyteller at a barbecue
Travel first class on a train bound for the Irish countryside at the southern tip of the Emerald Isle. Hop off in County Cork for a visit to Blarney Castle, where high up in the battlements awaits a chance to lay a kiss upon its famous stone. Be prepared for a backward bend, or two, as you are rewarded with the gift of gab! Meet a storyteller who demonstrates this gift through stories and music at our private barbecue dinner.
Meals: B, D
Day 4: Learning the art of making pottery and Celtic jewelry in Kinsale
After a leisurely morning on the grounds of your resort, head off to the Kinsale Pottery and Art Centre for a tour and an artful afternoon making colorful ceramic pottery and traditional Celtic jewelry. Local artisans will show you how to make pottery, helping you hand-build and paint your sculpted piece. Or you can try your hand at Celtic jewelry making, using a range of skills covered in today's class - design, threading, knotting, fitting crimps and finishing - all in a workshop in the converted stables of the home farm for Ballinacurra House, dating from the late 1700s. Enjoy time in town before returning to your resort for a free afternoon before dinner tonight.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Resort fun at Castlemartyr and cooking up a taste of daily life at Ballymaloe
Work up an appetite for a home-cooked Irish dinner tonight by enjoying a variety of outdoor activities at your resort this morning, including golf, hurling*, archery*, and pony trap* rides. After lunch, head out to Ballymaloe, the only cookery school in the world located in the middle of its own 100-acre organic farm. Join your culinary hosts on a guided tour of the gardens and farm, enjoy a cooking demonstration by expert chefs, then pair up and cook your own authentically Irish dinner! The fun continues when a local musician performs.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: Killarney by bicycle then on to Dromoland Castle
Say goodbye to Castlemartyr and continue your Ireland family vacation through lovely, lush landscapes to Killarney. There's no better way to explore Ireland than by bicycle, and that's just what you'll do today on a bicycle ride along the lakeshore of the world-famous Lakes of Killarney - among the most beautiful places in Ireland. Say hello to the townsfolk during lunch in Killarney, then depart for Newmarket-on-Fergus. Have you ever spent the night in a real castle? You will tonight - and tomorrow night too - as we roll out the red carpet for you in Dromoland Castle!
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7: The Cliffs of Moher, a walk with a hawk and an Irish farm farewell
Be sure to bring your camera today as you visit one of the world's most photographed natural wonders. The Cliffs of Moher, five miles long, soar 659 feet over the crashing waves below, providing you with amazing bird's-eye views of the craggy Irish coast below. Back on the grounds of Dromoland Castle, learn about the time-honored art of falconry from a raptor expert who shows you how to take one of these magnificent hawks* on a walk that your family will long remember! Spend the afternoon as you wish, enjoying the emerald landscapes of your royal home, perhaps spotting a leprechaun or two as you take in the beautiful views of this storied castle estate. Get set for more family fun this evening at a nearby Irish farm, where we are excited to celebrate our farewell festivities. Watch as skilled sheep dogs expertly herd the farm's woolly flocks; see a sheep-shearing demonstration; feed the lambs; have a hearty Irish dinner and enjoy an unforgettable party, where everyone's Irish eyes will be smiling!
Meals: B, L, D
Day 8: Journey home
Tour ends: Newmarket-on-Fergus. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included to Shannon Airport from Dromoland Castle. You should allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.
Dublin sightseeing by World War II amphibious vehicle, step dancing lessons, traditional pub lunch; pottery making, Celtic jewelry design with local artisan, demonstration at Ballymaloe Cookery School; bicycle ride along the Lakes of Killarney; hawk walk at Dromoland Castle; sheep dog & sheep shearing demonstrations; Irish dancing & storytelling
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