After lunch, explore the Kilmainham Gaol (jail) for great insight into Irish history during the centennial year of the Easter Rising, then sail south from Dublin.
What to Expect
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Experience the wonders of Ireland, from ancient sites steeped in fabled Gaelic mythology to tangible modern wonders swathed in enchantment. A land this full of rich legend and history simply must be seen to be believed.
In the morning, set out for tiny Ballycotton in County Cork for a walk around a working farm. Continue to Kinsale, a picturesque fishing town with a fascinating history. It was here, in 1601, that the Battle of Kinsale brought forth the collapse of Gaelic power in Ireland. Local scholars will take you for a guided walk before you have free time to wander quaint streets, galleries and shops. At night, you'll be joined by National Geographic grantee Michelle Cronin, who has studied puffins and gannets in the Skelligs and "wrestled" seals in the Blasket Islands.
Explore the Skellig Islands, where monastic ruins dating as far back as the sixth-century are perched atop a rocky peak jutting out from the sea. Circle Skellig Michael in Zodiacs or hike to the top to view the beehive- shaped stone huts. Spend the rest of the day in Dingle, enjoying a walking tour, visiting a local distillery, or visiting Tom Crean’s Pub. Dingle is the largest Irish-speaking community in the southwest, so take in the culture by dropping in on artists and craftspeople in their homes and breathing in the salt air with a seaweed forager!
Wake up in the Aran Islands, a hub of Gaelic language and culture. On the main isle of Inishmore, see the mystical fort of Dun Aengus, poised on steep cliffs above the crashing Atlantic. Pop into the 18th-century stone Kilmurvey House for scones, then enjoy lunch as you sail to the Cliffs of Moher. If conditions permit, get a spectacular perspective of the cliffs, gliding beneath them in a Zodiac.
The starkly beautiful region of Connemara is the ultimate realization of romantic dreams of Ireland. Hiking either gently or energetically with our naturalists or cycling the quiet back roads, many of which were built to provide employment during the Famine, is probably the best way to see the area. Consider kayaking or trying your hand at fly fishing before gathering for an authentic Irish dinner and a performance of traditional music.
Dock at the fishing harbor of Killybegs on the windy County Donegal peninsula. Coastal walks and rural life in this traditional Gaelic-speaking area will be the focus. In the afternoon, photograph the Slieve League cliffs, the highest in Europe, or learn more about the heritage of the region at Stone Age and early Christian sites. Hit the lively streets of Donegal for some independent exploration. We’ve set up an optional cycling tour of the Glencolmcille region, riding through a boggy plateau, remote glens and along Atlantic bays to the colorful village of Ardara, with stops at the homes of traditional hand-knitters and tweed weavers.
Today, you will enter Northern Ireland. Discover the wonders of County Antrim by visiting a Gaelic castle, seeing the Carrick-a-Rede, exploring the hexagonal basalt columns at Giant’s Causeway and visiting the Bushmills distillery, the oldest in the world. Meander among the columns as a guide explains the myths and theories behind this intriguing geology. In the afternoon, visit Belfast and explore the Titanic Museum, then cap off the evening with a civic reception in this Northern Ireland capital.
After breakfast, disembark Dublin and transfer to the airport for your flight home, or remain in Dublin for prolonged stay.
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If the featured itinerary isn't what you had in mind, our Preferred Curators can customize a vacation experience that is perfectly tailored to you and your interests. In addition to our featured destinations and experiences, we also offer a wide array of bespoke alternatives for any traveler.