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Day 1 – Dublin Arrival
Welcome to Dublin. After you pick up your car, transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon you can explore this capital city with its many historic buildings, Georgian streets and colourful gardens. Take the opportunity to visit some of its many attractions such as the Christchurch Cathedral. You can also visit the Guinness Storehouse. Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness. Today it houses a very fine exhibition dedicated to the Guinness story. After visiting the exhibition, you are invited to the Gravity Bar to enjoy your pint of Guinness. This evening why not enjoy dinner in one of Dublin’s many restaurants?
Overnight: Dublin area
Day 2 – Dublin & Wicklow
Today visit Butler’s Chocolate Experience which is located at the Butler’s Chocolate factory in north Dublin, close to the junction of the M1 and M50 motorways. Enjoy a 90 minutes interactive tour which allows you to experience the key elements of chocolate production. There are work stations set up where guests get an opportunity to be a chocolatier and decorate their own novelty to bring home. At all stages of the tour, there is lots of chocolate sampling!
Leaving Dublin, travel along the east coast through Bray before arriving in Ashford and on to Ballyknocken Country House & Cookery School. Ballyknocken House is a charming Victorian farmhouse operating as a 4* guesthouse. Run by Catherine, the third generation Byrne to reside there, Catherine also runs Ballyknocken Cookery School and entertains with Brown Bread Making Demonstrations and Cookery Courses.
Overnight: Wicklow area
Day 3 – Wicklow
After breakfast you may have the opportunity to participate in a class at the cookery school (not included in the price and subject to availability).
In the afternoon you can use Ballyknocken House as a base to explore Wicklow, known as the Garden of Ireland. Visit the Glendalough Monastic Site. The English name Glendalough originated from the Irish “Gleann Dá Locha”, which translates as “The valley of the two lakes”. It was here that St. Kevin, son of the king of Leinster, founded a monastery in the 6th century. From a simple beginning the site grew to become famous as a centre of learning throughout Europe. Standing for 600 years it was destroyed in 1398. Much of what is to be seen today dates from the 10 to 12th century. One of the most attractive features is the fine 34m high round tower. A cathedral, stone churches and decorated crosses also survived albeit as ruins. Beautifully scenic walking trails take visitors on a circular route by the lakes from the Car park. Glendalough has an excellent visitor’s centre and display area, which is located at the entrance to the Valley. It houses a very comprehensive exhibition on Glendalough detailing the history, archaeology and wildlife of this area of Wicklow. An entrance charge applies to the visitor centre.
Overnight: Wicklow area
Day 4 – Waterford & Cork
This morning, travel south from Wicklow to Waterford. Visit the Harty Oysters Farm, located in the scenic area of Dungarvan Bay. Jim Harty was a pioneer of Irish oysters as he was one of the first people in the country to recognise the potential for growing oysters in the Celtic Sea. The Harty family aim to give their customers the highest standard of oyster and they consider their oysters to be one of Ireland’s top luxury food products available today.
Leave Waterford and travel the short distance to Shanagarry and stop at Ballymaloe Gardens which surrounds Ballymaloe Cookery School and the Garden Café, which is run by TV chef Darina and Tim Allen. Ballymaloe includes a Herb Garden, formal Fruit Garden, a formal Vegetable Garden and Water Garden.
Overnight: Kinsale area
Day 5 – Cork
This morning, take some time to explore the English Market. Situated in the heart of Cork City, the English Market is a roofed food market and has been trading since 1788. Developed and still owned by Cork City Council, the Market is one of the oldest municipal markets of its kind in the world. Continue on to the Cork Butter Museum which dominated the world butter trade in the 18th and 19th centuries and the museum explores the development of the exchange and the history of dairying in Ireland.
Afterwards, why not travel to Kinsale. Make a few visits including Desmond Castle and the Wine Museum. Built as a custom house by the Earl of Desmond in circa 1500, Desmond Castle has had a colourful history. Before completing your tour of Kinsale, a visit to Charles Fort just outside the town is a must. Constructed in the late 17th Century, Charles Fort is a classic example of a star-shaped fort. In the evening enjoy dinner in Kinsale, known as the “Gourmet Capital of Ireland”.
Overnight: Kinsale area
Day 6 – Kerry
Today, travel towards the Dingle Peninsula and pass by the Killarney National Park. The Killarney National Park features beautiful lakes and mountain sceneries. The park is famous for its native natural habitats and species including oak holly woods, yew woods and red deer. The National Park visitor centre (located at Muckross House) and the information point at Torc Waterfall provide information on all aspects of the park.
This afternoon you will explore the Dingle Peninsula, famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. It is also a “Gaeltacht” – Irish speaking area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savouring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbour. Visit Murphy’s and taste real handmade Dingle ice cream. They are only using natural ingredients and have very special flavours like Brown Bread and Sea Salt. The road between Dunquin and Slea Head is dotted with beehive huts, forts and church sites. Prehistoric Dunbeg Fort is on a cliff top promontory with a sheer drop to the Atlantic and had four outer walls of stone. Inside are the remains of a house and a beehive hut as well as an underground passage. Beehive huts are circular stone buildings shaped like a beehive which was lived in by the Kerry monks.
Overnight: Dingle area
Day 7 – The Burren & Galway
Depart Dingle this morning and travel via Adare. Adare, County Limerick, is a village dating from the time of the Norman conquest. Desmond or Adare Castle is regarded as a fine example of the medieval fortified castle in Ireland and is one of a number of outstanding castles situated in County Limerick. It is sited on the north bank of the River Maigue in a strategic position on a substantial earlier ringwork where it was able to control traffic on the river. It was an important stronghold of the Earls of Desmond.
Continue to visit St Tola’s Goat Farm. St Tolas is an organic goat farm of 65 acres located in North County Clare near the Burren and 30 minutes from the famous Cliffs of Moher. Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith took over the farm in 1999 and 2 years later, St.Tola became a registered organic cheese producer. Siobhan has developed the business from a local industry to an internationally recognised and award winning brand but the cheese is still hand made in small batches as the artisanal quality of their cheese is paramount.
Travel to the Cliffs of Moher. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren region, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights. Standing 230 metres above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara. The cliffs reach their highest point just north of O’ Brien’s Tower built by Cornelius O’ Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru, to entertain his lady friends.
Before you reach your final destination for this day, make a stop at the Burren Smokehouse. At Burren Smokehouse visitor centre you can get a tasting of Burren smoked salmon. You can discover mosaics inside and outside the shop, and look at the first kiln used when the Burren Smokehouse was first set up. You can also watch a DVD presentation about the smoking process.
Overnight: Connemara area
Day 8 – Galway & Dublin
This morning leave Galway and visit the Rathbaun Farm. The farm is situated in a rural area of Southwest County Galway near Ardrahan. The Burke and Connolly family have been farming the 80 acres of land for over 200 years and Fintan Connolly continues this tradition today. The main livestock are sheep with some cows and horses. Visitors to Rathbaun Farm will become enchanted by its thatched cottage home, turf fire, stone walls and an array of animals. The land is limestone, free-draining soil currently in permanent pasture and in organic conversion. Time spent here gives a glimpse into the daily workings of a sheep-farm with plenty of time to see the animals, feed the lambs in season, talk to the family and explore the farmyard. Guests can also visit the 150-year old farmhouse, where you will have the opportunity to have lunch, sampling some home baking and local produce. You may also have the opportunity to bake your own scones, following the traditional Irish recipe.
Continue to visit Kilbeggan Distillery. Start your tour in 1757 and discover how Irish whiskey was made in the time of the Lockes ownership of the distillery on one side of the courtyard and then follow on to see how Kilbeggan Irish whiskey is now being made in the traditional manner which includes a 180 year old pot still. Kilbeggan Distillery established in 1757, is believed to be the oldest licensed pot still whiskey distillery in the world. For almost 200 years, until it closed in 1954, the distillery produced a traditional pot stilled Irish malt whiskey. Today the distillery hosts a museum and since 2007 when distillation commenced again in Kilbeggan, visitors can experience a real working distillery run by a team of young enthusiastic craftspeople (and a few wiseold heads too), skilled in the traditional ways of making Irish whiskey.
The guided tour follows the process of making triple distilled Irish Whiskey, from the grinding of the grain to the casking of the final product. Watch and listen as the 19th century water wheel drives the machinery. Most of the original machinery has now been restored and can been seen working daily. Peer into nine meter high fermentation vats. Learn about the lives and the working conditions of the people that worked here. At the end of the tour you will receive a complimentary sample of Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey.
Overnight: Dublin area
Day 9 – Dublin Departure
If time allows visit Howth, a picturesque fishing village which is situated at the foot of a huge rock peninsula. Howth, a huge rock massif with footpaths ideal for small walks, offers beautiful views of Dublin Bay. You can also visit one of the numerous seafood restaurants.
Travel to Dublin Airport for return flight home.
|Taste of Ireland: The Irish Culinary Experience|
|8 Nights Package (excluding transport)||Twin Per Person||Single Supplement||Triple per person|
|February – March||951||596||930|
|April & October||975||596||953|
|May – September||1127||596||1105|
|Excursion Pack Supplement Per Person||293|