Treasures of Ireland

Inspiring small group journeys.
18 days from $6685
  • Holiday type: History Tours, Nature Tours
  • Countries: Ireland
  • Starts (city): Dublin
  • Ends (city): Belfast
  • Group size: 18 maximum
  • Trip style: Moderate - 3 star
  • Tour code: 746

Escorted educational tour

Nowhere in the world is so much tragedy and exaltation, hope and disappointment quite so compressed as it is in Ireland.  Nowhere else either are these historic trials and tribulations and triumphs such a part of contemporary events and so integrated via song and words into daily life.  In Ireland the past is the present and the present is the past.  In this tour we step out into this evocative island of Ireland  and quite simply absorb the most poignant place on Earth.

AT A GLANCE
Highlights
  • Tour a country so steeped in history that relics from its antiquity are part of the everyday landscape.
  • Enjoy performances at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the National Folk Theatre (Siamsa Tire) in Tralee.
  • 2 nights on the Aran Island of Inis M’hor with its ancient pilgrimage churches and the prehistoric promontory fort of Dun Aonghus.
  • Visit Belfast to learn of the history and to see the famous political murals as well as the Harland Wolff shipyard.
  • Visit Powerscourt Manor, with its glorious gardens, in the Wicklow Mountains and the picturesque house of Kylemore in Connemara.
Tour Leader

Rouna Daley graduated from the University of NSW in 1975, after having already commenced a career in Theatre in Education, writing educational programmes for school children and teachers (contracted to The NSW Arts Council; Sydney Theatre Company, The Queensland Theatre Company and Australian Theatre for Young People.)

As an actress, she starred in her first film when she was 15, and has continued to work in Radio, Theatre, Film and Television since. She has taught in many high schools, both public and private, city and far west, involving both her Theatre skills and her specialisation, HSC English, and is also currently an HSC English tutor.

Rouna has travelled extensively, living and working in Europe and the UK. She has been an auditioned member of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs (Symphony Chorus) for the past 28 years, singing under the baton of many Maestros and Symphony Orchestras in many of the world’s concert halls.

Rouna lives in Sydney with her three adult children and is a keen competition tennis player. She is passionate about France and also speaks French fluently as she lived in Carcassonne for 18 months.

Solo Traveller Comments

This is an educational tour designed primarily for fit mature people aged 50+, so you and your travelling companions are sure to share interests. The tour is led by a tour leader who will bring a unique insight into each facet of the destination, to broaden both the horizon and the mind.

If you are travelling on your own, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you.

TOUR DETAILS

Day 1-2-3 - Dublin sightseeing

Arrive in Dublin – Capital of the Republic of Ireland - city of poets, playwrights and brewing. Transfer to our hotel. During the next two days we will enjoy guided tours of the city and some of its major buildings including Dublin Castle and St Patrick’s Cathedral.

At Trinity College we will meet an undergraduate for a tour of the grounds and explanation of the University. Here we also view the ancient Book of Kells - one of Ireland’s most treasured works. We are treated to an expert-led literary walking tour of the city, a guided visit to Tara (site of the High Kings of Ireland), a lecture on the history of the country and a performance at the Abbey Theatre.

Day 4 - Powerscourt Demesne, Glendalough

Today we drive south to County Wicklow where we visit Powerscourt Demesne (domain) at Enniskerry. Powerscourt remains the archetypical example of the "Big House" of Ireland. The Palladian-style manor overlooks immense and terraced gardens which are also in the Italianate style. Once owned by the Viscounts of Powerscourt, the estate now belongs to the Slazenger family of tennis racquet fame.

Our excursion continues to Glendalough, or the ‘Glen of Two Lakes’. Founded in the 7th century AD by St Kevin, this site is regarded as one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland.

Day 5 - Dublin to Killarney, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle

En route to Killarney in County Kerry, we visit the famous Rock of Cashel and then Blarney Castle in County Cork where you may, (should you wish!) kiss the world-renowned Blarney Stone at the top of the Castle. Tradition dictates that the gift of eloquence will be bestowed on all those who kiss the Stone!

Day 6 - Ring of Kerry

Accompanied by a local farmer and storyteller, we depart on an excursion around the Ring of Kerry, often considered the world’s single most picturesque drive: Running through an area of outstanding natural beauty, the circuit takes in the towns of Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel and Sneem.

Day 7 - Dingle Peninsula, National Folk Theatre

We continue our journey to the picturesque town of Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula, exploring the area’s rich archaeological heritage and unique culture, including the beehive huts, Celtic ‘Ringforts’ which have stood for over 4,00 years, and the tiny Gallarus Oratory.

In Dunquin (Dun Chaoin) we stop for free time for lunch and a visit to the Blasket Centre where we discover the history, culture, language and unique literary achievements of the island writers. This gains us insight for our visit tonight to the National Folk Theatre, Siamsa Tire, in Tralee.

Day 8 - Killarney to Galway, Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher

En route to County Galway we experience a guided visit to Bunratty Castle, followed by free time for lunch and exploration of the Castle’s Folk Park to learn about rural life in Ireland during the last century. Our transfer continues via The Burren, a vast limestone plateau featuring the "Poulnabrone Dolmen" and the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's West Coast's most dramatic landforms.

Day 9 - Galway city

We begin our day with an expert led walk of Galway city with local writer and historian Peadar O’Dowd during which we will see Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch and part of the original city wall. Later, there will be free time for lunch and to explore Galway city.

Day 10 - Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey

Visit the Connemara National Park, for a gentle hike with a park ranger. A broad peninsula between Killary Harbour and Kilkieran Bay in the west of County Galway, Connemara has long been regarded as the real emerald of Ireland. Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands.

Much of the present National Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals. The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century.

We will also visit Kylemore Abbey and its delightful, extensive gardens. Nestled on the lake shore in the heart of the Connemara Mountains, and originally built in 1867 as a romantic gift, Kylemore Abbey is regarded as one of Ireland’s most romantic buildings.

Day 11 - Galway to Inis M'hor

Transfer to Rossaveal for our ferry to Inis M’hor, the largest of the Arran Islands, where we will enjoy a two-night stay. A local poet and singer will welcome us to this unique place - a remnant of authentic Gaelic civilisation, where Christian ruins stand side by side with remarkable Pagan relics and where the Irish language and Irish traditions live on in daily life. This evening we enjoy a dinner and traditional Irish music in local bar/restaurant.

Day 12 - Inis M'hor tour

Today we tour the island visiting the ‘7 churches’ – an ancient pilgrimage centre dating back to the 6th century - as well as exploration of the spectacular Bronze Age promontory fort of Dun Aonghus.

Day 13 - Inis M'hor to Glenties, WB Yeats

We depart for County Donegal, undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most untouched and ruggedly beautiful counties. Donegal’s striking landscape has remained relatively unaffected by the passage of time. After free time for lunch, we will be joined by a local expert for a lecture at the Yeats Society in Sligo.

We continue our journey to Drumcliffe, the final resting place of the famed Irish poet, WB Yeats, under the majestic mountain of Ben Bulben. This evening we arrive in the tiny, typically Irish village of Glenties in time for dinner and a two-night stay.

Day 14 - Donegal town, coastal sightseeing

Enjoy a heritage walk of Donegal town and a guided visit of the 15th century Donegal Castle. There will be some free time for lunch in Donegal town. This afternoon we visit the seaside town of Killybegs, home to Ireland’s largest fishing fleet. We continue along the Donegal coastline to Glencolmcille. A unique and beautiful place, Glencolmcille was chosen as a base by St Columba, one of Ireland’s three patron saints, including St Patrick and St Brigid.

Here we take an expert led walk of the ‘Turas’, a traditional pilgrimage site. This gentle hike includes megalithic tombs, cross pillars and breathtaking scenery. We visit Slieve League, home to the tallest sea cliffs in Europe and then drive back to our hotel via the spectacular Glengesh Pass.

Day 15 - Donegal to Derry

We transfer to Derry and enjoy an expertly-led historical guided walking tour of Derry’s walls. There will be some free time for our own exploration this afternoon.

Day 16 - Derry to Belfast, Giant's Causeway

En route to Belfast via the North Coast, we will visit the spectacular formations of the Giant's Causeway as well as the famous Bushmills Whisky Distillery.

Day 17 - Belfast sightseeing, Titanic Experience

Our morning lecture is entitled ‘Sign of the Times: Murals & Political Transformation of Northern Ireland’. Our speaker will be Bill Rolston, Professor of Sociology at the University of Ulster. We then depart for our Black Taxi tour of Belfast, visiting the colourful and evocative murals of West Belfast. It has been said that a city can be defined by its taxi drivers and nowhere is this truer than in Belfast.

We visit the Titanic Quarter of Belfast and the Titanic Experience Exhibition, commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Cunard’s Titanic. We will enjoy a farewell dinner at the ‘Crown Bar & Restaurant’, an institution and historical landmark of Belfast.

Day 18 - Farewell

Our tour concludes today.

Departure DateDaysTwin Price(AU$)Single Price(AU$)
21 Aug 2017 18 days $6750 $7550 Book now MORE INFO

Inclusions

  • 15 nights hotel accommodation & 2 nights cabin accommodation
  • 17 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 16 dinners
  • Transport in comfortable and modern coaches
  • Ferry services
  • All lectures, excursions, entrance fees and local guides
  • Services of a tour leader throughout
  • Service charges and gratuities
BOOK NOW / MORE INFO
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 on this tour, or if you have more general questions about tours to this area or this style of tour, send us an email. Of course, you can also call our travel specialists on 02 9449 8598 to book a trip or ask a question.

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