Discover Ireland and Wales, two Celtic countries tied at the hip to England, yet maintaining their own unique cultural identity and languages. Ireland is known as the ‘Emerald Island’ for its striking natural beauty, medieval architecture, and of course Dublin, one of the pre-eminent cities in the world. Wales’ coastline is truly a sight to behold, and this mountainous land offers its own unique kind of beauty, along with gregarious people famous for their song – in fact, Wales is known as the ‘Land of Song’! After this tour you will be the one singing the praises of these two Celtic countries.
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Ireland and Wales can be visited at any time of year – as long as you bring the right clothing! While the summer months can be warm and sunny, the changing of the seasons makes the scenery on offer beautiful all year round and it takes more than a drop of rain to dampen spirits in these stunning countries! Best time for our program is May, June and September.
Depart on your exciting Celtic adventure and arrive in the early morning at Dublin Airport, where you will be met by your guide and depart for Killarney. Along the way, stop in picturesque Limerick to visit the 13th-centuryKing John’s Castle in the heart of Limerick’s medieval city alongside the River Shannon. Continue your adventure to Adare, an oldworld town with medieval stone buildings and traditional straw-thatched cottages. Next day, begins with a scenic tour of the Ring of Kerry, a 111-mile route exploring south-west Ireland’s forts, castles, abbeys, towns, and several stops for panorama photos of the countryside. Continue to Killarney National Park and its stunning lakes. On the third day in this fascinating area visit the pretty seaside town of Cohb and the Old Jameson Distillery for a tour and tasting. Finish the day by exploring the imposing Blarney Castle. RANDLES COURT HOTEL. (Meals Aloft; B,D; B,D; B,D)
Begin your journey toward Ireland’s capital, Dublin, stopping along the way to take in local sights including the dramatic Rock of Cashel, one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture in Europe. From here embark on a tour of the Irish National Stud facilities to learn about Ireland’s Thoroughbred horse breeding past and present. The next day begin your proper exploration of Dublin, Ireland’s capital and its highest populated city. Visit the Book of Kells, a masterpiece of Western Calligraphy dating back to 800 A.D. and regarded as one of Ireland’s most revered national treasures both for its historic and artistic value. Continue to the Christchurch Cathedral Dublin, the oldest building in Dublin and a fine example of medieval architecture. The rest of your afternoon is at leisure to explore Dublin as you see fit. In the evening you will take in a true slice of Dublin culture and cuisine during dinner at Merry Ploughboys, where you will be entertained by singing and dancing while dining on traditional Irish fare. TRINITY CITY HOTEL. (B,D; B,D)
Transfer to Wales via ferry, making land at the Island of Anglesey off the north-west coast of Wales. Much of the Anglesey coast has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is great for wandering and taking in the natural sights. You’ll have the option of visiting Halen Môn Salt Company to find out how sea salt is made, and sample the several different kinds of salt they offer. Then visit the village with the longest name in Europe – comprised of 58 letters – and take a picture outside the town’s railway sign. On mainland Wales visit Caernarfon Castle next, a giant structure offering hours of informative wandering, picturesque towers, a museum, and commanding views of the surrounding area. The next day, you’ll board a steam train to the peak of Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales. Breathe in the clean mountain air and take in the spectacular views. After lunch, take a scenic drive through the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. Stop by the Italian village of Portmeirion, a quirky and colorful village that feels like a slice of the Mediterranean in Wales. The next morning depart for Llangollen, a traditional village sitting along the Dee River, and enjoy a morning at leisure. Visit the remarkable Bodnant Garden which is world famous for its incredible diversity of flora from around the world brought to Wales by 19th and early 20th century explorers. CASTLE HOTEL. (B,D; B,D; B,D)
Drive toward Machynlleth, visiting a local farm en route to meet with the owner and get a glimpse into what Welsh farm life is like. Enjoy a traditional Welsh lunch once you reach the small town of Machynlleth and enjoy some Welsh entertainment. Continue to Cardiff, the capital of Wales. Begin the next day with a Cardiff Culinary Safari, sampling sumptuous local cuisine at cafés, restaurants and pubs, all with a local food expert leading the way. Your evening is at leisure. On your last day, visit the 19th-century Gothic Revival castle Castell Coch (Red Castle) and enjoy a tasting at the award-winning Penderyn Whisky distillery, nestled on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. After your full share of whiskey double back toward Cardiff and on the way visit St. Fagans National History Museum, one of Europe’s leading open-air museums and a gateway to Wales’ past. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner and reminisce with your fellow travelers about your Celtic adventure. NEW HOUSE COUNTRY HOTEL. (B,L; B,L; B,D)
Sadly it is time to say goodbye to Wales and Ireland as you transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)
Arrive in Dublin and travel to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland and the second largest city in Ireland. Your first stop is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge offering fantastic views of Scotland on a clear day. Continue to the Giant’s Causeway, a natural phenomenon of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns jutting out from the ocean with some columns reaching over 30 feet high. Discover the secrets to Irish Whiskey at Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest distillery in Ireland. Head to Galway and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Newgrange, a prehistoric monument dating to 3200 B.C. Marvel at the natural beauty of Connemara and visit Connemara Smokehouse specializing in smoking wild Atlantic salmon, and finally tour the Kylemore Abbey set in the heart of the Connemara Mountains.
Start your post-extension in Swansea, the second largest city in Wales and the birthplace of noted poet Dylan Thomas. Visit the house Thomas grew up in and the fishing village of Mumbles, where you can see a lighthouse, a pier built during the Victorian era, and the Oystermouth Castle offering commanding views of Swansea Bay. On to Laugharne – a small coastal village that Thomas coined ‘the strangest town in Wales.’ Travel to the beautiful harbor town of Tenby and see the 13th Century medieval town walls, Tenby Castle and the Tudor Merchant’s House. Continue to the beautiful Caldey Island, one of Britain’s holy Islands and home to the monastic monks of the Cistercian Order, and visit St. David’s, the smallest city in Britain both in size and population
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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