- 12 Days
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TRAINS OF IRELAND
Head north from Dublin by train for a guided tour of Belfast, a city with a buzzing social and art scene. We’ll visit the gleaming, ship-like Belfast Titanic museum, situated on the slipway where the famous liner was built and launched – the world’s leading tourist attraction!
Beyond Belfast, Northern Ireland is a gorgeous train trip, topped with the Giant’s Causeway. Bizarre and beautiful, nature put geometry on its chisel here, carving 40,000 hexagonal basalt pillars out into the Atlantic.
Head south by train to discover Dublin. Witty Dubliners describe their city as “the best in the word if you ignore all the others.” Dublin is gritty. It invites you to down a pint of Guinness in any of the 1,000 pubs on its cobbled streets. But Dublin is also packed with more galleries, museums, and notable libraries than you can shake an Irish stick at!
Continue south by train down the scenic east coast to Wexford and then by coach to Cork. We’ll stop to kiss the Blarney Stone atop the tower of Blarney Castle and wander the twelve exquisite gardens.
Head west by rail to Killarney to discover the Ring of Kerry by coach. Farther north, the wild Cliffs of Moher are a tour highlight! A ferry to Inishmore gives us time to explore Dún Aonghasa, a 3,100-year-old fort. Enjoy a free morning in vibrant Galway before heading east by train, through the heart of Ireland to Dublin, for your return flight home.
Irish Love Affair by Rail
Green is happiest in Ireland. The countryside wears it like a velvet coat, wrapping around cities that date back to the Bronze Age. Ireland by train is magical!
DeNure Tours shows off Ireland by rail (Iarnród Éireann), a grand excursion carefully designed to cover as much of Ireland’s terrain as possible. Serrated coastline with magnificent crumbling cliffs, rolling hills in sharp greens shrouded in mist and myth, and such beauty that the hit series, Game of Thrones, used Northern Ireland as the backdrop for Westeros.
This journey by rail is a continuous display of unbelievable beauty that will leave you breathless!
Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland, is on Ireland’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey. Its historic buildings include Dublin Castle, dating to the 13th century, and imposing St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191. City parks include landscaped St Stephen’s Green and huge Phoenix Park, containing Dublin Zoo. The National Museum of Ireland explores Irish heritage and culture.
Your trip to Ireland is not complete without visiting Dublin’s #1 tourist attraction. While in Dublin, you can learn all about Guinness’ rich history. As you walk through each floor you will learn what goes into making a perfect pint of Guinness.
Located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse® is Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction. It’s the home of the Black Stuff, the heart of Dublin and an unforgettable start to your Irish adventure.
The journey begins at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass and continues up through seven floors filled with interactive experiences that fuse our long brewing heritage with Ireland’s rich history. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a pint of perfection in our world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar. Now that’s our kind of higher education.
The Book of Kells Exhibition is a must-see on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. Located in the heart of the city centre in Trinity College Dublin, the Exhibition displays the Book of Kells, a 9th century manuscript that documents the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The Exhibition also features access to the Long Room, one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, that houses 200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books.
Take it to the edge at this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route
There’s nothing modest about Antrim’s coastline. Drive along the famous Causeway Coast, and one stunning site leads to another, from the craggy castle ruins of Dunluce Castle to the pale cream sands of Whiterocks Beach. But as you weave along this great driving route, one sight jumps out as truly spectacular: the Giant’s Causeway.
This is nature at its most primal: carving the land into mad formations that send the imagination into overdrive… No wonder dreamy and fantastical myths surround it.
Stand on the hills that gently arc this precious place and you’ll look down on thousands of basalt columns tumbling down into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an epic sight, with a whopping 40,000 or so of these hexagonal-shaped pillars, which dates back to a volcanic age almost 60 million years ago.
Gigantic tales: Step into the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and you can discover a story that’s close to the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The star of the show is Finn McCool – an Irish giant who picked a fight with Scottish big man Benandonner. Legend has it that the giants loathed each other. So one day after enduring insults from Benandonner, Fionn built a path to use as stepping-stones to reach Scotland, which was then ripped up by Benandonner. The result was the Giant’s Causeway.
Welcome to Belfast – or “how ‘bout ye”, as they say here! This modern city is an eclectic medley of cultural treasures, with its mix of Victorian grandeur, industrial grit and living history.
At Titanic Belfast, delve into where it all began for the Ship of Dreams; or take a journey to the MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre), a hub of creative diversity in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. Gaze up at the soaring crenellations of St Anne’s Cathedral, before hopping across the road to celebrate Belfast’s literary scene in Writer’s Square, where quotes from famous local writers CS Lewis, Hanna Bell and John Hewitt are carved in the stone underfoot. Rather apt for an island that does get the odd shower or two, keep watch for ‘Umbrella Laneway’, AKA Commercial Court.
Wexford is a town in southeast Ireland, at the mouth of the River Slaney. It’s known for its medieval lanes and the opera festival held in the modern National Opera House. West Gate Heritage Tower is a restored 13th-century tollgate. It’s next to the old town walls and ruined 12th-century Selskar Abbey. The Bullring market place, once a bull-baiting site, has a statue marking the 1798 Rebellion against British rule.
Along the coast of Ireland’s Ancient East, County Waterford showcases miles of stunning coastline, Ireland’s oldest city, a UNESCO Global Geopark and monastic marvels by the ocean.
In 1171, King Henry II came sailing up the River Suir seeking out the Norman lord Strongbow in Waterford. While ploughing through the river, Henry passed the rugged Hook Peninsula to his right, and the small village of Crook to his left, nestled against the coast. As he went between the two, the king vowed to reach Waterford “by hook or by crook”. Out of such offhand quips, legendary phrases are born.
Waterford is a county that, to this day, keeps its proud history alive. Crook still exists, sitting beside the ocean, and the Hook Peninsula is considered one of Ireland’s most stunning stretches of coast. Here you’ll find the striking Hook Lighthouse, striped in black and white. There’s also the large mansion of Loftus Hall – thought to be the most haunted house in Ireland – and the monument that inspired William Wordsworth’s poetry, Tintern Abbey. Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city – it was founded in the 9th century by the Vikings. In 1170, the city entered an important period of its history, when it was claimed by Strongbow for the Normans. Some of the most fascinating treasures from these two periods are on display at the Waterford Treasures, a trio of museums in the city centre. These include the Great Charter Roll of 1373, depicting the city as it appeared in the 14th century, and the magnificent Waterford Kite Brooch, crafted from gold and silver. Of course, it’s not just history that makes Waterford such a compelling destination. The city is also known for its craft beers, such as Metalman Irish Craft Beer; blaas – delicious white floury bread rolls, unique to Waterford; and Waterford Crystal, one of the world’s most prestigious cut-glass brands.
It retains vestiges of its Viking and Norman past in the narrow streets and town walls of the so-called Viking Triangle, where three excellent museums tell the story of Ireland’s Middle Ages better than in any other city in the country.
Opportunities seized upon, a mysterious falling out, royal approval and awards, struggles and renaissance – through more than 200 years Waterford Crystal and the visionary characters behind its evolution have crafted a unique story in glass.
Imagine the times. In 1783, when Beethoven was publishing his first works and the world’s first hot air balloon launched in Paris, in Waterford City George and William Penrose, petitioned Parliament for aid to establish the manufacture of flint glass in their Waterford Glass House. They were successful and established an extensive glass manufactory in Waterford City on the 3rd October 1783. By the following year the factory was in full swing and the Penroses made all kinds of useful and ornamental flint glass of “as fine a quality as any in Europe”. They had gathered a large number of the best craftsmen, blowers, cutters and engravers, by which they could supply every article in the most elegant style. It cost the Penroses £10,000 to build and equip the factory, which at first employed 50 to 70 workers.
The new Waterford Crystal manufacturing facility melts down more than 750 tonnes of crystal and produces more than 45,000 pieces each year using traditional methods. Since its opening in June 2010, over one million people have visited the Retail Store and enjoyed guided factory tours of the manufacturing processes.
The latest chapter of the Waterford Crystal story opened in July 2015 when Fiskars Corporation (Fiskars), a leading global supplier of consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors, acquired the WWRD group of companies including Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Rogaška. With such iconic brands in its care, Fiskars continues to lead the way in the luxury and premium home and lifestyle products market, specialising in tabletop, giftware and interior décor.
From small beginnings, and thanks to the vision of numerous talented and hardworking individuals along the way, Waterford Crystal dazzles around the world into the 21st century.
Welcome to Blarney Castle, the home of the Blarney Stone. Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have Flocked to Blarney making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.
Now that might have something to do with the Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our tower. Kiss it and you’ll never again be lost for words.
Cork whichmeans march is the 2nd largest city 3rd most populated city in Ireland.
In 2005 it had the distinction of being European Capital of Culture.
Situated on the river Lee which splits into 2 channels at the west end, creating an island which is the city centre. Cork Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in Ireland. Corkonians refer to the city as the real capital centre for the anti-treaty forces during the Irish Civil War. It has a rich history starting with a Monastic settlement of Saint Finbarr in the 6thcentury. It became a town 915 – 922 when Vikings set up a trading post here. The city charter was given to Prince John, Lord of Ireland in 1185. Once, it was a fully walled city. Some of the sights not to miss are Finn Barre’s Cathedral, the English Market, City Hall and The Crawford Gallery.
Killarney is a town on the shores of Lough Leane in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry. It’s a stop on the Ring of Kerry scenic drive, and the start and finishing point of the 200-km Kerry Way walking trail. The town’s 19th-century buildings include St. Mary’s Cathedral. Across the bridge from the cathedral is Killarney National Park. Victorian mansion Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms sits in the park.
Ring of Kerry
This is where therainbow ends…
Ask anyone: the Ring of Kerry is picturesque Ireland at its peak. Hidden away in the southwest corner of the island, this is a true treasure trove, with dreamlike landscapes awaiting every lucky visitor.
It’s not just visitors from abroad that love this place – people travel from across the island to cycle, drive and trek this scene-stealing route on Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula. Beginning and ending in Killarney, a trip here takes in all the big hitters: Moll’s Gap, Torc Waterfall and the Gap of Dunloe are winners – but really, the route itself is so much more than the sum of its parts.
Within the route’s 179km of road, you’ll find dazzling opulence and breathtaking wilderness in equal measure. Take a trek up the Owengarriff River to where it flows from the Devil’s Punchbowl, a vast, sapphire expanse of fresh water; breathe in the sweet Kerry air at Ladies’ View, a favourite of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting; or explore the imposing angles of Ross Castle, a 15th-century tower house on the shores of Lough Leane. Wherever you go, you’ll be tempted to keep a camera on hand; but take it from us – just drinking it in and enjoying the moment is more than enough.
Step back in time to 19th Century Ireland
The Kerry Bog Village explores Ireland’s rural history, heritage and lifestyle. Visitors will experience the culture, customs and living conditions of our great ancestors through the famine years, and late 19th century. The village has period thatched cottages, fully furnished with authentic antiques, complete with sound effects and figurines. Outdoors, we display a fabulous array of rural farm equipment, used by turf cutters and farmers of the time period.
In the village, you will also see the once almost extinct ‘Kerry Bog Pony’ and the world’s tallest dogs the ‘Irish Wolfhound’.
Cliffs of Moher
It takes a whole lot to be named a UNESCO Global Geopark – here’s what earned the Cliffs of Moher pride of place
When you make your pilgrimage to the Cliffs of Moher, you’re coming for one of two things: the staggering height of the rock face, and the even more staggering beauty of the views from the top. Soaring to 214m, the striated stone reaches its long fingers southward to counties Cork and Kerry beyond, with a keen eye from O’Brien’s Tower even able to spot the Aran Islands to the north.
As the sea spray fills the air with the invigorating freshness of the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s hard not to feel as though you’re braving the ocean from the prow of a magnificent ship. To make the most of the magic, nothing quite beats a wind-whipped trek across the clifftop, the edges peaking slightly upwards like the crests of the waves that roll endlessly below. Visit the hugely informative Visitor Centre, set into the hillside like a hobbit house.
One of the most unique and precious aspects of the cliffs is the local wildlife that calls them home. Those with a love of bird-watching will be spoiled here: think countless sad-eyed puffins; elegantly dressed razorbills; chattering kittiwakes; and if you’re lucky, even an elusive peregrine falcon.
The surrounding landscape itself is a marvel of natural delights, with delicate sea campion, blushing sea pinks and wildflowers dotting the springy coastal grass around your feet. On a calm day, keep an eye out for any ripples in the water – breaching basking sharks and friendly dolphin pods are a common sight.
Galway: Whether rugged Connemara or the bright lights of Galway city – there’s always something to do in County Galway. Flush with festivals, crammed with coastline, home not just to one of the most energetic cities in the land, but the soulful Aran Islands and the great rocky wilderness of Connemara, too. The thriving city of Galway, don’t make a plan when you go walkabout here (few Galwegians do). Instead, go where the mood takes you. That may be a tiny independent bookshop; it may be a pub, an aquarium, or a city museum whose upper floors reveal a breathtaking view of the River Corrib. There’s a wealth of choice on tap! Galway is a place to go with the flow. Fancy catching a Heineken Cup rugby match in the Sportsground? What about a stroll along the old Long Walk, as Steve Earle sang about in Galway Girl (“Her hair was black and her eyes were blue…”). Browse the market by St Nicholas’s Church; eat sushi; step through the Spanish Arch.
Inishmore is one of western Ireland’s Aran Islands. It sits at the mouth of Galway Bay and is known for ancient sites, like the prehistoric, clifftop fort Dún Aonghasa. Nearby is the Worm Hole, a rectangular natural pool. The medieval Christian ruins of the Seven Churches are in the northwest. Clochán na Carraige is a stone structure with a beehive roof. Kilmurvey Beach is known for birdlife and a nearby seal colony.
Return flight from Toronto, airport transfers in Ireland, motorcoach transportation, 10 nights accommodation, 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners, all highlights listed, a DeNureTours Tour Director, Connections Program and all taxes.
Prices are in Canadian dollars, are per person and include HST.
• Belfast: Guided city tour, Titanic Museum
• Giants Causeway
• Dublin: Dinner and entertainment at Taylor’s Three Rock (Irish ballads and traditional dancing), guided city tour, Guinness Brewery tour and tasting
• Waterford Crystal
• Blarney Castle and Gardens
• Ring of Kerry
• Kerry Bog Village
• Bank House
• Cliffs of Moher
• Aran Islands: Ferry to Inishmore, tour of the island, free time to explore Dún Aonghasa
• Belfast to/from Coleraine
• Belfast to Dublin
• Wexford to Waterford
• Cork to Killarney
• Galway to Dublin
Belfast: Radisson Hotel (2 nights)
Dublin: Camden Court Hotel (2 nights)
Waterford: The Granville Hotel (1 night)
Killarney (May): The Killarney International Hotel (2 nights)
Killarney (October): The Arbutus Hotel (2 nights)
Galaway (May): Connemara Coast Hotel (2 nights)
Galaway (October): The Hotel Meyrick (2 nights)
Dublin: Castle Hotel (1 night)
Day1 - 2
Flight to Dublin, Sightseeing
Stay: Hotel Belfast, Radisson
Train to Coleraine, Giants Causeway
Train from Belfast to Dublin
Stay: Camden Court Hotel, Dublin
Meals: B, D
Train to Wexford
Stay: The Granville Hotel, Waterford
Meals: B, D
Blarney Castle & Gardens, Train from Cork to Killarney
Stay: The Killarney International Hotel, Killarney (May)
Stay: The Arbutus Hotel, Killarney (October)
Meals: B, D
Ring of Kerry, Kerry Bog Village
Meals: B, L
Cliffs of Moher, Galway
Stay: Connemara Coast Hotel, Galaway (May)
Stay: The Hotel Meyrick, Galaway (October)
Meals: B, D
Train from Galway to Dublin
Stay: Castle Hotel, Dublin
Meals: B, D
Return Flight Home
- Sunscreen is an essential product to have, regardless of the climate. Since UV exposure is unavoidable, a hat and sunglasses are also suggested for your protection, even in the winter.
- Mosquito repellent can prove useful in wooded areas or in the evenings in some regions.
- Comfort is important when on vacation. Bring comfortable walking shoes. And loose, casual clothing is suggested to keep you cozy.
- Pack extra batteries and memory cards for your camera.
- Always pack an extra jacket or sweater in case of inclement weather or cooler evenings. DeNureTours recommends you dress in layers, so you can add or remove layers if the temperature rises or drops.
- Use every corner, nook and cranny of your suitcase when packing. Rolled sweaters and bulky clothing occupy less space, but clothing that wrinkles easily should be laid flat. Roll socks or underclothing and pack them into shoes, and slip smaller items into side pockets.
- Use sample-sized toiletry items and always transport containers of creams and liquids in a sealed plastic bag.
- Keep an extra set of keys for your luggage.
- Always prepare for the possibility of rain. An umbrella, or rain jacket will easily fit in your luggage, and could prove to be the most useful article you pack. When travelling as a couple, bring two so neither person gets half wet.
- Pack your bathing suit.
- Pack a good book, or a deck of cards to keep you busy during free time.
- Leave items of monetary or sentimental value at home. Costume and faux jewelry always travels well.
- If you require corrective lenses, pack an extra pair of glasses or contacts.
- If you wear dentures, and have a second set, pack them just in case. You’d be surprised how often these important items end up where they shouldn’t.
- Not all hotel rooms are equipped with alarm clocks. While most hotels offer wake-up calls, a small travel alarm clock might prove useful.
- Couples travelling together may find it wise to split their belongings between two suitcases. If one suitcase should go missing, neither person is left without a change of clothes.
- Remember to pack any medications or prescriptions in your carry-on and not in your suitcase in case of emergency or luggage misplacement. Medications should be packed in their original containers for security reasons.
- Keep a listing of your recent medical history with you, including medications you currently take, prescription or otherwise, as well as allergies you suffer from, and any medical conditions you have. Carry the listing in your wallet, and leave a copy with your emergency contact person at home.
- Identify your luggage with an identification tag as well as your DeNureTours luggage tags.
- If you carry travellers’ cheques, record the numbers of the cheques and keep this list in a separate location. When travelling as a couple, put some cheques in your partner’s name so you both have access to funds.
- Always carry your travel insurance policy with you, and read it carefully before you leave.
- Always carry your passport, or other important identification on your person. Make a photocopy to keep in your suitcase.
- Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date. This is a requirement for entering certain countries.
- Always check the spelling of your name on all documentation you receive. Often, your travel documents must match your passport or birth certificate. It is imperative that your legal name be listed correctly on your documents. Failure to comply may result in your being denied entry to a country, or boarding on an airplane or cruise ship. Name changes on documents may be subject to a change fee.
- Use extra copies of your travel itinerary and hotel listing to distribute to friends or relatives, so you can be reached in case of emergency.
- Keep a log of your purchases, including what you paid in foreign currency and the equivalent in Canadian dollars. This will assist you in filling out customs forms. Keep all receipts.
- Secure your home before you leave. Arrange for a friend or neighbour to pick up mail and check in periodically. Have someone cut your lawn (or shovel your driveway) and care for your property. Set automatic timers on the lights and television. Empty the refrigerator of perishables. Lower your thermostat to save on energy.
- When flying, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and limit your intake of caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
- To avoid circulatory problems on a plane or coach, walk up the aisle every hour or so. Periodically, stretch your legs, arms, shoulders and neck.
- Arrive early for flights. DeNureTours recommends to check-in 90 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights, or 2-3 hours prior for international flights.
- An inflatable travel pillow can make you more comfortable on long coach rides or flights. The U-shaped pillow keeps your head from rolling during travel, reducing the risk of neck pain.
- Avoid the use of perfume or scented sprays on the coach or an airplane. These are confined spaces, so be courteous to your fellow travellers who may be allergic or sensitive to scents.
- Get as much rest as possible before you leave.
- Try your best to be flexible. Unexpected things can happen. Your holiday will be more enjoyable if you are open-minded.
Tips to waiters, taxi drivers, step-on guides, tour directors and drivers are a tangible way for you to express your appreciation for jobs well done. This practice, though customary, is voluntary and is not included in tour prices. As a guide to the amounts to tip, the following amounts are suggested:
- Taxi Drivers – Drivers should be tipped 10% of the taxi fare.
- Waiters – For meals that are not included in the tour price, tip waiters between 15% and 20% of your bill, but never less than $1.
- Tour Directors and Drivers – A gratuity of $4 per person per day is suggested.