Tastes & Tales
Tastes and Tales of Ireland (2011-12)Share
Vacation Type: Guided – Brendan Vacations
Duration: 9 Days From: $2,399 land only Tour Code: BRTT11
This 9-day Boutique Escorted Vacation takes you across Ireland’s scenic countryside bringing you up close and personal with the cuisine, culture, and locals. Your overnight stays feature the cities of Dublin, Cork, Killarney and the magnificent Dromoland Castle, one of Ireland’s most prestigious national treasures. Take it all in with the services of a personalized, professional tour director.
Vacation highlights include: Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Newmarketfergus
Your Travel Value Includes:
- Airport transfers on days 2 and 9
- Twin-bedded rooms in hotels listed or similar; hotel taxes, service charges and tips for baggage handling
- 7 breakfasts (B), 2 morning coffees (MC), 2 lunches (L) and 5 three-course dinners with choice of entree and coffee or tea (D)
- Services of a professional Irish Driver/Guide
- Private luxury motorcoach with airconditioning, reclining seats and emergency restroom
- Sightseeing, special features and scenic highlights as indicated in the itinerary, including admission charges where applicable. Brendan provides headsets for included sightseeing, so you can easily hear your guide’s commentary
- Portfolio of travel documents
DAY 1 – Depart USA*
Board your overnight transatlantic flight.
DAY 2 – Arrive in Dublin, Ireland
Welcome to Dublin! Relax for the afternoon or take an enchanting stroll amid the gentle green hills and sparkling lakes of Powerscourt Gardens. Dating back to 1731, these gardens include designs influenced by the terraces and formal features of Italian Renaissance villas. Also featured are Japanese Gardens, a Walled Garden, and surrounding woodland known as The Viscount’s Private Walk and American Garden. Look for the Pepper Pot Tower, Dolphin Pond and the Pet’s Cemetery to see how the family’s faithful companion, “Sailor” the curly retriever, is remembered. Tonight after dinner, choose one of Ireland’s infamous beverages … Jameson, Bailey’s Irish Cream or a mug of the “black stuff” – Guinness – and raise your glass in a toast of welcome and good cheer. (D)
DAY 3 – Tour Historic Dublin
This morning join your local guide for a walking tour of Dublin’s Fair City. See the former armoury of the Bank of Ireland and the courtyard of the old Parliament House. Next, visit the former House of Lords, then enter the hallowed gateway of Trinity College, passing through its elegant 18th and 19th century courtyards and greens. Hear some of its fascinating history, as well as an occasional tall tale associated with the university. Leaving the campus, stroll through the halls of the National Gallery of Ireland and into a district of splendid Georgian squares, long terraces, tranquil parks and government institutions. Beautiful Merrion Square Park will reveal many surprises, not least the remarkable statue to Oscar Wilde. Relax over lunch in the atmospheric cellars of the Duke of Wellington’s birthplace. The balance of the day is at lesiure. (B,L)
DAY 4 – Dublin / Cork
Your first stop this morning is at Jim Tynan’s Kitchen and Foodhall. Enjoy morning tea or coffee and homemade scones in this award-winning, family-owned gem. Travel on to historic Cashel. The town’s rich heritage is reflected in its prehistoric raths, medieval monasteries, fortified townhouses, a Georgian Cathedral and a 21st-century library. The Georgian quarter also boasts the Bolton Library, where you can find the smallest book in Ireland. There is some free time to explore the town and visit the iconic Rock of Cashel. Then continue to Cork and the luxurious comfort of Hayfield Manor. (B,MC,D)
DAY 5 – Cork / Killarney
This morning visit Cork City and the English Market, one of the oldest of its kind, trading as a market since 1788. In the old days, stalls sold local foodstuffs, and most of the shoppers haggled with the stall owners in hopes of even better deals. Give it a try, if you feel up to the challenge! Nibble on a specialty cake and morning coffee before heading to the Heritage Centre in Cobh. This is the place from which most emigrants departed when they set sail for America. The “Queenstown Story” is a fine exhibition of the history of these departures. Queenstown, as Cobh was once called, was also the Titanic’s last port of call before she sank on her maiden voyage. Then travel on to the lively town of Killarney. (B,MC,D)
DAY 6 – Killarney
Your choice of activity today. You might want to go on a guided horseback ride through Killarney National Park. The trails will take you along the north of Lough Lein for views of Ross Castle, Ross Island, Innisfallen Island and the surrounding mountains. Or, board a traditional jaunting car and ramble along the same route with a local jarvey. The balance of the day is at leisure to relax in the gardens at your hotel. Perhaps play a round of golf or stroll along the lakes. This evening, share the adventures of the day over dinner and traditional Irish entertainment at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. (B,D)
DAY 7 – Ring of Kerry
Travel the road that winds around the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula, better known as “The Ring of Kerry.” Here mountains, valleys, lakes and sea blend into a landscape that is often breathtaking beyond words. Stop for lunch at award-winning QC’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant in the town of Cahirciveen. This is a terrific Irish pub and seafood restaurant run by the Cooke family. Both the restaurant and the family fish shop are stocked daily with fresh fish from the family’s boats. (B,L)
DAY 8 – Killarney / Dromoland Castle
This morning, explore Crag Cave, an underground wonderland with limestone stalagmites and stalactites. Discovered in 1983 and thought to be over a million years old, this natural attraction was built up with pathways and dramatic sound and lighting effects for an unforgettable “cave show.” Next visit the Flying Boat Museum at Foynes. It celebrates the golden age of aviation, when this small town on the Shannon River was the central hub for routes between Europe and North America. Foynes is also the birthplace of Irish Coffee, and there is time to sample the warming beverage before continuing to Adare, Ireland’s prettiest village. Then, a highlight – Dromoland Castle. Dating from the 16th century, it is one of the most famous baronial castles in Ireland. Dromoland offers deluxe accommodation, breathtaking scenery, absolute luxury and exceptional service. It is one of the few castle hotels that can trace its ownership back through history to Gaelic Irish families of royal heritage. Dine in splendor tonight in the Earl of Thomand Restaurant (dress shirt required for men). (B,D)
DAY 9 – Dromoland Castle / Depart Shannon
Enjoy breakfast at the castle, then transfer to Shannon Airport for your flight home. A transfer to the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Dublin Airport is also available, arriving at approximately 4:30 p.m. Extra nights can be booked in Limerick or Dublin. (B)
Single room supplement: $725.
Triple room reduction per person: $25.
Early Payment Discount: 12 months $260; 10 months $195; 6 months $130.
2nd Vacation Discount: up to $134.
Young Traveler Discount: $260.