The Royal Atlantic Ireland Tour by Rail & Coach
- 5 Days
- 5 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 1,480
FIRST-CLASS | RAIL: Uncover Cork, the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Aran Islands on this superb Ireland tour that mixes train and coach travel, letting you experience the country at its finest.
This 5-day locally hosted Ireland trip sets out early by rail from Dublin, taking you to Cork, Blarney, continue by motor coach to the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, from Galway return to Dublin by rail.
Consider an extra few days at the start of your trip to enjoy all Dublin has to offer, then all aboard for your rail journey to Cork and Blarney. This of course is home to the namesake Castle and stone – whether you should actually try to kiss it or not is open to debate –and a recommended lunch spot before going on to Cobh. Visit the key sights including the Cobh Heritage Centre, which explores the area’s long naval history including the First World War, and the departure of the ill-fated Titanic.
The Ring of Kerry is a classic Ireland tour route for good reason. In addition to being one of the country’s most iconic and photogenic landscapes, it includes Kerry Bog Village Museum, a working reminder of Ireland’s 18th century, and the lovely villages of Glenbeigh, Waterville and Sneem. Enjoy the serene beauty of Dingle and Kenmare Bays as well before departing Killarney.
Go on to Limerick and switch to coach transportation for exploring all the nooks and crannies of this historic city. Discover the hometown of some of Ireland’s best known sons and daughters, and visit the fully restored Bunratty Castle, which dates back to the 15th century. After a pub lunch, wander the Cliffs of Moher, with spectacular views over the Atlantic, and plenty more see on the way to Galway, Ireland’s most bohemian city. The following day, take a short flight to the Aran Islands. The fort of Dun Aonghusa is a highlight here, but the islands have a unique culture and language of their own that makes for a fascinating sightseeing day.
End your Ireland experience by exploring Connemara, arguably saving the best for last. Let the vivid colours of this unrivalled landscape inspire you, as they’ve inspired filmmakers and artists in the past, before taking lunch at an 18th century castle and gardens. You’ll also visit Derrygimlagh Bog, site of the crash that ended Alcock and Brown’s 1919 transatlantic flight. Then return to Galway, picking up any sights you’ve missed and enjoying some last minute shopping before boarding the train back to Dublin.
- 5 Days
- 5 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 1,480
Itinerary View Trip Map
Blarney Castle, Cobh and Killarney
Check-in for 7:00 AM departure from Dublin Heuston Station; please arrive 20 minutes prior to train departure time. Upon arrival, visit the Customer Service Desk at Heuston Station where your check-in representative will be waiting in a yellow jacket. Your departure station, Dublin Heuston, was opened in 1844 as the headquarters of the Great Southern & Western Railway and is now the official principal station of Iarnrod Eireann -- Ireland's national railway company.
As your train departs, we travel in a south westerly direction, passing Inchicore, railway engineering works and then some of Dublin's western suburbs -- soon we are in the lush fertile countryside of County Kildare, Ireland's Kentucky. Look out for the many stud farms near the track. The train passes through the town of Newbridge, home to the famous Newbridge Silverware.
We now enter the Curragh of Kildare, which soon comes into view on both sides of the line. The Curragh (pronounced: Curra) is famous for its racecourse, home of the Irish Derby. At this time of the morning you are likely to see some of Ireland's finest bloodstock being put through their paces. The Curragh is also the headquarters of the Irish army and their buildings can be seen in the distance to the east.
We pass the town of Kildare, and the Church of Ireland (Protestant) Cathedral of St. Brigid's -- completed in 1223 -- can be clearly seen to the south (left hand side when facing direction of travel). We cross the River Barrow at Monesterevin and enter Co. Laois.
Our train journey makes a stop at Portlaoise (pronounced: Port Leesh-eh). Departing Portlaoise, we soon enter Co. Tipperary and pass the town of Templemore. Shortly after, we pass Loughmoe Castle which can be clearly seen on the southern side of the train, built in the 15th century, the Purcell family lived there until 1760. The next stop is at the town of Thurles. At our next stop -- Limerick Junction -- a number of Railtours Ireland clients will be leaving the train for the Cliffs of Moher tour. Please remain on the train for the Cork, Blarney Castle and Cobh Heritage Day Tour! Our final stop before Cork is at the town of Mallow.
We arrive into Cork Kent Station for 9:35 AM and we transfer to our Railtours Ireland tour coach, passing through Cork City en route to Blarney Village and historic Blarney Castle & Gardens, built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy. You will have time to kiss the famous stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eternal eloquence on those lucky enough to do so. There is also time for shopping and lunch at Blarney and we recommend that you have lunch there, as this will be the only opportunity during the day to have a substantial meal.
We depart Blarney Castle for Cobh, via the city centre, taking in some of the city sights while en route to our next destination.
On arrival at Cobh, we will visit St. Colman's Cathedral. We will then proceed down along the sea front passing the former White Star Line offices en route to the beautifully restored Victorian railway station/transatlantic terminal. This is now the Cobh Heritage Centre, home to the Queenstown Story. The centre also houses much information about the Great Famine and subsequent Irish Emigration; 3 million Irish people emigrated from Cobh, (principally to the United States) including Annie Moore, whose statue is located in front of the heritage centre.
Depart Cobh by train to Killarney, where the rest of the evening is free. There is a large selection of cafes, restaurants and bars in Killarney town as well as many opportunities for live traditional Irish music and entertainment.
Ring of Kerry Tour
Enjoy your Full Irish Breakfast at leisure before departing on your Ring of Kerry tour. There are plenty of stops along the Ring of Kerry for morning tea, lunch and photo stops etc. Ireland's highest mountains are located in Kerry and Carrauntouhil, which can be seen en route, is the highest, standing at 1041 meters.
We will make a stop at the Kerry Bog Village Museum, which gives people an insight into how people lived and worked in rural Ireland in the 18th century. The village is the only one of its kind in Europe. Later on the approach to Waterville there are views (weather permitting) of the Skellig Rocks (islands), where Star Wars 'The Force Awakens' was recently filmed.
We will make several photo stops, a stop for lunch and one final stop at the pretty village of Sneem, for about 30 minutes, or as directed by your tour leader.
An essential part of any visit to Ireland, this tour circles the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks and runs through its many passes and valleys along the shores of Dingle Bay and Kenmare Bay. There is an unspoiled nature to Ireland's most beautiful region and the Ring of Kerry provides many unforgettable memories as it passes through the many picturesque villages such as Glenbeigh, Waterville and Sneem and returns via Ladies View, the famous Lakes of Killarney and through the Oakwoods of Killarney's magnificent National Park.
At the end of the tour you will be brought to Killarney for your second night.
Bunratty Castle, The Cliffs of Moher and Galway
Enjoy your full Irish Breakfast at Leisure. At 7:30 AM, depart Killarney by road to Limerick to join the Bunratty Castle and Cliffs of Moher Tour.
Arrive into Limerick where we will join our Railtours Ireland tour coach. Limerick has a population of about 90,000 and its city charter was granted in 1197AD, making it older than London! As we cross the river Shannon - Ireland's longest river - you will see views of King John's Castle to the right. The castle was completed in 1200 and marks the origins of the city.
Limerick's most famous author, Frank McCourt, grew up here and the city was the setting for his famous book Angela's Ashes. Limerick is also the birthplace of celebrated BBC radio DJ, Terry Wogan and Hollywood star, Richard Harris. We will pass the GAA grounds of Pairc na nGael--the home ground of County Limerick's Hurling and Gaelic Football teams. Limerick is also the home of Irish Rugby and we will pass Thomond Park, the Rugby stadium.
After a brief city tour we travel onto Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The castle was completed in 1425 and, after many years of neglect, has been restored to its former glory. There is also a folk park here which you will have time to explore.
After the visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk park we make our way to Co. Clare. There is a lunch stop at O'Connor's Pub in Doolin before arriving at the Cliffs of Moher, which are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. There is plenty of time to visit Ireland's second most popular tourist attraction and your host will advise you of the departure time. From here, we take the coast road for much of the way to Galway, with time for photos along the Burren. This is a national park and the word 'Burren' comes from the Irish language, meaning 'rocky place'. It is a unique lunar landscape of limestone which was described in 1649 by one of Oliver Cromwell's men as: "No tree to hang a man, no water deep enough to drown him and no soil deep enough to bury him". Today the Burren is noted for its diverse flora with few parallels elsewhere in Ireland or, indeed, Europe.
We continue along the coast road to Black Head, passing the quaint coastal villages of Ballyvaughan and Kinvara before joining the main road to Galway. At the end of the day the coach will set you down at Eyre Square, in the center of Galway City, adjacent to your hotel (and the railway station). You will be directed to your hotel by your host and your evening is free in Galway.
Connemara and Kylemore Abbey
Enjoy your full Irish breakfast at leisure. Depart Galway and our conducted tour of Connemara leaves Galway to the village of Moycullen. From Moycullen the road rises and falls towards the lovely village of Oughterard on the shores of Lough Corrib, traditionally regarded as Ireland's premier angling center. Now the gateway to Connemara opens, and the breathtaking colours of this unspoiled countryside are revealed in all their natural splendour.
At Maam Cross, the "Connemara Crossroads", there is a replica of the cottage used in the 1950s John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara film The Quiet Man, which was filmed here. From Maam Cross, our tour heads out to Leenane, Kylemore Abbey and Letterfrack, in the shadow of purple mountains rolling down to blue and green rocky valleys, reflecting the rich and varied colours of Connemara.
There is a lunch break at Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, a nineteenth-century castle now owned by the Benedictine nuns who run an excellent pottery, gift shop and restaurant here. Letterfrack is one of Ireland's major national parks. The colourful town of Clifden has been one of Irelands leading holiday resorts for generations. It is an excellent touring center beloved by the walker, the biker, the hiker or the fisherman. It was here too, at Derrygimlagh Bog, near Clifden that aviation history was made when Alcock and Brown crash landed after their historic transatlantic flight in 1919.
Back at Maam Cross again and the road turns southwards now through the Screeb, Costello and Rossaveal. Rossaveal is the departure point for ferryboats to the Aran Islands and is also a major fishing port. We are now in the Gaeltacht or Irish speaking area of Connemara where Gaeilge or Irish is still the everyday spoken language of a bilingual people.
Our tour of Connemara heads homewards towards Galway City now, along the shores of Galway bay, through the Gaeltacht villages of Inverin and Spiddal and looking out across the blue waters of the Atlantic at the unique limestone of the Burren and the hills of Clare. After your day's touring you will be returned to your Galway hotel.
Enjoy your full Irish Breakfast at Leisure. Depart Galway City for transfer to Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands. Irish is the spoken language on the Aran Islands, although the locals will be more than happy to speak to you in English. For many, the highlight of the tour is the formidable pre-Christian fort of Dun Aonghasa, with spectacular sea-cliffs on the western side and unspoilt views of the Atlantic Ocean. Transfer times may vary seasonally.
Notes on Aran: Your tour of Inis Mor includes stops at 'Seven Churches' (15 minutes), Dun Aonghusa (75 minutes) and Kilronan for lunch (45 minutes). After your tour of Inis Mor you will be transferred back to Galway Station. Upon arriving at Galway Station please present your Railtours Ireland ticket and travel pack at the ticket barrier and you will be directed to your reserved seats on the train, where your host will be waiting for you.
Depart Galway for Dublin Heuston Station at 19:20 PM. Returning to Dublin Heuston at 21:45 PM. Please note that depending on your day of departure, tours on Day 4 and Day 5 may be reversed.
Mondays February 6 to March 27
Mondays & Fridays April 3 to May 28
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Saturdays 1 June to September 30
Mondays & Fridays October 2 to 30
Mondays November 6 to December 25
- 2 nights in moderate accommodations in Killarney
- 2 nights in moderate accommodations in Galway
- Round-trip rail travel from Dublin
- Reserved seats on the train
- English-speaking host throughout
- Escorted coach travel where applicable
- Visitor Attraction Admissions to:
- Blarney Castle and Gardens
- Cobh Heritage Centre
- Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
- The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience
- Kylemore Abbey & Gardens
- Breakfast daily (excluding Day 1)
- Travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature
- International and domestic flights
- Transfers to and from the tour
- Meals not included as listed
- Optional touring
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.
11 Dec 2023