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The Royal Atlantic Ireland Tour by Rail & Coach: Dublin to Dublin

Duration
5 Days
Prices:
On request

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.


 

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Duration
5 Days
Prices:
On request

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Blarney Castle, Cobh and Killarney hide

An early morning departure from Dublin. Heuston Station opened in 1844 as the headquarters of the Great Southern & Western Railway and is now the official principal station of Iarnród Éireann, Ireland’s national railway company. As your train departs, we travel in a south-westerly direction, through Dublin's western suburbs and then through the lush fertile countryside of Co. Kildare. Our journey takes us through the Curragh which is famous for its racecourse, home of the Irish Derby, and there are many stud farms in the vicinity. The final approach to Cork station is through Ireland's longest railway tunnel, which is a rather modest 1.2km.

Arrive into Cork Kent Station, we transfer to our Railtours Ireland tour coach through Cork City to Blarney Village and historic Blarney Castle, built in 1446 by Dermot Mc Carthy. 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.

Depart Blarney Castle. for Cóbh, via the city centre and a short city tour. Cork’s population is approximately 150,000 (Ireland’s 3rd largest city after Dublin and Belfast) and is the only city centre in Ireland that actually stands on an island, the River Lee divides and rejoins and either end of the city centre. It is also home to Murphy’s and Beamish, the Southern Capital’s rival to Guinness.

On arrival at Cóbh 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 Cóbh Heritage Centre, home to the Queenstown Story. When Queen Victoria visited Ireland in 1849 she came to Cóbh and the town was renamed Queenstown in her honour –it was renamed Cóbh after Irish independence in 1922. Cóbh was, of course, the final port of call of the RMS Titanic and this theme is well expounded. The centre also houses much information about the Great Famine and subsequent Irish Emigration, 3 million Irish people emigrated from Cóbh, (principally to the United States) including Annie Moore, whose statue is located in front of the heritage centre. The Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Cork –marking the United States’ entry to the First World War and the small number of survivors were brought to Cóbh for refuge. Cóbh is also the headquarters of the Irish Navy and you will most likely see some navy ships.

Depart Cóbh by train to Killarney. Once you arrive in Killarney you will have the rest of the evening free and there is a large selection of cafés, restaurants and bars in Killarney town as well as many opportunities for live traditional Irish music entertainment.

Visitor Attraction Admissions included: Blarney Castle and Gardens & Cóbh Heritage Centre.

Overnight Stay: Killarney City Centre
Free Upgrade to 4* Hotel in Killarney subject to availability

Day 2

Ring Of Kerry Tour hide

After breakfast, you will be collected from your accommodation (or as directed by our Killarney representative) for 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. It is the highest, standing at 1041 metres. 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. 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 unspoilt 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.
Evening free in Killarney

Overnight Stay: Killarney City Centre
Free Upgrade to 4* Hotel in Killarney subject to availability

Day 3

Bunratty Castle & The Cliffs of Moher

Enjoy your full Irish Breakfast and we will depart Killarney by road early in the morning 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 which is 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 Mc Court, grew up here and was the setting for his 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 Páirc 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 on to 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, 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, it means ‘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 centre 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.

Visitor Attraction Admissions included: Bunratty Castle and Folk Park & The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience

Overnight Stay: Galway City Centre

Day 4

Aran Islands by Plane hide

After breakfast we depart via the Aer Arran mini-coach for transfer to Connemara Airport for your short flight to Inis Mór. 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 Dún Aonghusa, with spectacular sea-cliffs on the western side and unspoilt views of the Atlantic Ocean. Flight times may vary occasionally to cater for the numbers flying.

Notes on Aran: Your tour of Inis Mór begins and ends at the island's airport and includes stops at 'Seven Churches' (15 minutes), Dún Aonghusa (75 minutes) and Kilronan for lunch (45 minutes).

Overnight Stay: Galway City Centre

Day 5

Connemara and Kylemore Abbey hide

Depart Galway and enjoy our tour of Connemara towards 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 centre. Now the gateway to Connemara opens, and the breathtaking colours of this unspoilt countryside are revealed in all their natural splendour. At Maam Cross, the Connemara "crossroads", there is a replica of the cottage used in the 1950's 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, an 18th-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 centre 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's 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 ferry boats to the Aran Islands and is also a major fishing port. We are now in the Gaeltacht or Irish-speaking area of Connemara where Gaelic 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 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 you host will be waiting for you.

Depart Galway for Dublin Heuston Station

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2017: Daily except Friday and Sunday
Black out dates include:15 March, 17 March- St Patrick’s Day, 23 December to the 1st of January and 15 to 29 January (inclusive).

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Return Rail Travel
  • Reserved Seats on the train
  • Irish Host throughout
  • Visitor Attraction Admissions listed in itinerary
  • Escorted Coach
  • 2 Nights Killarney B+B / Free Upgrade to 4* Hotel
  • 2 Nights Galway / 3*/4* Hotel
  • Full Irish Breakfast

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare and airfare taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Pre and post accommodation 
  • Meals & beverages not specifically indicated in the itinerary 
  • Items of a personal nature

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.


2 Dec 2017
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