Tour Inclusions and Important Information
• Airport transfers on days 2 and 11
• Twin-bedded rooms in hotels listed or similar; hotel taxes, service charges and tip
for baggage handling
• Services of a professional Irish Driver/Guide
• 9 breakfasts (B), 1 lunch (L), and 6 three-course dinners with choice of entrée and
coffee or tea (D), including a Farewell Dinner (FD)
• Private luxury motor coach with air conditioning, reclining seats, and emergency
• 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, and Irish welcome gift bag, collectible pin, eco-friendly
Dublin : Davenport Hotel – first class
Donegal : Lough Eske Castle Hotel – deluxe
Connemara : Ballynachinch Castle Hotel – first class
Killarney : The Malton – superior first class
Kilkenny : Lyrath Estate – first class
Dublin : Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel – first class
Airfares (unless you purchase a land & air package), air-related taxes and fees (these are stated separately for land & air packages), baggage charges collected at check-in, passport and visa fees, insurances of all kinds, laundry, phone calls, beverages, meals not detailed in the itinerary, tips to Tour and Cruise Directors, motor coach drivers and local guides/hosts, items of a personal nature, excess baggage, optional excursions, etc. The tour price also does not cover costs and expenses, including the return to your home, if you leave the tour at your own volition, or due to illness, or as a consequence of official action by the government of any country visited. Any domestic and international departure or arrival taxes, security charges, and other types of taxes or charges imposed by airlines, airports, governments, etc. are not included in the tour, cruise or safari price. Any additional fees charged by the airlines, such as baggage, seat selections and/or any other services are the sole responsibility of the passenger(s).
Porterage for one suitcase on Escorted Vacations is included. Airport porterage at the beginning and end of the vacation is not included. Due to limited coach capacity, this bag should have dimensions not exceeding 30” x 18” x 10” and weight not exceeding 50 lbs. Brendan regrets that they are unable to accept a second suitcase, or any luggage exceeding these limits on most tours, cruises or safaris. Where a second suitcase is accepted, a per day charge will be collected by your Tour Director. Wheeled carry-ons are not allowed on motor coaches.
U.S. citizens must have a valid passport, valid for at least 6 months after date of return to the U.S. It is the responsibility of each passenger to ensure they have a valid machine-readable passport. Non-U.S. citizens must also have a valid passport and must consult with the appropriate consulates to determine if any visas are needed. For more information, please refer to www.BrendanVacations.com/PassportandVisa
Daytime temperatures in September average in the high 50s (F), dropping into the mid 40s at night. It's advised to dress in layers for maximum comfort and carry gloves, hats, coats, sweaters, and jackets. Rain gear and umbrellas are a must as the weather is very changeable
This tour requires that all participants be able to get on/off the motor coach multiple times unassisted, and be on your feet walking for extended periods of time (at least 20 minutes). See note on the Hike – Day 8 – in the itinerary.
Travel Protection or Travel Insurance is highly recommended
Cancel 45+ days prior to departure: Full deposit is charged
Cancel 44-22 days prior to departure: 25% of total price is charged
Cancel 21-8 days prior to departure: 30% of total price is charged
Cancel 7-1 day(s) prior to departure: 50% of total price is charged
Cancel on departure Day or later: 100% of total price is charged
NOTE: Additional penalties may apply from certain hotels and service providers. Additional fees will apply for any air tickets already issued.
Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended
DAY 1 – Sept. 1, 2011 - Depart USA*
Board your overnight transatlantic flight.
DAY 2 – Sept. 2, 2011 - Arrive in Dublin, Ireland
Welcome to Dublin! Relax for the afternoon or take a trip along Dublin Bay to visit Malahide Castle, one of the oldest and most historic castles in Ireland. It dates back to the 12th century, when the “lands and harbour of Malahide” were granted to Richard Talbot. It remained the Talbot family home from 1185 until 1975. Today, the castle is reputed to be the home to no less than 5 ghosts! This evening, savor a Welcome Dinner and get-together with your traveling companions. (D)
DAY 3 – Sept. 3, 2011 - Tour Historic Dublin
Join your local guide for a walking tour of Dublin’s Fair City. Travel through narrow lane ways to the courtyards of historic Dublin Castle. On to explore hidden streets and passageways, finding period buildings, the more modern city, ruins of medieval towers and walls and the remnants of vast archaeological finds. See the River Liffey, where the Norse longboats sailed over 1,000 years ago, then follow in Handel’s footsteps and see the site where his Messiah was first performed. Finally, stop at the Guinness Storehouse for lunch and to discover what goes into making a pint of Guinness. Hear how it has traveled to 150 countries and how the famous brew has been advertised over the years. The journey ends on the roof in the Gravity Bar with a pint. The balance of the day is at leisure. (B,L)
DAY 4 – Sept. 4, 2011 - Dublin / Donegal
Cross the midlands to Ireland’s Lakelands. Board a waterbus for a two-hour cruise on the lower lough, stopping at Devenish Island. The island contains the ruins of a monastery founded by St. Molaise in the 6th century. Afterward, travel to Donegal and enjoy a warm welcome at 17th-century Lough Eske Castle Hotel. Set on the banks of Lough Eske near the fabled Blue Stack Mountains, this luxurious castle hotel offers elegance, graciously-appointed rooms and superb service. Enjoy dinner and the castle’s amenities this evening. (B,D)
DAY 5 – Sept. 5, 2011 - Donegal / Ballynahinch Castle
After a leisurely breakfast and a stroll through the castle grounds, head south to Westport. Unique and charming, this heritage town is a blend of the traditional and the modern. Take a walk along the tree-lined Mall with its stately Georgian buildings and stone bridges over the Carrow beg River. Cross the river to Bridge Street, a cheerful mix of traditional shops and pubs. Later, continue through Connemara’s landscape of rocky mountains, sparkling brooks and rushing rivers to Ballynahinch Castle. This lovely castle hotel rests on 450 acres of woodlands at the base of the Twelve Ben Mountains. (B,D)
DAY 6 – Sept. 6, 2011 - Inishbofin Island Excursion
Your first stop is in the town of Clifden. There is time to explore before a breathtaking drive along the Sky Road to Cleggan. Here, board a ferry bound for Inishbofin Island, one of the most westerly islands off the Irish coastline. The island boasts magnificent scenery from green hills to white sandy beaches and an abundance of rare flora and fauna. There is time to wander along the dirt roads, admiring the splendid views and watching for birds. (B,D)
DAY 7 – Sept. 7, 2011 - Ballynahinch Castle / Killarney
Head to Galway for a walking tour and a visit to Galway Cathedral. Then see the Spanish Arches and learn the story of the Claddagh, traditionally given as a token of love or worn as a wedding ring. On to see the Cliffs of Moher, rising approximately 700 feet above the Atlantic. Later, cross the Shannon estuary by ferry and travel on to the lively town of Killarney. (B,D)
DAY 8 – Sept. 8, 2011 - Ring of Kerry Excursion
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 breath taking beyond words. Stopping at Torc Waterfall for photos, there is a chance to join a leisurely hike with a qualified guide. You will walk along the lakeshore and past the farmlands of the Muckross Estate, admiring the spectacular scenery. Continue by West Meadow Bay and visit Muckross Abbey. For those who do not want to join the hike, the coach will return you to Killarney. The balance of the day is at leisure. (B)
NOTE: The hike travels over wooded paths and lakeshore trails. While there are no mountains to climb, walkers need to be fit, have good walking shoes, sunscreen and rain gear.
DAY 9 – Sept. 9, 2011 - Killarney / Kilkenny
Your first stop this morning is at the Old Midleton Distillery, home of Jameson Irish whiskey. See the Distillers cottage, giant waterwheel and the largest pot still in the world. Visit the Old Cooperage and then complete the experience in the best way possible, with a whiskey tasting session in the Jameson Bar. On to Kilkenny and meet your local guide for a walking tour of this great medieval city. Continue to Lyrath Estate, set amid 170 acres of park land on the edge of the town. Relax and enjoy the amenities of your beautiful hotel, or make the ten-minute stroll back to Kilkenny. (B)
DAY 10 – Sept. 10, 2011 - Kilkenny / Dublin
Imposing Kilkenny Castle was built in the early 13th century for the Earl of Pembroke. A guided tour brings its history to life. The castle was the principal seat of the Butler family for nearly 600 years, from the late 14th century until 1967. Today the castle has been restored and shows off many different architectural styles, from its early days through a modern conference center. The central block now includes a library, drawing room, and bedrooms decorated in 1830s splendor, as well as the beautiful Long Gallery. Return to Dublin and relish a Farewell Dinner with new friends at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel. (B,FD)
DAY 11 – Sept. 11, 2011 - Depart Dublin
Transfer to the airport for your flight, arriving home the same day. (B)