A TOUR OF SOUTHERN IRELAND INCLUDING 5 DAYS DRIVING THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY

STARTING IN DUBLIN DRIVING CLOCK-WISE AROUND THE COAST UP TO CO. GALWAY ON THE WEST COAST.

AT KINSALE, NEAR CORK, IN THE SOUTH WE JOIN THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY FOLLOWING THIS SCENIC COASTAL ROUTE TO CLIFDEN, CO GALWAY, IN THE WEST

Wild Atlantic Way logo Ireland, join us on Ireland car tourMap of Irish Counties.Ireland, join us on Ireland car tourWild Atlantic Way logo

 

 

THIS IS WHAT OUR CLIENTS THOUGHT ABOUT OUR 2017 IRELAND TOUR:

2017 IRELAND WILD ATLANTIC WAY TOUR

"All back to normal after our lovely trip with you and Karen. Thoroughly enjoyed it and we will definitely go back to Ireland"

Bev and Ian: St.Albans, Hert's: Aston Martin Rapide: ( repeat clients, 6th tour )


"We loved our trip, the scenery was glorious, the food delicious, the hotels sumptuous, the driving sometimes hairy, and the company most congenial. Couldn't have been better, and the birthday treats cool. We have a marvellous time."

Ian and Janet: Mercedes SLC350: ( repeat clients, 4th tour )

"We both wanted to send a big thank you for a really great adventure through the best of southern Ireland We both had a great time - the route, the people, the hotels and the food, all first rate."

Anthony and Ros: Porsche 356: ( new clients )

 

 

DATES: JULY 16th-26th ( 11 DAYS/ 10 NIGHTS)

COST per person: €TBC based on 2 people sharing a car and hotel bedroom

The fees are payable in euros due to the uncertainty of £sterling to euros conversion rates.

The costs, per person, are based on two people per car sharing a hotel bedroom and include the following:

 

Tour summary

An 11 day tour of Ireland incorporating 5 days driving the "Wild Atlantic Way" a tourism trail on the west coast of Ireland.

Wild Atlantic Way logo

The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2,500 km (1,553 miles) driving route passes through nine counties and three provinces stretching from Kinsale in County Cork, in the south to County Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula in the north. Along the route there are places and attractions which have been designated as points of interest for travellers.

Our route incorporates five days following the Wild Atlantic Way from Kinsale in the south near Cork up to Galway and beyond.

Our tour starts with a late morning car ferry from Holyhead in north Wales to Dublin Port. Our hotel, 15 miles from Dublin in the countryside, is the Palladium styled Powerscourt Hotel. On our second day we visit Powerscourt House and gardens followed by the impressive waterfall and then drive through the Wicklow mountains to Glendalough, our lunch stop, where we visit the 6th century monastery ruins. After lunch we visit the romantic Mount Usher gardens before arriving at our charming hotel in the countryside west of Avoca. The following day we visit one of Ireland's few surviving and working woolen mills at Avoca before continuing south to Wexford where we visit the Irish National Heritage Park. Our route then takes us to our next hotel just a few miles south east of Waterford.The following morning we visit Waterford, famous for its glass-making, then continue west towards Cork where we visit the Jameson Whiskey Heritage Centre followed by Blarney Castle before we arrive at our hotel, just south of Cork, in Kinsale. The following day we start to drive the Wild Atlantic Way which we follow for the next 5 days. Heading west we stop to visit the Stromberg Stone Circle then across the Sheep's Head peninsula stopping to visit Bantry House and gardens then around the Beara penisula to Kenmare to our hotel overlooking the sea at Parknasilla. The next morning we drive around the majestic Ring of Kerry on the Iveragh Peninsula famous for its vistas of sea and mountains. Eventually our route takes us over Moll's Gap up to Killarney where we visit Muckross House and gardens before arriving at our hotel overlooking the lake. The next day continue around the Dingle Peninsula an ancient landscape dotted with early Christian churches, monastic settlements and Neolithic structures.Leaving the Dingle peninsula and the coast we continue drive north east up to Adare one of Ireland's prettiest villages where our hotel, an ancient coaching inn, is based. The next morning we take the 15 minute car ferry across the Shannon river into County Clare where we drive north up the coast along the Cliffs of Moher one of Ireland's most remarkable natural features where the limestone plateau of the Burren plunges 1,000 ft into the seas.Here we visit the Cliffs of Moher Experience a state of the art visitor centre.We then continue across the Burren, a vast limestone plateau through Galway to Connemara where our hotel is located on the pretty coastline.The following day we explore this beautiful mountainous region with its lakes driving north-west to Roundstone, a pretty fishing port and our lunch stop. Our afternoon coffee stop is Kylemore Abbey and Gardens after which it's a scenic drive through the mountains and alongside lakes to our hotel, for the next two nights, on Lough Inagh 40 miles north-west of Galway. The following day there is an opportunity to relax and enjoy the ambiance of our hotel alternatively you can enjoy a leisurely tour in the immediate lake and mountain region before returning to our hotel to celebrate our last night in Ireland.The following day, the 11th day of the tour, we take the motorway east to Dublin to catch an early afternoon ferry back to Holyhead.

 

DRAFT ITINERARY

Day 1 Monday July 16th Irish Ferries, Swift car ferry from Holyhead, North Wales, to Dublin Port then Dublin to Powerscourt, ( 15 miles )

We take the 11.50 fast Swift car ferry from Holyhead to Dublin Port which arrives at 13.40.

Jonathan Swift crossing the Irish Sea

Click here for a virtual tour of the Dublin Swift

We are booked in to the Club Class lounge where you have your own dedicated seats with complimentary beverages and newspapers.

Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

From Dublin Port it's then a pleasant 15 mile drive south-east to our 5 star Palladium style hotel, Powerscourt Resort and Spa, which is located in the countryside next to Powerscourt House and gardens.

Powerscourt Spa Hotel

The hotel is set in scenic countryside with views over the Sugar Loaf mountain, see photo below:

The view from the Powerscourt  hotel

For a virtual tour of the hotel, click here:

After checking into the hotel we visit Powerscourt House and Gardens which is often described as one of the most superb gardens in Europe.

 Powerscourt House and Gardens.Join us on our Ireland car tour Powerscourt House and Gardens.Join us on our Ireland car tourPowerscourt House and Gardens.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Powerscourt House and Gardens.Join us on our Ireland car tour Powerscourt House and Gardens.Join us on our Ireland car tour  Powerscourt House and Gardens.Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

 

There should be ample time to enjoy the Spa facilities or to enjoy a walk along the river.

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's restaurant:

Powerscourt Resort hotel

 

 

Day 2 Tuesday, July 17th  Powerscourt to Macreddin Village ( 77 miles )

In the morning we visit the nearby Powerscourt waterfall which is Ireland's highest waterfall at 400ft cascading down into the river Dargle, see photo below:

Powerscourt waterfall

 

We then drive into the Wicklow Mountains and over the Sally Gap.

Sally Gap.Join us on our Ireland car tourSally Gap.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Our lunch stop is Glendalough, a monastic settlement founded in the 6th century and, after lunch, we visit the ruined monastery, see photos below:

Glendalough.Join us on our Ireland car tourGlendalough.Join us on our Ireland car tour Glendalough.Join us on our Ireland car tour

In the afternoon our coffee stop is the Mount Usher Gardens, romantic riverside gardens on the site of a mill, with seasonal flowers, a cafe and shopping area, see photos below:

Mount Usher gardensMount Usher gardensMount Usher gardens

We then head west back into the Wicklow mountains to Macreddin where our charming hotel, Brooklodge and Macreddin Village, is set in the countryside overlooking a river, see photos below:

Brooklodge Resort Hotel at Macreddiin Village

There should be ample time to enjoy the hotel's spa facilities, see photos below:

Brooklodge Resort Hotel at Macreddiin Village

Brooklodge is Ireland's only luxury bio hotel and tonight we can experience a delightful dinner in the hotel's restaurant the only certified organic restaurant in Ireland, with a daily changing menu that reflects the seasons, and featuring the freshest organic and wild foods, many grown to order on nearby organic farms, or foraged by the hotels chefs and full time food forager, on the lanes and in the fields and woods surrounding Macreddin.

Winner of the Best Leinster Restaurant 2010 and 2014.

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's restaurant.

Brooklodge Resort Hotel at Macreddiin Village

Day 3 - Wednesday, July 18th Macreddin to Arthurstown, Waterford ( 90 miles )

We leave our hotel and drive a few miles west to Avoca, see photos below:

Avoca .Join us on our Ireland car tourThe Wicklow Gap.Join us on our Ireland car tour Avoca.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Avoca is the location of Ireland's oldest weaving mill founded in 1723 and which is still working and this is our our morning coffee stop:

Avoca Mill Avoca Mill Avoca Mill

We then head south to Wexford where we visit the Irish National Heritage Park, see photos below:

Wexford, the Irish National Heritage Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour Wexford, the Irish National Heritage Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour Wexford, the Irish National Heritage Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Wexford, the Irish National Heritage Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour Wexford, the Irish National Heritage Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour Wexford, the Irish National Heritage Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour

We then continue west towards Waterford visiting Tintern Abbey before arriving at our hotel, Dunbrody Country House, just a few miles east of Waterford.

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's restaurant.

Day 4 - Thursday, July 19th Waterford to Kinsale ( 160 miles )

We leave our hotel and head for Waterford, our morning coffee stop, where we visit the world famous Waterford glass shop and museum:

Waterford

Our route then takes us down to the coast to Tramore a popular holiday resort and the start of the Copper Coast an area known for its copper mining in the 19th century.We then continue via Annestown to Bunmahon passing unspoiled beaches coves and grassy headlands.

 

At Bunmahon there is a Geological Garden where we stop to learn about the local volcanic and sedimentary rock that remains after two continents collided creating Ireland.

Bunmahon Geological garden

We then continue to Dungarvan an old market town set around a large harbour where the ancient port retains walls and towers from the 12th century. For centuries it was protected  by an Anglo Norman castle dating back to 1186.We then continue south-west to Yougal, our lunch stop,where there is a 5 miles beach of golden sands.It is said that Sir Walter Raleigh planted his first Irish potato here in 1585.

Yougal YougalYougal

After lunch we drive to Ballycotton a quiet fishing village overlooking a pretty island

.Ballycotton

 

There is a marshland bird sanctuary here and around 300 species of birds visit Ballycotton during the year:

Ballycotton bird sanctuary

We then drive approximately 10 miles north to Middleton to visit our lunch stop the Jameson Whiskey Heritage Centre

Jameson Whiskey Heritage Centre, Midleton,Cork

 

 

Jameson Whiskey Heritage Centre, Midleton,Cork Jameson Whiskey Heritage Centre, Midleton,Cork Jameson Whiskey Heritage Centre, Midleton,Cork

We then drive to Cork where, just a couple of miles west, we visit the world famous Blarney Castle where there is an opportunity to "kiss the Blarney stone".

Blarney Castle.Join us on our Ireland car tour Blarney Castle.Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

Our hotel overlooks the harbour in Kinsale, 20 miles south of Cork

Kinsale.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's restaurant.

 

 

Day 5 - Friday, July 20th Kinsale to Sneem ( 90 miles )

Our morning route strarts in Kinsale which is where the Wild Atlantic Way starts.

 

Wild Atlantic Way logo

The Wild Atlantic Way is a tourism trail on the west coast of Ireland.The 2,500 km (1,553 miles) driving route passes through nine counties and three provinces stretching in the south from Kinsale in County Cork to County Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula in the north. Along the route there are places and attractions which have been designated as points of interest for travellers.

Over the next five days we will be following the Atlantic Way route north up to Co.Galway.The route is well signposted with the WAW logo.

Our route initially takes us south-west to Timoleague where we stop to admire the abbey, see photo below:

Timoleague.Join us on our Ireland car tour

We then continue to Clonakilty a delightful heritage town with colourful and traditional shop fronts whose hand painted old-style  signs reveal their contents:

Clonakilty Clonakilty Clonakilty

Continuing west we stop to visit the Dromberg stone circle:

Drombeg Stone Circle.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Known locally as the Druid's Altar this circle of 13 pillar stones, ( originally 17 stones ), dates back to 900BC. During excavations in the 1950s a pot containing the cremated remains of a young woman was found in the centre dating from 150BC

We then continue to Skibbereen, our lunch stop and Ireland’s most southerly town where the Heritage Centre with its exhibitions relate the tragic Great Famine.

Skibereen.Join us on our Ireland car tourSkibereen.Join us on our Ireland car tour

We then continue along the Wild Atlantic Way across the Mizen Head peninsula to Bantry a large market town and fishing port where our afternoon coffee stop is Bantry House and Gardens, a Georgian stately home with impressive gardens and outstanding bay views, see photo below:

Bantry House.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Here there are two woodland walks, a walled garden and a tea room.The former stable block houses a fascinating exhibition on the failed attempt by the French Armada to invade Ireland via Bantry Bay in 1796.

We then drive around Bantry Bay to Glengarrif:

Glengarrif.Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

We then drive across the Beara peninsula and over the Healy Pass:

Healy Pass.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Our route then takes us via Kenmare to Sneem on the coast where our hotel is located.

Parknasilla Resort and Spa Hotel

Parknasilla Resort and Spa Hotel

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's restaurant overlooking the sea

 

 

Day 6 - Saturday, July 21st Sneem to Killarney incorporating a tour of the Ring of Kerry ( 90 miles ) Wild Atlantic Way

Today we drive the Ring of Kerry across the Iveragh Peninsula a scenic route with wonderful coastal and mountain scenery.

 

Sneem

Our route starts in Sneem a pretty village built around a village green where there is a statue to Steve "Crusher" Casey a local man and world champion wrestler.

Sneem

 

Our scenic route takes us clock-wise around the peninsula

Ring of Kerry.Join us on our Ireland car tour Dingle-peninsula-county-kerry.Join us on our Ireland car tour Ring of Kerry .Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

We eventually arrive in Glenburgh in the north where we turn inland and drive on a narrow road which makes its way up in the shadow of the Magillicuddy Reeks, ( the highest mountain range in Ireland), to Ballaghbeama Gap where on a clear day there are sweeping views across the windswept landscape.

 

The mountains of Macgilycuddy’s Reeks.Join us on our Ireland car tour

We then drive to Kenmare and over Molls Gap.

We continue on this mountain road to Ladies View where we stop to take photos of the stunning view, see photos below:

Moll's Gap.Join us on our Ireland car tourLadies View, Killarney

 

Next we drop down to Killarney Lake where we visit Muckross House a fine Victorian residence completed in 1843 by Scottish architect William Burn.

Muckross House.Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

Muckross House.Join us on our Ireland car tourMuckross House.Join us on our Ireland car tour

In 1861 Queen Victoria stayed there as a guest of the Herbert family who landscaped the gardens in her honour.

Muckross House.Join us on our Ireland car tour Muckross House.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Muckross House.Join us on our Ireland car tour

We then continue along the lake for two miles to our hotel in Killarney on the lake.

The Lake Hotel, Killarney

Lake Hotel Killarney

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's restaurant.

Lake Hotel Killarney

 

Day 7 - Sunday, July 22nd Killarney to Adare, Co.Limerick ( 170 miles ) Wild Atlantic Way

Leaving Killarney we head north-west to Castlemaine where we head down to the Dingle Peninsula which,of the 5 peninsulas, is arguably the connoisseur's choice.Our route takes us through an ancient landscape dotted with remnants of early Christian churches, monastic settlements and Neolithic structures on the most westerly landscape in Europe.

Inch Point was the setting for the 1970 film Ryan's Daughter and in the bay there are often sea otters, seals and dolphins.

Dingle, our morning coffee stop, is Europe's westernmost town and is charming with brightly painted houses, traditional shop fronts and narrow streets all of which run down to the harbour, see photos below:

DingleDingleDingle

We then continue along the Dingle Peninsula passing Dunbeg Fort an iron age fortress with walls 23ft thick.Continuing towards Slea Head is the first set of clochans or beehive huts which are pre-historic dwellings constructed in unmortered stone.Eventually we arrive at Slea Head the westernmost point in Europe where there are exhilarating views across Dingle Bay.

 

Dingle-peninsula.Join us on our Ireland car tour Slea head.Join us on our Ireland car tour Slea Head.Join us on our Ireland car tour

We then head to Stradbally over the Connor Pass, Ireland's highest route, winding its way to the 460metres, (1,500 ft ) summit where, on a clear day, there is one of the most scenic views in Ireland with sea, lakes and boulderstrewn valleys.

 

Connor Pass.Join us on our Ireland car tour Connor Pass.Join us on our Ireland car tour Connor Pass.Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

We then drive north-east to Tralee and drive over the mountains to Adare in Co. Limerick.

Adare.Join us on our Ireland car tourAdare.Join us on our Ireland car tour Adare.Join us on our Ireland car tour

With its thatched cottages and spruce green Adare is one of Ireland’s prettiest villages beautified by the third Earl of Dunraven an improving landlord with a desire to create a bucolic haven incorporating early Irish architecture. Adare also has an array of medieval buildings including three monasteries and Desmond Castle.

Our hotel, the Dunraven Arms, is based in the centre of Adare and is an ancient coaching inn with an international reputation.

Dunraven Arms hotel, Adare

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's famous restaurant.

 

Day 8 - Monday, July 23rd Adare to Cashel, near Roundstone, Co. Galway ( 175 miles ) Wild Atlantic Way

We leave Adare and drive north -west to Foynes on the Shannon estuary then we head west to Tarbert along one of the best riverside drives in Europe to Tarbert where we catch the 15 minute car ferry across the Shannon to Killimer in County Clare.

Our morning coffee stop is Kilrush a designated Heritage Town based on its strong maritime traditions.

Wild Atlantic Way Kilrush Kilrush Wild Atlantic Way

Here we can visit the Vandeleur Walled Garden once part of Kilrush House seat of the Vandeleur family. Although the house was demolished in 1973 the gardens were restored to their former glory in the 1990s and are now noted for their tropical plants.

Vandeleur Gardens Vandeleur Gardens Vandeleur Gardens

 

Then we drive north, hugging the coastline along the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most remarkable natural features where the limestone plateau of the Burren plunges 300 metres ( 1,000ft) into the sea. We stop at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre where there is a state-of-the-art display explaining the phenomena.

The cliffs of Moher.Join us on our Ireland car tourThe cliffs of Moher.Join us on our Ireland car tour

 

Further north is the Burren National Park, a massive plateau of limestone, which covers the whole of north-west Clare.Translated as "the stone district" this area is covered with huge flagstones called flints broken by deep fissures called grikes through which millenia of rainfall have drained to form underground caves and rivers.

Burren National Park.Join us on our Ireland car tourBurren National Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour Burren National Park.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Our route then takes us via Ballyvaughan to Galway situated on a narrow neck of land between Galway Bay and Lough Corrib.

Galway

Galway is the fastest growing city in Europe yet still retains a village atmosphere with its historic pubs and painted shop fronts.It is also the place where Irish is most widely spoken.

Galway Galway

 

We then continue along the picturesque coast towards Roundstone through Cashel to our country house hotel overlooking Bertraghboy Bay, see photos below:

Cashel House Hotel

Built in the 19th century this gracious country home was converted to a family run four star hotel in 1968 by the McEvilly family.

Situated in the heart of Connemara and nestling in the peaceful surroundings of 50 acres of gardens and woodland walks this little bit of paradise overlooks the picturesque bay.

Cashel House Hotel

Dinner tonight is in the hotel's restaurant.

 

Day 9 - Tuesday, July 24th Cashel to Lough Inagh ( via Roundstone, Clifden and Letterfrack )( 60 miles ) Wild Atlantic Way

Today we enjoy a circular drive of Connemara and Co Galway with its beautiful coastal roads, panoramic views, rivers, lakes and endless stone walls.

Our route follows the Wild Atlantic Way west along the coast from Cashel to Toombeola and then to Roundstone.

Roundstone is the most picturesque village on the Connemara coast and is perched high above the fishing harbour looking out over  the island studied Bertraghboy Bay.In the distance are the twelve Bens and Maumturks. Roundstone's vibrant culture has attracted craftsmen and artists and in summer the village hosts a regatta of traditional Galway hookers.

RoundstoneRoundtone

We then continue along the Wild Atlantic Way through Clifden to Letterfrack

Clifden.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Our lunch stop is Kylemore Abbey and Gardens near Letterfrack.

Kylemore Abbey and gardens

Kylemore Abbey and gardens Kylemore Abbey and gardens

The abbey, which was built in the 19th century, is located on Lake Pollacappull and since 1922 has been home to a semi-enclosed order of Benedictine nuns.Part of the abbey is open to the public but the biggest attraction is the walled garden  laid out in 1860 with 21 glass houses, see photos below:

Kylemore Abbey gardens Kylemore Abbey gardens

Kylemore Abbey gardens Kylemore Abbey gardens

After Kylemore Abbey we take the scenic road to Lough Inagh where our country house hotel for the next two nights, Lough Inagh Lodge, is located in splendid isolation facing Lough Inagh, see photos below:

 

 Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel

 Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel

 

Set in spectacular scenery, in the heart of Connemara Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel rests on the shores of Lough Inagh, one of Connemara's most spectacular lakes. The Lodge is surrounded by the majestic Mam Turks and spectacular Twelve Bens mountain ranges on all sides.

                                                                                Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel

                                                                              Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel

 

This boutique hotel occupies an elegant fishing lodge dating to 1880 and the colourful rooms are individually appointed with refined, traditional furnishings.

 

Dinner tonight is offered in the hotel's elegant restaurant with an oak-panelled bar

 Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel  Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel  Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel

Connemara.Join us on our Ireland car tourConnemara.Join us on our Ireland car tour

Connemara.Join us on our Ireland car tour

There should be ample time for a drink on the terrace overlooking Lough Inagh

Dinner, tonight, is in the hotel's restaurant.

 

Day 10 - Wednesday, July 25th A day relaxing in Connemara ( 50 miles )

Today you can enjoy relaxing in this beautiful setting.

There is an option to enjoy morning coffee or lunch at the nearby Ballynahinch Castle, see photo below:

Ballynahinch Castle

Ballynahinch enjoys a romantic setting on the river and is an idyllic retreat encapsulating the spirit of Ireland with its traditional Irish bar.

Ballynahinch Castle

 

Afterwards you can enjoy a relaxing local drive among the local lakes and mountains in the region.

Then return to our hotel Lough Inagh

Dinner tonight, the last night of the tour, is in the hotel's restaurant.

 

 

Day 11 - Thursday, July 26th Lough Inagh to Dublin Port ( 175 miles )

We leave Co.Gallway behind us and head for Dublin Port where we are booked on the 14.30 Swift ferry.

Jonathan Swift crossing the Irish Sea

We are booked in the Club Class lounge where you have your own dedicated seats with complimentary beverages and newspapers.

Click here for a virtual tour of the Dublin Swift

 

 

Our ferry arrives in Holyhead at 16.30. and you are free to make your own way home !

 


 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                      

 

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