Emerald Ireland Experience
Self Drive Tour or Luxury Chauffeured Tour
Discover the rich heritage and culture of Ireland. Experience the energy of cosmopolitan Dublin, before heading south and west, and a slower pace in the country, for traditional music, food and stunning landscapes.
"Everything was just perfect. We truly had a wonderful trip and are grateful for your services.”– Jenny Popp
Enjoy the bustling city life in historic Dublin, and take in everything this magical city has to offer. Then spend time exploring the quiet beauty of the countryside. Explore Bunratty Castle, the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Experience culture, adventure, and true Irish hospitality, while staying at superior accommodations and eating delicious and traditional Irish cuisine.
Enjoy the ‘Galway Sessions’ if you’re in Ireland in June. Experience what 'trad' music is all about, joining in and having the craic (fun). Choose the recommended extension of staying in a real Irish castle. Let the Irish locals here at Destinations customize your dream vacation!
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
- Arrive in Dublin, Ireland
- Explore the city of Dublin, visiting Temple Bar, St. Stephen’s Green, and The Guinness Storehouse
- Tour County Wicklow.
- Visit the medieval city of Kilkenny.
- Explore County Cork and visit the seaside town of Kinsale
- Stay in Killarney
- Tour the Ring of Kerry
- Visit Adare & Bunratty Castle
- See the stunning Cliffs of Moher
- Explore Galway city
- Experience traditional music in one of the many pub sessions
- Return from Shannon Airport
Recommended optional itinerary extension:
- Explore Connemara. Stay 2 nights in Ballynahinch Castle.
- Tour the Aran Islands.
Included in This Tour
- Private Car transfer to your hotel on arrival.
- 9 or 11 nights deluxe hotel accommodations with full breakfast daily.
- Self-Drive rental vehicle with unlimited mileage and CDW insurance. OR upgrade to the services of a Professional Driver Guide.
- Touring Map of Ireland & List of recommended pubs, restaurants and places of interest.
- Deluxe portfolio of travel Documents & Personalized Itinerary.
- 24/7 Concierge service in Ireland while travelling.
- Discount admissions booklet for area attractions.
- Arrive: Dublin (DUB)
- Depart: Shannon (SNN)
Take the hassle out of booking flights. Ask about our best available Economy Fares as well as our Preferred Business and First Class Offers. Our air department experts can help with competitive rates. Just let us know your preferred dates and U.S. Departure City. We will do the rest.
- Breakfast Daily
Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, Ireland. Stay 3 nights in Dublin
Upon arrival, enjoy a private transfer to your Dublin hotel. Relax after your journey. Perhaps enjoy a carriage ride through some of Dublin’s historic Georgian Squares to gain a leisurely overview of the city. There are many wonderful pubs and restaurants within easy walking distance of your hotel as well as world class shopping. Stay 3 nights at The Fitzwilliam Hotel.
Day 2: Dublin City sightseeing
Today explore Dublin City. Highlights include Trinity College, Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Stroll along Grafton Street, Dublin’s premier shopping area. Dublin brims with fabulous restaurants and traditional pubs, where you may sample cuisine from around the world. Perhaps fit in a visit to the Guinness Brewery at St. James’ Gate or visit Temple Bar, and take in some traditional Irish music.
Day 3: Tour County Wicklow
Take a day tour to Wicklow, the “Garden of Ireland.” Explore one of the most enchanting places in Ireland, home to some of Ireland’s oldest and most interesting monastic ruins at Glendalough. Or, if you prefer, explore Dublin’s galleries, museums, and gardens. Enjoy a lunch of oysters and Guinness at Davy Byrne’s, mentioned in Joyce’s book Ulysses.
Day 4: Depart Dublin. Stay 1 night in Kilkenny
Pick up your rental car and depart Dublin this morning. Head south to visit Kilkenny, Ireland’s best example of a medieval town. We suggest a guided historical walking tour to include St. Canices and Black Friary. Enjoy lunch at Kytlers Inn. Drive to Waterford and visit the famous House of Crystal. Each piece has been hand blown and carefully sculpted. Stay 1 night at the Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny.
Days 5, 6 & 7: Cork, Kinsale, Killarney, Ring of Kerry. Stay 3 nights in Killarney
Leave Kilkenny this morning. Tour Cork City and include a visit to the Shandon Bells, the Gothic style University College, St Finbarr’s Cathedral, City Market and the Crawford Art Gallery. Perhaps head to Blarney to see the castle and kiss the famous Stone of Eloquence. Shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills. Drive on to Cobh and visit the Titanic Exhibition. Continue to Killarney where you’ll Stay 3 nights at Earls Court House Hotel.
Visit Kinsale, one of Ireland’s most picturesque sailing and fishing towns with a reputation for fine food. Tour the world famous Ring of Kerry. This trip promises some of the most stunning scenery in Ireland with rugged landscapes, antiquities and quaint villages. From Waterville, you can see the Skellig Islands, an early Christian monastic settlement, once raided by the Vikings in 810 AD, and now part of the scenery of the new Star Wars films. Visit the lovely market town of Kenmare. Enjoy some traditional Irish music tonight at a local pub. Drive to the breath-taking Gap of Dunloe and visit Kate Kearney’s Cottage, a cosy bar and restaurant. Afterwards visit the magnificent gardens and Killarney lakes at Muckross House and Gardens.
Day 8: Adare, Bunratty, Cliffs of Moher. Stay 2 nights in Galway city
Depart Killarney and drive through the picturesque village of Adare. Perhaps enjoy a walk among the scenic ruins and visit elegant Adare Manor. Continue to Bunratty Castle, built in 1425. Explore the beautiful Bunratty Castle and folk park, where rural Irish life is recreated. Drive to the mighty Cliffs of Moher, and then tour the Burren, famous for stone age fire places, Druidic altars and burial chambers. Continue to Galway City. Stay 2 nights at the Twelve Hotel.
Day 9: Explore Galway city today
Enjoy a great day exploring Galway City, known as the “City of the Tribes” since the time it was ruled by patrician families hundreds of years ago. Galway is a thriving and bustling university city famous for the arts. Explore the many galleries and take in a theatre performance at the Druid Theatre. If you are in Galway in June celebrate Irish folk and traditional music at the Galway Sessions Festival. Traditional Irish music is a full body experience: the upbeat tempos compel you to dance a jig, clap your hands and join in. And that’s what ‘trad’ music is all about, joining in and having the craic (fun)!
Day 10: Transfer to Shannon Airport for your flight back to the U.S., or continue your tour of Ireland.
Day 10: Discover Connemara
Continue west into Connemara, the western region of County Galway, and one of Ireland’s Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) regions. Here the moorland landscape is dominated by the Twelve Bens Mountains and fringed by a deeply indented coastline. Around Leenane and Cong, John Huston’s ‘The Quiet Man’ movie was shot, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Visit Kylemore Abbey; explore their beautiful gardens and pottery shop, then stop in the cafe for delicious tea and scones. You may wish to take a cruise on Killary Harbor, Ireland’s only fjord. Time permitting take a drive through the Delphi Valley. Immersing yourself in the magnificent scenery, while remembering the tragic famine history of this region, is an unforgettable experience.
Stay 2 nights at Ballynahinch Castle.
Day 11: Tour the Aran Islands
This morning, visit the Aran Islands. Take a ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. The island is dissected by winding, hilly lanes that meander between mazes of stone walls, enclosing fields of pasture or potatoes. The island houses the ruins of four prehistoric forts, and its north side is liberally dotted with the ruins of monastic sites and old churches.
Day 12: Transfer to Shannon Airport for your flight home
After Breakfast, transfer to Shannon Airport for your return flight home.
Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is one of the finest 4 star luxury castle hotels in Ireland. Ballynahinch is theperfect blend of authenticity & comfort, set in a private 450 acre estate of woodland, rivers and walks in the heart of Connemara Co. Galway. This luxury, yet unpretentious Castle Hotel stands proudly overlooking its famous salmon fishery, with a backdrop of the beautiful 12 Bens Mountain range. Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is the perfect base for exploring Connemara. Recently, Ballynahinch was voted #1 hotel in Ireland by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine.
Earls Court House Hotel, Killarney
A very warm Irish welcome and a special experience awaits you at this 4 star Killarney Hotel. Set in its own grounds, in a great location, Earls Court Killarney is just a 7 minute gentle stroll to Killarney’s bustling town Centre, and near Killarney National Park and lakes. It is one of the few Killarney Hotels that is family run and owner managed. Earls Court Hotel is unique among Killarney Hotels for its splendid collection of antiques, period furniture, works of art and its many awards. We offer you old world tradition and a relaxed atmosphere.
The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Dublin
The Fitzwilliam 5 Star Dublin Hotel, Dublin’s most luxurious design hotel is located in the heart of the city. Experience the best of both worlds when staying at this chic haven, to one side the tranquility and calm of St Stephen’s Green and to the other, Grafton Street, Dublin’s
The Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny
The Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny is a relaxing 4 star boutique hotel in the heart of the old city quarter. Kilkenny is a city rich with medieval heritage and alive with a vibrant arts culture. Surrounded by Kilkenny's most famous landmarks including Kilkenny Castle, Butler House and Gardens and the National Craft Gallery, it is fitting that the hotel takes its name from the Earl of Pembroke for whom Kilkenny Castle was built.
The Twelve Hotel, Galway
With prestigious awards under its belt (‘Best Gastro Pub in Ireland’, Wine Spectator Award for ‘one of most outstanding wine lists in the world’ & ‘Best Overall Boutique Hotel in Ireland’) it’s no wonder that The Twelve makes for such a popular & stylish vacation venue in Galway. The hotel is ideally located only minutes from Galway City Center, at the gateway to Connemara. The Twelve has the coziness and warm welcome that you expect in the West of Ireland but manages to break age-old tradition with a striking ambience and understated designer interiors. Relax in their spa, and take in all that this deluxe hotel, and Galway, has to offer.
Travel Tips & FAQs
Passports & Visas
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).
Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland.
What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.
February to April: Highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F
May to July: Highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F
August to October: Highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February.
April & September are considered the most pleasant and temperate months.
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro (€). One euro consists of 100 cent. In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency (£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Gratuities and tips are discretionary and are not usually included in a bill. The general custom is to give 10% to serving staff in restaurants. Cafes might have a collection box at the till and bar staff are not tipped but you are free to offer “have one for yourself”.
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Republic of Ireland, Telephone: 112 or 999
Northern Ireland, Telephone: 999
Plugs in Ireland are three-pronged, the same as in the UK and the electricity supply is also 230v. Adapters are widely available, and it’s a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.
Republic of Ireland: Bus Eireann
Northern Ireland: Translink
Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas Light Railway Tram and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) for up to 3 days.
Republic of Ireland: Irish Rail
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Railways
The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) covers Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow.
Luas light rail/tram service travels across the south and west of Dublin city including the city center areas.
Ireland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1, that’s Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland.
For example, New York is Irish Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Irish Time -8 hours.
English is commonly used throughout Ireland although Irish is the official language and there are Irish speaking areas called the Gaeltacht where it is the predominant language.
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit. Cars in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas are written in Irish (Gaelic) so familiarise yourself with both English and Irish spellings before you set off for those parts. Northern Ireland uses miles per hour, while the Republic of Ireland uses kilometers for signage and speed limits.
There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.
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Booking Enquiry for Emerald Ireland Experience
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