Northern Ireland Discovery
Self Drive Tour or Luxury Chauffeured Tour
A feast of history, culture, landscape and culinary delights. Explore the hidden gems of Northern Ireland, the rich heritage of its cities, its remote and breath-taking landscape, and the best of Irish cuisine.
“We had a wonderful time in Ireland and I appreciate all the reservations you made and the guidance you gave us.”– Monica Kobasic
Northern Ireland Discovery is a perfect combination of city, country and culinary adventures. Visiting the cities of Belfast, Derry, Donegal, and Dublin you will experience their rich and diverse histories and cultures. The tour will take you far from the city as well, to the most remote and beautiful parts of Ireland, on its Northern edge, to discover the breath-taking Giant’s Causeway, to the Wild Atlantic way, and to Glenveagh National Park and Castle, with its abundant wildlife.
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
- Arrive in Dublin and travel to Belfast
- Explore Belfast City.
- Tour the Titanic Experience
- Discover the northern coast of Ireland & visit The Giant’s Causeway
- Tour Derry City.
- Experience ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ Discovery points and stay in Donegal
- Tour County Sligo
- Discover the best sights & sounds of Dublin
Included in This Tour
- Private Car transfer to your hotel on arrival.
- 8 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.
- An exclusive & extensive list of all the best craft trails and activities in Ireland.
- 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: Dublin (DUB)
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: Depart the US
Depart the USA on your overnight flight to Dublin, Ireland!
Day 2: Arrive Dublin. Stay in Belfast
Arriving in Dublin Airport, your Driver Guide will meet you OR you can pick up your rental vehicle. Enjoy the scenic drive north towards Belfast. On the way you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Newgrange. This prehistoric monument, built in 3200BC, is older than both the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge, and is a place of astrological, spiritual, and ceremonial importance. A visit to Newgrange is an unforgettable experience.
Upon your arrival in Belfast enjoy a 2-night stay in the Deluxe ‘Europa Hotel’ in the center of Belfast. Perhaps you would like to enjoy a drink in the ‘Crown Bar’, the finest Victorian ‘gin palace’ in the UK. Owned by the National Trust, the ornate interior has been enjoyed by its customers since 1885.
Day 3: Explore Belfast
This morning tour the Titanic exhibition. Only in Belfast can you trace the Titanic story to its source, discover the passion and pride of those who designed and built her, and relive the excitement of the Titanic era. Afterwards visit Belfast Cathedral, and the Botanic Gardens. Other sightseeing options include the Albert Clock, Cave Hill, Harland & Wolff, Stormont Castle, The Odyssey Arena and St. George’s Market. Belfast is rich with culture and history; enjoy taking in all the sights and sounds of this dynamic city.
Day 4: The Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and more. Stay in Derry
After a hearty Irish breakfast, we drive to Carrickfergus and then on to Larne. Here we leave the beaten track and follow the spectacular, and remote coastal route through villages where time has stood still. See the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Giant’s Causeway. Enjoy the breath-taking Nine Glens of Antrim, cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and marvel at Dunluce Castle, perched dramatically on towering cliffs high above the North Channel.
Pay a visit to the Old Bushmills Distillery for a tour and a taste of whiskey right from the source. Stay 2-nights at the luxury ‘Beech Hill Country House’ in Derry.
Day 5: Discover Derry
Since winning the prestigious UK City of Culture in 2013, Derry has now been recognized as a destination synonymous with culture, creativity and the warmth of its people. The only completely walled city in the British Isles, its 17th century walls provide the platform for uncovering over 1450 years of history whilst embracing a modern pulse of life through its many galleries, restaurants, shops, cafés and bars. A good place to start exploring Derry is the Tower Museum. Nestled within the walls, the city’s turbulent history speaks for itself in two permanent exhibitions: The Story of Derry and An Armada Shipwreck – La Trinidad Valencera. Visit the Peace Bridge, one of the largest and most iconic projects supported under the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund’s Peace III Program.
Day 6 & 7: Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Malin Head and More. Stay in Donegal
Today you will visit the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ discovery point of Malin Head; the most northerly point in Ireland. Enjoy stunning panoramic views and magnificent beaches as you visit the next discovery point, Fanad Head. Tour Beleek Pottery, and enjoy some shopping. Drive along the coast and stop in the quaint village of Dunfanaghy for a late lunch in a local pub. Or, explore Glenveagh National Park and Castle which is Donegal’s primary attraction. There are few, if any, other places where you have the opportunity to see salmon swimming up river to spawn, deer crossing your path and the Golden Eagle flying overhead! Continue on with the option to see the magnificent cliffs of Sliabh Liag; which are amongst the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe. Tour the remains of Donegal Castle which was the stronghold of the O’Donnell’s.
Stay 2-nights at the 5 star ‘Lough Eske Castle’ in Donegal.
Day 8: Explore Sligo. Stay in Dublin
Enjoy an overview tour of County Sligo, known as Yeats Country, where you can visit the resting place of W.B. Yeats. Then continue on towards Dublin City.
Stay 2-nights in the Deluxe ‘Buswells Hotel’ in Dublin City Center. Say goodbye to your Driver Guide OR return your rental car. Enjoy a pint of Guinness and some traditional Irish music in a local pub tonight. We’ll give you a list of our favorite pubs and restaurants!
Day 9: Tour Dublin City
Explore Dublin City. We recommend taking a ‘Hop on Hop off’ double-decker bus tour of Dublin, it’s a fantastic way to see all the sites and not miss a thing! Highlights include Trinity College and The Book of Kells, The Phoenix Park, The Dublin Writers Museum, The National Gallery of Ireland, and Dublin Castle. Visit the Guinness Brewery and Store House at St. James Gate; take a tour and enjoy a taste of the real thing right from the source. Tour St. Patrick’s Cathedral and see the stunning stained glass that adorns this famous land mark. Shop at the Kilkenny Design Centre for fine handmade Irish goods.
This evening, perhaps enjoy a Horse and Carriage ride through some of Dublin’s historic Georgian Squares or walk through the Temple Bar area, which is fast becoming Dublin’s Left Bank!
Day 10: Depart Ireland
After breakfast, enjoy your private transfer to Dublin Airport and prepare for your return flight home to the USA.
Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo
Dating back to 1228 and once the estate of the Guinness family, the legendary 5-star Ashford Castle Hotel was one of the first luxury Castle Hotels in Ireland. Situated beside the tranquil Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle is a top Mayo Hotel and one of the best examples of a Castle in Ireland.The timeless classical interiors and award winning cuisine, combined with an array of Sporting Activities such as Fishing, Falconry, Golf, Horseback Riding and Cruising on the Corrib has resulted in Ashford Castle Hotel being awarded: Best Resort Hotel in Europe by readers of Conde Nast Traveller, Top 10 Resort Properties in Europe by Travel & Leisure, Number 1 Resort Hotel in Ireland voted by Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Awards.
Beech Hill Country House, Co. Derry
Beech Hill Derry offers guests a wide choice of extremely comfortable, cozy and well-appointed rooms. Whether in the hotel’s atmospheric Georgian house in Londonderry or our more modern wing, rooms and suites are beautifully furnished and contain everything you would expect to find in a hotel of this high standard. Rejuvenate yourself in this traditionally luxurious setting.
Buswells Hotel, Dublin City Centre
Buswells Hotel is renowned for its friendly staff and great location. Situated in the heart of Dublin City Centre, Buswells Hotel provides a unique and relaxing atmosphere just a stone’s throw from St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, Temple Bar and many more visitor attractions. As one of the oldest hotels in the city, Buswells has been in operation since 1882 growing from 1 townhouse to its current size of 5 townhouses. Whilst maintaining some of the original features of the Georgian era, you will find your surroundings comfortable and relaxed. A friendly welcome (Cead Mile Fáilte), attentive customer service and lovely accommodations in the heart of the city brings guests back time and time again.
Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa, Donegal
Lough Eske Castle, a five-star castle hotel & Spa is located on a secluded lakeside estate just outside Donegal Town, has a rich history dating back to the 1400s being associated with the O'Donnell Clan, the founding fathers of Donegal, a county in the north-west region of Ireland. This is an historic building set in a storybook location delivering superior hospitality and comfort and is the ideal place for those who simply want to relax and unwind. It is the perfect base from which to explore all the area 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.
“Back from a great golf trip and thanks so much for your assistance. Hotels were outstanding and made for a wonderful relaxing trip.”
– Tim Dudich
“I wanted to let you know that our trip was one for the ages. We had more fun than I could have imagined.”
– Herb Bennett
“To say our group had an awesome time on our trip would be the understatement of the century.”
– John C. Granzow, CIMA
“I will have no hesitation in recommending your company for future use! I felt as if you and your company gave us top notch customer service and never batted an eye for what may have been odd questions – that type of service is hard to find. You really gave us personal service!”
– Leslie Wajda
“Trip was great – accommodations excellent.”
– Kathleen McCormack-Batterson
“This note is to praise Destinations Ireland and our driver, James Finn, who truly made our trip a pleasure!”
– Donna Long
“The trip was really great. You did a fabulous job of picking the properties. Scotland is beautiful! It was a great trip. You scored again! Can’t wait for our next adventure.”
– Libby McGriff
“I wanted to let you know that the accommodations were fabulous throughout our trip. We were completely blown away, what a magnificent find. The house is simply breathtaking. A word on the drivers. I could not have asked for more accommodating or entertaining gentleman to escort us around. They were full of information, great stories, and advice. Really, really just wonderful guys all around.”
– Susanne McNeill
“A masterful job in creating and arranging such a phenomenal trip…”
– P.J. Fitzgerald
“We had a “dream trip” and you/your organization were a large part it making it all happen. Everything went smoothly and was more than we ever imagined! We are already talking about a return trip in a few years! Have to save our money. 🙂 Thanks again for all you did for us.”
– Nancy Capocy
“I cannot express how much I appreciate you making all the arrangements with such short notice & I just wanted to say Thank you again for all your help.”
– Susan Sanford
“All I do is talk about the wonderful trip, sites and your company and how we couldn’t have been happier with all the arrangements and people who set this wonderful trip up. Again thank you!!!”
– Janet Jenrick
“We had a wonderful time in Ireland and I appreciate all the reservations you made and the guidance your gave us.”
– Monica Kobasic
“I wanted to thank you for arranging a great trip to Scotland. The Channings, Culloden House, and Roxburghe House were fantastic…the best of accommodations, food, and customer service”
– Trina Girimont
“I wanted to thank you and Destinations Ireland and Beyond. We had an amazing experience. We loved all the hotels that you set us up with. Thank you for being so insightful, quickly giving us a speed course of Ireland and helping us decide where to go and what to see. I would highly recommend Destinations Ireland and Beyond as the best travel agency!”
– Donna and Ira Spector
“A lot of beautiful memories. THANK YOU for all of your planning and attention to detail,”
– Kathy Ross
“I just wanted to send you a thank you for all you did to make our trip the best! It was beyond our expectations! We loved all of our accommodations. I can’t say that I have a favorite because it all was perfect. We were not ready to come home and all look forward to visiting Ireland again.”
– Peg Cozzolino
“I want to THANK ALL OF YOU FOR A WONDERFUL TRIP. Ronelle and I had a marvelous time.”
– P.J. “Paul” Nicholson
“Thank You! for all your help arranging a wonderful visit to Ireland.”
– Ron & Jennifer Spielman
“Tim and I had a wonderful trip to Ireland thanks to your wonderful suggestions and arrangements. Everything was just perfect. We truly had a wonderful trip and are grateful for your services.”
– Jenny Popp
“Thank you for the great job you did arranging our trip to Ireland. Everything went wonderfully and the accommodations were the best.”
– Elizabeth Zechman
Booking Enquiry for Northern Ireland Discovery
You can use this form to contact us with your preferred date of travel, the number of people in your party and your requirements and we will get back to you with a quote.