The Magical West of Ireland
Self Drive Tour or Luxury Chauffeured Tour
Discover the west of Ireland through the eyes of a poet. Let the enchanting western landscape of Ireland inspire you, just as it has inspired Ireland's rich culture and heritage.
“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
W.B. Yeats once wrote, ‘The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.’ On our Magical West of Ireland tour we help you sharpen your senses, so that you see, smell, feel, and taste the stunning west of Ireland. Explore the rural beauty and hidden gems of Ireland, visit the cities of Sligo, Galway and Dublin as you experience old fashioned hospitality in warm, relaxing and elegant surroundings
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
- Arrive in Shannon Airport in the West of Ireland
- Explore County Clare and visit the lunar-like Burren region
- Visit Galway City & the castle Yeats once owned
- Discover beautiful Connemara
- Explore County Mayo
- Discover Achill Island
- Visit the prehistoric landscape of the Ceide Fields
- Explore County Sligo, known as Yeats’ Country
- Drive to County Westmeath and Meath & visit the prehistoric world heritage site of Newgrange
- Discover the city of Dublin
- See a play at The Abbey Theatre, home to the best in Irish playwriting
- Return home from Dublin
Included in This Tour
- Private Car transfer to your hotel on arrival.
- 10 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: Shannon (SNN)
- 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: Arrive in Ireland
Arrive in Shannon airport and travel along the coast northwards. Get settled in today, and make sure you visit the majestic and mighty Cliffs of Moher overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. Stay 2 nights at Moy House in Lahinch, County Clare.
Day 2: Explore Co. Clare
Tour the lunar-like Burren region, famous for its unique flora and fauna, geology, and archaeology. View the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a Neolithic burial site, dating back to 4,000 BC. We recommend a stop at Ailwee Cave to see the underground river and waterfall. Enjoy local cuisine in the nearby town of Lisdoonvarna.
Day 3: Drive to Galway, and explore
Today drive towards Galway. You will see quaint little villages and towns along your way. Do stop at Paddy Burke’s in Clarenbridge, for a glass of Guinness and some fresh oysters. Galway is a vibrant city exploding with charisma, inextricably linked with history, culture and music. Stay 1 night at the Currarevagh House in Galway.
Days 4 & 5: Drive to Connemara. Tour the area. Stay 2 nights
Today, drive into the heart of Connemara, through the rich bogland landscape against the backdrop of the Twelve Bens mountain range. The mountains are not that high and provide excellent walking and climbing opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. Make sure you visit O’ Dowd’s Pub for a delicious meal while in the area. Tour Kylemore Abbey located in Connemara National Park. Visit the Gothic Church or the six acre walled Victorian garden. Visit the village of Cong where the movie, ‘The Quiet man’ starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, was filmed! Stay 2 nights in Connemara.
Day 6: Explore County Mayo, stay 2 nights
Depart Connemara, and travel along the mountains between Galway and Mayo. Explore the Delphi Valley and Leenane. Immersing yourself in the magnificent scenery, while remembering the tragic famine history of this region, is an unforgettable experience.
Another powerful site is Croagh Patrick, the Holiest Mountain in Ireland. Thousands of pilgrims journey to the top of Croagh Patrick each year. Stay 2 nights at the Ice House Hotel in County Mayo.
Day 7: Visit Achill Island
Find your poetic soul and visit one of the islands off the west coast of Ireland. Today you can drive to Achill Island, which has a connecting road with the mainland. Bring a picnic, and stop for a swim or a paddle on one of the beautiful beaches here. Or, indulge yourself today by relaxing, taking in local sights and sounds. Or you can visit the fascinating Ceide Fields nearby, a vast prehistoric landscape, a natural wild ecology of blanket bog, dramatic cliffs and coastline. Enjoy dinner and some traditional live Irish music at a local pub tonight.
Day 8: Drive to County Sligo
Today drive to County Sligo, known as Yeats Country. Although Yeats was born in Dublin, his family relocated to Sligo when he was a child, and he regarded it as his home. County Sligo was the place in Ireland that had the deepest resonance for him as a writer, and many of his poems were inspired by its landscape. The Sligo mountains, lakes, and lore combined to inspire him to write his most famous verse, ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’. Yeats is buried in at Drumcliffe Churchyard in Sligo.
Another Sligo site of interest is the cairn at the summit of Knocknarae, known locally as Queen Maeve’s grave. To recover from your climb take a gentle tour of Lissadell House, once home to Countess Markievicz. Stay 1 night in Cromleach Lodge in Co. Sligo.
Day 9: Drive to County Westmeath
Today you will drive towards Dublin and stop in the heart of the midlands in County Westmeath, where there are hundreds of lakes to explore. Drive onwards to County Meath and visit Newgrange, a Neolithic passage tomb that is older than the Egyptian pyramids. This historical site will simply amaze you. Afterwards drive to Dublin, where you’ll stay for 2 nights in The Merrion Hotel.
Day 10: Dublin
Enjoy all that Dublin has to offer. Tour the famous Guinness Brewery, Dublin Castle, The Book of Kells at Trinity College, the old Georgian square, St. Stephen’s Green, The Ha’penny Bridge, the Temple bar district, and the vibrant shopping area of Grafton Street. We recommend seeing a show at Dublin’s Abbey Theater this evening! W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and John Millington Synge were among some of the Irish playwrights in the past who established themselves at The Abbey Theater. Today the Abbey still premieres the best of Irish drama, both by writers from the past, and current Irish playwrights.
Day 11: Drive to Dublin Airport, return rental car, and fly home. Slan Abhaile!
After a hearty Irish breakfast, drive to Dublin Airport from your hotel, and prepare for your return flight home.
Cashel House, Connemara
Cashel House, formerly one of Connemara's most gracious homes, is set in 50 acres on the beautiful coastline of Cashel Bay. The location is an ideal base from which to enjoy walking, beaches, fishing, golf, horse riding, Kylemore Gardens, and trips to Aran and Inish Boffin islands. Guided hill walks are available by arrangement. The house restaurant serves country house cooking at its best with a selection of locally caught seafood, Connemara lamb, fruit, vegetables, and herbs from Cashel House's own gardens and the locality. There is also a garden school, stud farm, and equestrian shop on the grounds of the hotel, run by your hosts, the McEvilly family
Cromleach Lodge, Co. Sligo
Cromleach Lodge is a modern country house, designed to take full advantage of the stunning views. The subtle individual decor of each room, carefully chosen, creates a warm and relaxing ambience and complements the natural beauty of the landscape. The countryside around Cromleach Lodge is excellent for the walking or cycling enthusiast. Quiet country roads take you through some spectacular unspoiled scenery and to the numerous archaeological sites in the area. Many of the marked walking trails are through fields and woodland.
Currarevagh House, Co. Galway
Currarevagh House is a gracious early Victorian Country House Hotel, set in 180 acres of private parkland and woodland bordering on Lough Corrib. We offer an oasis of privacy for guests in an idyllic, undisturbed natural environment, providing exceptional personal service with a high standard of accommodation and old fashioned, traditional character. It is the longest running guesthouse in Ireland, with the current owner's great-great-grandfather welcoming guests for the first time in 1880!Dinner at Currarevagh House is not to be missed, as the proprietors take particular pride in the quality of their food.
Moy House, Lahinch, Co. Clare
Moy House was originally built in the mid 18th Century as home to Sir Augustine Fitzgerald. In its majestic splendor, the house prevails over the breathtaking Lahinch Bay, set on 15 acres of grounds adorned by mature woodland and a picturesque river. Major restoration has transformed this Country House in keeping with present day expectations of superior standards, yet preserving its unique character, style and ambiance.Enjoy dining at Moy House where you can indulge in the ever-changing view of the ocean from our conservatory candlelit restaurant. Watch the sun set on the sea as you enjoy fine Irish cooking.
The Ice House, Co. Mayo
The Ice House is located in a truly iconic building overlooking the spectacular and ever-changing River Moy. A unique setting, The Ice House has 32 ultra-luxurious bedrooms and suites, featuring under-floor heating, goose down duvets and pillows, and L'Occitaine lotions and potions. Led by Chef Gavin O'Rourke, Pier Restaurant features modern Irish cuisine with seasonal and fresh local ingredients. Relax and unwind in Chill Spa, with its five treatment suites. Enjoy the thermal areas, or bubble away in one of the two outdoor hot tubs overlooking the River Moy!
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin
Recognized by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the World's Best Hotels, The Merrion Hotel is elegant and inviting. Located in the center of Georgian Dublin, it was created from four Georgian townhouses, and a contemporary wing was built around private gardens. Lord Monck built the four townhouses in the 1760's for wealthy Irish merchants and nobility. The hotel is remembered historically as being the birthplace of Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington. Dublin's "golden mile" of lively pubs & restaurants is just a short walk from the hotel, as is Grafton Street for shopping.
The Wineport Lodge, Co. West Meath
Wineport Lodge is set on the edge of Ireland's peaceful Inland Waterways. One hour's drive from West Dublin, it is easily accessible from anywhere in Ireland. Guest rooms are exquisitely comfortable with goose down duvets & pillows, Italian marble bathrooms with underfloor heating, spacious balconies and luxurious L'Occitaneamenties. The lively shopping buzz of Athlone Town Centre is within easy reach. Glasson Golf Club is just a short boat trip from the Jetty, and a stroll around the lake begins outside your door.
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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