Undiscovered Ireland

Undiscovered Ireland

Ireland’s dazzling coastal beauty takes center stage on this magical, 10-night journey! Begin in the east in dynamic Dublin. Then, head westward with stops in Galway and Cong before exploring the breathtaking, untamed Wild Atlantic Way. See Achill Island’s moors and mountains, admire Connemara’s glacier-carved landscape and watch lively dogs herding sheep. Next, venture north on a less explored route to the hidden gem, County Donegal. Be awed by spectacular Slieve League, Ireland’s highest sea cliffs, and see Arranmore Island by land and water. From there, travel into Northern Ireland to discover the vibrant walled city of Derry and Giant’s Causeway, a natural wonder of interlocking basalt columns. This well-rounded, small-group experience features visits to two 19th-century castles, plus lectures on Irish literature and art, a music and dance performance, and a culinary tour. Enjoy stays at deluxe and first-class hotels, including a family-owned castle estate, and a generous meal plan with wine at dinner.

Trip Itinerary:

August 28 Depart Gateway City

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Dublin, Ireland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: DUB.

August 29 Dublin, Ireland

Arrive at Dublin Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer and check in to The Westbury Hotel. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Join your Travel Director for a short stroll around the neighborhood near The Westbury Hotel.

Tonight, gather for a Welcome Reception and Dinner in your elegant hotel in the heart of Dublin.

Accommodations – The Westbury Hotel
Meals – Dinner

August 30 Dublin

Discovery: Dublin.
Activity level: Moderate
A compact capital city, Dublin is both ancient and vibrant, cosmopolitan yet cozy. Survey the city on a panoramic tour and visit Trinity College, created by royal charter in 1952. Trinity’s star attraction is the lavishly illustrated Book of Kells which glorifies the life of Jesus. On display in the Old Library, the illuminated manuscript contains the four Gospels of the New Testament, created around A.D. 800 on the island of Iona.

Free Time: Explore this walkable city on your own and up close this afternoon. Many of Dublin’s most important sites are near your hotel including the National Museum of History and Archeology, the National Gallery of Ireland, beautiful Merrion Square and St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s most popular park, just to name a few.

Enrichment: Irish Literature.
The Irish take enormous pride in their literary heritage and no where is that pride more palpable than in Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature teeming with bookstores, libraries and literary landmarks. Learn how Dublin, and the country at large, have shaped poets, playwrights and novelists, from Jonathan Swift and George Bernard Shaw, to Samuel Beckett and James Joyce.

Accommodations – The Westbury Hotel
Meals – Breakfast

August 31 Galway | Cong | Westport

Discovery: Galway and Cong.
Activity level: Moderate
With its brightly painted pubs and exuberant street performers, Galway is a spirited, bohemian city alive with artists, students and food lovers alike. With your Travel Director, take a walk in Galway, ancient capital of the province of Connaught. Learn about the National University of Ireland, a center for Gaelic culture, and other landmarks including Galway Cathedral. Afterward, enjoy lunch at your leisure along the medieval cobbled lanes.

Free Time: After lunch, journey to the charming little village of Cong where you can enjoy free time exploring the 12th-century Augustinian abbey or strolling this lush city that set the stage for the 1952 movie, “The Quiet Man,” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

Check in to the Westport Plaza Hotel in County Mayo later this afternoon.

Discovery: Westport.
After settling into your hotel, kick off your County Mayo adventure with a brief walking tour of this lovely Georgian town. Set on the Southeast corner of Clew Bay, Westport is one of the few planned towns in Ireland and its enchanting bridges and tree-lined promenades make it a favorite place to live and visit.

Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a special dinner featuring local County Mayo performers at your hotel.

Accommodations – Westport Plaza Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and Dinner

September 1 Achill Island

Enrichment: A Vision of Ireland.
See how the heart and soul of Ireland translates on to canvas as you hear stories and insights from a local artist and an art historian this morning.

Discovery: Ireland’s Rugged Beauty.
Soaring cliffs, rocky headlands and sheltered beaches paint a jaw-dropping landscape as you experience the Atlantic Coastal drive on Achill, Ireland’s largest offshore island. Revel in the rugged beauty that has inspired Irish writers and artists for centuries. Feel the haunting echoes of history as you amble through the Deserted Village of Slievemore, where the ruins of nearly 100 stone cottages stand watch over the sea.

During your Achill adventure today, lunch on fresh local specialties in the village of Keel with fellow travelers.

Top off your Achill Island adventure by learning how to make an authentic Irish coffee at Mulranny Park Hotel. Sip the delicious drink while soaking up stunning views over Clew Bay. Afterward, return to the Westport Plaza before dinner on your own.

Accommodations – Westport Plaza Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and Lunch

September 2 Connemara

Discovery: Connemara.
Activity level: Moderate
Witness the brooding landscape of rugged mountains and windswept bogs. See Croagh Patrick Mountain, where St. Patrick is said to have fasted for 40 days in the fifth century, and visit the poignant National Famine Memorial by famed sculptor John Behan. The bronze memorial at the base of the mountain pays tribute to the ships that set sail from Ireland filled with desperate citizens in search of a better life.
This morning, participate in a fun-filled outing in the emerald fields of Glen Keen, a family-owned farm. Witness steely-eyed border collies maneuver a flock of sheep and meet a friendly family member for a brief chat about sheep farming in Ireland.
Continue to captivating Kylemore Abbey, a romantic 19th-century castle overlooking a beautiful lake. In the 1840s, Mitchell Henry, the son of a wealthy English cotton merchant with Irish origins, built the magnificent castle for his wife. In 1920, Benedictine nuns purchased the castle and established a convent, as well as a school, which went on to educate local and international girls up until 2010. Stroll through the Abbey with a guide and see beautifully restored rooms, then meander along the paths to see the Gothic church. Later, explore the Victorian Walled Gardens.

Enjoy lunch on your own schedule at Kylemore Abbey, then depart for Westport and soak up more beautiful scenery along the way.

Accommodations – Westport Plaza Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and Lunch

September 3 County Sligo | Donegal Town | Sliabh Liag | Dungloe

Discovery: County Sligo.
Activity level: Moderate
Embrace “Yeats’ Country” today in County Sligo. Revel in the majestic Irish countryside that so enthralled the Nobel Prize-winning poet and pay a brief visit to his final resting place at Drumcliff Cemetery, in the shadow of his beloved Ben Bulben rock formation. “Under Ben Bulben” was the last poem Yeats penned and the final three lines of the poem are the epitaph on this gravestone.

Free Time: Continue on to tiny Donegal Town for some free time and lunch at your leisure. Explore this quaint, stony burg in the shadow of Donegal Castle. Walk along the charming harbor, visit the remains of 15th-century Donegal Abbey or shop for tweed and treasures at your leisure.

Discovery: Sliabh Liag.
Activity level: Moderate
This afternoon, feel like you’re standing at the edge of the world at famous Sliabh Liag, the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe and the highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way route. Gaze out across beautiful Donegal Bay, capture the epic scenery with your camera and take note of alpine flora and fauna on a guided walk along the new footpath. Wander inside the Visitors’ Center to see informative displays about the natural environment.

In Dungloe, check into the Waterfront Hotel, nestled on the tip of the peninsula, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Accommodations – Waterfront Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and Dinner

September 4 Arranmore Island | Donegal

Discovery: Arranmore Island Sea Safari.
Activity level: Moderate
Head out on the water for an exhilarating boat tour of coastal Donegal. See fishing villages, grazing sheep and historic landmarks and learn about Ireland’s seafaring history and herring industry along the way.

Discovery: Donegal Food Tour and Leo’s Tavern.
Activity level: Moderate
Savor local specialties during a delightful culinary excursion in Donegal. Afterward, sip an Irish coffee and peruse decades of memorabilia as you tap your toes to live music at Leo’s Tavern, a family-owned pub which opened its doors in 1968. Leo Brennan spent his life singing and playing the accordion and saxophone and his pub became a famous stop for the country’s most beloved musicians. Today, the popular tavern is owned by Leo’s famous musically inclined children, present and former members of the band Clannad, including Enya and Moya Brennan.

Enrichment: Donegal, Past & Present.
County Donegal’s relative isolation has contributed to the region’s distinct cultural identity. Learn about County Donegal’s rich history, day-to-day contemporary life and warm, hospitable people.

Accommodations – Waterfront Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and Dinner

September 5 Glenveagh National Park

Discovery: Glenveagh National Park.
Activity level: Moderate
This morning, embark on a tour of Glenveagh Castle, a stately 19th-century estate known for its flamboyantly styled rooms including a music room decorated with tartans and antlers. Learn about the castle’s mysterious past and enjoy free time in its exotic gardens.

Enjoy lunch at Glenveagh with your fellow travelers.

Discovery: Glebe House & Gallery.
Activity level: Moderate
This afternoon, visit the former home of Derek Hill (1916-2000), a famed portrait and landscape artist and longtime Irish resident. Originally built in 1828 as a rectory, the Regency-style home known as St. Columb’s became Hill’s main residence in 1954. In 1981, he donated the house, gardens and his personal art collection to the people of Ireland. Admire the intimate rooms adorned with beautiful, eclectic artwork and William Morris wallpaper and textiles. Hill’s multifaceted collection features pieces by major 20th-century artists.

Accommodations – Waterfront Hotel
Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

September 6 Derry | Giant’s Causeway | Glaslough

Discovery: Derry and Giant’s Causeway.
Activity level: Moderate
Step inside the complete 17th-century city walls of Derry and embark on an informative walking tour. Learn why Derry is also known as Doire and Londonderry. After lunch with your fellow travelers in Derry, head to Giant’s Causeway. Hear about the legend of hero Finn McCool and marvel at mammoth, hexagonal basalt columns left behind by a giant or an ancient volcanic eruption.

Afterward, check in to The Lodge at Castle Leslie Estate.

Accommodations – The Lodge at Castle Leslie
Meals – Breakfast and Lunch

September 7 Glaslough

Discovery: Castle Leslie.
Activity level: Moderate
After breakfast, take an insider’s tour of Castle Leslie, one of the last great Irish castle estates still in the hands of its founding family. Built in the 1660s, Castle Leslie is set on 1,000 acres of undulating Irish countryside. Tour the castle’s original interiors and then set out to explore the grounds on your own.

Free Time: Explore the Castle Leslie Estate grounds and discover sparkling lakes and ancient woods. Indulge in a massage in one of the Victorian treatment rooms or spend a relaxing afternoon fishing on the property.

Tonight, end your adventure in Ireland on a high note as you share stories and highlights with fellow travelers at a Farewell Reception and Dinner at Castle Leslie Estate.

Accommodations – The Lodge at Castle Leslie
Meals – Breakfast and Dinner

September 8 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Dublin Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

Map:


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