Day 1 - Toronto - Dublin
Depart Toronto on an overnight flight to Dublin.
Day 2 - Dublin
Arrive Dublin early morning. Travel to Co. Wicklow, to visit Glendalough - a monastic settlement going back to the 6th century, followed by a visit to Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, the 3rd finest gardens after France and Kew Gardens in London. Return to Dublin and check into your hotel.
Day 3 - Dublin
Begin the day on a walking tour, where you will hear about the lives and works of the city's most famous scribes. Learn the story of Irish writers and be entertained with selections from their works. The morning is sure to be packed with humour, anecdote and information about Joyce, Beckett, Shaw, Yeats, Heaney, Wild but not forgetting the 'moderns' like Paula Meehan, Eavan Boland and Brendan Kennelly.
Do you need to know much about Irish writers? Not a thing! Leading us through the streets of Dublin, we make our way to Trinity College. Visit Trinity Library and Book of Kells. Our driver will pick us up and take us on a city tour and a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral. This evening, join your group for a welcome dinner, with traditional Irish music and dance at the Merry Ploughboys. (B, D)
Day 4 - Galway
Depart this morning for the wild west of Ireland. Our first stop is Kilbeggan Distillery. This building has been brewing spirits for over 200 years. We next arrive at the Cliffs of Moher. Heart lifting views of the Aran Islands in the edge of Europe and the Atlantic ocean. An abundance of nesting birds are to be seen from the 700 foot cliffs. For all of you Harry Potter fans here is where some of the "Half Blood Prince" was filmed. Then off to Galway, the city of the Tribes, who's history dates back more than 600 years. Stroll down the Shop Street and call into C. Byrnes book store. Evening at leisure.
Day 5 - Galway
Depart for Connemara, view the rugged Connemara boglands, mountains, lakes, rivers and streams. Visit Kylemore Abbey, home to a community of nuns from the Benedictine Order. Built in the 1860's as a wedding gift from Mitchell Henry to his wife Margaret Vaughan. Learn the remarkable history of both the Castle and the Abbey. The twist of fate which its occupants experienced, from moments of romance and happiness to sadness and courage have all combined to create a fascinating history spanning over 150 years. Afternoon at leisure to explore the city at your own pace. (B)
Day 6 - Donegal
Say farewell to Galway, driving through Headford and Cong. It was around Cong and Ashford that the "Quiet Man" was filmed in the late 1950's. We explore Sligo as we drive onto Omagh, once the home of the Mellon banking family. Here, we visit the Ulster American Folk Park - experience what Ireland would have been like in the 1800's. Immerse yourself in the story of the brave emigrants who made the journey across the Atlantic to America hundreds of years ago. Learn what lay ahead of these people. Wander through the thatched cottages and log cabins and meet costumed characters who will show you traditional crafts and tell you a few stories. Out next two nights we stay at Harvey's Point Hotel, hidden on the shores of Lough Eske, under the Blue Stack Mountain Range. (B, D)
Day 7 - Donegal
Today we will visit Glenveagh National Park - 16,540 hectares (40,873 acres) of mountains, lakes, glens and woods, with a herd of red deer. A Scottish style castle built in the years 1870-1873, is surrounded by one of the finest gardens in Ireland, which contrast with the rugged surroundings. The ornate Castle was built by Mr. Joh Adair as a hunting lodge for his friends. The socialites of the time would have partied here in lavish surroundings. Our drive takes us through the Donegal countryside returning to the hotel in the afternoon. (B)
Day 8 - Belfast
Depart Donegal making our way to Belfast, the vibrant capital of Northern Ireland. Visit and tour the city of Derry, also known as Londonderry - an ancient yet contemporary city. A walking tour of Derry provides insight into the effects the Troubles had on this part of the island of Ireland.
Drive along the 'Green Glens of Antrim' to the Giant's Causeway, one of Ireland's most dramatic landscapes and a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, although some will say the outsized footsteps were placed by the giant Finn McCool to fight his rival Benandonner in Scotland. Evening at leisure. (B)
Day 9 - Belfast
This morning, enjoy a city tour of Belfast, visiting the west of the city where the protestant Shankill Road meets the Catholic Falls Road. During the tour you will learn the history of the Troubles and what happened during the 35 years of conflict, see the Belfast Peace Wall, the political wall murals, Stormont and Parliament buildings, Belfast City Hall and City Centre.
Our day includes a visit to the Titanic Museum, a state-of-the-art interactive exhibition, where you will uncover the true stroy of the Titanic. Learn about the ship and the industrial city of Belfast. Join your group this evening for a farewell Dinner. (B, D)
Day 10 - Home
This morning we dapart for Dublin airport for your flight home. (B)