Where possible, we will stay in 4-star level hotels and better. Where there are no 4 star hotels, like on Inis Oírr, we will be staying in high quality guesthouse accommodations. Pricing is per person sharing in a twin or double room, but private rooms are available for an additional single supplement. The final list of accommodations will be made available to all guests by the end of January.
We will be travelling in comfort and in style with Lally Coaches. You can expect comfy reclining seats, air-con. Depending on final numbers we will have a few tables installed on the bus for some additional comfort. There will not be a toilet on board, but there will be free WiFi.
Over the years, we have found that lots of our guests have air miles etc that they have built up from various trips and credit cards. We have also found that many want to add time to the start or end of the trip to explore more of Europe or other parts of Ireland (e.g. Dublin) which are not included on the tour. We will of course help you find the best flights that you need, but in the interest of your freedom of choice we let you take care of your flights.
To give you an idea, in 2019 the vast majority of our guests paid between $650-$750 for direct round trip flights from Philly to Dublin. A few guests managed to nap flights for as little as $504 round trip, direct from Philly to Dublin.
We will start the tour on Saturday morning, where we will collect anyone who is in Dublin City already and then pop out to the Airport to collect anyone who is arriving to the airport that morning. We will then point the bus west, and hightail it to Galway!
Saturday afternoon is the best time to explore the town: The town is buzzing with weekend excitement; shoppers productively dancing through their checklists; musicians busking in the streets; cafés vibrant with chats and bars lively with the afternoon sports and live music. It’s never too early to grab a pint on a Saturday.
Mairtin will give you a short walking tour of Galway City and give some pointers and recommendations for how to get about the town. Although we will select a pub as a meeting point for later, you will have most of your day to explore at your own leisure.
Overnight in Galway City.
This is the SURPRISE day – You never know what kind of trouble we will get you into, but you have to just trust that it will be a fantastic experience!
Overnight for the second night in Galway City.
After a short trip from the city to the harbour, we will board a passenger ferry which will take us to the smallest of the three Aran Islands. Being a Monday in May, we usually have the entire island to ourselves. You will have the option of taking a horse and trap (Lancaster style) or minibus tour of the island or else to take a bike and explore on your own. Although small in size, this island is home to a shipwreck, isolated lighthouse, a sunken church, the last islander to hand knit the Aran sweaters, and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. We highly recommend a walk to the back of the island where you will be the only person for miles, visiting all three pubs on the island and possibly taking taking on Joe in the Inis Beer challenge!
Overnight on Inis Óirr.
This day is a classic example of the spirit of the trip – We’ve the accommodation sorted for the night, but how we get there will depend on how we’re feeling, what we want to do and, of course, how the weather holds.
We will plan on taking the route from the island straight into Doolin, which will save about 2.5 hours of driving back the same way we came. Our driver will meet us at whichever harbour we arrive at we will continue on our merry way to the Cliffs of Moher.
We’ll pick one of the cosy towns en route to stop for a bite to eat and a pint before checking into our hotel for the night.
We will overnight in West Clare, beach-side.
After a morning walk on the beach, we will keep heading south out of Co. Clare and across into the Kingdom of Kerry! A relatively short ride will take us out to the Dingle Peninsula / Slea Head which is listed in the top 5 driving routes in Europe!
The town of Dingle is overflowing with character, music and whiskey. The food scene in Dingle is amongst the finest in Ireland so make sure to save a few bucks for a fine meal while here.
We will overnight in Dingle, close to the town center.
Taking the scenic coastal route off the Dingle peninsula, we will then drive straight through the heart of the Killarney National Park. As the first National Park in Ireland, its history and beauty speaks for itself. Our route will afford us the best sections of the world famous Ring of Kerry, while also getting us to Clonakilty in West Cork in great time.
What can we say about Clonakilty? The town is stunning, the music is incredible, the people are marvelous and their stories are incredible. Ask about the story of Tojo the monkey to get an idea of the lunacy that happens in this wonderful town.
This town is a bit of a hidden gem. Not frequented by the larger international tour groups, Clonakilty is kept real and very true. It is what it is, and it’s not trying to be anything else. The character and the people of this town keep us coming back year-on-year, and the beer isn’t bad either…
Overnight in Clonakilty
After shaking off a groggy head from the night prior, it will be time for some time on the Atlantic Ocean – Sailing in Kinsale! Just a short hop from Clonakilty, Kinsale is Ireland’s answer to Annapolis, MD. Lying safely on the inside of Kinsale Bay, the harbour is nearly always full with a couple hundred sail boats. All equipment and training will be provided by the great crew at Sovereign Sailing before we set sail on the open ocean!
You group will be split into two larger yachts and two smaller sport lasers, depending on your experience and your thirst for adrenaline!
After sailing we will head straight for Kilkenny and check into our City Center Hotel, which will be our home for the final two nights.
Overnight in Kilkenny
Each year we make a small adjustment to the trip in an effort to keep it developing, and this year we decided to stay in Kilkenny for two nights.
Kilkenny is a fantastic town buzzing with energy and excitement, but still boasting incredible charm and culture. The town is right alongside Kilkenny Castle, one of the best preserved large-scale castles in Ireland. There is so much to see and do here, it really has deservedly demanded an entire day of the tour to explore. You can grab a tour of the Smithwicks Brewery, or you can go underground at Dunmore Cave for a look at Ireland from a uniquely different perspective! All this just before we have our final group dinner together that night.
We will finish the tour by shuttling everyone to wherever they are going next. The first shuttle will be to the airport for anyone flying out that day. The second shuttle will then bring everyone else to Dublin City Center to finish the tour. Exact shuttle times will depend on everyone’s needs and wants which we will know a couple weeks ahead of the tour.
“Ireland in May is changeable. Expect sunshine with chances of rain”. Basically, wear layers. The trip is casual, so t-shirts, sweaters and jeans/shorts are perfectly fine. Perhaps bring a long dress/shirt for the group dinner on the last night, but you don’t have to.
This trip will be limited to 26 guests. This will ensure that we can get around to the smaller towns and more quaint accommodations.
In saying that, some of our friends and family will be joining us for various parts of the trip, so this number may fluctuate up and down throughout the trips.