Ireland is a magical island with lush, fertile land and kind, smiling souls. This is the homeland of Guinness beer, leprechauns, picturesque craggy landscapes, and as you’ll soon find out, some of the best food and drink you’ll ever have.

We’ll start our tour in historic Dublin, then head south to explore southwest Ireland before heading to Killarney and the Iveragh Peninsula to take in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Your Onward Travel guide, Molly, spent several months living and working in Ireland. She’ll share her love of Ireland (it’s contagious!) with you, plus a local driver/guide will delight with his sense of humor and knowledge of this beautiful country and it’s people.

We’ll sip whatever’s on draught in the pubs, learn from the locals, kiss the blarney stone, explore Ireland’s beautiful natural wonders, stroll the streets of Dublin, and enjoy becoming well acquainted with this magical place.

Saturday, May 20—Welcome to The Land of Smiles

  • Explore Dublin’s vibrant streets.
  • Experience just how fabulous Irish food is with a delicious dinner at Winding Stair.

Upon arrival to the Emerald Isle, we’ll enjoy an Irish breakfast at an “early house,” one of 7 pubs that can serve beer before noon. Enjoy a pint as you work off the jet lag. We’ve got some time before check in, so we’ll take a drive orienting us to Dublin and we’ll visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland, founded in 1191. We’ll also pop into the National Museum of Ireland.

Then we’re off to our centrally located home base: Buswells Hotel. Get some shut eye or a head start on discovering this friendly, historical city located on the mouth of River Liffey. We’ll convene to toast our Irish adventure and enjoy a delicious dinner of modern Irish cuisine at Winding Stair, an atmospheric three-story restaurant facing the river. If we still have enough energy to tap our feet, we’ll head out on the town to enjoy Irish tunes.

Sunday May 21—A Delightful Day in Dublin

  • Grab the tap handle and pull your own pint of Guinness (119.5 seconds, exactly!).
  • Oogle at the Book of Kells, a 9th-century gospel manuscript.

Enjoy a leisurely morning and another Irish breakfast in the heart of Dublin. The morning is yours and we’ll meet at noontime at the seven-story Guinness Storehouse. The storehouse provides a unique look at how Guinness emerged as a global brand, with 1.8 billion pints enjoyed each year. The tour culminates with a pint in the glass-enclosed gravity bar; enjoy it while gazing at 360 degree views.

Time for sustenance… one word… tarts! We’ll stop at the Queen of Tarts for lunch, where two sisters make tasty soups, sandwiches, and sweet and savory tarts. Then, we’ll travel back in time, savoring the spiritual at Christ Church Cathedral, built c. 1030, and then on to Trinity College to stroll the campus and see Ireland’s national treasure: the Book of Kells!
Onward Travel will provide Dublin City Guides for afternoon sightseeing and evening dining inspiration. Grab a city bike and ride along the river banks, or visit Croke Park, home to Dublin’s stadium, to watch a rousing game of Gaelic football. Or spend the afternoon gabbing in a pub, or perhaps wandering around famous Grafton Street.

Monday, May 22—The Scenic Route to West Cork

  • Drive through Ireland’s gorgeous countryside.
  • Discover charming Kilkenny through food and craftsmen.
  • Stay and dine at an Irish landmark: Ballymaloe House.

After breakfast we’ll meet back up with our charming guide and drive south through Ireland’s countryside. Our Irish guide will share history and folklore about the island during our drive. En route, we’ll stop in Kilkenny, a charming Medieval town known for crafts and architecture. We’ll meet with a local and have a food and culture tasting tour around Kilkenny. Then, we’re off to our next destination: Midleton, where we’ll embark on the Jameson Distillery tour. We’ll learn about Irish whiskey and of course enjoy a glass, too.

Now we head to the West Coast, a dreamy region for food enthusiasts. We’ll stay at the Ballymaloe House, a country inn that has inspired and supported food artisans for decades. Enjoy the inn and relax – croquet, bicycles, a heated pool, a 5-hole golf course, and tennis are all available and included with your stay. Stroll the grounds and admire this iconic Irish hotel. Tonight we’ll dine together at the Ballymaloe House Restaurant, enjoying a 5-course dinner that is locally sourced, expertly prepared and so very Irish.

Tuesday, May 23—Cookery School Heaven

  • Cookery course at world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School
  • Visit Ballymaloe’s farm and gardens surrounding the cookery school.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast (black pudding if you dare!) in the wonderful Ballymaloe style. We’ll visit nearby Shanagarry village late morning and pop into Stephen Pearce Pottery’s cafe for a light bite and an oogle at his gorgeous pottery. Midday we’ll join the Afternoon Demonstration cookery course at Ballymaloe Cookery School, home to a 100-acre organic farm and Darina Allen, Ireland’s most important chef and slow food trailblazer. We’ll enjoy this class at the world famous cookery school and take home a packet of recipes. After class, we’ll sample the recipes cooked and tour the beautiful farm and gardens.

Tonight, dinner is on your own. If you want to head to a nearby restaurant or into Cork city, we can organize transportation. Or enjoy Ballymaloe House and a fun outing at the nearby, lively local-favorite Blackbird Pub.

Wednesday, May 24—To Killarney We Go

  •  Tick an item off your bucket list: kiss the Blarney Stone
  • Enjoy the brightly colored sailboats and seafood restaurants of Kinsale.

Enjoy another stunning breakfast and morning at Ballymaloe, and then we’re off. We’re passing through Cork City this morning, so we’ll make a pitstop to visit the historic English Market where we’ll taste some fabulous smoked salmon and wander the stalls. You may wish to pick something up for lunch. You can’t visit Ireland without kissing the Blarney Stone, the stone of eloquence, to attain the gift of gab. The castle is beautiful and the spiral staircase and precarious lean backwards to kiss the stone make great memories. The view from the top of the castle, where the stone is located, is lovely.

Our next stop is Kinsale, a gorgeous seaside town with brightly painted buildings and bobbing boats. Stroll the docks, visit the shops, and or perhaps enjoy a seafood lunch on the harbor.

Late afternoon we’ll arrive in Killarney, a charming town where there are numerous shops, restaurants, pubs, and hiking opportunities to enjoy. Our comfortable spa hotel, The Brehon, is located a mile outside the town center. The Brehon will be a perfect place to relax, with an Angsana Spa featuring a full menu of spa treatments plus pools, steam rooms and saunas for guest use. World-class golf courses and Killarney National Park are at your doorstep.

This evening we’ll enjoy a special happy hour… a cocktail making class at The Brehon followed by a gourmet dinner. It will be a fun and festive evening!

Thursday, May 25—Ring Around the Ring of Kerry

  • Be wowed on a scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry.
  • Visit Irish sheep at the Kissane Sheep Farm.

Enjoy a lovely breakfast and have your camera at-the-ready because today we are driving around the iconic Ring of Kerry, characterized by coastal views and charming towns.

We’ll make plenty of stops – whether for a quick photo snap, a stroll on the beach or a visit to a historical fort. Our first stop will be to visit the picturesque Kissane Sheep Farm, home to over 1000 sheep. We’ll enjoy a sheepdog demonstration and see sheep being shorn, plus take in views of Moll’s Gap. We will also stop during our drive for lunch and a pint at a pub. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Kerry Bog Museum to experience a reenactment of an 18th century famine village. And as always, our guide will keep us informed and entertained.

After a full day exploring the Iveragh Peninsula, enjoy the evening as you please.

Friday, May 26—Another Scenic Day on the Emerald Isle

  • Take in Killarney National Park from a horse-drawn cart and a boat.
  • Enjoy a pub-crawl with your traveling companions.

After breakfast, head off to tour the Muckross House and Gardens, a nineteenth-century Victorian mansion and estate poised along the shore of Muckross Lake in Killarney National Park.

Later this morning we’ll explore the park during a jaunting car ride through the Gap of Dunloe, a picturesque narrow mountain pass. The jaunting car is actually a horse-drawn cart and the driver will share interesting stories during the ride. We’ll lunch at Lord Brandon’s Cottage in the park before continuing on for a cruise of Killarney National Park’s lake system. The scenery is beautiful as the lakes are surrounded by the rugged McGillicuddy Mountain Range. We’ll have some sparkling wine and Irish beer on the cruise to toast our fabulous time in Ireland.

Enjoy time to explore Killarney late afternoon, or stretch your legs and go for a hike. Tonight we’ll have a pub crawl around town, because… Ireland!

Saturday, May 27—Irish Inspiration

  • Feel tiny and inspired at the Cliffs of Moher.
  • Enjoy dinner and an evening at a country hotel with new friends, reliving new memories.

Enjoy a low key morning in Killarney before we set off for the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs are absolutely striking: reaching over 700 feet above the Atlantic ocean. Some of the best views in the world, no doubt. Boxed lunches and good craic will be provided en route.

Late afternoon we’ll check into a charming country hotel for our last night together: Bunratty Manor. You may wish to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park for a trip back in time or stroll the cute town of Bunratty. We’ll have one last festive dinner hurrah and savor Ireland and the good company.

Sunday, May 28—Homeward Bound

We’ll be conveniently located near the Shannon airport, and a transfer will be provided at your convenience. Head home with wonderful memories. If you’d like to extend your stay and transfer back to Dublin this morning, transportation is provided.

  • $2,995 based on double occupancy.
  • An $85 discount applies if you’d like to pay by check.
  • Air travel is not included but Onward Travel is happy to assist. Please see the Itinerary PDF for additional information on coordinating your flight.
  • Contact Molly with questions at 267.825.5880 or molly@onwardtravel.co.