22586
Ireland

Ireland at a Slower Pace: Countryside & Culture, Galway to Dublin

Experience Ireland’s cities, villages, farms and nature, and interact with her people as you journey at a leisurely pace from the rural West through County Kerry and on to Dublin.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22586RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,299
Flights start at
625
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11 days
10 nights
22 meals
9 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Shannon, To County Clare, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ennis
L,D
Temple Gate Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax before Orientation. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with a Group Leader who will accompany us throughout the program and deal with logistics, deliver informal talks, conduct some field trips, and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. At various points during the program, we will be joined by local experts, who will lecture and conduct field trips. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we will have a 3-course plated and served meal including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Galway, Coole Park Nature Reserve
Ennis
B,D
Temple Gate Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 90 miles, approximately 3 hours. Walking about 3 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas, gravel and grass paths, some uneven terrain at Coole Park.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the full Irish breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, potatoes, cereals, fruit, toast, pastries and jams, plus juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach for a field trip to the port city of Galway, the cradle of Gaelic culture in the West. Galway is often referred to as the “city of tribes,” as it was once home to 14 famous merchant families. Enjoying an expert-led walk around the city with a local historian, we’ll conclude at the Galway City Museum for some time to explore independently. Should you wish to explore the museum, entrance is free of charge and it houses a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions dealing with archaeology, local history, arts, and crafts.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Galway has many bars, restaurants, and cafés to suit all tastes.

Afternoon: We’ll board the motorcoach for a field trip led by our Group Leader to Coole Park. Now a nature reserve spanning more than 1,000 acres, Coole Park was the center of the Irish Literary Revival in the early 20th Century and it was the home of Lady Gregory who co-founded the Abbey Theatre with W.B. Yeats. The house that provided hospitality to many who shaped the literary movement is gone, but the seven woods celebrated by Yeats can all be found within its confines. As we walk through the park with our Group Leader, we’ll be able to trace our fingers across the historic Autograph Tree, its bark deeply engraved with the initials of many of the authors who helped Ireland rise to literary prominence during the revival. We will then return by motorcoach to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: We’ll be joined at the hotel by members of a local family of musicians, who will regale us with a performance of traditional Irish music. Ennis is widely considered one of the most important heartlands of Irish folk music and as we enjoy informal conversation with the performers, we’ll gain an understanding of the importance of music to community life.

DAY
4
The Burren, The Cliffs of Moher
Ennis
B,L
Temple Gate Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 65 miles, approximately 3 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; tarmac and gravel paths, grassy areas, natural limestone pavement; uneven terrain at the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we will take field trips to two of Ireland’s most incredible natural phenomena. We will begin by traveling by motorcoach to the Burren, where we’ll meet a local expert who will lead us through one of the largest karst limestone landscapes in Europe. The Burren — meaning “rocky place” — is what remains of a tropical sea from 350 million years ago. The starkly beautiful karst limestone surface is almost moonlike in appearance. Geologists, botanists, and zoologists flock to this region to learn about its rare flora and fauna. We will take a gentle hike on this rugged terrain, which together with the Cliffs of Moher forms a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Lunch: At a traditional pub in the village of Kilfenora, we’ll have a 2-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our next field trip will take us to the spectacular and world-famous Cliffs of Moher, a few miles along the coast from Lahinch. The cliffs rise like a cathedral into the sky some 700 feet over the wild Atlantic Ocean, with views stretching as far as Galway Bay and the Aran Islands. Human activity here dates back at least 2,000 years. They are home to one of Ireland’s major colonies of cliff-nesting seabirds, and also lend their name to a popular fiddle jig performed at least as early as 1850. After an introduction by our Group Leader, we’ll have some time for self-directed exploration at the visitor center. We will then return by motorcoach to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
To Kinsale, Bunratty Castle & Bunratty Folk Park
Kinsale
B,L,D
The Trident Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 105 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; varied terrain including paved streets, grass with uneven rocky areas, gravel paths, wooden boardwalks; steps to some areas at Blarney Castle, including stone spiral staircases.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board a motorcoach to begin our transfer to the historic fishing town of Kinsale. En route, we'll stop for a field trip to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare, now a designated National Monument and the most complete and authentically restored castle in Ireland. Originally built in 1425, Bunratty Castle was restored in the 1950s to reflect how it would have looked in the 15th and 16th centuries, now complete with period furnishings. We'll have some time for self-directed exploration to see what interests each of us most and look through the window to the past in Bunratty Folk Park, a “living history” village vividly recreated through actors, volunteers, and painstaking attention to detail. Its buildings and streets represent what would have been seen in the 19th century. We'll meet costumed “villagers” who will be happy to answer questions and discuss their ways of life.

Lunch: At Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, we’ll have vouchers allowing us to choose food and drinks from the café.

Afternoon: We will continue our journey with a stop at Blarney Castle, home of the famous Blarney Stone. Tradition dictates that the gift of eloquence is conferred on all those who kiss the stone! Our Group Leader will introduce the castle’s 800-year history en route and, once we arrive, we’ll have some time to explore the castle and grounds independently. We’ll then continue by motorcoach to Kinsale to check into the hotel before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
County Kerry, Kenmare, Killarney
Kinsale
B,L,D
The Trident Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 160 miles, approximately 5.5 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; varied terrain including paved streets, gravel paths, uneven grassy areas; steps to some areas at Muckross House. Some morning activities in Kenmare are weather dependent.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will take a leisurely field trip by motorcoach to explore the picturesque borders of County Kerry and County Cork, replete with natural beauty. Our Group Leader will discuss the area’s history en route. We’ll be able to see Molls Gap — a mountain pass with spectacular views of Ireland’s highest mountain range, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks — and Gougane Barra, a remote lakeside settlement named for St. Finbarr where we’ll have some time for independent exploration on foot. Local folklore holds that Finbarr founded a monastery on an island in the lake during the 6th century, and the 19th-century oratory that stands on the island is a destination for pilgrims today. After our time at Gougane Barra we’ll continue to the charming town of Kenmare — one of the most beautiful towns in Ireland.

Lunch: At a local eatery in Kenmare, we’ll have a 2-course plated and served meal accompanied by a performance by a local storyteller, with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll continue by motorcoach to the bustling town of Killarney, where we’ll explore the town and have an expert introduction to its history and culture from our Group Leader. During our field trip, we will enjoy docent-led visit to Muckross House, the Victorian mansion at the heart of Killarney National Park spectacularly situated close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake. Muckross House is home to a research library that aims to document the history, folk life, and culture of Kerry.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Kinsale Food Trail, Free Time
Kinsale
B,L
The Trident Hotel

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles during group activities; periods of standing. Paved streets, some narrow sidewalks. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will set out on foot to explore Kinsale with a local expert. During our walk around town, we will meet with local farmers and artisan food producers who will talk about their work. The town is known as Ireland’s gourmet capital, and its many restaurants and cafes work hand in hand with innovative local producers. On the Food Trail, we will explore the types of food that made Ireland famous with the best local providers who will provide tastings as well as talks on methods and challenges.

Lunch: As part of the food trail.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Kinsale. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. Perhaps take inspiration from the local foods you’ve seen!

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
To Dublin, Cobh & The Queenstown Story
Dublin.
B,L,D
Grand Canal Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 215 miles; approximately 5 hours. Walking approximately 1.5 miles; periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas, gravel paths.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and board a motorcoach for the transfer to Dublin. En route, we will stop in the port town of Cobh for independent exploration at Cobh Heritage Centre’s Queenstown Story exhibition. In this tremendous, interactive experience, we will retrace the steps of 2.5 million adults and children who emigrated from Ireland on coffin ships, early steamers, and finally on the great liners. After our field trip we’ll continue by motorcoach to Kilkenny, where we’ll stop for lunch.

Lunch: We’ll have vouchers allowing us to choose food and drinks from a range of eateries in Kilkenny.

Afternoon: We will continue our transfer to Dublin, and check in to our hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Christ Church Cathedral, National Museum, Free Time
Dublin.
B,D
Grand Canal Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 3 miles; approximately 1/2 hour. Walking about 2.5 miles during group activities; periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas, gravel paths. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With our Group Leader and a local expert, we’ll begin to explore Dublin on a motorcoach journey around the center of this fascinating city as we learn of its long, storied history including cultural and architectural highlights. We’ll end at the ecclesiastical center of Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral. A place of worship for more than 1,000 years, we will see the cathedral’s awe-inspiring interior and fascinating medieval crypt during an exploration led by our Group Leader. Our next field trip will take us to the National Museum of Ireland, which hosts a collection of four million objects from all over the world – with a specific focus on the history of Ireland. Our Group Leader will provide an introduction, followed by time for independent exploration.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Trinity College, The Book of Kells, National Gallery
Dublin.
B,D
Grand Canal Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 3 miles; approximately 1/2 hour. Walking approximately 3 miles; periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas, gravel paths.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride to Trinity College, sometimes referred to as the University of Dublin, which dates back to 1592 and is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland. While here, we will learn in detail about the history and art of this monumental institution as we are led through its beautiful grounds by a student of the university. It is also home to the Book of Kells, one of the finest examples of illuminated manuscript in the world. The artistry and attention to detail in its spellbinding calligraphy and illuminations truly is a sight to behold. The book, dating back to 800 C.E., is considered Ireland’s finest national treasure. We’ll have some time to explore the Book of Kells exhibition independently at the end of our field trip.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We will meet near Trinity College after lunch and walk to the nearby National Gallery. The National Gallery is Ireland’s premier gallery, with a spellbinding collection of European masterpieces as well as the world’s largest collection of Irish art. During our docent-led visit, we’ll see paintings and drawings by Brueghel, Rubens, Caravaggio and Gainsborough together with modern-day portraiture.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Dublin, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal featuring traditional Irish food while accompanied by a performance by local musicians, with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. We’ll spend our last evening enjoying music and song as we bid farewell to Ireland and our newfound friends.

Evening: At leisure. Bid farewells and prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast, whereupon a boxed breakfast will be provided. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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