Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Ireland
Jewels of the South
If you want to see the natural wonders of Ireland with the freedom of having your own car and doing things on your own timeline – this trip is for you. Starting in Dublin, you’ll get under the skin of the city before heading out to Galway and Kilkenny, your two home bases. You’ll take a series of day trips out to scenic Connemara, the wind-whipped island of Inis Mor, the lunar landscapes of the Burren, and the beautiful Ring of Kerry, which affords spine-tingling views at every turn.
Explore Dublin, Ireland’s lively capital city
Savour a pint of Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse
Visit splendid Kylemore Abbey in the heart of Connemara
Cycle over Inis Mor in the Aran Islands
See the dramatic Cliffs of Moher
Drive the iconic Ring of Kerry
This exciting trip to Ireland includes international flights, car hire, excursions, accommodation and breakfasts.
From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip. All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.
When you arrive at Dublin airport, you’ll pick up your hire car and drive to the city centre, where you’ll check in to your hotel, the North Star. Situated at the heart of Dublin, this stylish hotel is ten minutes’ walk from Trinity College and the Temple Bar District. If you fancy kicking off your Irish trip in style, why not jump in at the deep end with a musical pub crawl? You’ll join two musicians in two different pubs, where you’ll learn about the history and culture behind their music, as well as playing a set.
Activity & Adventure
Kick off your first full day on the Emerald Isle with a tour of Dublin City. Start at Trinity College, famed for housing the renowned Book of Kells, a ninth century illuminated manuscript. Take some time to wander the tranquil cobbled squares and gardens before continuing to St Patrick’s Cathedral, the oldest Christian site in Dublin, and the Jameson Distillery. Here, you’ll see the beautiful copper stills which are used to create Ireland’s liquid gold. You’ll have a tasting at the end of the tour, before heading to the Guinness Storehouse where you’ll learn about the manufacture of this famous black beer. In the afternoon, drive to Galway in your hire car. The lively “City of Tribes” sits on the River Corrib and is a gateway to the most scenic parts of Ireland. When you arrive, check in to the waterfront Harbour Hotel.
The following day depart for an excursion to Connemara. A green wilderness, Connemara is known for its patchwork landscape of green fields, stone cottages, and spectacular lakes. Stop off at Kylemore Abbey, one of the best examples of Irish neo-gothic architecture. Wander the Victorian walled garden and meticulously restored reception rooms, before walking to the end of Pollacapall Lough where you will get a spectacular view of the Abbey, reflected in the water. Hop back into your car and head towards Clifden, a small fishing port, before travelling towards the tiny hamlet of Recess. On the way we recommend a stop at Pines Island Viewpoint, where you can get a picture-perfect view of Twelve Pines Island on Derryclare Lough.
On day four, you’re off to Rossaveal to catch the ferry to Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands. When you arrive, pick up a bike and begin your cycling adventure over the island, following the five-mile road to Dún Aonghasa. Pedalling through a patchwork quilt of fields, separated by manmade drywall ‘fences’, you’ll pass by ancient villages and forts. Stop at the white sand Kilmurvey Beach before reaching the world heritage site of Dún Aonghasa, a semi-circular stone fort perched on a wind-whipped cliff, facing the Atlantic Ocean.
Activity & Adventure
Wave goodbye to Galway and begin the drive to The Burren. The lunar Burren landscape straddles the counties of Clare and Galway and is made up of an almost desert-like series of limestone hills. We recommend the drive around the northern point, past the Black Head Lighthouse, which affords views of the Burren on the left and Galway Bay on the right. Continue south west to the Cliffs of Moher where you’ll see five miles of sheer walls dropping into the sea; and on a clear day you’ll see the Aran Islands on the horizon. Drive south to Killarney. Stop off at Adare, south of Limerick, where you can wander along a scenic row of traditional thatched cottages and stop for a coffee. When you reach Killarney, check into the traditional and friendly International Hotel, your base for the next two nights.
Today you’ll see one of Ireland’s true jewels: The Ring of Kerry. This is a well-worn route by both visitors and locals alike, but it’s easy to see why – the Ring of Kerry is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. See the six miles of golden sand at Rossbeigh Beach and stop off at the colourful coastal village of Waterville. We also recommend stopping at Portmagee, where you can get a boat across the water to Skellig Michael, the now-famous rocky outcrop featured in Star Wars. Continue the ring to the scenic Ladies View, before visiting Muckross House. Nearby, stretch your legs with a walk to the fairy tale Torc Waterfall. Capping it all off, we recommend a stop at Dunloe Gap – one of the best views in Kerry.
Today you’ll drive back to Dublin. We recommend you take your foot off the gas and take the scenic route! Stop first at Blarney Castle, famous world-wide for its stone which is said to bless all who kiss it with the gift of eloquence. Continue north to Cashel, and stop at the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most recognisable landmarks. The cathedral is perched on a dramatic rocky outcrop, where St Patrick converted the local King Aenghus in the 5th century, and Brian Boru was crowned King of Ireland in the 11th century. Drive onwards to Dublin for a final night in the city.
The next day, drive to the airport where you can drop off your hire car, before catching your flight home.