Magical Irish Midlands_old
Planning a trip to Ireland? For your next Ireland vacation, consider experiencing the magical, authentic, and undiscovered midlands, part of Ireland's Ancient East. Roam the homelands of Ireland's high kings and ancient gods as you immerse yourself in an ancient past from long before recorded time.
On this unique and intimate excursion, group size is limited to a maximum of six persons. We begin by exploring the magical Irish midlands before swinging west to visit Galway and the Aran islands. Our tour concludes in Dublin with plenty of time to explore before heading home from your Ireland vacation.
As with all of our itineraries, we are always pleased to accommodate extended stays, additional destinations, and any customization your group requires. Simply contact us and we will work with you to ensure that your trip to Ireland is nothing short of magical and memorable. Visit Ireland your way!
Upon landing in Dublin, you meet your guide after clearing customs who will escort you to transport. In about an hour, you arrive and check-in at your hub destination in the lovely town of Mullingar. After unpacking and freshening up, you are free to explore the town before meeting back up with your guide and being transported to a welcome dinner at Weirs award winning Bar and Restaurant in the village of Multyfarnham.
Weirs Bar & Restaurant, Multyfarnham, in County Westmeath is a charming old world, family run pub that serves some of the best food and drink in Ireland in a relaxed, family friendly atmosphere. All of their food is home made. on the premises, from their soups and sauces right through to their delicious desserts. They also have available specialty coffees and a full range of liqueurs.
After your Angus beef steaks the night warms up with a gentle lesson in Úisce Beatha, (Whiskey, single malt, blended, aged, Irish and Scottish) You will sample the delights and may quickly come to recognise what you like and want out of any whiskey. Ferried back to your accommodation, your first nights sleep beckons.
After a serious breakfast (Irish breakfast for all) we will collect you and visit the Hill of Uisneach. Uisneach is the mythological and sacred centre of Ireland. At its heart is Aill na Mireann, or the Catstone, where the five provinces of Ireland met.
Uisneach was said to be the home of the sovereignty goddess, Ériu, after whom Ireland is named. Ériu, according to legend, rests under the Catstone. Uisneach is also linked with the Sun God Lugh. It is said that Lugh, who gave rise to harvest celebration Lunasa, was drowned in a lake on the Hill and rests beneath an adjoining tumulus. According to one theory, the God Lugh, with his ‘long arm trailing behind him’ and his face too bright to look at, was actually a comet.
This is a private tour for your group and is always a special experience. After the tour, we stop at the visitor centre for a cup of tea and discussion.
Straight after Uisneach, we continue on to Athlone for a 25 minute ride where we stop for lunch. After lunch, our first port of call is Athlone Castle.
Experience a magnificent immersive journey through history at Athlone Castle Visitor Centre. Climb the steps to the castle keep and enjoy the views across the majestic River Shannon or climb higher still to the castle battlements and look across the rooftops of the entire town. Take a step back in history through playful interactive exhibits, touch screen animations and an immersive 360-degree cinematic experience that brings the Great Siege of Athlone to life.
Swords, cannon balls and stunning sculptures gives these ancient stories depth. Vibrant displays and historic artefacts will lead you along a 3D timeline that illustrates Athlone’s last 200 years.Enjoy the wonderful voice of John Count McCormack in a display dedicated to the memory of the world-famous Athlone tenor. Rain or shine, this is a castle with a story.
Afterwards we will walk the 60 yards to Ireland's oldest bar. Seáns Bar Athlone. When you walk into Sean's Bar, you are in the oldest pub in Europe, never mind Ireland! You join the uncountable number of visitors who have been stopping here for a drink, a chat and maybe a bit of music for more than a thousand years and we have the distinctions to support it. Transport will bring you back to your accommodation after your Athlone excursion.
After another serious breakfast you will be collected and brought to the heritage village of Fore Co. Westmeath. Fore Village is off the beaten track but is wedged with reward for the people whom visit her. From the Stories of the Seven Wonders of Fore, to the ancient Benedictine Monastery that will have you walking amongst its cloisters in the footsteps of the original French speaking monks. French Monks in Westmeath you ask? Come and walk in their footsteps and all questions will be answered. From why did some locals have no time for the Benedictines and who was St.Feichin of Fore.
Lunch will be in the Village of Castlepollard
The famous story of the Children of Lír will rear its head here and a visit to their Lake of Lough Deravarragh where legend has it they lived for 300 years.
Next port of call will be to visit a graveyard site of An Górta Mór (Called The great Irish Famine to some people)
Immediately afterwards we will embark upon a wine tasting extravaganza and we challenge anyone not to find a wine they love!
Day four is all about love. So after you've guessed it, after a serious breakfast we are going to Belvedere House and Gardens. Where love and jealousy collided amongst family to a legacy that lasts to today.
Dinner will be earlier today and you will be overlooking during your meal Lough Ennell where the last High King of Ireland An Ard Rí Mallachí II lived. The restaurant will be in The Bloomfield House Hotel.
The love theme continues today as we chase our love of food: home baked bread! You will get to make, bake and eat your own fresh bread. Real butter will near evaporate on your delicious results and with a guiding hand your new bread making skills will shine through to make all at home hungry with envy.
That night there will be music, we will endeavour to attend a traditional Irish session with players unannounced dropping in and out of the songs as is their want. Transport to and from the venue is provided.
Yesterday was love and today is war. We will be visiting the site of the famous Battle of the Boyne. This is a fantastic venue to learn about so much of today's Irish history. See the how William of Orange took on King Charles II and how decisive the battle became. The impact of the Battle of the Boyne is still with us today as Ireland is still divided between the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland and the 6 northern counties which remain part of the UK.
Lunch in the team rooms here at the visitor centre is highly recommended.
War, war and more war! Off we go to 1914 and the trenches. The Irish Military War Museum offers fascinating insights into Irish participant’s involvement during both World Wars and other conflicts throughout history. The museum is a non-political, educational and historical resource to be enjoyed by all.
Evening’s entertainment will be a story of stories by a modern Seanchaí. The venue will ideally be outdoors weather permitting. Transport arranged.
Today, we leave our base in Mullingar and travel west to explore the Aran islands!
We will drive to Galway and fly out to the biggest island, Inishmore. Here, an excellent Visitor’s Centre, Ionad Arainn, provides a solid introduction to the history and culture of the island. Sites to see include the interesting remains of Arkin’s Castle, a Cromwellian fort that maintained a garrison during the 17th and 18th centuries. St. Ciaran’s Monastery, east of the village, where can be seen also several early cross-slabs, pillars and a holy well dedicated to the early saint. Also in this locality is the very early St. Soorney’s Church.
To the west of Kilronan is the church of St. Enda, the saint most closely identified with the spread of Christianity on Aran. Kilmurvy is the other main village on Inishmore; it lies about seven kilometres west of Kilronan, and in its vicinity is the Church of St. Colman Macduagh, and the Church of the Saints. Undoubtedly the most famous and certainly the most impressive site on Inishmore is the great stone fortress of Dun Aonghus, perched dramatically on the edge of a sheet 300 ft cliff that falls away into the Atlantic Ocean. Altogether this massive fortress covers almost 11 acres and consists of three enclosures constructed of large limestone blocks.
After our island visit we head to Galway and check into our hotel with plenty of time for you to explore the many fine shops, pubs and restaurants in Galway City.
No Ireland vacation is complete without spending time in Dublin, so after a full Irish breakfast, we board our coach and to Dublin we go! After dropping our bags at our hotel, we meet for 2 hour, guided walking tour of central Dublin followed by free time on your own.
Our walking tour ends in Dublin's city centre and your guide will provide you with many optional activities to explore. As with any major European city you will be spoiled with choices from rides on open top buses, to premier shopping areas on Grafton Street, to craft pubs and the famous Temple Bar area along the Liffy, to feeding ducks in St Stephens Green. Your tour guide will have many suggestions but today you get to pick what tickles your fancy.
Once more, we start our day with a full Irish breakfast and then gather our things as be board our coach to the airport. At the airport, your guide will bid you farewell and your trip to Ireland concludes as you embark upon your journey home.