Ancient Heart of Ireland Explorer
Ancient Ireland Beltane Festival Tour
The Perfect Choice For First Time Visitors to Ireland!
Are you ready for a unique, off the tourist map, real Ireland experience? Join us in May and experience the Irish Heartlands
Experience The Heart and Soul of Ireland
This tour delivers a healthy sampling of popular sites from the heart of Ireland as well as the stunningly beautiful Atlantic Way.
Arriving in Dublin, venture through the heartlands to Galway, The Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, Dingle and Cashel and Ireland’s Copper Coast before concluding with a full day exploring Dublin.
- Athlone Castle and Sean's Bar
- Aran Islands
- Cliffs of Moher
- Poulnabrone Dolmen
- Great Blasket Heritage Center
- Slea Head Drive
- Ross Castle
- Rock of Cashel
- Dublin with Hop-On Tour pass
Meals and Dining
- 6 Breakfasts (B), 1 Welcome Dinner (D)
Hotel for 8-Nights
- Dublin (1 night)
- Galway (2 nights)
- Killarney (2 nights)
- Ennistymon (1 night)
- Dungarvan (1 night)
Ancient Ireland Northern Tour 8 days | 7 Nights | 8 Meals
B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner
Day 1 - Dublin Arrival - Athlone - Galway
Your adventure begins when you meet your guide at Dublin Airport. Once all are gathered, your group heads out across the Irish Midlands with the first stop of the day in Athlone.
Situated on the River Shannon, Athlone has been a major crossing point from Neolithic times, through the Viking and Medieval periods to the present day. Defending this ancient river crossing was Athlone Castle, and here, the exhibitions tell you the story of this long and eventful history, culminating in a 360° exhibition on the Great Siege of Athlone.
After your castle tour, and some great photo opportunities, take in a stop at Sean’s Bar, the oldest pub in Europe.
Leaving Athlone, your journey continues to Galway, the cultural heart of Ireland. Here, you check into your hotel, perhaps freshen up and take a short rest before heading out to explore the town, do a little shopping, or perhaps enjoy one of the many street performers, or duck into a pub for a traditional music session. Your guide will be happy to give you ideas and recommendations.
Exhausted after your first day, be sure to get a good night’s rest before continuing your adventure in the morning!
Day 2 - Aran Islands
After a good night's rest and a hearty breakfast, take a short ride to catch the ferry to Inis Mór, largest of the Aran Islands. (The name means “Big Island” in Irish.) On a clear and calm day, you may be able to see The Cliffs of Moher at a distance from the ferry.
The day is free to explore Inis Mór. Take a walking tour, connect with one of the local guides meeting the ferries, or perhaps a horse drawn tour around the island. You will also find bicycles for rent. One site you should not miss is the Black Fort, reachable on a 3-5 hour walk along the southern half of the island through ancient rock walls and curious sheep who come out to greet you along the way.
Catch the ferry back to Galway in the late afternoon and once back on the mainland, the evening is yours to enjoy Galway for one last night before heading out in the morning to the next stop on your adventure.
Day 3 - Cliffs of Moher and Doolin
Leaving Galway, enjoy the scenic drive through The Burren along the way to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. Rising to a height of over 200 meters and running 14 kilometers along the coast, the cliffs are one of the most visited and photographed sites in Ireland.
Your visit to the cliffs offers spectacular views, walks along the cliffs, a visitor center with exhibitions and a multi-media journey flying you over the cliffs. There is plenty of time at this stop to enjoy all the cliffs have to offer and to grab some great photographs.
Leaving the cliffs, you head over to Poulnabrone Dolmen, one of Ireland’s largest dolmens and portal tombs. The dolmen is over 6000 years old and believed to be built in the Neolithic period and when excavated, contained the remains of 33 persons. Although much of the original grandeur is now lost, the monument is still quite impressive and well worth the stop.
The day concludes in the charming town of Ennistymon where you will find many traditional pubs and other activities for the evening.
Day 4 - Bunratty and Killarney
Today, you are on your way to Killarney, but not before a stop at the Woolen Mills and tea time with fantastic views and photo opportunities of Bunratty.
Upon arriving in Killarney, you will find much to do. A visit to Ross Castle is a popular option, as is Muckross House and Gardens. Prefer nature? Ladies View in Killarney National Park is a must see, along with Torc Waterfall. Your guide will be available to offer suggestions about the many activities and sites Killarney has to offer.
Day 5 - Dingle
After your day in Killarney, you head out to explore Dingle before returning to Killarney for the evening.
The Dingle Peninsula is on of the most popular destinations on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, and your journey will take you through Conor Pass and Slea Head Drive for some spectacular views, (be sure to get photos from both directions), before arriving at Dunquin.
Walk down the steep and crooked road to Dunquin Pier and on a clear day, you will be able to enjoy and excellent view of the Skelligs. Look out across the bay to Great Blasket Island, made famous by many a book about native Irish language and culture, notably, “On and Irish Island,” and stop by the Great Blasket Heritage Center where the story of native Irish life and personal stories of those who once lived on the islands is preserved.
Your day includes a stop in Dingle town for some free time before returning to Killarney for the evening.
Day 6 - Rock of Cashel - Dungarvan
Departing Killarney, your adventure takes you to the seat of the Kings of Munster, The Rock of Cashel, a spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. Attractions include an audio-visual show and exhibitions. Although the royal seat of Munster is open for debate, The Rock of Cashel is considered the traditional seat of the high kings of Munster. There is definitely something much more ancient here beneath the Medieval church.
After touring The Rock of Cashel, your day concludes along Ireland’s “Copper Coast” in the charming seaside town of Dungarvin. Stroll along the waterfront, or perhaps visit Dungarvan Castle, and Anglo-Norman castle dating to 1185 with much history, once serving as a Garda station until 1987 and previously held by the IRA during the Irish Civil War in the 1920’s. In Dungarvan, you will find many excellent dining options along with local pubs, many with live music.
Day 7 - Dublin
No visit to Ireland can be complete without a stop in Dublin. Today, you leave Dungarvan and head to Ireland's vibrant capital city where your choices of activities are endless and sure to please.
Some favorites include Trinity College and the Book of Kells, EPIC Irish Emigration Museum, St Stephen’s Green, shopping along Grafton Street, the historical areas along the River Liffey which include he Four Courts, O'Connell Street and the GPO, Temple Bar Kilmainham Gaol, Guinness Storehouse, or Phoenix Park.
Your tour includes a 24-hour Hop-On Buss pass and your guide will be available to answer questions and offer many more suggestions upon arrival at your hotel.
Day 8 - Depart from Dublin
Your tour ends today after breakfast. (B). Airport transfers will be arranged to allow sufficient time to process through Dublin airport and USA Pre-Clearance for return flights to the USA.
All prices listed below are per person, based upon double-occupancy.
If you would prefer a single room, we are happy to accommodate your request and apply a single-room supplement of US $425.
US dollar prices are approximate based on conversion rates at time of publication.
All charges will be be made in local currency, (euros) at the time of purchase.