Your Best of Ireland Vacation experience - Ireland's five provinces in 15 days and 14 nights!
On this grand tour of Ireland, cover everything from the ancient wonders found in the east to splendor of the western Atlantic coast, along with many hidden gems in between!
This itinerary is available either as a private charter or self-drive package.
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 4
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Day 9
- Day 10
- Day 11
- Day 12
- Day 13
- Day 14
- SlÁn abhaile
Start your magical journey when you step off the plane in Dublin. Your guide will meet you as you exit customs and transport you to start your Irish vacation in Mullingar. Here you will have time to freshen up and perhaps catch a quick nap. Refreshed, you head out with your guide to experience the royal seat of Midhe, Ireland's fifth province. Your adventure begins at the Hill of Uisneach where you can gaze out at a landscape little changed over thousands of years and see up to 20 of Ireland's 32 counties from the place of the ancient Bealtaine fires. Visit the ancient stone of divisions, Aill na Mireann, from where the provinces were divided in ancient times. You will learn the significance of Uisneach to all other points on the island of Ireland, the sunrise and sunsets, on the equinoxes, solstices, and midpoints throughout the year. They all align with sacred sites in the east, west, north and south, aligned with and crossing Uisneach. After your experience at Uisneach, no ancient site or stone circle you will see in Ireland will ever seem unrelated.
Your journey continues as we take a short ride to visit the cairns at Loughcrew and we enter into the chambers. After our visit to Loughcrew, we return to Mullingar for a welcome dinner at Weirs Bar and Restaurant in Multyfarnham followed by free time to explore the town, visit the local pubs or simply catch up on sleep.
Refreshed after a good night's sleep, you start your day with a full and hearty Irish breakfast before venturing out to continue your Irish vacation, experiencing Ireland's provinces as they reveal themselves and their splendor.
Day 2 - Newgrange and The Boyne Valley
We depart the Royal Province of Midhe and head north on our way to Ulster. We journey to the Boyne River Valley where we visit the ancient passage tomb of Newgrange followed by a visit to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Center. By evening, we arrive in Belfast where we check into our hotel and enjoy dinner.
The megalithic structures at Newgrange are older than the pyramids of Egypt and older than Stonehenge, having been built over 5000 years ago. Marvel at such an engineering feat accomplished by the inhabitants of Ireland even before the time of the Celts. On the winter solstice, after the longest night of the year, the sun will rise and shine through to the deepest part of the chamber reminding us that despite the darkness, hope and rebirth always begin anew in the endless cycle of time.
The visitor center at The Battle of The Boyne heritage site 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.
Day 3 - Belfast and The Antrim Coast
We start our day, after a proper Ulster Fry for breakfast of course, with a private Black Cab Tour of west Belfast. Go back in time to the not so distant past of sectarian fighting known as The Troubles. Take in the many murals and memorials on both sides of the political divide with knowledgeable guides with personal recollections and experiences during those difficult years. Visit the Falls Road, one of the epicenters of Irish Republican nationalism, then passing through the peace wall to the Unionist neighborhood of Shankhill Road.
After our tour of West Belfast, we head over to the Titanic Quarter where we tour the award winning exhibitions at Titanic Belfast and stand on the very slipway where the great ship once stood.
After lunch, we are off to Fionn mac Cumhaill land to explore the magnificent shoreline and unique rock formations of the Giant's Causeway.
When we are finished climbing along the rock formations of the Giant's Causeway, we move a short distance down the road to the Bushmill's Distillery where we learn about making Ireland's oldest whiskey and have an opportunity to taste some of the creations.
Day 4 - Derry and Malin Head
We continue west today along the Antrim Coast to the city of Derry. Here, we visit the murals in the Bogside, site of the Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1972 where British troops opened fire on protesters killing 14 people. Our visit includes admission to the Museum of Free Derry and a walking tour of the medieval walled city of Derry up the hill from The Bogside.
After lunch, our journey leads us to one if Ireland's finest stone forts with magnificent views at Grianán Ailigh. Did you remember your orientation back at Uisneach on our first day? Grianán Ailigh lies on a 2 degree compass heading from Uisneach and after taking in the views and the energy here we continue along that same heading to the northernmost point in Ireland; Banba's Crown at Malin Head.
Once our explorations at Malin Head are complete, we're off to Letterkenny to check into our hotel, grab a bite to eat, and if we have any energy left, head to the pub!
Day 5 - Glencolumbkille, Slieve League and Donegal
Today, we experience the magnificence of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way! After leaving Letterkenny, we enjoy a scenic ride through the Donegal countryside before stopping in Port, an old abandoned village on the coast. Along the way, depending on the time of year, we will see turf drying in the sun or take in the unmistakable aroma of the turf fires heating homes out here as has been done for hundreds of years.
We then head to Glencolumbkille, a working Irish village in the Gaeltacht where we can practice our Irish language skills with the friendly locals. In season, our stop here includes a tour of the Folk Village where we can experience authentic representations of Irish village life through the centuries. Here we also learn about Father McDyer, whose tireless efforts saved this village from the decline of mass emigration and economic collapse, building it into the thriving rural village it is today.
As we leave "The Glen" as the locals call Glencolumbkille, we set out to view the highest cliffs in Ireland along Slieve League. Savor the view as in a few day's time when we visit the Cliffs of Moher, you will be the judge of which are the more spectacular.
Our day concludes in Donegal town where we tour Donegal Castle before checking into our hotel.
Day 6 - Crough Patrick and Westport
Today, we find ourselves in County Mayo as we continue south along the Wild Atlantic Way. Our destination is the town of Westport where free time to roam and explore awaits. But first stop on the way is Croagh Patrick, to some a holy mountain where people have gone for pilgrimages since well before Christian times when this place became associated with Ireland's patron Saint. Seasonally, there is time to climb the mountain if conditions permit and for those not so inclined, we head on into Westport, returning to pick up the pilgrims among us who climbed to the top of the mountain.
Day 7 - Cliffs of Moher, Galway and Bunratty
We have already seen some spectacular views along the Wild Atlantic Way, but today we will visit what some argue is the best of all; The Cliffs of Moher.
Our journey to the Cliffs of Moher take us through The Burren and the charming little town of Kinvara, directly across the bay from Galway. Here, we stop to see Dunguare Castle and stop in for refreshments at Green's Pub.
Also on today's stops is Galway, before we arrive at Bunratty for a fine dinner before we turn in for the evening.
Day 8 - Limerick, Lough Gur, Adare
For those on our Fionn's Favorites northern tour, we bid farewell today as transport is arranged to Shannon airport for the journey home. For everyone else, the journey continues with a visit to King John's Castle in Limerick before joining the new arivals taking the southern portion of our tour for an afternoon at the enchanted lake at Lough Gur. Before departing Lough Gur, we stop at the Great Stone Circle; the largest in all of Ireland.
Then it is off to Adare for some free time in the evening and a good night's rest.
Day 9 - Killarney
AFter a hearty Irish breakfast, which by now you are well accustomed to, we head off to Killarney National Park where we spend the morning exploring.
The afternoon is free time in town to shop, dine, or simply take in the town. No need to worry about packing up in the morning as we will be back to our hotel tomorrow night after exploring Dingle.
Day 10 - Dingle
The charming town of Dingle is on of the most popular destination and for good reason. Shop, explore the pubs, and maybe hear a little Irish spoken between the friendly locals. If you listen closely, you may even discern the accent differences between Irish spoken in Kerry verses what you will have heard back in Donegal. There is almost a musical quality to the Kerry dialect o no wonder the province of Munster is known for music, poetry and merriment!
Weather permitting, you might catch a boat ride to the famous but now uninhabited Blasket islands, once one of the last outposts of rural Irish life.
Today is mostly yours to explore Dingle and of course, your guide will provide recommendations.
After enjoying Dingle, we head back to our quarters for our second night in Killarney and grab dinner as well as a few pints.
Day 11 - Ring of Kerry
We certainly hope you are not tied of a hearty Irish breakfast yet, because we stick with that tradition again today before heading to drive the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland so of course we need to join procession.
There will be many opportunities to stop and take more great pictures to share with friends and family back home who must be envious of all the fun you are having.
Today, we complete the trifecta of spectacular Irish cliffs along the Wild Atlantic Way. You will have to be the judge and decide the most spectacular having seen Slieve League, The Cliffs of Moher, and now Kerry.
Day 12 - Cork Coast and Blarney Castle
We depart the Wild Atlantic Way this morning and head to the Celtic Coast, enjoying the views along the southern coast. There are more opportunities to get great photos and view along the way as we head towards Blarney Castle. Will you kiss the famous Blarney Stone? Our evening destination is the picturesque town of Kinsale where there is plenty to explore.
Day 13 - Rock of Cashel
To the seat of the kings of Munster; the Rock of Cashel. The legend actually goes much farther back into mythology having been created when St. Patrick banished the devil from a cave.
After our exploration of the Rock of Cashel, we set our sights on Dublin where take a walking tour around central Dublin this afternoon. Our walk will visit Trinity College, temple Bar, stroll along the Liffey, visit Henry Street, the GPO and Parnell Square before ending up at Dublin Castle.
Dinner is provided and the evening is left to your leisure.
Day 14 - Dublin
How can we let you leave Ireland without a full day in Dublin? Today is yours to explore Dublin. We provide you with a ticket to one of the hop-on buses armed with recommendations for optional activities in Dublin. Will pub hop in Temple Bar? Or, perhaps take the Guinness Storehouse tour? For outdoor activities you might take in St. Stephen's Green or even Phoenix Park. If shopping is your thing then you will certainly enjoy Grafton Street. The choice is all yours!
Day 15 - Dublin and Slán Abhaile
What a wonderful and magical two weeks it has been! As much as we hate to say farewell, your journey through this magical land we call Ireland comes to an end. Until we have the pleasure of meeting again, it is off to the airport where we bid you Slán Abhaile, a safe journey home! It has been our pleasure and privilege to have escorted you through the Five Provinces and we look forward to welcoming you back again soon!