Planning a trip to Ireland? For your next Ireland vacation, consider experiencing the magical, authentic, and undiscovered province of Midhe, 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 between two and six persons. We begin by exploring the mythical fifth province, the royal seat of Midhe. We ground ourselves at the heart of it all on the Hill of Uisneach as we gaze out at a landscape, little changed over thousands of years as we see 20 of Ireland's 32 counties. We learn about the significance of Uisneach to the many ancient sites both east and west, north and south. From here we venture into the other four provinces, expanding our understanding and connecting with the ancient past.
Our tour concludes in Dublin with plenty of time to explore before heading home from your Ireland vacation.
This is a very unique tour and most often customized for each group. The sample itinerary described here is intended as a representation of what is possible. We can definitely visit all of the five provinces in 8 days and 7 nights, although we recommend a longer stay if your schedule permits. Simply contact us and we will work with you to customize the itinerary and ensure that your trip to Ireland is nothing short of magical and memorable!
Customize my Five Provinces Tour
After your arrival and clearing immigration at Dublin airport, you will meet our representative as you exit customs. From there, you will be transported to your hotel or B&B near Mullingar, an approximate 45 minute drive. At your hotel, you will check in and usually have time to freshen up or take a short nap.
Once everyone has arrived and settled in, you will meet your guide and the rest of the group. Your guide will explain important information and procedures for the week ahead. From here, we head to The Hill of Uisneach for a private tour of the sacred centre of Ireland.
After 2-3 hours on the Hill, we take a short drive to Loughcrew to visit the ancient cairns. The cairns at Loughcrew date to 4000 BCE and are an excellent companion activity to Uisneach Hill.
We return to Mullingar, where you will enjoy a Welcome Dinner and a bit of craic with your guide and the group before retiring for some rest and a busy day ahead. (The Welcome Dinner is included in the price of your tour.)
After a full Irish breakfast, we load up and head north with our fist stop at Newgrange. Here at Newgrange, on the winter solstice, the sun enters the chamber illuminating the passageway to the chamber deep inside the tomb. This phenomenon reminds us during the long days of darkness where we despair, that the sun will return and the days will become longer, as nature's dance continues year after year.
From Newgrange, we head to Belfast. We take a walking tour around Belfast before meeting up with our local guides who will take us on a taxi tour through the history of the Troubles. We see the Peace Wall, and explore the nationalist neighborhood of West Falls and the Unionist neighborhood of Shankhill Road. Your local guides share intimate knowledge which brings this turbulent period to life in our imaginations as we appreciate how peaceful Belfast is today.
From Belfast, we head to Armagh and check into our hotel. Dinner and free time are on your own tonight, or feel free to join your guide and others for a pint in a pub before retiring for the evening.
From Armagh we head west towards Galway. Our first stop is in Kinvara where we visti Dunguire Castle, followed by a light lunch in Green's Tavern.
After lunch, we swing by Flaggy shore for some spectacular views and then head out into the Burren. In the Burren, we visit a chocolate factory with special chocolate, made with Irish milk from Irish cows before heading to the Perfumery.
At the Perfumery, we learn about the uniqueness of The Burren and the special flowers that grow there. We can witness the team making fragrant soap and perfumes, and explore the herb garden.
We arrive in Galway and check into our hotel and you are free to explore the town and have dinner on your own.
From Galway, we 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.
We take our short flight from Inismore back to Galway where we head to the magical Lough Gur near Limerick. After our tour of Lough Gur, we have lunch and head to Kilkenny.
We leave Kilkenny and return to Dublin. Once in Dublin, we enjoy a walking tour of the city and the afternoon is on your own to shop and explore. We check into our hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner where we share memories and craic, exchange contact information, and prepare to depart in the morning for the trip home.
After a full Irish breakfast, your guide will take the group to the airport for your return flights home. Your guide will drop you off at the departures area and it is here that we say farewell.