2017 Heart of Ireland Tour: Ancient East

May 15 – 25, 2017

Our May 2017 tour, Ireland’s Ancient East, begins on the majestic river Shannon at Athlone Castle and the 6th century monastic site of Clonmacnoise. We also visit Loughcrew passage tomb, one of the Boyne valley’s historic gems that pre-dates the Egyptian pyramids. We explore Viking Waterford, medieval Kilkenny and Cahir Castle, a stronghold of the Butler family in Elizabethan times.

An aristocrat’s play cottage, the oldest working lighthouse in the world and the Leviathan, Ireland’s famous 19th century telescope are among the fascinating sites we will see. The spectacular Rock of Cashel, Lough Gur crannog, and Ireland’s largest stone circle round out our eclectic mix of historical and cultural delights. All that and music every night!

Read what the Cape Cod Times has to say about our tours!

Your Tour Price Includes:
• Luxury motorcoach transportation
• First-class accommodations for 9 nights in rooms with private bath
• 9 Irish breakfasts
• 9 delicious dinners
• Admissions to all group activities and sites including ferries and sessions
• Baggage handling, gratuities and taxes for hotels and included meals.
All for $3,099 per person sharing LAND ONLY
Single Supplement $400
Extending your stay is possible
CALL 1-800-299-CELT!

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NOTICE:  Group will meet at the Park Inn by Radisson at Shannon airport on Tuesday, May16, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
Passengers are responsible for all airfares, departure taxes and airline surcharges. We are happy to assist you with your flight arrangements and any pre-tour or post-tour accommodations at no extra charge. We recommend the following airlines: Aer Lingus and United. Since the outgoing flight is an overnight flight you need to depart the USA by May 15, at the latest, to be in Shannon on May 16. The tour concludes on the morning of May 25 at Shannon airport.

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY:

Day 1 • Departure Day
Following your overnight flight to Shannon, you check into the Radisson Park Inn at the airport to catch up on your sleep. In the afternoon, you can either rest or take a walking tour of nearby historic Ennis. After dinner we launch the first of our nightly music sessions.

ClonmacnoiseDay 2 • Along the Shannon
From 12th century Athlone Castle, built for King John, we embark on a river cruise down the Shannon to the 6th century monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise, one of Ireland’s top attractions. The view from the river is relatively unchanged from the time of the Viking raids in the 9th century.

Day 3 • Ancient IrelandLoughcrew2

We visit the Corlea Trackway, a section of an Iron Age bog road dated to the year 148 BC.  We continue on to Loughcrew Cairns, often called the best kept secret in archaeological Ireland. Dating back to 3300 BC and set in a landscape of inspiring beauty and intriguing history, they form the largest complex of Megalithic structures in Ireland. The Cairns contain symbolic engravings similar in style to Newgrange and have clear astrological alignments. In a tranquil green valley at Fore Abbey, we step back into medieval times where we try to discover the Seven Wonders of Fore.

IMG_1181.JPGDay 4 • The Water of Life
Belvedere House offers stunning views, a Victorian Walled Garden and many splendid woodland walks. We lunch at the Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded Warehouse, the original site of the famed distillery. After lunch we visit  Birr Castle and the Leviathan, the world’s largest telescope from 1847 to 1917.


swisscottage2 copyDay 5 • The Shining Suir
Swiss Cottage, a French style cottage ornée, where the gentry played at being peasants is our first stop. We stroll along the banks of the river Suir to Cahir castle, one of the best examples of a Norman fortification in Ireland. After lunch we take the winding roads through the scenic Comeragh Mountains to the spectacular Mahon Falls, one of Ireland’s little known scenic treasures.

Day 6 • The Viking Connection
st-ciaranattherailwaybridgeWe take a guided walking tour of Viking Waterford, one of Ireland’s most important medieval cities. In New Ross, Co. Wexford, we board the Galley cruiser for afternoon tea as we meander along the tranquil waters of the River Nore. Then we explore the Dunbrody Famine Ship, an authentic reproduction of a 1840s Emigrant Vessel and relive the Irish emigrant experience. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 5.06.29 PMDay 7 • By Hook or by Crook
At Wexford’s National Heritage Park, we will journey deep into Ireland’s past and explore reconstructed historical sites depicting life in ancient Ireland. Then we wander the winding streets of Wexford town, a fascinating mix of historical and contemporary Ireland. In the afternoon we travel to the estuary of the three sister rivers, the Suir, the Nore and the Barrow to see the world’s oldest working lighthouse at Hook Head and hear how Oliver Cromwell coined the term “By Hook or by Crook”.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 5.01.09 PMDay 8 • Castles and Caves
We begin the day in Kilkenny, known as Ireland’s medieval capital where we visit the castle and the Arts Center. In the afternoon we venture underground into the Dunmore cave. Consisting of a series of chambers formed over millions of years, the cave contains some of the finest calcite formations found in any Irish cave.

IMG_9339Day 9 • Sacred Spaces
Our first stop is the Rock of Cashel, a spectacular collection of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale. It is believed to be where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster in the 5th century. Then it’s on to Lough Gur, a magical and mysterious ancient place that is rich in folklore and history dating back to Stone Age. Nearby is the Grange Stone Circle, the largest in Ireland. It was built circa 2,200 B.C. after the arrival of the Bronze Age people. It was a ritual site that also served as an astronomical calendar. We end the day back at Shannon for our farewell music session.

Day 10 • Heading for Home
We cross the road to Shannon airport for our returning flights. Don’t forget to leave some time for shopping at the world’s first Duty Free shop.

Don’t want to go home?
If you would like to extend your stay, we are happy to assist you with advice and arrangements. Contact Robbie O’Connell at 1-800-299-CELT or email:
robbie@celtica.com before you send in your registration form.

CALL 1-800-299-CELT!