May 24 – June 2, 2013
The Southwest contains some of the most breathtaking landscapes in all of Ireland. Rugged peninsulas reach out like fingers into the wild Atlantic, their countless coves and islands inviting closer inspection.
Our May, 2013 Heart of Ireland tour, “The Scenic Southwest,” begins on the Dingle peninsula with its ancient stone dwellings and majestic islands. On the Iveragh peninsula we follow the famed Ring of Kerry to the beautiful lakes of Killarney. The breathtaking Healy Pass through the Caha Mountains leads us across the Beara peninsula to Glengariff and the enchanting Garnish Island in Bantry Bay.
From the megalithic stone circles of West Cork to the medieval town of Kinsale; from the tranquil forest pathways of Gougan Barra to the exciting national Folk Theatre in Tralee, we wend our way in a circle of time and space like no other, finally crossing the broad majestic Shannon to Ennis in County Clare.
Read what the Cape Cod Times has to say about our tours!
Day 1 • Departure Day
We take an overnight flight to Shannon where Robbie along with Alice and Sean Rattigan, our musicians and guides, will meet us outside the customs hall.
Day 2 • The Golden Vale: Shannon to Dingle
The group will gather at Shannon airport where, following a traditional Irish breakfast, we will board our comfortable motor coach and travel southwest to our hotel in Dingle County Kerry. On route we will stop in the beautiful village of Adare, County Limerick. Once we arrive at our hotel, the rest of the day is free to rest or explore the delights of Dingle. After dinner, we have the first of our nightly traditional music sessions and a chance to get to know one another.
Day 3 • The Dingle Peninsula
We explore the Dingle Peninsula’s many attractions: stone beehive huts built as far back as 3000 BC, Slay Head and the Blasket Heritage Center in Dunquin. Weather permiting, we take a short boat trip to the Great Blasket Island, once the home of some of Ireland’s most famous Gaelic speaking authors like Tomas O’Crohan (The Islandman). The panoramic views from the island are breathtaking.
Day 4 • The Iveragh Penninsula
We head south to the world-renowned Ring of Kerry, a spectacular coast road that encircles the Iveragh Peninsula. On route we see a demonstration of working sheep dogs and the ancient stone Ring Forts of Caherciveen. After lunch we continue on to Caherdaniel and a tour of Derrynane House, home of the Great Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, before continuing on to our hotel in Sneem.
Day 5 • Killarney’s Lakes and Woods
We take the winding road to Moll’s Gap and spectacular views of Killarney’s famed lakes. We continue on to Torc Waterfall on the spacious grounds of Muckross House, now restored to its 19th century splendor. Once owned by Lord Ardilaun, of the Guinness family, the house, gardens and traditional farms are now part of the Killarney National Park. After lunch and a tour of the house, we explore the beautiful lake walks and gardens.
Day 6 • The Beara Peninsula
We wend our way through the magnificent Healy pass on the Beara peninsula to the picturesque village of Glengariff. A short boat trip takes us past families of seals to the magical Garnish Island in Bantry bay where we explore its Martello tower, Italian garden and arboretum. We visit the legendary harbor of Glandore and the mysterious Drumbeg stone circle before arriving at our hotel overlooking the rolling waves of Clonakilty Bay.
Day 7 • The Road to Kinsale
We begin the day with a walking tour of the historic port town of Kinsale, which played a pivotal role in Irish and world history. Considered one of Ireland’s historic gems, Kinsale is renowned for its quaint shops and narrow streets. After lunch we visit the imposing Charles Fort overlooking Kinsale harbor and Timoleague Abbey founded by Franciscan monks in the 13th century.
Day 8 • Sliabh Luachra
We begin at the tranquil lake of Gougane Barra, the site of a monastery founded by St Finbarr in the 6th century. Today, the small church and wooded pathways still evoke a profound sense of serenity. It is truly one of Ireland’s sacred places. We follow this with a boat trip on Killarney’s Loch Lene at Ross Castle. Then it’s on to Tralee where we attend a performance of Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theatre.
Day 9 • The Broad Majestic Shannon
The Rattoo Round Tower, built in the 11th century will be our first stop on route to the Tarbert Ferry which will take us across the Shannon estuary to County Clare. After lunch in Kilrush, we continue to the Clare County Museum in Ennis where there will also be time for last minute shopping before our farewell dinner and session.
Day 10 • Heading for Home
We depart our hotel for nearby Shannon Airport. 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, please contact Robbie O’Connell at 1-800-299-CELT or email: firstname.lastname@example.org before you send in your registration form.