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Award Winning Small Group Tours
 
 
 

All Ireland Explorer 9 Day Tour

A tour coupling South West and Northern Ireland - discover the scenic, historic and cultural highlights of Ireland. From Belfast and the Titanic Quarter, dramatic coastal scenery at The Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher, to ancient monasteries and castles this is a tour that will bring the country to life. Meet the locals in a traditional pub, sample fresh seafood by the harbour, walk on stunning Atlantic beaches or explore prehistoric ruins; Ireland has a lot to offer.

1 night Portrush, 1 night Donegal, 2 nights Westport, 1 night Galway, 3 nights Killarney.

Please phone us if date you want to travel is unavailable to book online.

Departs: 09.00 Returns: 19.30 approx.

Adult Prices: from €738

Discount Prices: from €698

Departing: Wednesdays (May - September)

 
 
Full Itinerary      

Please note: Combination tours - These itineraries are made up of individual tours which are scheduled to link up en route without having to come back to their starting point. Clients will be able to enjoy the individual styles and stories of the different driver/guides as well as a different group of travelling companions on each part of their trip.

Day 1 Departing Dublin at 09.00 you will travel north towards the border with Northern Ireland with a stop in the cathedral town of Dundalk. From here it is a short journey into the city of Belfast, famous for its turbulent history and industrial past. After a tour of some of the key areas of the city you will arrive in the newly redeveloped Titanic Quarter where you will have time for lunch and a visit to the award-winning new museum. In the afternoon experience the contrast between the busy city and the spectacular scenery of the Antrim Coast and Glens. The tour follows part of this coastline from Ballycastle along to the world famous Giant’s Causeway which is a stunning piece of coastal scenery and a World Heritage Site. You will spend time exploring this area before arriving in the holiday town of Portrush for the night.

Day 2 Today the tour makes its first stop in the historic walled city of Derry - designated UK City of Culture for 2013. You will have some free time to explore the old city or one of the many museums or galleries before crossing the border again back into the Republic of Ireland. You will now travel into one of the most remote and unspoilt parts of the country, County Donegal, with its stunning scenery and strong Gaelic culture. The route passes Glenveagh National Park and Errigal Mountain then follows the coast through traditional fishing villages. Along the way there will be plenty time for walks, photo-stops and generally soaking up the local culture. If time allows, it may be possible to drive around the Sliabh Liag peninsula before arriving at your overnight stop in Donegal.

Day 3 Travelling south along the coast from Donegal will take you into County Sligo and to the resting place of famous poet, W.B. Yeats. Nearby are the beautiful beaches at Rosses Point and the dramatic mountain scenery of Ben Bulben which is great for photographs! Near Sligo Town at Carrowmore is the largest collection of megalithic tombs in Ireland dating back over 6000 years. The route now turns westwards into County Mayo, an area hit hard by the great potato famine and from where many people emigrated to North America. The road takes you through large swathes of farmland and open moor with views to distant hills before coming back to the Atlantic Coast and Achill Island. Here you really are right on the edge of Europe and you will have time to savour the peace and quiet of this beautiful area. From her it is a short drive to Westport which is your base for the next two nights.

Day 4 Westport sits on the edge of Connemara and that is the area you will explore today. The itinerary will depend on the weather and your guide will advise on the best visits for the day. Possibilities include the beautiful house and grounds at Kylemore Abbey, the Connemara National Park, Killary Fjord boat trip, Clifden (the first transatlantic flight landed here), the Sky Road and the Twelve Bens of Connemara. Along the way there will be many opportunities for photos of this dramatic landscape. Overnight again in Westport where sampling some local seafood in one of the many excellent restaurants is strongly recommended!

Day 5 After a leisurely start, you will leave Westport behind and travel inland through the heart of Connemara to the village of Cong on the shore of Lough Corrib where the classic film “The Quiet Man” was made. There will be time for a visit to Cong Abbey or the Quiet Man Museum. From here you pass through the Maam Valley and then on to Galway City.

You will be dropped off at your accommodation in Galway before the first tour returns to Dublin. The afternoon and evening are free to explore this lively university city. You will be collected from your accommodation the following morning by your new tour guide.

Day 6 From Galway it is only a short drive along the coast to the Burren – one of Ireland’s great natural treasures. This is a land of limestone pavements, barren hillsides, rare flora, early Christian settlements and ancient stone monuments. You will spend most of the morning exploring this unique area before going on to Kilfenora, the “town of the crosses”, for a visit to the old cathedral and lunch in the village. After lunch you will visit the impressive Cliffs of Moher, which drop almost 700 feet straight into the crashing Atlantic waves. Here you can walk the cliff top trails, watch numerous seabirds or visit the award winning environmental exhibition. From here you travel south through County Clare passing the famous golf course and beach at Lahinch to catch the ferry across the Shannon estuary and into County Kerry to the beautiful lakeside town of Killarney – your base for the next three nights. The pubs here are great for food and most have live music in the evenings; your only problem is which one to choose!

Day 7 The tour today will explore the wonderful Dingle Peninsula – one of the most scenic parts of Ireland and a Gaelic heartland. The first stop of the day is the beach at Inch, a vast expanse of sand facing out into the Atlantic and very popular with surfers. From here, increasingly narrow roads lead on to the peninsula itself through the town of Dingle and out to Slea Head. This is an area of ancient forts and dwellings going back thousands of years and you will visit some of the best examples along the way. The views here are outstanding, particularly with the nearby Blasket Islands rising dramatically from the sea and the mountains of the Ring of Kerry to the south. Weather permitting you will be able to walk on the beaches or along the cliff tops to fully appreciate the fabulous scenery. Additionally, this area is very important in Gaelic literature and you will learn more during the day. The circuit of Slea Head leads back to Dingle town with its brightly coloured buildings and busy harbour. You will spend the rest of the afternoon here before returning to Killarney. If the weather is good you could take an evening walk in the Killarney National Park, located just on the edge of town.

Day 8 Today you will tour one of the world’s classic routes, the Ring of Kerry - 100 miles packed full of interest. After departing Killarney, and on a clear day, there will be views to Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil after which we join the coast road through Glenbeigh and Kells to Cahersiveen. There will be plenty of opportunities for photosstops along the way with great views across to the Dingle Peninsula. Possible stops include the Daneiel O’Connell’s birthplace and Cahersiveen ring fort before reaching the little fishing village of Portmagee. Here you can relax and sample local seafood for lunch or, alternatively, cross to the island of Valencia for a visit to the Skellig Experience where you can learn about the nearby rocky islands and the small community of monks who once lived there. In the afternoon you will make stops in Waterville - a favourite holiday place for Charlie Chaplin – and at the top of Coonmakista Pass for one of the best views in the country. From here the road drops down to sea level for a visit to Derrynane House, family home of Daniel O’Connell. In addition to visiting the house itself, there are walks in the gardens and down to the beach. The tour continues on around the Ring with stops at Moll’s Gap and the Ladies View. There will just be time for a short walk to the Torc Waterfall before arriving back into Killarney.

Day 9 Today you will head back east through the mountains of West Cork and the market town of Macroom before travelling through the Lee Valley to Blarney Castle. Here you will have time to visit the castle, explore the woodland walks and mystical Rock Close as well as visiting the village of Blarney itself – a good place for a bite of lunch and a bit of shopping. There may even be the chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone although in peak season it can be very busy. In the afternoon the tour continues on to the Rock of Cashel with its mediaeval monastery complex sitting high above the town. Lastly the tour takes in Kilkenny, a bustling city with a fine castle and park, riverside walks, the National Craft Centre and plenty of pubs for one last Guinness before hitting the road again for the last leg of a wonderful journey arriving back into Dublin at approximately 19.30.

Departure Point
Opposite the Kilkenny Shop, Nassau St, Dublin. See Map.

Inclusions
Transportation by top of the range Mercedes minicoach for a more personal experience with a maximum of 16 passengers on tour.
We believe a small group tour with a maximum of 16 passengers really does make a big difference to your trip. It allows us to give you a more personal service and remain the only 5 Star operator to offer this personal guarantee. Touring with a maximum of 16 passengers you get more for your money, more personal attention, more time with the locals, more time off the bus, more time on the back-roads and just more of an authentic, friendly experience. The smaller groups allow you to meet people from all over the world and make friends for life.
Forced air ventilation as standard.
Services of a professional Rabbie's driver/guide
All ferry and bridge crossings.

Exclusions
Lunch and refreshments.
Entrances to all Visitor Attractions.

Accommodation
Your tour does not include accommodation in the price. By giving you a choice of accommodation it allows you to choose your budget, stay in smaller places and get closer to the local people. This also means you help to sustain the communities you visit in the long term. Choose a hotel, B&B or a hostel and we will book it for you.

Typical prices per person per night:
Hostel £15-£20, Guest House B&B £30-£45, Hotels - more.
Based on 2 people sharing (except hostel). Single occupancy will be higher.

The accommodation prices above are for guidance only and we cannot be held responsible for any variation in the cost of accommodation, but we always do our very best to satisfy your personal requirements and have an amazing track record of providing our customers the best value and quality accommodation available. We do advise that single supplements usually apply and at times in peak season double room rates are charged for single occupancy.

Accommodation is dispersed around various towns and villages, rarely more than a 10-15 minute walk from the centre, although on occasions this can be 20-30 minutes. Taxis are available for a small fee if necessary. If you have access needs or specific requirements please let us know when booking. Late bookings and/or peak season may limit the choice and location of available accommodation.

When you go on tour your driver/guide will drop you off at your booked* accommodation and pick you up in the morning so you have no need to worry about shifting luggage or getting lost on tour. It’s a small group tour so we won’t let you get lost in the crowd.

After you’ve stayed at your accommodation you pay for it directly to your host. Cash is preferred amongst smaller B&Bs but don’t worry if you run out. There are plenty of Automatic Cash machines in the places you stay overnight.

We’ve found that this way of touring means you can really get in touch with the locals and your choices can be looked after far more effectively and you can stay in the best and most affordable places.

*Please note that if your accommodation has already been booked by Rabbie’s, as per your initial request, and you change your booking, there will be a charge for amendments. Changes to booked accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability.

Please note that in the case of late bookings accommodation availability and choice may be restricted and we cannot guarantee to find your first choice. There is usually a supplement for single rooms. By giving you a choice of accommodation it allows you to choose your budget, stay in smaller places and get closer to the local people. This also means you help to sustain their communities in the long term.
For more information click here.

*NB On occasions, when villages we stay in have events on, accommodation can be scarce and expensive so we may use other locations for your accommodation on the tour. We will always inform you of this when this is necessary.

Discount Price
Students, Seniors over 60 and Children between 5 and 16.

Important information
Because we believe in time off the bus and give you opportunities to take nature walks we recommend you bring suitable clothing and footwear for your tour. Accommodation on the Skye part of the tour is dispersed around Portree which is small, but hilly. If you have mobility problems or special requirements please let us know when booking.

Photography Credits: Tourism Ireland. Mike Hasted, Luke Sheppard, Ingrid Rasmussen, Pawel Libera, Tony Pleavin, Craig Easton, David Angel, Martin Brent, Bob Berry, Paul Watts, Tai Yuni, Patrick Comerfod, Holger Leue, Chris Hill.