My Ireland Trip Nov 2019

My recent trip to Ireland was Fantastic.  What a beautiful country!  I have created a day by day summary of the trip with photos for you to look at. 

This tour was for travel agents only and saw us visit a lot of places very quickly to give us an idea of what our clients would experience on the regular tours.

Ireland is a great destination.  Let me book an escorted group trip or fully independent vacation to the beautiful Emerald Isle!

Where Do You Want To Go?

Arrived in Dublin after an overnight flight.  Our coach driver was there to pick us up and we began our tour with a drive to the city of Kilkenny.

Kilkenny is a medieval town in southeast Ireland. Its grand Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 by Norman occupiers. The town has deep religious roots and many well-preserved churches and monasteries, including imposing St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey Dominican priory, both from the 13th century. It's also a crafts hub, with shops along its winding lanes selling pottery, paintings and jewellery.

On to Waterford for the night.  Waterford, a seaport in southeast Ireland, is the country’s oldest city. It was founded by Vikings in 914 A.D. and parts of its ancient walled core remain. Within Reginald’s Tower, a circa-1003 fortification, the Waterford Museum of Treasures displays local archaeological finds. Famed glass manufacturer Waterford Crystal began here in 1783. Today the company’s facility near the historic district offers factory tours.

Checked into Dooley's hotel in Waterford for the night.  Dooley's is a 3rd generation family run hotel which started it's life with 8 bedrooms, a range that burned everything and 8 cups with no handles.  This city centre hotel has transformed itself into a 112 bedroom hotel with large conference and banquet facilities.  The shopping, sightseeing and business district are all just a stones throw from this Waterford City Centre Hotel which boasts views of the River Suir.  

Below are some images from an evening tour of Waterford by a local guide.

After a hearty Irish breakfast at Dooley's Hotel, we are off to tour the Waterford Factory and Showroom

Located on the Mall in the heart of the Viking Triangle in Waterford City, the House of Waterford Crystal brings a visit to Waterford to a whole new level.  Take the factory tour to see exquisite pieces of crystal created before your very eyes.

Each crafts person undergoes 6 years of training and then must pass an exhaustive exam of their work in their department by a jury of their peers.  If they pass, they can look forward to 2 additional years of apprenticeship before being designated as permanent in that department. 

Waterford crafts people do not move from department to department.  They train for their one job and stay with it for their time at Waterford.  If a crafts person does want to move to a different department, they have to go through the same 6 years of training and 2 years apprenticeship before being designated permanent in that department.  No matter how long a crafts person has worked at Waterford, there are no exceptions to this rule.

After our visit to the Waterford Factory, we drove to Cobh (pronounced Cove) on the southern Irish coast.  This small port town was the last port of call for the Titanic on it's ill fated journey to New York in 1912.  The sinking of the Lusitania was nearby in 1916 and survivors and bodies were brought to Cobh.  We visited the Cobh Heritage Center to view the exhibits and have lunch.  We viewed teh amazing exhibits about the Irish Emigration story, learned more about the ill-fated Titanic and the Lusitania, and Ireland's naval and military history.   Cobh Heritage Centre has it all and lots more. With such a rich heritage, history and so many stories to tell, a trip to Cobh Heritage Centre is a must. This beautiful, informative and sometimes emotive cultural Centre is inventively situated within Cobh’s beautifully restored Victorian railway station, a building with its own historic story.

After our visit to Cobh, we drove to Kinsale where we would spend the night.  We checked in to Acton's Hotel, situated in the heart of the colourful historic harbor.  This is a 4 star hotel is the oldest hotel in Kinsale originally established in 1946.  The contemporary boutique hotel comprises 77 guest rooms, including suite and family rooms, bar and restaurant and health and leisure center.

Kinsale is a town on the southern coast of Ireland, in County Cork. Two 17th-century fortresses overlook the River Bandon: the vast, star-shaped Charles Fort to the southeast, and the smaller James Fort on the river's opposite bank. The 16th-century courthouse building houses the Kinsale Regional Museum, with a variety of displays on local history and information about the 1915 sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

After a delicious dinner at Acton's, a group of us  went looking for a Pub with some live Irish music.  We found it at Dalton's.  We had a great time here and I recorded some of the locals who get together and play there each week.  Unfortunately, my phone battery was near dead and I didn't get to record as long as would have liked.  This was some of the best music we heard all week.

After a great Irish breakfast at Acton's, we left Kinsale for Blarney and the Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone.  We also visited the famous Blarney Woolen Mills where we all did some shopping.

Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland's greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, Blarney Castle has been attracting attention ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney making it a world landmark and one of Ireland's greatest treasures.

Now that might have something to do with the Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our towerKiss it and you'll never again be lost for words.

Tourists visiting Blarney Castle have to climb a 118 step circular stairway that was not much wider than my shoulders.  You then hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone, which is said to give the gift of eloquence.  As you can see from my picture, I didn't quite get bent down far enough to be able to kiss the stone.  

Blarney Woollen Mills was built in 1823. It was used mainly for spinning and weaving wool. The mill briefly closed for two years between 1973 and 1975, after which it was re-opened as an Irish heritage shop. It is located in the village of Blarney, County Cork, Ireland.

From Blarney, we drove to Killarney where we would spend the night.  Here we visited the ruins of Ross Castle and Muckross House in the Killarney National Park.

Ross Castle is a 15th-century tower house and keep on the edge of Lough Leane, in Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland. It is the ancestral home of the O'Donoghue clan, later associated with the Brownes of Killarney.  This Castle may be considered a typical example of the stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain but it was probably built in the late 15th century by one of the ODonoghue Ross chieftains. It is surrounded by a fortified bawn, its curtain walls defended by circular flanking towers, two of which remain. Much of the bawn was removed by the time the Barrack building was added on the south side of the castle sometime in the middle of the 18th century. The castle contains 16th and 17th century oak furniture.

Muckross House is a nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park. The house stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney's three lakes, famed world wide for their splendour and beauty. As a focal point within Killarney National Park, Muckross House is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape. Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water-colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was responsible for its design. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843. 

We checked in to Kilarney Towers Hotel for the evening.  This 4 Star hotel is centrally located in Killarney and has a full array of dining, bars and entertainment options.

Today after another great Irish breakfast at Killarney Towers, we headed out to visit Adare Manor.  Set on an 840-acre estate, this opulent Neo-Gothic manor hotel and golf resort, with villas and townhouses, is 45.6 km from Shannon Airport.

The luxurious rooms and suites in the manor are individually decorated and offer free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service; upgraded rooms add 4-poster beds, claw-foot baths, antiques and fireplaces. Modern villas and townhouses offer full kitchens.

Dining options include a swanky riverside eatery and a casual bistro. Other amenities include a golf course, a spa, formal gardens and an indoor pool, plus a library, an exercise room, clay pigeon shooting and bike hire.

#1 Resort in Europe & #5 in the World - Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards 2019

Limerick's First Michelin Star Restaurant - The Oak Room at Adare Manor

Adare Manor will host the 2026 Ryder Cup at it's golf course

After our visit to the magnificent Adare Manor Hotel, we began our drive to see the breathtaking views at the Cliffs of Moher.  Along the way, we stopped in the village of Doolin for a traditional pub lunch at McGann's Pub.  The fish and chips were GREAT!

After our lunch, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher.  Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way on Irelands west coast the Cliffs of Moher boast some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland.

Rising slowly from Doolin they ascend to over 700 feet (213 metres) stretching south for nearly five miles (8km) to Hags head. They have become one of Irelads premier tourist attraction and a must see for many people visiting Ireland.

During our visit, it was raining and the wind gusts were so great, it was almost unsafe to climb the steps to the top to get the best view.  I went as far as a I could but felt like i was being pushed backward with every step I took.

After our visit to the Cliffs of Moher, we drove to Ennis to spend the night at The Old Ground Hotel.  This award winning hotel is ideally located near the Cliffs on Ireland's western coast.  Built in the early part of the 18th century as a private dwelling and converted to a hotel in 1895.  This was a great traditional Irish hotel

Following our breakfast at The Old Ground Hotel, we drove to Dublin.  Along the way we stopped to visit the 13th  century Barberstown Castle.  Barberstown Castle is a structure originally built in 1288 in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland, 25 km west of Dublin. An additional structure built in the 1500's is part of the hotel as well as new structures added when it was converted to a hotel. It has been operating as a hotel since 1971 and is surrounded by 20 acres of gardens.

The 2 Golden Retrievers are the Lords of the Manor 🙂

After our visit, it was off to Dublin where we visited the EPIC Irish Museum.  The museum is located in Dublin's Docklands which covers the history of the Irish diaspora and emigration to other countries. 

You won’t find leprechauns or pots of gold here, but you’ll discover that what it means to be Irish expands far beyond the borders of Ireland through the stories of Irish emigrants who became scientists, politicians, poets, artists and even outlaws all over the world. Discover Ireland from the outside in and find out why saying “I’m Irish” is one of the biggest conversation starters, no matter where you are. 

This is a Must See exhibit when you visit Dublin.  It was very interactive and informative, telling the history of the Irish people.

After the museum, we headed to the hotel for our last night in Ireland.  Fitzpatrick's Castle Hotel is a 4 Star luxury castle hotel in County Dublin.  Castle Suites overlook Dublin Bay and offer old world elegance with modern luxuries.

The Castle was built as a private residence in 1740 and remained so until 1971 when purchased by the Fitzpatrick family who turned it into a luxury castle hotel.  

For our last night in Ireland, we went to The Merry Ploughboy Pub for an excellent dinner and a traditional Irish music and dance show.  The Pub itself dates back to 1789 and has been owned and operated by the Merry Ploughboys, a traditional Irish band, since 1989.

After breakfast at the Castle, we sadly began our transfers to Dublin for our flights home.  No one was ready to leave this beautiful country nor the friends we made during this tour.

Ireland is a great destination that you should visit.  I cannot wait to go back.  Let Travel by Jim arrange an Ireland tour for you!  We can work it with most any budget and do escorted groups or independent travel with golf tours available.

Contact me with any questions you might have about Ireland or planning a vacation there.  You will be happy you visited this amazing country!

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