Master Sample Itinerary Self Drive

Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights


Overview

Embark on an extraordinary journey through Ireland, blending iconic cities with off-the-beaten-path locations. From Dublin’s vibrant streets and modern charisma, to Kinsale’s picturesque village renowned for its culinary delights. Dive into the heart of Irish cuisine, meeting local artisans and historians, trying fresh seafood and traditional dishes. Set off to the awe-inspiring Skellig Islands, where ancient monastic ruins cling to rugged cliffs, offering a glimpse into Ireland’s spiritual past.  Throughout the journey, connect with locals through guided walks and cultural experiences, gaining insights into Ireland’s language, customs, and vibrant traditions.

Day by Day

Day 1 - Arrival in Ireland - To Kilkenny

Arriving in Dublin airport today, pick up your rental car and head into the midlands. The vibrant Kilkenny is a stronghold of Ireland’s national sport, hurling. Ireland’s eastern seaboard was Europe’s centre for scholarly learning in the middle ages, as evidenced by the plethora of ancient monasteries, abbeys and churches in this part of the country. Kilkenny’s centre piece is the 11th century castle – a centre for Norman rule that has survived centuries of invasion and turmoil. Join a local for an introduction to the city’s history and finish with a visit to the castle. You will also stop by St.Canice’s cathedral and Rothe House.  Settle in to your hotel for the evening with a delicious meal.(G)

Overnight: Kilkenny | Pembroke Hotel
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: None

Day 2 - Picnic & Foraging

After breakfast, its time to make your way to the bright coastal town of Kinsale. Historically a medieval fishing port, its spectacular waterfront setting and candy-coloured houses, shops and restaurants, make it a glorious blend of old and the new. Once you’ve checked in, you’ll meet your guide at the coastal enclave of Sandycove where they will have a sumptuous picnic waiting for you! Relax, take in the views and breathe in the clean, salty air. Later, they will take you on a wee excursion to forage and learn about wild seaweeds, shellfish and plants. Feast on local and wild foods in your delectable picnic. (G)

Overnight: Kinsale | Actons Hotel
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Explore Kinsale

Waking up in the stunning seaside town of Kinsale, your views are of the ocean and beyond. There are two 17th century fortresses overlooking the River Bandon, and we recommend you visit the vast, star shaped Charles Fort on the southeast. Walk from the historic harbour along the tree lined path to the fort where the Bandon meets the Atlantic Ocean. In the afternoon, relax by the waterfront or visit some of the colourful shops that line the streets. Tonight, enjoy some of Ireland’s best sea food at a restaurant over looking the magical harbour.

Overnight: Kinsale | Actons Hotel
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Cheese Tasting Enroute to Killarney

Checking out of your hotel this morning, say goodbye to Kinsale as you make your way further north to Killarney. En route, visit a local working dairy farm for an immersive tour and cheese tasting. Meet the herd, chat about all things agriculture with John and finish with a spectacular tasting session of some fine, authentic Irish cheese, made right there on the farm.

This evening, take a walk around the colourful Killarney town, known for its bustling atmosphere and traditional Irish pubs. Finish the day listening to some tunes by an open fire. (G)

 

Overnight: Killarney | The Great Southern
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Exploring Killarney National Park

After breakfast, make you way over to Killarney National Park – the jewel in the county’s crown and the largest of Ireland’s National Parks. Today the park encompasses 26,000 acres of mountains, woodlands, lakes, waterfalls and history. Visit Torc Waterfall, take a tour of the imposing 15th century Ross Castle, enjoy an hike or take a boat tour on the lakes, soaking up the beautiful views. Return to your charming accommodation this evening, sitting down to a delicious, locally sourced dinner.

Overnight: Killarney | The Great Southern
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 - The Skellig Islands

Ireland’s most famous islands, the Skelligs are two jagged rock pinnacles rising above battering Atlantic waves. It was on the UNESCO site Skellig Michael that the monks of yesteryears once lived and prayed in stone beehive huts which still cling to the island’s rocky slopes. Today, board a boat for a non-landing tour, taking in both Skellig Michael and the awe-inspiring gannet colony on Little Skellig – renowned as a home to 27,000 pairs of gannets, the second largest colony in the world. You’ll encounter numerous other seabirds too, such as shags, cormorants, razorbills, guillemots, puffins and storm petrels as well as fulmars and shearwaters. The islands have famously been used as a filming location for the 2015 and 2017 Star Wars movies. (G)

Overnight: Killarney | The Great Southern
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7 - To Dingle

This morning, it’s time to drive onwards to the remote and wild Dingle Peninsula. En route to your boutique accommodation is Inch Beach, a picturesque coastal area known for its stunning white sand and amazing views. Grab a spot of lunch at a locals favourite restaurant located right on the beach. After check in, Dingle is yours to explore at leisure. Renowned the world over for its pubs, traditional Irish music, and more recently, its fabulous cuisine. Aim to join the locals in one of Dingle town’s many cheerful pubs to experience real “craic agus ceoil” (fun and music).

Overnight: Dingle | Pax House
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8 - Hiking the Dingle Peninsula

Meet a local hiking guide to explore Europe’s most westerly shores on the Wild Atlantic Way. Following the cliffs of Dunquin, enjoy breathtaking views of The Blasket Islands, an abandoned archipelago famous for a rich literary heritage and unique cultural life. To the north you can see Mount Brandon, standing at 952 metres or 3000 feet. Hear stories of of Fionn MacCumhail, the Vikings, the Celts, the mythology and history of the Dingle Peninsula and much more all while walking through a taste of paradise. (G)

Overnight: Dingle | Pax House
Room Type: Classic
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9 - Rock of Cashel

Bidding a fond farewell to Ireland’s west coast, you make your way slowly back towards Dublin. Your accommodation for the night is a Palladian manor in the heart of Ireland. Located a short walk away is The Rock of Cashel, a seat of power for thousands of years, from pagan times through early Christianity and beyond. Explore the little town of Cashel this evening, with its antique shops, quaint cafes, pedestrian streets and local pubs and restaurants. There is an on-site spa at Cashel palace offering many relaxing and rejuvenating treatments, take advantage and treat yourself to a massage, seaweed bath or facial or simply relax in the thermal suite.

Overnight: Tipperary | Cashel Palace
Room Type: Deluxe Main House
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Dublin

Make your way into Dublin’s city centre this morning and check into your 5 star hotel. Head out in the afternoon to enjoy a walking tour with a local private guide through this vibrant capital city, with its mix of 1,000 years of architecture from the mediaeval to Georgian to modern. See the Georgian style Merrion Square, lush St. Stephen’s Green and Fitzwilliam Square, as well as O’Connell Street, the site of the ‘1916 Uprising’ that led to Ireland’s independence in 1922. Your guide is also a historian who will bring the city to life with colourful tales of life in the city in times gone by. There are plenty of award winning restaurants for you to choose from to end your time in Ireland. (G)

Overnight: Dublin | The Merrion
Room Type: Deluxe Main House
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11 - Depart

After enjoying a relaxing morning at your hotel, it is time to make your way to Dublin airport for your flight home. We do hope your time in Ireland has been memorable and we once again have the opportunity to welcome to our shores.

Meals Included: Breakfast