CELEBRATION TOUR OF IRELAND, JULY 18-30, 2019
Celebration Tour of Ireland July 18-31, 2019
Join Martha’s Travel Corner for a “Small Group” tour of Celebration through Ireland. Whatever you want to celebrate - we are going to taker our time and do it up big this year. The McCarthy’s will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and would love to have you join them. Some will be celebrating their first time to Ireland, others have been so many times they are losing count. Birthdays, new jobs, retirement, honeymoon, health, friendships, you name it - it’s all a celebration. So as the song goes:
“CELEBRATE good times, come on”
Detailed Itinerary: Wednesday, July 17th ~ Board your overnight flight (not included in price.) Be sure to wear comfortable clothing with a light sweater or jacket as it sometimes gets a little chilly on the flight. Shoes that slip on and off easily are suggested for going through security checkpoints. We will have an overnight flight with a dinner and continental breakfast served en route. Sit back, relax and sleep a “wee” bit . The next thing you know, you will look out your window and see the most beautiful 40 shades of green, YES you are in Ireland!!!!
Thursday, July 18th - Dublin airport arrival, Enniskillen Upon arrival to Dublin airport we will go through customs, collect our luggage, and meet our Driver/Guide Mr. Tom O’Toole who will be waiting with a very warm “ Cead mile Failte” ( One hundred thousand welcomes!!) Some fresh Irish air will clear our heads and prepare us for the celebration ahead. Sit back and relax as we head to Enniskillen, Ireland’s only island town in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. Some on the tour can trace their family roots to Enniskillen so we will spend some time in this lovely town. There are beautiful churches, cathedrals, shops, Enniskillen Castle, visitor center, and cafes all worth exploring. The town is set on a hill so be sure to wear good walking shoes. Next we will find ourselves surrounded by tranquility and beauty on the shores of Lower Lough Erne where our home for the evening is located. Manor House Country Hotel is the perfect country retreat with brilliant views of Lough Erne. Steeped in history, the origins of Manor House Country Hotel date back to the 17th century and is a family owned property. Take time to enjoy the views, relax a bit before we enjoy a delicious first dinner together in Ireland. Dinner and Overnight: Manor House Hotel, Enniskillen
Friday, July 19th - Belleek China and Donegal
Take your time to relax this morning, perhaps a walk before breakfast is in order. We are just a short drive from our next destination so there is no rush this morning. We will pay a visit to the renowned Belleek China Factory and Museum where you step back in history. The museum contains pieces dating back to when the pottery was started in 1857. You might want to enjoy a cuppa tea served in delicate Belleek tea cups. Next, we will head to the hills of Donegal and our beautiful surroundings for the next two evenings. Lough Eske Castle Hotel will embrace us with warmth and gracious hospitality. Lough Eske Castle traces it roots all the way back to 1474, and the famous O’Donnell Clan that founded the nearby town of Donegal. Newly renovated and reopened in 2007 Lough Eske can boast that it has been named as one of the top 3 hotels in Ireland. Enjoy the grounds, spa, and lake views before we gather for another meal together. Dinner and Overnight: Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa
Saturday, July 20th - Glenveagh Castle, Donegal Town
Ahhhh - we should be feeling like we are on Irish time by now. A hearty breakfast with beautiful surroundings and we will be ready for a full day of history, beauty and mystery. We will say prayers for full sunshine today as we will need it, wear your walking shoes today along with a rain hat or umbrella. We will enter the land of Saint Columcille who is thought to have been born in Gartan, close to Lough Gartan in County Donegal in approximately 521 AD. St Columcille founded the Irish monasteries at Glencolmcille and Kells and before founding his monastery on Iona in 536 AD. It was from there that he brought Christianity to the North of England. Sit back and enjoy the stunning views of Mount Errigal the highest mountain in Donegal, standing at 2,464 feet in a majestic position amongst bog land, with mist, and double rainbows as we follow the winding road to Glenveagh Castle. There are mountain passes that led the way for thousands seeking a new way of life in “Merikay”. Soon the winding roads give way to Lough Veagh which surrounds the beautiful Glenveagh Castle built in the nineteenth century. The atmosphere of Glenveagh will draw you in and leave a strong impression in your memory. There have been several owners, the first being George Adair a land speculator, who evicted several families from the land while building the castle. If time and weather permits, we may be able to visit some of these eviction sights whose foundations stones secure the stories of the former owners.
The second owner was Arthur Kingslsey Porter. Porter was a Harvard Professor of fine arts, who lived at Glenveagh Castle with his wife Lucy from 1929 until his mysterious disappearance from Inishbofin Island in 1933. Porter bought the castle as a refuge where he could research Celtic Crosses and document his findings without interruption. The third and final owner of Glenveagh Castle was Henry P. Mcllhenny who restored the Castle and entertained leading figures of international society. Before Mr. McIllhenny’s death in 1986, he donated Glenveagh Castle and Gardens to the people of Ireland.
On our return to Lough Eske we can visit Donegal Town and perhaps do some shopping at the family owned Triona Designs, famous for beautiful handwoven tweeds of all shapes and sizes. Our minds are just so full of history, mystery, beauty, amazement and wonder of it all. We can enjoy another leisurely evening dinner on your own time. Take time to sit outside on the grounds of our hotel as the sun will still be shining into the evening hours. Overnight: Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa
Sunday, July 21st, Athlone, Shannon River Cruise
Enjoy breakfast in the delightful atmosphere of Lough Eske before we depart to the town of Athlone right in the centre of the midlands of Ireland and is also the largest midland town. We will gather at the Athlone Castle dating from the 12 Century where we board and take a 90 minute scenic cruise down the Shannon River. There will be music to enjoy as well as a bar on board. You can enjoy a few hours to shop, view the Athlone Castle or the beautiful St. Peter & Paul Cathedral before gathering for dinner. Be sure to make a stop at Sean’s Bar, the oldest pub in Ireland. Our hotel is right on the Shannon River with lovely views of the town from the outdoor patio. Dinner & Overnight: Radisson Blu, Athlone
Monday, July 22nd, Clonmacnoise and Galway After breakfast and perhaps another walk about town, we will depart for the monastic site of Clonmacnoise (meadow of the sons of Noise), famous for its High Crosses, located beside the picturesque river Shannon. After a guided tour of Clonmacnoise, you will have time to linger and admire these magnificent High Crosses. We then depart for the Viking town of Galway. Galway is a robust University town tracing its proud Irish roots back to the year 1124. From a medieval trading port, drawing merchants from all over the known world including Christopher Columbus to what is now one of the fastest growing towns in all of Europe. We will be staying in Salt Hill area where you can get out and walk the very popular Promenade, some have even been known to join the locals for a swim in the chilly waters of Galway Bay. Our hotel overlooks Galway Bay with a lovely balcony and glassed in sitting area to relax in with great views of the Bay. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening and enjoy the long daylight hours for anyone who wants to take an after-dinner stroll along the promenade or walk through the Circle of Life Commemorative Garden just next to the hotel. Overnight: Galway Bay Hotel
Tuesday, July 23rd, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin and Killarney Today will be a full day so we may depart a little earlier this morning. Be sure to Wear good walking shoes today. We will enjoy breakfast and perhaps another walk on the Promenade before bidding Galway farewell. We journey on down the southwest of Ireland through the vast Burren region. In 1640 one of Cromwell’s soldiers described the Burren as a “savage land yielding neither enough water to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury him.” The Burren area is a splendid place however, where the sounds of the wind and sea are in harmony with the limestones. Be sure to look down into the crevices in the rock and behold tiny flowers known only in Ireland. Before we depart, take time to just stand on the rock and listen to the peace that abounds.
Next, we head to the famous Cliffs of Moher which stand 702 feet at their highest point and stretch for 5 miles along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland. There is also O’Brien’s Tower that stands near the highest point of the cliffs and has served as a viewing point for visitors for hundreds of years. We can also stop in the musical town of Doolin where there are tiny shops and Gus O'Connors Pub which is famous for musicians who travel from around the globe to share in music sessions. Sit back and relax and watch the Irish scenery go by as we head to Killarney town in County Kerry. Killarney (Cill Airne) meaning “church of the sloes” has been said to be the “most written and sung about” towns in all of Ireland. See some of Wikipedia’s reference to the areas surrounding this vibrant town so full of beauty and hospitality: - (The town is on the northeastern shore of Lough Leane, part of Killarney National Park, and is home to St Mary's Cathedral, Ross Castle, Muckross House and Abbey, the Lakes of Killarney,, the Gap of Dunloe and Torc Waterfall. We will spend the next three nights in Killarney so you can see and experience this magical place. Since our hotel is right in the heart of town, you can have the night free for dinner and exploring. Overnight: Plaza Hotel, Killarney
Wednesday, July 24th, Ring of Kerry & Sheep Dog demonstration Be sure to have your camera’s ready for action today as we enjoy the very scenic Ring of Kerry. We will pass through quaint towns and villages along the way, where tea and scones are in abundance and of course the local shops. If you have always wanted to see an Irish Sheep Dog demonstration, today is your day. A local farmer will introduce you to his sheep dogs and give a fascinating demonstration of how these dogs are used to bring in the sheep on real farms. Yes, there will also be sheep involved that you can give a hug after the demonstrations. When we return to Killarney you can once again enjoy the evening on your own time. There are many pubs and restaurants to choose from, listen for the music as it is everywhere. Overnight: Plaza Hotel, Killarney
Thursday, July 25th, Jaunting Cars, Free day and Irish Dance Show Everyone should be feeling very Irish by now. After another delightful breakfast we will step back in time and experience the the sights and sounds of Killarney by way of the traditional horse drawn Jaunting Car a mode of transportation dating back hundreds of years. Enjoy the banter with your driver, as you learn about the history, folklore and beauty of Killarney National Park as well as the majestic 15th century Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Leane. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy the town of Killarney as you wish. We will meet for dinner in the Plaza Hotel dining room and afterwards enjoy a night of Irish music song and dance. Dinner and Overnight: Killarney Plaza Hotel
Friday, July 26th, Cork English Market, Blarney Woolen Mills and Kinsale Enjoy breakfast and bid beautiful Killarney town farewell. Today we will have so many options of places to see and visit. We will head towards Cork City where we can stop to walk through the English Market, one of Ireland’s best markets and has been serving food to travelers since 1788. Queen Elizabeth herself made a recent visit to the Market. For those of you who want to scale of heights of Blarney Castle with hopes of obtaining the “gift of eloquence” then join us as we head that way. Blarney Castle houses the famed Blarney stone which has been kissed by world statesmen, literary giants and famous film stars in hopes of obtaining the gift of eloquence or “the gift of the gab”. You have the optional excursion of climbing the tight winding 85 foot staircase to the top of Blarney Castle on your own where a gentle lean backwards helped by a trusty guide will help you kiss the rock that will enable you to spin a few yarns of your own. If this does not appeal to you, then the Blarney Woolen Mills will keep you busy with plenty shopping or a pint at the pub might do the trick. We will then depart for the charming town of Kinsale. Kinsale (the gourmet capital of Ireland) traces its roots back to 1177 when the Anglo-Normans founded a town in a small walled area close to the water. It grew as a port town during the 18th century and today the harbor is favored by yacht owners. Kinsale has steep, narrow streets with many fine Georgian homes and friendly people who are happy to have a chat with you as you explore the town. Our Trident Hotel is located right on the water with views of boats of all different shapes and sizes. Your afternoon is free to explore Kinsale on your own and choose one of the many award winning pubs or restaurants for dinner this evening. Overnight: Trident Hotel, Kinsale
Saturday, July 27th, Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny With beautiful views of the fishing boats and water we will enjoy our breakfast before departing for another quaint town by the name of Kilkenny. On our way we will pay a visit to the impressive Rock of Cashel. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman Invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The majestic setting of this complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic Art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe. A short drive and we are in Kilkenny, a medieval town in southeast Ireland. The 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. You may want to visit the Castle and the manicured lawns or check out the shops along the winding lanes selling pottery, paintings and jewellery. We will meet at our hotel for dinner and discussion of our days events. Dinner and Overnight: Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny
Sunday, July 28, 2019 The Road to Dublin’s Fair City After breakfast some may want to visit one of the many churches in Kilkenny this morning. Enjoy some time in Kilkenny before departing to where all roads lead to - Dublin, the Capital of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Leinster. Dublin, the Capital of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Leinster. After a introductory drive around Dublin to get you familiar with the sights and sounds, we can give you free time to enjoy all Dublin has to offer. Some may want to enjoy riding around on one of the Hop on Hop off busses to see the town, others might just enjoy strolling and taking it all in. We will then drive outside the city centre to enjoy the 4 Star Royal Marine Hotel, in Dún Laoghaire overlooking Dublin Bay. This much loved, family run and historic landmark Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in South Dublin. Dating back to 1828 and with a rich history, the hotel is situated in a unique location, within easy reach of Dublin City Centre. Traveling to and from the hotel is made easier by the Hotels proximity to the DART train line.
Overnight: Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire
Monday July 29th, Free Day in Dublin Wake up early or sleep in, (just don’t miss breakfast). Today is your day, so do as you please. Dún Laoghaire is popular for strolls on the East Pier, and locally caught fish and chips. The National Maritime Museum of Ireland has nautical art and artifacts inside a 19th-century sailors’ church, while the harbour is a busy hub for fishing, water sports and cruises. There are many shops, pubs and cafes to explore. 10 Things to Do in Dun Laoghaire There is very easy access to THE DART for anyone wanting to return to Dublin City. There are so many things to see and do in Dublin (www.visitdublin.com) so get out and enjoy. In the evening we will gather at our hotel for a celebration dinner as we share our stories, adventures and forever sealed memories of Ireland.
Dinner and Overnight: Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire
Tuesday, July 30th, Return to USA Perhaps rise a little earlier this morning to make sure everything is packed and secure for our flight back home. We will enjoy breakfast and bid this beautiful, sparkling Emerald of the Sea goodby with a sure promise to return. Do a double check around the room, secure passports as we depart for Dublin Airport in plenty of time for some duty free shopping and to claim any VAT funds before we depart for home.
The Fare Includes:
~Exclusive transport by luxury motorcoach with a local driver/guide
~Meet and greet service with one group transfer upon arrival and departure at airport
~Hotel accommodation based on twin bedded rooms with private bath for 12 nights
~Full breakfast (12)
~Included Dinners at hotels (5) Local restaurant in Athlone (1)
Visits and admission to:
~Belleek China Factory
~Triona Designs visit
~Athlone River Cruise
~Cliffs of Moher
~Ring of Kerry/ Sheep dog demonstration
~Jaunting Carts in Killarney
~Celtic Steps Dance show
~Cork English Market
~Visit to Blarney Woolen Mills (visit to the Blarney Stone is OPTIONAL)
~Rock of Cashel
~Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage, gratuities for included meals, service charges and taxes
~Trip insurance for Land Only
What is Not included on the Tour The land price of the tour does not include airfare to the tour departure point; (Air can be arranged by Martha’s Travel Corner) excess baggage charges; items of a personal nature; meals not included on the itinerary; sightseeing attractions listed as “optional excursions” and gratuities to the Full time Motorcoach Driver. (Allow 10 Euro per day per person)
$3550.00 per person based on two persons to a room
$600.00 Single Room Supplement
Deposit to hold space: $300.00 per person Final payments due by: May 1, 2019
Reservation Form available upon Request
Interested in joining me on this wonderful adventure?
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