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Spiritual Sites of Ireland

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North, South, East, & West | Dublin, Glendalough, Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, Kerry, Knock, Donegal, Downpatrick | 9 Days & 8 Nights

Spiritual Sites of Ireland
Self Drive Tour or Luxury Chauffeured Tour

In the land of saints and scholars, delve into Ireland’s pre-Christian and Christian heritage. Against the backdrop of the Emerald Isle’s rare beauty, and in the comfort of deluxe hotels, experience a historical, spiritual and transformative journey on your special tour of Ireland.

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Tim and I had a wonderful trip to Ireland thanks to your wonderful suggestions and arrangements. Everything was just perfect. We truly had a wonderful trip and are grateful for your services.

– Jenny P.
Call 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797 to talk to one of our destination experts or email us and start planning the perfect trip today.
Price: Call for pricing

Highlights

Immerse yourself in the ancient culture and rich heritage of Ireland on our special tour that focuses on sites of spiritual significance in Ireland. From the Rock of Cashel, the ancient crowning stone of Irish kings, to the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick, and from St. Kevin’s Bed and the Round Tower in Glendalough to the exquisite Book of Kells you will be inspired and elevated by these spiritual treasures set against the rare beauty of Ireland’s landscape.

CustomerSupport
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
  • Dublin City
  • Trinity College and The Book of Kells
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Glendalough Monastic Ruins
  • Kilkenny Castle
  • The Rock of Cashel
  • Skellig Islands
  • Killarney
  • Clonmacnoise
  • Connemara
  • Knock Shrine
  • Donegal
  • The Walls of Derry
  • Downpatrick
  • Newgrange

Map


Religious Tour of Ireland

Included in This Tour

  • Private airport car transfers upon arrival and departure
  • 8-Nights deluxe hotel accommodations with full breakfast daily.
  • Self-Drive rental vehicle with unlimited mileage and CDW insurance. Or upgrade to the services of a Professional Driver Guide.
  • Touring Map of Ireland & List of recommended pubs, restaurants and places of interest.
  • Deluxe portfolio of travel Documents & Personalized Itinerary.
  • 24/7 Concierge service in Ireland while travelling.
  • Discount admissions booklet for area attractions.
Not Included: Airfare, travel insurance, and items of a personal nature.

From Our Blog

  • Hudson Valley to Europe – Get on Board!

    By Stephanie Santagada, resident blogger for the Destinations Team

     

    “There’s a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we’ve left it.” – Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin
    Whether you are the ... Read More


Day 1:

Depart the US on your overnight flight to Dublin, Ireland.

Day 2:

Upon arrival in Dublin Airport you will be met by your driver in the Arrivals Hall. Enjoy your private transfer to Dublin City for a 2-night stay at Brooks Hotel. Settle in today and become familiar with your new surroundings. Dublin is a dynamic capital city, with a proud colorful past and a thriving present.  Visit Trinity College and view The Book of Kells, a beautiful illuminated manuscript dating from around 800 A.D. composed of the four Gospels, and transcribed by early Christian monks. It is widely regarded as Ireland’s finest treasure. We highly recommend purchasing a 2-day pass for the ‘Hop-on, Hop off’ double decker tour bus. It’s a great way to get around and see all the best sights. Highlights include: The Phoenix Park, the largest city park in Europe and site of Pope John Paul II’s Mass to over one million people in 1979, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, The Dublin Writers Museum, The National Gallery, St. Stephen’s Green, and much, much more!  In the evenings, enjoy the array of fine restaurants available on your doorstep.

Day 3:

Pick up your rental car or meet your private driver guide this morning and drive south out of the city. Travel through the beautiful mountains of Wicklow, otherwise known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’ to Glendalough, site of an ancient monastic city established in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Set in the heart of “the valley of the two lakes” (Gleann da Loch), Glendalough was a very important center of learning as well as a pilgrimage destination. You can still see St. Kevin’s Bed, an artificial cave on the south side of the lake and originally a Bronze Age tomb, which St. Kevin took as his hermitage when he first came to Glendalough. St. Kevin lived the life of a hermit for 7 years, and the legends and stories that surround him highlight his love of nature and animals. He is often compared to St. Francis of Assisi.

After your visit to Glendalough, continue south to Kilkenny for an overnight stay in The River Court Hotel. Kilkenny is Ireland’s finest example of a medieval town. Explore the majestic Kilkenny Castle & Gardens, and visit St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. Afterwards you might like to pay a visit to the Kilkenny Design Centre for Ireland’s finest selection of handmade crafts including ceramics, knitwear, jewelry, and much more.

Day 4:

Depart Kilkenny at your leisure this morning and drive a short distance south to the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary, standing high in the middle of the “Golden Vale”. These religious buildings, dating from the 12th century, form the most spectacular medieval setting in Ireland. The Cathedral, the Round Tower and Cormac Chapel, which is the first Irish Romanesque church, testify to the importance of the site. Continue south towards Killarney, County Kerry for a 2-night stay in the Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa.

Day 5:

Today we suggest you drive along the ring of Kerry to Portmagee where we recommend taking a ferry to the Skellig Islands (weather permitting). The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the coast of South West Kerry. Rising majestically from the Atlantic Ocean, Skellig Michael towers 714ft above sea level. On the summit of this dramatic spit of rock, you will find the remarkably well preserved sixth century monastic settlement. The earliest reference in history to the Skellig Islands dates back to 1400BC. Skellig Michael was the chosen destination for a small group of ascetic monks who, in their pursuit of greater union with God, withdrew from civilization to this remote and inaccessible island. Sometime between the sixth and eight centuries, a monastery was founded on this precipitous rock resulting in one of the most dramatic examples of extreme Christian asceticism. Visiting Skellig Michael is a most magnificent experience, and an inspirational spiritual journey.

If the weather is too wild for the ferry, you can choose to tour the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry peninsulas. From Inch, where David Lean made his classic movie “Ryan’s Daughter”, continue along the Eagle Mount and the cliffs of Slea Head. Discover Gallarus Oratory, an Early Christian beehive hut, and an example of one of the isolated locations that monks at that time sought to inhabit. The oratory, the place of prayer for the monks, dates from the 9th century, and reflects the high quality of the construction of the beehive church. The next stop is Kilmalkedar Church, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style and once part of a complex of religious buildings.

Day 6:

Drive north to Adare and Limerick today. Maybe you would like to visit St. John’s Cathedral in Limerick for Sunday Mass. Continue on and visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, soaring 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Drive north and explore the vast limestone lunar-like landscape of the Burren region, dotted with ancient Stone Age altars and burial chambers, and unique flora and fauna. Afterwards continue to County Galway and visit Clonmacnoise overlooking the Shannon River and one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites. Founded by St. Ciaran in the 6th century, Clonmacnoise consists of a walled field containing numerous early churches, high crosses, Round Towers and graves. It is a place of unique spiritual splendor. Enjoy an overnight stay in Abbeyglen Castle in the heart of Connemara.

Day 7:

Explore the magnificent Connemara region today. From the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range to the golden beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, Connemara will enchant you as the light constantly changes the mood of the landscape. Drive through Leenane and the beautiful Delphi Valley, an area devastated by the famine in the 1840’s. The scenery and history of this region will leave you in awe. Continue on to visit Knock and its shrine situated in the plains of East Mayo. It is one of the world’s leading Marian shrines. On 21st August 1879, at about 8 o’clock, fifteen people from the village – women, men and children – witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church. Visit the Basilica, the largest church in Ireland, and the award-winning Knock Museum. Knock is a very popular pilgrimage destination; indeed one of its most notable visitors was Pope John Paul II in 1979.

Situated eight kilometres from the pretty Mayo town of Westport, is Croagh Patrick, Patrick’s Sacred Mountain, its conical shape soaring majestically above the surrounding countryside. Follow the steps of St. Patrick on the Pilgrim’s Path and in doing so meet people from all over the world, as well as locals.

Travel through Sligo, made famous by the renowned Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Visit Carrowmore Megalithic cemetery, not far from Ben Bulben Mountain. The cemetery is one of four major passage tomb complexes in Ireland, located in the heart of a peninsula bounded by water on three sides. Twenty seven monuments remain today in varying states of preservation, and the remains of at least 65 are known, although it is thought there may be up to 100 Megalithic monuments at Carrowmore.

Continue north to Donegal for an overnight stay in Lough Eske Castle.

Day 8:

Drive north to Derry-Londonderry this morning. Derry is the only completely Walled City in the British Isles. Its 17th century walls provide the platform for uncovering over 1,450 years of history whilst embracing a modern pulse of life through its many galleries, restaurants, shops, cafés and pubs. We highly recommend taking a guided walking tour in Derry to see O’Doherty’s Tower and the Tower Museum, which tells the story of the town from the days of St. Columcille to the present.
After your visit to Derry, continue on to the UNESCO World Heritage site, The Giant’s Causeway. Why not dare to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge or visit Dunluce Castle? This evening you will enjoy an overnight stay at the Bushmills Inn.

Day 9:

Today, drive south to Downpatrick believed to be the burial site of not only St. Patrick but also of St. Brigit and St. Colmcille. In Saul, only a few miles from Downpatrick, St. Patrick established his first church and from here transformed Ireland into the ‘Island of Saints and Scholars’. The Norman conqueror, John de Courcy recognized the importance of the site after the discovery of relics of the three great saints in 1183, and invited Benedictine monks to establish a monastery in Down. Parts of Down Cathedral are part of that original monastery.

Enjoy a visit to nearby Struell Wells, about a mile from Downpatrick, a set of four holy wells said to have been blessed by St. Patrick himself, and a popular pilgrimage site from 1600s to 1840. If weather allows enjoy a tranquil walk in their surroundings.

Drive south to County Meath to visit Newgrange, the UNESCO World Heritage site, and place of huge spiritual and historical importance. This prehistoric monument and megalithic Stone Age passage tomb was built about 3200BC during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Continue south to County Dublin for an overnight stay at the Portmarnock Hotel & Links.

Day 10:

After an early breakfast, transfer to Dublin Airport, and prepare for your return to the United States. Slan Abhaile!

CustomerSupport

To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.





Hotels

Brooks hotel, Dublin

Situated only minutes from Grafton Street in the fashionable heart of Dublin city, Brooks Hotel is the perfect place to stay. Most of the city’s key attractions are within walking distance to the hotel and include: the best shopping streets in the capital, St. Stephen’s Green, the Guinness storehouse, Dublin Castle, Trinity College and many popular art galleries, theatres, museums and entertainment venues. Luxuriously appointed rooms coupled with excellent food, fine wines and exemplary levels of customer care and service, are what make a visit to Brooks such a special and rewarding experience.




Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden, Connemara

The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is located on the aptly named Sky Road overlooking the quaint alpine like village of Clifden, Connemara. The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is nestled in the romantic setting of the Twelve Bens with beautiful views overlooking Clifden Bay. The warm and friendly staff are always at hand to make your stay special, guaranteeing you an unforgettable experience. The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is located close to Connemara’s major attractions, including Kylemore Abbey, and The Connemara National Park.




Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa, Donegal

Lough Eske Castle, a five-star castle hotel & Spa is located on a secluded lakeside estate just outside Donegal Town, has a rich history dating back to the 1400s being associated with the O'Donnell Clan, the founding fathers of Donegal, a county in the north-west region of Ireland. This is an historic building set in a storybook location delivering superior hospitality and comfort and is the ideal place for those who simply want to relax and unwind. It is the perfect base from which to explore all the area has to offer.




Portmarnock Hotel & Links, County Dublin

From the moment you arrive at the Portmarnock Hotel, the friendly staff will take care of your every need. This leaves you free to walk on the award-winning, magnificent ‘Velvet Strand’ beach, enjoy pampering in the health & beauty clinic or dine on delicious, locally sourced cuisine. This 4 star hotel, combines modern elegance with all the grandeur of a 19th century home, which overlooks the Irish sea. The property was once owned by members of the Jameson Whiskey dynasty.




Travel Tips & FAQs

Ireland

Passports & Visas
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).

Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland.

What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.

Weather
February to April: Highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F
May to July: Highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F
August to October: Highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February.
April & September are considered the most pleasant and temperate months.

Currency
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro (€). One euro consists of 100 cent. In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency (£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.

Gratuities
Gratuities and tips are discretionary and are not usually included in a bill. The general custom is to give 10% to serving staff in restaurants. Cafes might have a collection box at the till and bar staff are not tipped but you are free to offer “have one for yourself”.

Emergency Services
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Republic of Ireland, Telephone: 112 or 999
Northern Ireland, Telephone: 999

Gadgets
Plugs in Ireland are three-pronged, the same as in the UK and the electricity supply is also 230v. Adapters are widely available and its a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.

Public Transportation
National Coaches
Republic of Ireland: Bus Eireann
Northern Ireland: Translink

Dublin Buses
Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas Light Railway Tram and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) for up to 3 days.

Railways
Republic of Ireland: Irish Rail
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Railways
The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) covers Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow.
Luas light rail/tram service travels across the south and west of Dublin city including the city center areas.

Time Zone
Ireland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1, that’s Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland.
For example, New York is Irish Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Irish Time -8 hours.

Language
English is commonly used throughout Ireland although Irish is the official language and there are Irish speaking areas called the Gaeltacht where it is the predominant language.

Driving
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit. Cars in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas are written in Irish (Gaelic) so familiarise yourself with both English and Irish spellings before you set off for those parts. Northern Ireland uses miles per hour, while the Republic of Ireland uses kilometers for signage and speed limits.

Vaccinations
There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.


United Kingdom: England, Scotland & Wales

Passports & Visas
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).

Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland.

What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.

Weather
February to April: Highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F
May to July: Highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F
August to October: Highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February.
April & September are considered the most pleasant and temperate months.

Currency
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro (€). One euro consists of 100 cent. In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency (£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.

Gratuities
Gratuities and tips are discretionary and are not usually included in a bill. The general custom is to give 10% to serving staff in restaurants. Cafes might have a collection box at the till and bar staff are not tipped but you are free to offer “have one for yourself”.

Emergency Services
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Republic of Ireland, Telephone: 112 or 999
Northern Ireland, Telephone: 999

Gadgets
Plugs in Ireland are three-pronged, the same as in the UK and the electricity supply is also 230v. Adapters are widely available and its a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.

Public Transportation
National Coaches
Republic of Ireland: Bus Eireann
Northern Ireland: Translink

Dublin Buses
Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas Light Railway Tram and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) for up to 3 days.

Railways
Republic of Ireland: Irish Rail
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Railways
The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) covers Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow.
Luas light rail/tram service travels across the south and west of Dublin city including the city center areas.

Time Zone
Ireland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1, that’s Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland.
For example, New York is Irish Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Irish Time -8 hours.

Language
English is commonly used throughout Ireland although Irish is the official language and there are Irish speaking areas called the Gaeltacht where it is the predominant language.

Driving
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit. Cars in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas are written in Irish (Gaelic) so familiarise yourself with both English and Irish spellings before you set off for those parts. Northern Ireland uses miles per hour, while the Republic of Ireland uses kilometers for signage and speed limits.

Vaccinations
There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.

Testimonials

“Back from a great golf trip and thanks so much for your assistance. Hotels were outstanding and made for a wonderful relaxing trip.”
– Tim Dudich


“I wanted to let you know that our trip was one for the ages. We had more fun than I could have imagined.”
– Herb Bennett


“To say our group had an awesome time on our trip would be the understatement of the century.”
– John C. Granzow, CIMA


“I will have no hesitation in recommending your company for future use! I felt as if you and your company gave us top notch customer service and never batted an eye for what may have been odd questions – that type of service is hard to find. You really gave us personal service!”
– Leslie Wajda


“Trip was great – accommodations excellent.”
– Kathleen McCormack-Batterson


“This note is to praise Destinations Ireland and our driver, James Finn, who truly made our trip a pleasure!”
– Donna Long


“The trip was really great.  You did a fabulous job of picking the properties. Scotland is beautiful! It was a great trip. You scored again! Can’t wait for our next adventure.”
– Libby McGriff


“I wanted to let you know that the accommodations were fabulous throughout our trip. We were completely blown away, what a magnificent find. The house is simply breathtaking. A word on the drivers. I could not have asked for more accommodating or entertaining gentleman to escort us around. They were full of information, great stories, and advice. Really, really just wonderful guys all around.”
– Susanne McNeill


“A masterful job in creating and arranging such a phenomenal trip…”
– P.J. Fitzgerald


“We had a “dream trip” and you/your organization were a large part it making it all happen. Everything went smoothly and was more than we ever imagined! We are already talking about a return trip in a few years! Have to save our money. 🙂 Thanks again for all you did for us.”
– Nancy Capocy


“I cannot express how much I appreciate you making all the arrangements with such short notice & I just wanted to say Thank you again for all your help.”
– Susan Sanford


“All I do is talk about the wonderful trip, sites and your company and how we couldn’t have been happier with all the arrangements and people who set this wonderful trip up. Again thank you!!!”
– Janet Jenrick


“We had a wonderful time in Ireland and I appreciate all the reservations you made and the guidance your gave us.”
– Monica Kobasic


“I wanted to thank you for arranging a great trip to Scotland. The Channings, Culloden House, and Roxburghe House were fantastic…the best of accommodations, food, and customer service”
– Trina Girimont


“I wanted to thank you and Destinations Ireland and Beyond. We had an amazing experience. We loved all the hotels that you set us up with. Thank you for being so insightful, quickly giving us a speed course of Ireland and helping us decide where to go and what to see. I would highly recommend Destinations Ireland and Beyond as the best travel agency!”
– Donna and Ira Spector


“A lot of beautiful memories. THANK YOU for all of your planning and attention to detail,”
– Kathy Ross


“I just wanted to send you a thank you for all you did to make our trip the best! It was beyond our expectations! We loved all of our accommodations. I can’t say that I have a favorite because it all was perfect. We were not ready to come home and all look forward to visiting Ireland again.”
– Peg Cozzolino


“I want to THANK ALL OF YOU FOR A WONDERFUL TRIP. Ronelle and I had a marvelous time.”
– P.J. “Paul” Nicholson


“Thank You! for all your help arranging a wonderful visit to Ireland.”
– Ron & Jennifer Spielman


“Tim and I had a wonderful trip to Ireland thanks to your wonderful suggestions and arrangements. Everything was just perfect. We truly had a wonderful trip and are grateful for your services.”
– Jenny Popp


“Thank you for the great job you did arranging our trip to Ireland. Everything went wonderfully and the accommodations were the best.”
– Elizabeth Zechman


Booking Enquiry for Spiritual Sites of Ireland

You can use this form to contact us with your preferred date of travel, the number of people in your party and your requirements and we will get back to you with a quote.

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Highlights

Immerse yourself in the ancient culture and rich heritage of Ireland on our special tour that focuses on sites of spiritual significance in Ireland. From the Rock of Cashel, the ancient crowning stone of Irish kings, to the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick, and from St. Kevin’s Bed and the Round Tower in Glendalough to the exquisite Book of Kells you will be inspired and elevated by these spiritual treasures set against the rare beauty of Ireland’s landscape.

CustomerSupport
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
  • Dublin City
  • Trinity College and The Book of Kells
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Glendalough Monastic Ruins
  • Kilkenny Castle
  • The Rock of Cashel
  • Skellig Islands
  • Killarney
  • Clonmacnoise
  • Connemara
  • Knock Shrine
  • Donegal
  • The Walls of Derry
  • Downpatrick
  • Newgrange

Included in This Tour

  • Private airport car transfers upon arrival and departure
  • 8-Nights deluxe hotel accommodations with full breakfast daily.
  • Self-Drive rental vehicle with unlimited mileage and CDW insurance. Or upgrade to the services of a Professional Driver Guide.
  • Touring Map of Ireland & List of recommended pubs, restaurants and places of interest.
  • Deluxe portfolio of travel Documents & Personalized Itinerary.
  • 24/7 Concierge service in Ireland while travelling.
  • Discount admissions booklet for area attractions.
Not Included: Airfare, tips, travel insurance, and items of a personal nature.

Flight Information

  • Arrive: Dublin (DUB)
  • Depart: Dublin (DUB)
Airfare is Additional
Take the hassle out of booking flights. Ask about our best available Economy Fares as well as our Preferred Business and First Class Offers. Our air department experts can help with competitive rates. Just let us know your preferred dates and U.S. Departure City. We will do the rest.

Meals

  • Breakfast Daily

From Our Blog

  • Hudson Valley to Europe – Get on Board!

    By Stephanie Santagada, resident blogger for the Destinations Team

     

    “There’s a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we’ve left it.” – Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin
    Whether you are the ... Read More



Day 1:

Depart the US on your overnight flight to Dublin, Ireland.

Day 2:

Upon arrival in Dublin Airport you will be met by your driver in the Arrivals Hall. Enjoy your private transfer to Dublin City for a 2-night stay at Brooks Hotel. Settle in today and become familiar with your new surroundings. Dublin is a dynamic capital city, with a proud colorful past and a thriving present.  Visit Trinity College and view The Book of Kells, a beautiful illuminated manuscript dating from around 800 A.D. composed of the four Gospels, and transcribed by early Christian monks. It is widely regarded as Ireland’s finest treasure. We highly recommend purchasing a 2-day pass for the ‘Hop-on, Hop off’ double decker tour bus. It’s a great way to get around and see all the best sights. Highlights include: The Phoenix Park, the largest city park in Europe and site of Pope John Paul II’s Mass to over one million people in 1979, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, The Dublin Writers Museum, The National Gallery, St. Stephen’s Green, and much, much more!  In the evenings, enjoy the array of fine restaurants available on your doorstep.

Day 3:

Pick up your rental car or meet your private driver guide this morning and drive south out of the city. Travel through the beautiful mountains of Wicklow, otherwise known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’ to Glendalough, site of an ancient monastic city established in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Set in the heart of “the valley of the two lakes” (Gleann da Loch), Glendalough was a very important center of learning as well as a pilgrimage destination. You can still see St. Kevin’s Bed, an artificial cave on the south side of the lake and originally a Bronze Age tomb, which St. Kevin took as his hermitage when he first came to Glendalough. St. Kevin lived the life of a hermit for 7 years, and the legends and stories that surround him highlight his love of nature and animals. He is often compared to St. Francis of Assisi.

After your visit to Glendalough, continue south to Kilkenny for an overnight stay in The River Court Hotel. Kilkenny is Ireland’s finest example of a medieval town. Explore the majestic Kilkenny Castle & Gardens, and visit St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. Afterwards you might like to pay a visit to the Kilkenny Design Centre for Ireland’s finest selection of handmade crafts including ceramics, knitwear, jewelry, and much more.

Day 4:

Depart Kilkenny at your leisure this morning and drive a short distance south to the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary, standing high in the middle of the “Golden Vale”. These religious buildings, dating from the 12th century, form the most spectacular medieval setting in Ireland. The Cathedral, the Round Tower and Cormac Chapel, which is the first Irish Romanesque church, testify to the importance of the site. Continue south towards Killarney, County Kerry for a 2-night stay in the Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa.

Day 5:

Today we suggest you drive along the ring of Kerry to Portmagee where we recommend taking a ferry to the Skellig Islands (weather permitting). The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the coast of South West Kerry. Rising majestically from the Atlantic Ocean, Skellig Michael towers 714ft above sea level. On the summit of this dramatic spit of rock, you will find the remarkably well preserved sixth century monastic settlement. The earliest reference in history to the Skellig Islands dates back to 1400BC. Skellig Michael was the chosen destination for a small group of ascetic monks who, in their pursuit of greater union with God, withdrew from civilization to this remote and inaccessible island. Sometime between the sixth and eight centuries, a monastery was founded on this precipitous rock resulting in one of the most dramatic examples of extreme Christian asceticism. Visiting Skellig Michael is a most magnificent experience, and an inspirational spiritual journey.

If the weather is too wild for the ferry, you can choose to tour the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry peninsulas. From Inch, where David Lean made his classic movie “Ryan’s Daughter”, continue along the Eagle Mount and the cliffs of Slea Head. Discover Gallarus Oratory, an Early Christian beehive hut, and an example of one of the isolated locations that monks at that time sought to inhabit. The oratory, the place of prayer for the monks, dates from the 9th century, and reflects the high quality of the construction of the beehive church. The next stop is Kilmalkedar Church, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style and once part of a complex of religious buildings.

Day 6:

Drive north to Adare and Limerick today. Maybe you would like to visit St. John’s Cathedral in Limerick for Sunday Mass. Continue on and visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, soaring 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Drive north and explore the vast limestone lunar-like landscape of the Burren region, dotted with ancient Stone Age altars and burial chambers, and unique flora and fauna. Afterwards continue to County Galway and visit Clonmacnoise overlooking the Shannon River and one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites. Founded by St. Ciaran in the 6th century, Clonmacnoise consists of a walled field containing numerous early churches, high crosses, Round Towers and graves. It is a place of unique spiritual splendor. Enjoy an overnight stay in Abbeyglen Castle in the heart of Connemara.

Day 7:

Explore the magnificent Connemara region today. From the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range to the golden beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, Connemara will enchant you as the light constantly changes the mood of the landscape. Drive through Leenane and the beautiful Delphi Valley, an area devastated by the famine in the 1840’s. The scenery and history of this region will leave you in awe. Continue on to visit Knock and its shrine situated in the plains of East Mayo. It is one of the world’s leading Marian shrines. On 21st August 1879, at about 8 o’clock, fifteen people from the village – women, men and children – witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church. Visit the Basilica, the largest church in Ireland, and the award-winning Knock Museum. Knock is a very popular pilgrimage destination; indeed one of its most notable visitors was Pope John Paul II in 1979.

Situated eight kilometres from the pretty Mayo town of Westport, is Croagh Patrick, Patrick’s Sacred Mountain, its conical shape soaring majestically above the surrounding countryside. Follow the steps of St. Patrick on the Pilgrim’s Path and in doing so meet people from all over the world, as well as locals.

Travel through Sligo, made famous by the renowned Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Visit Carrowmore Megalithic cemetery, not far from Ben Bulben Mountain. The cemetery is one of four major passage tomb complexes in Ireland, located in the heart of a peninsula bounded by water on three sides. Twenty seven monuments remain today in varying states of preservation, and the remains of at least 65 are known, although it is thought there may be up to 100 Megalithic monuments at Carrowmore.

Continue north to Donegal for an overnight stay in Lough Eske Castle.

Day 8:

Drive north to Derry-Londonderry this morning. Derry is the only completely Walled City in the British Isles. Its 17th century walls provide the platform for uncovering over 1,450 years of history whilst embracing a modern pulse of life through its many galleries, restaurants, shops, cafés and pubs. We highly recommend taking a guided walking tour in Derry to see O’Doherty’s Tower and the Tower Museum, which tells the story of the town from the days of St. Columcille to the present.
After your visit to Derry, continue on to the UNESCO World Heritage site, The Giant’s Causeway. Why not dare to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge or visit Dunluce Castle? This evening you will enjoy an overnight stay at the Bushmills Inn.

Day 9:

Today, drive south to Downpatrick believed to be the burial site of not only St. Patrick but also of St. Brigit and St. Colmcille. In Saul, only a few miles from Downpatrick, St. Patrick established his first church and from here transformed Ireland into the ‘Island of Saints and Scholars’. The Norman conqueror, John de Courcy recognized the importance of the site after the discovery of relics of the three great saints in 1183, and invited Benedictine monks to establish a monastery in Down. Parts of Down Cathedral are part of that original monastery.

Enjoy a visit to nearby Struell Wells, about a mile from Downpatrick, a set of four holy wells said to have been blessed by St. Patrick himself, and a popular pilgrimage site from 1600s to 1840. If weather allows enjoy a tranquil walk in their surroundings.

Drive south to County Meath to visit Newgrange, the UNESCO World Heritage site, and place of huge spiritual and historical importance. This prehistoric monument and megalithic Stone Age passage tomb was built about 3200BC during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Continue south to County Dublin for an overnight stay at the Portmarnock Hotel & Links.

Day 10:

After an early breakfast, transfer to Dublin Airport, and prepare for your return to the United States. Slan Abhaile!

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Hotels

Brooks hotel, Dublin

Situated only minutes from Grafton Street in the fashionable heart of Dublin city, Brooks Hotel is the perfect place to stay. Most of the city’s key attractions are within walking distance to the hotel and include: the best shopping streets in the capital, St. Stephen’s Green, the Guinness storehouse, Dublin Castle, Trinity College and many popular art galleries, theatres, museums and entertainment venues. Luxuriously appointed rooms coupled with excellent food, fine wines and exemplary levels of customer care and service, are what make a visit to Brooks such a special and rewarding experience.




Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden, Connemara

The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is located on the aptly named Sky Road overlooking the quaint alpine like village of Clifden, Connemara. The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is nestled in the romantic setting of the Twelve Bens with beautiful views overlooking Clifden Bay. The warm and friendly staff are always at hand to make your stay special, guaranteeing you an unforgettable experience. The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is located close to Connemara’s major attractions, including Kylemore Abbey, and The Connemara National Park.




Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa, Donegal

Lough Eske Castle, a five-star castle hotel & Spa is located on a secluded lakeside estate just outside Donegal Town, has a rich history dating back to the 1400s being associated with the O'Donnell Clan, the founding fathers of Donegal, a county in the north-west region of Ireland. This is an historic building set in a storybook location delivering superior hospitality and comfort and is the ideal place for those who simply want to relax and unwind. It is the perfect base from which to explore all the area has to offer.




Portmarnock Hotel & Links, County Dublin

From the moment you arrive at the Portmarnock Hotel, the friendly staff will take care of your every need. This leaves you free to walk on the award-winning, magnificent ‘Velvet Strand’ beach, enjoy pampering in the health & beauty clinic or dine on delicious, locally sourced cuisine. This 4 star hotel, combines modern elegance with all the grandeur of a 19th century home, which overlooks the Irish sea. The property was once owned by members of the Jameson Whiskey dynasty.




Travel Tips & FAQs

Ireland

Passports & Visas
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).

Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland.

What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.

Weather
February to April: Highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F
May to July: Highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F
August to October: Highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February.
April & September are considered the most pleasant and temperate months.

Currency
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro (€). One euro consists of 100 cent. In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency (£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.

Gratuities
Gratuities and tips are discretionary and are not usually included in a bill. The general custom is to give 10% to serving staff in restaurants. Cafes might have a collection box at the till and bar staff are not tipped but you are free to offer “have one for yourself”.

Emergency Services
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Republic of Ireland, Telephone: 112 or 999
Northern Ireland, Telephone: 999

Gadgets
Plugs in Ireland are three-pronged, the same as in the UK and the electricity supply is also 230v. Adapters are widely available and its a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.

Public Transportation
National Coaches
Republic of Ireland: Bus Eireann
Northern Ireland: Translink

Dublin Buses
Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas Light Railway Tram and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) for up to 3 days.

Railways
Republic of Ireland: Irish Rail
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Railways
The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) covers Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow.
Luas light rail/tram service travels across the south and west of Dublin city including the city center areas.

Time Zone
Ireland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1, that’s Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland.
For example, New York is Irish Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Irish Time -8 hours.

Language
English is commonly used throughout Ireland although Irish is the official language and there are Irish speaking areas called the Gaeltacht where it is the predominant language.

Driving
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit. Cars in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas are written in Irish (Gaelic) so familiarise yourself with both English and Irish spellings before you set off for those parts. Northern Ireland uses miles per hour, while the Republic of Ireland uses kilometers for signage and speed limits.

Vaccinations
There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.


United Kingdom: England, Scotland & Wales

Passports & Visas
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).

Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland.

What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.

Weather
February to April: Highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F
May to July: Highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F
August to October: Highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February.
April & September are considered the most pleasant and temperate months.

Currency
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro (€). One euro consists of 100 cent. In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency (£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.

Gratuities
Gratuities and tips are discretionary and are not usually included in a bill. The general custom is to give 10% to serving staff in restaurants. Cafes might have a collection box at the till and bar staff are not tipped but you are free to offer “have one for yourself”.

Emergency Services
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Republic of Ireland, Telephone: 112 or 999
Northern Ireland, Telephone: 999

Gadgets
Plugs in Ireland are three-pronged, the same as in the UK and the electricity supply is also 230v. Adapters are widely available and its a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.

Public Transportation
National Coaches
Republic of Ireland: Bus Eireann
Northern Ireland: Translink

Dublin Buses
Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas Light Railway Tram and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) for up to 3 days.

Railways
Republic of Ireland: Irish Rail
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Railways
The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) covers Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow.
Luas light rail/tram service travels across the south and west of Dublin city including the city center areas.

Time Zone
Ireland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1, that’s Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland.
For example, New York is Irish Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Irish Time -8 hours.

Language
English is commonly used throughout Ireland although Irish is the official language and there are Irish speaking areas called the Gaeltacht where it is the predominant language.

Driving
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit. Cars in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas are written in Irish (Gaelic) so familiarise yourself with both English and Irish spellings before you set off for those parts. Northern Ireland uses miles per hour, while the Republic of Ireland uses kilometers for signage and speed limits.

Vaccinations
There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.

Testimonials

“Back from a great golf trip and thanks so much for your assistance. Hotels were outstanding and made for a wonderful relaxing trip.”
– Tim Dudich


“I wanted to let you know that our trip was one for the ages. We had more fun than I could have imagined.”
– Herb Bennett


“To say our group had an awesome time on our trip would be the understatement of the century.”
– John C. Granzow, CIMA


“I will have no hesitation in recommending your company for future use! I felt as if you and your company gave us top notch customer service and never batted an eye for what may have been odd questions – that type of service is hard to find. You really gave us personal service!”
– Leslie Wajda


“Trip was great – accommodations excellent.”
– Kathleen McCormack-Batterson


“This note is to praise Destinations Ireland and our driver, James Finn, who truly made our trip a pleasure!”
– Donna Long


“The trip was really great.  You did a fabulous job of picking the properties. Scotland is beautiful! It was a great trip. You scored again! Can’t wait for our next adventure.”
– Libby McGriff


“I wanted to let you know that the accommodations were fabulous throughout our trip. We were completely blown away, what a magnificent find. The house is simply breathtaking. A word on the drivers. I could not have asked for more accommodating or entertaining gentleman to escort us around. They were full of information, great stories, and advice. Really, really just wonderful guys all around.”
– Susanne McNeill


“A masterful job in creating and arranging such a phenomenal trip…”
– P.J. Fitzgerald


“We had a “dream trip” and you/your organization were a large part it making it all happen. Everything went smoothly and was more than we ever imagined! We are already talking about a return trip in a few years! Have to save our money. 🙂 Thanks again for all you did for us.”
– Nancy Capocy


“I cannot express how much I appreciate you making all the arrangements with such short notice & I just wanted to say Thank you again for all your help.”
– Susan Sanford


“All I do is talk about the wonderful trip, sites and your company and how we couldn’t have been happier with all the arrangements and people who set this wonderful trip up. Again thank you!!!”
– Janet Jenrick


“We had a wonderful time in Ireland and I appreciate all the reservations you made and the guidance your gave us.”
– Monica Kobasic


“I wanted to thank you for arranging a great trip to Scotland. The Channings, Culloden House, and Roxburghe House were fantastic…the best of accommodations, food, and customer service”
– Trina Girimont


“I wanted to thank you and Destinations Ireland and Beyond. We had an amazing experience. We loved all the hotels that you set us up with. Thank you for being so insightful, quickly giving us a speed course of Ireland and helping us decide where to go and what to see. I would highly recommend Destinations Ireland and Beyond as the best travel agency!”
– Donna and Ira Spector


“A lot of beautiful memories. THANK YOU for all of your planning and attention to detail,”
– Kathy Ross


“I just wanted to send you a thank you for all you did to make our trip the best! It was beyond our expectations! We loved all of our accommodations. I can’t say that I have a favorite because it all was perfect. We were not ready to come home and all look forward to visiting Ireland again.”
– Peg Cozzolino


“I want to THANK ALL OF YOU FOR A WONDERFUL TRIP. Ronelle and I had a marvelous time.”
– P.J. “Paul” Nicholson


“Thank You! for all your help arranging a wonderful visit to Ireland.”
– Ron & Jennifer Spielman


“Tim and I had a wonderful trip to Ireland thanks to your wonderful suggestions and arrangements. Everything was just perfect. We truly had a wonderful trip and are grateful for your services.”
– Jenny Popp


“Thank you for the great job you did arranging our trip to Ireland. Everything went wonderfully and the accommodations were the best.”
– Elizabeth Zechman


Booking Enquiry for Spiritual Sites of Ireland

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