Like the idea of independent travel to Ireland but resist a self-drive or private tour? Why not rail?
Experience the myriad charms of Ireland! Discover rolling countryside, sparkling coastline, ancient landmarks and traditional customs of the Emerald Isle, breezing from city to city by train and enjoying handpicked daytrips, sightseeing tours and tickets to help you get the most out of your stay.
Day 1 - Arrive in Killarney
Your adventures through the Emerald Isle begin in Killarney, where you'll check in at your hotel for a relaxing two-night stay. Spend the rest of the day exploring, perhaps wandering to St. Mary's Cathedral or just soaking up the atmosphere in the quaint town center.
Day 2 - Killarney
Killarney is a famous stop on the spectacular Ring of Kerry, which you will have the chance to discover today! On your full day tour, you will acquaint yourself with the magnificent natural beauty of one of Ireland's crowning gems, exploring MacGillycuddy Reeks, the sandy shores of Dingle Bay and the wonderful coastal views of Kenmare Bay. Pass through the wonderful National Park along the way, and admire the sparkling Lakes of Killarney. Don't forget your camera!
Day 3 - Galway
Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Galway 2013
Check out of your hotel today and travel along Ireland's railway tracks from Killarney to Galway. Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey, passing through gorgeous countryside as you go. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel for a two-night stay. Galway is a pretty, coastal gem on Ireland's west coast. Explore the quirky boutiques and galleries along the cobbled lanes of the Latin Quarter, and head to the 18th-century Eyre Square for an evening meal accompanied by some traditional Irish folk music - plenty of the pubs here are famed for offering just that!
Day 4 - Galway
From Galway, you're just a stone's throw from the UNESCO-listed Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most enduringly popular attractions. Join a professional guide for the journey through tiny fishing villages, travelling past ancient Duguaire Castle and admiring Burren, where striking limestone scenery is reminiscent of the moon's surface. Take your time strolling along the hiking trails and cliff paths, marveling at Celtic crosses and perhaps enjoying a pint in Gus O'Connors pub - one of Ireland's most famous watering holes!
Day 5 - Dublin
Check out of your hotel this morning and board a train bound for Dublin. On arrival, check in at your hotel for a three-night stay and set out to explore the Irish capital city. Explore the imposing St. Patrick's Cathedral, which dates back to 1191 AD, or learn about the Emerald Isle's history at the National Museum of Ireland. You might also like to indulge in a trip to the Guinness Storehouse, complete with tastings, of course!
Day 6 - Dublin
Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Dublin 2013
Explore Dublin with a hop-on, hop-off tour today, creating a personalized city sightseeing experience! Dublin truly does overflow with history landmarks and iconic sights, and you'll be able to discover the best of them with the Dublin Pass included with your vacation. Visit Dublin Zoo, the GAA museum, Old Jameson Distillery and many, many more. Spend your evening in Temple Bar, sampling authentic cuisine and indulging in some good old fashioned craic at one of the numerous traditional pubs.
Day 7 - Dublin
Make the most of your time in Dublin by using the opportunity to visit Blarney Castle and Cork on a spectacularly scenic day trip. Travel through the verdant landscapes of the Irish countryside to the historic site of Blarney Castle, world-famous for its enchanting Blarney Stone, which supposedly gives all those who kiss it the gift of the gab. Visit the city of Cork and the imposing Rock of Cashel Cathedral in County Tipperary, too, before returning to Dublin for another overnight stay.
Day 8 - Belfast
Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Belfast 2013
Ride the rails from Ireland to Northern Ireland today, pulling into the capital, Belfast. The journey is scenic and relaxing, taking just over two and a half hours. Check in at your hotel for a two-night stay and start exploring! Visit the renovated Dockyards' Titanic Quarter, exploring in depth with the entrance ticket included in your vacation, and don't miss the opportunity to learn about 9,000 years of Irish culture and history at the Ulster Museum.
Day 9 - Belfast
Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Giant's Causeway 2013
Discover more of Ireland's magic today on a day trip from Belfast to the marvelous Giant's Causeway. Join a knowledgeable guide for the journey through Northern Ireland to the Causeway itself, visiting attractions like Carrickfergus Castle and the Old Bushmills distillery en route. Enjoy a nail-biting stroll across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and marvel at the magnificent stones in one of Ireland's most beautiful locations. The myths and legends of the area will only add to your enjoyment.
Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge 2013
Day - 10 - Your Journey Ends in Dublin
Catch the train from Belfast back to Dublin today, and continue with your onward journey. If you would like to extend your trip, perhaps catching the ferry over to England to continue your European adventure.
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