Festivals in Ireland

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Festival fever: 30 festivals in Ireland

Ireland’s calendar is popping with big, cozy, quirky, arty, sporty, foodie festivals from January to December. Here are 30 to try:

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A comprehensive list of Festival Events in Ireland by County.

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Dublin & the Ancient East to Wicklow 8 Day Hike/With Guide/Group of 10 or more

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Dublin & The Ancient East to Wicklow 8 Day Hike/With Guide/Group of 10 or more

This Guided Holiday offers you a unique urban/rural mix as you discover the delights of one of Europe’s most historical cities, along with the beauty of the “Garden of Ireland”.

Dublin is situated at the mouth of the River Liffey and encompasses a land area of approximately 115 square kilometres (44 sq mi) in east-central Ireland, with a population of approx. 1.5 million. The name DUBLIN comes from the Gaelic word Dubhlinn, meaning "black or dark", and lind meaning a "pool", referring to a dark tidal pool where the city originally grew up. Coincidentally – this is also where Guinness grew up, supposedly taking its water from the River Liffey!! Today, the famous Guinness Brewery is still situated beside the River Liffey, creating the wonderful “black stuff” from water that is drawn from a crystal clear source in the Dublin mountains!!

The Viking settlement which was responsible for Dublin becoming the trading capital that it is today, was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn. Back in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements where the modern city stands. The Viking settlement of about 841 was known as Dyflin, from the Irish Duibhlinn, and a Gaelic settlement, Áth Cliath ("ford of hurdles") was further up the river Liffey – not too far from Guinness brewery!!

To the south of Dublin are the Dublin/Wicklow mountain range and to the north & west, flat, fertile & rich farmland. The Liffey divides the city in two between the Northside and the Southside & still today there is a fun rivalry between “northsiders” & “southsiders”!! It is a fascinating & vibrant city to visit – cosmopolitan & cultural – small, compact & easy to get around in a short time. Night life is always filled with good music, great food & of course the famous Irish “craic” – simply meaning fun & enjoyment – and the Irish are terrific at ensuring everyone who visits the city of Dublin has plenty of fun & enjoyment.

Wicklow is often referred to as ‘the Garden of Ireland’, alluding to the fine agricultural land and magnificent scenery south of Dublin city. The Wicklow Mountains offer magnificent walking and the glorious valleys in-between are just waiting for you to discover them – the best known being Glencullen, Glencree, Glendalough and Glenmalure.

The jewel of Wicklow is undoubtedly Glendalough, ‘the valley of the two lakes’ where St. Kevin founded a monastery in the 6th century. Several buildings remain (mainly from the 10th and 11th centuries), including the cathedral, a chapel known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen, the round tower and several subsidiary churches.

The nearby Visitor Centre has an audio-visual presentation on monastic life in Ireland and a scale model showing how this ancient monastic city would have looked in its heyday. The Upper Lake at Glendalough is in a deep U-shaped glacial valley which can be appreciated in full by making the steep climb to the viewpoint of the Spink.

This holiday is an ideal area for you to enjoy splendid with a terrific mix of City & Country Life, including many of the riches of Ireland’s Ancient East. Most of the walks are on well-walked tracks, many of them waymarked, with some stretches on minor roads. The climate in Wicklow, being on the east coast, is noticeably drier than in the West of Ireland.

Trip Outline:

Day 1:

Your holiday starts in Dublin and you make your way to your first accommodation here. Your Guide will meet you at 18.00hrs for introductions with your group as your Guide goes through some more details for your holiday with you. You then enjoy your first evening meal together & your first 3 nights are spent in this amazing city that oozes culture, history & character.

Day 2:

Your first day takes you around Dublin City, walking you to many of the highlights & historical places of interest. This walk will incorporate a visit to St. Patricks or Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College & the Book of Kells and the Guinness Storehouse to name but a few. For today everyone will enjoy the same walk together and any that wish to detour off for some personal sight-seeing may do so later in the day.

Free time will be given for you to do some exploring alone before you return to your accommodation. Enjoy your evening meal together & afterwards you will have the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful Irish music, song or dance while tapping your feet & humming along to your favourite songs.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 10kms. Highest point: 130mts. All paved walkways.

Day 3:

Your second day takes you to a part of Dublin that introduces you to the wealth of history and culture that abounds around the edge of the city where you will be amazed at the beauty and sanctity that can be found so close to the city centre. Your walk options are as follows:-

Driving a short distance to the north side of Dublin City you reach the beautiful village of Howth. From there you will make a beautiful circuit around this headland with wonderful views across Dublin Bay, north towards Skerries and south across Dun Laoghaire. This is a varied walk offering wonderful gardens & vegetation, an ancient dolmen & glorious coastal views across the bay.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 15kms. Highest point: 420mts. Forest tracks & grassy trails. Open mountain with uneven ground. Some road walking. Boots essential.

Those that wish to enjoy an easier day of walking start your morning with an optional visit to the historical Kilmainham Jail, which records so much of Ireland’s history gaining independence from the UK. This also gives you an opportunity to hear about some of the legendary people that have been so influential in forming the Irish State as we know it today.

From there, a short drive brings you to the War Memorial Gardens for a lovely walk along the River Liffey, and continuing to the glorious Phoenix Park (Europe’s largest enclosed Park). This walk introduces you a very rich & varied history of Dublin that few discover on their visits to this cultural capital. Return to your minivan at the end of your walk.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 10kms. Highest point: 120mts. Surfaced tracks through parkland. Some road walking. Boots recommended but not essential.

On return to your accommodation, you have time to enjoy a free evening at your leisure in Dublin City.

Day 4:

Leaving Dublin City, today you travel south out of this urban region to reach the Dublin mountains. Here, following part of the Wicklow Way, you can enjoy one of the following walks:-

Starting from Crone Wood – you walk begins on the Wicklow Way, and brings you to the beautiful Djouce Mountain, south of Dublin City. With glorious views over Powerscourt Waterfall & Demesne, you continue walking south to reach Djouce.

From there, you continue along to War Hill before descending to return to your minivan. If time allows at the end of the walk – a visit to Powerscourt Gardens will be offered before continuing on to your accommodation in Laragh for your next 4 nights. Dinner & overnight in Laragh.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 14kms. Highest point: 730mts. Forest tracks & board walk. Open mountain with boggy sections & uneven ground. Some road walking. Boots essential.

Driving to the southern side of Dublin City, you follow a wonderful route into the Dublin Mountains to reach Three Rock and Two Rock mountains. This is a glorious route that starts through forestry and as you climb, offers wonderful views across Dublin City & Dublin Bay. Exploring the famous “Fairy Castle” an ancient Bronze Age Cairn, you then return to your minivan.

Driving south from there to the lovely village of Enniskerry, you will have time to explore Powerscourt House & Gardens if you wish. Your next 4 overnights are in Laragh and on arrival to your accommodation, the group will enjoy an evening meal together later in the evening.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 11kms. Highest point: 540mts. Forest tracks & rocky unsurfaced & uneven tracks across mountains with some board & road walking. Boots essential.

Day 5:

Continuing south, today’s walk takes you to the stunning location of Lough Dan, close to where much of “The Vikings” has been filmed. From here, you have a choice of walks:-

From the start of your walk, you ascend a lovely mountain known as “Fancy” offering terrific views over the beautiful Lough Tay. From here, you then continue south to Knocknacloghoge to reach the beautiful Lough Dan with idyllic views. Descending to reach the lake shore, you then follow a lovely track through a working Estate to return to your minivan.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 15kms. Highest point: 600mts. Forest tracks & grassy trails. Open mountain with boggy sections, uneven ground & no tracks. Some road walking. Boots essential.

Follow a lovely trail from the start of your walk to reach a working Estate & continue along to reach the shores of Lough Dan. There is an opportunity to see some deer that frequent this Estate – so a quiet approach may well reward.

Crossing over a river with care, you can enjoy some time at the idyllic Lough Dan before returning to your minivan. At the end of your walk, if time allows it may be possible to visit the village of Roundwood for some light refreshments before returning to Laragh for an evening at your leisure.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 9kms. Highest point: 400mts. Forest tracks & some road walking. Some rocky unsurfaced & uneven tracks & also a lovely “green” road. Boots essential.

Day 6:

Today you reach the beautiful Glendalough – so famous for its magnificent lakes & ancient monastic settlements. Your walks to reach this wonderful place are as follows:-

Starting from the western side of Lough Dan today, you follow a glorious route up Scarr Mountain and then follow a beautiful walk to reach Paddock Hill and descend to the village of Laragh. With glorious views north across Lough Dan & your walk yesterday, you will also have views west across the impressive granite uplands that form the Wicklow Mountains.

If your day is clear, you will be able to see east across Dublin Bay. From Laragh, you continue your walk to the Visitor Centre at Glendalough where a wonderful video & scaled model explains the historical significance of this wonderful place. At the end of your walk, you return to your accommodation and enjoy an evening at your leisure.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 14kms. Highest point: 650mts. Forest tracks & grassy trails. Open mountain with boggy & rocky sections, uneven ground & no tracks. Some road walking. Boots essential.

Your Guide will drive you to the lovely village of Laragh today and from here, you follow a lovely trail through forestry to reach Glendalough. Here, you can enjoy time exploring the old monastic village that was once a hive of activity.

This is a beautifully tranquil place & offers a wonderful opportunity to explore more of the surrounding landscape while also taking the time to explore the historical remains that abound in this region. Return to Laragh and enjoy an evening at your leisure.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 8kms. Highest point: 150mts. Forest tracks & some road walking. Paved tracks & “green” roads. Boots essential.

Day 7:

Your final walk offers two magnificent opportunities today – whether you wish to discover more of the famous valley’s that make up this southern region of Wicklow, or return to Glendalough to immerse yourself into the upper part of the valley here. Your choice of walks today are as follows:

Travelling south from your accommodation, you follow a beautiful walk over Lugduff Mountain and on to the head of the Glenmalure Valley. With glorious views across this panorama of mountains, you will be enthralled by stories of a people determined to gain their independence in this region.

This part of Wicklow has a very rich & colourful history of a people determined to cling onto our Irish heritage hundreds of years ago. If weather & walking ability/energy & enthusiasm allow – then your Guide may be tempted to offer a trip up the highest mountain in this region – Lugnaquilla – which is accessed from the door of your accommodation. Return to your accommodation & enjoy your final evening meal together.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 18kms. Highest point: 650mts. Forest tracks & grassy trails. Open mountain with boggy & rocky sections, uneven ground & no tracks. Some road walking. Boots essential.

Driving back to Glendalough – today you will be walking around the Upper Lake of Glendalough – where gold mining was once a favoured occupation in the area…!!! Following a wonderful trail above the lake, you then descend to meet an old Miner’s Trail as you enjoy one of the most stunning circular hikes in this region. At the end of your walk, you return to your minivan & drive back to your accommodation in Laragh for your final dinner & overnight.

Walk Details - Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 300mts. Forest tracks & some road walking. Some rocky unsurfaced & uneven tracks. Boots essential.

This is a super way to finish your holiday, exchange memories & focus on all the highlights of your week.

Day 8:

After breakfast, you will be dropped to the “St. Kevin’s bus” by minivan. This bus offers an excellent service back to Dublin City Centre where you can then avail of an excellent service of trains, buses, ferry or airports for your onward journey.

Tour Includes:

  • 7 nights bed in room with private shower/ bathroom. Full Irish breakfast each morning.
  • Transport to/from each day’s walking locations and luggage transfers when required.

4 evening dinners

6 days hiking with expert Irish guide who accompanies the group for the duration of the holiday.

Not Included: Any boat trips, lunches, personal drinks, entrance fees to theatres, parks or museums etc., medical expenses or gratuities.

Suggestions for Pre or Post Holiday:

Take an extra few nights in Dublin and avail of some of the wonderful day tours from there. Examples would be:

  • Newgrange and Brú na Bóinne
  • Kilkenny
  • Giants Causeway
  • John F Kennedy Memorial Park

Please enquire when booking.

© Benny’s Ireland Vacations Inc.

Florida Seller of Travel, Registration Number ST40279.

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