JOIN THE MIGHTY 12 - DAY MUSIC & HERITAGE Tour around Ireland - April 25th - May 6th 2020
The Mighty 12 Day Escorted Music & Heritage Tour of Ireland” - April 25th - May 6th 2019
This Tour includes some great Irish Music
Day 1 - Welcome to Ireland
Arrive at Dublin Airport. Meet with our driver/guide and transfer into the city for sightseeing. Enjoy a panoramic tour of Dublin City with local guide
Discover the north and south side of the River Liffey. This area offers great striking monuments such as the GPO (General Post Office) on the city main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, or the Custom House along the quays, as well as the Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe.
The south side appears more sophisticated with its vast Georgian squares, such as Merrion Square, where Oscar Wilde’s House can still be found (today owned by an American College), its colourful doors, along with Grafton Street and its quality shops. Not so far from St. Stephen’s Green, in Kildare St., you will see the house of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
This part of the city is also dominated by the students of Trinity College, where the famous book of Kells is permanently exhibited in its library. The university is facing the medieval district where Dublin Castle and the two Anglican Cathedrals can be found.
Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st on grounds confiscated from an Augustinian priory and is the oldest University in Ireland. The Campanile, erected in 1852, was built on what is believed to be the centre of the monastery.Built to further the education of the ruling Anglo-Irish families, restrictions were imposed to prevent Catholic from attending courses.
These restrictions were not fully lifted until the2 1970’s. Trinity however admitted women in 1902, earlier than most British universities.Most of the main buildings off the main square were built during the Georgian period, some of which replaced older buildings.Within its walls, you will be able to admire Parliament Square and its 18th Century edifices. Trinity College has had many famous students such as Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett who later became a lecturer in French at the university.The Inter-denominational Church is very much worth a visit, should it be open during your visit. Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dublin.
Day 2 – Musical Pub Crawl of Dublin
This morning weVisit to Old Jameson Distillery.The Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield Village is located in the heart of Old Dublin. This old barley storehouse, once the centre of Distilling in Dublin, was renovated in 1998 and converted into a museum where all the secrets of Irish whiskey’s distillation will be revealed.
An audio-visual show will introduce the history of this spirit and it is followed by a guided visit which will take our group through the various stages of whiskey distilling from grain intake to malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, maturation and finally bottling. The visit culminates in the Jameson bar with an opportunity for all to taste the signature Jameson drink.
During the visit a number of volunteers are selected to take part in a tasting session to compare a Jameson whiskey with a Scottish Whisky and American bourbon. Participants will receive a Diploma for their achievement.
The Guinness Brewery in Dublin is Europe's largest stout producing brewery and home to the Guinness Storehouse. Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness. Today it houses a very fine exhibition dedicated to the Guinness story. Visitors will discover what goes into the making of a pint of Guinness - the ingredients, the brewing process, the time, the craft and the passion.
The exhibition shows how the brew has been marketed and how it is today sold in over 150 countries. Once the tour has finished we are invited to the Gravity Bar to each enjoy a pint of Guinness. Regular demonstrations on the art of pulling a pint of Guinness also take place in the Storehouse. Launched on the fifth floor in 2011, “Five” at Guinness Storehouse, includes a small replica authentic Irish Bar, an 18th Century inspired Brewers Dining Hall, and a restaurant named Gilroy’s where guests enjoy a Guinness gastronomical experience driven entirely by the Irish tradition of wholesome local produce.
Menus include local foods such as Ardsallagh goat’s cheese, Irish mussels from Carlingford and the Waterford Blaas bread supplied by MD Bakery in Waterford. This area will host from time to time live cooking demonstrations using Guinness in the recipe and it includes an interactive recipe sharing bank that allows visitors to take Guinness recipe cards home.
This afternoon we will enjoy the Musical Pub Crawl A great way to experience the Dublin pub scene and the rich heritage of Irish music is to venture on the Musical PubCrawl. The tour will be led by two professional musicians who will perform tunes and songs, while telling the story of Irish Music.
The tours normally start in St John Gogarty’s Pub in Temple Bar this can be changed to suit our groups requirements. Lasting 2 hours approximately the group will have plenty of time to enjoy the music while enjoying a drink (in each pub of course!).This evening join a session in the Temple Bar area of Dublin.Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dublin
Day 3 – Dublin to Tipperary
This morning we depart Dublin for Tipperary; En-route, we will visit Thurles
Welcome to the prosperous and vibrant town of Thurles. Set between the valley of the River Suir and bounded by the Silvermines to the North West and the Slieveardagh hills to the south east, the area around Thurles is rich and varied in scenery with its mild climate that helps produce some of the finest agricultural land in the world.
The Gaelic Athletic Association, also known as GAA was originally founded in Thurles and visitors can find out all about the history of the GAA with a visit to Lár na Pairce musuem in the town centre. Thurles is also home to the second largest GAA stadium in Ireland, Semple Stadium.
Located on the banks of the River Suir, the picturesque Cistercian Holy Cross Abbey was originally built in 1168 by Donal Mor O’Brien for the Benedictine Order. The monastery was colonised by monks from Monasteranenagh in County Limerick. It was given the name Holy Cross as the monastery housed a portion of the true cross.
This relic is now enshrined in the Abbey.It became a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the country. Under the patronage of James Butler, the fourth Earl of Ormonde, much of the abbey was rebuilt in the 15th century, but after suppression, it was eventually left in ruins The church has many interesting features including a variety of fascinating windows, mural paintings and many fine carvings.
The abbey was in ruins until the early 1970’s, but a massive restoration project turned the Cistercian cloisters and chapels into a living church. In the restored West Range is a tourist office, an exhibition area featuring an audio-visual, a shop and toilet facilities. *Please note that it may be possible to meet a stone mason. Supplements will apply.
Possibly the most photographed site in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel towers over the town of Cashel from its perch on a 200-foot high outcrop of limestone. Once the seat of the Kings of Munster. St. Patrick visited the rock in 450, while Brian Boru was crowned the first high King of Ireland here in the tenth century.
Granted to the church in the twelfth century, by the O'Brien clan, today the impressive stone walls enclose a round tower, a cathedral, a twelfth century Romanesque chapel and high crosses. The Vicars Choral has been recently restored and its basement houses a small museum of artefacts found on the site.
One of the leading visitor attractions in Ireland, in 2011 it was visited by Queen Elizabeth II on her historic first visit to the Republic of Ireland. A guided tour is strongly recommended. Conservation work will be carried out on Cormac’s Chapel over a number of years from 2009. Access may be restricted to the chapel and other parts of the site in the future.
Brú Ború (translated as “The Palace of Boru”) is a national heritage centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This cultural and interpretative village is designed around a village green and is home to the study and celebration of Irish music, song, dance, storytelling, theatre and Celtic studies.
Located at the foot of the historic Rock of Cashel, Brú Ború is an affiliate of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the Irish cultural movement which has over 400 branches worldwide. The state of the art theatre seats 250 people and hosts some of the best shows in traditional Irish entertainment throughout the year. The venue is home to the resident Brú Ború performance group.
The Teach Ceoil (house of music) comes alive with the sound of Irish traditions; from singing a song, to dancing a step, playing an air or telling a story. The Sounds of History exhibition takes place in subterranean chambers, seven metres underground, which echo to the story of Ireland from ancient times to the present day.
Through the passage of time, the journey is marked by milestones of achievement, conflict and renewal. A recent state-of-the-art extension has been added, where visitors can explore 3000 years of Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. Brú Ború also hosts the Genealogy service of the Irish Family History Foundation for South Tipperary. Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Tipperary
Day 4 – Castles & Cottages to Kinsale.
This morning we will journey to the South of Tipperary on Butlers Trail.
Visit Cahir Castle.Superbly set on a rocky island in the River Suir in Cahir town, County Tipperary, this impressive 15th century castle - the largest of its period in Ireland - was considered impregnable until the advent of heavy cannon. Once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family, the castle retains its keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure.
The origins of the castle are traced back to the third century when a Dun (earthen fort) was built upon the rocky island. This gave the town of Cahir its original name "Dun Lascaigh" (town of the fish fort). There is an audio-visual presentation, and guided tours are also available to help fully understand the history of Cahir, its town, its castle and the surrounding area.
Continue to Swiss Cottage.This delightful "cottage orné", or ornamental cottage, was built in the early 1800s by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall. Based on a design by the famous Regency architect, John Nash, and inspired by nature, the cottage's unusual and rustic features include a distinctive thatched roof while its external woodwork resembles branched trees.
The nature theme is continued throughout the former guest cottage's internal furnishings and wallpaper. Its interior contains a graceful spiral staircase and some elegantly decorated rooms. The wallpaper in the salon, manufactured by the Dufour factory, is one of the first commercially produced Parisian wallpapers. Swiss Cottage is situated on an elevated site with access by stone steps.
Visit Ormond Castle.Ormond Castle is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. Built in the 16th Century, this manor house fronts a larger complex dating from the 14th century. Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond added the ‘new’ north range, which became known as the Manor House, to the existing buildings.
It boasts a typical manor house layout including a magnificent long gallery. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Tudor house is the decorative plasterwork, which provides some of the finest early examples of the craft in Ireland, including plasterwork portraits in the 'state rooms'.
Carrick-on-Suir was the home to the famous Clancy Brothers, Paddy, Tom, Liam and Bobby who together with Tommy Makem were folk superstars in the 1960s. Liam later working with his nephew, Carrick on Suir native, Robbie O'Connell.
Late in the afternoon, visit St. Patrick’s Well.Located in Clonmel is one of the largest Wells in Ireland. Situated in a small glen surrounded by trees is a large swallow pond with an Irish Stone Cross that dates back to the 5th Century. Continue to Kinsale.Overnight, bed and breakfast at our hotel in Kinsale.
Day 5 - West Cork with Garnish Island
This morning we depart Kinsale for Kerry via Skibereen & Bantry in West Cork
Visit to Bantry House & Gardens. Bantry House is the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry. The title lapsed in 1891 but the House is still owned and lived in by the direct descendant of the 1st Earl of Bantry, Egerton Shelswell White and his family. It has been open to the public since 1946.
The House has an important collection of art treasures mainly collected by the 2nd Earl of Bantry on his Grand Tour. The treasures include a unique collection of French and Flemish tapestries, furniture, and carpets and objects of art.
The Garden is laid out in the Italian style over seven terraces, with the house sitting on the third terrace. A Parterre was created facing south surrounding a wisteria circle which again surrounds a fountain. From there rise the famous Hundred Steps, a monumental staircase built of local stone, set amidst azaleas and rhododendron.
From the top garden at the top of the stairs, stunning views over Bantry Bay await the visitor. Bantry House hosts a number of events including classical and traditional music festivals, food festivals, outdoor theatre, and is a popular location for filming. A small cafe is open in the house during the season. Continue along the Beara Pensinsula to Glengarriff and take a short ferry ride to Garnish Island.
Visit to Garnish Island. The Harbour Queen Ferries provides a regular service to the Gardens of Ilnacullin on Garnish Island. Ferries depart from Glengarriff Pier every 30 minutes during the season. The ferries are purpose built enclosed water buses which will whisk you to the island in safety and comfort. Garinish is a unique Island that plays host to a multitude of plant variations, and the blanket of Summer colouring which covers the Island creates a rainbow of colour.
The Island has a wonderful history and its unusual micro climate allows a range of exotic subtropical plant species to flourish. There are a number of walks and interesting buildings on the Island. On route to the Island you will enjoy the magnificent views of the bay and also pass Seal Island with its colony of harbour seals.
The seals are very photogenic and are happy to pose for photos! Continue to Killarney in County Kerry for an evening of entertainment with the World renownedIrish Music & Dance Show, Celtic Steps.Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Killarney
Day 6 – Dingle Peninsula
This morning we will explore the scenic area of Killarney & Continue onto the Dingle Peninsula via Inch Beach - a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s daughter,” Admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach while havinglunch in Sammy's Restaurant,situated on the beach.
It is also a ‘Gaeltacht' (Irish speaking) area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savouring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbour.
The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. Enjoy an evening of entertainment in Dingle.
Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dingle
Day 7– Free Day – Dingle Peninsula
Free days coaching to explore the Dingle Peninsula starting with Slea Head.. From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found.
The Dingle Peninsula will charm you with it's villages painted in bright colours and will bewitch you with the dramatic beauty of it's landscapes. The road between Dunquin and Slea Head is dotted with beehive huts, forts and church sites. Prehistoric Dunbeg Fort is on a cliff top promontory with a sheer drop to the Atlantic and has four outer walls of stone. Inside are the remains of a house and a beehive hut as well as an underground passage.
Beehive huts are circular stone buildings shaped like a beehive which were lived in by the Kerry monks. Lunch at Paudi O’Se’s
Continue around the peninsula exploring some of Ireland’s nicest & most picturesque local shops, pubs, cafes etc. Return to our hotel in Dingle.Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Dingle
Day 8 – Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Today we will depart Kerry towards County Clare En route to Clare, stop in Limerick for a visit andIrish coffee at Foynes Flying Boat Museum. From 1939 to 1945 Foynes was the centre of the aviation world for air traffic between the United States and Europe.
Located 35 km west of Limerick city on the Shannon estuary, the Foynes Museum recalls this era with a comprehensive range of exhibits and graphic illustrations.
The museum features the original Terminal Building including the authentic 1940's cinema; the Radio and Weather Rooms, complete with transmitters, receivers and Morse code equipment. The exhibits feature an introduction to the first transatlantic passenger service from Foynes during the war years and the only full-sized replica B314 flying boat.
Irish Coffee was invented in Foynes. Chef Joe Sheridan made the first in 1942 to warm up some damp and miserable passengers. Since then Irish Coffee has become one the most popular welcoming drinks in the world. Continue onto County Clare for Pints at Durty Nelly’s– One of Ireland's most famous pubs!
This afternoon visit to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park &attend it's world famous Medieval Banquet. Bunratty Castle is one of the most complete and authentic medieval castles in Ireland. Built in 1425 and plundered on many occasions, it was authentically restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings and tapestries capturing the mood and the style of the times. The castle hosts evening medieval banquets and takes the participants back to the time that the castle entertained its visitors with fine food, wine and song. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th century life is vividly recreated.
Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. Meet and chat with the Bean an Ti (Woman of the House) and various street characters including the Policeman and Schoolteacher. Enjoy the tastes, scents, sights and sounds of this enchanting place as you stroll from house to house or around the charming village complete with school, post office, doctors house, hardware shop, printers and of course the pub.Continue & Overnight, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Ennis.
Day 9 – Cliffs of Moher
Situated on Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren Area, the Cliffs of Moherare one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Standing 230 metres above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, theAran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara.
To the south of the cliffs is Hag's Head and was once the site of a castle. The cliffs reach their highest point just north of O' Brien's Tower. Cornelius O’ Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru (he who defeated the Vikings in battle), built a Tower at the cliffs in order to enjoy some tea with his lady friends. The Tower is adjacent to the sea stack, Breanan Mór, which stands over 70 metres above the foaming waves and is home to some of the Burren’s wildlife. Continue onto Doolin for lunch and another Mighty Session.
Doolin is a charming small seaside village on the north-west coast of County Clare ~ set against the rugged Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by the spectacular bare limestone landscape of the Burren.Traditionally a fishing village, Doolin is now renowned world-wide as the traditional music capital of Ireland.
This afternoon we will explore the Burren region.The Burren, part of which forms the 100 square km Burren National Park, is a unique place. It is a Karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq. km, which lies in the North West corner of Co Clare.
It is composed of limestone pavements, which have been eroded to a distinctive pattern. This pavement is criss-crossed by cracks known as grykes in which grow a myriad of wild flora and under which are huge caves and rivers which suddenly flood when it rains.
The Burren contains dozens of megalithic tombs and Celtic crosses as well as a ruined Cistercian Abbey dating back to the 12th century. You will discover small villages abandoned during the famine period and green roads on which you can walk for miles without ever seeing a car.
The flora on the Burren is a mixture of Arctic and Mediterranean and rare flowers such as gentian, orchids and bloody cranesbill are the rule rather than the exception. The Burren is truly an exceptional part of Ireland. Continue onto Galway for an evening of music in a local pub.Overnight, dinner, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Galway.
Day 10 – Connemara
This morning you will explore the Connemara region. Connemara is a land of lakes and rivers, bogs and mountains. A land of small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed little since the beginning of time. It is without a doubt the wildest and the most romantic part of Ireland.
Connemara is a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the south ~ a land characteristic for it's stone walls and thatched cottages. On it's northern shore the land is harsher and more secret, with spectacular views of the Ocean and the beautiful Fjord of Killary Harbour, as well as the steep mountains overlooking numerous lakes and large bog areas. Connemara is a real paradise for Nature lovers and those in search of strong emotions.
Visit to Kylemore Abbey: Kylemore Abbey is located in the Kylemore Pass in Connemara. Mitchell Henry built the House in 1868, after having spent his honeymoon in the area. The architecture is best described as neo-gothic and the house still displays all the characteristics of that period. One of Kylemore Abbey's most famous features is it's miniature cathedral, built in 1870 and known locally as the Gothic church. Today, the abbey is home to the Irish order of Benedictine nuns. They bought the house in 1920, having fled their convent in war-torn Belgium in 1914.
They established a private school for young girls, which today is the renowned Kylemore Abbey International School for young girls. Facilities at Kylemore include a visitor centre, an exhibition housed in the main reception rooms of the house and a video which takes the visitor through the history of the house and its occupants. This afternoon we will depart Connemara towards Westport in County Mayo, through the coastal town of Clifden Enjoy and evening of Music in….. Matt Molloy’s pub in Westport!Overnight, Dinner, bed & breakfast at our hotel in Westport.
Day 11 – Strokestown Park & Famine Museum
We will depart Westport for Dublin via County Roscommon. Visit to Strokestown Park & Famine Museum. Strokestown Park was built by Thomas Mahon MP (17011782) on lands which had been granted to his grandfather, Nicholas, in the latter half of the 17th century for his support in the British colonial campaign. It was the family home of the Mahon family until 1979.
The house provides a fascinating glimpse into the Anglo-Irish ascendancy. Many rooms are on show including a schoolroom and a child’s bedroom, complete with 19thcentury toys and mirrors. The Famine Museum is located in the original Stable Yards of Strokestown Park House. It was designed to commemorate the history of The Great Irish Famine of the 1840's and in some way to balance the history of the 'Big House'.
Whereas the landlord class had the resources to leave an indelible mark on the landscape, the Irish tenants lived in poverty and nothing of a physical nature has survived to commemorate their lives. Continue to Dublin to enjoy an evening of music at a local pub.Overnight, bed & full Irish Breakfast at our hotel in Dublin
Day 12– Farewell
After a final full Irish breakfast, we depart for Dublin Airport for our group’s departure flight home.