The Blarney Stone. Irish Coffee. Waterford Crystal. Bustling city streets and sprawling country roads. A guided tour like this one, hosted by AAA Vacations, brings Irish icons together to make it a European holiday to remember. Tour the south’s scenic countryside and biggest cities on a guided tour like this: Dublin, Cork, Killarney and Limerick. You’ll enjoy moments like getting an exclusive “out of hours” tour inside The Little Museum of Dublin, whose collection of city treasures was mainly donated by locals, like the rock fans who curated its “U2 Made in Dublin” room. Keep reading to learn what a sample itinerary for an Ireland trip looks like.
Best European holidays: Ireland
Day 1 – Arrive in Dublin
Start your European vacation in Dublin, Southern Ireland’s capital city. Before you see the countryside, Dublin will reel you in with its mix of modern Irish culture and rich history. Begin with its rich history on the cobbled courtyard of Trinity College, which was founded in 1592. Visit its library, the largest research library in Ireland, where ancient texts like the Book of Kells are held. Afterwards, visit the Little Museum of Dublin, one of the city’s unique treasures, which tells the story of Dublin through a collection created by public donations.
Day 2 – Glendalough
Trade in the business of the Irish capital for the peaceful 6th century monastic ruins at Glendalough, “the valley of the two lakes.” Highlights include the 100-foot-tall Round Tower, which was built almost 1,000 years ago by the monks of St. Kevin’s monastery; the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, the largest of seven churches in Glendalough; and St. Kevin’s Cross, which is engulfed in local legend: if you can successfully wrap your arms around the granite cross and touch fingertips, your wishes will be granted. Then, tour the factories of high-end crustal makers and watch in amazement at the artists at work at the House of Waterford Crystal in Waterford. Later, head to Cork, the “Rebel County,” where you can finish off the day at a leisurely pace. Explore the bridges and hilly streets, visit the markets and entertain yourself at a pub or live music event.
Day 3 – Blarney
Your next stop on your European vacation is Cobh, a tourist seaport town known as Queenstown until 1920. Visit the Heritage Center to learn about the city’s history and legacy, from the Great Famine and the “coffin ships” to the doomed Titanic and Lusitania. This cultural center displays the story of Queenstown and Irish emigration. Next, head to Blarney, home of Blarney Castle, a medieval stronghold that was built in 1446 and has been a popular destination for Europe trips in the years since. Tourists of Blarney like to climb to the top of Blarney Castle and kiss the famed Blarney stone. As legend has it, anyone who does acquires the “gift of the gab,” or ability to speak with eloquence. Arrive later in picturesque Killarney, a town full of walking trails.
Day 4 – Ring Of Kerry Excursion
Highlight this European vacation with a day away from the crowds by taking advantage of Killarney’s walking trails. Enjoy a relaxing morning on the trails or stop at Torc Waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain in the Killarney National Park for a leisurely walk with a local guide. Continue your day of scenic travels by winding around the Iveragh Peninsula on the picture-perfect driving route, Ring of Kerry. Marvel at the landscape that has inspired artists and poets for centuries, taking in the views of coast and sea, fields and rolling hills.
Day 5 – Cliffs Of Moher
Head to Foynes, a village and major port in County Limerick. Once there, visit the Flying Boat Museum. Foynes was the refueling point for Pan Am’s Flying Boat, the Yankee Clipper, from 1939-1945. At the museum, board a replica Boeing 314 to experience life as a passenger. Foynes is also the birthplace of Irish Coffee; savor a cup of the famous beverage to check it off of your bucket list. Next, travel to County Clare, home to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, which rise up to 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic waves on the west coast of Ireland. Soak in the last great Irish landscape you’ll see on this trip, then head to County Galway for dinner at a picturesque farmhouse with a local family. Lastly, return to Limerick to end your last night in Ireland.
Day 6 – Limerick
It’s time to break the spell and bid the Emerald Isle farewell as your European vacation on the second largest island of the British Isles comes to an end.
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