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                                Dennis Hartranft, Tour Leader

 

 

 

Trips
 

IRELAND/NORTHERN IRELAND
June 14 – 29, 2020

Estimated cost $3,700-$3,900 per person, ppdo, cash cost; credit card cost +3%

Includes transfer to airport, roundtrip air, charter bus transport in Ireland, Accommodations with private bathrooms, breakfasts, most admissions

Airfare not yet known…hope to know fare soon

Sunday, 14 June
________ departure from Elite Coach, 1685 W. Main St, Ephrata area on own charter bus to New York area Airport (maybe PHL, but NYC more likely)… Non-stop _____________ Airlines flight #_____ departs _______________Newark at _________ pm… Meals served.

Monday, 15 June
______ arrival in Dublin…charter bus for 76 mile trip to Kilkenny City… County Kilkenny is verdant farming country peppered with solid stone walls and medieval ruins… the county’s most attractive areas are along the rivers Nore and Barrow with charming villages like Inistioge and Graiguenamanagh… there are fine medieval abbey ruins… Kilkenny City is the most attractive town in Ireland… it has a maze of narrow streets with the finest castle in Ireland, overlooking a sweeping bend in the river… we will stay 2 nights at the 4 star Kilkenny Ormonde (www.kilkennyormonde.com)

Tuesday, 16 June
Morning to explore Kilkenny, with and without guides…2 hour walking tour will include visits to main landmarks, 13th century St. Canice Cathedral and Kilkenny Castle…then we will have a bus to drop off walkers for a great 3-4 mile walk along a canal path south of the city…others can remain in Kilkenny or tour quaint villages before we pick up the walkers…stay in Kilkenny

Wednesday, 17 June
3-4 hour charter bus ride 135 miles to Galway… we will stop in scenic villages off the beaten path along the way… we will drive through the majestic Shannon River valley, visiting pretty lakeside villages like Killaloe, Ballina, and Mountshannon located on Lough Derg… town… we will stay in delightful Galway City, with its narrow streets, old stone and wooden shop fronts, good restaurants and bustling pubs… afternoon walking tour with guide…visits to Spanish Arch and Lynch Castle…Galway City has a tremendous live music scene… we will stay 2 nights in the 3 star Skeffington Arms Hotel (www.skeffingtton.ie), a 3 minute walk to Quay Street, Shop Street, and Eyre Square… evening in pubs.

Thursday 18 June
boat trip to the Aran Islands… the Aran Islands are sparsely inhabited and have dramatic cliffs dropping into the Atlantic… the Aran Islands sweater was born here… it is a beautiful windswept landscape with mile after mile of stone walls… stay in Galway… evening in pubs

Friday, 19 June
2 -3 hour drive along the Connemara coast to Clifden…we will pass beautiful Bertraghboy Bay, rugged and windswept, and littered with tiny islands; Roundstone, the most picturesque village on the coast is a magnet for arts and crafts and has great cafes and bars for lunch…we will stay 2 nights in the 3 star Clifden Station House Hotel (www.clifdenstationhouse.com), a unique hotel that was the local train station…Clifden is situated on a hillside between the mountains and the ocean and has a wonderful setting…Compact and picturesque, it is Connemara’s largest town…It is a Georgian town and bustles with good restaurants, pubs, and shops…pubs on a Friday night!

Saturday, 20 June
6-8 hour day tour of Connemara…we will drive through the scenic Inagh Valley and Maam Valley, with broad bogs between mountains and lakes…we will visit lively town of Oughterard located on Lough Corrib, the second largest lake in Ireland… visit to village of Cong, famous for its role in John Wayne movie, “The Quiet Man”…stay in Clifden. pubs on a Saturday night!

Sunday, 21 June
50 mile drive to Westport…drive will include: Sky Road, a rollercoaster of a drive along the ocean and bay affording breathtaking sea views to small islands; continue to Connemara National Park, 6,000 acres of mountains, heaths, bogs, and grasslands; visit to Kylemore Abbey, a photogenic 19th century abbey on the shores of a lake whose biggest attraction is a walled garden; visit Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord and the small village of Leenane, Delphi Valley on shores of beautiful Lough Finny, a poignant Great Famine Memorial, and Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s most sacred mountain…we will stay 2 nights in the 4 star Westport Plaza Hotel (www.westportplazahotel.ie) …Set on the shores of Clew Bay, Westport is one of the prettiest and most congenial towns in Ireland…it is a planned town with carefully arranged streets…it is famous for Matt Molloy’s (the Chieftan’s flutist) pub..fun place to be!

Monday, 22 June
6 hour day tour in County Mayo…drive will include: Rosscahill Pier, offering great views of Croagh Patrick; Ireland’s best impression of the Scottish Isles – Achill Island, the largest island in the country, connected by a causeway, has sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, boglands, and heathery slopes and inspired painters and writers; the Atlantic Drive, where the still waters of Achill Sound give way to spectacular Atlantic breakers and coastal scenery; Keel, known for its sandy beach framed by soaring sea cliffs; tiny village of Dooagh with nice cafes and pubs; a preserved, deserted Famine Village; and Doogort, a tiny village with a beach with seals…stay in Westport

Tuesday, 23 June
100 mile drive to Donegal Town…drive will include: Ballina, the largest town in County Sligo, is a charming market town; Easkey, a village set on a beautiful rocky shoreline; Sligo Town, gateway to the northwest, is an attractive town along a river lined with shops and restaurants; and Glencar Lough and waterfall; we will stay 1 night at the 3 star Gateway Lodge (www.thegatewaylodge.ie) in Donegal Town…The county town of Donegal is known for its Castle, market square and Abbey.

Wednesday, 24 June
Only 40 miles today, but it will take some time to explore western Donegal…Donegal has a dramatic coastline and headlands, battered by fierce Atlantic storms…drive will include Sleive League Cliffs, towering 2,000 feet above the ocean (far less touristed than the Cliffs of Moher); the quiet Gaeltacht language village of Glencolmville with a nice folk museum; Ardara, an attractive hilly village and a good place to buy hand-woven tweeds; and The Rosses, a hinterland full of small lake-filled valleys and a jagged coast with sandy coves; we will stay 1 night at the 4 star Au Chirt Gweedore Court Hotel (www.gweedorecourthotel.com) in Bunbeg, a long, narrow village with views of the sea…we will reserve a memorable meal and evening in the famous Leo’s Tavern, with great local music…Leo is the father of Enya, a well-known musician…will be a fun evening!

Thursday, 25 June
105 mile drive to Derry (aka Londonderry), Northern Ireland…drive will include; wild and windswept Bloody Foreland, the most northwesterly corner of Ireland, with superb views; Horn Head, a scenic 8 mile drive offering panoramic views of the coast…its lonely heather-covered headland rises sheer from the sea and its ledges provide an ideal habitat for puffins and other birds; Dunfanaghy, an attractive holiday resort; Doe Castle, worth visiting for its lovely setting on a promontory with sea views on three sides; and spectacular Fanad Peninsula and neighboring Rosguill Peninsual feature golden beaches backed by rolling farmland and heathland, offering panoramic views of a big lough and rocky bay; we will stay 1 night at the 5 star (no, friends, that is not a misprint, 5 star!) Shipquay Boutique Hotel (www.shipquayhotel.com) in Derry…Derry has historic walls and powerful murals representing its troubled past…however, the city is more optimistic and peaceful now.

Friday, 26 June
100 mile drive to Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland…drive will include: the romantic ruins of Dunluce Castle, situated on a dramatic clifftop setting, jutting out into the sea; Old Bushmills
Distillery, Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery; Giant’s Causeway, a natural geological phenomenon consisting of 40,000 polygonal basalt columns, forming a huge causeway that juts out into the sea…we will have ample time to walk in this area; and the famous Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, crossing a 66 foot chasm…wobble while you walk…we will stay 2 nights at the 3 star Dobbins Inn (www.dobbinsinn.co.uk) in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland…Carrickfergus is the oldest town in County Antrim and is a pretty seaside town on the Belfast Lough…A 12th century castle dominates the waterfront.

Saturday, 27 June
A day to enjoy the Causeway coast and the Glens of Antrim…drive will include: Glenarm, a lovely forested glen and castle with a nice garden; Waterfoot/Glenariff, known as the “Queen of the Nine Glens of Antrim”, a u-shaped valley bounded by steep hills, with waterfalls…the Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Route is typical of the wonderful glen scenery that is a highlight of driving in Antrim; Glenarrif Forest Park, has scenic, circular marked trails…some will walk and we will use our bus to serve the more active..the less active will enjoy a great drive…stay in Carrickfergus

Sunday, 28 June
More time in Glens…other interesting visits as we drive 110 miles to Dublin Airport…we will stay in a Dublin Airport Hotel Not yet reserved as I am waiting for the flight plan.

Monday, 29 June
Non-stop _________ flight #____ departs at ________ and arrives in New York area at ______... Meals served…

This itinerary is subject to change… Thank you
Source: Eyewitness Guides, Backroads Ireland
 

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