Ireland

Randolph P. Johnston, Doris M. Johnston (Just tagging along with Bob and Susie)

400 East 12th
Hutchinson, Kansas 67501
Phone (620) 663-4865
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Bob and Susie Spencer
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Itinerary - August 13-August 23, 2007
Bob and Susie fly to Atlanta, we meet and fly overnight

Arranged by CIE Tours International and Gulf Breeze Travel

Monday, August 13, Day 1: Depart for Ireland
Board your flight to Ireland and enjoy inflight meals and entertainment as you start your vacation.

Tuesday, August 14, Day 2: Shannon, Cliffs of Moher & Bunratty Ceili
Arrive in Shannon Airport and go to the CIE Tours desk. Travel through Ennis and part of the Burren country. At the coast stop to view the Cliffs of Moher, an impressive wall of rock that rises nearly 700 feet above the open Atlantic Ocean. Check into your hotel located between Bunratty and Limerick and relax for the remainder of the day. (D in hotel) Optional: Enjoy a welcome drink before heading to the Ceili in the Bunratty Folk Park for a home-style dinner and entertainment or Bunratty Folk Park's Corn Barn, which is the venue for a home-style dinner followed by a Ceili with lots of fun and dancing. .
Overnight: Bunratty Castle Hotel
Cliffs of Moher & Galway
Drive through Ennis to view the Cliffs of Moher, an impressive wall of rock above the open Atlantic Ocean. Visit the Burren Display Centre to learn about the flora and wildlife of the unique, rocky area before driving through it. Continue around Galway Bay to arrive at your hotel in Galway in time to take a look around the city center on your own.
Foynes & Bunratty Ceili
Drive north to visit the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, near the River Shannon. During the 1930s and early 1940s, the Port of Foynes was a hive of activity with Pan Am's Clipper traffic between the United States and Europe. The museum recalls this era through exhibits and an audio-visual show. In Limerick drive around the city center to see the Treaty Stone and King John's Castle.

Wednesday, August 15, Day 3: Dingle Peninsula Tour
Today discover the glorious Dingle Peninsula, made famous by David Lean's movie, "Ryan's Daughter." Drive along the south shore and stop to admire views of heathery mountains, sandy stretches of beach and rocky headlands. Pause for a while in Dingle before continuing to the western tip of the peninsula. Tour the Blasket Centre in Dunquin to learn about the Blasket Islands, inhabited until 1953 by hardy families who eked out a living by farming and fishing. After an independent dinner in Killarney you may like to take a walk around town and listen to live music in one of the pubs. (B)
Overnight: Arbutus Hotel, Killarney

Thursday, August 16, Day 4: Killarney, Blarney Castle & Kate Kearney’s Cottage (rental car)
Sightsee independently. Drive south through farming country and marketing towns and stop for photos at the Rock of Cashel, a stately limestone outcrop topped with medieval ruins. Continue south to visit Blarney Castle where you may climb to the battlements to acquire the "Gift of Eloquence" by kissing the famous stone. Take a look through the Blarney Woollen Mills, noted for quality Irish-made merchandise. Visit Waterford and the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre. Travel through the rugged countryside of County Kerry where the town of Killarney is situated with a backdrop of mountains and lakes. In the evening it off to the Gap of Dunloe to Kate Kearney’s Cottage for dinner. Afterwards sit back and enjoy traditional Irish entertainment with popular songs, dances and a lot of laughs. (B, D)
Overnight: Arbutus Hotel, Killarney

Friday, August 17, Day 5: Ring of Kerry Tour
Journey around the Ring of Kerry, a full day tour of varying mountain and coastline scenery. Start your tour at the Gap of Dunloe by viewing the "Essence of Kerry," an audio visual show for an overview. Drive around the coastline to the colorful village of Sneem and the vantage point of Moll's Gap. Tour Muckross House, a 19th century furnished mansion, which is set in charming gardens on the shores of Muckross Lake. Travel through Catherdaniel and Waterville. Return to Killarney and relax before dinner. (B, D)
Overnight: Arbutus Hotel, Killarney

Saturday, August 18, Day 6: Adare Village & Dromoland Castle
Adare
Overnight: Dromoland Castle

Sunday, August 19, Day 7: Knock Shrine
Mass at Knock Shrine
Galway
Ennis
Gort
Charlestown
Tubbercurry
County Mayo
Sligo
Overnight: The Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo

Monday, August 20, Day 8 Mass Rock & Drumcliffe (rental car)
Mass Rock at Tobernault
Glencar Waterfall near Manorhamilton
Stop to view W. B. Yeats' grave in Drumcliffe Churchyard
Rest of day open, including dinner
Overnight: The Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo
Options: Ballina! & North Mayo
Museum of Irish Life & Donegal
Head north to visit the Museum of Irish Life to understand how rural people lived from the 1850's to the 1950's. In Sligo Drive around Donegal Bay and visit Donegal Castle in the center of the town. Built in the 15th century as a fortress of the O'Donnell chieftain, it was later rebuilt. Continue past the Blue Stack Mountains to Derry.
Yeats' Country & Donegal Castle
Head north to Castlebar to visit the Museum of Irish Life. This modern building explains how Irish people made a living from the soil from 1850 to 1950. Also see the Victorian mansion of Turlough Park House where some of the rooms are open to view. Travel through County Sligo and stop to view the W. B. Yeats' grave in Drumcliffe Churchyard. Follow the shoreline of Donegal Bay to take a guided tour around Donegal Castle in the center of town. The fortress was built by an O' Donnell Chieftain in the 15th century but 200 years later changed hands and was expanded. Continue your journey through Donegal and past the lovely Blue Stack Mountains to Derry for dinner and overnight.

Tuesday, August 21, Day 9: High Crosses at Kells & Hill of Tara
Kells and the Irish High Cross
Hill of Tara
Dining in Dunboyne
Overnight: Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Dunboyne

Wednesday, August 22, Day 10: Dublin Castle & Dublin City Tour
Kilmainham Gaol, Trinity College, the General Post Office, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Dublin Castle. Visit to Dublin Castle's State Apartments where you can see magnificently decorated chambers that are used for many state functions. Top the day with a tour of St. James's Gate, and Guiness Storehouse, home of Guinness Stout. In the evening meet your fellow travelers over a welcome drink and, as you are free for dining at the hotel.
Overnight: Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Dunboyne

Thursday, August 23, Day 11: Return Home
This morning take a group transfer from Kingscourt to Dublin Airport where your tour concludes at 10:00 am. After check-in you will have time to shop at the duty-free stores. If you need to arrive at Dublin Airport before 10:00 am, your guide will arrange an early group transfer. (B)

Future Options:

6th Century Glendalough & Abbey Tavern
This morning drive across the Wicklow Mountains to see the 6th century monastic ruins of Glendalough where the peacefulness of the valley conjures up the spirit of the monks. The Visitor Centre explains how St. Kevin founded this settlement at a time when Christianity was burgeoning throughout Ireland. Today the monks have long gone, leaving the ruins of numerous churches and a round tower. Return to Dublin where the afternoon is at leisure for further sightseeing or shopping. Head to the Abbey Tavern for some traditional Irish cuisine, an Irish coffee and a lively session of popular songs.

Clifden & Kylemore Abbey
Today tour Connemara and admire sweeping views of misty mountains and shimmering lakes. You will see sheep grazing freely and tracts of bogland where people hand-cut peat for home heating. Stop in Spiddal where you may hear locals chatting in the Irish language. Continue to Clifden, a delightful market town set between the Twelve Bens and sandy bays. Visit Kylemore Abbey, a 19th century neo-Gothic mansion, which is now a prestigious girls’ school. Tour the exquisite chapel and reception rooms and stroll by the peaceful lake shore. In Moycullen watch skilled craftsmen cutting fine crystal at the Connemara Celtic Crystal Factory.

Derry & Giant's Causeway
Drive along the north coast to explore the Giant's Causeway, huge hexagonal columns formed over 60 million years ago. Return to Derry for a guided walking tour around central Derry, which will include the 16th century city walls. Also visit the Tower Museum and enjoy some free time before dinner.

Ulster American Folk Park & Cabra Castle Stay
Drive past the Sperrin Mountains to visit the Ulster American Folk Park. See many cottages including the boyhood home of Thomas Mellon, who emigrated to Pittsburgh in 1818 and later founded Mellon Bank. The Park traces the story of Ulster emigrants by showing how they lived in the "Old Country" and sailed across the Atlantic to settle in the "New World" in Colonial times. Travel south to Kingscourt to your castle hotel, built in 1760. After a farewell dinner in the Court Restaurant, enjoy some informal entertainment.