On the first day of the Experience Ireland coach tour, you will arrive in Dublin Airport, where you will be collected by your coach and transferred to your accommodation for the evening. You will have free time for the afternoon to freshen up and rest after your morning’s travel. In the evening your guide will arrange a ‘get to know you’ dinner including a briefing about the trip and schedule for the coming days.
2 Dublin to Belfast
Travel 165 km – Bus 2hrs approx:
After breakfast the group tour will kick start with a visit to Trinity College Dublin, to see the Book of Kells, before travelling north to Belfast.
Located in the heart of Dublin City, Trinity College is a modern college with an elegant period style and atmosphere. Walking through the cobbled courtyard, visitors will transported back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed. The Old Library houses the Book of Kells, a 9th-century gospel manuscript, written in Latin on vellum (prepared calfskin). The Book of Kells is famous around the globe and celebrated for its lavish decoration.
In Belfast, you will be visiting the fantastic Titanic Belfast: this interactive museum extends over nine galleries, bringing together special effects, full-scale reconstructions and innovative features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way. Explore the shipyard and uncover the true legend of Titanic, in the city where it all began.
Leaving Titanic Belfast your will be taken on a sightseeing tour of Belfast City, your guide will talk you through the unique history of this industrial city.
3 Belfast to Derry
Travel 200 km – Bus 3hrs approx:
Today the Explore Ireland coach tour will be packed with spectacular scenery and legendary landscapes. After Belfast you will follow the beautiful Ulster coastline to the Giants Causeway, have lunch in Bushmills followed by a tour of the Bushmills Distillery and finish your day with a walking tour of the Walled City of Derry.
The Giants Causeway is a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site and Nature Reserve. This world-famous landscape consisting of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption but local legend would argue that it is was constructed as a bridge to Scotland when a giant from Ireland Fionn MacCool was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner.
Established in 1608, the Bushmills Distillery is the oldest continuously producing distillery in Ireland. Their enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff will take you on a journey through their facility, so you can learn how they hand craft one of the world’s premium whiskeys.
Derry City is known as the ‘Maiden City’ as the city walls were never breached during siege, for this reason there is a wealth of historic buildings and heritage sites within the old walled city.
4 Derry to Sligo
Travel 233 km – Bus 3hrs 30 min approx:
The fourth day of our Explore Ireland coach tour brings the group on a tweed mill tour, to the impressive Slieve League sea cliffs in Donegal and past the resting place of poet W.B. Yeats.
In 1979 Studio Donegal was established with the goal of maintaining and preserving the long running tradition of hand-weaving in South West Donegal. The business committed to preserving and promoting the original hand-weaving skills passed down from generation to generation in the remote mountainous region.
The group will then travel to the Slieve League sea cliffs, where a short walk will lead to an impressive viewing platform offering you the best vantage point of the the tallest accessible sea cliffs in Europe.
You will have some free time to explore Sligo town before dinner.
5 Sligo to Westport
Travel 220 km – Bus 3hrs approx:
This morning you will be transferred to the National Museum of Ireland – Museum of Country Life, then in the afternoon you will head west to ever fascinating Achill Island.
At the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, the knowledgeable staff endeavour to inspire and educate visitors on life in Ireland in the century between the end of the Great Famine of the 1840s and the aftermath of the Second World War. You will also learn about the local folklore, myths and traditional beliefs.
Achill Island is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, your coach will take you on scenic tour of this beautiful island. You will visit the Deserted Village consists of over 80 stone cottages located on the southern slopes of Slievemore Mountain. The empty shells of so many houses serve as a reminder of how the Great Famine decimated the population through starvation and mass migration. Leaving the island you will travel along coastal roads to Kildavnet tower house, once home to the legendary pirate queen Grace O’ Malley or Granuaile.
You will stay in Westport this evening.
6 Wesport to Galway
Travel 145 km – Bus 2hrs 30 min approx:
Today is a busy and exciting day with trips scheduled to Croagh Patrick, Killary Fjord, Kylemore Abbey and Connemara Marble, while crossing the stunning Connemara countryside.
Croagh Patrick (Ireland’s holy mountain) has been a place of worship as far back as 3,000 BC. In the 5th century Croagh Patrick gained popularity as the mount from which Saint Patrick banished snakes from Ireland. Arriving at this iconic mountain you will have the option to take a short walk to a viewing point known as the ‘five fingers’.
Killary Fjord is located in the heart of Connemara and is one of three glacial fjords that exist in Ireland. Your coach will follow the shore of Killary Fjord stopping at the best locations giving you an opportunity to take that perfect landscape photograph.
Kylemore Estate was purchased in 1867 and transformed in to Kylemore Castle by Mitchell and Margaret Henry. In 1920 a community of nuns purchased Kylemore Castle, after their abbey in Ypres Belgium was destroyed during WWI. The nuns transformed the castle into Kylemore Abbey. Your guide will take you on a tour through this enchanting abbey and its adjoining gardens.
At Connemara Marble Visitor Centre, you will see how the marble is quarried, cut, shaped and polished by master craftsmen.
In the evening you will be transferred to the historic city of Galway for a walking tour. This lively city still maintains much of its medieval charm, with narrow streets, old shop fronts, ancient city walls, castles and cathedrals.
7 Galway to Killarney
Travel 265 km – Bus 4hrs approx:
Departing Galway City your coach will travel through the heart of the Burren, where you will stop for photos of this unique landscape at one of the key beauty spots.
The spectacular Cliffs of Moher are also on the itinerary of the Explore Ireland coach tour for today. Stretching along the coast for over 8km and towering 214m above the Atlantic Ocean they are one of Ireland’s top attractions. There is also a fantastic visitor centre offering information about the area, cafes and bathrooms. Close to the visitor centre, you’ll find the iconic O’ Brien’s Tower with a viewing platform on its roof.
The group will then travel to Limerick for a tour of King John’s Castle, by the River Shannon. The settlement dates back to the era of the Vikings 922 AD and it was redeveloped to its current form around 1200 AD. The exhibition offers insight in to the daily lives of people living and working within this fortress.
In the evening you will travel south to Killarney, a bustling country town packed with good restaurants, bars and traditional pubs.
8 The Ring of Kerry
Travel 174 km – Bus 2hrs 45 min approx:
Today, the coach tour continues in one of Ireland’s most spectacular drives: the world famous Ring of Kerry section of the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Ring of Kerry winds its way around the stunning Iveragh Peninsula taking in some of the most dramatic scenery in Ireland. The tour follows the Kerry coastline in the foothills of the Macgillycuddy’s reeks, home to 9 of the 10 tallest mountains in Ireland. To the West you will have the perfect vantage point to take in the views of the stunning Kerry coastline including Rossbeigh and Inch beaches, Skellig and The Great Blasket Islands. Your guide will organize photo stops and short tours at key locations on your route on The Ring of Kerry.
Returning to Killarney you will visit Killarney National Park and Muckross House where your guide will take you on a tour of this majestic Victorian mansion, traditional farm and walled gardens.
You will stay in Killarney again today giving you the evening to explore this bustling town.
9 Killarney to Dublin
Travel 310 km – Bus 4hrs approx:
On the last activity day of the Explore Ireland coach tour you will leave Killarney and visit the magnificent Rock of Cashel, as well as Kilkenny Castle on your way back to Dublin city.
The Rock of Cashel, also known as Cashel of the Kings, was the seat of the High Kings of Munster. The rock was gifted to the Church in the 12th century and most of the buildings on the site date from that era. The oldest and tallest of the buildings is the iconic round tower (28 metres, or 90 feet), dating from 1100 AD.
Picturesque Kilkenny Castle showcases examples of several phases of development in Irish architectural styles ranging from a stone built moated Norman fortress, and the impressive 17th century classical gateway. The 18th century saw the building of the elegant, crescent shaped stables and the 19th century remodelling introduced the Castellated Baronial style with additional Ruskinian Gothic motifs.
We have also organise a bon voyage meal for the group as you return to your accommodation in Dublin.
After breakfast your Explore Ireland coach tour with us comes to an end. We will arrange a transfer to the Dublin Airport in the early afternoon for anyone travelling home today.
Ask the IrelandWays.com travel consultants about adding an extra night accommodation if you wish to take advantage of a day trip to County Wicklow and the 6th century monastic site at Glendalough, or just spend some time exploring the historic city of Dublin. Be magically transported back in time when you visit the National Museum of Ireland, sample a pint Guinness at its source with a tour or the Guinness Storehouse or simply relax strolling around Saint Stephen’s Green.