A Week in Ireland: Galway, Cork & Dublin

8 days
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About This Experience

Spend a week in Ireland—a country you’ll never want to leave. From the Irish people’s sparkling wit and inviting pub culture, all the way down to the isle’s incredible emerald landscapes, this small country packs quite a punch. Waste no time getting to the core of Irish culture on a tour of its leading cities, Galway and Dublin, and its natural wonders, from the rocky Burren to the Cliffs of Moher.

Your Tour Includes

  • Round-trip airfare & transfers

  • 6 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 2 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Select entrance fees

How's the weather?

  • Galway, Ireland
  • Cork, Ireland
  • Dublin, Ireland
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Overnight Flight1 night

Day1

Guinness stout, Irish breakfast and brogues—all mere hours away

Your trip begins with a regularly scheduled overnight flight to Shannon aboard an internationally recognized airline.

Galway2 nights - hotel info

Day2

Don’t be surprised if you end up at a pub singing “Galway Girl”

Breakfast (in flight), Dinner

Welcome to the Emerald Isle! A Go Ahead representative greets you at Shannon Airport after you clear customs and escorts you to your hotel in Galway. The rest of the day is free for you to begin exploring Galway. At tonight’s included welcome dinner, meet your fellow travelers.

Day3

Discover Galway, the independent city-state turned college town

Optional Excursion - Castle Banquet Dinner

Breakfast

This morning, your Tour Director introduces you to Galway, Ireland’s third-largest city. For 400 years Galway was an independent city-state—as recently as the 19th century, local citizens were still in the habit of setting their clocks 40 minutes behind Dublin time. Enjoy this afternoon at leisure in Galway. You might choose to visit the broad expanse of Eyre Square or visit the 16th-century Spanish Arch on the banks of the Corrib. Lovers of pub culture will delight in Galway’s traditional public houses, from The Quays, Murphy’s Bar, Monroe’s Tavern and so many more. Pubs aren’t just bars in the American sense of the word—they’re communal meeting houses where a civic spirit is nurtured over crisps, ale and good craic (Gaelic for fun). Tonight, consider joining our optional excursion for a castle banquet dinner (seasonal).

Optional Excursions

Castle Banquet Dinner $115* pp

Enjoy a feast fit for a king inside Dunguaire Castle, a 17th-century castle overlooking Galway Bay. Sip from a goblet of mead and learn the history of the castle before proceeding up the spiral staircase to the banquet hall, where you’ll enjoy a sumptuous, four-course dinner and an evening of live entertainment, including songs and stories. Please note: This excursion is seasonal from April to October.

County Cork1 night - hotel info

Day4

Cliffs of Moher or “Insanity”—whatever you call them, they’re amazing

Breakfast

Depart Galway and travel through the limestone plateau known as the Burren. Stop to see the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, which rise 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. These are among the most dramatic views in Ireland, and film fans may recognize them as the “Cliffs of Insanity” from the classic movie The Princess Bride. Later, transfer to Cork, a city synonymous with the Irish spirit of rebellion. To this day, Corkonians refer to their city as the “real” capital of Ireland and to one another simply as “Rebels.” Enjoy a free evening to explore Cork, a city best seen on foot. This charming seaport spans both sides of the River Lee, and you’ll cross back and forth over the city’s web of canals as you walk about. You may want to stop in at the Princes Street Market (also known as the English Market) to peruse local specialties such as drisheen, an Irish black pudding.

Dublin3 nights - hotel info

Day5

Climb to the top of the castle, where the Gift of Gab is yours to take

Breakfast

Blarney Castle

This morning, visit Blarney Castle. This 15th-century fortress is known above all else for the legendary Blarney Stone, said to grant magical powers of eloquence to those who kiss it—which you can attempt by climbing the steep staircase to the top of the parapet and leaning out of the battlements. Later, continue on to Dublin. Enjoy the “forty shades of green” that Johnny Cash famously memorialized as your motor coach zips through the scenic Irish countryside. Your route will take you through the heart of Ireland, an area once ruled by the Kings of Munster and where a fiercely independent streak can still be found today.

Day6

Delve into Dublin, a small capital with a whole lot of charm

Optional Excursion - Traditional Irish Evening

Breakfast

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College

A local guide leads a sightseeing tour of the city. Drive to Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in Europe. Its grounds include the Arás an Uachtaráin (Presidential Residence). Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded by Ireland’s patron saint in A.D. 450, and then visit Trinity College, where you can view the illuminated Book of Kells in the university’s library. This afternoon is yours to explore the Irish capital at your leisure. You may wish to stop in at a pub in the Temple Bar neighborhood for a pint of Guinness or a glass of fine Irish whiskey. Or, you might meander from cafe to cafe as you take in the haunts of some of Dublin’s most famous writers. Tonight, opt to join a traditional Irish evening of song, dance and food.

Optional Excursions

Traditional Irish Evening $99* pp

Enjoy this special evening of Irish food, music and live entertainment. Dinner will be served first, giving you a taste of traditional Irish dishes. You’ll then be treated to a live show of Irish music and dance. Join in the fun as you enjoy a merry and memorable night. Please note: The specific venue and day of the week for this optional may change due to availability.

Day7

Drink up city views from the Gravity Bar or head to wild Wicklow

Optional Excursion - Glendalough

Breakfast, Dinner

Discover Dublin at your own pace today. You might choose to quaff the perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse. The storehouse is a relatively new attraction that encapsulates Dublin’s rare ability to cherish its past while looking forward to its future. The Storehouse rises seven stories above the city, and at the top, you’ll find Gravity Bar, where you can enjoy a complementary pint of Arthur Guinness’s world-famous dry stout while taking in panoramic views of Dublin. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Glendalough, a romantic glen where St. Kevin founded Ireland’s most important monastery in the 6th century. The hermitage reflects the monastic discipline of its founder St. Kevin. Here you’ll find a collection of ancient dry-stone buildings, including an enormous round tower, one of only a handful remaining in Ireland. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for an included farewell dinner.

Optional Excursions

Glendalough $29* pp

County Wicklow has some of the wildest and most spectacular mountain scenery in Ireland, as well as many of the country’s most important historic sites. Journey through Wicklow’s captivating landscapes to Glendalough, which became famous throughout Europe as a center of Christian learning before it was sacked by Viking raiders in the 10th century. Here, you’ll see St. Kevin’s Cross, marking the place where the saint lies buried, the remains of the sixth-century cathedral and the remarkable Round Tower, thought to have been used by monks as a place of refuge. Your Tour Director will lead you on a tour of the site followed by free time.

Flight homefor a day

Day8

Gabbier (and maybe with a slight brogue), make your way home

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative accompanies you to the airport for your return flight home.

Passport & Visa Requirements

In order to enter Ireland, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & Packing Tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any event—a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, please be respectful and refrain from baring legs or shoulders when visiting churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks when traveling to Ireland. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine. Traditional Irish cooking is simple, relying heavily on meatbased dishes. Pubs serve up hearty lunches, like traditional Irish stew. Soda bread is delicious and very filling, as are Irish cakes, such as scones and Barm Brack. The thick black beer known as Guinness is a national institution in its own right. In recent years, Dublin has seen something of a culinary revolution, and the city now boasts an impressive array of new restaurants offering exciting cuisine with continental European and Asian influences.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Shannon and depart from Dublin. Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. Most of the destinations are easily walkable, but you may want to spend your free time exploring Dublin by a combination of walking and public transportation. The city is serviced by numerous buses, and if you wish to take excursions on your own outside of Dublin, use the very efficient Dublin Area Rapid Transport (DART) trains, which reach most locations on the coast.

Electricity

Ireland operates on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

Ireland falls on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Currency

The euro is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards, credit cards and traveler’s checks, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. Please note: With the conversion to the euro, it has been increasingly difficult to exchange traveler’s checks outside of Europe’s major cities—both at banks and shops—and they often attract higher fees.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Best trip ever!

I loved this trip so much...it was a perfect balance of structure and free time. The cities we visited were amazing, as were our guides and drivers. Rest value and amazing trip!

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/19/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A Great Week!

We had a wonderful time and saw the beauty of Ireland, all the wonderful places in six days. Matthew, our Tour Director, was fabulous. He went above and beyond to respond to our requests, answer questions and offer "surprises" (stops, experiences not on the formal itinerary) every day. He had a great sense of humor, shared his own experiences to help us understand and appreciate Irish traditions and culture. Most important, he created a cohesive, very congenial, cooperative group out of 43 people of all ages from all parts of the country. This was the most unique and enjoyable part of the trip. Galway was walkable, very interesting, enjoyable. The Cliffs of Mohr were spectacular, the two dinners were great fun! The gardens and museum in Dublin were spectacular.One piece of advice: don't limit your experience to "pub crawling." There is so much more to see and do!!

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/28/2014

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Our Trip to Ireland

My wife and I took this tour and we were very happy with everything about it. The hotels were great and close to what we wanted to see and the Tour Director was excellent. He took us to several places not on the scheduled itinerary and it really added to the experience. Some of the highlights were the Cliffs of Moher and Blarney Castle but the Hurling demonstrations were a lot of fun and we left with a Hurling stick to take home.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/28/2014

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Beautiful scenery!

We really loved how beautiful Ireland was. The people were great too. We thought this was a very well-planned vacation. Our tour guide, Matthew, was very good and did a lot of extra things for all of us. You could tell that he really loved Ireland and wanted us to get to know this beautiful country. Thank you!

review photo

4 / 5

Traveled On: 6/28/2014

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Trip Review

Ireland is indeed green,,beautiful and every meal is delicious! I loved the country side and the gardens I saw. The hotel rooms and their staffs were wonderful to their guests. There was free time to explore at your own pace. My favorite was going a short cab ride from the hotel to the Abbey Theater. The only thing that I should of had is knowledge of the Irish exit tax code system at the Dublin Airport. It was a near riot scene!! A tour with thirteen people is the ideal number to tour. Everyone loves Ireland and now I know why!!

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NV

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Dream come true

I have waited and saved for a long time to take a trip to Ireland. I just got home and I am still in awe of the experience. I will treasure these memories forever. It was a dream come true. Our Tour Director Sean was perfect. He was kind, considerate, patient and knew his stuff. I will recommend this trip to everyone I know.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best of everything

There's nothing that I would change about this tour. The tour director was an absolute delight and handled everything with grace and laughter. Very knowledgable and full of many stories. The tour was everything I had hoped for and more.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/28/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: ID

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

OK

It was fun. It was Ireland. Our Tour Director was good.

3 / 5

Traveled On: 6/16/2012

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: IL

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Great Tour Director

Connie was very helpful. He went out of his way to secure reservations and recommend places of interest. He wanted to be sure we were happy. And he had a great sense of humor. The only problem I had was with the flight home. It was a sixteen hour travel day (including the time difference).The next trip I book, I will look into getting my own flights. Overall, it was a good tour.

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/21/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Tour, Tour Director, & Bus Driver Were Wonderful!

We had a wonderful time and were very impressed with this tour and all the places we visited. Our tour director, Cornelius, was terrific and so was our bus driver, Tommy. They made you feel like you were personal friends and went out of their way to help, answer questions, and keep us informed. The pace on this Ireland tour was perfect and all our accomodations and their employees were very nice. The Irish are warm and welcoming. I highly recommend this tour!

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/21/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

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