A Week in Ireland: St. Patrick's Day 8 days / Special Event Tours
100.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Can you think of a better time to visit Ireland than during St. Patrick’s Day week? Nope, neither we can we. Drop in on the Emerald Isle during one of the most festive times of year, exploring its most vibrant cities and namesake emerald countryside. Start your journey in Galway, making your way to Cork and the Blarney Castle before settling in for the celebrations in Dublin. Raise a pint, don some green and join the locals for the city’s legendary St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
6 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 2 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Dublin’s the place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
You’ll see how the Emerald Isle earned its nickname
Gabby, friendly, witty—the Irish are beyond fun
Cork, “The Rebel County,” has charm all its own
Galway’s live “trad” music is a can’t-miss
Irish pubs are cultural experiences unto themselves
Overnight Flight1 night
Galway2 nights - hotel info
Welcome to the Land of a Thousand Welcomes
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. This afternoon, 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. At tonight’s included Welcome Dinner, meet your fellow travelers.
Walk the barren Burren and scan the Atlantic from towering heights
This morning, 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. 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 much 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 (pronounced “crack,” it’s Gaelic for fun and conversation). Tonight, dine at our optional Castle Banquet dinner (seasonal).
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
The locals will tell you this is the Emerald Isle’s “real” capital
Drive 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.” En route, 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. This afternoon explore Cork with your Tour Director, 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
Small it may be, but this little city packs a punch
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College
Drive to Dublin, and enjoy the “forty shades of green” that Johnny Cash famously noted 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. This afternoon, your stay in Dublin will begin with a guided sightseeing tour of the city, starting with Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in Europe, which includes 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.
We can’t think of a better (or more festive) day to be in Dublin
Today is yours to explore on this festive day. You might want to catch a glimpse of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, or take advantage of the many musical, arts, and sporting events held across the city throughout the day. Or simply wander through this very walkable city, making sure to take in O’Connell Street, the city’s main boulevard, and cross the River Liffey on the nearby Ha’Penny Bridge, so named for the toll pedestrians were once charged. Make sure to stop into one of Dublin’s many neighborhood pubs, and celebrate the day with locals and some live traditional music. Tonight in Dublin, opt to join a Traditional Irish Evening of song, dance and food.
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.
Dublin cityscapes or Wicklow countryside—it’s your day and choice
Continue to discover Dublin at your own pace today. Alternatively, join an optional excursion into the countryside of Wicklow to visit Powerscourt House, where you can walk through Ireland’s most beautiful formal gardens, and Glendalough, a romantic glen where St. Kevin founded Ireland’s most important monastery in the 6th century. Powerscourt was originally created as a military stronghold in the 13th century but underwent considerable transformation 500 years later. During the 18th century, the seventh Viscount Powerscourt toured France’s Versailles, Austria’s Schonnbrunn and other famous estates throughout Europe; upon turning 21, the Viscount ordered Powerscourt to be remade in the image of his favorite castles. The new estate’s gardens took two decades to flourish, but today, they’re among Ireland’s most beautiful. Glendalough, by contrast, reflects the monastic ascetism of its founder St. Kevin. Here you’ll find a collection of ancient drystone buildings, including an enormous round tower, one of only a handful remaining in Ireland. Tonight, tip a (pint) glass to your Irish adventure and enjoy traditional Irish fare and entertainment at your Farewell Dinner.
Powerscourt & Glendalough $79* pp
County Wicklow is home to some of the wildest and most spectacular scenery in Ireland, as well as two of the country’s most important historic sites. Your first stop is at the picturesque village of Enniskerry, where you’ll visit Powerscourt, an elegant country mansion with the finest formal gardens in the country. Later, continue on to Glendalough, which became famous throughout Europe as a center of Christian learning before it was sacked by Viking crusaders in the 10th century. You’ll also see St. Kevin’s Cross, the remains of the 6th-century cathedral and the remarkable Round Tower, thought to have been used by the monks as a place of refuge.
Passport & Visa
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 are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks when traveling to Ireland. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest
updates and overseas travel requirements.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Shannon and depart from Dublin. Included transportation on “A Week in Ireland: St. Patrick’s Day” 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 hit most locations on the coast.
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 eventuality—a lightweight sports 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, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
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 travelers checks outside of Europe’s major cities—both at banks and shops—and they often attract higher fees.
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.
Journey along the coast to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, which rise out of the Atlantic Ocean to heights of more than 700 feet. See 300-million-year-old river channels cutting through the base of this awe-inspiring site.
Once ignored by the literary establishment, James Joyce is writ large in the new Dublin, with several monuments, celebrations and historical centers dedicated in his name. You can retrace the steps of Leopold Bloom, the main character of Joyce’s masterful Ulysses, with the “Ulysses Map of Dublin,” which your tour director will be happy to provide. Stops include Sandycove Tower (from Chapter One), Davey Byrne’s pub on Duke Street and the National Library of Ireland.
100.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
Our guide,Con, was amazing. His singing and teaching us Irish songs made the bus fun. Our driver,Paddy, was really part of the group instead of just a driver. A highlight was when we met his wife and she spoke to us in Gaelic. Con helped all of my group with after trip plans. 5 of us stayed on in DUBLIN and he had us dropped off at our hotel on the way to taking the group to the airport. I found both the welcome dinner and farewell dinners superb! The hotels were all quite good.
So much fun!
I had a wonderful time in Ireland with Go Ahead Tours. Our tour guide, Cornelius, and our driver Paddy were entertaining, charming, informative, and very helpful. I highly recommend being in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day. The west coast is a beautiful rugged area. The air and water are so clean. You will see lots of rainbows!
Wonderful week in Ireland
My wife & I took part in the St. Patrick's week tour of Ireland and had a terrific time. This was my first European travel, and first trip with GoAhead. Our tour director, Conn, was entertaining, funny and knowledgeable about the country and its people. His job wasn't easy easy with our diverse group, akin to herding cats at times, but he was cheerful throughout. Our driver, Paddy, was very skillful at his task, and witty besides. The places we visited were well chosen, with the right amount of time at each location, as well as side trips for those of us who weren't pub crawling all the time. I would give this tour my highest recommendation.
St. Patty's Day in Ireland
This was my 1st Go Ahead Tour & I will definitely be a return customer. The accommodations on the tour were beyond my expectations. Our tour director Cornelius was fabulous. There was plenty of information & guided tours along with our own personal free time to explore on our own. I highly recommend this trip to anyone that has ever wanted to visit Ireland.
Trip of a life time.
As long as I can remember I have always wanted to visit Ireland and it was just luck that I found go ahead surfing the internet. The trip was far from a disapointment. All I could have asked for was more time. Our director Tom Quinn was filled with so much knowledge and made every moment special and even joining us for dinner. I can't really say anything bad about the experience at all just wish we had more time. I will be booking this trip again next year with friends and cannot wait.