A Week in Ireland: St. Patrick's Day8 days / Special Event Tours
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About This Experience
Can you think of a better time to visit Ireland than during St. Patrick’s Day week? Nope, neither 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
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
Optional Excursion - Castle Banquet Dinner
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, including 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 (pronounced “crack,” it’s Gaelic for fun and conversation). Tonight, you may choose to join our optional excursion for a 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
Optional Excursion - Traditional Irish Evening
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 for a night 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
Optional Excursion - Glendalough
Continue to discover Dublin at your own pace today. 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, tip a (pint) glass to your Irish adventure and enjoy traditional Irish fare and entertainment at your farewell dinner.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Ireland operates on the European standard 220 volts.
Ireland falls on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
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.
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.
100.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
Best tour Director
Tom was awesome, he really know what his country. Hotels, breakfast and dinner includes were great..I did enjoyed very much and will plan to do a spain trip for next year.. One thing i will like to mention is about the fligh schedulle. We basically wasted a day, leaving late a night. Even that we didnt have anything schedule it wouldnt be nice to arrive early and explore the city on our own once we were able to get to the hotel. Otherwise everything as more than excellent...
An Amazing Trip!
If you've been thinking about taking a trip to Ireland, this is the one to take! This was my wife and I's first trip overseas and it was amazing. Let's start with the tour director: Tom. Tom greeted us at the airport and from that moment he was a wealth of information, was super friendly, and has a great sense of humor. We learned so much about the Irish history and culture, with lots of great anecdotes and music. We loved listening to Tom talk about Ireland! You could tell he loves his country.... Now let's start with the different sightseeing and cities we visited...Galway is fantastic. Exactly what Americans think of when they think of Irish charm. Such a great city. We really recommend drifting into Taafes bar for a drink and traditional music. A great time will be had! Also loved seeing Connemara marble. Our trips to the Cliffs of Moher and Poulnabrone were also very interesting and beautiful as well. We wish we would have spent more time in Cork as it seemed like a neat city, but Blarney village was also great! It's definitely worth getting over your fears to climb the Blarney castle and kiss the Blarney stone. It was a beautiful day when we did this, too. So wonderful! Blarney is charming and we recommend The Muskerry Arms. Last but not least was our stay in Dublin. Now, Dublin is a bit too much like Chicago for my wife's tastes. BUT the St. Patrick's Parade was truly amazing. The Hop on-Hop Off bus tour is also a great thing to do and only costs 18 euro for two days. We wish we would have gotten to spend more time in St. Patrick's Cathedral, however. Overall, we had a fantastic experience. We loved the farewell story telling dinner on our last night, loved all of the people we met, and just had such a blast. We will be traveling with GoAhead again next year for our anniversary and will be taking the Grand Tour of Turkey....can't wait! Such a great company to travel with and they take really great care of you! Our driver was great too!
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.