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1 / 67

Grand Tour of Ireland

15 days
Travel beyond the green, sheep-dotted landscapes to the cities and villages that span the country, all the way from Dublin to Derry. Mingle with Dubliners in traditional pubs, pick up a sparkling souvenir in Waterford, drive along the Ring of Kerry and walk across Giant’s Causeway. After two weeks of exploring, you’ll leave feeling like a local (if you can even bear to leave at all).

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 13 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Dublin today.

Dublin 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Dublin

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to the Emerald Isle! Settle in, then meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Dublin

Included meals: Breakfast

Take a guided tour of Ireland’s charming capital city.

• Pass through Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest walled green spaces and site of the presidential residence

• Travel along the River Liffey and get a look at the legendary Guinness Storehouse

• Step inside the soaring St. Patrick’s Cathedral

• Visit Trinity College to see the illuminated Book of Kells

Day 4: Free day in Dublin

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day exploring Dublin on your own or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Powerscourt & Glendalough $79*pp Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Optional Excursion - Traditional Irish Evening $99*pp Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Waterford 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Waterford via County Kildare & Kilkenny

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Leaving Dublin, travel a short distance southwest to County Kildare.

• Visit the Irish National Stud farm, where world-class race horses are bred and trained

• Explore the stables and glimpse thoroughbreds being exercised and groomed

• Continue to Kilkenny, Ireland’s best-preserved medieval town

• Tour the imposing 12th-century Kilkenny Castle, overlooking the River Nore

Day 6: House of Waterford Crystal & Rock of Cashel

Included meals: Breakfast

Your Tour Director introduces you to Waterford’s legendary sites and exports.

• Visit the House of Waterford Crystal to learn about its world-famous glassware

• Journey to the Rock of Cashel, a cluster of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone dominating the Tipperary plain

• View the ruins of the ancient seat of the kings of Munster and see Celtic carvings at Cormac’s Chapel

County Kerry 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: County Kerry via Cobh & Blarney Castle

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Get a feel for the many sides of Ireland, from charming villages to vibrant cities and iconic castles.

• Stop in the fishing village of Cobh, once a launch site for ships bound for North America

• Visit the Cobh Heritage Centre to hear tales of Irish emigration

• Travel through Cork, Ireland’s second-largest city

• Climb to the top of Blarney Castle to kiss the famed Blarney Stone, which is said to grant the “gift of gab”

Later, arrive in County Kerry for the night.

Day 8: Ring of Kerry

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel around the Ring of Kerry, a 112-mile coastal route that covers some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery. 

• Pass the pristine Lakes of Killarney  and the dramatic Dingle Bay

• Take in unsurpassable views of the Skellig Islands 

• Explore the picturesque village of Sneem, known for its brightly painted cottages

Galway 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Galway via County Clare

Included meals: Breakfast

Set out for Galway, stopping along the way to explore County Clare.

• Take a stroll through the scenic town of Adare

• Visit Bunratty Castle and tour Bunratty Folk Park, which recreates Irish life at the turn of the century 

After arriving in Galway, enjoy a free evening or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Castle Banquet Dinner $115*pp Details

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 mid-April to mid-October.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $125)

Day 10: Free day in Galway

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Galway on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - The Burren & Cliffs of Moher $35*pp Details

Journey along the coast to the famous Cliffs of Moher. Whether admired from a safe distance or at the cliffs' edge, the views from these heights will amaze you. Continue on to the Burren, an austere landscape known for its slate-grey rock fields dotted by rare wildflowers. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent, and your views may be impacted by fog.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $45)

Sligo 1 night Hotel info

Day 11: Sligo via Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey

Included meals: Breakfast

Immerse yourself in the postcard-perfect scenery of Connemara, where you’ll visit Kylemore Abbey. Later, spend the night in the town of Sligo.

Belfast 2 nights Hotel info

Day 12: Belfast via Derry

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On your way to Northern Ireland, journey through the landscapes immortalized by the poetry of William Butler Yeats. 

• Stop at Drumcliffe churchyard to pay your respects at Yeats’ grave

• Continue on to Derry, Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, for a guided tour before heading to Belfast

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Belfast

Included meals: Breakfast

Start your day with a guided tour of Northern Ireland’s capital.

• Glimpse the copper-domed city hall

• Pass the shipbuilding docks where the Titanic was constructed and learn about the ship’s ill-fated journey at the Titanic Belfast galleries

• View the recently restored Grand Opera House

Enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Giant's Causeway $105*pp Details

Pay a visit to the rugged Giant’s Causeway, a series of naturally formed hexagonal basalt columns. The columns, which you can walk on, are 60 million years old and originated as volcanic lava. A colorful local legend says that mythical giant Finn McCool built the walkway so that he could cross the sea to Scotland. Please note: Raingear is recommended for this excursion.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $115)

Dublin 1 night Hotel info

Day 14: Transfer to Dublin

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Return to the Irish Republic to spend a final night in Dublin. Then, say goodbye to your group at a farewell dinner.

Day 15: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Waterford, Ireland
  • County Kerry, Ireland
  • Galway, Ireland
  • Sligo, Ireland
  • Belfast, Ireland
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

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 are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Irish 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

We recommend packing light, loose-fitting clothing that is easily layered. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended for sightseeing, as are a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you may also want to bring more formal attire. Please be respectful when visiting churches or other religious sites and refrain from baring legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Ireland. Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

Traditional Irish cooking is simple, relying heavily on meat-based dishes. Traditional Irish stew, bacon and boiled cabbage are always popular choices. Soda bread is delicious and very filling, as are Irish cakes, such as scones and Barm Brack. The thick black stout 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 and sometimes unexpected cuisine.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Dublin. Included transportation is by private motor coach. Most of the destinations are walkable, but you may want to spend free time exploring Dublin by using public transportation. The city is serviced by numerous buses. If you wish to venture outside of Dublin on your own, 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 and the British pound (in Northern Ireland) are the currencies you’ll 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 and credit cards. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s 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.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NJ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

All I Imagined and Then Some

The Grand Tour of Ireland was indeed grand. Everything I had ever imagined about Ireland was found to be so. It is a lovely country filled with friendly people and lots of history to learn. The two weeks I spent there flew by and I loved all of it. Our tour director Kathy was wonderful. She is a well organized person who guided us skillfully from place to place. We had two bus drivers - Tommy for the first week and then Paddy. Both of them were excellent whether driving in city traffic or on country roads. The hotels were fine with the Granville being my favorite - stay there and you will understand why. Breakfast was included each day and there were always several choices which were very tasty. The included dinners were all served at the hotels and they were equally as good. This was my third tour with GoAhead and it will not be my last.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 11/3/2014

Number of Past Tours: 10

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Out of season

We're glad we took the Grand Tour of Ireland, and glad we did it in November. Small group and no crowds at outstanding venues made it quite terrific! Kathy Pickis is nice, competent, knowledgeable, and good at her difficult job. Bus drivers Tom and Paddy did fine jobs. It is to them that our very lives are entrusted as we travel! We groused about 'lousy' views at a few hotels and about included meals always being at the hotel rather than at a special restaurant in a special Irish town, with special Irish food. NOT EXCELLENT was the Travel Inn, Killarney roadside, not permitting us the pleasure of an evening stroll through the nice town. We loved the classy old Granville, modern Maldron, good hotels everywhere - with nice coffee/tea service and free wi-fi being much appreciated on cold, dark nights. As to the sites we saw, several stand out as great. We can't know about some that we missed!! The time at Kylemore Abbey seemed too long, as the wintertime gardens (somewhat lacking in good attention) are not worth much time, and the inside of the abbey house needs just a few minutes' time. In Belfast, we were very grateful for 'free' time we spent strolling in town on a Sunday and skipping the Titanic. I'll not go on further for now, but will send comments if new ones occur. Thanks for good travels.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 9/29/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

It really was a Grand tour!

We really loved our trip to Ireland. Sean our tour director was wonderful. He was very knowledgable and had wonderful stories to tell. The hotels we stayed in were pretty nice for the most part. My husband had a difficult time staying at The Temple bar Hotel due to the noise. Everywhere else was quite nice. We had 2 bus drivers Joe and Vincent and both were excellent. I will say this, you will spend a lot of time on the bus so if you get motion sickness pack lots of dramamine or go to the doctor prior to taking the trip for a prescription. Both my husband and I battled with motion sickness due to the bus and curvy roads. The itinerary was lovely we were able to see so much more than we would have been able to if we had traveled on our own. In my opinion the optional excursions were worth every penny especially the Traditional Irish Evening.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 9/29/2014

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: NJ

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Pretty but not much WOW!

I enjoyed the trip but found Ireland not that interesting. Three exceptions to that statement: The Cliffs of Moher were great and the people of Ireland were some of the most charming and delightful people I have ever had contact with. The third was the food in the "on your own meals". I thought I would be eating burgers while watching soccer or hurling matches on TV. The meals were good across the board and some were wonderful. I guess I am more of a museum and cathedral type than a country-side type. I am glad I went but I feel I've seen all that Ireland has to offer.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/29/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Ireland From a Sunny Perspective

Amazing sunny days, incredible scenes, around 1200 miles covered, and an outstanding tour director, Sean, created the successful recipe to our dream "Grand Tour of Ireland". Not until a cousin told me that I should pursue American/Irish dual citizenship, did I even consider a trip to Ireland. Then I immediately started saving for our trip. That was three years ago. By June I had my dual citizenship and by July, I was thrilled to have my Irish passport in hand. Although I couldn't use the passport since I had already booked and used my American passport, my Irish passport enjoyed many leprechaun opportunities to jump from behind a tree or find a place in front of a line of empty Guinness pints. I have to give a tip of the hat to our amazing driver, Vincent. To maneuver the narrow roads and curves like he did makes one's jaw drop. Sean is a keen teacher and organizer. He filled us with history day to day, from each locale, geologic formations, life, heritage, lrish language lessons and government. He balanced issues and made sure we understood the full picture, particularly in the Derry and Belfast region. We had a personal trauma in Dublin when my husband's wallet was "picked". We reported the issue and Sean made phone calls and follow-ups. My husband spent hours on the phone at the Temple Bar Hotel and the staff was more than willing to help him w/ phone use for around five hours. Although we missed a special dinner that night, we were on the road to recovery by morning. How lucky we were to see more Ireland than most Irish have a chance or willingness to experience. In fact, I over-packed. I just knew I would need my warmer tops, but I didn't. Only one day of real rain at the National Stud gave a need for more layers, but from that point on....imagine the Ring of Kerry in sunshine, Cashel in wall-wall blue, Cliffs of Moher without rain, and with a view. Imagine a day at Giants Causeway when we could see Scotland. My family heritage is Donegal and there was no way to drive up to Malin Head, home to my grandparents, but I could see the tip and Sean made sure I did. He took me aside and pointed to the homeland. Hotels and food were great. Although folks will grumble about Temple Bar Hotel, well, it is in the center of activity, lots of late night activity, The Temple area is also a gregarious location and place to enjoy Irish pub life. Sean made a point of directing us away from the "tourist" pubs and toward more local places. Great places. As for Temple Bar, just bring ear plugs. When you get your bearings and realize that you really aren't that far from the places you might want to visit, put on your hiking shoes and go. That's what we really enjoyed about so many of our hotels, we could walk and meet the cities. When the Ring of Kells tour was closed abruptly, we took that opportunity to visit Sisters of Mercy International on Lower Boggett. Once we had our clues so much unfolded. I have a friend and a Sister of Mercy who wanted me to contact a friend of hers at the center. We did and experienced "aha"...this was meant to be. There, a colleague of Sister McCauley, the founder, also created her own version of illuminati art. So, another tour without the lines. From city to city we could tell stories of how we enjoyed folks and ended up being less a tourist and more of one of them. One way is to know your history. Know and learn about Ireland before leaving. Research. Since we're from Montana, we knew the importance of Thomas Francis Meagher and his connection to the Irish tri-color. However, as a general, he led the Fighting 69th Irish at Antietam and Fredericksburg. After the war, he became Montana's first territorial governor. That wee bit of information endeared us to a history buff at the Munster in Waterford. He shared he Meagher flags and history collections, and insisted we would return again. For that kind of moment, we were blessed. So, failte to all, and particularly to Sean who led his "46" to Dublin and back again. Grand craic. (My photos are on my tablet, and won't move here so easily...I have so many pictures!)

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/7/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fantastic trip!

We just returned from the 15 day Grand Tour of Ireland and it was everything we had hoped for. The scenery was gorgeous and the people are so friendly. I felt an instant connection to the country. Our tour guide, Tom, did an excellent job. He was so informative about Ireland's history, mythology, customs, language, music--just everything! And our driver, Paddy, worked miracles maneuvering our bus through some really tight places, and all with a great smile! I would highly recommend this trip, this guide and this driver to everyone!

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 7/7/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: AR

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

I am glad that I went with Go Ahead Tours

There is no way that I would have learned what I learned if I would have traveled on my own. Everything except some meals and souvenirs were included on the trip. We traveled around the entire island while listening about the history of Ireland. I would not have had the same experience on my own.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 7/7/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NH

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The Grand Tour was Grand!

This active tour took us all around the perimeter of Ireland demonstrating its beauty and charm over and over. The tour had something for everyone: vibrant cities, classic castles, and phenomenal natural wonders! The highlights of the trip for me included the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Giant's Causeway. The fact that we could see castles and round towers interspersed in the landscape as we drove by on the bus was an added bonus! I often felt like I was in a magical place. Make sure to keep a trip journal because this is an action packed excursion! It is definitely 15 days of excitement!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/23/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: WY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

"Grand" is Right...

"Grand Tour of Ireland", June 23 - July 7 was fantastic, Brian, our "Tour Director" and Tommy our "Coach Chauffeur" made it a trip of a Lifetime...Brian’s fantastic humor and knowledge of the sites and cities we visited along with Irish history made everything very enjoyable and ready to hear more; and Tommy, wow, with the skills of a surgeon he drove the coach places that I would be hesitant to drive a car. While the trip was put together very well with a lot to see and things to do there was also a nice amount of time to relax, shop and mingle with some of the locals at Pubs watching the World Cup, listening to live music or getting a front row seat to "River Dancers". With "Go Ahead Tours" putting this all together and taking care of the luggage and accommodations it was Truly a VACATION to Remember...Thanks Again to Brian & Tommy for a Fantastic Vacation, both went Above & Beyond the job... I know everyone on the tour had a Great Time also...Tim

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 6/2/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NE

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beautiful Ireland

Our tour director, Brian, was fantastic. Being an Irish native he made the tour come to life in his relating the history, culture and wonders of his country. Ireland is absolutely beautiful with its lush green landscape and shades of green everywhere one looks. It has a very colorful history some of which is extremely harsh, some very cruel, all of which make for a strong but friendly people. Our tour circled the Island visiting Waterford Crystal, Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, Giant Causeway, Irish Stud Farm, Rope Bridge to name but a few of the exciting stops we made. Although there was a bit of walking at times the pace was leisurely and relaxing. It was nice to spend at least two nights at each of our stops with reasonable times to be up and ready when leaving for the next hotel. Hotels by the way were quite nice and the food was excellent at each of them. This was our first trip to Ireland and we would go again to catch some of the many things that time did not permit us to do. Hats off to GoAhead for this enjoyable and enlightening tour. Harold Sutter

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