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1 / 69

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 Center 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 - 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 $79*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: $89)

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: 6/15/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: AK

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Outstanding tour guide and drivers

I am in the process of transcribing my journal from my "Grand Tour of Ireland." It was a wonderful tour and provided exactly what I wanted: a thorough tour of the major sites of Ireland with trouble-free logistics. Our tour director, Cathal , was fantastic: a history teacher who was able to impart his knowledge of Irish history as we traveled. He was also unflappable and well-organized. Several participants were delayed by a day and a half, but he coped with their late arrival without a problem. For the most part the hotel accommodations were excellent: convenient, comfortable, and efficiently run. I would recommend GAT without question to anyone desiring a tour. My only improvement on this tour would have been an introductory evening so the participants could become better acquainted. Otherwise, I am delighted to have been able to take this tour.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour And Tour Director

Our days were packed with sightseeing with the option of free time. Our tour director was the best I've ever had. She made sure we saw everything on our itinerary and many extras. She was a wealth of information and historical facts. Everyone was made welcome. Our driver was the best I've ever had. He could fit the bus into tight spots and we saw things that we couldn't have with a lesser driver. He was safe and timely. Local guides were knowledgeable and friendly. Our hotels were well located.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/20/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Fantastic Trip! Fantastic Director!

This is a great trip to experience it all- both the Republic and Northern Ireland. We got to see most of the highlights of the countries, and also got to experience Irish culture in the smaller towns and countryside. Waterford and Galway were two favorite towns, but I enjoyed all of the activities that we did. The Ring of Kerry was breathtaking, as were the Cliffs of Moher. The jaunting car ride in Killarney was so much fun, and so was climbing on the rocks at Giant's Causeway. The Granville Hotel in Waterford was amazing, and the nicest accommodations on this trip. Our driver, Tommy, was the best- he guided our bus expertly into some crazy areas! Matthew, our tour director, was phenomenal. He had such a knowledge of everything, and was always willing to answer questions and share little facts and stories with us. He worked hard to ensure that each person had an enjoyable experience. We were fortunate to have two couples celebrating anniversaries (one 25th and one 50th!), and he made sure that they were recognized. Matthew went beyond expectations in planning extra things for us to see and do. I highly recommend this trip, and that you request Matthew as your director!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/20/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: AZ

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Outstanding Tour Director

We would recommend this tour to everyone. Matthew made this visit to Ireland very special for us. His interaction with each member of the group made the trip interesting and fun. The Granville Hotel in Waterford was our favorite. Just a heads-up, if you have the oatmeal for breakfast, be sure to buy a bottle of Muldoon's Irish Liqueur before you leave town. (It's not readily available in other locations.) The Jaunty Car ride through the National Park in Killarney and the afternoon well spent in Derry were highlights that made this trip special by Matthew. Tom the Bus Driver, always a big friendly smile, did a wonderful job getting us everywhere we needed to be safely.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/20/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Awesome Tour Director!!

this was my first GoAhead tour that I have taken. We had an excellent Tour Director. He was over and above anyone else that I have had previously with other tours. He made you feel very Welcome in this country. Some of the hotels were in need of updating.. We did have to call to the front desk for help a couple of times. They did give us service within a few minutes. Tour agenda was great. Optional excursions were great. I would go on another GoAhead tour. Many of the people on this tour with us had gone on 2-3 GoAhead tours before. It was comforting to know that people returned to GoAhead again. Sincerely, Carol V

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2 / 5

2 / 5

Traveled On: 4/20/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NV

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

not for handicap

I found the tour fine. But it is not good for handicap people. I opted out of a few walking tours because I couldn't keep up. I was dropped 4 blocks from the hotel in Belfast, in the pouring rain to walk back. The tour director can only handle able body people. He is too young and doesn't understand people with medical problems. My son has to take a diretic for his blood pressure, which makes him have to go to the bathroom often. Every time he would approach the tour director to ask where a bathroom was, he shushed him. The tour director was very knowledgeable, but too young to understand that some people have problems.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/20/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Great fun. Great director

Our grand tour of Ireland was wonderful. Our tour director, Matthew, kept things fun and interesting. We had a few surprises on our tour that were all fun. Waterford was the most charming town we were in. Weather was better than expected. If you book a tour in Ireland, ask for Matthew.

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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.

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