Ireland. Breathtakingly scenic, rich in culture, and charmingly friendly, it’s a magical jewel of a destination. The Emerald Isle is also just a short hop across the pond, which makes it ideal for bringing family, friends, colleagues, or neighbors on a group tour. You can either one of our perfectly planned itineraries or one customized to your group’s particular interests. Read on for our top 10 things to do in Ireland with your group.
1. Voyage back in time and follow in the footsteps of a mythical giant
Prepare your group for an unforgettable (and picture-perfect) experience as you explore together what the Irish call the 8th Wonder of the World: Giant’s Causeway on the coastline of Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK). This jaw-dropping geological site is made up of 40,000 basalt columns formed by volcanic activity more than 50 million years ago. It’s also one of the most famous mythical places in the country. According to legend, a giant from Northern Ireland named Finn McCool flung fistfuls of earth into the sea to build a walkway across the sea to Scotland. You can marvel at the unique rock formations alongside our expert guides during an excursion on our Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way tour.
“Giant’s Causeway made me feel tiny and amazed at the perfect shapes that Mother Nature created. There are a lot of legends that go with the Causeway,” said Group Coordinator Rosie.
2. Marvel at the rugged beauty of the Cliffs of Moher
Imagine you and your group standing spellbound as you take in the mesmerizing natural wonder that is the Cliffs of Moher. Captivating on its own, this nearly nine-mile stretch of towering sea cliffs is breathtaking when the rushing waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash against the cliffs. No trip to Ireland seems complete without a visit to this iconic stretch of coastline that is one of Ireland’s most popular travel attractions. And you won’t find a more picturesque spot to capture the perfect group photo celebrating your journey through Ireland.
“Standing on the Cliffs of Moher, the wind at your back, gazing out at the restless sea, the salty breeze on your face, is to sense the presence of the old Celtic spirit that pervades this magical island,” said Group Coordinator Selene.
3. Kiss the fabled Blarney Stone on a tour of Blarney Castle
Special access to popular tourist sites that our Tour Directors can provide is just one of the things that will make you a hero to your group. Millions of pilgrims have climbed the steps, leaned backwards, and kissed the magical Blarney Stone in hopes of becoming more eloquent. (Thanks to the installation of an iron railing, you no longer need to be lowered by the ankles to kiss the stone!) While at Blarney Castle, your group can walk through the enchanted Rock Close on the grounds of Blarney Castle. There, you can discover if your dreams will come true on the Wishing Steps, stand in the ancient circle of the Druids, and see if fairies really live at the bottom of the garden.
“While my wife didn’t think I needed to improve my ‘gift of gab,’ kissing the Blarney Stone is a must-do experience. The historical castle and grounds added to the mystique of the tour,” said Group Coordinator Richard.
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4. Pub crawl in search of the perfect pint or dram
Picture yourself in a cozy pub, listening to live music and shouting sláinte with your handpicked group of family and friends. There’s no better way to feel like a local! If your crew loves a perfectly poured Guinness, the cozy scent of a peat fire, or exceptionally smooth Irish whiskey, you can explore those delights together on any of our pre-planned itineraries to Ireland. Or let us tailor a Customized Tour to your group’s interests and travel schedule. If it’s thatched-roof pubs, hubs for trad music, or brewery and distillery tours you have in mind, Ireland is the perfect destination. You can down a pint in arguably the world’s oldest bar in the world (Sean’s Bar in County Westmeath), learn how to pour a perfect glass of Ireland’s most famous stout (Guinness Storehouse in Dublin), or enjoy whiskey straight from the cask (Jameson Distillery in Cork).
5. Travel back in time on a tour of the Aran Islands
Free days on tour offer special opportunities for your group to add in excursions that everyone will enjoy. (On our Private or Customized Tours you can pre-plan these right into your itinerary.) For instance, on our Traditions of the Emerald Isle tour, you can use a free day in Galway to escape to the mystical Aran Islands. Just a 45-minute ferry ride from Galway, these islands will give your group a glimpse into a stunningly preserved Gaelic way of living. The Irish who live on these remote islands speak Gaelic to this day. On Inis Mór, the largest of the islands, fortresses from the Bronze Age remain perched above ocean-facing cliffs. It’s truly one of the top things to do in Ireland with your group and an experience they will treasure forever.
“The natural rugged beauty of the [Aran] Islands is as close to the untouched Ireland we read about in novels. Whether you explore the islands on foot, bike, or take a horse and cart ride, it is incredible,” said Group Coordinator Marah.
6. Unlock the history and scenery of the Dingle Peninsula, step by step
If your group is up for exploring by foot (as well as taking scenic drives), a tour of Dingle Peninsula is one of the best things to do in Ireland on a group trip. Dingle Peninsula’s dramatic coastal cliffs, spectacular driving routes, and the charming town of Dingle (with its cozy pubs!) capture the best of Ireland. From the pounding waves of the Kerry coastline to the breathtaking views form the summit of Conor Pass, you’ll discover the natural beauty that separates Irish landscapes into a league of their own. If this is your group’s first trip to the Emerald Isle, there’s no more perfect destination.
“With the help of our knowledgeable guide, David, and our lively driver, Billy, we were able to see an Ireland we never would have seen on our own and really get a sense of the complex and layered history of the country,” said traveler Ryan, who visited Dingle on our Ireland Walking Tour.
Putting together a history-loving group? We’ll help you put together a group tour →
7. Enjoy a Raiders of the Lost Ark moment with your group
Plan your tour of Ireland during the Christmas holidays (the Irish merrily celebrate the holiday for two weeks!), and not only will you enjoy less crowded destinations, but your group can also experience a Stone Age spectacle. Each year during the winter solstice, the sun dramatically illuminates the inside of a 5,000-year-old tomb in Newgrange, County Meath. While entrance to the tomb is gained by an annual lottery, crowds gather around the tomb to celebrate the winter solstice, and the astronomical, spiritual, and ceremonial importance of this Neolithic site. Make sure to talk to your Tour Consultant early in your planning to check availability for this special adventure.
8. Take in a rousing evening of trad music at a local pub
As much as you come to Ireland for its emerald landscapes, stunning seascapes, and the sparkling wit of the Irish people, you’ll find it’s the traditional Irish music that stays with you long after you return home. There’s no better place to experience the music than in Ireland’s inviting pubs. Galway is home to some of the most celebrated venues and pubs for traditional Irish music. The live sessions at Galway’s pubs are often a casual, rousing event with plenty of laughter and dancing to accompany the music. We often include a trad show as an optional excursion, like on our Grand Tour of Ireland. But if your group wants to strike out on their own, one of the best spots in Galway is Tigh Chóilí in the Latin Quarter—impromptu trad sessions happen almost nightly.
9. Get to know Belfast (and the Titanic) from a local’s perspective
Go Ahead travelers rave about our local guides, especially in Ireland, where their brogue and gift of gab enrich the tales they tell of their homeland. On our Ireland: Traditions of the Emerald Isle tour extension to Belfast, your group will be led by a local guide on a tour of the cultural heart of Northern Ireland. You’ll hear all about Belfast’s long history, from its origins in the Bronze Age and rise as an international seaport to its role in the conflict known as The Troubles. A trip to the Titanic Belfast Museum, located at the very place where the Titanic was built and launched, is a fascinating experience for anyone who’s been captivated (and who hasn’t?) by the ship’s ill-fated voyage.
“Our tour guide taught us much about the language, culture, and history of Ireland,” said traveler Misty.
10. Feast like a king in the banquet hall of a castle
Ireland is a land of castles (more than 30,000!). Set in dramatic locations and steeped in history and legend, they’ve captured the imagination of visitors for centuries. One sure way to add a memory-making experience for your group is to book one of our special castle excursions. We can seat your group for a sumptuous, four-course dinner and an evening of live entertainment in a castle’s banquet hall. Or if a traditional afternoon tea (complete with scones, clotted cream, and jam) appeals to your travelers, we can arrange that experience in a castle, too. Both excursions allow your group to get a sense of what life was like in Ireland’s legendary fortresses.
There are castles galore on our Ireland: Traditions of the Emerald Isle tour →