Self Drive Ireland Tour: Cliffs of Moher, Killarney & Torc Waterfall

A 10 day trip to Ireland 
4.458335
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The brilliant blue of sea and river, the vibrant green of field and knoll, the climbing cliffs and plunging valleys—this is Ireland at its core. The spectacular sights and amiable locals are all alike clamoring for your presence; with timeless memories ready to be had, why would keep them waiting? 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Dublin, Cork, Killarney, County Clare, County Galway

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Greetings from the Capital

After landing at Dublin International Airport and meeting your driver, you’ll be taken to your luxurious accommodations in the heart of this vibrant and vivid city. Centrally located and filled with the luxury of the upper-class and the charm unique to the Emerald Isle, you’ll be sure to love your home base during your explorations of dear old Dublin.

Day 2: A Private Tour of Fascinating Dublin

Today will feature a private, guided tour of Dublin’s most storied sites and will offer a glimpse into the incredible history of this wonderful world capital. The tour begins at Trinity College, Dublin, the inarguable leader in Irish education, boasting alumni including Nobel Laureates, Irish presidents, and some of the most famous names in literature. Despite these justifiably revered former students, the College is known first and foremost as the home of the indescribably Book of Kells, an eighth or ninth century copy of the four Gospels that is one of the most beautiful manuscripts on Earth and the premier national treasure of Ireland. 

Your tour next takes you to Dublin Castle, the center of political life for nearly six centuries. In an effort to overcome its sometime dark past, the Castle has since been turned into an attractive and informative tourist destination, with gorgeous staterooms that are made open to the public that have even made their way onto the small screen, doubling as the Vatican in Showtime’s hit The Tudors. Following your exploration of the capital, you’ll be taken to Dublin’s City Hall, which is home to the excellent multi-media exhibit “The Story of the Capital,” which offers an in-depth look at the history of the city and its role throughout Irish history.

Your final stop on the tour is to the venerable Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the center of the Church of Ireland and one of the island’s most impressive religious structures. The exterior is composed of striking grey stone that climbs to a spire reaching nearly 150 feet up into the sky, and the interior has soaring ceilings typical of Europe’s finest cathedrals, with stained-glass windows and floor detailing that is all Irish. 

Day 3: From the Capital in the East to the Capital in the West

Your journey takes you west from Dublin into the heart of Celtic Ireland and through the lush countryside of the Midlands and along the coast of the Celtic Sea. While on the drive out, you might want to stop in some of Ireland’s most charming cities, including Waterford, home to some of the finest crystal wares on the planet, and Kilkenny, the unquestioned mecca for pub goers. Take in the splendid scene of the rolling hills and colorful towns before finally arriving in Cork, which the locals consider to be the “true” capital of Ireland, a perfect jump-off point to explore the panoply of attractions in Ireland’s iconic southwest. 

Day 4: Exploring Cork

You’ll be sure to find Cork as exciting of a “capital” as Dublin, and steeped with the native Irish culture to boot. Epicureans will want to visit the English Market or take a short jaunt to Kinsale, the gourmet center of the island, while those looking for edification would do well to check out the various and first-rate museums in the city center, including the Titanic Museum, dedicated to the fateful ship whose final port of call was Cork Harbor.

Moreover, just miles outside of the city center are some of Cork’s most famous sites. A mere five minute stroll, for example, takes you to the magnificent St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, built by the eminent Victorian architect William Burgess and considered to be the finest religious building he ever designed. The exterior is crowned by a trio of towering steeples, and the interior features an entranceway that is renowned by critics as being “unparalleled in Ireland.” And a short drive from the Cathedral will bring you to the grounds of Ireland’s most famous castle, housing her most legendary hunk of rock: Blarney Castle and the mythical Blarney Stone. Those adventurous enough to climb up to the castle’s keep – and to be dangled by their legs by a castle attendant – will have an opportunity to kiss the Stone and allegedly be endowed with the gift of gab, a talent that takes on added importance on the Emerald Isle. The gardens of Blarney Castle are also worth seeing, and include a notable array of stone statuary.

Day 5: To Killarney, Through the Ring of Kerry

Today takes you to into County Kerry and past the incomparable Ring of Kerry, one of the most beautiful stretches of country in the world. Driving deep into Killarney National Park, you’ll experience the majesty of towering mountains, plunging verdant valleys, and wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. Climb the highest reaches of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks to gaze over the three Lakes of Killarney, as well as the Gap of Dunloe, the Black Valley and Ross Castle. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a Red Deer, a member of the only remaining wild herd on the island, and witness the tremendous exhilaration of watching a merlin or peregrine falcon soar and dive through a flawless blue sky. 

On the northeaster shore of Lough Leane lies the city of Killarney, the major metropolis of County Kerry and one of western Ireland’s premier tourist destinations. Your accommodations while in Killarney are sure to leave you refreshed and invigorated, and ready to explore the best that this remarkable area has to offer.  

Day 6: The Town of Killarney and the Torc Waterfall

Killarney was the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Tidiest Town designation, and your exploration of this incredible city will be sure to show you why tourists the world round have raved about its appeal. The shopping in Killarney features Irish handcrafts and souvenirs, and visitors will be taken by the town’s idyllic backdrop and the genuine warmth of its inhabitants. You’ll also want to visit Muckross House, an extraordinary mansion in the Tudor style that is home to meticulously tended gardens, period rooms of exquisite taste, and an entryway dominated by mounted trophy heads, including a rack of antlers from the now-extinct Irish elk. This is also near the site of Muckross Abbey, a fifteen century structure built by the Franciscans and now the burial place for the most prominent poets from Kerry.

The second leg of today’s tour exposes you to the natural beauty of the region as you head to the base of the Torc Waterfall, tumbling from the heights of Torc Mountain in a beautiful white sheen. Hiking trails along the falls are conveniently marked and easily accessible, and the habitat surrounding the falls is a known haven for the red deer that wander throughout Killarney National Park. Following your falls excursion, you’ll head up past Limerick and into County Clare before bedding down in the picturesque town of Ennis.

Day 7: The Dramatic Cliffs of Moher

After a hearty Irish breakfast, you’ll take a ride to one of the Emerald Isle’s most popular tourist spots and one of the most striking geological formations on the planet: the Cliffs of Moher. Towering up to 700 feet above the incessant surf of the Atlantic Ocean, the Cliffs are perhaps the most photographed spot of land in Ireland, a provide a spectacular vista for the amazing scenery surrounding you. A gaze inland shows off Ireland’s two most imposing mountain ranges, the Twelve Bens and the Maumturks, while staring out to sea gives glimpses of Galway Bay, with the Aran Islands rising impossibly from the bosom of the sea. Those afraid of heights might choose to avoid the stone edifice of O’Brien’s Tower, perhaps opting for the ferry that takes visitors to the shore and offers gazing at the Cliffs from the opposite extreme, while he visitor center at the Cliffs was lauded by the Association of Heritage Interpretation as “one of the best facilities that the judges had ever seen.”

The afternoon sees you back in Ennis, with its colorful storefronts and eclectic pubs, primed for shopping. Should you wish to take in more sites, the city and its environs are packed with monastic ruins, including the Ennis Friary, the Quin Franciscan Friary and Clare Abbey.

Day 8: Up Into Galway

Today, head further up the coast to the former trading post and current university city of Galway, one of the centers of the Gaeltecht region and rich with traditional Irish culture. With so much to explore around the area, you’ll be sure to want to get a head start in finding the best spots to enjoy the city’s famous nightlife.

Day 9:  In and Around “The City of the Tribes”

The city of Galway and its surroundings are full of reminders of the beauty of Celtic culture. Today you can tour Kinvara, a delightful fishing village on Galway Bay and home to the “Gathering of the Boats” festival, and Dungaire Castle, ideally situated on a outcrop of land on the shores of Galway Bay. In the market town of Portuma, you’ll encounter the balanced façade and intricate interior stonework of Portuma Castle, built in the seventeenth century as the ancestral seat of the de Burgo family. And even further afield, you’ll encounter the former medieval town of Athenry, the only town in Ireland whose former walls of protection are still entirely intact.

Galway town also offers a splendid array of remarkable sites, including the winding route of Kirwan’s Lane, one of the last medieval lanes left in the city. Eyre Square, to the northeast of Galway Bay, is a gorgeous park surrounded by nineteenth century buildings and featuring some of the highlights of the city’s masonry, especially the Browne Doorway and a striking fountain ornamented with a sculpture of Galway’s renowned hooker boats. The Old Quays prominently features a trail known as the Long Walk, perfect for scenic perambulations down to the docks, as well as the Spanish Arch, built in the sixteenth century to protect the harbor and serving as the off-load point for Spanish ships and their cargo. Those with an eye towards ecclesiastical architecture will enjoy the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas and the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, offering a noteworthy juxtaposition of the ancient and modern. 

Day 10: Departing Ireland

Today sees you off to the airport and back home, but not before offering you plenty of time to start planning your reunion with this singular nation.

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Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Ireland tour packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $300 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $250 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $220 per person per day

The customized package will include accommodations, airport transfers and other transportation within Ireland, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.