View of Kylemore Abbey in Galway, Ireland.

Ireland Tours & Vacations

Ratings of Zicasso's Service

The Emerald Isle is one of the most beloved destinations in the world. Its charm is undeniable, the local lore is spellbinding, and its culture - from iconic literature to unmatched hospitality - is enchanting. Answer the captivating call of Ireland and find yourself on a journey unlike any other with the expert guidance of a personalized Zicasso itinerary.

Sample Itineraries

You can have any trip tailor made for your private travel.

Ireland

How to Book an Ireland Tour

Ireland is a land of breathtaking landscapes and enchanting stories. From literary history to distinctive monastic ruins, charming seaside villages to lavish castles that tower over the countryside, Ireland brims with a proud spirit and rich traditions. Planning an Ireland trip can be challenging, but Zicasso is here to help you experience the best combination of destinations and activities.

There are three ways to plan and book a trip:

1. Get a customized tour planned and booked by a travel professional. Travel independently on your own schedule.

2. Book a group tour. Join an escorted group tour with a fixed departure date.

3. Plan and book a trip yourself.

Zicasso offers the best solution for a customized tour by matching you with top travel specialists who plan and book the trip for you. Our travel agency division, Marageti, specializes in helping you book an escorted group tour. There is no extra cost to you for either service.

Custom Tours

A customized tour is one that is planned by a travel specialist according to your specific interests, preferences, and schedule. Whether you desire a family-friendly adventure or a romantic getaway, each of the accommodations, activities, and destinations is tailored to your preferences. The knowledge and experience of your travel specialist make a big difference. Zicasso has spent thousands of hours vetting the best travel partners. We act as a referral service, matching you with specialists that best meet your goals and priorities.

Escorted Group Tours

A group tour offers the advantage of convenience at a great value. The schedule is fixed, the itinerary is pre-planned, and a dedicated tour director travels with the group throughout the trip. A group tour can be 30 - 50% less expensive than an equivalent customized tour. Out of the many hundreds of group tours, how do you select the right one for you? Our travel agency division, Marageti, has sales agents who specialize in helping travelers weigh the pros and cons of each group tour. We give you personalized recommendations to find the best tour for you.

Goals and Priorities

What are your goals and priorities for the trip? These should drive your decision for either a customized tour or a fixed departure group tour. We are here to help you make the right decisions to make your dream trip a reality.

Must-See Destinations in Ireland

Zicasso has worked with our Ireland travel specialists to find the best recommended destinations for any length of Ireland trip. A custom Zicasso tour ensures that your trip balances your goals and needs. While every customizable Zicasso trip is different, the following suggestions act as great guidelines.

Most travelers from the United States spend between 8 to 10 days in Ireland. A 10-day Ireland trip will give you more time to explore the special corners of the country, from captivating villages on the Ring of Kerry to hiking the trails of the Dingle Peninsula. How and where you travel in Ireland depends on what you wish to experience. We have the following examples on what you can see and where you can go, depending on your trip’s length.

7 to 9 Day Trips

If you have between one week to nine days in Ireland, we suggest that you travel in a “u” shape between Shannon and Dublin. Ireland works best when you travel between points rather than using one specific town or city as a home base. This results in the average person staying four or five places between 7 to 10 days.

7 Days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Days 2-3: Cork

Days 3-4: Kerry

Days 5-6: Dingle

Day 7: Shannon

8 Days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Day 3: Kilkenny

Day 4: Kerry

Days 5-6: Dingle

Day 7: Cliffs of Moher

Day 8: Shannon

9 Days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Day 3: Cork

Day 4: Killarney

Day 5:  Kerry

Day 6: Dingle

Day 7: Cliffs of Moher

Day 8: Shannon

If you have more time (10-16 Days), we recommend:

If you can spend approximately two weeks in Ireland, we recommend that you add on a few new places to the original destinations, such as Galway and Ashford Castle, the famous West Coast, and the Wild Atlantic Way. More time in Ireland also allows you to travel at a slower pace to better experience the scenery and culture, both of which are indelible to the county’s character.

All Zicasso tours are customized to your preferences, but below is how we recommend spending your time.

10 Days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Day 3: Cork

Day 4: Killarney

Day 5:  Kerry

Days 6-7: Dingle

Days 8-9: Galway

Day 10: Shannon

12 Days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Days 3-4: Cork

Days 5-6: Kerry

Days 7-8: Dingle

Days 9-10: Galway

Days 11-12: Ashford Castle

14 Days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Days 3-4: Cork

Days 5-6: Kerry

Days 7-8: Dingle

Days 9-10: Galway

Days 11-12: Ashford Castle

15 Days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Days 3-4: Cork

Days 5-6: Kerry

Days 7-8: Dingle

Days 9-10: Galway

Days 11-12: Ashford Castle

Days 13-14: Donegal

Day 15: Shannon

16 days

Days 1-2: Dublin

Days 3-4: Cork

Day 5: Killarney

Days 6-7: Kerry

Days 7-8: Dingle

Days 10-11: Galway

Days 12-13: Ashford Castle

Days 14-15: Donegal

Day 16: Shannon

How many days is enough to see Ireland?

14 days is ideal for your Ireland trip. While between 10 and 12 days is a nice amount of time to view the highlights, two weeks in Ireland is ideal for both the highlights and the hidden treasures. This amount of time also allows you to keep a leisurely pace. 14 days could also give you enough time to visit famous points in Northern Ireland, such as Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.

Essential Experiences for the Best Ireland Vacation

During your Ireland tour, you can sip Guinness in the celebrated Dublin storehouse or listen to local folklore in a traditional village pub. The culture, customs, and traditions of Ireland are as renowned as the landscape. Sites like the Burren and Cliffs of Moher embody the incredible spirit of the country. During your Ireland trip, you can delight in true beauty and authentic heritage with the following essential experiences for first time visitors.

Best Way to Experience Dublin

Dublin layers history and personality. A small capital with a large reputation, Dublin reflects the traditions of Ireland with preserved Georgian architecture, world-famous literary achievements, and picturesque parks. During your Ireland trip, you can embrace essential experiences in a relatively short time.

What to See & Do

The Main Must-Do Tours (2-3 days depending on pace)

Cuisine

  • Sample the famous flavors of Guinness during a tour of the historic Guinness Storehouse and museum in the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery.
  • Uncover true Irish traditions by discovering how customary ingredients have given way to a culinary Renaissance in pubs, bakeries, and chocolate shops.
  • Celebrate the layered notes of apple, pear, and vanilla when sampling traditional Jameson whiskey during a private tour of the distillery.

Cultural History

  • Discover Trinity College for a sense of Dublin’s time as the British Empire’s Second City to find 200,000 antique books and literary exhibitions.
  • Witness the elegant Georgian architecture that surrounds the 22 acres of St. Stephen’s Green’s flower beds, grasses, duck pond, and ornate fountain.

Best Way to Experience Kerry

County Kerry acts as a symbol of authentic Ireland with its iconic cliffs, emerald farmland, crackling stone walls, and jagged mountain summits. The following list breaks down the essential experiences when visiting County Kerry.

What to See & Do

The Main Must-Do Tours (2 days depending on pace)

Landmarks

  • Experience the sweeping winds and breathtaking heights of the Cliffs of Moher, which reach over 702 feet above sea level.

Culture

  • Take part in a private falconry lesson to learn the evolution of the tradition and the artistry that is involved in the historic custom.

Scenery

  • Embrace the marvelous diversity of the Ring of Kerry with a private driver to find pristine beaches, medieval ruins, traditional loughs, and dramatic Atlantic islands.

Special Interests & Activities in Ireland

Traveling with Zicasso provides you with exclusive access to many activities, excursions, and tours for a distinctive experience. The following information offers insight into our recommended experiences and can be tailored to focus on your unique interests.

Best Food Destinations

Ireland has reshaped its culinary reputation on the international stage to become one of the most popular destinations for foodies around the world. Village pubs hidden in the countryside offer a sample of hearty, traditional flavors, and coastal retreats host seafood that is plucked daily from the Atlantic. Cities like Wateford, Galway, and Kilkenny highlight the bountiful flavors of local, seasonal ingredients that connect to Irish heritage. A good drink has become customary in Ireland. It is integral to the pub scene and the heritage of craic, which is the embodiment of spirited fun.

Cork

The culinary scene of Cork dates back to the 18th century with the formation of the English Market. The bustling aisles continue to act as the epicenter of the local food scene due to their explosions of color, time-honored recipes, and new dishes inspired by custom. A selection of local breweries helps create the tradition of pub delights with familiar flavors and celebrated twists on tradition.

Dingle

The small town of Dingle has surprisingly big flavors that represent the beauty of County Kerry. Popular pubs, celebrated restaurants, and a local distillery bring to light the mixture of preserved customs with a relaxed Bohemian ambiance. From delectable seafood to ice cream with an Irish twist, local flavor thrives when combined with the delicacies of the Dingle’s craft-spirit distillery.

Zicasso’s Exclusive Access to Ireland’s Best Food

Zicasso travel specialists are experts in Ireland tours and can organize exclusive visits for food enthusiasts, whiskey connoisseurs, and Irish beer enthusiasts. You can indulge in private culinary tours, discover sensational cuisine at select pubs, sample the diversity of whiskies at family-owned distilleries, and visit famous factories, such as Guinness, Jameson, and Bushmills. You can also learn more about the culinary history or whiskey production from local storytellers.

Art & History

Art and history are intertwined in Ireland. Cities like Dublin share their artistic heritage in the form of literature, while ruins abound across the lush landscape. Lively pubs offer tangible culture in the form of shared stories and customary music, from the Blarney Stone to Celtic tombs and from the Rock of Cashel to Trinity College. The literary history reflects the artistic tradition of Irish storytelling, turning myths and legends into experiences that span a breadth of ancient folklore and modernist masterpieces.

Must-See Art Museums & Attractions:

  • Travel Ireland’s long arc of history at Galway City Museum, where the galleries depict the city from prehistoric times to present day.
  • Explore the epitome of Ireland’s rugged and romantic countryside at Glendalough to find monastic ruins and mysterious lakes, glacial valleys, and fringing forests.
  • Scratch the surface of Ireland’s rich connection to history and literature when visiting Trinity’ College’s 18th-century Long Room, which houses more than 200,000 rare books.

History

History in Ireland feels ancient and legendary. With prehistoric tombs, preserved traditions, and a celebrated culture that is shared through stories, Ireland juxtaposes Old World heritage with a tradition of friendly locals. Neighborhoods in Dublin and Galway act as living museums with preserved buildings that represent the development of the country. Furthermore, the natural landscape and preserved rock tombs tell the stories of ancient civilizations.

On a customized Zicasso trip, we can design custom tours with private drivers who know the secret histories of small communities or professors who are versed in Irish folklore. We can coordinate family-ancestry tours focused on visiting a specific town. We can also organize small-group history tours with a certified guide.

Active Tours

Active tours in Ireland highlight the different methods by which you can experience the culture and landscape of the country, from rugged mountains to rolling hills and from coastal cliffs to dense forests. We recommend the following activities when visiting Ireland.

Hiking

  • County Wicklow - The grandeur in bloom at County Wicklow is located less than 38 miles from Dublin and is often referred to as the Garden of Ireland. A network of trails winds along high peaks, around upland lakes, and across verdant farmland. You can also find coastal paths that offer tremendous sea views and dramatic cliffs.

Golfing

  • Ireland has become renowned for its more-than-300 courses and friendly golfing culture. You can experience golfing traditions, remarkable scenery, and gorgeous course designs across the Emerald Isle. The renowned courses at Royal County Down are difficult to reserve but offer a fantastic representation of Ireland’s connection to the sport. The grounds opened in 1889 and continue to host important tournaments throughout the year.

Surfing

  • Find remote towns that overlook rolling waves across more than 1,970 miles of coastline. These waves are also affected by the Gulf Stream. From County Sligo to County Kerry, the surf in Ireland offers surprising but quintessential activity.

Private Excursions and Special Access

Zicasso’s travel specialist partners have experience in providing unique insider access to travelers. Excursions and activities are custom-tailored to your goals to create the most memorable experience. The following list provides examples of customizable activities for your trip, but the possibilities are endless.

  • Play a round of golf at Royal County Down, which has offered a fantastic representation of Ireland’s connection to golf since 1889. Golf in Ireland can be tricky to book because of its popularity, making special access an important and impressive tool if you wish to play golf during your Ireland trip.
  • Enjoy the seaside town of Donegal, where local enthusiasts happily offer surf lessons or welcome seasoned surfers to the waves for a uniquely Irish experience.

How much is a tour of Ireland?

The starting price of a custom-tailored Ireland trip is approximately $400 per person, per day. For an escorted group tour, the starting price can be approximately $150 per person, per day.

The cost of an Ireland vacation is dependent on several factors, such as the:

  • Length of your trip
  • Season (month) of travel
  • Class of hotel
  • Number of locations/cities you visit
  • Number of guided day tours and activities (e.g., cooking class, whiskey tasting, etc.)
  • How much you spend on meals, shopping, etc.

A vacation such as this is often the biggest purchase of the year. It will also likely be one of the most memorable experiences of your lifetime. To get the most out of your trip, we highly recommend using an expert Ireland travel specialist to plan a customized Ireland tour that is tailored to your specific interests and budget. You can also join an escorted group tour so that most travel arrangements are pre-planned for you. This way, you can travel hassle-free and relax while a professional tour director and guide takes care of all logistics and any issues that might arise.

The cost of a tailor-made Ireland tour typically starts at $4,000 per person for a 10-day trip, i.e., at $400 per person, per day during the low or mid-season.

This includes:

  • 3-star hotels (shared twin room)
  • Some guided day tours and activities
  • Transportation, such as airport transfers and private drivers between towns

A 5-star, tailor-made Ireland tour, where most services are upgraded and extra unique experiences are included, typically starts at $6,500 per person for a 10-day trip, or $650 per person, per day.

Everyone’s priorities, interests, and preferences are different. Submit a trip request on Zicasso, and we will personally match you with an expert trip planner who will help you customize your dream trip or help you select the right group tour while also taking your budget into consideration.

Best Time to Visit Ireland

The best time to visit Ireland is between April and May or again from September to October. These months reflect shoulder travel season and when Ireland receives long hours of daylight.

March and around the holidays in December can be festive but the sun also sets around 3:45 pm, making it difficult to see as much. During late spring, summer, and early fall, daylight can last until approximately 10 pm.

The climate in Ireland varies. Sunny weather rarely lasts beyond mid-October. Winter is the low travel season because of the weather and the short daylight hours. The climate is rather cool along the coastline, plains, and foothills, while the mountains and plateaus can reach very cold temperatures.

How far in advance should I plan a trip to Ireland?

In order to ensure that you spend your time in Ireland at your first-choice of accommodations and preferred activities, you should plan your Ireland vacation between three to six months in advance if you are traveling during the shoulder season (between April and May or September and October). If traveling during the peak summer season (July to August), you should book your Ireland tour up to 10 months in advance.

NOTE: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many trips from 2020 have been postponed to 2021. We also expect pent-up demand for 2021. Thus, if you plan to visit Ireland in 2021, we recommend planning well in advance.

Modes of Transportation in Ireland

The best way to see Ireland in 10 days is with a private driver-guide. Having a driver will also ensure that you can enjoy the scenery across southern and western Ireland instead of searching for country roads or secluded accommodations. You can also travel at your own pace. This allows you to incorporate a large selection of activities into your day or to simply visit a single city. A driver-guide understands the storytelling culture of Ireland and happily shares the local history and folklore as you move between towns, cities, and counties.

Trains

Trains in Ireland do exist but travel mainly to and from Dublin. You will miss a lot of the local culture if traveling only by train because trains do not pass through the villages and towns across Ireland. Instead, villages, towns, and historical landmarks, especially those on the west coast, are better-reached by car.

Your Zicasso travel partner works directly with you and your goals to configure your logistics and to ensure a smooth tour. By including private airport transfers and a private driver between destinations, you will have a stress-free Ireland tour.

What to Consider When Traveling Through Ireland

Safety, logistics, and accessibility are essential questions of travelers during an Ireland tour. The following information covers the important travel considerations you may have before your trip to ensure a stress-free Ireland tour.

Is Ireland Safe for Travel?

Ireland is very safe for travelers. You should always keep a vigilant eye on your belongings when in crowded destinations, but your overall safety in Ireland is never a concern. Ireland does have a reputation for rowdy football matches within major cities, but otherwise, locals keep a safe environment with a welcoming ambiance.

Travel Insurance

You’ve booked your dream vacation, now protect it with travel insurance. A wide range of factors can leave your vacation in limbo. Medical emergencies, inclement weather, and unexpected cancellations can cause turmoil for your trip, so in the unlikely event of a disaster, get the travel insurance coverage that provides peace of mind. To get a quote, visit our travel insurance page.

For Families

Ireland has a remarkable history, timeless towns, fantastic scenery, and a tradition of telling grand stories. A combination of activities, ruins, and folklore can appeal to families with older children. The need for driving longer distances, coupled with antique accommodations and historic city designs, can result in difficult trips for families with young children. A Zicasso travel specialist who knows the goals and concerns for your family can help plan a perfect Ireland tour that is tailored to the needs of your family.

For Seniors

Seniors traveling in Ireland must consider any difficulties associated with walking on cobblestone streets for long periods of time or staying in antique accommodations that might not cater to any mobility concerns. An expert Zicasso specialist will minimize any mobility challenges to ensure that your guides organize your tours accordingly. They will also book luxury accommodations that can help mitigate any of your concerns.

For Couples

A travel specialist knows the best considerations for couples on an Ireland tour to offer the perfect blend of romance and activity. Whether staying at secluded castles, trekking on trails known for fantastic panoramas, or planning a romantic private dinner, your travel specialist can help create intimate memories for your perfect Ireland trip.

For Travelers with Disabilities

Your Ireland travel specialist can help guests with mobility challenges by focusing on alternative arrangements to historic accommodations or difficult landmarks. Due to the historic ruins and antique streets of heritage towns or cities, Ireland can be a difficult destination for travelers with disabilities. Our experts’ attention to important details will ensure that you can enjoy Ireland’s highlights, natural beauty, and accommodations your way.

Best Airports to Fly In & Out of Ireland

The best airport to fly in and out of when visiting Ireland is Dublin’s International Airport (DUB). As the largest airport in Ireland, Dublin hosts the majority of flights from North America. Shannon Airport (SNN) in County Clare is also one of the largest airports in Ireland and offers many direct flights to cities in North America.

For most travelers, the most convenient airport is Dublin (DUB) followed by Shannon (SNN). The busiest airports in Ireland include:

  • Dublin (DUB)
  • Cork (ORK)
  • Shannon (SNN)

Although Cork is the second-largest airport in Ireland, it only has the occasional direct flight to North America. Cork services other airports around Europe more than those in the United States and Canada.

Find the Best Flight

When flying in and out of Ireland, it is best to consider the direction you wish to travel once your trip begins. Instead of booking a single round-trip ticket out of one airport, you can minimize your travel time by booking a flight into one airport and out of another. For instance, you could save time and enjoy more of Ireland if you arrive at Dublin International Airport and fly out of Shannon.

Domestic Flights

There is little need for domestic flights in Ireland. With modern motorways and a network of high-speed trains that connect larger cities to Dublin and Galway, domestic flights are rarely necessary. Moreover, flights often take the same amount of time or longer than traveling by rail or car.

Flights Via Zicasso

Zicasso Air Desk is an international air ticketing service that eliminates the stress of finding and booking the right flights for your upcoming vacation by employing the same personalized service you can expect from planning a trip with Zicasso. Our competitive flight pricing, 24x7 Service & Support, and Complimentary Consultation of Routing vs. Pricing with an Expert Flight Specialist make finding the perfect flight for your trip effortless.

Recommendations for the Return Traveler

When returning for another Ireland tour, you can travel into the depths of the cities and countryside beyond the essential destinations of Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Killarney, Carey, and Dingle. You can visit overlooked villages with vibrant pubs or hidden pockets along the Ring of Kerry that are equally worth your attention. The following list offers our recommendations on destinations you can visit during a return Ireland trip.

Donegal

Donegal is both a relaxing getaway and a thrilling adventure destination that edges the Northern Headlands. Breathtaking scenery encompasses golden beaches and untouched islands that are visible along the Wild Atlantic Way. Slieve Cliffs stand over 1,968 feet above sea level, and Glenveagh National Park offers visitors a lush oasis that is crowned with an enchanting castle. Donegal truly offers something for every kind of traveler, including waterfalls and ancient stone forts.

Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula shines with endless beaches and the drama of Ireland’s highest mountain pass. The peninsula embodies adventure and charm, while fishing villages and its history date back more than six millennia. The best way for a return traveler to visit Dingle Peninsula is by stepping away from the roads to enjoy the marvelous hiking trails. Each trail offers a different perspective of the landscape, from the Atlantic coast to folkloric paths and from challenging climbs to views of lush valleys.

Related Ireland Tours by Zicasso

Here is our list of other Ireland Tours we offer:

Themed:

Duration:

Multi-Country Ireland Vacations:

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