Spirit of the Irish: Traditional Pub Crawl to Folklore Tour

A 8 day trip to Ireland 
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The pub is synonymous with Ireland as a place of community and spirit, a location in which locals dance, sing, and share timeless tales. Your custom-tailored Ireland tour embraces iconic pubs, folklore, and heritage for an immersive experience with the locals. Touch castles, ancient tombs, historic books, and soaring cliffs. Learn how to make traditional instruments and watch as artists emboss crystal with signs connected to the deep wells of Irish custom. Sip a Guinness, embrace the scenery, and listen to the whispers of the local folklore for an unforgettable heritage tour of Ireland. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Folk Park, Wicklow Mountains National Park, Clonmacnoise, Connemara National Park, Ring of Kerry

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Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Dublin – Arrive in Dublin to Tour the Cultural History and Traditional Sites

Dublin embodies contemporary life in Ireland and the way the traditions continue to inspire locals and visitors every day. The city center pulses with a youthful ambiance around the historic landmark of Trinity College. The library holds 200,000 volumes in the nearly 215-foot long gallery with books dating back to the 9th century. The Dublin Writer’s Museum welcomes visitors into a memorial of the famous authors of the Irish tradition, from James Joyce to Oscar Wilde and Samuel Becket, the latter of whom was a celebrated cricket star.

Your private transfer greets you at Dublin International Airport upon your arrival, escorting you to a gorgeous hotel that blends the comforts of modern amenities with the prestige of former Irish aristocracy. Your guide greets you in the hotel lobby eager to lead you on a sensational tour that will introduce you to the great heritage of Ireland and the city of Dublin. You venture to the Guinness Storehouse to explore the fabled history of the renowned Irish stout, which began in the 18th century.

The brewery encompasses seven floors with a central glass atrium allowing you to view the work of brewers and the equipment in real time. Your guide points out that the atrium is shaped like a pint of Guinness. The scent of barley blends with the aromas of caramel and chocolate. At the end of the tour, the wooden embellishments in the Gravity Bar offer you a comfortable space in which to taste a delicious pint. The bartender pours half, waits for the foam to settle, and then finishes the pour to allow the enriched flavors to flourish.

You take your first sip of the traditional Irish stout to find a delicious aroma of coffee and a touch of malt accentuating the smooth and creamy texture. In the evening, you visit a traditional pub, which opened its doors nearly 300 years ago, and preserves the Victorian décor as a part of the country’s history. Even Michael Collins frequented the bar while gathering intel on the British Secret Service during the War of Independence.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Galway – Transfer to Galway for a Heritage Tour, Stopping at Clonmacnoise

The aroma of black Irish tea emanates from the doors of a nearby café.  Locals enjoy a traditional breakfast of sausage, bacon, and fried eggs while sipping their herbaceous tea with a view of the Liffey River. Your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you west to Galway and the Atlantic Coast. En route, you stop at Clonmacnoise, a collection of ruins dating back to the mid-6th century. Heritage supports the Irish spirit through the extensive remains of a cathedral, castle, round tower, and numerous small churches with high crosses. Clonmacnoise became a major religious center and a place of learning, trade, and craftsmanship at the crossroads of the River Shannon and the glacial eskers.

The round tower was erected in the 12th century with a doorway on the ground level facing limestone blocks. The 10th-century cathedral faces west with a traditional Romanesque and gothic architectural style crafted during a 12th-century rebuilding process. The onsite museum displays the Cross of the Scriptures, which stands nearly 15 feet tall and contains divisions of biblical scenes alongside portraits of the king who erected the cathedral.

You reach the Connemara Celtic Crystal Heritage Center in the village of Moycullen. Artisan crafters incorporated Gaelic motifs into Irish crystal in the 1970s, a tradition which continues to blend modern design elements with the images of Irish culture and folklore. The intricate designs are synonymous with the Celtic heritage and have become part of exquisite showpieces. You watch a demonstration of the craftsman cutting glass, crafting the crystal into the proper shape before branding the shimmering material with a Tara Brooch, a filigree-paneled brooch depicting animal and abstract motifs first crafted in the mid-7th century.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Galway – Enjoy a Full-Day Trip to the Fascinating Connemara Region

In the morning, sunlight washes over the silver cobblestones and medieval ambiance of Galway’s historic center. Aristocratic merchant families once ruled the city-state, enriching the English and keeping local Irish tribes out before a great fire in the 15th century. Eyre Square opens from the northwest at Browne’s Gateway, and the scent of tea and sizzling sausages drifts through the doors of a charming café known for its delicious lemon and poppy seed pancakes, and cinnamon and orchard syrup.

You venture out of the city with your guide, traveling deep into the Connemara region northwest of the city to visit Kylemore Abbey. The Victorian gardens shimmer behind the wall where manicured hedges and vibrant flowers blossom against the emerald grass. The palace was erected in the 19th century and turned into a monastery in the 1920s to house nuns who fled from Belgium during World War I. The aristocratic architecture reflects on the surface of the stoic lake. Inside, 33 bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a ballroom reflect a small portion of the palace grandeur encompassing 40,000 square feet.

In the town of Roundstone, local fisher-people return to the marina and dock their boats carrying nets brimming with mackerel and cod bound for market. Cafes and shops line the cobbled lanes leading away from the quiet waters along the western arm of Bertraghboy Bay. You stop to visit a local artisan known for crafting pristine bodráns, traditional Irish drums.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Kerry – Discover The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, and Bunratty Folk Park 

The treasured distinctive landscape of Ireland’s natural contours is as much a part of the national heritage as the music, castles, and ancient tombs scattered across the country. In the morning, the aroma of fresh soda bread and toasted English muffins fills the dining room at a local restaurant on Jameson Court. After breakfast, your private transfer leads you out of Galway for a marvelous exploration of the landscapes’ natural splendor.

You begin at the Cliffs of Moher where, at the visitors’ center, you notice a crowd of people listening to the history of the staggering precipices. Geologists have learned that the astounding cliffs began forming over 30 million years ago. You step onto the trail winding close to the edge of the cliffs to find the crowd has dissipated. The solitude provides a feeling exclusivity along the steep bluffs reaching upwards of 700 feet above sea level. You can hear the waves crashing against the rocks below, and the breeze carries the aroma of the sea.

Puffins build their nests in niches found on the more secluded reaches of the cliffs. The birds can have a wingspan up to 25 inches long, and you watch as they dive fast and deep into the water hunting for a seafood meal. A quick ride takes you down the road to Doolin Cave, home to the world’s largest free hanging stalactite. You descend 80 feet into the cool air of the cavern. Water trickles against the surrounding stone, and light refracts off the water droplets and slick texture of the cave walls. You can hear a stream echoing in the cavernous space before you find the famous stalactite which reaches a length of nearly 25 feet. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Kerry – Traverse Scenic Marvels and Villages around the Ring of Kerry

Morning light spreads over the peak of Skellig Michael where, in the 6th century, Christian monks established a settlement which lasted until the 13th century. The monastic building remains perched on the edges of the protruding rocks nearly 500 feet above sea level. After breakfast, you set out with your guide to enjoy the wealth of beauty and splendor decorating Iveragh Peninsula, also known as the Ring of Kerry.

The town of Kenmare reached prominence in the Victorian era with aristocratic Irish families searching for a coastal retreat. Colorful homes shine against the azure waters of the Atlantic and the rushing Roughty River. Sheep graze on the hills outside of town, leading to a bustling textile industry featuring soft and chic wool items. Fifteen standing stones from the Bronze Age form a Druid’s circle in the plains outside of town. A central boulder bears signs of ceremonial use in the form of circular holes and a shallow indentation.

You pass Ross Castle alongside a shimmering lake. The 15th-century edifice was the last stronghold to fall to Cromwell’s forces. The spiral staircase has a cunning design, with each step built at a different height to break the stride of an attacking swordsman. In the evening, you venture to Killarney to visit a selection of pubs in town offering traditional music and signs of fantastical folklore. The flutes give a wispy welcome upon your arrival, and the drums reverberate to a seductive beat. The scent of barley and chips fills the air as the band plays a joyful tune to the delight of all the patrons. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Kilkenny – Visit the Medieval Capital of Ireland and the Gorgeous

The city of Kilkenny captures the imagination of visitors through its storybook appeal, embodying what many envision when they think of Ireland. The medieval heart of the city contains narrow lanes and marbled limestone walls supporting the cathedral and castle. The waters of the Nore River rush southeast, framed by elegant walkways, and pubs fill with laughter and the sounds of an intoxicating jig.

You arrive eager to explore the unique blend of history and contemporary life beginning at St. Canice’s Cathedral. The structure is the second largest medieval cathedral in the country. The long, captivating history began with the foundations laid in the 6th century. The tall windows on the façade and the surrounding architectural features were crafted between the 13th and 16th centuries. The round tower reaches a height of nearly 100 feet tall, providing a sensational panorama of the city streets.

The castle rises above the Nore River representing the power and prestige of the Butler Family. Three of the four 12th-century towers have survived, and the Long Gallery still houses portraits of the Butler family, the oldest of which dates back to the 17th century. A Timber roof with a motif of vivid Celtic and medieval depictions looms over the hall. Opposite the castle stands the Kilkenny Design Center, which showcases contemporary crafts inspired by tradition. Textiles, knitwear, pottery, and jewelry provide a sense of contemporary style connected to the rich heritage of the city.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Dublin – Return to Dublin by way of Wicklow Mountains National Park

In the morning, the aroma of sizzling sausages fades beneath the enticing scent of herbaceous black tea. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you to Dublin, stopping at fascinating landmarks and landscapes along the way. Brownshill Dolmen is a remarkable megalithic portal tomb situated nearly two miles away from the town of Carlow. The capstone weighs approximately 100 metric tons and tops the structure that was erected between the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Two upright stones flanked the burial chamber, which supported the capstone.

Glendalough, in the Wicklow Mountains, is celebrated for its natural beauty. The valley is nestled between two lakes to create stunning scenery, rich with archeological importance and gorgeous wildlife. A monastic site was settled in the valley between the two rivers in the 6th century. A round tower nearly 100 feet tall remains, reminding you of the tower you climbed on the grounds of Kilkenny’s cathedral.

You continue along a trail through Sally Gap to reach Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Ireland at nearly 400 feet tall. The sound of trickling water echoes through the encircling emerald brush and giant redwoods decorate the woodlands. The trees on the estate are still young and have not grown to the size of the famous Giant Redwoods of Northern California. The scent of pine fills the air and a natural pool ripples at the bottom of the cascade, capturing the stream of water that trundles over the rocky cliff.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Dublin – Depart for Home  

At breakfast, you enjoy the aromas of buttery scones topped with clotted cream and dressed with black currant jam. You sip on a rich black tea, noting the hints of floral and cassis. The sounds of captivating music continue to play in your head after a night at a traditional pub on O’Connell Street known for supporting genuine Dublin culture and atmospheric music. The shops on Grafton Street open to an eclectic buzz with classical quartets playing for passersby and fiddlers giving the day an extra pep. Shop windows exhibit elegant antiques, and towers of delectable pastries stand in the display cases in the charming teahouses. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Dublin International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

Price

Price 

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