Turning the Irish Page: A Literary Tour of Ireland

A 9 day trip to Ireland 
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Discover the literary contribution of the Emerald Isle on a private bookish Ireland tour, custom tailored to follow the milestones, landmarks, and scenery that inspired your favorite authors. Find ancient megaliths, captivating cathedrals, stunning beaches, and medieval charms that gave rise to Nobel Laureates and the Writers’ Museum. From the castle ruins that stimulated Bram Stoker to the tower at which James Joyce opened Ulysses, the architecture enchanting WB Yeats to the folklore ingrained in the hearts and imaginations of children across the country, your Ireland literary tour creates an immersive, legendary experience.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Stunning photo of the Dingle, Peninsula.
A colorful street in Dublin.
The Courtyard inside Dublin Castle, Dublin.
Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland on a sunny day.
Dublin Castle off Dame Street in Dublin.
View from the air of the River Liffey in Dublin.
Looking at the Connemara Mountains, Galway.
The Ring of Kerry in Killarney, Ireland.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Dublin, Sligo, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Castlebar, Newgrange, Ardagh, Connemara 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Dublin – Arrive in Ireland with a Literary Exploration of the Capital City

The traditions of literature in Dublin run deep. Trinity College, the most prestigious university in Ireland, creates a tranquil retreat from Dublin’s bustling cobblestone street. Masterful architecture decorates the landscape with Georgian design rising above the cobbled and grassy squares. The 18th and 19th-century buildings guide pedestrians to the Old Library, a treasure-trove of books, literature, and history. The structure was erected in the early 18th century and features illuminated manuscripts of the four Gospels of the New Testament dating back to the 9th century.

The Long Room, the library’s main chamber, spans nearly 215 feet, housing over 200,000 antique volumes. Your private transfer greets you at Dublin International Airport and escorts you into the center of the capital’s literary heart. Pubs erupt with traditional music in the historic center, and the scent of malt and barley emanates through the doors. The window displays of gorgeous antique shops glisten against the brick buildings on Grafton Street, and flowers shimmer with bright petals as fiddlers play an enchanting jig.

You are drawn to James Joyce Tower and Museum, the silver-stoned structure immortalized in the opening of Ulysses. The British erected the Martello Towers as a small defensive fort during the 19th century. The tower in which James Joyce once stayed for six nights, stands 40 feet tall with two floors. The rounded structure has thick walls of solid masonry resembling the turrets of a dramatic medieval castle. The interior contains a museum dedicated to the famous Irish author and the setup of the room in 1904. You cannot help but quote the beginnings of Ulysses while standing in the quiet room looking at the antique tea set.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Sligo – Visit Newgrange and Ardagh before Discovering Literary Sligo

In the morning, the aroma of sizzling sausages drifts through the dining room of your hotel. The light reflects off the dark cobblestone streets and glints against the emerald hues of St. Stephens Green, the stunning 22-acre park offering an oasis of calm away from the bustling streets of downtown Dublin. The 12th-century spire of St. Patrick’s Cathedral beckons to fans of Jonathan Swift with a collection of the author’s printed works, personal effects, and a cast of his skull. Your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to Sligo, a town filled with pedestrian lanes, enticing storefronts, stone bridges, and the rushing waters of the River Garavogue.

En route, you stop at the ancient site of Newgrange, which dates back to the 4th century BC. The Neolithic tomb is older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge, invoking a feeling of wonder in all who pass by the megalithic architecture and artwork. A passage runs 60 feet into the cruciform burial chamber, and the corbelled roof helps support the weight of the structure. From the outside, the tomb resembles a large mound, with grass spanning the nearly 250-foot diameter at a height of almost 40 feet above the surrounding plain. The marvelous artwork captures your imagination with geometric shapes carved into the walls. A triple spiral adorns the entrance stone and inside the chamber, found only at the tomb in Newgrange.

You continue to Sligo, where a statue of WB Yeats stands in front of the Ulster Bank. The eponymous Memorial Building contains exhibitions detailing the life and times of the writer. The draft manuscripts have yellowed with age but retain the same sense of stylistic handwriting and colorful verse for which the writer was known. A small café with outdoor tables fills the air with the scent of buttery pastries and herbaceous tea.  

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

Day 3: Galway – Enjoy Castlebar’s Museum of Country Life and Medieval Galway

The aroma of fresh scones drifts out of the local bakeries in the morning, accompanied by the decadent and sweet scents of clotted cream and black currant jam. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you to the prestigious medieval city of Galway, stopping at Castlebar to visit the Museum of Country Life. The open-air museum houses a collection of domestic artifacts used in everyday life between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries in Ireland. Machines used to till the soil or feed the horses offer insight into the quiet and sometimes harsh life of the countryside. The collection encompasses 50,000 objects connecting traditional Irish culture to contemporary life, from clothing to crafts, sports to hunting.

You arrive in Galway immediately noticing the Spanish arches overlooking the edges of the River Corrib. The unique blend of Western European influence stems from the city’s centuries of rule under the Fourteen Tribes of Galway, aristocratic merchant families. The cathedral shapes the skyline along the riverbanks, featuring a mixture of Renaissance, Romanesque, and gothic architecture. Nora Barnacle, the wife of James Joyce, lived nearby, and her house has been restored to its 19th-century modesty. The small two-bedroom home housed Nora, her six siblings, and her mother. Memorabilia of Nora and Joyce’s correspondence, and photos of the couple offer insight into their daily and literary lives.  

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

Day 4: Galway – Relish an Enriching Scenic Tour of Inspiring Connemara 

At breakfast, you sip steeping black tea and listen to the stories of Pádraic Ó Conaire, an Irish writer, journalist, and native son to Galway. He wrote 26 books and penned over 470 stories in his lifetime, crafting early examples of modernist fiction. After the meal, you venture out into the region of Connemara, which has inspired authors and artists with its natural rugged coastline and dramatic mountains. You stop at Renvyle House, a resort overlooking the stunning Atlantic coastline. Ducks glide in the water, waves splash against the pebbled shores, and sailboats cruise by on the cobalt and turquoise sea.

Although Renvyle is now a hotel, it was once the home of writer Oliver St. John Gogarty. Brothers Jack and WB Yeats often visited the estate, along with John Pentland Mahaffy who was most famous for serving as the tutor of Oscar Wilde. You continue to Aughnanure Castle, which was first erected in the 16th century. The O’Flahertys erected the fortress, defending the land against the Normans and controlling the region for centuries. The six-story tower rises above the rocky outcrop overlooking the shimmering waters of Corrib Lake. A conical roof tops the isolated watchtower, and you can imagine the stories once told inside the banquet hall, along with the tales told about the stronghold and O’Flaherty Clan after their downfall.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Kerry – View Cliffs of Moher and the Burren en route to Limerick

You set out for Limerick in the morning, spending time at the Cliffs of Moher before reaching the fabled city. The precipices reach heights of over 700 feet above sea level and capture your imagination with stories. The wind carries the scent of the sea as you walk along the cliff-side path offering views of the dramatic shoreline as the waves crash onto the base of the rocks. Geologists have dated the formation of the cliffs back 30 million years. You notice a puffin circling over the water and catch a glimpse of a nest constructed in the secluded niches along the rocks. The bird scours the waters from the sky before diving deep for unsuspecting fish.

Limerick is the third city of the Irish Republic and features an English District, Irish Town, and Newtown Pery, the latter of which contains the banking and business quarter. Georgian buildings decorate the cobbled lanes leading to fabulous King John’s Castle which overlooks the rushing waters of the Shannon River. Frank McCourt published Angela’s Ashes in the mid-1990s, retelling the stories of his life in Brooklyn, and his childhood growing up impoverished in Limerick. Locals converted McCourt’s old school building in the Georgian quarter into a museum. The gallery recreates the 1930s classroom and displays an assortment of memorabilia, including tools once used for collecting coal, and pens the writer used to keep his journal after retiring from a career as a public-school teacher.

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

Day 6: Kerry – Traverse Inspiring Villages and Landscapes on the Dingle Peninsula

At breakfast, you recall the marvelous stories of Frank McCourt in Limerick and the site of Maurice Walsh’s famous movie The Quiet Man. At the end of May and beginning of June, County Kerry hosts Writer’s Week, a festival celebrating writers of all types with workshops, lectures, and readings. You venture out of your hotel with your private guide, eager to explore the stunning scenery and extraordinary history of County Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. The mountains at the heart of the protruding landmass plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. You begin at Minard Castle, the inspiration for the movie Ryan’s Daughter. The stronghold was erected in the 16th century atop a hill overlooking the bay to the Iveragh Peninsula.

Sheep graze on the emerald grasses with a view of the cobalt water, and rectangular towers made from sandstone blocks populate the landscape. The structure held fast against the Cromwell’s forces in the mid-17th century, and the Blasket Center provides sensational views of the Wild Atlantic Coast. The galleries feature the heritage honoring a community once thriving on the Blasket Islands until their evacuation in the 1950s. The people held fast to their language and culture, distinct in their folklore and customs, which led to a literary legacy of classic works, including The Islandman by Tomas O’Crohan and Twenty Years A-Growing by Maurice O’Sullivan.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Kerry – Discover Folklore and Captivating Traditions on the Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is the endearing nickname for the Iveragh Peninsula, which maintains a nearly 110-mile road looping around the dramatic scenery. The intricate fairytale ambience emanates from the sweeping plains, rolling hills, and complex coastline. After breakfast, you set out with a private driver to enjoy the scenery that has inspired and continues to instill a sense of majesty in authors from around the world. Pirates once haunted the beaches of Derrynane during the time of Daniel O’Connell, the famous 19th-century Irish leader. Horses forage on the emerald grass, and windsurfers catch the air and soar over splashing waves.

Folklore comes to life in the woodlands along a nature Trail wandering through the 320 acres of Derrynane House and National Park. Little fairy houses emerge from the ridges and soft soil beneath the canopy, and families search the landscape hoping to find the distinctive homes inside the woods inhabited by the mystical creatures for thousands of years. You step back into ancient Ireland at the Ogham stones. The stones first appeared in the 4th century, decorated with medieval Irish inscriptions. Three-hundred and fifty exist across Ireland, sharing in the oral tradition of the stories from Cormac’s Glossary. The stones can also be used as memorial markers with the name and lineage of the memorialized inscribed around the standing boundary. The newer stones show signs of Old Irish with Latin influences, providing letters more connected to those used in the English language.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Dublin – Return to Dublin with the Remainder of the Day at your Leisure

In the morning, the charms of Kerry return with the sunlight. The scent of the sea sweeps through the cobbled lanes of town, accompanying the aroma of delicious sausages. You return to Dublin with the remainder of the day at your leisure. The Oscar Wilde Memorial Statue lounges on a rock in Merrion Square at the heart of the city. The Georgian homes border the plaza where prominent authors once visited. Some of the buildings even housed the famous writers, including WB Yeats at No. 82 and Oscar Wilde grew up in No. 1.

The white quartz statue of Oscar Wilde has a polished gleam, accentuated with semi-precious stones. The relaxed figure looks at his boyhood home and winks, sporting sparkling blue pants that were carved out of pearl granite and shoes etched from black granite. The whole city encapsulates the spirit of the author. In the evening, you can visit McDaid’s Pub on Harry Street. R.M. Smyllie, editor of the Irish Times from the 1930s to the 1950s, once entered the pub to find Brendan Behan, author of Borstal Boy and Confessions of an Irish Rebel singing “I was Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” causing a stir in the cultural and aristocratic society in the city.

A shop, Scout, offers women’s designs inspired by the historical clothing of Ireland while Indigo and Cloth, also in the Temple Bar neighborhood, showcases vintage menswear capturing the eyes of passersby. The National Museum of Ireland has transformed the former army barracks into galleries of prestigious collections, including silver, ceramics, jewelry, and Irish military history. The nearby James Joyce Center is dedicated to the life of the Ulysses character Professor Denis J. Maginni, who once ran a dance academy in the building.

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

Day 9: Dublin – Depart for Home

In the morning, you indulge in the herbaceous aroma of cassis emanating from your black Irish tea. The sweet flavor of black currant jam accompanies the flaky texture of your freshly baked scone. You have spent time wandering the cobbled lanes and enjoying the welcoming ambience of the traditional pubs once frequented by the likes of Samuel Becket. The city brims with literary intrigue and fascinating culture, intertwined with a rich history that shapes contemporary life. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you at the hotel and escorts you to Dublin International Airport where you check in for your flight home.  

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.