Start your Ireland adventure with a transfer to Limerick. You’ll check in to the Knappogue Castle – your 15th-century accommodation for the night!
The day in Limerick begins with a visit to King John’s Castle, on ‘King’s Island’ in the heart of medieval Limerick City. The stunning new exhibition at King John’s Castle brings to life over 800 years of dramatic local history. This 13th-century castle reopened in June, 2013 following a multimillion-euro investment.
Then, take a guided walking tour of the Medieval Quarter in Limerick City. Highlights include the Richard Harris Statue, 1916 Memorial, The Treaty Stone, The Bishop’s Palace, The Bard of Thomond Statue, St Mary’s Cathedral, Anti-War Memorial, and the birthplace of Catherine Hayes.
After lunch, return to Knappogue Castle for downtime and a beautiful dinner this evening.
Overnight Knappogue Castle
CRAGGAUNOWEN, BUNRATTY CASTLE & FOLK PARK
Travel to Craggaunowen to visit the re-creations of life in pre historic Ireland, where you can immerse yourself in Celtic Ireland. See the Crannog – an ancient ringfort. Take in live demonstrations of Celtic life – cooking and pottery making (seasonal). Stop by the Brendan Boat – a leather hulled boat built by Tim Severin who sailed across the mid-Atlantic. Finally, visit the 16th-century Craggaunowen Castle.
The second leg of the day brings you to Bunratty Castle, the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1424 and restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor, it now contains 15th- and 16th-century furnishings and tapestries. If the mood strikes, wrap up the excursion with some retail therapy.
After lunch and a few more stops on the return to Knappogue Castle, the afternoon is at your leisure for downtime and dinner.
Overnight Knappogue Castle
Pick up after breakfast from Knappogue Castle and transfer from Knappogue to Cork Central.
The first leg of today’s tour takes you to Cobh, in County Cork. Cobh, known from 1850 until the late 1920s as Queenstown, is a tourist seaport town on the south coast of County Cork. Situated on the south side of the Great Island in Cork Harbour, it is home to Ireland’s only dedicated cruise terminal. Between 1848 and 1950, over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland – and over 2.5 million from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration in the country. Cobh was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic.
Enjoy lunch in Kinsale, a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, which also has significant military history. The battle of Kinsale, fought in 1601 between a combined Spanish and Irish force and English armies, was a turning point in Irish history. The harbor is guarded by two very fine star-shaped fortresses built in the 17th century. Charles Fort is one of the finest surviving examples of a 17th-century star-shaped fort, and much of the construction began in 1678 remains. The fort continued in military use until 1922.
Return to Hayfield Manor. This special accommodation has been awarded the highest accolade in the Irish hospitality industry – the renowned Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal Award for Excellence 2011, as well as the Gold Medal in the Best Five Star Category.
Overnight Hayfield Manor Hotel
Pick up after breakfast from Hayfield Manor. Your first stop today is Timolegue Friary. This Franciscan friary was founded in the late-13th or early-14th century. Today extensive ruins remain in the village just 10km east of Clonakilty. You can take in views of the long church, nave, transept, cloister and tower. The friary was burnt by English soldiers in 1642.
After lunch, visit the poignant memorial of the RMS Lusitania. The ship was built in Scotland in 1906, and at 36,000 tons it was the biggest ship in the world at the time. She visited Cobh on several occasions. Learn the heart-wrenching story of its 1915 wreck and heroic rescue of the majority of its passengers.
Downtime and dinner this evening at Hayfield Manor Hotel.
Overnight Hayfield Manor Hotel
Pick up after breakfast from Hayfield Manor. Depart Central Cork at 9am and arrive to Baltimore at approximately 11am. The fishing village of Baltimore in West Cork sits near the very southern tip of Ireland on the beautiful southwest coast and the Wild Atlantic Way.
Baltimore has always been shaped by the sea, so much so that in 1631 much of the population was carried off by pirates never to be seen again – an event known as the Sack of Baltimore. The castle of Dún na Séad from which the village takes it Irish name was also sacked by seaborne invaders more than once. Happily, the village recovered fully from these early setbacks, and today the labyrinth of creeks and islands that was once the haunt of pirates is a playground for seafarers of a more peaceful nature.
Lunch today will be a taste of local fare in a homey atmosphere.
The afternoon and evening are yours at leisure.
BALTIMORE TO DOOLIN
Pick up after breakfast and transfer to Doolin with stops along the way for some exploring and shopping. Lunch will be en route to Doolin for some retail therapy, should the yearning arise.
Drop off at Sea View House – a boutique accommodation in Doolin Village. Built on the family farm, it’s perched on the side of a hill right in the middle of the village and designed to take advantage of the fabulous views of Doolin, the Aille River and the Atlantic Ocean.
After a restful afternoon, head to a special dinner at Fitz’s Eatery, known for its wholesome food and popular with both residents and locals alike. Offering a calm and relaxed atmosphere, you can enjoy your meal by the crackling open fire whilst listening to some of the finest singers and musicians in the nightly traditional Irish music sessions.
Overnight Sea View House
Take the shuttle to Shannon Airport for your return journey home.