Fact & Fancy. Ireland Done Right.
Come explore the Emerald Isle with us. Begin in legendary Dublin, then enter the lush countryside and its charming towns: Kildare, Kilkenny, Kinsale, the Ring of Kerry, Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher, and the otherworldly Burren. Galway is a hip little city, and Clifden is our gateway into gorgeous Connemara National Park.
The Irish have woven tales for generations, creating, in the process, the myths and martyrs for which its people are so well loved.
Ireland itself is a thing of beauty, a place where orchids, of all things, grow beside thorny, fragrant pines, and where the furious Atlantic beats against stony black cliffs. Sleepy hamlets have stood unchanged for centuries. Meanwhile, twentysomethings fill the theaters in Galway, and designer duds sells in swank shops along Grafton Street in Dublin.
This is an 11-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create an Ireland journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Ireland.
Overnight in flight
Day 2-3: Dublin, Ireland
• Land in Dublin.
• City tour including Grafton, Westmoreland, and O'Connell streets, General Post Office, National Museum of Ireland, Trinity College and the Old Library and its Book of Kells, Collins Barracks.
• Option to attend a performance at the Abbey Theater.
Overnights in Dublin
Day 4: Kildare, Thomastown
• Drive to Kildare, Japanese Gardens, National Stud.
• Option to Powerscourt, Glendalough, and Glen Da Loch.
Overnight in Thomastown
Day 5: Kilkenny, Thomastown
• Drive to Kilkenny old town including St. Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle and the Butler Collection, Rothe House.
Overnight in Thomastown
Day 6: Kinsale, Kenmare
• Drive to Kinsale, old town tour inclusing Kinsale Regional Museum, Desmond Castle.
• Option to Waterford factory and Cork or Cashel and Cahir.
• Drive to Kenmare.
Overnight in Kenmare
Day 7: Ring of Kerry
• Drive the Ring of Kerry with visits to Muckross House, Derrynane House, Sneem.
• Alternative option: golf outing.
Overnight in Kenmare
Day 8: Listowel, Adare, Limerick
• Drive to Listowel, old town and market.
• Adare walking tour.
• Limerick including Hunt Museum.
Overnight in County Limerick
Day 9: Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Galway, Cong
• Drive to Cliffs of Moher.
• Explore the Burren.
• Galway old town including Spanish Gate, Church of St. Nicholas, Salmon Weir Bridge, Shop Street, Quay Street.
Overnight in Cong
Day 10: Kylemore Abbey, Clifden, Cong
• Drive to Kylemore, abbey and gardens.
• Clifden, explore Connemara National Park.
Overnight in Cong
Day 11: Cong; United States
• Drive to Shannon Airport, fly home.
Per person sharing room from $8,480 for this 11-day sample itinerary.
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son travel specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
Pre-Tour or Post-Tour Option
If you have a bit more time, consider the following options to enhance your journey with a visit to Northern Ireland.
Begin in Belfast, the vibrant capital city. Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, the Troubles have essentially become a thing of the past. Get to know the city on a tour of her highlights. City Hall recently underwent extensive renovation, and the results sparkle. See memorials to the Titanic in the garden here, as the enormous ship was conceived of, and built, right here in town. Other delights beckon: the Grand Opera House, theaters, art galleries and museums, the Parliament buildings in Stormont...
Day-trip beyond the city, next, to the scenic Antrim Coast, which leads us into the Glens of Antrim. Explore the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills and its famous whiskey, ancient Dunluce Castle, and more.
For details on this extension, call your R. Crusoe tour specialist.
Speak to an R. Crusoe travel specialist for more information about this pre-tour or post-tour option.
Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create a pre-tour or post-tour extension of any length to meet your exact specifications.
The Merrion. A deluxe Georgian hotel opposite Parliament. Lovely private gardens. 123 guest rooms, 19 suites. Amenities: spa, fitness center, indoor pool, bicycles, four restaurants, four bars.
Brooks Hotel. A boutique property located on Drury Street, just a few minutes walk from Grafton Street and Trinity College. 98 guest rooms. Amenities include a fitness center, sauna, one restaurant, one bar.
Mount Juliet. An elegant Georgian hotel overlooking the River Nore. This majestic property includes 150 acres of formal gardens, wooded parkland, salmon-rich streams, and a stud farm. 47 rooms, numerous two-bedroom lodges, one four-bedroom house. Amenities: spa, Jack Nicklaus golf course, an 18-hole par-53 course and practice facilities, spa, fitness center, horseback riding, archery, clay pigeon shooting, salmon and trout fishing.
Park Hotel. A Victorian gem set in 10 acres of subtropical parkland. Flemish tapestries, marble fireplaces, antique furniture, and lovely artwork lend Old World ambience to this elegant hotel. 46 guest rooms. Amenities: spa, lap pool, fitness classes, tennis, 12-seat cinema, 18-hole golf course.
Sheen Falls Lodge. Known for its stunning views over Kenmare Bay and Sheen Waterfalls, this country hotel stands on a 300-acre private estate. 85 guest rooms. Amenities: fitness center, lap pool, spa, salmon fishing on the Sheen River, walking trails, scenic bike tours, tennis, one restaurant, one bar.
Dromoland Castle. A restored castle-hotel tucked into 360 acres of parkland. Rich oak paneling, antique wall coverings, heirloom portraits, and other lush details add period charm to this luxurious property. 100 guest rooms. Amenities: championship golf course designed by Ron Kirby and J. B. Carr, various outdoor activities nearby, spa, pool, two restaurants, two bars.
Mustard Seed Country House Hotel. A Victorian country lodge on 10 acres in county Limerick. Each room is uniquely decorated. 16 guest rooms. Amenities: one restaurant/bar. Nearby activities include horseback riding, golf, fishing, garden touring, archery, clay pigeon shooting, and walking trails.
Ashford Castle. Set on 350 acres along the shores of Lough Corrib, the hotel incorporates the remains of a 13th-century château with 19th-century additions built by the Guinness family. Interior decoration befits a picture-perfect castle. 83 guest rooms. Amenities: fitness center, tennis courts, nine-hole golf course, trout and salmon fishing, horseback riding, forest walking trails, three restaurants, one bar.
The Lodge at Ashford Castle. On a spectacular 10-acre site overlooking Lough Corrib. Panoramic lake views, mature woodlands, and Lisloughrey Quay combine to produce a unique setting. 24 guest rooms, 26 suites. Amenities: spa, fitness room, sauna, cedar hot tub, golf (nearby), fishing, and horseback riding (nearby), two restaurant/bars.
The Book of Kells.
While you’re in Dublin, don’t miss the Book of Kells on display at Trinity University.
What exactly is the Book of Kells, and why is it considered Ireland’s most important national treasure?
On a visit to Trinity’s library, what you see is a remarkably elaborate illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament, with portions of other Christian text. The 340 folios (pages) were created circa A.D. 800 by monks working in a scriptorium on the island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland. Painted on calfskin vellum, the folios contain script fashioned in the insular art style.
Insular art was born in the British Isles during the post-Roman era. (In fact, the word insula is Latin for “island.”) It was common in England, Scotland, and Ireland during the early medieval era, and it differed considerably from the script styles used at that time by monks on the Continent.
The Book of Kells is a curious combination of traditional Christian iconography, swirling insular art, and insular majuscule—the latter signifying a piece of art used to create the initial letter of a word that begins a sentence. The pages are filled with highly decorative, intricately drawn patterns that are markedly two-dimensional, with no impression of either depth or volume. Complex geometric and woven patterns, ropy borders, stylized human figures and animals, angels, saints, and more decorate each bit of text.
The illustrations feature a broad range of colors: purple, lilac, red, pink, green, and yellow, to name just a few. These pigments would have been imported from the Mediterranean region, with some coming from as far away as Afghanistan. As is typical of insular art, neither gold nor silver is included.
Researchers have ascertained that at least three scribes created the manuscript, though it is possible that others had a hand in it as well. One thing is certain, however: The work was never finished, as the decoration on some pages appears in outline only. It is thought that the project was abandoned when invading Vikings disrupted life in Great Britain’s monasteries.
The Book of Kells was likely used for sacramental rather than educational purposes. A large, lavish Gospel such as this would have been left on the high altar of the church and taken down only during mass, with the “reader” probably reciting from memory rather than reading from the folios.
The ancient manuscript was moved from Iona to the Abbey of Kells, in Ireland, sometime before the 12th century. There it remained until 1654, when Cromwell’s cavalry was quartered in the church at Kells, and the town’s governor sent the folios to Dublin for safekeeping. Henry Jones, the bishop of Meath and a graduate of Trinity, presented the manuscript to Trinity University in 1661, and it has remained there ever since. Over the centuries, the folios were combined in a variety of ways, but in 1953, they were rebound into the four volumes that exist today.
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