2018 Ireland Through Irish Eyes: A Journey To The Emerald Isle
MAY 1ST - MAY 17TH, 2018 HOSTED BY MONICA CARNEY-BAYDA
I invite you to come away with me on a mystical journey to my beautiful Emerald Isle. This journey is going to be a leisurely trip but at the same time visiting historical sites and enjoying the Irish culture. My sister Mary Fitzgerald from Co. Tipperary will join us on this journey through Ireland.
Tuesday, May 1st: Depart Saskatoon via Toronto to Dublin City.
Wednesday, May 2nd: Arrive Dublin mid morning. After clearing Irish Customs, we will board Liam Devitt's motor coach for a trip to Tipperary, and it is not really a long way. En route we will stop in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow at the site known as St. Kevin's Bed. This is a beautifully scenic and peaceful spot. Have lunch in Glendalough and then continue to Clonmel, the town closest to my childhood home. We will enjoy a four nights' stay at Hotel Minella. The hotel is situated on the River Suir, with a beautiful serene grounds and just a short distance from Clonmel. It has a lovely indoor pool, so after checking in you can rest or enjoy a swim in their Leisure Center, or we can just go for a stroll along the river bank. We will enjoy an early supper this evening at the Hotel Minella.
Thursday, May 3rd: After breakfast we set out on a journey to visit Kilkenny Castle and surrounding area. This castle is steeped in history and has been restored to its former glory. On our way back we will stop in my home village of Kilsheelan for a wee drop of Baileys, tea or even a pint of Guinness. Maybe this evening we will take in the local Dog Races where we can join the local Clonmel residents in cheering on our favourite hound. Supper this evening at one of the local Bar-Restaurants in Clonmel.
Friday, May 4th: This morning we will enjoy a walking tour of Clonmel. The history of Clonmel goes back over hundreds of years. Clonmel was once a walled town and today you can see remains of this once medieval town. After lunch we will take a scenic trip via Mount Mellery to the seaside town of Dungarvan and area. Supper at local restaurant in Dungarvan. Great seafood chowder and fish & chips can be enjoyed here.
Saturday, May 5th: The Rock of Cashel is a very historical site and a must for everyone visiting Tipperary. We will visit the Heritage Site and Village. Later we will visit my father's home town of Fethard, where we can enjoy lunch at the world famous McCarthy's Pub - a place that has not changed since it was built in the 1850's. Many famous movie stars have visited this pub. Our journey will continue up the side of Slievenamon Mountain where we will drop in and say hello to my niece Mia who is a local artist (if she is home). Supper at Hotel Minella.
Sunday, May 6th: Time to say goodbye to Tipperary as we pack and leave for Cork and Kerry. Our first stop will be at Blarney in Co. Cork, where those of us who want the "gift of the gab" can do so by climbing to the top of Blarney Castle and kissing the stone of eloquence. This is a lovely spot and for those who love to shop, you will be very happy to visit the Blarney Woollen Mills where you can purchase every type of Irish souvenir. If an Arran Sweater is on your list, you will have lots to choose from. Lunch at Blarney. Continue our journey through scenic Kerry to Tralee for a three night stay. Supper at the Hotel in Tralee.
Monday, May 7th: West Kerry, also known as the Kingdom of Kerry, is considered to be the most scenic area of Ireland, and a drive around the Ring of Kerry is a must. Here you will see quaint Irish villages where the native language is still spoken. Supper this evening at local restaurant in Tralee or Killarney.
Tuesday, May 8th: This morning we will visit the Kerry County Museum, where the history of this unique area of Ireland is told. Lunch stop at a local Pub. After our visit there, we will drive the short distance to Killarney and maybe it will be a very good day to enjoy a ride on a traditional Irish jaunting car. No, it is not a motorcar but a horse-drawn trap. This will be an enjoyable experience as the Jarvey entertains you with his tales and jokes - I hope you can understand his Kerry accent! We will have some free time in Killarney to enjoy strolling around this scenic little town and maybe do a bit of shopping. Supper this evening at our Hotel. Later we will enjoy the Tralee Theatre called Siamsa Tire which is a celebration of Irish Music, Song and Dance.
Wednesday, May 9th: Depart Killarney for Co. Clare with our overnight at Spanish Point area. En route, we will stop at the quaint village of Adare with its thatched roof cottages; enjoy a driving tour of Limerick City. Finish our day sightseeing with a visit to the Bunratty Folk Park, a place where you can enjoy Old Ireland. We will spend three nights at Spanish Point area. Supper this evening at our Hotel.
Thursday, May 10th: When we visit the Cliffs of Moher today, you will feel like you are on the edge of the world. Here, the awe-inspiring views will mesmerise you and will remain in your memory forever. We will visit the interpretive center, enjoy some lunch, and there is even a beautiful souvenir shop there. Return to our hotel through the Burren, an outcropping leftover from the Ice Age. Supper this evening is planned at Knappougue Castle where we will enjoy a banquet with traditional Irish food and entertainment.
Friday, May 11th: Arran Islands is planned today, so a ferry ride will take us to Inis Mor where you will be taken back in time as you visit this remote and ancient Island, home of the famous Arran Sweater. Supper at our hotel.
Saturday, May 12th: Our next stop on this Celtic journey will be W.B. Yeats country - Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo. On our way we will take a tour of Galway City and continue through Co. Mayo with a short stop at the religious site at Knock. Overnight in Sligo Town for one night. Supper at our hotel.
Sunday, May 13th: Today we leave Southern Ireland and head for the controversial and historical town of Derry, also known as Londonderry. On our way we will stop at W.B. Yeats burial site and also the Belleek Pottery Ltd. which has been making beautiful china for over 150 years. Lunch in Derry and after lunch our Local Guide will take us on a 3 hour tour where we will learn about the trials and tribulations of this now peaceful town. Two night stay in Derry. Supper at our hotel or a local restaurant.
Monday, May 14th: The currency we are now using is British pounds sterling. A wonderful day awaits us as we travel in this spectacular scenic area of Northern Ireland. A visit to the Giants Causeway is a step back in time. Located on the fabulous coast of Antrim, this World Heritage Site is a result of volcanic activity that helped Finn McCool forge this wonder of the world some 60 million years ago. One has to walk on those rugged columns to realise the power of nature. Bushmills Distillery is also located in this area of Ireland, so why not visit a business that has been around for over 400 years and who knows, we might just get a wee dram to warm the "cockells of our hearts". Lunch at a local pub. If time permits we will stop at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge before returning to Derry. Supper this evening at a local Restaurant.
Tuesday, May 15th: We depart Derry for Dublin. On our way, we will stop in Belfast where our Local Guide will relate to us the history of this beautiful city. After lunch we will visit the Titanic Museum, where we enjoy a modern take on the construction of the famous ship Titanic. Later this afternoon, we will head for the town of Malahide, located on the ocean a short distance from Dublin's fair city. We will spend two nights in Malahide.
Wednesday, May 16th: This morning we will visit Dublin, where our Local Guide will introduce us to the Capital of the Republic of Ireland. A visit to Trinity College and the world famous Book of Kells is included. Free time this afternoon to shop for those last minute souvenirs. This evening we will enjoy a traditional Irish Supper and Show.
Thursday, May 17: It is time to say goodbye to the beautiful Emerald Isle as we depart for Dublin Airport for return flight to Canada.