Day 1: Arrival in DublinOn arrival, our luxury coach will greet you at Dublin Airport and take you to your city centre hotel. After check in, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Dublin. Together, we visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral which was built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. Afterwards, we visit Dublinia, the Viking interpretive centre which features artifacts from the Wood Quay excavations and also boasts of an archeology department. In the afternoon, we visit Trinity College to see ’The Book of Kells’, a stunningly beautiful manuscript containing the Four Gospels. The Book of Kells is Ireland’s most precious medieval artifact, and is generally considered the finest surviving illuminated manuscript to have been produced in medieval Europe. Later, we see St. Audeons Church, the only remaining medieval parish church in Dublin. On route, we will also visit St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, the church which serves as the Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin. Staying overnight in Dublin, accommodation at the 4* Burlington Hotel or similar. Breakfast inclusive.
Day 2: Glendalough Monastic CityAfter breakfast, we will set about on our journey from Dublin to Glendalough, a site of great historical importance. Glendalough (Irish: Gleann Dá Loch, meaning "Glen of Two Lakes") is a glacial valley located in County Wicklow, renowned for its Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin, a hermit priest, and destroyed in 1398 by English troops. Glendalough is one of Ireland’s most beautiful visitor destinations. Take time explore this awe inspiring place before making our way back to Dublin where we take advantage of some free time to experience everything this beautiful city has to offer. Later, we retreat back to our Hotel for some fine dining. Staying in Dublin again tonight.
Accommodation at the 4* Burlington Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner inclusive.
Day 3: Kildare Town & Lemanaghan Monastic SiteThis morning, we will be leave Dublin and visit Kildare town, one of the oldest towns in Ireland. Kildare originated in pre-Christian times when it was the site of a shrine to Ireland’s Celtic Goddess Brigid and later became the site of St Brigit’s great Christian foundation. Today it contains many historic buildings and ruins; the legacy of 1500 years of history. Here, we take a walking tour of the town and learn more about Ireland’s female patron saint, St Brigit. Afterwards, we visit St Fiachra’s Garden, located in the grounds of the Irish National Stud. This garden seeks to capture the power of the Irish landscape in its rawest state - that of lake and water. The Visitor Centre includes a restaurant and craft shop where we will enjoy a coffee break before making our way to the Japanese Gardens at Tully. The Gardens, planned to symbolise the ’Life of Man’, are now of international renown and are acclaimed as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe. The significance of the Japanese Gardens is not only artistic and horticultural but also philosophical, religious and historical. Together, we take time to enjoy the beauty of this place. In the afternoon, we will travel to County Offaly to view Lemanaghan Monastic Site before driving to Athlone where we will stay overnight. Accommodation at the 4 * Athlone Springs hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner inclusive.
Day 4: Clonmacnoise & Boyle AbbeyAfter breakfast, we will visit Clonmacnoise, situated at the crossroads of Ireland in County Offaly and set on the majestic River Shannon. This special location borders the three provinces of Connaught, Munster and Leinster. The strategic location of the monastery helped it become a major centre of religion, learning, craftsmanship and trade. Together with Clonard it was the most famous in Ireland, visited by scholars from all over Europe. Afterwards, we will make our way to Tulsk in county Roscommon to see the abbey ruins and visit the Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre. After lunch, we make our way to Boyle Abbey, the first successful foundation in Connacht of the Cistercian order. In the evening, we travel to Sligo, ’The land of Hearts Desire’ where we will stay overnight.
Accommodation at the 4* Clarion Hotel. Breakfast inclusive.
Day 5: Inishmurray & Lough DergIn the morning, we will take a boat to visit the Holy Island of Inishmurray. The remote and mystical Inishmurray Island lies four miles from the coast of Sligo and is renowned for its state of preservation as an early Christian site, for its wild scenery and as a wildlife sanctuary. St Molaise founded a Christian Monastery here in the 6th century, the remains of which are remarkably intact to this day. Together, we will spend time exploring this beautiful island before making our way back to the mainland. In the afternoon, we journey to County Donegal to see the historic medieval pilgrimage site of Lough Derg. (Only people doing an actual pilgrimage are allowed onto Lough Derg itself). Take advantage of some free time in Donegal Town, an attractive market town centered around the Diamond area which is a hub of activity and where local traders, visitors and shoppers mingle effortlessly. Staying in Donegal tonight, accommodation in the 4* Mill Park Hotel or similar. Breakfast inclusive.
Day 6: Devenish Island & Kells Heritage TownFollowing breakfast, we travel to Lough Erne, just outside Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, where we go by boat to visit Devenish Island Monastic Site, the most important of Lough Erne’s many island church settlements. Devenish was founded in the sixth century again by Saint Molaise. Admire the beautifully carved, intricate details including a ruined Augustinian abbey with figures and sculptures and climb the round tower. The round tower stands at 30 metres (100ft) tall – internal ladders inside the tower mean that visitors can climb to the top and marvel at the spectacular views. However, extreme caution is neccessary. In the afternoon, we travel to the heritage town of Kells in County Meath, a pretty Heritage town with a big monastic history. Here, we see the High Crosses of Ireland and the round tower before travelling back to Dublin for our final night in Ireland.
Accommodation in the 4* Burlington Hotel. Breakfast and Dinner inclusive.