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The Ultimate Ireland Tour Guide - Summer 2017 Edition

Posted on 01 February 2017

The Ultimate Ireland Tour Guide - Summer 2017 Edition

Update: The lock-in date for current airfare (Friday, March 24th 2017) is coming up soon. Check out all the info below and get in touch to guarantee your spot!

Looking to travel this summer? Ready to see the world but don't know where to start? Want to experience somewhere you've never been before?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then look no further because the Emerald Isle Discovery Tour is just the thing you're looking for.


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The emerald-what-now you ask? Good question. The Emerald Isle Discovery Tour is our 10-day guided tour of Ireland coming up this summer; June 27th - July 8th, 2017 to be exact. As for the name, it's the lush greenness of Ireland's rolling hills and valleys that earned it the "Emerald Isle" moniker.

Read on to learn why Ireland needs to be on your travel list this year, get a glimpse of the incredible places you'll be visiting, and check out all the benefits of traveling with us at Real Irish.

Why Ireland?

The natural beauty, the people, the culture and history...we're not sure where to begin! Ireland is one of those experiences that are few and far between. Your jaw drops when you come round a bend to find rays of light sweeping across a valley lake, people go out of their way to help when you need it, and over a thousand years of history have lead to what it is today.

When all is said and done, Ireland will give you a lifetime worth of stories to tell and memories you can't forget (nor would you want to!). Pictures can't do it justice, but take a look at what lays in store for you this summer.

The Tour

Day 0 - Tuesday, June 27

Board evening flight for Shannon, Ireland

Day 1 - Wednesday, June 28

You'll have had a long day of travel so after landing at the Shannon airport we're taking things easy with a visit to the 15th century Bunratty Castle, Gardens, and Folk Park. A living village of rural farmhouses, shops, and streets that provide a glimpse into life in days gone by. After that you close out the day with a welcome drink and dinner at Durty Nelly's Pub.

Bunratty Castle, Gardens, and Folk Park

A typical scene at Bunratty Folk Park; villagers dressed in old timey apparel, a horse drawn carriage, and sheep. Street view of old buildings in Bunratty Folk Park, with large wagon wheels leaned up against the structures View of Bunratty Castle with an old fishing boat in the foreground

Durty Nelly's Pub

Exterior view of Durty Nelly's Pub lit up at night, with Bunratty Castle behind it Interior view of Durty Nelly's Pub

Lodging: Bunratty Manor Hotel (Bunratty, County Claire)

Exterior view of Bunratty Manor Hotel, with horse riders arriving at the entrance

Day 2 - Thursday, June 29

Your first full day of adventure starts by exploring the iconic Cliffs of Moher, sea cliffs that rise to 702 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Following that is a scenic drive through the hauntingly beautiful Burren National Park. You'll then head to the hotel in Galway to freshen up before a fantastic meal at John Keogh's The Lock Keeper, a cozy local gastropub.

Cliffs of Moher

Wild flowers growing along the Cliffs of Moher Sunset at the Cliffs of Moher O'Brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Moher

Burren National Park

Poulnabrone Dolmen, the famous tomb at Burren National Park A goat herd on the rocky landscape at Burren National Park

John Keogh's - The Lock Keeper

Exterior view of The Lock Keeper from the street Interior view of The Lock Keeper

Lodging: Salthill Hotel (Galway, County Galway)

Exterior view of Salthill Hotel lit up at night A room at the Salthill Hotel

Day 3 - Friday, June 30

Shortly after breakfast you'll go a walking tour around the city of Galway, learning from a local guide more about the heritage of this vibrant, modern city filled with old world charm. The rest of the day is open for you to explore and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant of your choosing.

Galway (explore on your own)

A bustling street in the heart of Galway Buskers on Shop Street in Galway

Lodging: Salthill Hotel (Galway, County Galway)

See images of the Salthill Hotel from Day 2

Day 4 - Saturday, July 1

Journeying westward, you'll come to Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden. Afterwards you turn north towards Donegal to the 15th century, 5-star Lough Eske Castle & Spa, stopping to visit W.B. Yeats' grave in Drumcliffe, Sligo along the way.

Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden

A view of Kylemore Abbey where it rests on the lakeshore The Victorian Gardens at Kylemore Abbey

W.B. Yeats' Grave

W.B. Yeats gravestone

Lodging: Lough Eske Castle & Spa (Donegal Town, County Donegal)

Front exterior of the Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa, lit up during blue hour Aerial view of Lough Eske exterior Room at Lough Eske Castle & Spa

Day 5 - Sunday, July 2

Today you tour the castle mansion and renowned gardens of Glenveagh National Park, Ireland's second largest, nestled among the Derryveagh Mountains. You close out the day with a scenic drive back to Lough Eske for our second night at the castle.

Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh Castle View of the lake from Glenveagh Castle Lake view and scenery from Glenveagh National Park
Lodging: Lough Eske Castle & Spa (Donegal Town, County Donegal)

See images of the Lough Eske Castle & Spa from Day 5

Day 6 - Monday, July 3

Get ready for an action packed day today. You start it off with a visit to Hanna Hats, crafters of many of the fine hats we sell at the shop and online. Next is a walk around Donegal Castle, built by the O'Donnell chieftain in the 15th century. Following that you head to the Slieve League Cliffs, some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe and rising nearly three times higher than those at Moher. 1,972 feet at the highest point! After that comes the quaint village of Ardara to see a master weaver at work and a drive through the Glengesh Pass before arriving in Letterkenney for the night.

Hanna Hats

Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle

Slieve League Cliffs

Looking across the Slieve League cliffs in County Donegal, Ireland Turquoise waters at the Slieve League Cliffs

Glengesh Pass

The Glengesh Pass in Donegal

Lodging: Castle Grove Country House Hotel (Letterkenney, County Donegal)

Castle Grove Country House Hotel exterior view A room at the Castle Grove Country House Hotel

Day 7 - Tuesday, July 4

This morning you take a walking tour in Derry City along the old medieval walls before heading to the Museum of Free Derry. Then it's onto the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest working distillery in Ireland; they've been operating for over 400 years! Next up is Giant's Causeway, an official World Heritage site with over 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns. You'll wrap up the day as you arrive in Belfast at the Ten Square Hotel.

Derry City Tour

A canon on the city walls overlooking Derry Derry City's preserved medieval walls

Free Derry Museum

Outside the Free Derry Museum An exhibit within the Free Derry Museum

Old Bushmills Distillery

Riverside view of the Old Bushmills Distillery

Giant's Causeway

Oceanside hexagonal basalt columns at Giant's Causeway, with a scenic mountain view in the background

Lodging: Ten Square Hotel (Belfast City, County Antrim)

Exterior of the Ten Square Hotel in Belfast A room at the Ten Square Hotel in Belfast

Day 8 - Wednesday, July 5

Today is all about exploring Belfast as you take the famous black taxis around the sights, complete with narration from the local drivers. Afterwards you'll visit Titanic Belfast, an eight story museum built on the former shipyard where the ill-fated RMS Titanic was built. There really is no better way to experience that legendary voyage. From there the rest of the day is yours to explore and enjoy dinner on your own.

Black Taxi Tours of Belfast

Black Taxi Tours of Belfast

Titanic Belfast Museum

Exterior view of the Titanic Belfast museum at night An exhibit of a suite at the Titanic Belfast Museum

Belfast (explore on your own)

Belfast's Ferris Wheel An aerial view of Belfast in the evening

Lodging: Ten Square Hotel (Belfast City, County Antrim)

See images of the Ten Square Hotel from Day 7 

Day 9 - Thursday, July 6

Departing Belfast, you'll head to Brú na Bóinne for a guided tour of the Newgrange passage tomb, built some 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic or Late Stone Age. Then you'll head down the road along the coast to Dublin, where you'll have the evening free to enjoy dinner on your own and explore a bit.

Newgrange Tomb

Newgrange tomb from afar at sunset An inner chamber of the Newgrange tomb

Dublin (explore on your own)

A street view of Dublin Bridge in Dublin city centre A couple underneath an umbrella walking down a street in Dublin

Lodging: O'Callaghan Alexander Hotel (Dublin City, County Dublin)

Outside view of O'Callaghan Alexander Hotel in Dublin A room at O'Callaghan Alexander Hotel in Dublin

Day 10 - Friday, July 7

Today you've got the whole day to explore Ireland's vibrant capital city with access to the hop on/hop off bus tours. Tonight you'll gather together for a special farewell dinner and entertainment at the Irish House Party.

Hop on/Hop off Bus Tours

Dublin city hop on, hop off tour bus

The Irish House Party

Performance by The Irish House Party musical group

Lodging: O'Callaghan Alexander Hotel (Dublin City, County Dublin)

See images of the O'Callaghan Alexander Hotel from Day 9

Day 11 - Saturday, July 8

After a spot of breakfast you head to the Dublin airport to depart Ireland and head back home. Until next time!

So that all sounds pretty great, right? Give us a call at 734-846-2025 and let's get you ready to go; Friday, March 24th 2017 is the last day to lock-in current airfare!

Why Real Irish?

Now that you've seen all the awesome places you'll be visiting you're probably wondering why should you travel with us? For starters, each of our tours is planned by Stuart himself (the proprietor of Real Irish) for small groups so it's anything but run-of-the-mill. We'll be visiting all the popular tourist destinations along with a healthy mix of unique places most tours won't take you. We think some of your best memories come from venturing a little ways off the beaten path.

Here's a handy breakdown:

    • 4- and 5-star accommodations. You'll be staying at a castle!
    • Good eats from local restaurants, many which source their ingredients locally.
    • Organized and hosted by Stuart, proprietor of Real Irish, whose family comes from Donegal.
    • Small group size. We take 30 people at most, while other tours will take 50 or more.
      • This means you have lots of room to stretch, it doesn't take forever to get through attractions, and you can enjoy each other's company more.
    • A new, full size motorcoach. No more smelly old buses.
      • Gary, our driver, has over 22 years of experience. Basically, he's a pro at providing flavorful commentary and a smooth ride.
      • You're never on the bus for more than an hour and a half at a time (with one exception). We want you to experience Ireland, not stare at it through a window.
  • You'll get to see plenty and enjoy it while you do. We know it's no fun to breathlessly rush from one place to the next.

So, How Much?

The cost for the Emerald Isle Discovery Tour is $2,895 a person, based on two people sharing a room. There's also a few single occupancy rooms available with a $500 supplement.

As for airfare, if you book your flights with us it'll be $1,300 round trip from Detroit via Delta and Aer Lingus. If you don't live with us in Michigan you're obviously still welcome to join! We're happy to help you book a flight from your nearest airport if you like (the price will vary a little depending on where you're coming from).

All of this is included as part of the cost:

  • Airfare to and from Ireland
  • Accommodations
  • Land travel around Ireland
  • Entrance fees to our listed destinations
  • 10 full Irish breakfasts
  • 7 evening dinners
  • Hotel porter charges
  • Meal tipping

Not included is:

  • 3 evening dinners, to let you explore on your own. Each of these is during one of the two nights when we're in Galway, Belfast, and Dublin.
  • Lunches. You're free to get your own but many travelers find they're too stuffed from an Irish breakfast to be hungry until dinner anyway!

Discover Your Irish Story

Don't miss out on the chance to fall in love with somewhere new and the memories you'll make along the way. Give us a call at 734-846-2025 if you're ready to go, it'll be here before you know it!

Still not sure? Get in touch or visit our shop with your questions, we're happy to answer any of them. Don't wait too long though, you need to talk to us by Friday, March 24th 2017 so we can lock-in your airfare!

Planning a tour like this involves a lot of moving pieces so flights, itinerary, airlines, and schedule may change before or during time of travel. No worries, we'll keep you in the loop.

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