Ireland tourism thrives on the 80 million people worldwide who claim Irish ancestry, including 41 million Americans. This tour of southern Ireland includes poignant moments at the Rock of Cashel, Glendalough and Cobh. Other highlights are hillwalking on Wicklow Way and a fun-filled feast at Ballymaloe. Travel by rental car and stay at Ireland’s country houses, historic manors and boutique hotels in Dublin and counties Tipperary, Wicklow and Cork.
Plan your trip. This itinerary gives the details described in Ireland: Celtic Pride. Visit Discover Ireland to scan through travel packages and tour-operator offerings. Convert euros (1 euro is $1.24 USD). Download maps and brochures to help you plan your vacation. Activity guides focus on road trips, cycling, horseback riding, golf, cuisine and film locations. Pack an umbrella: a typical five-day forecast will have a few days of rain and showers.
Learn more. To tap into the current pulse of the country, read the Irish Times, Irish Independent, and the Irish Examiner. The paper is running a series on the Titanic as part of the Titanic 100 events. You’ll enjoy reading about Irish history in Ireland and The Celts by Frank Delaney and Ireland by Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. William Butler Yeats has a number of important works. Read about Irish cooking in Myrtle Allen’s Cooking at Ballymaloe House. Movies to watch are Agnes Borne, The Dead and The Field with the late Richard Harris from Limerick.
MORNING Fly from your gateway to Dublin Airport, located 6 miles north of Dublin.
DAY 1 Dublin Airport
Aerlingus, US Airways, United and Air Canada offer non-stop service between North American cities and Dublin. More transatlantic flights hop the pond in summer, even small 737s. Check for airfare deals.Getting There Aerlingus 800.474.7424 reservations 866.886.8844 website assistance Dublin Airport
DAY 2 Dublin
MORNING Check into the Shelbourne Hotel for two nights.
Check at the information desk in the Arrivals Hall. A taxi is the usually the best way to transfer to your hotel. Built in 1824, the Shelbourne Hotel has been restored to its historic charm. The hotel has Egyptian cotton bedding, flat-screen TV and marble bathroom. Have breakfast facing Stephen’s Green at No. 27 Bar and Lounge, which also features paintings of the Dublin greensward.Lodging Shelbourne Hotel 27 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 353.1.6634500 888 236 2427 toll free in the U.S. AFTERNOON Explore Dublin’s top attractions and museums. Have afternoon tea on the River Liffey.
The Shelbourne is in the heart of Georgian Dublin and close to Trinity College and the National Museum and the pedestrian mall of Grafton Street. Ask at the visitor center for the best Irish music venues. The National Museum has the finest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in western Europe, outstanding examples of metalwork from the Celtic Iron Age. Trinity College’s Old Library holds the city’s treasure: the book of Kells, an ornately illustrated version of the gospels written in Latin. The Tea Room Restaurant serves a delicious pear and almond tart and strong Irish tea.Sight Discover Ireland Centre Suffolk Street, Dublin 1850.230.3300
Sight National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology Kildare St., Dublin 01.677.7444
Sight Trinity College. Old Library Nassau Street, Dublin 01.896.2320
Restaurant Tea Room Restaurant at The Clarence 6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 01.407.0813
DAY 3 Cashel. Castlemartyr.
MORNING/AFTERNOON Drive south to the province of Munster. Visit the Rock of Cashel.
The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s top heritage sites two hours from Dublin. Crowning the rock above the surrounding plain are a large cathedral, an ancient round tower and the Romanesque Cormac’s Chapel. St.Patrick converted the local King Aenghus, here in the 5th century and Brian Boru was crowned King of Ireland on this spot in the early 11th century.
Sight Rock of Cashel Cashel, Co. Tipperary 062.61437
EVENING Have dinner at Bru Boru and watch an Irish performance.
Brú Ború is a national cultural centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel.This cultural village is designed around a village green and is a home to the study and celebration of native Irish music, song, dance, theatre and Celtic studies. It has a folk theatre, genealogy centre, restaurant and other amenities. It’s known for homecooked meals; the restaurant runs in conjunction with their summer shows.Restaurant/Event Bru Boru Cultural Centre Cashel, Co. Tipperary 062 61122
EVENING Check into Castlemartyr for two nights.
Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork constructed the manor house in the 17th century. It has been painstakingly restored and now forms the centerpiece of the Castlemartyr Resort. The manor rooms have a sense of old fashioned grandeur with silk-lined walls, carved wood furnishings and black marble bathrooms. The manor’s 220-acre estate has a links golf course, a sunny atrium with a lap pool, and a 13th century Knights Templar castle.Lodging Castelmartyr Resort Castlemartyr, Co. Cork 021. 491.9000
MORNING Visit the Titanic Experience and the Cobh Heritage Centre.
DAY 4 Cobh. Cork. Shanagarry.
Located in the original offices of The White Star Line, the Titanic Experience Cobh is a new permanent visitor attraction. Titanic stories capture the hearts and imagination of visitors from all over the world. The location marks the departure point for the last 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic on its fateful maiden voyage to America. Exhibits at the Cobh Heritage Centre tell the story of the shipbuilders and the Irish 3rd class emigrants who lost their lives. Over the years, 3 million emigrants left from Cobh.Sight Titanic Experience 20 Casement Square, Cobh, Co Cork 021 481 4412
Sight Cobh Heritage Centre and Cafe Cobh, Co. Cork 021.4.813591 AFTERNOON Have lunch at Farmgate Café. Wander around the market and the pedestrian lanes of Cork.
Upstairs in the English Market, the Farmgate Café is popular with the locals for fish chowder, corned beef, shepherds pie, bacon and liver and the farmgate’s special salad. Nearly all the ingredients come from the market or local suppliers.Restaurant Farmgate Café English Market, Cork City 021 481 3591 EVENING Have dinner at Ballymaloe, a dining shrine to people in the know.
You don’t have to be a serious foodie to know that you are in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Arrive early to tour the farm and gardens. The menu is based on the food from their own farms and from local farms. Vegetables and herbs come from the walled garden, as well as from the organic farm and gardens of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Listed in Ireland’s Blue Book.Restaurant Ballymaloe House Shanagarry, Co. Cork 021 4652 531
MORNING Visit Powerscourt House and gardens.
DAY 5 Enniskerry
Powerscourt Estate preserves a timeless slice of Ireland in its walled gardens and Palladian architecture. Wander through the ornamental 19th century gardens below the mansion. The river walk follows the River Dargle to the Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest in Ireland at nearly 400 feet.Sight Powerscourt House & Gardens Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow 01.204.6000 AFTERNOON Check into the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt for one night.
The Ritz-Carlton, a Palladian-style hotel has 200 rooms many offering terraces and floor-to-ceiling views. The bed linens and featherbeds ooze luxury. Ask for a room overlooking Sugar Loaf Mountain. Have a pint at the pub, modeled on Morrissey’s in Abbeyleix.Lodging The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow 01.274.8888
DAY 6 Glendalough. Dublin.
MORNING Enjoy a jaunt on Wicklow Way.
Wicklow Way, the country’s longest hiking trail at 80 miles, rises and falls amid dazzling scenery. “A landscape beyond which a vivid imagination might find anything, even leprechauns,” writes travel writer Larry Olmstead. The well-marked walking trails in the valley of Glendalough vary from a short half hour stroll to a four-hour hillwalk. All the walks start at the National Park Information Office near the Upper Lake. The website has trail maps that you can download.Sports & Recreation Wicklow Mountains National Park Glendalough, Co. Wicklow 353.404.45425
AFTERNOON Visit Glendalough monastic center.
St Kevin, a hermit priest, founded this early medieval settlement in the 6th century. His fame as a holy man spread and he attracted numerous followers. He died in about 618. For six centuries afterwards, Glendalough flourished. It was partly destroyed in 1398 by English troops. Set in a glaciated valley with two lakes, the monastic remains include a superb round tower, stone churches and celtic crosses.Sight Glendalough Glendalough, Bray, Co. Wicklow +353.404.45352
EVENING Check into the Dylan Hotel for two nights. Have dinner at the hotel.
The Dylan is a charming, quirky hotel in sync with the thrilling city of Dublin. It has a staid red brick exterior but the rooms are modern chic. Each room has an iPod dock and iPod loaded with a walking tour of Dublin. When you walk to the city center you cross over the stone bridged that span the canal.Lodging Dylan Hotel Eastmoreland Place, Dublin 353.1.660.3000
DAY 7 Dublin
MORNING Have breakfast at the hotel. Visit the National Gallery.
This museum houses the national treasures of Ireland. You’ll see masterpieces like “Meeting on the Turret Stairs” and innovative exhibits like the James Joyce Dubliners exhibit. Paintings that give a sense of Dublin in Joyce’s time were brought together from the gallery’s collection.Sight National Gallery Merrion Square West, Dublin (entrance on Clare St.) 01.661.5133 AFTERNOON Shop for authentic Irish goods.
Nassau Street (Irish: Sráid Thobar Phádraig), offers a great shopping experience for Aran sweaters, linens, china and celtic music CDs. Then head to Dawson Street to the Celtic Whiskey Shop. This mecca for whiskey lovers has many rare and collectible whiskeys and the staff serves whiskey tastings all day.Shop The Sweater Shop 30 Nassau St., Dublin 01.671.9543
Shop Trinity Crafts 27 Nassau St., Dublin 01.672.5663 Shop Blarney Woollen Mills – Dublin Shop 21/23 Nassau St., Dublin Shop Celtic Note Music Store 14-15 Nassau St., Dublin 01.670.4157 Shop Celtic Whiskey Shop 27-28 Dawson Street, Dublin 01 675 9744
EVENING Have dinner at Davy Byrne’s Pub. Enjoy the nightlife around Temple Bar.
James Joyce made this pub famous when Leopold Bloom, the main character in the novel Ulysses, stops for a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and a glass of burgundy while wandering through Dublin. The pub’s patrons these days are most likely to order Irish stew or oysters with Guinness.Restaurant Davy Byrne’s Pub 21 Duke Street, Dublin 01.677.5217
MORNING Have the hotel arrange for a taxi.
DAY 8 Dublin Airport
NRC is Dublin’s largest taxi company and they have electric taxis in their fleet. You can also book online.Transportation National Radio Cabs 677.2222
— by CT editors