Southern Delights Tour – 2016

Spirit of Ireland Executive Travels’ new 6 day ‘Southern Delights Tour’ is a journey along Irelands South East and South coasts. A journey that follows the story of Ireland. From the earliest settlers on this island, to the religious followers and their monastic sites, right through to the famine victims and their escape to the New World.

Day 1. Dublin to Wexford

Glendalough. www.glengalough.ie

Glendalough is one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites. Founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century, the ruins of Glendalough, the ‘valley of two lakes’ are spread along 2 miles (3km) of a peaceful wooded valley that is part of the Wicklow National Park.

Wicklow Gaol. www.wicklowhistoricalgaol.com

Tells a story of crime, cruelty, exile and misery. The harshness of prison life in the 18th century, the passion of the 1798 rebellion, the cruelty of the transportation ships and hope of a new life in Australia can all be experienced in Wickow Gaol.

Irish National Heritage Park. www.inhp.com

The Irish National Heritage Park presents 9,000 years of Irish history through a series of
reconstructed dwellings that illustrate life from Mesolithic to Norman times.

Wexford. www.visitwexford.ie
Accommodation: Town centre hotel, bed and breakfast.

Day 2. Wexford to Cobh

John F Kennedy Homestead. www.kennedyhomestead.ie

The Kennedy homestead at Dunganstown, where JFK’s great-grandfather lived before emigrating in the 19th century, has been restored and is open to visitors. It contains a collection of memorabilia celebrating the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty.

Dunbrody Heritage Ship. www.dunbrody.com

At the New Ross docks, the Dunbrody Heritage Ship is a full-size replica of the original famine ship which was built in 1845 and carried thousands of emigrants to North America. President John F. Kennedy’s ancestors were among those who set sail from this spot.
Jameson Exeperince, Midleton. www.jamesonwhiskey.com

Wexford was founded by the Vikings in about 800 AD. They named it Veisafjoror, meaning inlet
of the mud flats, and the name has changed only slightly into its present form. For about three
hundred years it was a Viking town, a city state, largely independent and owing only token dues
to the Irish Kings of Leinster.

In 1975, Jameson moved their entire whiskey making operation from Dublin to the green surroundings of Midleton, Co. Cork. The original buildings at the Midleton Distillery date back as far as the 1800s and were used to mature Cork Distillery Whiskey, now known as Paddy Whiskey.

Cobh. www.visitcobh.com

Cobh (pronounced ‘cove’) is situated on an island in Cork Harbour and joined to the mainland by a causeway. It was a quiet fishing village until the Napoleonic wars of the early 1800s, when the harbour flourished as a refuelling station for both naval and commercial ships.
Accommodation: Town centre hotel, bed and breakfast.

Day 3. Cobh to Killarney

Cobh Heritage Centre. www.cobhheritage.com

The history of the town – and its temporary name change – is told in The Queenstown Story, a
multimedia exhibition housed in the Victorian railway Station. Blarney Castle. www.blarneycastle.ie
Blarney Castle rises up amid wooded parkland, a glorious setting that doesn’t fail to delight. Built by Cormac McCarthy in the 15th century, today the fortress is a well-preserved ruin. At the top, there are wonderful panoramic views from the ramparts as you queue up to kiss the famous Blarney Stone.

Gougane Barra Forest Park. www.gouganbarra.com

Set around a lake at the source of the River Lee, this was Ireland’s first forest park. St. Finbarre built a hermit cell on the lake’s tiny island in the 6th century, where he lived and prayed before journeying downriver to found the City of Cork.

Killarney. www.killarney.ie

The busy town of Killarney is the main tourist centre for the Ring of Kerry. Killarney is known for itslively nightlife and the host of colourful little lanes, some still cobbled, that run off the main street. Accommodation: Town centre hotel, bed and breakfast.

Day 4. Local touring

The Skelligs. www.heritageireland.ie Subject to weather conditions, confirmed the night before.
The Skelligs are a group of conical rock islands lying about 9 miles (14km) off Valentia Island. The largest is Skellig Michael or Great Skellig, which rises more than 700 feet (213m) out of the sea. Early Christian monks built a settlement of beehive huts, oratories and two churches atop the rock, living here from the 6th to the 12th centuries.

Alternatively, tour of the Ring of Kerry. www.theringofkerry.com

The Ring of Kerry circles the Iveragh peninsula and is famous for its vistas of mountains and sea.

Day 5. Killarney to Galway

Tarbert to Killimor with Shannon Ferries. www.shannonferries.com

Departing Killarney we head for the North Kerry town of Tarbert on the River Shannon where we
board the ferry which will take us across the mighty Shannon estuary to scenic County Clare. Cliffs of Moher. www.cliffsofmoher.ie

These sheer striated cliffs, rising over 700 feet (214m) out of the Atlantic, are one of the west coast’s most impressive natural sights. Stretching for nearly 5 miles (8km) along the coast, they form a massive housing estate for nesting gulls, kittiwakes, puffins and other seabirds.
The Burren. www.burrennationalpark.ie

The Burren, a sweeping area of rocky hills and plateaux, covers 250 km2 of north County Clare and is unique in Ireland. It has no bogs and few trees or pastures. The land is covered by huge pavements of limestone, called ‘clints,’ which are broken by vertical fissures celled ‘grikes.’
Galway City. www.discoverireland.ie

Set along Galway Bay at the mouth of the River Corrib, Galway City, capital of the West, is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It is also one of the most pleasant, with a compact and colourful centre that still bears the traces of its medieval past.

Accommodation: City centre hotel, bed and breakfast.

Day 6. Galway to Dublin

Clonmacnoise. www.heritageireland.ie

One of the most important sites in early Christendom, Clonmacnoise was founded by St. Ciaran in 548, along the Shannon at an ancient crossroads where the river and overland routes met. At it’s height, Clonmacnoise covered more than 10 acres (4 hectares). But it was repeatedly raided by Vikings, Angl-Normans and warring Irish tribes, and was finally destroyed by the English in 1552.

Dublin City. www.visitdublin.com

Dublin City is one of the hottest destinations in Europe. The Vikings founded the city around 837 beside the black pool, or dubh linn for which it is named. It as the centre of the Pale in Norman times, and reached its golden age in the 18th century, when the city’s handsome public buildings and elegant Georgian squares were built.

Accommodation: City centre hotel, bed and breakfast.

Price includes.

Accommodation each night in City / Town centre hotel on a bed and breakfast basis. Entry to all sights and attractions as listed above.
Full day boat trip to The Skelligs, including packed lunch, subject to weather conditions. Fully qualified driver / guide on luxury coach.