2019 Ireland Reunion - Exclusive Escorted Tour

About Escorted or Guided Tour · from $3,750.00 CAD

2019 Ireland

Exclusive Escorted Tour

10 nights | May 14-24, 2019

Dublin | Cliffs of Moher | Ring of Kerry | Much More!
Escorted by Kevin & Michelle Hayward



Join Kevin and Michelle to explore the lush landscapes, charming cities, and friendly people of Ireland. You’ll enjoy some of Ireland’s most magnificent scenery as well as its most famous towns. We’ll start and end in Dublin with highlights that include the 668-foot Cliffs of Moher on Ireland’s west coast, where you’ll savour breathtaking views of these sheer cliffs dropping into the ocean, and the Ring of Kerry, a 100-mile panoramic drive through rugged and awe-inspiring landscapes. Words cannot capture the magnificence of this natural beauty; it must be witnessed in person! From the scenic beauty to the unique interactions and experiences with the down-to-earth locals, this Ireland tour is sure to delight all of your senses, and at a price you just can’t miss!



Itinerary

DATE DESTINATION ACTIVITIES
Day 1
May 14
Flight Enjoy our overnight WestJet flight across the Atlantic, from Halifax to Dublin
Day 2
May 15
Arrival in Dublin After landing at the Dublin airport, we will complete customs and immigration formalities. Then, our driver/guide will welcome us to Ireland and escort us and our luggage to the coach. We will take an orientation drive around Dublin city centre. Dublin is one of the liveliest capitals in Europe, but is also full of many fascinating historical places. We will see the main thoroughfares of O’Connell and Nassau Streets, the shopping streets, and some lovely public parks. We will stop to visit the Guinness Storehouse to see exhibits on how this world-famous stout was first created and why it is so popular today. Our visit will finish at the roof-top bar, Gravity, overlooking the city centre where we can sample a draft Guinness and enjoy the view of the city. From there, we will drive to our hotel and check in. After we settle into our rooms, you may rest or explore some of the city on your own. In the evening, you are free to choose from the many restaurants and pubs that Nass has to offer.

Accommodation: Killashee Hotel House, Nass (1 night)

Photo Credit: Jirka Matousek, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Day 3
May 16
Irish National Stud & Kilkenny Castle
This morning, we will depart Dublin and drive to Kildare, which is in the heart of Ireland's horse country. A visit to the Irish National Stud will show us the history and current trends of horse-breeding in Ireland. We will see some of the magnificent horses and learn about horse-breeding. We can then take a walk around the Japanese Gardens, which were established in 1908 and represent the "Life of Man" from cradle to grave in the traditional Japanese style of gardening. We will also see the charming St. Fiachra’s Garden, with water features and beehive huts. Our drive will continue south to Kilkenny for a visit to Kilkenny Castle, home of the Butlers, Earls and Dukes of Ormonde. The castle was first built in 1192 and added to over the centuries. Restored to 1830’s splendor, it houses wonderful paintings and furniture. We will then check into our hotel and enjoy some time to settle in before joining together for dinner.

Accommodations: Talbot Hotel, Carlow (1 night)

Irish National Stud and Gardens



Kilkenny Castle


Day 4
May 17
House of Waterford Crystal & Blarney Castle
This morning we will board the coach and travel south to Waterford, a riverfront city of Viking origins, famous for its hand-cut crystal. Upon arrival, we will tour the House of Waterford Crystal to learn about glass blowing and cutting and see one-of-a-kind masterpieces. After our visit, we will depart Waterford and travel along the south coast via Dungarvan and Youghal. We'll then drive through the outskirts of Cork to Blarney where we may climb to the battlements of Blarney Castle to kiss the “Stone of Eloquence.” We will also visit the Blarney Woollen Mills, which has an excellent range of Irish products of all types. We will also have time to browse around the village, charmingly set around a large village green. Our journey will then take us west, through the rugged countryside of Killarney, widely celebrated for its setting overlooking lakes and mountains. Then we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy the balance of the afternoon to relax or freshen up before a traditional Irish dinner with our fellow travelers.

Dinner & Accommodations: Killarney Plaza Hotel, Killarney (2 nights)

House of Waterford Crystal



Blarney Castle


Day 5
May 18
Ring of Kerry & Skellig Experience Today we will admire breathtaking vistas of mountains, cliffs and beaches on Ireland’s most popular drive. We will see a variety of natural beauty as we drive 100 miles around this scenic route. We will cross to Valencia Island by bridge to visit the Skellig Experience, which describes the way of life of early Christian monks who built their monastery on one of the offshore islands. On our trip, we will learn about the many birds that nest in the Skelligs. A number of stops will allow us to admire the spectacular scenery and take a brief walk around the colourful village of Sneem. This evening we will enjoy dinner and entertainment at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, which is picturesquely situated at the entrance to what must be the most beautiful glaciated valley in Ireland, the Gap of Dunloe. This Irish night consists of a superb meal and traditional entertainment, which includes songs and musicians playing a wide array of instruments along with costumed dancers doing the jig and other traditional sets.

Accommodations: Killarney Plaza Hotel, Killarney (2 nights)

The Ring of Kerry coast
Photo Credit: Tourism Ireland, @storytravelers


Day 6
May 19
Cliffs of Moher & Burren After a hearty Irish breakfast, we will depart Killarney and travel north through the village of Listowel to Tarbert. From there, we will take a 20-minute ferry ride across the River Shannon estuary and then drive along the coastline of County Clare to view the Cliffs of Moher, one of the country’s most magnificent rock formations that rise to heights of almost 700 feet above the churning Atlantic swells. We will then pass through the Burren Country, an area of rocky limestone hills where a number of unique flowers thrive. This region also contains many dolmens, prehistoric monuments formed by large limestone slabs. We will then drive around Galway Bay before arriving at our hotel in Galway. We will enjoy the balance of the afternoon at leisure to relax or do some exploring on your own before joining our group for dinner.

Dinner & Accommodations: Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway (2 nights)

Cliffs of Moher



Galway


Day 7
May 20
Westport House & Achill Island Tour This morning we will travel through the rolling hills and rugged countryside of Ireland’s pastures and into Westport. Upon arrival, we'll stop to visit Westport House, an elegant 18th century residence with many fine features that is still home to Lord Altamont. From there, we will drive around Clew Bay, reputed to have 365 islands. Our drive will continue via Newport and across the Curraun Peninsula to reach Achill Island, joined to the mainland by a bridge. We will follow the Atlantic Drive to capture wonderful and wild scenic views of steeply sloped mountains plunging into the shimmering Atlantic Ocean. We will see stretches of windswept bogland and golden beaches. We will return to Galway and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure for independent activities and dining.

Accommodations: Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway (2 nights)

Achill Island



Aerial view of Clew Bay


Day 8
May 21
Strokestown House Today, we will leave Galway and travel through the countryside to Strokestown to visit the Strokestown Park House which dates from the 17th century. This fine mansion shows the lifestyle of the affluent owners and also the conditions of the servants and farmers of the area, particularly during the Famine era of the 1840s when many Irish emigrated to the United States. The Museum of the Famine shows a large collection of documents relating to conditions during that dreadful time. We'll then journey east to Trim to check into your beautiful hotel, the Cabra Castle.

Dinner & Accommodations: Cabra Castle, Kings Court (1 night)

Strokestown House



Cabra Castle


Day 9
May 22
Trinity College & Old Jameson Distillery After a hearty Irish breakfast, we will depart Trim and admire the beautiful scenery on our way south to Dublin. Upon arrival, we will stop to visit, Trinity College to view the 8th century Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the gospels. Our next stop will be at the Old Jameson Distillery where we will learn about distillation processes for this “water of life.” Displays explain how barley and water are combined, distilled, aged, and bottled and at the end of the tour we can enjoy a sample. This evening we’ll head to Ireland's oldest and most famous Traditional Irish pub “Brazen Head” where we’ll enjoy dinner and some traditional Irish music.

Accommodations: Jurys Inn, Dublin (2 nights)

Barrels at the Jameson Distillery



Trinity College Dublin


Day 10
May 23
Dublin The entire day is free in Dublin, where you can choose from a wide variety of pursuits. There are plenty of museums of interest, such as the National Museum or the National Gallery of the Writers Museum. There are plenty of shops on Nassau Street and the pedestrianized Grafton or Henry Streets. You may also wish to explore the Temple Bars and visit some of the traditional pubs. In the evening, you are free to choose from many restaurants and pubs that Dublin has to offer.

Accommodations: The Cassidys Hotel, Dublin (2 nights)

Pedestrian-friendly Grafton Street in Dublin



The Temple Bar, Dublin


Day 11
May 24
Flight Say goodbye to the Emerald Isle and take our WestJet flight back from Dublin to Halifax.


Inclusions

International flights with WestJet from Halifax to Dublin

Accommodations (double occupancy)

Coach transportation throughout Ireland

Entrance fees to all attractions and meals as indicated in the itinerary above



Pricing

$2,990 + $760 taxes and fees per person, based on double occupancy

Non-refundable deposit of $500 due upon booking

Non-refundable final payment due February 10, 2019




About your Escorts

Your Irish adventure will be escorted by Stewart Travel Group's very own Kevin & Michelle Hayward.

Michelle started her career in the travel industry in 2007 as a full-time home based travel agent. During that time she assisted clients with the full range of world-wide travel experiences. Of particular interest, Michelle escorted a group to France and both her and Kevin escorted groups to Italy, Ireland, and France/Spain. For their 25th wedding anniversary, Kevin and Michelle experienced their first river cruise traveling through Austria and Germany enroute to Amsterdam. Kevin, a full-time financial advisor, was intrigued with the travel industry and worked with Michelle primarily with escorted group travel.

Life has it’s own way of creating challenges and Michelle had her own challenge in 2010. While on a travel agent Sandals experience to Turks and Caico’s and Bahamas, Michelle was hospitalized in Bahamas and ultimately diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. An airlift to Miami for surgery and then two additional surgeries in Halifax over the past three years resulted in Michelle unable to continue to work full time in the business.

By this time, Kevin was definitely hooked and was looking for a way to continue in the travel industry in a limited but very focused way. Kevin and Michelle met with Travis and Paula of Stewart Travel Group and felt that they had a shared interest in escorted group travel and STG were willing to allow them the flexibility to specialize moving forward. “ Our goal is to offer at least one escorted group travel experience to Europe annually and to focus our sales efforts on escorted motor-coach tours and river cruise holidays exclusively.”

Active in their community, Kevin currently volunteers his time with the local Knights of Columbus and as a Big Brother. He recently retired as Chairperson of the St Joseph’s Finance Committee. Michelle also volunteers with St. Josephs with bi-weekly visits to the sick. Kevin and Michelle believe strongly in giving back and currently sponsor 6 international children through Chalice. They are both former badminton coaches but today you are more likely to see Kevin and Michelle at the curling rink or on a golf course.




You will see the following on your experience

Galway

Galway

Galway is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the fifth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. Located on the west coast of Ireland, the city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music.  Galway is famed as Ireland's Cultural Heart and is renowned for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events. Every July, Galway hosts the Galway Arts Festival which is known for its famous Macnas parade.

Dublin

Dublin

Dublin is the largest and capital city of Ireland. The English name is derived from the Irish name Dubh Linn, meaning "black pool". It is a primate city with an urban population of over 1 million, containing almost 25% of the country's population. Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and at the centre of the Dublin Region. The city is listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city, with a ranking of "Alpha-", placing it among the top thirty cities in the world. It is a historical and contemporary centre for education, the arts, administration, economy and industry.

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