9 Day Private Northern Tour of Ireland
Day 1: Dublin to Belfast
Upon arrival at Dublin Airport you will be met by your private driver guide, before departing for Belfast where you will enjoy a 2-night stay in the Merchant Hotel. En-route you will get the opportunity to visit the historic Newgrange.
The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one-acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 Metre long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. It is estimated that the construction of the Passage Tomb at Newgrange would have taken a work force of 300 at least 20 years. The passage and chamber of Newgrange are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December
Day 2: Belfast City Tour
After breakfast meet with private driver guide, before departing for your Belfast City Tour. On this tour of the city you will have the opportunity to visit the Titanic Centre, Crumlin Road Goal and take a Black Cab Tour to visit the Murals of Belfast.
About Titanic Centre:
Titanic Belfast is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience, exploring the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way. Make your way through the 9 interactive galleries of the Titanic Experience, explore the symbolism of the iconic building with The Discovery Tour, dine in Bistro 401 or browse for an exclusive gift in theTitanic Store. Walk the decks of the last remaining White Star vessel - SS Nomadic or immerse yourself in the historic Slipways as you uncover the true legend of Titanic, in the city where it all began.
About Crumlin Road Gaol:
The Crumlin Road Gaol is a 19th century Grade A listed jail. Take a tour to experience all aspects of the Gaol from the tunnel linking the courthouse on the other side of the Crumlin Road to the hanging cell, Governor's office, hospital and graveyard. Crumlin Road Gaol first opened its gates to prisoners in 1846 and for 150 years was a fully operational prison. On March 31, 1996, the Governor of Belfast's Crumlin Road Gaol walked out of the fortified prison and the heavy air-lock gates slammed shut for the final time. During those 150 years the Gaol has housed murderers, suffragettes and loyalist and republican prisoners. It has witnessed births, deaths and marriages and has been the home to executions, escapes, hunger-strikes and riots.
About Belfast Murals:
The political murals of the Falls and the Shankill tell their own graphic story of what has been called "The Troubles" in Ireland's recent history. See the infamous Peaceline, a wall built to keep Nationalists and Loyalists apart and in the process divided the communities
Day 3: Belfast to Donegal
Check out of the Merchant Hotel, meet with your private driver guide. Depart for the Donegal where you will enjoy a 2-night stay in Lough Eske Castle. En-route you will have the opportunity to visit the Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.
About the Giants Causeway:
For centuries countless visitors have marvelled at the majesty and mystery of the Giants Causeway. At the heart of one of Europe's most magnificent coastlines its unique rock formations have, for millions of years, stood as a natural rampart against the unbridled ferocity of Atlantic storms. The rugged symmetry of the columns never fails to intrigue and inspire our visitors. To stroll on the Giants Causeway is to voyage back in time. Your imagination will travel along stepping stones that lead to either the creative turbulence of a bygone volcanic age or into the mists and legends of the past.
About Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge:
Connected to the cliffs by a rope bridge across the Atlantic Ocean, Carrick Island (home to a single building - a fisherman's cottage) is the final destination. The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge has woven its way between Carrick Island and the County Antrim mainland for over 250 years. Swaying 30 metres above the ocean might not seem like the most relaxing way to undertake this 20-metre journey, but things have come a long way. Back in the 1970s, this crossing comprised just one handrail and a handful of gapped wooden planks. Today, although there’s a subtle shake to this sturdy bridge – just enough to thrill you – you’re in far safer hands.
About Bushmills Old Distillery:
Bushmills Irish Whiskey is made at Ireland’s oldest working distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland on the beautiful North Coast. The original grant to distil was signed in 1608 by King James 1st and there has been distillation on this site since then, using the unique water from their own stream and Irish barley. The Bushmills Brand Experience encompasses guided tours around a working distillery with all the associated sights and smells, tutored whiskey tastings, a specialist whiskey shop and a well stocked gift shop with exclusive Bushmills merchandise. At the conclusion of your tour you will be offered a whiskey or a soft drink in their 1608 Bar. There is also a restaurant serving lunches and Bushmills inspired treats throughout the day.
Day 4: Donegal to Ashford Castle
Check out of Lough Eske Castle , meet with your private driver guide and depart for Ashford Castle where you will enjoy a 2-night stay. En-route you will have the opportunity to visit Glencar Waterfall & Mullaghmore.
About Glencar Waterfall:
Glencar Waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11 kilometres west of Manorhamilton in County Leitrim. It is particularly impressive after rain and can be viewed from a lovely wooded walk. There are more waterfalls visible from the road, although none are quite as romantic as this one which is mentioned by WB Yeats in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’.
Jutting out of Sligo’s northern edge, close to the county’s border with Donegal, the small peninsula of Mullaghmore sits dramatically out into the North Atlantic. The waters here are not simply photogenic. They have become known for some of the most sought-after waves in surfing.
Day 5: Connemara Tour
After breakfast, meet with private driver guide, before departing for the picturesque scenes of Connemara, en-route visiting Kylemore Abbey and having a demonstration at Joyce's Sheep Farm.
Connemara is a region of western Co. Galway, which is known for its rugged mountain scenery; blended on the western seaboard by stunning seascapes. It is loosely bordered on the north and east by Lough Corrib (Ireland’s 2nd largest lake) and reaches the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard. It is also home to Ireland’s only fjord at Killary Harbour, as well as the largest Gaeltacht in Ireland (Irish-speaking region). A tour of Connemara would not be complete without a visit to Kylemore Abbey, home of the Benedictine nuns, who settled there after fleeing Belgium during the First World War. Prior to that, it had been a home of Mitchel Henry –a wealthy doctor and politician –who had it built in 1871. The principle town in Connemara is Clifden.
There is also time to visit the charming town of Clifden made famous by British aviators Alcock & Brown who made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919 and landed just outside of Clifden. Clifden had already gained prominence after 1905 when Guglielmo Marconi decided to build his first high-power transatlantic long-wave wireless telegraphy station near the town, to minimize the distance to its sister station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. The first point-to-point fixed wireless service connecting Europe with North America opened for public service in October 1907. At peak times, over 400 people were employed by the Clifden Wireless Station; among them Jack Phillips, who later died as chief Radio Operator on the Titanic. On 19 June 1919 the transatlantic flight by Alcock & Brown crash-landed in Derrygimlagh bog, close to Marconi's transatlantic wireless station.
About Kylemore Abbey:
Catching your breath from The Sky Road we slow the pace and heart down with a visit to the beautiful Kylemore Abbey- "Ireland’s most romantic building". Nestled at the base of Druchruach Mountain (1,736ft) on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, the heart of the Connemara Mountains, it is regarded as one of Ireland’s most romantic buildings. Originally built in 1867 as a romantic gift, Kylemore Abbey and the surrounding mountains and lakes are steeped in history including engineering initiatives, model farms, tragedy, royal visits, gambling debts, a hideaway during Ireland’s troubled history as well as excellence in education.
About Joyce Sheep Farm:
Joyce Country Sheepdogs is part of a family run farm located in Connemara on the West of Ireland. Joyce Country Sheepdogs offers you the opportunity to visit a working hill sheep farm and watch the Border Collie sheepdogs herding Connemara Blackface sheep. Joe Joyce is the third generation of his family to farm sheep in the Joyce Country area. Some 700 years ago, the rugged landscape of this area attracted a Welshman of Norman origins called Thomas Joyce who married a local girl and settled in the area which now bears his name. It is therefore fitting that Joe now farms this area together with his wife Mary Ann, who also happens to hail from the South Wales area
Day 6: Ashford Castle to Dublin
Check out of the Ashford Castle, before departing for Dublin where you will enjoy a 3-night stay in the Merrion hotel. In the afternoon you will have the option to have a walking tour with a private guide or explore Dublin at your own leisure.
With a population of about 1.2 million people, Dublin is the largest city in Ireland, and was established in 988AD by Viking settlers, who settled near [what was then known as] the Black Pool. Whilst the English Crown exerted power over Ireland after the Viking period, it was not until the Act of Union of 1800 that Ireland formally became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland. In the years leading up to, and during this period, Dublin was transformed from a medieval city to a modern European Capital. It would later become known during the Georgian Period as Dublin, Second City of the Empire –second only to London!
Dublin’s Georgian Squares:
During the mid-18th century, a total of 5 “squares” were added to enhance the newly developed streetscapes. In each case, a park formed the centre-piece of the Square; surrounded on each side by 4-storey townhouses. St. Stephen’s Green is the largest of these squares, and perhaps the most beautiful. It is known colloquially as Stephen’s Green, and is without doubt the most fashionable part of Dublin due to the array of high-end shops and restaurants. Merrion Square –literally a stone’s throw from the Merrion Hotel –was laid out in 1762 and is considered one of the city's finest surviving squares; owing to the fact that the 18th century streetscape remains largely intact. It is noted for its most famous one-time resident and playwright, Oscar Wilde, who lived at No. 1 Merrion Square. His statue can be seen in the park at the north-western corner of the park. FitzWilliam Square is the smallest and the last of the five Georgian squares in to be laid out. It was a popular place for the Irish Social Season of aristocrats entertaining in Dublin between January and Saint Patrick's Day each year. The other 2 Georgian squares are located on the less fashionable side of the city –just north of the River Liffey.
Trinity College was established by Royal Charter in 1592; during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The present buildings date from c1750. It is Ireland’s oldest and indeed prestigious university. Ireland’s largest collection of books and manuscripts are housed in the Trinity College Library. Its principle treasure is the 8th century handilluminated Book of Kells, which is generally considered to be the most striking manuscript ever produced in the Western world, and one of the greatest masterpieces of early Christian art. Trinity College was the first university in these islands to admit women –the first enrolment being in 1904. Largely seen by the Catholic Church in Ireland as a ‘Protestant’ university, it forbade its members from attending. The ‘Ban’ was lifted in 1970. Notable students at Trinity College were Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker –writer of Dracula.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
St Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church building in Ireland and is also the National Cathedral of Ireland. It belongs to the Church of Ireland, which is the largest Protestant denomination on the island of Ireland. The present building was erected between 1200 and 1270 and is named in honour of St. Patrick –the Patron Saint of Ireland. It is one of two Anglican cathedrals in Dublin –the other being Christ Church Cathedral. Such an arrangement is to be found nowhere else in Christendom
Day 7: Dublin
After breakfast meet with your private driver guide before departing for your Dublin City Tour. Below are some options for sites to visit throughout your tour.
With over 1 million visitors per year, this is the biggest tourist attraction in Ireland. Set in the centre of one of the world's most famous breweries, Guinness Storehouse is Dublin's 'must-see' visitor attraction! The Guinness Storehouse is a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in Gravity, the bar in the sky, with a complimentary pint of Guinness, and an astonishing view of Dublin! You'll also see how Guinness has been advertised over the years. But most of all, you will see how Guinness has shaped the socio-economic history of Dublin and indeed Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
St Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church building in Ireland and is also the National Cathedral of Ireland. It belongs to the Church of Ireland, which is the largest Protestant denomination on the island of Ireland. The present building was erected between 1200 and 1270 and is named in honour of St. Patrick –the Patron Saint of Ireland. It is one of two Anglican cathedrals in Dublin –the other being Christ Church Cathedral. Such an arrangement is to be found nowhere else in Christendom.
Christ Church Cathedral:
The Anglo-Normans (The English) arrived in Ireland in 1169; an event which simultaneously extended the Holy See of Rome to our shores. Christ Church Cathedral was built inside the city walls for the English; while St. Patrick’s Cathedral (a short distance away) was built outside the city walls for the native Irish population. At the time of the Reformation both cathedrals were passed to the Anglican Church of Ireland. While cathedrals in Europe are traditionally the seat of a bishop, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has a Dean –the most famous of all being Dean Jonathan Swift (1713-45) writer of Gulliver’s Travels. Christ Church Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Dublin.
Originally completed in 1911, this was the last major classical building to be constructed before Southern Ireland gained independence from Britain. It was originally shared between the Dublin Castle administration and the Royal College of Science for Ireland. The foundation stone was laid in 1904 by King Edward VII; and was subsequently opened to pomp and ceremony by his son, King George V in 1911. His insignia and initials can still be seen on each of the pediments. Today it houses the offices of the Attorney General, the Department of Finance and the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister). Although it contains the Council Chamber or cabinet room, the official seat of government is the nearby Leinster House, which contains the two houses the Oireachtas –Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann –the lower and upper houses of parliament respectively.
Built in neo-classical style, it was originally built in 1745–48 by James FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare. It was located on the unfashionable and isolated south side of the city, far from the main locations of aristocratic residences, namely Rutland Square (now Parnell Square) and Mountjoy Square. The Earl predicted that others would follow. In succeeding decades Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square became the primary location of residences of the aristocracy, with many of their Northside residences being sold (many subsequently deteriorating and ending up as slums).
Day 8: Wicklow mountains
After breakfast meet with your private driver guide, before departing for the picturesque Wicklow Mountains, en-route visiting Powerscourt House and Gardens and Glendalough.
About Powerscourt House and Gardens:
Powerscourt is one of the most beautiful country estates in Ireland. Situated in the mountains of Wicklow, it was originally an important strategic site for the Anglo-Normans who came to Ireland in the 12th century. By the year 1300 a castle had been built here and was in the possession of the le Poer (Power) family from which it takes its name. The succeeding centuries saw the castle held for different periods by powerful families such as the O’Toole's and the Fitzgerald's, Earls of Kildare. In the mid 1700s a major restructuring project was begun by Richard Wingfield which led to what we know today as Powerscourt House. With its adjoining 18th century gardens, Powerscourt is one of the finest examples of a stately home in Ireland.
Glendalough, or the Glen of two Lakes, is one of the most important sites of monastic ruins in Ireland. It is also known as the city of the seven Churches. This site was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century and was a centre of early Christian learning until its demise in 1214 at the hands of the Normans. The two lakes, which gave the valley its name, came into existence thousands of years ago, after the Ice Age. The mountain streams eventually formed a large lake. Before the arrival of St. Kevin this valley would have been desolate and remote. The Visitor Centre has an interesting exhibition and an audio-visual show.
Day 9: Depart Ireland
Alas your Tour of Ireland comes to an end. Check out of The Merrion Hotel, meet with your driver guide and depart for Dublin Airport for your returning flight.
• Private Touring in Luxury Mercedes Minivan (Up to 8 Hours)
• Personal Chauffeur Driver Guide (Police vetted for Government Departmental assignments)
• Breakfast each morning at each accommodation
• Executive Vehicles adhering to all National and European Limousine Regulations.
• Vehicles Fully Air Conditioned
Tour Does not include:
• Entrance charges to attractions
• Meals (Excluding Breakfast and where stated)
• Drivers Gratuities
Terms & Conditions1.1 Costs
It is important to note that all prices quoted are preliminary, subject to availability and final itinerary layout. Upon receipt of your booking deposit we will confirm costs and begin booking all aspects of the itinerary.
1.2 Payment Process
In order to secure your booking, a €500.00 per person non-refundable deposit is required. The remainder of the balance is due no later than 45 days prior to your tour commencing. Payment can be made by MasterCard or Visa Card. An emailed initial itinerary will be provided following the booking and deposit. To reduce paper waste our office may only post documentation should it be necessary of specifically requested by clients.
In the event of cancellation of any part of your tour, communication must be provided by email/fax followed by written confirmation.
The following cancellation charges apply based on the notification table below:
· 61-90 Days prior to the arrival, 25% of the total costs
· 31-60 Days prior to the arrival, 50% of the total costs
· 15-30 Days prior to the arrival, 85% of the total costs
· Less than 15 Days prior to the arrival, 100% of the total costs
While we will do all possible to facilitate any refunds from suppliers, we strongly advise guests take out travel insurance.
Any money owed by Gregan Chauffeur Tours Ireland to clients because of a refund, will be processed within 60 days following the initial cancellation. Refunds will be processed according to the cancellation terms in section 1.3.
1.5 Change requests
We will try to accommodate all reasonable changes requested. Any change required after the initial deposit will be subject to a $50 administrative charge. Change requests can be arranged only up to 7 weeks prior to your tour commencing except with the written permission of Gregan Tours Ireland.
Our vehicles are insured to International standards â€¢ In the event of a vehicle breakdown, no refund will be applied for the time lost. We will do everything in our power to ensure this does not happen. Our vehicles are maintained to national annual car testing standards. â€¢ Passengers may incur valet charges of €250 for costs relating to soiling within the vehicle.
1.7 Travel Insurance
We suggest all our guests arrange for travel insurance prior to arriving in Ireland. We are not responsible for loss, damage or theft of personal belongings and equipment, personal injury and illness.
Gregan Tours Ireland contracts with independent contractors in securing and booking the services provided in our tours and we are not responsible for any negligence and/or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. Gregan Tours Ireland gives notice that in issuing coupons, vouchers or tickets for travel conveyance or transport by any means, and in making arrangements for golf, hotels or other accommodations, we are acting not as principals but as agents only for the companies, corporations or persons providing or offering their service. Gregan Tours Ireland is not responsible or liable, with respect to person or property, for any loss, damage, injury, accident, delay or irregularity however sustained or suffered during any trip or tour arranged by them. Flight and other travel arrangements prior to commencement of the tour are the responsibility of the client and are subject to the terms and conditions of the carrier.