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8 Day Ireland Fly & Drive with Northern Ireland

8 days with Gate 1 Travel   Rating: First Class

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices DAY 1 - Depart for Ireland
Depart for Ireland.

DAY 2 - Arrive in Dublin
Welcome to Ireland, the "Emerald Isle!" Arrive in Dublin, the country's spirited capital, immortalized by James Joyce; pick up your reserved vehicle at the airport's Car Rental Facility. On the drive to your hotel, see the city’s contrasting architecture -- from modern glass skyscrapers to grand neoclassical facades, accented by lovely views of the River Liffey. Today, perhaps visit Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed city park in Europe, home to the official residence of the President and the Dublin Zoo. Or, stroll leisurely along Temple Bar with its charming narrow cobbled streets and statue-lined O'Connell Street, the city's main thoroughfare, dominated by the "Spire", the world’s tallest piece of sculpture. Dublin is filled with welcoming people, fabulous restaurants and cozy pubs on every corner where you can sample some of the local brews.

Drive Time: 50 minutes*
Distance: 35 miles*


DAY 3 - Spectacular Drive to Galway
Start your day with a visit to the Kinvara fishing village famed for its Galway Hookers (boats). View the Dunguaire Castle, built in 1520, originally the royal palace of the King of Connaught. Afterwards, travel through the vast limestone plateau known as "the Burren" that covers most of North County Clare. This stark environment has often been compared to the harsh lunar landscape of the moon. Visit the Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb, the 5,800-year-old Poulnabrone Dolmen and Ballyalban Fairy Fort - home of little men with green hats and orange beards! Stop at Kilfenora to see the famous Celtic Crosses (Irish High Crosses) on your way to the coastal village of Doolin maybe for lunch before your drive to the mighty Cliffs of Moher, a wall of rock that rises some 700 feet above the Atlantic -- surely one of the most stunning meetings of land and water you're likely to ever see. Arrive at Galway City, Ireland's cultural capital. This free-spirited bohemian city has a unique ambiance of its own. Tonight, explore the narrow pedestrian streets filled with boutiques and brightly painted pubs, alive with activity. (Breakfast)

Drive Time: 5.5 hours*
Distance: 223 miles*


DAY 4 - Delights of Galway
Wander the city's cobblestone streets and you’ll feel yourself stepping back in time to medieval Ireland. Visit the famous Galway Farmers Market in Church-lane for tastings of delectable Irish treats and just immerse yourself in the great atmosphere. This artsy and bohemian city is often referred to as the "most Irish" of the cities in Ireland. Alternatively, if you're in the mood for something really unique, we suggest a trip to the Aran Islands by boat that offers a glimpse into a way of life from a bygone era. Upon arrival on the island, opportunity to hire a bike or visit Dun Aonghasa, the largest of Aran's prehistoric stone forts enclosed by massive dry-stone walls and blocks of vertical limestone. Tonight, don't leave Ireland without trying the world-famous Galway Bay oysters at one of the local restaurants or pubs. (
Breakfast)

DAY 5 - Drive North to Belfast
Your journey north towards Belfast passes by the pilgrimage town of Knock where W.B. Yeats' Grave is near the distinctive outline of Ben Bulben Mountain in Sligo Countryside. On to Donegal and to Teelin to view the Slieve League sea cliffs, the highest in Europe reaching 1,972 feet. The cliffs drop straight down to the wild Atlantic waves creating marvelous views. Enjoy coffee or tea with home baked scones before driving to Londonderry. Pause for photos at the ruins of Dunluce Castle before visiting the magnificent Giant's Causeway, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its over 40,000 symmetrical basalt columns leading from the coastal cliffs out to sea. Legend, history, and folklore are combined here, beginning with the Irish tale of how the mighty giant Finn McCool created this geological wonder so he could walk to Scotland. Continue south to experience wonderful views of mountains, valleys, and bays along the "Nine Glens of Antrim". Later, arrive in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, known today as one of Europe’s true renaissance cities. Here you’ll see historic buildings, European-style cafes and a rich and vibrant cultural life emphasized by the city's vibrant murals that have become an integral part of its modern history. In the evening, explore the city’s old town streets and soak up some of the local culture and architecture. Enjoy dinner at one of the legendary pubs, known for excellent food and traditional Irish atmosphere. Saloons also abound, dating back to the 1800s, with Victorian age décor and working gas lamps. (Breakfast)

Drive Time: 6.5 hours*
Distance: 279 miles*


DAY 6 - Discover Belfast
The colonnaded facade and towering dome of the Edwardian City Hall is a good place to begin your exploration of this energetic city along with the newly renovated Ulster Museum, a repository of historic and artistic treasures. A must-see visit is the imposing Titanic Experience Museum, constructed in the same dockyard where the doomed ship was built. This museum built the same size as the height of the Titanic, has nine galleries spread over six floors that tell the astonishing story of the Titanic from "rivets to requiem." In West Belfast, you can see historic buildings that are still scarred from The Troubles, which ended with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. View the world-famous political murals that dominate the area and take time to sign your name on the Peace Wall next to Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama and many other dignitaries. Tonight, join the locals at a bustling restaurant or participate in a "pub crawl" and meet the locals. Belfast comes alive at night, with happenings on every corner! (
Breakfast)

DAY 7 - Return to Dublin
Today, journey back to Dublin. En route, stop at Downpatrick which means "Patrick's stronghold." You can first visit the Saint Patrick Center where you will learn all about the saint who first came to Ireland as a boy slave to work as a Sheppard. You can see the film telling his life story before you take a short walk to Down Cathedral and his grave. Traveling south, arrive in the small village of Dundrum which holds one of the Ireland's Norman castles built by John de Courcy in the 12th century. Climb to the top of the battlements and gaze at these amazing coastal views as far as the eye can see. As you travel through the Northern Ireland's highest range of mountains, the Mourne Mountains, view Slieve Donard, the highest peak that soars high above other peaks at a lakeside stopping point. There is a hill called 'Magic Hill' where you will see with your own eyes your car 'roll up' a hill all by itself! As you drive further south make a short stop at Ross Monument located on a spectacular stretch of coast. This 99 ft pillar is dedicated to the man who burned down the White House in retaliation of the Americans burning York in 1813. York is now modern Toronto! Arrive in Dublin for overnight. This evening, enjoy a stroll along the Grand Canal, see the statue of poet Patrick Kavanagh, or walk along Merrion Square, the childhood home of Oscar Wilde. Celebrate your last night in Ireland by treating yourself to a dinner of Irish specialties at one of Dublin’s fabulous restaurants or, attend a rollicking Cabaret Show. (Breakfast)

Drive Time: 3 hours*
Distance: 100 miles*


DAY 8 - Depart Ireland
Drive to Dublin Airport and return your vehicle prior to your departure flight. (Breakfast)

Drive Time: 50 minutes*
Distance: 35 miles*


*Please consider that the driving times and distances are estimated and that they can vary because of many circumstances, such as: a specific route taken, hotel location, traffic, weather, road conditions, etc.
Map
All This Included
  • 6 nights accommodations in your choice of hotels
  • 7 day car rental: Mini Manual. Upgrade to other categories available
  • Car rental includes: Unlimited Mileage, Third Party Liability Insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (C.D.W.), local taxes (VAT)
  • Breakfast daily
Accommodations
County Meath: Trim Castle Hotel
Galway: The Connacht Hotel
Belfast: Jurys Inn Belfast
Notes
  • Hotel upgrades are available.
  • Drivers must be at least 25 years old to rent a vehicle. Additionally, drivers must be 28 years old in order to rent a Full Size (Car Categories FVMR and FVAR).
  • Please note that this is a suggested itinerary. While the sites listed may be visited independently, the package does not cover any applicable entrance or tour fees.
  • This independent program allows the flexibility to explore on your own. We offer a selection of hotels to accommodate a variety of tastes and budgets. Drive times between the cities can vary, but average 1 - 4 hours in length and are dependent upon local conditions. Please note that this program is not escorted and therefore you will not have the services of a tour manager to assist with hotel check-in formalities and luggage handling. This program's unconstrained nature excludes group advantages associated with escorted tours.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Gate 1 Travel terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.