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Christmas in Ireland

With Dan O'Callaghan

15 - 30 guests

8 Days / 7 Nights

From $2,289

Christmas in Ireland with
Dan O’Callaghan and Victoria & Mike Healy

December 12 – 19, 2021

Twinkling lights, frosty winter air and festive cheer around every corner – Welcome to Christmas in Ireland! Christmas will never come soon enough. Come December 8th, Christmas officially begins in Ireland. The landscape begins to twinkle with festivities, Christmas markets are buzzing, and friends and family far afield come home to celebrate the season. The most wonderful time of the year? We think so! And in Ireland they celebrate the season in style. Think streets filled with festive shoppers, hot drinks enjoyed in front of a roaring turf fire and carol singers belting out your favorite Christmas tunes. Ireland lives for Christmas. Their markets are merry, their gifts are creative and crafty and their craic (fun) is as mighty as ever!

Itinerary

Arrive in Ireland and travel through scenic charming towns and villages decorated for Christmas.

~ Stop along the way for photo opportunities in one of Ireland’s tidy towns.

~ Arrive at hotel and check in

~ Jet Lag Recovery Day

~ Relax at Spa and explore the Christmas scenes in town

Evening

~ Welcome Drink and Tour Orientation Talk  with Dinner and Irish Traditional Music and Dance Entertainment

~ A Traditional Irish Horse Carriage Ride through the Killarney National Park with scenic views of the Lakes of Killarney ~ Experience A Muckross House Christmas Season Celebration ~ Escorted guided tour of Christmas festivities in Killarney ~ Tour of Killarney Brewing & Distilling  Company with Tastings ~ Evening ~ Enjoy authentic Irish traditional music sessions in local pubs

We visit Kenmare, an Irish “Tidy Town”, Molls Gap, and Ladies View, as Recommended by Rick Steves. Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is America’s most respected authority on European travel. He has produced more than 50 guidebooks on European travel.  Kenmare is also one of the Irish villages featured in Christopher Fitz-Simon’s book The Most Beautiful Villages of Ireland.

We depart from the Hotel parking lot and travel to Kenmare, County Kerry. The lovely and interesting town of Kenmare, home of the Kenmare Lace Museum is a short bus ride from our hotel. The unique beauty and charm of the town has remained unchanged from its founding in 1670. It has received the Ireland Tidy Town Award for 2013 and has the title of Kerry’s first Heritage Town Award. 

We have time in Kenmare to explore the Kenmare megalithic stone circle and have a leisurely lunch, a meal or “pub grub” in one of the numerous fine restaurants and pubs. The stone circle at Kenmare has to be one of the easiest monuments to visit. It is located just a five minute walk from the centre of Kenmare Town.

From Kenmare, we travel through Molls Gap, where the viewing point at the gap affords sweeping views of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrantuohill – 3,414 feet high. Then it’s on our way back to Killarney. Along the way, we experience far-reaching views over the broad valley of the Killarney Lakes. Queen Victoria and her ladies-in-waiting were so enthralled by this view that it was promptly named in their honor: “Ladies View”. Between Ladies View and Killarney, the coach will pass through The Muckross Estate and return to our hotel.

Evening

~ Irish Genealogy Talk

~ Enjoy authentic Irish traditional music sessions in local pubs

We check out of our hotel and travel to County Cork with some Christmas surprises along the way!  Have you been naughty or nice this year?

~ We stop in the medieval market town of Macroom for the first taste of West Cork Christmas traditions. View Macroom’s famous castle arch gate and cannons. Macroom was the site of a major battle c. 987 involving the Irish king Brian Boru.

~ To stimulate Christmas memories, we visit the world famous offbeat Prince August Metal Toy Soldier Factory in Kinamartyra, County Cork for a toy making demonstration and a viewing a Battle of Waterloo diorama, the largest Battle of Waterloo toy soldier display in the world. 

Enjoy authentic Irish traditional music session in local pub

~ Explore the ancient 3,000 year old Bronze Age Drombeg stone circle.


~ Visit the Skibbereen Heritage Centre in the lovely town of Skibbereen

On this tour day we travel through the picturesque coastal villages of Rosscarberry, Glandore & Union Hall. We will stop off to explore the ancient Drombeg Stone Circle. A circle of 17 standing stones known locally as the Druid’s Altar which was built a millennial ago. To the west of the stones is a hut site with a ‘fulacht-fia’ cooking place. This prehistoric kitchen had a flagged trough in which water was boiled by dropping red-hot stones into it. The midpoint of one of the stones at Drombeg was set in line with the winter solstice sunset viewed in a conspicuous notch in the distant hills.

~ Visit Clonakilty, the home of Michael Collins, one of Ireland’s most important historical figures.

~ Travel the Irish Rebellion Trail visiting sites of rebel engagements with the British occupation forces and the Michael Collins ambush site where he was assassinated during the Irish Civil War.

Evening

Enjoy authentic Irish traditional music session in local pub

~ Partake in the Jameson Experience at the old Jameson distillery in Midleton, County Cork with a tour and tasting

~ Visit Cobh the port of departure for the Titanic and hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants leaving Ireland for America

~ Visit and View Iconic Cork City’s Old Town English Market, Decorations, and Lights

Evening

Enjoy authentic Irish traditional music session in local pub

~ Take an escorted guided walking tour of Kinsale Town.

~ Tour Black’s Craft Beer Brewery and Distillery and sample a selection their craft beers.

~ Take an escorted guided walking tour of Charles Fort, a 17th century classic star shaped fort protecting Kinsale harbor.

A picturesque fishing village, Kinsale is nestled between hills and harbour, encompassing a mix of medieval buildings and a maze of narrow streets, seamlessly incorporating a multitude of historical tourist attractions and gourmet restaurants. Kinsale was crowned the 2014 National Small Tourism Town by Failte Ireland.

The trip to Kinsale will be topped off with a visit to Charles Fort. Perhaps the best-known historical attraction in Kinsale, Charles Fort is one of the finest surviving examples of a 17th Century star-shaped fort, and much of the construction begun in 1678 remains. The fort has two enormous bastions overlooking the estuary, and three facing inland. Within its walls were all the barracks and ancillary facilities to support the fort’s garrison. The fort continued in military use until 1922.

Departure for most to return home.