Uncover Ireland's many charms from lively Dublin to the Aran Islands and Ring of Kerry, on a journey that showcases the island’s natural treasures as well as its history and rich culture. 

Starting at: $6,592 * Price includes special offer * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The dramatic Cliffs of Moher  Cultural traditions reflected in modern life  Lively music in a pub. Credit: Brian Morrison, Ireland Tourism  Trinity College Library, Dublin  St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin  Early monastic site of Clonmacnoise  Connemara landscape with sheep  The Connemara landscape. Credit: Ireland Tourism  Connemara's Kylemore Castle, once an abbey and school   Landscape of the fabled Aran Islands  The Polnabrone Domen, the Burren  Muckross House and gardens, outside Killarney  The 15th-century Ross Castle, outside Killarney  The stunning mountain and coastal landscape of Ireland's Ring of Kerry  The Rock of Cashel, the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster  The 12th-century Kilkenny Castle

The Emerald Isle

13 days from $6,592 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Uncover Ireland's many charms from lively Dublin to the Aran Islands and Ring of Kerry, on a journey that showcases the island’s natural treasures as well as its history and rich culture. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


The Emerald isle journey was flawlessly paced and planned. Accommodations were the best available for each location on the itinerary. The service was attentive and thoughtful throughout. the cultural information was thorough, paced well and wonderfully delivered. A great trip!

- Serena K.

What a great overview of Ireland's political and religious history, its music, literature and arts. With the small group size, everyone is included in the lectures, activities and experiences. Wonderful adventure! 

- Previous Journeys Traveler


See All Journeys Dispatches ››


* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

The Shelbourne Dublin

Dublin, Ireland

Well-located right on St. Stephen's Green in the heart of Dublin city center, the Shelbourne Dublin offers easy access to shopping on Grafton Street and to Dublin's many cultural attractions, including St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College. The hotel, built in 1824, offers a restaurant, bar, and lounge; fitness center; Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

The Twelve Hotel

Bearna, Ireland

Opened in 2007, the boutique-style Twelve Hotel sits on the west coast of Ireland just a short drive from Galway City and its many shops, restaurants, and pubs. This 48-room hotel combines classic Irish culture with many up-to-date amenities including a restaurant, bar, lounge, and wellness center. Each air-conditioned guest room comes with private bath with hairdryer, in-room safe, wet-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Killarney Royal Hotel

Killarney, Ireland

Owned and managed by the Scally family for three generations, the Killarney Royal Hotel stands in the heart of Killarney and just minutes from the Outlet Center. This boutique-style hotel offers a restaurant, bar, bistro, and safe deposit boxes. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

The Pembroke Hotel

Kilkenny, Ireland

With its marble façade and tinted glass windows, the newly built Pembroke Hotel resembles a traditional Irish hotel enhanced with contemporary facilities including a restaurant, bar, lounge, indoor pool, and spa. Located at the top of High Street, Kilkenny's primary shopping district, the hotel offers beautiful views of the city and of neighboring Kilkenny Castle. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, lounge, indoor pool, and spa. The 74 air-conditioned rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Barberstown Castle Hotel

Kildare, Ireland

The Barberstown Castle Hotel is a historic country house hotel incorporating the original 13th century castle keep – from which it takes its name – with expansions from both the Elizabethan and Victorian eras. First opened as a hotel in 1971, the property became the home of famed English musician Eric Clapton between the years 1979 to 1987. The current owner carefully renovated the property, expanding upon the former 10-room guesthouse to create a 55-room hotel. Amenities of the property include an Irish and French-influenced restaurant, bar with indoor and outdoor seating, and extensive gardens. Complimentary WiFi internet access is available throughout the hotel and laundry service is available for a fee. Each era of the Castle’s history is reflected in the style of the country house bedrooms, which are decorated with stunning antique furniture while maintaining modern amenities. Guest rooms come equipped with phone, TV, desk, and private bath with hairdryer.

Number of nights: 1

Tour Extension

*Northern Ireland Post-Program Option — 4 Days, 3 Nights

Savor the dramatic beauty of the Antrim Coast, one of the most scenic in all of Ireland and the British Isles, and encounter the lively capital city of Belfast. Your tour price includes:

  • Round-trip private motorcoach or van transportation Dublin/Belfast
  • 3 nights accommodations: 2 nights in Belfast at Fitzwilliam Hotel (Deluxe); 1 night in Dublin at Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport (Superior First Class)
  • 7 meals: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Sightseeing of Belfast, Antrim Coast (Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage site; Bushmill’s Distillery; Carrick-a-rede Bridge), and the new Titanic Museum in Belfast
  • Services of a professional tour representative
  • Gratuities for tour representatives, dining room servers, and airport and hotel porters

The Fitzwilliam Hotel
Well-located in the heart of Belfast on Great Victoria Street, the 131-room Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast offers easy access to many cultural attractions including the Grand Opera House, the Ulster Museum, and the Botanical Gardens. This classic-style hotel boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as a bar, fitness center, Internet access, laundry, and dry cleaning services, and elevators. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport
Adjacent to the Dublin airport with complimentary 24-hour shuttle service, the contemporary Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport offers a variety of amenities including a rooftop restaurant, bistro, bar, Internet access, laundry, and dry cleaning services, and a fitness center. The 100 air-conditioned guestrooms offer private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: One of our Classic Land Journeys, this tour features visits to many cities, iconic sites, hidden gems, and various regions. Although comprehensive, it's not rushed, but well-paced and finely tuned. Expectations include longer touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions and five different hotels. Mostly full-day excursions from four to six hours; four afternoons at leisure. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities. Daily walks of up to three miles; walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. The longest coach drive during a day is approximately four hours, but stops are made along the way. There will be two 60-minute ferry rides between the mainland and the Aran Islands.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).



The Emerald isle journey was flawlessly paced and planned. Accommodations were the best available for each location on the itinerary. The service was attentive and thoughtful throughout. the cultural information was thorough, paced well and wonderfully delivered. A great trip!

- Serena K.

What a great overview of Ireland's political and religious history, its music, literature and arts. With the small group size, everyone is included in the lectures, activities and experiences. Wonderful adventure! 

- Previous Journeys Traveler
Reading List

Highly Recommended

For the Love of Ireland: A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers
By: Susan Cahill
Welcome to the Ireland of its WritersWalk the streets of Dublin with Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Roddy Doyle. Contemplate the wild glens of Wicklow with John Millington Synge and Seamus Heaney. Wander the thrilling Cliffs of Moher with Wallace Stevens. Visit antic Limerick with Frank McCourt; mysterious Coole Park with Lady Gregory; breathtaking Sligo with William Butler Yeats; wild Donegal with Brien Friel; and hidden Clare with Edna O'Brien.No place has inspired more great literature than Ireland, which in each new generation gives birth to an astonishing number of poets, storytellers, and dramatists. For the literary pilgrim to arrive, book in hand, at the pub where Joyce set a scene or the mountain where Yeats imagined a myth is to uncover fresh meaning in the works of writers in love with their native landscape.In For the Love of Ireland, Susan Cahill offers the jewels of Irish literature. Each selection is followed by traveler's advice on how to find and fully experience the place that's about. Whether you take this book with you to Ireland or savor it in your armchair, you will be enriched, ennobled, and entertained by writers of remarkable range and at the top of their form.
The Book of Kells: An Illustrated Introduction to the Manuscript in Trinity College Dublin
By: Meehan, Bernard
DK Eyewitness Ireland (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
A Traveller's History of Ireland
By: Peter Neville
Concise and readable account of the region from prehistory right up to the present day.

Also Recommended

Ireland: In Word and Image
By: Brand: Welcome Books
“Beyond the green land, the pubs and the auburn hair, is a rich culture dating back nine thousand years, including invasions by just about every nation in Northern Europe. The Irish have survived as a people, perhaps because of the genetics of hope, the richness of tale-telling and laughter, and the scent of peat in the air.”—Jay Ben Adlersberg    The Emerald Isle is known for its gorgeous countryside, and rightfully so. From the rugged cliffs of the Atlantic coast to the lush meadows and lakes of the interior, Ireland is rich in imagery both awe-inspiring and serene. The vibrant streets of such cities as Dublin and Belfast, where modern architecture rubs shoulders with Georgian townhouses and Norman stonework, testify to the island's 21st century resurgence as the cosmopolitan 'Celtic Tiger.' From the remains of a Bronze Age ring fort to the soaring modern Spire of Dublin to the stallions of the National Stud, Ireland is a land of surprising variety.   The rich color images collected here weave together the portrait of a land where Paleolithic monuments, medieval castles, quiet fishing villages, and bustling cities all exist alongside each other.  From the eerie, astonishing hexagonal stones of the ‘Giant’s Causeway’ in County Antrim to the cozy atmosphere of the town pub; from breathtaking wild landscapes to the exquisite gardens of stately homes; each page offers a new glimpse of Ireland’s multifarious beauty.  The prehistoric tombs of Newgrange, the Gothic peaks of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the sublime scenery of Connemara National Park, and countless country villages, all are here.  With a keen visual sensibility, Jay Ben Adlersberg captures the tiniest details and the most magnificent vistas that are at the island’s heart and that make Ireland one of the world’s loveliest places to travel—or to call home.   Here, too, is a journey through Ireland’s history.  The soaring modern Spire of Dublin monument, the elegant campus of Trinity College, the ancient seat of Ireland’s kings at Tara—each evokes a different moment in Ireland’s many-layered past.  Written in the land itself, Ireland’s history appears here in the slope of a thatched roof, in the grass-grown remains of a Bronze Age ring fort, in a field tilled for centuries. Finally, here is the soul of a land where, out of the hardships of the past, have come arts and culture alive with creativity and resilience, from traditional flute and fiddle music to a diverse literary tradition from which thirty poems and literary excerpts have been chosen to accompany Adlersberg’s images, including the romantic prose of James Joyce; the humorous boyhood memories of Frank McCourt; the celebration of natural beauty in the poetry of W.B. Yeats; and the folk tales of Douglas Hyde; as well as numerous others whose writings capture the unique spirit that is Ireland.    Samantha Bowser supplies the rich and nuanced captions for the more than two hundred photographs.
How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (The Hinges of History)
By: Thomas Cahill
The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe.Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.
The Celts: A Very Short Introduction
By: Barry Cunliffe
Savage and bloodthirsty, or civilized and peaceable? The Celts have long been a subject of enormous fascination, speculation, and misunderstanding. From the ancient Romans to the present day, their real nature has been obscured by a tangled web of preconceived ideas and stereotypes. Barry Cunliffe seeks to reveal this fascinating people for the first time, using an impressive range of evidence, and exploring subjects such as trade, migration, and the evolution of Celtic traditions. Along the way, he exposes the way in which society's needs have shaped our visions of the Celts, and examines such colorful characters as St. Patrick, Cu Chulainn, and Boudica.
The Truth About the Irish: A Frank and Funny Look
By: Terry Eagleton
If you're looking for a field guide to leprechauns, The Truth About the Irish is not the book for you. But if you can handle a frank and funny look into the minds and hearts of Irish people, you've been touched by that fabled Irish luck. Covering all things Irish from Blarney to Yeats, renowned literary and cultural critic Terry Eagleton separates the myths from the reality with his priceless blend of sidesplitting humor, caustic commentary, and the honest lowdown on the beloved and bewildering country of Ireland.
In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English
By: Carmel McCaffrey, Leo Eaton
This engaging book traces the history, archaeology, and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000 B.C., when nomadic hunter-gatherers appeared in Ireland at the end of the last Ice Age to 1167 A.D., when a Norman invasion brought the country under control of the English crown for the first time. So much of what people today accept as ancient Irish history―Celtic invaders from Euproe turning Ireland into a Celtic nation; St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland and converting its people to Christianity―is myth and legend with little basis in reality. The truth is more interesting. The Irish, as the authors show, are not even Celtic in an archaeological sense. And there were plenty of bishops in Ireland before a British missionary called Patrick arrived. But In Search of Ancient Ireland is not simply the story of events from long ago. Across Ireland today are festivals, places, and folk customs that provide a tangible link to events thousands of years past. The authors visit and describe many of these places and festivals, talking to a wide variety of historians, scholars, poets, and storytellers in the very settings where history happened. Thus the book is also a journey on the ground to uncover ten thousand years of Irish identity. In Search of Ancient Ireland is the official companion to the three-part PBS documentary series. With 14 black-and-white photos, 6 b&w illustrations, and 1 map.
Ireland Unhinged: Encounters With a Wildly Changing Country
By: David Monagan
Ireland Unhinged: Encounters with a Wildly Changing Country looks back at the changes that the economic boon wreaked on the Irish countryside, and what the future holds for the country. Connecticut-born David Monagan explores his adopted country through the eyes of a passionate transplant. “What is Ireland? Has it lost its soul?” Monagan keeps asking as he roams from Cork to Dublin, Donegal, and Belfast. His answers are loving, searing, and often laugh-out-loud funny.
Sun Dancing: A Medieval Vision
By: Geoffrey Moorhouse
In this remarkable feat of imagination and reconstruction Moorhouse shows how the medieval monastic community of The Great Skellig, an island off Ireland's southwest coast, worshipped and survived from 500 bc to ad 1200. The first part of the book is a fictional description of the austere life of the monks beginning with their arrival on the island, withdrawing from the world to a life of prayer, fasting, hardship, and danger. Subsequent scenes depict aspects of Celtic spirituality, a dangerous Viking raid, and spiritual crises. Finally, the abbot and his aging disciples abandon the island following a severe storm. The second part is a collection of short essays describing the many features of medieval monastic life.
The Aran Islands (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
By: J. M. Synge
The foremost account of Ireland's cultural and spiritual heritageIn 1907 J. M. Synge achieved both notoriety and lasting fame with The Playboy of the Western World. The Aran Islands, published in the same year, records his visits to the islands in 1898-1901, when he was gathering the folklore and anecdotes out of which he forged The Playboy and his other major dramas. Yet this book is much more than a stage in the evolution of Synge the dramatist. As Tim Robinson explains in his introduction, "If Ireland is intriguing as being an island off the west of Europe, then Aran, as an island off the west of Ireland, is still more so; it is Ireland raised to the power of two." Towards the end of the last century Irish nationalists came to identify the area as the country's uncorrupted heart, the repository of its ancient language, culture and spiritual values. It was for these reasons that Yeats suggested Synge visit the islands to record their way of life. The result is a passionate exploration of a triangle of contradictory relationships – between an island community still embedded in its ancestral ways but solicited by modernism, a physical environment of ascetic loveliness and savagely unpredictable moods, and Synge himself, formed by modern European thought but in love with the primitive.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Connemara Mollie: An Irish Journey On Horseback (Bradt Travel Guides (Travel Literature))
By: Hilary Bradt
An account of a journey through western Ireland made in 1984 that centres on the growing bond between the author and her Connemara pony and the many challenges they face before the tragic conclusion in the mountains of Kerry. It is a portrait of rural Ireland, built up from conversations with local people. The journey takes them through Counties Galway, Mayo, Clare and Kerry, the obstacles to their progress ranging from bogs, stone walls, and the River Shannon. "I've never tried hitchhiking with a horse before" comments the author. "It's not easy." She travelled with no set route.
Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996
By: Seamus Heaney
As selected by the author, Opened Ground includes the essential work from Heaney's twelve previous books of poetry, as well as new sequences drawn from two of his landmark translations, The Cure at Troy and Sweeney Astray, and several previously uncollected poems. Heaney's voice is like no other--"by turns mythological and journalistic, rural and sophisticated, reminiscent and impatient, stern and yielding, curt and expansive" (Helen Vendler, The New Yorker)--and this is a one-volume testament to the musicality and precision of that voice. The book closes with Heaney's Nobel Lecture: "Crediting Poetry."
Dubliners: Centennial Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
By: Joyce, James
Ireland: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: Brand: Whereabouts Press
What explains the fact that one of the world’s smallest, least assuming countries has consistently been among the top 15 international travel destinations for Americans? Ireland’s appeal can be attributed to many things: its blend of picturesque villages and bustling modern cities, its people known for their warmth, charm, stoicism, and individuality, its history — one of the most dramatic of any country on the planet — and its rich literary tradition. This engaging collection of short stories captures all these qualities of Ireland and more. Set in the Emerald Isle’s legendary provinces of Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connaught, these varied tales by some of the world’s most renowned writers give prospective visitors an immediate feel for the country’s enduring past and exciting present. Frank O’Connor, Liam O’Flaherty, William Trevor, John McGahern, Benedict Kiely, Patrick Kavanugh, Gerry Adams, Hugo Hamilton, and Desmond Hogan are among the talents represented here.
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales
By: Yeats, William Butler
The Celtic World
By: The Great Courses
Following the surge of interest and pride in Celtic identity since the 19th century, much of what we thought we knew about the Celts has been radically transformed. From the warriors who nearly defeated Julius Caesar to druids who, contrary to popular opinion, definitely did not worship at Stonehenge, get to know the real Celts. In The Celtic World, discover the incredible story of the Celtic-speaking peoples, whose art, language, and culture once spread from Ireland to Austria. This series of 24 enlightening lectures explains the traditional historical view of who the Celts were, then contrasts it with brand-new evidence from DNA analysis and archeology that totally changes our perspective on where the Celts came from. European history and culture have been profoundly affected by the Celts, from the myth of King Arthur to the very map of the United Kingdom, where the English confronted the peoples of the "Celtic Fringe." With a wealth of historical expertise, Professor Jennifer Paxton, Director of the University Honors Program and Clinical Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic University of America, guides you through each topic related to Celtic history with approachability and ease as you unearth what we once thought it meant-and what it may actually mean-to be Celtic. Professor Paxton's engaging, often humorous delivery blends perfectly with the facts about the Celts to uncover surprising historical revelations. The ancient Celts are very much alive in the literary and artistic traditions that their descendants have both preserved and very deliberately revived. All facets of Celtic life, past and present, are addressed by Professor Paxton, who demonstrates a masterful knowledge and carefully separates fact from myth at every turn. Come along for a ride through history to discover your inner Celt.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

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