Uncover Ireland's many charms, from lively Dublin to the Aran Islands and Ring of Kerry, on this intimate exploration of a country steeped in history and rich in culture.

Starting at: $5,372 * 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  The 19th-century Elizabethan-style Muckross House, 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

Featuring Dublin and Ireland's Western Coast

13 days from $5,372 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Uncover Ireland's many charms, from lively Dublin to the Aran Islands and Ring of Kerry, on this intimate exploration of a country steeped in history and rich in culture.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

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

Hard to imagine a more rewarding experience. 

- Michael G.

My first experience with Smithsonian was beyond all my expectations! I look forward to being a regular traveler with the Smithsonian! 

- Gerald M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

Journey from lively Dublin to the Aran Islands and Ring of Kerry and discover a country steeped in history and boasting a rich tapestry of cultural traditions and ethereal landscapes.

Highlights Include

  • Dublin: Enjoy a day in Dublin, home to many Irish writers past and present. Highlights include tours of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the library at Trinity College with its legendary Book of Kells, an exquisite illuminated medieval manuscript.
  • Galway, Connemara, and the Aran Islands: Traveling west, stop at 6th-century Clonmacnoise, Ireland’s most important early monastic site and burial place of the last High King. From Galway, head out for a full-day excursion to Connemara, with its rugged mountains, glacial lakes, and bog lands. Visit beautiful Kylemore Abbey and enjoy spectacular views of the Twelve Bens mountain range. Another day, cross Galway Bay for Inishmor where you’ll meet an islander who shares stories about the unique culture and history of the Aran Islands.
  • Ethereal Landscapes: Experience the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, stretching for five miles along the fabled coastline of Country Clare, and pass through the Burren, the rocky landscape of craggy gray karst limestone formations. Spend a day on the Ring of Kerry with its stunning mountain and coastal scenery, a 1,000-year-old ring fort, and mysterious monument stones.
  • Killarney: Board a traditional jaunting cart to explore the town and tour 15th-century Ross Castle, the last stronghold to fall to Oliver Cromwell. At Muckross House, see how people lived during the 19th century in an Elizabethan-style manor, while downstairs you can observe weavers and potters demonstrate traditional crafts. You’ll also watch a sheepdog demonstration and enjoy dinner in a local family-run B&B.
  • Blarney, Cashel, and Kilkenny: Visit well-known castles such as Blarney and the Rock of Cashel, once home to the High Kings of Munster. In Kilkenny, Ireland’s cultural capital, tour the 12th-century castle and enjoy a walking tour and time at leisure. 

Activity Level 2: Moderate

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

Hard to imagine a more rewarding experience. 

- Michael G.

My first experience with Smithsonian was beyond all my expectations! I look forward to being a regular traveler with the Smithsonian! 

- Gerald M.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart U.S. for Dublin, Ireland

Upon arrival in Ireland’s dynamic capital, check in to your hotel located on St. Stephen’s Green. Enjoy leisure time this afternoon before gathering at a local restaurant for a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 3 — Dublin

Enjoy a day getting to know the engaging city of Dublin, where almost every Irish writer lived for some time. Highlights of today’s tour feature Trinity College to see the extraordinary Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript created by monks around A.D. 800, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Enjoy a free afternoon of your own individual pursuits. You may also wish to join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and Tour Director for an optional walk to the National Museum of Archaeology, which you can visit on your own for an in-depth overview of Ireland’s heritage, culture, and natural history. (B)

Day 4 — Galway

Head west to the region some consider the “most Irish part of Ireland,” and where traditional Irish is often heard. En route, stop at the 6th-century Clonmacnoise, Ireland’s most important early monastic site and burial place of the last High King of Ireland. Arrive in charming Galway City in the afternoon and enjoy dinner at your hotel, located in the nearby village of Bearna. (B,D)

Day 5 — Connemara

Evocative and legendary Connemara is a dramatic, rugged landscape of mountains, glacial lakes, and uninhabited bog lands. During a full-day excursion, stop at the beautiful Kylemore Abbey, one of Ireland’s most photographed castles, which was built as a private home in 1861. Enjoy spectacular views of the Twelve Bens mountain range in the background. This evening enjoy dinner with traditional Irish entertainment at Padraicins overlooking Galway Bay. (B,D)

Day 6 — Aran Islands and Galway

Today's destination is Inishmor, the largest of the fabled Aran Islands, whose unique culture and history have been an inspiration to artists, writers, and film-makers. Located across Galway Bay, the islands feature primitive stone forts, early Christian churches, and medieval castles. Meet a local islander who shares knowledge and stories during a special tour, including a stop at Dun Aenghus Fortress, the three prehistoric stone walls crowning the tallest cliffs of Inishmore. Then enjoy time to explore on your own before returning to the mainland in the late afternoon. Dine tonight at a local restaurant in the village of Bearna. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Killarney

Traveling south along the fabled coastline of County Clare, stop to admire the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, which rise vertically from the sea and stretch for seven miles from north to south. Pass through the Burren, the 116-square mile rocky landscape of craggy gray karst (limestone) formations. Then cross by ferry into County Kerry, and arrive in the late afternoon in Killarney, set in beautiful Killarney National Park. Tonight, enjoy dinners in local family-run B&Bs. (B,D)

Day 8 — Killarney

Explore the vibrant town of Killarney from the perspective of a historic jaunting-cart, then continue to 15th-century Ross Castle, the last stronghold to fall to Oliver Cromwell’s forces. Travel by boat to Muckross House, a 19th-century Elizabethan-style manor, where you’ll tour the elegantly furnished rooms and informal garden. Also explore the Kerry Folklife Centre, which showcases traditional arts and crafts such as bookbinding, pottery, and weaving. (B)

Day 9 — Killarney and Ring of Kerry

Today, admire and experience the Ireland of postcards—the stunning mountain and coastal scenery of the Ring of Kerry, a 110-mile route around the Ardagh Peninsula. Stop at a 1,000- year-old Ring fort and view several primitive Ogham stones revealing an ancient alphabet. On the return to Killarney, stop for an Irish sheep dog demonstration. Dinner tonight is on your own. (B,L)

Day 10 — Blarney, Cashel, Kilkenny

Travel southeast to the small town of Blarney and visit the ruins of the 15th-century castle, with its celebrated Blarney Stone. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to County Tipperary and the Rock of Cashel, once home to the High Kings of Munster. Arrive in Kilkenny late this afternoon. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Kilkenny

A small medieval city, Kilkenny is known as Ireland’s cultural capital. Enjoy a tour of 12th-century Kilkenny Castle, considered one of the country’s most beautiful, then embark on an informal walking tour, noting the many buildings constructed of black limestone or “Kilkenny marble.” Spend the remainder of the day at leisure exploring this charming town with its contemporary craft and design studios and well-preserved historic architecture and monuments. (B,L)

Day 12 — Dublin

Set out for Dublin this morning, and visit the National Stud Farm, the center of Ireland’s horse racing industry. Mid-afternoon reach your hotel, located just outside Dublin. Tonight celebrate your Irish adventure at a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 13 — Depart Dublin for the U.S.

Transfer to the airport this morning for your flights to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)