Gourmet Ireland Tour
There is something unique about Irish food and drink and the venues in which it’s served ! while each have their own character, all have something uniquely Irish which is enjoyed by so many people from all over the world. Let us share our Gourmet Ireland Tour with you….
Here is an example of one Gourmet Ireland Tour itinerary that we think worked well and the participants certainly enjoyed it!!
Gourmet Ireland Tour : Day 1
Upon arrival in Dublin Airport, you will be met by your Driver/Guide, he will accompany you throughout the tour. First stop this morning is Malahide Castle, an 11th Century castle, situated to the North of Dublin City. The Castle was the home to the Talbot family for almost 600 years, the last Lord Talbot handed the castle over to the state in the 1960’s. Coffee and Scones are served in the tea-rooms, an adjacent building in the old courtyard that also houses a craft shop.
After these refreshments, we will take the short drive into the city to check into your accommodation. You can rest for the afternoon, or explore your surroundings. Tonight, we have a welcome dinner arranged at a Traditional Irish Pub, as well as fine Irish Food, you will be entertained by musicians and dancers throughout the meal.
Gourmet Ireland Tour : Day 2
This morning we will take an orientation tour of the city – you will see the famous buildings that now feature in the movies – Trinity College – ‘ Educating Rita’ and Dublin Castle, the Four Courts and the GPO from ‘Michael Collins’ and Temple Bar – the narrow streets were transformed into 19th Century Boston for ‘Far and Away’.
We will make our stop at Guinness Storehouse, this new complex is part of the original buildings from the brewery dating back to 18th Century. The tour takes us through the history behind Guinness, Arthur Guinness and his family and takes a look at the impact this brewery had on the Dublin people who lived and worked here.
The highlight is having a pint of Guinness in the ‘Gravity Bar’ at the top of the building. The bar is a round room with walls of 360 degrees glass and it overlooks the whole city. We will drive back to the city and leave you to explore by yourselves for the afternoon, you can visit the Book of Kells at Trinity College or the National Museum or simply stroll up Grafton St. and take a look at the shops.
In the afternoon you can continue the Guinness theme for the day and we will take you west of the city through the Liffey Valley the the village of Leixlip on County Kildare. In Irish, Leixlip means ‘Salmon Leap’, this village like Dublin City was established by the Vikings. Leixlip Castle was built soon after 1172 at the meeting of the Rye Water and the River Liffey by a Norman Invader to Ireland.
The Castle has had a connection with the Guinness Family for over three hundred years – The Archbishop of Cashel, who died in 1752 is buried in the aisle of Leixlip Church, he left £100 to Richard Guinness which enabled him to establish a brewery between the Main St. and the Liffey in Leixlip, a plaque marks the spot. In 1759 Richard’s son, Arthur Guinness moved the brewery to Dublin – and began distilling his famous black porter!
His descendant, Desmond Guinness bought the Castle in 1958 and has lived here since. He has only recently opened his home to private tours and you can enjoy a glass of wine as he brings you around the main reception rooms and guest bedrooms of the Castle. You will hear the fascinating history of his family and see the stunning paintings and wall hangings displayed around the house.
We can organise a golf option this afternoon for any sporty types ! Return to your hotel. Dinner will be on your own this evening.
Take a trip to the fishing village of Howth in the North of Dublin, we will visit Howth Castle Cookery School for a demonstration and of course a tasting! Then a walk along the pier followed by some Oysters and Guinness in the Bloody Stream Pub.
After breakfast we depart Dublin and travel south to County Wicklow ‘the Garden of Ireland’. We stop at Glendalough – the 6th Century monastic village founded by St. Kevin. Two churches and the round tower remain in the graveyard. There are lovely walks around the lakes it is easy to see how monks would have meditated here, it is a most tranquil area that surely must be one of the greenest places in Ireland.
In the afternoon, we continue to Kilkenny, the medieval city. We will take a visit to the castle. This was home to the Butler family for 800 years before it fell into disrepair early in the 1900’s.
The state took over the restoration work in the 1970’s and now we can visualise how life would have been in this fabulous castle. The tour takes you through the living/ entertaining rooms and up to the bedrooms of the family.
After the tour we check into your hotel for dinner and overnight and the remainder of the afternoon/evening is free, where you can find a cosy pub and snuggle in to taste the popular ‘Kilkenny’ red beer that is brewed in the town.
This morning, we travel further south to Waterford, this town became famous worldwide as home to ‘Waterford Crystal’. We will take a tour of the factory which ends in the showrooms. Any purchases will be shipped to the States for you.
Afterwards we will go South West to the Whiskey distillery in Midleton. A tour of the distillery ends in the bar, where you can sample the whiskey and taste the difference between Irish and Scotch.
Afterwards we will go to the seaside town of Cobh to visit the heritage centre. The centre gives a history of emigration from Ireland between 1820’s and 1960’s. Before the famine in Ireland there were 8 million people in the country but within 5 years, a million people had died and another million had emigrated to the US or to England.
This village was once a major port and was the last port of call for many ships sailing to New York. One such ship was the HMS Titanic. The ship made her last stop here to take on provisions and some people emigrating to the US before sailing off on its fateful voyage.
In the late afternoon, we travel through Cork to the fishing village of Kinsale for overnight. After dinner at the hotel, you can go out for a drink at the 1601 Bar or The Kinsale Brewery.
Today we travel to the far side of Cork in the morning to the village of Blarney where you can kiss the Blarney Stone, on top of the castle and do some shopping at the Woollen Mills.
After you have got ‘the gift of the gab’, we will go into Cork City where you can have some free time to stroll around Patrick St. and the city centre. We will return back out to Kinsale for the evening where you will be free for dinner. There are plenty of great restaurants here – including Crackpots and the Blue Haven.
After breakfast, we will travel the coast road to Killarney, we will stop at Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Bantry, Glengariff and Kenmare. All of these are great little villages with plenty of local pubs for lunch stops or a pint on the way through!
We will overnight in Killarney and have dinner at the hotel tonight. After that, you will be free to wander around the town – a wide selection of pubs with entertainment awaits you!
A lazy morning today, if you like we can go to the Gap of Dunloe where we will stop for a walk and a morning Irish Coffee at Kate Kearney’s cottage before heading out to the Dingle Peninsula.
We pass the beach at Inch, made famous by the movie ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, and continue to the fishing village of Dingle.
The countryside and seascape is really breathtaking in places. We will travel around Slea Head, seeing the Gallarus Oratory near Ballyferriter and then on the way back into Dingle, we will stop at Paidi O’Se’s Pub – he was the ex Kerry Football manager. Many celebrities have stopped here for a pint including Martin Sheen and Tom Cruise – you can see their pictures on the wall around the pub.
We will overnight tonight in Dingle town – there are many places to go out around the town and most have entertainment.
This morning we will travel north through Tralee, Abbeyfeale, Newcastlewest and through the pretty village of Adare, to reach Limerick City. You will see St. John’s Castle on the banks of the Shannon in the City Centre. This Castle was very important in guarding the city from invaders, the castle borders the River Shannon.
We travel out to Bunratty in the afternoon for your overnight accommodation. Your dinner tonight will be served at Bunratty Castle – a Medieval Banquet complete with dancing and entertainment.
In the morning we travel north through Ennis to the coast and the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs are very impressive, stretching 650 feet out of the sea and extending for 5 miles around the coastline.
We will then go north to Doolin, enjoy a pint in O’Connors and maybe a plate of oysters or smoked salmon. Then we travel through the Burren to Galway. We can overnight here, or if you prefer, we can continue out to Clifden or Leenane for overnight – these will be much smaller villages and might suit.
Whether staying in Galway City or out in Connemara, we will take a trip to The Aran Islands today. We travel out west along the coast of Galway Bay to Rossaveal. We catch the 10h30 sailing over to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran islands.
A mini coach will meet you there and take you on a tour of the island. Out to Dun Aonghus – the medieval fort that protected the island against invaders. Bring sturdy walking shoes as the going is quite tough but well worth it when you get to the top, the view is not unlike that from the Cliffs of Moher as you are looking over the Cliffs to the Atlantic, but when you look back over the land, you can see the whole island and on a clear day, back to the mainland.
After the tour, your minibus will leave you back at the Joe Whatty’s Pub where we will have an Irish Coffee lesson and a taste of the finished product.
We will travel back to the harbour and get the 16h30 sailing back to the mainland and back to your accommodation.
Today, we complete our Connemara tour with a trip to Kylemore Abbey, the Victorian mansion lies on the shores of a lake and was formerly a girls boarding school run by Benedictine Nuns. The walk through the woods to get the to walled garden is just amazing.
In the afternoon, we head over to Killary Harbour for a cruise on Ireland’s only Fjord – the cruiser is very stable and the Fjord is very calm so no need to worry about getting sea legs. There is a bar on board and sandwiches are served so sit back and enjoy the magnificent scenery surrounding you.
That evening it’s back to your accommodation again.
On this day, we travel north through Sligo and Donegal to Derry. The drive today, will take us by Yeat’s Grave at Drumcliff just outside Sligo, you will see the Ben Bulben mountain on the way past.
We can divert to Belleek China Factory if you like. Just, like Waterford they will ship purchases home for you. We will arrive in Derry in time dinner and overnight.
The nightlife in Derry is very vibrant – the walled city really comes to life after dark when pubs/restaurants are all hopping !
Today, we travel over to the Causeway coast to see Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, the Giants Causeway, then in the afternoon, we take a spin around Belfast City and then down to Cabra Castle in Cavan for your final night.
Dinner tonight is served in the old part of the Castle and enjoy a drink after the meal by the fire in their cosy bar.
Departure day, we will travel to the airport to be there 2 hours before your flight time.