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The Gathering Ireland Tour (8 Night)
Overview of the 8 Night Self Drive Tour for The Gathering Ireland
Get involved and celebrate being Irish with the Gathering Ireland. Ireland will open its arms to the many millions of friends, family, loved ones and connections overseas, inviting them home to celebrate.It will be a year long , spectacular celebration of all things Irish where communities will showcase and share the very best of our culture , tradition, business, sport and of course our Irish wit! There is a global diaspora of over 70 million - Are you one of them?
There have been no fewer than 4 recent US presidents claiming Irish family connections so when you research your family tree; you never know who may be a distant relative! 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of John Fitzgerald Kennedy‘s visit to Ireland. His great-grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald had emigrated to Boston in 1847 to escape the poverty and devastation caused by the potato famine. JFK returned to his homestead in Dunganstown, New Ross, County Wexford in 1963 to have tea with his cousin who still lived there. JFK commented at the time something which still rings true today:
“I want to express… how much this visit has meant. It is strange that so many years could pass and so many generations pass and still some of us who came on this trip could come… here to Ireland and feel ourselves at home and not feel ourselves in a strange country, but feel ourselves among neighbours, even though we are separated by generations, by time, and by thousands of miles”.
So let us help you plan the perfect tour, so you can come and find out more about your forefathers or get reacquainted with distant cousins!
Overnights for this tour:
- Waterford for 1 night
- Cork for 1 night
- Killarney, County Kerry for 2 nights
- Galway for 2 nights
- Dublin for 2 nights
Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland. It is near the River Martin. The castle originally dates from before AD 1200. It was destroyed in 1446, but subsequently rebuilt by Cormac MacCarthy, the King of Munster. It is currently a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and the battlements. There are many legends as to the origin of the stone, but some say that it was the Lia Fáil—a magical stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney about 8 km from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446. The castle ...read more
Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin is the elder of the city's two mediæval cathedrals, the other being St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is officially claimed as the seat (cathedra) of both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic archbishops of Dublin. In practice it has been the cathedral of only the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, since the Irish Reformation. Though nominally claimed as his cathedral, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin uses a church elsewhere, St Mary's in Malborough Street in Dublin, as his pro-cathedral (acting cathedral). Christ Church Cathedral is located in the former heart of mediaeval Dublin, next to Wood Quay, at the end of Dame Street . However a major dual carriage-way building scheme around it separated it from the original mediaeval str...read more
The Cobh Heritage Centre provides information on life in Ireland through the 18th and 19th centuries, the mass emigration, the Great Famine, and on how criminals were transported to Australia for petty crimes. It also has an exhibition on the history of the RMS Titanic, whose last port of call before it sank was Cóbh (then Queenstown). From 1848 - 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland - over 2.5 million departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration. This exodus from Ireland was largely as a result of poverty, crop failures, the land system and a lack of opportunity. Irish emigration reached unprecedented proportions during the famine as people fled from hunger and disease. Many famine emigrants went initially to British ...read more
The Conor Pass is the highest mountain pass in Ireland. It is situated on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, on the road that crosses the peninsula between Dingle Town and the coast the other side. The Mountains the Pass crosses are the Brandon Mountains and contain Ireland's second highest peak Brandon Mountain at 3127 ft. From Dingle Town the road runs some 4½ miles rising to 1500 ft as it winds its way to the pass. There are wonderful views of the coast. At the Pass there is a carpark where you are confronted with this magnificent sight. The road then carries on down towards Brandon Bay past cliffs, a waterfall and lakes ...read more
There are so many things to see, to do, to explore, to experience on the Dingle Peninsula . . . from almost 2,000 archaeological sites, to more walking than you could fit into a year, to Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who's been living at the mouth of Dingle Harbour since 1984. There is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Because of the peninsula's remote location, and lack of specialised agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments. It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be impressed by its archaeological heritage. When one ...read more
Dublin is both the largest city and capital of Ireland. It is located near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin Region. Founded as a Viking settlement, the city has been Ireland's primary city for most of the island's history since medieval times. Today, it is an economic, administrative and cultural centre for the island of Ireland and has one of the fastest growing populations of any European capital city. The city has a world-famous literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights from Dublin include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. It is ar...read more
Dublin Castle (Irish: Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath) off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, is a major Irish governmental complex, formerly the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922. Most of the complex dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171–1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800–1922). Upon establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the complex was ceremonially handed over to the newly formed Provisional Government led by Michael Collins. Dublin Castle fulfilled a number of r...read more
Dublinia Museum in Ireland is a heritage centre located in the heart of the medieval city of Dublin, Irelands capital city. There are three exciting exhibitions in Dublinia and a must see for any Vacation in Ireland. Viking Dublin takes the visitor back to life in the city in Viking times. See what life was like onboard a Viking warship, visit a Viking house and take a trip down a Viking street. Investigate burial customs explore the Viking legacy and much more. Our Medieval Dublin exhibition includes a busy medieval market, a rich merchant’s house, and a noisy medieval street. Find out about death and disease and see what Medieval Dublin looked like with a fascinating scale model of the town. History Hunters brings our exhibitions full circle and shows the visitor how we know about ...read more
The Gap of Dunloe is a beautiful glacial valley in the Macgillacuddy Reeks mountain range, which dominate the skyline of Killarney. Here you may enjoy an energetic walk or cycle its rough path. The scenery all around the famousLakes of Killarneyis breathtaking and there are many viewing points around the lakes as you see above. The three main lakes of Killarney occupy a broad valley stretching south between the mountains. The three lakes and the mountains that surround them are all within the Killarney National Park. The Lower Lake is nearest to the town, it is studded with islands and has Muckross Abbey and Ross Castle on its eastern shore. Why not take the Gap of Dunloe Trip, by horseback or pony and trap through the Gap, and then by boat across the Killarney lake to Ross Castl...read more
The Guinness Storehouse is located in the heart of the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, and is, according to the Guiness Storehouse Web site, Ireland’s No. 1 international visitor attraction. Since opening in November 2000, Guinness Storehouse has attracted over 4 million visitors from every corner of the globe. The Storehouse is laid out over seven floors surrounding a glass atrium taking the shape of a pint of Guinness. On the ground floor the massive exhibit introduces you to the four ingredients; water, barley, hops and yeast, all of which combine together to make a pint of Guinness. Visitors are also introduced to the fifth and vital ingredient, Arthur Guinness himself. As the visitor moves up through the building, they next encounter an exhibition on the history of...read more
With a few exceptions, we all enjoyed a great vacation(particularly the golfers). We played 11 golf courses in 14 days and all of them were in good condition.
Our only bad hotel experience was at the Albany Hotel in Edinburgh. Once we got a few issues resolved, that also went fairly well.
The transportation was great, and we are all very happy that we decided to use a hired driver for this trip. I don't think that we could have gotten our luggage in any vehicle that we could have rented.
Cathal did an excellent job in arranging this trip. In addition to dealing with 6 demanding people, he handled all the arrangements to our satisfaction. I think that any problems encountered were out of his control.
I think, taking all things into consideration(people, hotels, golf, transportation, food, etc.), that we preferred Ireland to Scotland.
Bill Watkins, Lexington, SC