Tour Of Ireland

ireland Day 1 Dublin - Tramore 190 kms, 118 miles
Travel south out of Dublin, past the ferryport of Dun Laoghaire, toward the Wicklow mountains and the pretty hillside village of Enniskerry. Visit the grandeur of the Powerscourt Estate with its gardens, deer herd and the highest waterfall in Ireland. Travel on to the early Christian settlement of Glendalough set at the head of a lake in a scenic glen surrounded by the imposing Wicklow Mountains. Explore the extensive ruins of the 6th century Irish monastery of St Kevin and wonder at the life of the monks in such a beautiful but isolated location. Continue your journey south through Avoca to the holiday resort of Arklow, towards Enniscorthy. Either travel the twisting lanes to New Ross with its Dutch-style houses or head further south to Wexford and across the Barrow River by the Ballyhack/Passage East car ferry, north of Rosslare. Ahead lies the historic city of Waterford, a name now synonymous with crystal and the sandy beaches of Tramore.

Day 2 Tramore - Cork 117 kms, 73 miles
This morning spend a little quality time in Waterford with its splendid wide bridge and mile-long quay fronting the mediaeval centre, for this was a Viking stronghold, and later a Norman town second only to Dublin in importance. Heading east from Tramore, turn-offs around Dungarvan give access to lovely beaches, notably at Stradbally and the An Rinn peninsula where Irish is spoken. On now to Youghal, ancient walled seaport town, location in 1954 for the harbour scenes in Moby Dick. An Elizabethan mansion inside the walls was home to Sir Walter Raleigh, the town?s mayor 1585-97. Cork city beckons, but first turn to Cobh, a pretty town on a hill above the harbour, the doomed Titanics last port of call in April 1912.

Day 3 Cork - Killarney 151 kms, 94 miles
Travel the short distance outside Cork to Blarney Castle with its famous stone, said to impart the gift of eloquence to all who kiss it. Travel through Macroom on to the beautiful holiday resort of Glengarriff from where you can take a boat and visit Garinish Island. Drive north to Kenmare. From Kenmare either go into Killarney, circling the mountainous Macgillycuddys Reeks and Carrauntoohil, the highest point in Ireland, spending the rest of the day in Killarney. Or drive around the Iveragh Peninsula, better known as the Ring of Kerry, travelling through Sneem, Waterville, Cahirciveen and Killorglin, towards Killarney.

Day 4 Killarney - Galway 251 kms, 156 miles
Drive north to the historic city of Limerick with King Johns Castle, the famous Treaty Stone and St Mary?s Cathedral. Attractions close to Limerick include Bunratty Castle and Knappogue Castle. Continue through Ennis with its old abbey and the seaside resort of Lahinch. Travel along the coast past the breathtaking 200m/600ft high Cliffs of Moher and enjoy Ireland?s premier spa town of Lisdoonvarna, before driving through the bare limestone hills of the Burren Country to Galway, where tradition holds that Columbus prayed before sailing to America.

Day 5 Galway - Westport 138 kms, 96 miles
Continue north out of Galway through Connemara towards Clifden, capital of Connemara. Travel through the pretty village of Leenaun, arriving at Westport on Clew Bay with its 100 islands and scenic views of the North Atlantic.

Day 6 Westport - Donegal 194 kms, 121 miles
Head north through Castlebar, Ballina and Inniscrone, to Sligo and its 13th century Franciscan friary. Drive on to Drumcliff, burial place of W.B. Yeats. Travel further up the Atlantic Coast through Ballyshannon to Donegal, visiting the imposing Franciscan friary in Rossnowlagh and Donegal Castle en route.

Day 7 Donegal - Derry 167 kms, 104 miles
Drive north through the villages of Dunkineely, Ardara and Glenties, famed for their cottage industries and the production of Donegal tweed. Continue along the coast to Dunfanaghy, nestling on a cosy inlet of Sheephaven Bay. Head south to Donegals chief town Letterkenny. From here you can extend your drive by taking a tour of the scenic Inishowen Peninsula. Travel through Buncrana, Malin Head, the most northerly point on mainland Ireland, to Moville. Continue on to Derry and walk around its ancient encircling walls, still intact and perfect, before visiting the award-winning Tower Museum.

Day 8 Derry - Belfast 194 kms, 120 miles
Travel eastwards through Limavady to Downhill and its small Mussenden Temple. Drive through Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush to the dramatic ruin of Dunluce Castle and the Giant?s Causeway, home to the legendary giant Finn McCool, and take a short detour to Bushmills Distillery. Continue along the north Antrim coast through Ballycastle to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Travel through the Glens of Antrim through Cushendall and Carnlough towards Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland.

Day 9 Belfast - Newry 154 kms, 90 miles
Enjoy a relaxing morning exploring Belfast and the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, then drive from Bangor along the Ards breezy coast road. At Ballywalter turn inland to Greyabbey for a sheltered drive to Portaferry. Cross Strangford Lough by car ferry towards Downpatrick to visit St Patricks Grave on Cathedral Hill. Drive to Newcastle, where the Mournes sweep down to the sea, on past the lively fishing port of Kilkeel and through Rostrevor and Warrenpoint towards Newry.

Day 10 Newry - Dublin 108 kms, 67 miles
From Newry travel south towards Dublin, through Dundalk to the historic town of Drogheda. Visit the prehistoric tombs at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. Complete your tour of the Boyne Valley at Slane, where St Patrick lit the first paschal fire on the hill in AD 434 as a challenge to King Laoghaire's fire on the nearby Hill of Tara, before returning to Dublin.