Day 01, Cork, Blarney Castle and Cobh
Check-in is 20 minutes prior to train departure time at the customer service desk at Heuston Station where our check-in representative will be in their yellow jacket!
Check-in for 7:00 am departure from Dublin Heuston, opened in 1844 as the headquarters of the Great Southern & Western Railway and is now the official principal station of Iarnród Éireann, Ireland’s national railway company. As your train departs, we travel in a south westerly direction, through Dublin's western suburbs and then through the lush fertile countryside of Co. Kildare. Our journey takes us through the Curragh which is famous for its racecourse, home of the Irish Derby, and there are many stud farms in the vicinity. The final approach to Cork station is through Ireland's longest railway tunnel, which is a rather modest 1.2km.
Arrive into Cork Kent Station, we transfer to our Railtours Ireland tour coach through Cork City to Blarney Village and historic Blarney Castle, built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy. You will have time to kiss the famous stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eternal eloquence on those lucky enough to do so. There is also time for shopping and lunch at Blarney and we recommend that you have lunch there, as this will be the only opportunity during the day to have a substantial meal.
Depart Blarney Castle. for Cóbh, via the city center and a short city tour. Cork’s population is approximately 150,000 (Ireland’s 3rd largest city after Dublin and Belfast) and is the only city center in Ireland that actually stands on an island, the River Lee divides and rejoins and either end of the city center. It is also home to Murphy’s and Beamish, the Southern Capital’s rival to Guinness. On arrival at Cóbh we will visit St Colman’s Cathedral. We will then proceed down along the sea front passing the former White Star Line offices en route to the beautifully restored Victorian railway station/transatlantic terminal. This is now the Cóbh Heritage Centre, home to the Queenstown Story. When Queen Victoria visited Ireland in 1849 she came to Cóbh and the town was renamed Queenstown in her honor –it was renamed Cóbh after Irish independence in 1922. Cóbh was of course the final port of call of the RMS Titanic and this theme is well expounded. The center also houses much information about the Great Famine and subsequent Irish Emigration, 3 million Irish people emigrated from Cóbh, (principally to the United States) including Annie Moore, whose statue is located in front of the heritage center. The Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Cork –marking the United States’ entry to the First World War and the small number of survivors were brought to Cóbh for refuge. Cóbh is also the headquarters of the Irish Navy and you will most likely see some navy ships.
Depart Cobh by train to Killarney.
The rest of the evening is free and there is a large selection of cafés, restaurants and bars in Killarney town as well as many opportunities for live traditional Irish music entertainment. Overnight Stay: Killarney.
Day 02, Ring Of Kerry
Enjoy a Full Irish Breakfast at your leisure.
You will be collected from your accommodation at 9:45 am (or as directed by our Killarney representative) for your Ring of Kerry tour.
There are plenty of stops along the Ring of Kerry for morning tea, lunch and photo stops etc. Ireland’s highest mountains are located in Kerry and Carrauntouhil, which can be seen en route. It is the highest, standing at 1041 meters. We will make a stop at the Kerry Bog Village Museum, which gives people an insight into how people lived and worked in rural Ireland in the 18th century. The village is the only one of its kind in Europe. Later on the approach to Waterville there are views (weather permitting) of the Skellig Rocks (islands), where Star Wars 'The Force Awakens' was recently filmed. We will make several photo stops, a stop for lunch and one final stop at the pretty village of Sneem, for about 30 minutes, or as directed by your tour leader.
An essential part of any visit to Ireland, this tour circles the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks and runs through its many passes and valleys along the shores of Dingle Bay and Kenmare Bay. There is an unspoilt nature to Ireland's most beautiful region and the Ring of Kerry provides many unforgettable memories as it passes through the many picturesque villages such as Glenbeigh, Waterville and Sneem and returns via Ladies View, the famous Lakes of Killarney and through the Oakwoods of Killarney's magnificent National Park. At the end of the tour you will be brought to the railway station at Killarney and overnight in Killarney for your second night. Overnight Stay: Killarney.
Day 03, Bunratty & The Cliffs of Moher
Enjoy your continental breakfast at leisure before departing Killarney by road to Limerick to join the Bunratty Castle and Cliffs of Moher Tour.
Arrive into Limerick where we will join our Railtours Ireland tour coach. Limerick has a population of about 90,000 and its city charter was granted in 1197AD, making it older than London! As we cross the river Shannon which is Ireland’s longest river you will see views of King John’s Castle to the right. The castle was completed in 1200 and marks the origins of the city. Limerick’s most famous author, Frank McCourt, grew up here and was the setting for his book, ‘Angela’s Ashes’. Limerick is also the birthplace of celebrated BBC radio DJ, Terry Wogan and Hollywood star, Richard Harris. We will pass the GAA grounds of Páirc na nGael –the home ground of County Limerick’s Hurling and Gaelic Football teams. Limerick is also the home of Irish Rubgy and we will pass Thomond Park, the Rugby stadium. After a brief city tour we travel onto Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The castle was completed in 1425 and, after many years of neglect, has been restored to its former glory. There is also a folk park here which you will have time to explore.
After the visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk park we make our way to Co. Clare. There is a lunch stop at O’ Connor’s Pub in Doolin before arriving at the Cliffs of Moher, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. There is plenty of time to visit Ireland’s second most popular tourist attraction and your host will advise you of the departure time. From here we take the coast road for much of the way to Galway, with time for photos along The Burren. This is a national park and the word Burren comes from the Irish Language, it means ‘rocky place’. It is a unique lunar landscape of limestone which was described in 1649 by one of Oliver Cromwell’s men as: “No tree to hang a man, no water deep enough to drown him and no soil deep enough to bury him”. Today the Burren is noted for its diverse Flora with few parallels elsewhere in Ireland or indeed, Europe. We continue along the coast road to Black Head, passing the quaint coastal villages of Ballyvaughan and Kinvara before joining the main road to Galway. Return by train from Galway.
Returning to Dublin Heuston at 9:45 pm.