A magical landscape of ancestral traditions
The West Coast is also a magical region, a journey through time that allows you to discover the most ancient traditions in Gaelic culture and the essence of the country. It is precisely in this area where the language and customs are best preserved, so it is not surprising that the hospitable inhabitants welcome you in Gaelic when you visit the Gaeltacht areas, where the Irish language predominates over English. Abbeys, castles and monasteries complete this journey through charming towns and villages in County Galway and Clare, who wrote the history of Western Ireland.
Day 1: Dublin. WELCOME TO THE IRISH CAPITAL!
The flight to Dublin brings an exciting adventure that invites you to enjoy Ireland, at your own pace When you arrive at the airport in the Irish capital, collect your car at the rental agency. There is variety of offer, but if you want to insure a specific company, we recommend that you make your reservation in advance. Do not forget, in Ireland you drive on the left. A GPS with maps of the country will certainly be a good ally to get to the selected hotel without complications. The rest of the day, regain strength for the exciting journey that begins in the West of the country.
Day 2: Dublin – Galway. A COUNTY OF STORY
Breakfast. Depart in your rental car towards Galway, through the rich pastures of the countryside. Along the way you will find the Victorian house, gardens and Belvedere park, on the shores of Lake Ennell. These sites inspired Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels”. Before crossing the river Shannon, you can visit Clonmacnoise, an abbey and a monastery of the Christian faith. The next destination will be the lively city that gives name to the county. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, Spanish ships would stop off in Galway port to trade. That is why, even today, monuments like the “Spanish arch” recall the good relationship between the two countries.
Day 3: Galway – Connemara Region. INHERITED NATURE
After breakfast, we recommend that you head to the Connemara Region, north-west of Galway, famous for the wild beauty of its landscapes, lakes, mountains and hidden valleys. The wonderful landscape will accompany you throughout the tour, where you can visit the Connemara National Park. Irish red foxes and deer roam freely among mountains, marshes and meadows. In addition, the park houses remnents of human civilization, like megalithic tombs 4,000 years old. Do not forget to visit the magnificent Kylemore Abbey, which formerly belonged to the grounds that now make up the national park. For accommodation, choose one of the many guest houses in the area.
Day 4: Connemara Region. THE CONSERVATION OF GALICIAN TRADITIONS
With the forces already restored, we invite you to get lost in the Connemara region, which harbours the most ancient traditions in a genuine Irish landscape. In little pockets along the ragged coast, in areas called the Gaeltacht, people still speak the Irish language. The sounds of uileann pipes and tin whistes flood the lively pubs of the area. If you take yourself inland, you will discover the Twelve Bens mountain range, a mountain range with peaks between 500 and 700 meters, which delight the hikers in summer.
Day 5: Connemara Region – County Clare. WONDERS FROM WEST TO EAST
The next day, the journey continues through Galway to County Clare. Clare’s natural attractions will awaken your admiration at first sight. The county is full of exceptional landscapes, from the rugged charm of the Atlantic coast, whipped by waves and wind, to the famous Shannon River and Lough Derg, located on the east side, where you can enjoy charming villages such as Mountshannon and Killaloe. You mustn’t miss the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, which rush over the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and extend for eight kilometers. They reach an impressive height of up to 214 meters. Select a guest house for the night; in this area there are many with spectacular views.
Day 6: County Clare – Kilkenny. THE CROSS OF IRELAND
On the final stretch, travel with your rental car inland. During the tour you will pass through small towns and typical Irish villages. The visit to the Castle “Rock of Cashel”, in the heart of County Tipperary, one of the most visited places in Ireland, is a must. It is an ancient fortress dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, the throne of the Elderly Kings of Ireland before the arrival of the Normans. The castle rises majestically on a hill and represents one of the best Celtic and medieval architectural examples. In addition, it is said that it was here that the King of Munster was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick in the 5th century. The high Irish crosses found in this enclave have become iconic designs of the country’s jewelry. Then head for the night to the town of Kilkenny, famous for its medieval buildings and local crafts.
Day 7: Kilkenny – Dublin. MEDIEVAL ARCHITECTURE
Kilkenny is the last city we suggest you visit before heading to Dublin. The journey continues for a little more than an hour and a half, so before you leave, you can take the opportunity to visit the famous 12th-century Norman castle of Kilkenny, visit the 13th-century Black Abbey which contains one of the most spectacular rosettes in Ireland, with 10,000 pieces of ruby and sapphire glass, or take advantage to buy some souveneirs. The farewell night will take place in Dublin
Day 8: Dublin FAREWELL
After a week of travel, surely the memory of the West Coast remains engraved forever in your heart It’s time to bid farewell to the wild landscapes, the kilometer-long beaches, the Celtic customs, the stunning cliffs and the Irish hospitality. Make your way back to the airport, to return the rental car and take off for home.
GET TO KNOW ALL THE DETAILS OF HIS HISTORY AND PRODUCTION
Visit the iconic Guinness Storehouse
From the Gravity Bar you can savour Dublin while tasting one of the best beers in the world
If you are a beer lover, you can not leave Dublin without visiting the Guinness Storehouse, one of the most authentic places in the city. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to find out informaiton about the history and production of the most favoured drink in these lands. Its reddish color, its characteristic smell and its intense flavor have made of the pint one of the preferred pleasures of Dubliners. The visit to the Guinness Storehouse begins on the ground floor of the main building, which you will recognise for its curious form of enormous pint of beer. Here you can see the copy of the brewery lease signed by Arthur Guinness in 1759 for 9,000 years and an interesting exhibition where you will know all the secrets surrounding the four ingredients that make up the beer: water, hops, barley and yeast.
On the first floor, the process of brewing is explained. A large room contains the old machinery used in the factory: a mill, a toaster, a alembic and giant wooden barrels. For its part, the second floor offers the visitor an interesting tour through the history of this emblematic beer that you will know thanks to the advertising campaigns developed by Guinness throughout history. On the third floor visitors are offered the possibility to test their knowledge about alcohol through different interactive games. On the fourth floor an exhibition tells the history of the building, from 1904 until its conversion in 2000 into a visitor center.
At end of this excursion on the fifth floor, visitors are offered the chance to pull their own pint, giving them a diploma that credits their skills. The tour finishes on the roof of the building, known as Gravity Bar, a pleasant place from which you can admire the views of the city while tasting a pint on the house. A unique experience.
- Open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (July and August from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).
- Admission costs € 20.
RELAX IN THE CITY’S BEAUTIFUL GREEN SPACE
Walk the Phoenix Park or go by bike
Get to know the largest urban park in Europe
With more than 700 hectares of extension, the Phoenix Park is the largest urban park in Europe. Created in 1662 as a deer reserve, in 1745 it was remodeled and opened to the public. Located just a few miles from Dublin city centre, the Phoenix Park is an important green space for the city, as well as a pleasant place to bike.
We recommend you visit the following points:
1. Phoenix Monument. It is a small column crowned by a sculpture of the mythical bird, a Phoenix, that gives name to the park
2. Dublin Zoo. Visiting the zoo, one of the oldest in the world, is always a good option to enjoy nature in the middle of the city. Frequented by locals and tourists from all over the world, it was inaugurated in 1830 with a single resident: a wild boar.
3. Papal Cross. Discover this cross located in the place where in 1979 the Pope celebrated a mass before a million followers.
4. Wellington Monument. Take a picture of yourself in front of this obelisk which is 63 meters in height, erected in honor to the Duke of Wellington. It took more than 40 years to build.
5. Áras an Uachtaráin. The official residence of the President of Ireland.
6. People’s Garden is the only gardened and cultivated part of the park. You will find it next to the Park Gate entrance
- The park is open all day. You will need between three and four hours to visit it.
ENJOY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING SCENES IN IRELAND
Discover all the secrets of Dublin aboard a boat
River excursions along the River Liffey, a new and fun way to see the sights
Embark on a leisurely cruise and discover all the secrets of the River Liffey and the charming city of Dublin. While you enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, you will learn from an expert guide the history of this city, since the arrival of the Vikings, 1000 years ago, the apogee and development of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the rehabilitation of the Dublin quays and the many attractions that have turned this city into one of the main European capitals. During the crossing, you will cross the symbolic Ha’penny Bridge, the majestic Custom House, the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal, as well as discovering that much of modern Dublin sits on land reclaimed from the sea, which includes Trinity College and The Spire on O’Connell Street.
- Approximately 45 minutes.
- The ship has the capacity to accommodate 48 passengers and offers all the facilities and services that guarantee a comfortable and safe voyage. The boat is ready for rain.
VISITING ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS UNIVERSITIES IN THE WORLD
Discover the lively student atmosphere of Trinity College Dublin
Personalities such as Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde
Did you know that Trinity College Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland and one of the most prestigious in the world? Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, international personalities such as Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett passed through their classrooms.
Its rich library condenses the cultural wealth of the city, whose crown jewel is the “Book of Kells”. Trinity also owns the largest collection of manuscripts and printed books in Ireland. Since 1801, it has received a copy of all the works published in Ireland and Great Britain, thanks to which it currently has almost three million books distributed in eight buildings.
TRADITIONAL AND MODERN FEATURES IN AN ATTRACTIVE UNIVERSITY ENVIRONMENT
During your visit we recommend that you get lost in all its corners, relax in its small parks, admire its elegant buildings of the XVIII and XIX centuries that contrast with contemporary sculptures such as Henry Moore and soak up the university atmosphere.
As soon as you enter the main door you will find the bell tower, about 30 meters long, designed by Edward Lanyon and erected in 1853 at the place believed to be the center of the old monastery. On the north side of the square stands the chapel, designed by William Chambers and finished in 1799. You can only see its interior by previously arranging a guided tour.
The Dining Hall, the Library Square, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, the Science Gallery and the Samuel Beckett Theater are just some of the attractions on this campus which offers the visitor a traditional and modern experience.
- The visit to Trinity College is a must-see during your trip to Dublin. It is wonderful to walk around the campus admiring the buildings, as well as revisiting the past with the books of the Old Library, or to see the magnificent work of art of the Book of Kells.
- The price of entry for the Old Library and Book of Kells is approximately 11 euros.
DISCOVER THE INTERNATIONAL OYSTER FESTIVAL
Taste of the sea and Guinness
From the Atlantic to the table
The restless city of Galway at the end of September celebrates a festival that is a hit with seafood lovers; it is the International Festival of Oysters and Seafood, which in 2017 celebrated its 63th year. Over the course of a weekend, the city dresses up and thousands of people gather together and have the chance to taste more than 10,000 oysters. Those who are not a fan of this succulent delicacy of the sea, should not let that stop them! In the year 2000, was described by the Sunday Times as “one of the 12 greatest events on earth”. The festival also has an interesting competition to determine who is the fastest oyster opener on the planet.
- “Irish Oyster Opening Championships” is the name given to the opening competition of Oysters. The entrance costs about € 40 and includes, in addition to the show, food and drink.
- Look for pubs featured on the Guinness Oyster Trail, about 30 spots in the city, where you can taste the select seafood while enjoying a pint of Guinness.
ADVENTURE IN THE PREHISTORIC FORT OF DUN AENGUS
A strong fort of history
The largest fort in the Aran Islands
Dun Aengus Fort is located on the island of Inishmore, on the edge of a cliff 100 meters high. It is the largest prehistoric fort in the Aran Islands and its name means “Aengus fort” in reference to the god of Irish mythology. It is formed by four concentric walls, that in some points, reach four meters in thickness. In addition to its use to defend the westernmost point of Europe, it could be used as a place of worship for the Druids.
- From the fort, you can enjoy the spectacular view that extends for 120 kilometers of coastline.
- Located 7 miles west of Kilronan.
- The guide or brochure is not available in Spanish.
- Access price: € 3 adults
- For visitors traveling with children or people with reduced mobility, the visitor center located at 900 meters is a good alternative, as they can discover the history and functions of the fortress avoiding an uneven road.
VISIT TO KILBEGGAN DISTILLERY
Flavoured by over 250 years of perfection
The strength of the mill
On the way to Galway, an hour’s drive from Dublin, you will find the Kilbeggan Museum Distillery, a unique visit to one of the oldest whiskey distilleries in the world. Its walls hide 256 years of tradition in producing this precious whiskey. It is located on the waters of the river Brosna and in its facilities a mill was built to take advantage of the fluvial force and to move the machinery. The guided tour allows you to find out about the facilities in perfect condition (originating from 1757) and to attend a tasting to try the distillery’s different whiskeys. Although today it functions as a museum, you can see the entire process of distillation initiated by the traditional mill.
- Duration time: 1-2 hours.
- They have different guided tours, although you can opt for the self-guided tour, from € 7.
- Open 7 days a week.
- Children under 18 years old can Access the museum, but not consume alcohol.
- For drivers, they have a reduced tasting.
DISCOVER THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF CONNEMARA
Experience a unique experience with nature
More than just a park, a place where the past of Connemara comes alive
Connemara National Park is one of six national parks in Ireland and main tourist attractions of the country, situated in the west of Ireland, in County Galway. Within the park you can climb Diamond Hill, from where you will behold one of the best views, including the only Irish fjord, Killary.
It has an area of almost 3,000 hectares of mountains, peatlands, heathlands, grasses and forests. You can also find great diversity of birds, as numerous singing birds that nest in the trees. If you visit in winter, you will have the opportunity to see a greater number of species that migrate here from other parts of Europe. Although most of the mammals of the park usually hide in the presence of humans, you will be kept busy trying to find the traces and signs that indicate their presence. Be patient and you can meet them on your way.
In addition to flora and fauna, you will also discover remains of human civilization in the park, such as megalithic tombs which are 4,000 years old. Much of the land was in the past part of the site of Kylemore Abbey, which is located within walking distance of the park and is also highly recommended.
- Duration of the visit: 1 day.
- Diamond Hill hike: 3 hours.
- Access to the Park is free
- The entrance to the Park is located at the end of Clifden, in Letterfrack (N59).
- It is open all year, although the Information Center opens exclusively from March to October. In the centre there are exhibitions in 3D about the landscape uses, flora and fauna of Connemara. If you do not have time to visit it all, do not forget to visit the exhibitions to get to know the areas you are most interested in. If you prefer, you can visit the Park by bicycle to cover more ground.
Immerse yourself in history within the castle walls
You will be able to enjoy one of the most important art galleries inIreland in this monumental fortress.
The picturesque Kilkenny Castle, a site located in the center of the town, is a Norman fortress with more than eight centuries of history. It is one of the largest castles in the world and is one of the most visited places by tourists. There you can lose yourself in its three wings and six floors full of artistic treasures. The Butler family came to Ireland with the Norman invasion, and the castle belonged to them until the mid-twentieth century when it was sold to a committee specialized in restoration, later to pass into the hands of the state and open its doors to the public. In its basement, you can discover the Butler Gallery, a gallery dedicated to different works of contemporary Irish and international art.
Kilkenny Castle was sold in 1967 by Arthur Butler for the symbolic price of £ 50 to a committee in charge of restoring castles. On that occasion Butler uttered the historic statement: “The people of Kilkenny, as well as my family and myself, feel great pride in the castle and we do not like to see it deteriorate. We have decided that we should not allow it to collapse. There are already too many ruins in Ireland.”