Experienced the river, stunning grounds and peaceful, spiritual acres of natural beauty. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, The rescue, rehab, and training those folks do is beyond commendable. I didn't get much from the Kilkenny city tour, but the rest were good. "For me it was the library at the Book of Kells. Prior to the tour, I was looking forward most to the Dingle Peninsula so this was not a surprise. Dara builds community so I felt connected to every traveler in our group Views were spectacular. We had a wonderful trip to Ireland. I feel I got a real Irish experience, "Glendalough was breathtaking, walking around the lakes was magical. The country is so beautiful! The scenery was outstanding and the Irish people were welcoming and friendly. Hotels had there own wonderful flavor about them,many delicious breakfast choices, And they shared it all willingly with us. Of course, there was Ireland, which was wonderful, but the entire tour was well organized and well thought out. Cliffs of Moher, Slea Head Drive, having a Golden Eagle perched on my arm,the Rock of Cashel, Neolithic mounds. There was the right mix of guided and non-guided experiences. I learned a great deal about the history and struggles of the people which helped me to connect with the essence of the country. During our introductions I expressed my interest in W.B. The trip was a good balance between big and small town experiences. "So many of them but peering at Kilkenny Castle at night on a walk.". "The falconry!!!! As part of a Rick Steves tour I will consider it. He is such a great storyteller and shared so much history as we traveled. Dara was amazing, Pamela never ceased to amaze me with her driving skills, all the guides were the cream of the crop, and all the people we visited with very warm. (Don't tell Dara, but he was so very Outstanding!! Overall the tour itinerary was fantastic and highlighted the beauty of Ireland. We'll gather together at our hotel at 2 p.m. for a meeting and orientation. I would love to go back and see all of Ireland next time. Eased us both into the "hows and whats" of Ireland while minimizing my direct involvement is setting all of this up. The private concert in Dingle with traditional Irish music. ""Wow" were the Cliffs of Moher. While I liked our local guide in Ennis, I thought the Priory tour was boring and should have been optional, at best. This was amazing as we encountered some stunning scenery and had a wonderful visit at the Blasket museum.". "Probably the Rock of Cashel. We credit our tour guide, Dara, for this. My world has opened up because of this R Steves tour. We enjoyed Stephen our tour guide. Being my first experience traveling outside theUSA, I really didn't know what to expect. per person + air, Single And I recently spent a few days there, after a stop in Dublin, researching the next edition of our Rick Steves Ireland guidebook.. The itinerary is described at https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/ireland/itinerary or on p. 20 of RS Ireland 2020. Loved the pubs and local musicians. The tour was extremely well organized yet fluid enough to adapt to weather. Olive kept us on time and Joe did a great job of teaching as we went. We saw a lot of churches, castle ruins, and gravestones, but each site was unique. "For me, the Cliffs of Moher were the highlight, in large part because the weather was sunny and absolutely perfect when we were there. I also loved the Dingle Peninsula and in particular the Blasket Center. Good sized group, comfortable bus, the hotels and food were better than we expected (especially the group dinners! I a lot of interesting historical sites & learn a lot about Irish culture history as well as current events. We debated quite a bit about doing the organization and driving ourselves or taking the tour. Ireland has so much to offer as a destination, and with a talented guide like Stephen and an enthusiastic friendly group to share the experiences with, it made for a great travel adventure. We then donned leather gloves to take turns "flying the birds" back and forth across our makeshift aerial circle. And as an added bonus, we saw Fungie!". Tour guide was solid, professional and fun. But looking out over the coast of the Dingle Peninsula was something I'll never forget.". Kieran set up a special informal music night for us. Never done that before.". The bed was horrible. The trip was full of wonderful moments, including beautiful scenery, great beer and really friendly locals at pubs, restaurants and coffee shops. I loved the Slea drive along the coast for its' rugged beauty and the story of the Blasket Island people, but our private concert of Irish music in Dingle was really special since we were able to hear Kieran play the pipes with musicians he had known for years. "Being entertained by Seamus Begley with friends and family was a true highlight, followed closely by the music and Irish whiskey tasting at the Herlihey pub. And the falconry was so fun! Declan Field: Art, Music Declan leads Rick Steves tours in Ireland and is a musician and artist, creating sculptures, paintings, and drawings. Stephen is a great guide. Olive our tour bus driver was equally superb even, as we said, kicka _ s! We enjoyed being in Dingle and the Cliffs of Mohr.". I was so sad to leave!! Since I had just read "H is for Hawk", a memoir about training a goshawk, this event was truely special!! ", It's a great place with good people. The tour was well-paced and provided a good introduction to the Irish culture and its friendly people. Any time between April and October is a good time to visit Ireland. We had a really good group of fun people traveling with us. Further, I enjoyed the Bus experience Dingle was my favorite overnight. ", "No particular "wow" moment. All the places we went to were spectacular. A Kieran made it a seamless experience. We were especially impressed with the seamlessness of it. Bus: 2 hours. Please don't schedule Dingle when this festival is going on. Particularly interesting was his teaching of a broad history of Ireland from prehistoric times through the present day. I found that the itinerary was perfect for the amount of time allotted. I've never been to a place so welcoming! I was extremely pleased with the entire tour - it exceeded my exceptions, which were quite high. Add in the beautiful setting, it was amazing.". We also loved our bus driver Olive, who had amazing driving skills on the narrow roads in Ireland. "Trinity College's Museum was exceptional in many ways. "My favorite "wow" moment was not just one moment---but rather a collection of moments. We squeezed a lot into an 8 day tour. I'd say the one road and views that really stood out for me was the narrow road on the Dingle Pennisula. Having everything planned and scheduled makes sure you get the most out of a once in a lifetime trip. Everything we did was fun and very educational. "Ireland was wonderful and the people were so friendly and welcoming. He is so knowledgeable and proud of his country and passed that on to us. England Ireland England And Scotland Ireland Vacation Ireland Travel Cork Ireland Galway Ireland Cycling Ireland Westport Ireland Vacation Ideas. "The tour of Glasnevin was a wow moment as I never realized so many Irish heroes were buried there and the history of this place. "There were many but my favorite was hiking along the Cliffs of Moher. Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. The Irish people both natives and immigrants) could not have been friendlier! "Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula was my favorite part of the tour. It was very intimate and felt like we were a part of their family. The guitar player talked with my wife and I during a break and then sang an impromptu composition to us.". Dara and the local guides were excellent Being a country person, I enjoyed the country settings very much.". We are huge believer in the Rick Steves tour experience and thank you for providing us another fantastic European trip! "If I had to pick one "wow' moment it would be seeing the Book of Kells. The musicians were great and we had so much fun singing along with the songs Stephen taught us. I was awestruck by the beauty of Glendalough. "The time in Rome was full of the history of the area. Predating Stonehenge by a thousand years and the pyramids at Giza by 500, the massive "passage tombs" of Newgrange and Knowth are windows into a mysterious, pre-Celtic Ireland. While traveling through the British Isles with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, I’ve seen them in the Scottish Highlands, in North Wales, and now here, in South Ireland. Best tour ever. Made me want to learn more about the Monks who lived here.". Please continue to emphasize you need to be in good shape to get the most from these tours. Each day along the way, in the good hands of your Rick Steves guide and local experts, you'll be amazed at all you'll experience in a mere week of touring the Emerald Isle: must-see historical sites, charming towns, music-filled pubs, artisan visits, and walking tours — including the Rock of Cashel, the Cliffs of Moher, village of Adare, Dingle, the Great Blasket Centre, Kilkenny Castle, Glendalough, the Brú na Bóinne archaeology site, crystal cutting, whiskey tasting, and more. "Our favorite moment was in Dingle. According to travel guru Rick Steves, the best way to see Ireland is by car, which allows one to get off the beaten path and explore at their own pace. He made us feel welcomed and cared for. The bus and driver were excellent, too. Stephen is so funny during our bus trips to tell us about the country and his childhood there. It was wonderful.". This spring, I enjoyed our Sicily tour (I wrote about my Sicily experience in earlier blog posts), and now we are wrapping up a great two weeks in Ireland.. One thing all of our tours have in common: great travel buddies. Overall experience was amazing. Dara was just great with help on restaurant choices and directions. This morning we'll head back in time with a visit to Glendalough, Ireland's most impressive monastic settlement. I loved that we had a friendly and knowledgable tour guide (Lisa), a competent bus driver (Dennis), and access to several expert local guides at each stop to enrich our experience. Their gin is our new favorite! The trip was timely as everyone was discussing Brexit and implications for Ireland. The traveling from place to place was an added pleasure, since I didn't have to drive and we received valuable information on the way. Plenty of photo opportunities.". I am a Rick Steves' tour veteran and will count this trip as one of the best. We had a great group of travelers and a fabulous guide. The Dublin hotel's A/C was a welcome treat, "My wow moment(s) were watching the exquisite finesse Olive, our bus driver, used In navigating around Ireland. I loved every minute of it! My fellow travelers were an awesome group. ?? He was forthright and balanced and dodged no questions. "We think it's a tie between the Cliffs of Moher (awe-inspiring nature) and the tombs at Brú na Bóinne (equally awe-inspiring ancient tombs).". You can book day tours by bus for some of these areas at local tourist information offices. (3Trips) In each case we used Rick Steves materials. A great itinerary combined with exceptional local guides, most importantly our leading guide Dara. That said, I was impressed with how buttoned up the tour was. "My favorite "wow" moment was visiting the Bru Na Boinne Nowth ancient tomb complex, and touching a giant stone with a prehistoric carving that was 5000 years old.". We had a beautiful day for it and to be able to watch these birds of prey perform and then have a chance to put on the glove and have them land on each one of the tour members was unforgettable. Would love to redo it all! This was my first tour and it was even better than I had anticipated. It helped me get a big picture view on both the importance of the site and its beauty.". I fell in love with Ireland will go back. We had the #1 Ireland guide in Stephen. I learned about Ireland, espeically the culutre, history and spirit of the people. With Stephen as our guide, we felt we experienced the best of Ireland and it's culture. We have been on many tours with other companies but this one really was the best. "This may sound gross, but seeing the burnt and decapitated head of Oliver Plunkett. "I really loved the Dingle Peninsula, the countryside and views were spectacular and the bus driver Michael waa fantastic.". By chance, my "buddy" identified an ancestor in the Dublin cemetery and verified her lineage in the cemetery museum.". "Coastal Dingle was enthralling. Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you. The morning was wet and rainy, which for me just made it seem more Irish. It was incredibly beautiful. "Dingle peninsula was just breathtaking. What a hoot! "Cliffs of Moher and Slea Head were beautiful. The amazing landscapes and seashores, idyllic villages and fun interactions with the locals made for a great experience. Flexibility would -, "-have been good. What a great experience and would definitely do another tour with the Tour group. Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee. Everyone was grinning ear to ear as the falconer put the owls and hawks through their paces. "As a musician the music wowed me. Food was incredible and loved all the music in Dingle. Well versed, a great sense of humor and quite talented. Dara orchestrated everything perfectly. I don't know how they can have so many wonderful things in an 8 day tour. "My favorite "wow" moment was actually several moments ... viewing the incredible beauty of the country! Bus drivers were excellent, too. Birds of Prey and Irish dancing in Dingle was special. Everywhere, especially rural areas, people were friendly, engaging and unfailingly polite. He specially made a vegetarian meal for me which was so delicious. Our Best of Ireland in 14 Days Tour bus stopped at the Kissane Sheep Farm. The topping on the cake. This made for limited group interaction which is one of the plus attractions of RS. "Dingle Pen and the time in Dublin. Took about 4 days to relax and not dream or worry about business in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Dara was informative and entertaining, presenting Irish history and culture in a way that makes me want to return. We did wish we had one more night in Kilkenny which could have been offset by one less night in Dublin. Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2015 This will seem odd but last night on the Discovery Channel there was a segment on Killkenny. I was really looking forward to this, but it rained that day, and the cruise was never mentioned. But, stopping and enjoying it was a total surprise. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning. The "trad" music spoke to the heart of the Irish people and me.". Every year I thumb through the Rick Steves’ Europe Tours catalog and see which tour fits my latest travel dreams. It was so much more. Our bus driver that day Alan was a great driver too on those narrow roads! Sleep in Dublin. However, Ireland did not offer as much excitement as some of my other tours. "We really loved the falcon presentation and the owls. ", Absolutely wonderful! Clonmora was particularly enjoyable. Could have spent the entire day there. We have traveled very successfully on our own in the past. Each day begin to build meaningfully on the activities of the last. Ireland was beautiful, welcoming and fascinating. ...Falconry, chef's meal, David's dance performance, concert by Mickey Harte, walks by the water,fish/Chips in the rain, bookstore concert, most gorgeous B&B ever, Irish soda bread/scones baking lessons, bar tasting of local brews, the horse down the way...". Not to mention his wonderful musicality and how personal that was. This afternoon we'll return to Dublin to tour Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum, the final resting place of more than one million Dubliners, including many of Ireland's national heroes and heroines. This was my first Rick Steve's tour and found it to be an excellent way to not only enjoy but to learn an great amount about Ireland. There were three beautiful dogs to welcome us too. They were friendly and helpful. The incredible guide and guest guides, pristine countryside, historic sites, lovely hotels and inns, excellent food, wonderful tour members, and great weather all added up to make this trip a once in a lifetime adventure. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, It was an outstanding trip! We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. My Account. All of our accommodations were great except the one time we stayed one night. "Dingle... music, food, quaintness, Dingle Peninsula with Blasket Island history, Dingle gin and whiskey.". ", It was a tour filled with magical moments ... first real tour we have ever taken, and it will not be our last ... especially with Rick Steves, "The Dingle experience ... led by Stephen ... from a great Bed and Breakfast stay, to experiencing falconry, incredible cuisine, and amazing dancing and singing.". Our Guide Stephen was great and his extra touches (falconry!) For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Ireland guidebook. Tour was fast paced and comprehensive. We loved walking around the quaint little towns and popping into the Pubs. the sites we visited were interesting and beautiful Sleep in Kilkenny. He does many extra things which enhances our trip. Rick Steves Ireland, the complete guide, offers more coverage of more destinations in a mostly black-and-white format, and is updated annually. The trip was well organized and a truly fun experience. We had many laughs along the way. Most days are moderately paced with 2–8 miles of walking, including some hills and stairs. It was light hearted and never too much at a time. "The falconry demonstration at Dingle was the best.". I particularly liked the tour of the Dingle peninsula.". Everything was well organized and executed flawlessly. Good travel buds. Glendalough was beautiful, and the Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle, and the Cliffs of Moher were all impressive.". You are blesses to have Kieran in your team. "MY favorite "wow" moment was learning about the 1916 Uprising in Dublin from the local tour guide; I had never thought I would like an organized tour. "The best was the cliffs of Moher and the Dingle peninsula. Great tour guide, hotels, meals and planned activities. We did it all from touring a structure that predates Stonehenge and Egypt's pyramids to watching the Irish football championship game end in a tie, but I think the very best part was how warm and welcoming the people are.". I checked a map and realized how close Ennis was to Tralee, where my grandmother was born in 1900. What a wonderful view of ireland w our guide, joe. the music delighted me My favorite part, though, was hearing about Ireland's history from our guide - who was not only well versed in it, but who also told funny and compelling personal stories about the last 30 or so years. We all loved Dara. We had a delightful tour group. The tour is well planned and organized. Had my own time constraints so chose a little less time. Great experience in a beautiful country, great guide (Stephen). The moment is etched forever in my mind! We were skeptical but hopeful about what it would be like. Loved all the historic sites and the historic information. Plan your own trip or take one of Rick's value-packed European tours and vacations. So this had a special meaning for me. This routinely is a significant cultural and historical event and as a tie breaker, more so. Rick Steves Ireland tours provide the best value for your trip to Europe. Great tour. Stephen, the Irish guide was great and loved his singing. The singer and the Irish Dancer were a real treat.". (Dingle was our overall favorite town!)". Lively, current, smart, and humanistic - would highly recommend. It was all great! This was our 3rd RS' trip and uneven compared to the others. Not only that, he really got into his subject matter with enthusiasm. before lunch. I love the coast line and it was breath taking and the history and local culture and people made it a joy. I was worried that the bus riding would be tedious and involve too much sitting, but each day's riding was broken up into segments with touring various areas at each stop. The tour members were all congenial and good buddies. Perfectly balanced indoor, outdoor, bus time, and cultural activities. We have always done our own planning an logistics when travelling. The pacing, sites, amount of free time, mix of urban and rural, and accommodations all were exactly as we had hoped. David leads Rick Steves tours in Italy and offers Italian culture classes, Italian language lessons, and live Zoom concerts with his acoustic guitar trio, Bartender. Now I know why people rave about Ireland. Our guide, Stephen, showed us unique places and things, so that we could get a glimpse of what the country is about. The only comparison I have for it is the much smaller natural history museum at McGill College in Montreal.". Would have liked to have had more time at the Cliffs of Moher. Our trip ended in Dublin, the big city of Ireland. His knowledge of the country and their music made for a most enjoyable trip. "The combination of a wonderful meal including seafood chowder and Irish stew, whiskey tasting, and a song rendition from our guide Stephen was amazing. Is Galway too far to begin the tour there? When our driver, Pamela was negotiating the Dingle passes and an oncoming car could not get out of the way, Dara got out of the bus and drove that person's car backwards up the hill so we could pass the treacherous curves, that was a classic Dara moment one that we all will never forget!!!". "My favorite WOW moment was the Falconry we went to in Dingle. We'll visit the iconic Round Tower, ruined churches, and the lakes that give Glendalough its name. Our experience was completely positive. "So hard to choose! Very strong tour, driven by Pascal's passion, story telling, and organization. We did not expect to be flying falcons and doing that at our bed and breakfast where we stayed while enjoying a gin and tonic from the distillery right across the street made it feel as if we were with family. We recommend Rick Steves Europe to our colleagues, friends, and family. He was very kind, accomodating, Fun and full of spirit. "It's hard to pick any one moment. "Glendalough was my wow moment. Joe was attentive and responsive to everyone's needs. We were delighted with Joe as a guide. The group we were a part of was so nice. Dara was a great guide. Hit Ireland's can't-miss sights, bites, and history in two weeks or less with Rick Steves Best of Ireland! "The falconry experience in Dingle was something I'd never thought I'd be able to do, so it was a complete surprise that it was included. My mom joined us this time as well. I always felt this serene sense of calm and well-being with the beauty of my surroundings. Sleep in Dingle. That is a great idea to have them eat with us. Weather did not cooperate, but we are from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, so we felt right at home. Loved everything. Dara, our tour guide, was very entertaining and helped us with anything we needed. Some of us went to pub sessions almost every night. For very good reasons! I loved every aspect of the trip. bus extremely comfortable. The hotels were always comfortable and fantastic, and the tour hit all the right places. Every moment in Ireland on this tour was more than I could have ever expected! We loved all the places we visited and enjoyed the local guides and walking tours. Stephen did a fantastic job of being our tour guide. We watched Gaelic football at his pub, listened to beautiful Irish music at his dad's music shop, performed by his cousin. It was thrilling. Joe our guide was fantastic, entertaining and extremely knowledgeable. Her delivery of the facts & history as we progressed thru the tour was seamless & entertaining with just enough quite time to reflect & enjoy the scenery. Don't miss the Jameson and Guinness tours. All in all this Rick Steves trip did not disappoint and the traveling companions were wonderful. Even our fellow travelers were good company. From introductions in ennis 'til farewells in dublin, double thumbs up! I also enjoyed meeting the other participates on my tour from all over the US & Canada. We thought it would be just a demonstration, but it was participatory. We researched our Irish ancestry at Epic. We'll send the notification email when a tour opens within a season (spring, summer, fall, winter) or region. The Falconry experience was beyond our expectations. WOW!! Our tour guide Kieran was excellent: His depth of knowledge about Ireland was impressive and he kept us entertained with his wit and musical talent. For his sake and ours a change in venue or time would have been best". The scenery was spectacular, and I was intrigued by the stories at the Blasket Centre. "The Cliffs of Moher....pictures really don't do this landmark any justice. The bus was very comfortable also.The local tour guides were also top notch. Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Our guide was great! This tour was a great introduction to Ireland. - Well planned & executed (A Swiss watch)! Like all Rick Steves tours, only having 25 people on the tour made the bus rides comfortable and getting to know your tour mates. "We really enjoyed Glendalough which combined history, religion and natural beauty. I loved this experience.". The comments of the guide helped put the significance of the sight in historical perspective, adding to our understanding of the role of the sight in Irish history.". "The bus tour along the Dingle coast - WOW! "While staying in Dingle we enjoyed an evening of traditional Irish music at the Siopa Ceoil (including a number or two when our guide joined in playing the uilleann pipes and tin whistle). Watched Gaelic football at his dad 's music store. `` great pair, making everyone feel included and care! 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