Romantic Ireland Self-Drive Tour
Tours of Ireland

Romantic Ireland Self-Drive Tour

Overview of the Tour:

Tours of Ireland

One can easily comprehend why Ireland has been the inspiring muse for many poets (W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde) and the backdrop for many romantic movies (P.S. I love you, Leap Year). You think about Ireland and you instantly picture lush, green meadows, stunning landscapes and solitary paths where you will feel like your loved one and you are the only two people left on this earth. Ireland is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Whether your romance is new, you are celebrating an anniversary or indeed, wish to get married abroad, Ireland with its amazing views and picturesque, charming towns is the perfect setting to add another chapter to your own romantic story. In this tour, we have included a mix of small towns, magnificent cliffs and vast green lands. So, who’s ready for a little romance?

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Overnight Locations:Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Kerry (x2), Galway, Dublin via the Midlands

Optional extra locations to visit on this tour: Wicklow, Waterford, Limerick,

Arrive to: Dublin Airport
Depart from: Dublin Airport

Prices start from: EURO 499 or $649 per person sharing*

*Prices are based on two adults travelling and sharing one double/twin room. Cost is based on low-season prices and the use of a Group B, Manual transmission economy vehicle. Conversion rate is estimated at $1.3 to each €1.00 – Tour will be charged at conversion rate on date of purchase.

 

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Summary of the Tour Highlights

dublinHighlights

 

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • The Book of Kells
  • Oscar Wilde Statue
  • St. Stephen’s Green
  • Temple Bar
  • Whitefriar Street Church

 

Dublin is the perfect example of a city proud of its heritage and history yet one that has moved with the times and is modern, vibrant and fun. A constant hive of activity, should one take a moment to pause and allow the sometimes overlooked beauty of the City to sink in, it is hard to resist falling in love with Ireland’s Capital. The friendly Dublin natives will make you feel right at home.

After dropping your bags and checking in at your hotel, start your first day with a visit to Trinity College, an incredible piece of Gregorian architecture. Admire its impressive 500 year old facade before entering to see the most important book of Ireland, The Book of Kells.

Just a few blocks away you can admire Oscar Wilde’s Statue in Merrion Square. This charming statue is full of little presents and letters that people have left to honour the man who propelled love to a different level with his poetry.

A short walk will take you to St. Stephen’s Green. The park has evolved in many ways over the years. It was not always available to the public and was once only open to the Wealthy members of the community who had plots surrounding it. Today, access restrictions have been lifted and the park is widely enjoyed by locals and visitors to the City alike. The Green is home to a wonderful tribute to the great Irish poet W.B Yeats with a memorial garden dedicated to him. The bust of James Joyce is also located in the Park facing his former university at Newman House. On a sunny day, grab some take out lunch and enjoy a romantic picnic by the lake in the Park.

What is the most romantic day of the year? Valentine’s Day you say! In 1836, relics were exhumed from the tombs of Saint Hippolytus on the ancient road – Via Tiburtina, Rome. These relics were those of St Valentines and during a special Mass dedicated to young people and all those in love, the relics, placed in a casket were part of the procession to the high alter. Later this same year, Fr. John Spratt, an Irish priest and well-known preacher, was gifted tokens of honour following a sermon he lead in Rome. One such gift from Pope Gregory XVI were the remains of St. Valentine and “a small vessel tinged with his blood.” A shrine to Saint Valentine was erected in Whitefriar Street Church and has remained there undisturbed and on display to the public to this day. What better way to end your day of romantic ramblings in the Capital City than with a visit to the church to pay tribute to the Patron Saint of love and lovers, engaged couples and happy marriages.

 

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kilkennyHighlights

 

  • Kilkenny Castle
  • St. Canice Cathedral
  • Rothe House
  • Kilkenny tourist train
  • Pat Tynan Walking Tour

 

 

Arriving at this medieval city is like entering a fairy tale with its beautiful castle and stone alleys. Ramble through the city with no specific destination, just absorb the atmosphere and let yourself be carried away by it. Should you wish to dig a little deeper and explore the City further, you have the option of taking a light-hearted ride through the City in the Kilkenny tourist train. This 25 minute ride will give you a complete overview of the City and will help you decide which things you want to see in more detail.

Alternatively, Pat Tynan offers wonderful tours of the City which last one hour and cover some of the best known attractions in this medieval City.

Kilkenny’s main attraction has to be the towering castle. Take a guided 40 minute tour to make the most of your visit. Even though the castle dates back to approx. the 1200′s, it has been modified many times throughout the centuries. Observe and enjoy its spacious rooms and try to picture what it would it been like to live there at that time. Imagine if you were King and Queen of the Castle!

Savour an intimate moment at the top of the Round Tower at St. Canice’s Cathedral –the setting for many a wedding proposal, the beautiful scenery of the City beneath will take your breath away.  That evening, take a stroll hand in hand down the main street of colourful, antique looking shops. After dinner, dance the night away to the fantastic Traditional Irish Music in one of Kilkenny’s quirky and cosy little pubs.

 

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corkHighlights

 

  • Shandon Bells
  • Cork Butter Museum
  • English Market, Cork City
  • Cobh

 

 

Many locals refer to Cork as the true capital of Ireland. As far as they are concerned, it might as well be, since this vibrant, energetic city has everything a big city could offer and more. Aside from the typical tourist attractions such as Blarney Castle and Stone and Woollen Mills in Blarney, Co. Cork, why not try something a little different? St. Anne’s Church in Shandon is a 6 minute drive from Cork City Centre and it offers the most breath-taking views of the City. While you’re there; have some fun ringing the Shandon bells.

Take a stroll around the antique shops and grab some lunch in one of the fantastic little cafes that line the streets of the City. Check out the Butter Museum if you two are foodies.  How interesting can a Butter Museum be you ask? Well, butter and Cork have come a long way and have an entangled history together. Do not miss the English market for wonderful little regional products that are sure to delight you. Stroll from stall to stall, sit and sip a coffee and enjoy the unique trading experience of the Market that has survived since the 18th Century.

 

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overnight-kerryHighlights

 

  • The Ring of Kerry
  • Killarney
  • Killarney National Park
  • Ring of Kerry
  • River Laune
  • Killorglin
  • Staigue Fort

 

If you thought your trip couldn’t get more romantic, the Ring of Kerry will prove you wrong. The natural beauty of this region is truly amazing. An alternative and adventurous way to see this region is to rent some bikes. There is nothing more refreshing for the soul and mind than to inhale the fresh Kerry air as you cycle your way through the rugged and majestic landscapes.

Find a remote spot in Killarney National Park and spend a quiet afternoon with your loved one soaking up the beautiful scenery. We can arrange for a picnic basket to be prepared for you to share.  Killarney is the combination of two worlds as you are never far from nature but you also have a lively town with a vast range of gourmet restaurants and classy bars.

Fancy a romantic horse drawn ride in a jaunting Car?  Experience the most traditional mode of transport in olden Ireland with a horse drawn trip through Killarney’s Parks. The Cars operate in areas where no motor traffic is permitted so you will feel wonderfully secluded as you tour with your Jarvey (driver).

Discover the stunning Dingle Peninsula on your second day in Kerry. Green landscapes as far as the eye can see, rocky hills, long sandy beaches and staggering cliff edges make this rugged region overwhelmingly alluring. A suggestion would be to take a trip to the Blasket Islands which are just a 40 minute ferry trip away. Who knows, you might even spot the world renowned native dolphin Funghi on your trip over! These stunning, uninhibited Islands were the setting for the Blasket Island writers to produce classic books in the world of literature. In these books, the Island people were described as ‘living on the very edge of Europe’. The islands were abandoned in the 1950’s and have remained so ever since. There is something quite hauntingly beautiful about them.

 

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Tours of IrelandHighlights

 

  • The Prom
  • Salthill
  • Connemara
  • Kylemore Abbey

 

 

 

Pay visit to the home of the Claddagh Ring – Thomas Dillon’s Jewellers at No. 1, Quay Street. The Claddagh Ring shows two hands holding a heart which wears a crown. This motif is explained in the phrase: “Let Love and Friendship reign”. It was used as a wedding ring for the small fishing community of Claddagh for over four hundred years. There is a wonderful little Museum which documents not only the history of the Claddagh Ring but also houses artefacts depicting the city’s history including stone axe heads from the stone age and relics from the penal times when the Irish were prohibited from celebrating their religion.

The true romance of Galway lies outside the City in the Connemara Region. Kylemore Abbey is thought to be one of Ireland’s most romantic buildings. Originally built In 1867 as a romantic gift, the Abbey and the surrounding mountains and lakes tell a story of romance, tragedy, royal visits, gambling debts and a refuge during Ireland’s troubled history.

Alternatively, you could take a day trip out to one of the Aran Islands. The Islands are a venue for many traditional Celtic Weddings and it is obvious why. Taking a trip to the Islands is like travelling back in time to dear old Ireland. Inis Mor is the largest Island and the one that most people visit but we recommend travelling to Inir Oirr, a more intimate and quaint little island with a vibrant Traditional Irish Music scene. The Islands are authentic. Natives are proud of their culture and heritage with many still speaking the Irish language.

 

 

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dublin_guinnesHighlights

 

  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Temple Bar

 

 

 

 

It’s time to return to Dublin and finish your trip. You have the option of returning via Westmeath or travelling direct. Speak to your Travel Advisor about the best route for your specific needs.

You have the option of taking this day at a leisurely pace as it is your last day in Dublin or you can use it to do some touring. No trip to Ireland would be complete without a pint (or several pints!) of Guinness. We’re sure you’ll have sampled it by this stage but why not visit the place where it all began; The Guinness Storehouse. Three million pints of Guinness are brewed every day at the St James’ Gate Brewery. The tour is really informative and interesting and it’s a tour that many Irish people take – the sign of a good attraction!

After a ramble around the Temple Bar area to pick up some last minute souvenirs for loved ones at home, head back to your hotel to freshen up for your final special dinner in Dublin City. We can arrange for a horse drawn carriage to collect you from your hotel that evening for a final tour around the City before dropping you to your dinner destination.

Take with you the images of this beautiful City and your dream romantic trip. You’re sure to leave Ireland more in love than when you arrived.

 

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What Our Customers Say
This truly was a trip of a lifetime for us. I find myself looking at it and sighing, wishing we could be back there! We couldn’t have asked for a better trip and we’re already planning our return for 2015. The level of personal attention you devoted to every little detail will never be forgotten – we raised many pints of Guinness to Irish Essence Tours and to you Deborah on our trip!
─ Martha & Jim Foster and Bitsy & Bob Morales, Texas
Working with you, Deborah, to create our journey was a pleasure. From the start, you were knowledgeable and returned inquiries in a timely manner. Your insight of Ireland travel also directed us extremely well with our sightseeing choices. It was important to me to be able to speak with a live person. Otherwise, I would not have had the opportunity to meet such a wonderful person, an outstanding representative of your company.
─ Franny Kreisberg, New York
I had to write to you on this, our last day of our trip as I want to express how happy we are with everything you prepared for us. Irish Essence Tours has blown away all of our expectations for our trip to Ireland.
─ Cadence & Nicholas Sanders, Georgia, U.S.A.
Dear Deborah, We are sending this message to you, hoping that you can post it on your website so that other travellers may know what a terrific job you did for us in planning our recent trip to Ireland. In every respect, we loved the tour you planned for us. We loved where it took us; we loved what we saw, the beauty, the tranquillity, and the history of your magical country. We loved the accommodations, the B&Bs, which you thoughtfully arranged for us. We enjoyed the restaurants and pubs, many of which you recommended. Lastly, we loved the people we met. In all our travels, we have never visited a country full of warmer, more polite, welcoming people. And, you Deborah, represent Ireland, and its' people, at its' finest. Our dealings with you, your willingness & patience to listen to what we wanted, and your prompt responses, could not have been better. It was a real pleasure doing business with you. Thank you so much Deborah for the trip of a lifetime. Allen & Marilyn Herman Cincinnati, Ohio, USA September 2014
─ Allen & Marilyn Herman
I have never thought I could see so much from just a week. Thanks to Irish Essence that was made possible. Not only did we see so many exciting and beautiful places, it was also affordable. This company is extremely professional, helpful, and also and friendly. three characteristics one would certainly look for when booking for a holiday. Most importantly, it is a reliable company. thanks and kind regards, Natalino Malta, Spain
─ Natalino Meli
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