Ireland | North & South
Visiting an exciting variety of locations and some of the most prominent sites in Irish history, on this combination of a pilgrimage and leisure tour you will get to enjoy the delights of the bustling cities of Dublin, Belfast and Galway as well as some breathtaking countryside of Co. Donegal and Co. Antrim.
From visiting the Guinness Storehouse and the Titanic Museum to witnessing the natural wonders of the Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher, exploring the natural and historic monuments of the Aran Islands and relaxing on a cruise you will get the perfect mix of rich culture, awe-inspiring landscapes, deeply rooted tradition and modern life in Ireland.
» Mellifont Abbey
» Giant’s Causeway
» Dunluce Castle
» Bushmills Distillery
» St. Parick’s Train
» Co. Derry
» Co. Donegal
» Aran Islands
» The Burren
» Cliffs of Moher
Can't find what you're looking for? Need a tailor-made itinerary?
Irish traditions and values are deeply rooted in our business and the type of travel experience that Joe Walsh Tours provides. We are extremely proud of our Irish heritage and passion for our native island is reflected in every mile travelled and every story told by our guides. We are delighted to share our knowledge and love of Ireland with our visitors and very happy to welcome you to the Emerald Isle.
Should you require further information regarding a specific tour itinerary or would like us to tailor-make your trip based on any special requirements your travelling party may have, please do not hesitate to give our Tours of Ireland specialists a call on 00 353 1 241 0800 or drop us a line via email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be delighted to assist. We’re only a phone call away!
- Currency: Euro (€, EUR)
- Local time: GMT
- Airports: Dublin (DUB); Cork (ORK); Shannon (SNN); Knock (NOC)
- Languages: English is the official language with some areas also speaking Irish
- Climate: Ireland has a moderate climate influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and the winds of the Atlantic Ocean. Summed up as moist and mild, the weather is very changeable with high levels of rainfall and a lack of extreme temperatures
- Voltage: 230V A/C. Frequency 50hz. The most common plug is the 13 amp three-pin plug, power socket type G. You can use your electric appliances in Ireland, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220V - 240V (as in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100V - 127V (as in the US, Canada and most South American countries), you will need a power converter.
- Visa: not required for EU citizens; nationals of other countries are advised to check with the relevant authorities
- Passport: EU passport holders travelling to Ireland must have an up-to-date passport valid for travel six months beyond the date of return; nationals of other countries are advised to check with the relevant authorities.
Transport & Accommodation
- Flight from your home airport to Ireland
- Transfer on arrival from the airport to your hotel with guide assistance
- Hotel accommodation in Ireland for the selected number of nights
- Meals served each day as per agreed itinerary
- Transfer from your hotel to Airport for return flight
- Direct flight from Ireland to your home airport
- Luxury air-conditioned coach for all transfers and tours
- Assistance of Joe Walsh Tours guides and representatives throughout the pilgrimage and at airports
Tours & Religious Programme
- Tours, excursions and religious programme organised by Joe Walsh Tours
- Full services of Joe Walsh Tours guides and representatives throughout the pilgrimage and tour
- DAY 1: Dublin – Capital City of Ireland
On arrival to Dublin Airport you will be met by a professional guide and a driver who will accompany you during your visit to Ireland. We will spend our first day in Ireland’s capital exploring the city at our leisure on our own. We will check into our hotel in the early afternoon. This evening we will go to the Irish House Party for a welcome dinner with entertainment. On arrival you are greeted at the front door by your host and are checked in on our House Party Guest List. Before the dinner you can relax and enjoy a pre show drink with the locals in this lovely traditional Irish pub.
- DAY 2: Dublin
This morning we will meet our guide and a driver who will accompany us on our tour of Dublin. We will visit Trinity College to see the magnificent Old Library and the 1200 year old Book of Kells, the beautifully illuminated version of the Gospels, designed by monks in the 9th century. In the afternoon you will visit the Guinness Storehouse, originally built in 1904 to house the Guinness fermentation process. The core of the Guinness Storehouse building is modelled on a giant pint glass, stretching up from reception on the ground floor to the Gravity Bar in the sky. If filled, this giant pint would hold approximately 14.3 million pints of Guinness. At Guinness Storehouse you'll discover all there is know about the world famous beer. This evening we will enjoy dinner in Temple bar. After dinner we will join the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl where you will hear some history, music, and literature, washed down with a pint. Led by two actors, the tour will take you to several pubs frequented by some of Ireland’s greatest writers, Joyce, Beckett, Shaw, Yeats, Wilde and Behan, among others. Overnight in Dublin.
- DAY 3: Newgrange, Monasterboice & Mellifont Abbey
Today we travel to Newgrange/Knowth for a visit to the Stone Age passage graves. We will visit the 5000 year old main mound at Knowth. We will see the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick lit a Paschal fire as a challenge to the pagan High King of Tara and visit Monasterboice to see Muiredach’s High Cross, the finest high cross in all of Ireland. We will continue our journey North to Belfast where we will check into the Europa Hotel. Overnight in Belfast.
- DAY 4: Titanic centre and Stormont Castle
This morning we will visit the birthplace of the Titanic and experience the story. The Titanic centre extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition. Drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. After our visit we will see Stormont, the home to the Northern Ireland assembly as we return to Belfast. We will have the afternoon and evening free to explore Belfast City at our leisure. Overnight in Belfast.
- DAY 5: Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede, Dunluce Castle & Bushmills Distillery
This morning we will enjoy a scenic drive to the Giant’s Causeway on the North Coast, one of the great natural wonders of Ireland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit Carrick-a-Rede, an exhilarating rope bridge experience. Traditionally fishermen erected the bridge to Carrick-a-Rede Island over a 23m-deep and 20m-wide chasm to check their salmon nets. Today visitors are drawn here simply to take the rope bridge challenge! We will visit Dunluce Castle a now-ruined medieval castle. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood. We will continue to Bushmills Distillery Irish Whiskey, the oldest working distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. In 2008 Bushmills celebrated the 400th anniversary of the original licence to distil whiskey granted to the Bushmills area in 1608. Watch whiskey making take place and enjoy a wee taster too as we unlock the secrets of 400 years of distilling at the home of Irish whiskey. Overnight in Armagh.
- DAY 6: Visit Armagh, St. Patricks Trian and Downpatrick
We will travel to Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland and meet with Rev. Grace Clunie, the Director of the Centre for Celtic Spirituality. She will lead us on a tour of St. Patrick’s, the Church of Ireland Cathedral. We will have time for quiet reflection in the Cathedral’s prayer garden. We will also tour the Roman Catholic Cathedral, learning about its impressive architecture and the recent peace-building partnership between the two Cathedrals. We will visit St. Patricks Trian which incorporates two exhibitions; The Armagh Story and The Land of Lilliput. The Armagh Story details Armagh’s historic Pagan monuments through to the coming of St. Patrick. The Land of Lilliput which is inspired by Jonathan Swift’s book Gulliver’s Travels tells the tale of Lemuel Gulliver, his journey to the South Seas and his experience in Lilliput. We will continue on and visit the beautiful area of Strangford Lough area, including the St. Patrick’s Centre, Downpatrick Cathedral, and Saul Church. Overnight in Armagh.
- DAY 7: Derry Walking Tour and Visit The American Ulster Folk Museum
This morning we will travel to Derry and meet our local guide. There are fifty natural and built attractions in the region, such as Derry’s Walls, The Bogside, The Peoples Gallery (Murals), The Bloody Sunday Story, The History of the Apprentice Boys and The Marching Season Traditions. After our walk we depart from Derry and will continue to The American Folk Museum where you can immerse yourself in the world famous story of Irish emigration at the museum that brings it to life. Follow the emigrant trail as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship leading to the log cabins of the American Frontier. Meet an array of costumed characters on your way with traditional crafts to show, tales to tell and food to share. We will continue to Donegal for our overnight stay.
- DAY 8: Scenic Donegal Drive
Today we will take a leisurely drive and witness some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland as we go through the lovely fishing village of Killybegs to Slieve League, the highest marine cliffs in Europe rising 600 meters above sea level. We will visit Kilcar and see the Handweavers at work. It is fascinating to watch the cloths emerging on the loom and if you are lucky, you may see traditional Donegal yarns being spun on the Spinning Mule. Overnight in Donegal.
- DAY 9: Cong & Connemara
This morning we will depart Donegal and continue on to Drumcliffe, set against one of the most striking Irish backdrops of Benbulben Mountain and best known as the final resting place of W.B.Yeats. His grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription 'Cast a cold eye on life, on Death. Horseman, pass by'. This was Yeats' self-penned epitaph together with the instructions that the grave consist of "No marble, no conventional phrase". The graveyard also contains a high cross while nearby is the site of a monastery founded by St. Colmcille in 575. We will continue to the beautiful village of Cong and see Cong Abbey founded in 623AD by St. Feichin as a monastery. The Royal Abbey of Cong is one of the finest examples of early architecture in Ireland. Examples of the wonderful craftsmanship is still very much in evidence today with the Abbey's Gothic windows, Romanesque doors and windows, clustered pillars, arches, standing columes and floral capitals. The village Cong is where much of the Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, was filmed. We will continue our journey to our accommodation through the scenic areas of Maam and Connemara.
- DAY 10: Aran Islands - Islands on The Edge of Europe- An Irish Timescape
This morning we will travel to the ferry port of Rossaveal where we will take a ferry to Inis Mor, one of the three Aran Islands. Inis Mor is criss-crossed by dry stone walls and the landscape is bleak with soaring cliffs rising out of the Atlantic. Aran has retained much of the old Gaelic culture and Gaelic is still the spoken language of the Islanders. Traditional music and song have been well preserved there. We will tour by coach and visit Dun Aengus, the Iron Age fort built as four concentric stone walls. The fort has been called the “most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe”. We will visit the monastery of St. Brecan at the “Seven Churches.” You will also see the only clochan or beehive-cell built with dry-wall corbelling on Inis Mor. We will reflect on the pre-Christian tradition as well as the monastic heritage on Aran before returning to our accommodation on the mainland. After dinner this evening a local expert will meet us at our hotel and teach us a popular Irish Ceili dance. She will be accompanied by a talented accordion player. Overnight in the Connemara Coast Hotel.
- DAY 11: Galway City of the Tribes & an Irish Cultural Experience at Cnoc Suain
We will begin our day in Galway City. Our tour guide will lead us through the historic streets of Galway including a visit to Kirwan's Lane, one of Galway's last remaining late Medieval Lanes. A unique development, Design Concourse Ireland is situated here in a 17th century merchant's house. The Design Concourse promotes Irish design and manufacture in a living exhibition environment. Judy Greene the owner and world renowned potter will meet the group and demonstrate how her pottery is created and hand painted here in Galway. We will also visit the historic St. Nicholas Church, Lynches Castle, Cathedral, University, Spanish Arch and Eyre Square. We will have some free time to enjoy lunch and shop at our leisure. After lunch we will meet again and travel to the restored hill village of Cnoc Suain in Spiddal. As Irish/Gaelic speakers, musicians, natural scientists and owners of this historic hill village, Dearbhaill Standun and Charlie Troy offer you a complete and authentic cultural experience. In the primordial landscape and evocative setting of Cnoc Suain, with its thatched and slated stone cottages overlooking mountains, lake and sea, they share with you some fascinating aspects of Irish culture, heritage and habitat: The landscape and natural history of Cnoc Suain and Connemara, traditional Irish music, the story of the famine, the Irish/Gaelic language, traditional skills and practices. We will visit one of the old thatch cottages where Dearbhaill invites you into the living room decorated in a traditional style. She is a Gaelic speaker offering the visitors a rare opportunity to hear the Irish language spoken in a natural environment. Dearbhaill will relay the history of the local area and of the house. She also will demonstrate bread making the traditional way. Dearbhaill is a founding member of the much acclaimed traditional music group Dordan. She will explain some of the history of Irish music. She will play the fiddle and will be joined by Steve on the accordion and tin whistle to play a selection of jigs and reels. They will also be joined by an Irish dancer. This afternoon has to be experienced to be appreciated. We will return to our accommodation to refresh before we depart for an evening cruise with entertainment on Lough Corrib. We will depart on board the luxurious Corrib Princess from the pier at Woodquay in the centre of Galway City for a dinner cruise and Irish entertainment on board. Passengers will enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and the lake as we cruise Lough Corrib. The "Corrib Princess" provides a unique and private setting for dinner as this modern boat has comfortable indoor table seating and a full bar on board. After dinner, Roisin, an Irish coffee making World champion will perform an Irish coffee demonstration detailing the history of Irish whiskey and showing you the art of Irish coffee making. The evening will continue with entertainment by Carmel Dempsey, a well-known musician and singer from Galway. Carmel is famous for her lively personality and success at encouraging audience participation. She will be joined by Maureen Fahy who, as the featured soloist in Riverdance, has played all over the world with the show. She has also toured the world with legendary Irish supergroup, the Chieftains. The talent of our Irish dancers will also amaze guests as they perform a selection of traditional dances. Carmel will continue the entertainment with a medley of lively traditional and contemporary Irish songs – clapping and toe stomping is guaranteed. The cruise will finish at 10:00 pm and guests will have a choice of returning to their hotel or exploring the night life of Galway City at their leisure.
- DAY 12: The Burren and The Cliffs of Moher
This morning we will travel through the Burren, in North County Clare. We will stop at the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. We will travel through the Burren, one of the most fascinating regions of Europe in terms of botany. It boasts, amongst other wildflowers, the Alpine Spring Gentian, the Arctic Mountain Aven and a profusion of Mediterranean orchids. We will visit Poulnabrone, one of the most famous Irish dolmens. The thin capstone sits on two high portal stones to create a chamber and a low cairn. This site dates back to about 2500 BC. We will continue on to our hotel in Ennis before attending a banquet in Bunratty Castle. Each night the Ladies of the Castle, aided and abetted by the Earl's Butler, welcome guests from the four corners of the globe to dine at The Earl's Banquet at Bunratty Castle. The entertainment provided by the world renowned entertainers is a fitting compliment to a mead reception, a four course feast, and of course good wine.
- DAY 13: Depart and farewell
- Travel insurance €29 per person (conditions apply); please note that there is an additional insurance premium of €29 for persons aged 86 to 94 years