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Ireland: Tales and Treasures of the Emerald Isle
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10 days

from $10,252 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($6,995 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Wake up amid the regal splendor of Ashford Castle—a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World—and take an exclusive tour of this medieval retreat with the on-site historian.
  • Visit ancient sacred sites known as holy wells with a medievalist historian who worked on a National Geographic- sponsored project to preserve them.
  • Join an archaeologist at the Irish National Museum in Dublin to examine prehistoric artifacts and fascinating “bog bodies.”
  • Witness traditional Irish farming practices in Connemara, and hear about conservation efforts that earned the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark a National Geographic World Legacy Award.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed here are some of the experts that will be joining departures on this trip.

Itinerary

Across the Emerald Isle, historic treasures and a vibrant culture intermingle against a landscape that is endlessly magnificent. In the company of local archaeologists and historians, visit some of Ireland’s most intriguing monuments—from prehistoric monoliths in the Burren to the crumbling Rock of Cashel—and uncover mysteries from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and medieval eras. Delve into the Gaeltacht while exploring the windswept Connemara and fishing villages on the stunning Dingle Peninsula, where Irish traditions hold strong. Then venture to the lesser-known County Mayo and set out from our base at a medieval castle to explore some of Ireland’s wildest landscapes.

Day 1: Dublin, Ireland

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Arrive in Dublin and transfer to our hotel. This afternoon, set out on a walking tour to see the city's charming historic center. Then visit the archaeology branch of the National Museum of Ireland. Join an archaeology expert here for an in-depth look at Early Bronze Age gold and jewelry, prehistoric weaponry, and Iron Age “bog bodies.” Cap off the tour with a visit to Sweny’s Pharmacy, featured in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

Day 2: Dublin/Kilkenny

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Begin the day in the Old Library at Trinity College, home to the illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kells. Then drive to Kilkenny, a charming medieval town with narrow, winding streets; a 12th-century castle; and many well-preserved churches and monasteries. Check in to our hotel and enjoy dinner on your own this evening.

Day 3: Kilkenny

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Join a local guide for a tour of Kilkenny. Explore Kilkenny Castle, and visit the former stables, converted into a design center that houses the National Craft Gallery. Enjoy lunch at the historic Kyteler’s Inn; sip a pint at the Smithwick’s Experience; and, if you wish, climb the ninth-century tower of St. Canice’s Cathedral.

Day 4: Rock Of Cashel/Blarney/Killarney

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Head west to the Rock of Cashel, an imposing fortress atop a shamrock-green hill. Step inside the age-old ramparts to discover a Gothic cathedral, high crosses, and a beautifully preserved Romanesque chapel. Then drive to Blarney Castle, home to the legendary Blarney Stone which is said to confer the “gift of gab” on those who kiss it. Continue to Killarney after lunch, stopping in the Gaeltacht town of Ballyvourney to meet with a local medievalist and learn about his work on a National Geographic-sponsored project to preserve Ireland’s holy wells.

Day 5: Dingle Peninsula/Killarney

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Trace the rocky, wave-beaten coastline of the Dingle Peninsula on one of Ireland’s most scenic drives. Peek into ancient beehive huts that dot steep hillsides, and walk through the seemingly endless shallows at Inch beach. Stop at a local pottery shop, and then tour the colorful seaside town of Dingle, where traditional Irish language and lifestyle still flourish. Later this afternoon, take an optional hike in Killarney National Park.

Day 6: Cliffs of Moher/The Burren National Park

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Depart Killarney, crossing from Kerry to Clare counties by ferry. Travel along the Wild Atlantic Way, toward the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, which rise more than 700 feet above the crashing North Atlantic. Then drive through the Burren National Park, an otherworldly limestone landscape strewn with megalithic markings, and marvel at the ancient portal tomb of Poulnabrone Dolmen. Travel to our hotel, nestled in the heart of the Burren. Enjoy a talk about local conservation efforts that led to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark receiving a 2016 National Geographic World Legacy Award.

Day 7: The Burren/Galway/County Mayo

Meet the chocolatiers at the award-winning Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, and sample their artisanal bean-to-bar creations. Then travel to the coastal city of Galway and tour this vibrant center for Irish art, music, and theater. Our next destination is the majestic Ashford Castle, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World that serves as a gateway to the gorgeous landscapes of County Mayo. As National Geographic guests, we’ll have the exclusive opportunity to step back in time with the on-site historian, who will share tales from the long and colorful history of this meticulously restored 800-year-old castle. Tonight, dine in the hotel’s elegant George V Dining Room.

Day 8: Connemara/County Mayo

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Get a feel for traditional farm life in the Connemara region during a private tour of the Dan O’Hara Homestead. Then take a scenic drive along the Sky Road, which follows the spectacular Irish coast over sheep-dotted hills, past vertical cliffs and long beaches, and through lively towns. Stop for a sheep-herding demonstration before returning to the castle. This afternoon, set off on a self-guided nature walk around the property’s parklands or simply relax and enjoy the castle’s amenities.

Day 9: County Mayo/Dublin

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Take the morning to go on an optional excursion from the castle by kayak, bike, or horseback, before returning to Dublin for an afternoon at leisure. Enjoy a private tasting with a local whiskey expert, followed by a farewell dinner.

Day 10: Dublin

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light\/moderate; travelers should be in good health, comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, and prepared for multiple hours of activity on some days. Excursions may include navigating uneven terrain, climbing stairs without handrails, and walking on paths with steep ascents\/descents, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking, or horseback riding.

Accommodations
Throughout the trip, we stay in ideally located, high-end hotels with many amenities including the luxurious Ashford Castle, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character. Below are several of the accommodations featured on this expedition.

1 /4

Ashford Castle - Mayo, Ireland

Built by the Normans some 800 years ago and owned for nearly a century by the Guinness family, Ashford Castle, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, is a medieval gem set amid the gorgeous countryside north of Galway. Many of the 83 guest rooms are located in the oldest, most atmospheric part of the castle. Each room is individually decorated with antiques and period textiles and outfitted with modern amenities, including Wi-fi, a Bluetooth speaker, cable television, electric blinds, and a USB charger. The lodge features three restaurants, a lavish bar and billiards room, a library, and state-of-the-art fitness center.

2 /4

Ashford Castle - Mayo, Ireland

Built by the Normans some 800 years ago and owned for nearly a century by the Guinness family, Ashford Castle, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, is a medieval gem set amid the gorgeous countryside north of Galway. Many of the 83 guest rooms are located in the oldest, most atmospheric part of the castle. Each room is individually decorated with antiques and period textiles and outfitted with modern amenities, including Wi-fi, a Bluetooth speaker, cable television, electric blinds, and a USB charger. The lodge features three restaurants, a lavish bar and billiards room, a library, and state-of-the-art fitness center.

3 /4

Ashford Castle - Mayo, Ireland

Built by the Normans some 800 years ago and owned for nearly a century by the Guinness family, Ashford Castle, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, is a medieval gem set amid the gorgeous countryside north of Galway. Many of the 83 guest rooms are located in the oldest, most atmospheric part of the castle. Each room is individually decorated with antiques and period textiles and outfitted with modern amenities, including Wi-fi, a Bluetooth speaker, cable television, electric blinds, and a USB charger. The lodge features three restaurants, a lavish bar and billiards room, a library, and state-of-the-art fitness center.

4 /4

Ashford Castle - Mayo, Ireland

Built by the Normans some 800 years ago and owned for nearly a century by the Guinness family, Ashford Castle, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, is a medieval gem set amid the gorgeous countryside north of Galway. Many of the 83 guest rooms are located in the oldest, most atmospheric part of the castle. Each room is individually decorated with antiques and period textiles and outfitted with modern amenities, including Wi-fi, a Bluetooth speaker, cable television, electric blinds, and a USB charger. The lodge features three restaurants, a lavish bar and billiards room, a library, and state-of-the-art fitness center.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Apr 24-May 3, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $10,252 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,063 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date May 29-Jun 7, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $10,985 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,796 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Jun 19-28, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $10,985 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,796 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Aug 28-Sep 6, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $10,985 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,796 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Sep 25-Oct 4, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $10,692 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $14,502 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Killian Driscoll
Archaeologist
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National Geographic grantee Killian Driscoll is an archaeologist who specializes in prehistoric archaeology. He studied archaeology and history at the National University of Ireland, Galway and completed his Ph.D. at University College Dublin. Killian has been a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Barcelona, the Université de Montréal, and University College Dublin. His research focuses on Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic archaeology, particularly on studying stone-tool raw materials and manufacturing techniques, as well as landscapes. His current project in Ireland extends his National Geographic-funded fieldwork and involves investigating the sources of raw materials for stone tools in prehistory. Killian looks forward to sharing his love of Ireland's culture, landscapes, history, and prehistory on this expedition.

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  • May 29-Jun 7, 2020
  • Jun 19-28, 2020
  • Aug 28-Sep 6, 2020
  • Sep 25-Oct 4, 2020