Day 1: Arrive Dublin
Arrive in Dublin airport and meet with your driver/guide. Given that Dublin was named as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, there can be no better place to start your literary tour of Ireland beginning with a guided tour of the William Butler Yeats Exhibition at the National Library. The National library has the largest collection of Yeats manuscripts in the world and in addition holds other fascinating material donated by Mrs George Yeats. Next visit the James Joyce Museum/Tower (James Joyce Centre), originally built as a defence against Napoleonic invasions. This tower was the setting for the first chapter of Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, and now displays a collection of Joyce artifacts including photographs and personal possessions as well as objects associated with the Dublin of Ulysses. After this visit, check into your hotel where you will have some time to relax before your evening entertainment, a Literary Pub Crawl. Tour Dublin’s historic pubs in the company of two actors who introduce writers such as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan and Oscar Wilde and perform fascinating scenes from their works along the way. Dinner has not been arranged for you this evening so you can enjoy one of the capital’s many restaurants or re-visit one of the pubs you enjoyed on your pub crawl. Overnight in Dublin BB.
Day 2: Dublin City Tour
This morning enjoy a full Irish breakfast at your hotel before continuing your literary tour of Dublin. First, it’s on to the Dublin Writers Museum where Dublin’s literary personalities are brought to life through their books, letters, portraits and personal items. The Museum Collection is as fascinating as it is various and as might be expected, there are plenty of books representing the milestones in the progress of Irish literature from Gulliver’s Travels to Dracula, The Importance of Being Earnest to Ulysses and Waiting for Godot. Portraits of Irish writers are everywhere, including fine originals by artists such as Edward McGuire, Harry Kernoff, Patrick Swift and Micheal Farrell. Next, visit The James Joyce Centre which is located in a beautifully restored Georgian house and includes an exhibition area with computer installations, videos, re-creations of period rooms, and items relating to the life and work of James Joyce. Also on view are a copy of Joyce’s death mask, furniture from Paul Leon’s Paris apartment where Joyce worked on Finnegans Wake, and the front door from number 7 Eccles Street; Leopold Bloom’s address in Joyce’s Ulysses. Afterwards, visit The Chester Beatty Library which houses a great array of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. Your final stop for today is Shaw Birthplace which was the birthplace of the legendary playwright George Bernard Shaw. This remarkable building has been restored to its original Victorian style and is a fine example of Victorian Dublin domestic life. Return to your hotel this evening where dinner will be arranged for you. Following dinner, the evening is free for you to enjoy the nightlife in this bustling city. Overnight in Dublin DBB.
Day 3: Dublin – Sligo
Today we make the journey from Dublin to Sligo which is long renowned for being associated with the Irish playwright William Butler Yeats. En-route stop at the heritage village of Ardagh. In 1744 one of the most famous incidents in Ardagh’s history occurred; this was the visit of young Oliver Goldsmith who was tricked into mistaking the mansion (Ardagh House) for an inn. His endeavors to court the Fetherston daughters in the belief that they were servant girls formed the plot of his most successful play ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ , a comedy which explores the contemporary themes of sexual morality and double standards. Visit the Ardagh visitor centre which recounts the tale as well as the curious history of the area. Continue on your travels and arrive in Sligo by early afternoon. Visit Yeat’s Memorial Museum where you can see a photographic exhibition detailing the famous writer’s life, visit Drumcliffe Churchyard where Yeats is buried and visit the Sligo County Museum & Art Gallery which also has Yeats’ work on display. Return to your hotel where dinner will be arranged for you. Overnight in Sligo DBB.
Day 4: Sligo – Galway
From Sligo, travel to Galway via the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar. This award winning museum is home to the national Folklife Collection which represents traditional life in Ireland throughout the 19th and early 20th century. Here you will see for yourself the traditions, folklore and history of the real people of Ireland that would have inspired many famous Irish writers. Following your visit arrive in Galway City where you will check into your hotel and the remainder of the afternoon is free for you to explore this colourful city. This evening enjoy a Banquet at Dunguaire Castle which includes a four course meal accompanied by entertainment to lift the soul. The entertainment includes extracts from the works of great literary writers such as Synge, Yeats, Shaw and O’Casey. Overnight in Galway BB.
Day 5: Aran Islands
Enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel before departing to take the ferry to Inis Meáin, which is the middle of the three Aran Islands. Inis Meáin has managed to suppress the intrusion of the modern world to a large extent and remains the quietest and most traditional of the three Islands. The islanders still speak their native language but will have no problem in communicating in English. This enchanting island was frequented by the distinguished playwright John Millington Synge. It is the subject of numerous books, and proves continually to be of inspiration to visual, dramatic, literary and other artists. On the Island you will visit many sites including the historic fort of Dún Chonchúir, an impressive oval fortress measuring approximately 20ft in height, Dún Fearbhaí, the second stone fort on the island most notable for its unusual shape (almost square in shape as opposed to the normal round shape), ‘Cathaoir Synge’, the place where Synge was inspired and regularly wrote and ‘Teach Synge’, the cottage where Synge stayed while on the Island. Return to your hotel in Galway in the evening in time for dinner. Overnight in Galway DBB.
Day 6: Galway – Limerick
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before continuing on your literary tour. Today you will visit Limerick which was made famous by Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer Prize winning book ‘Angela’s Ashes’. Visit the Frank McCourt Museum which depicts the classroom of the 1930’s where Frank and his siblings attended as pupils as well as a collection of memorabilia including items such as school books of the period and old photographs. After your visit, take the Angela’s Ashes Walking Tour which includes locations featured in the book and subsequent film. After some free time to enjoy the shops of Limerick you will check into your hotel where dinner will be waiting for you. Overnight in Limerick DBB.
Day 7: Limerick – Killarney
Depart Limerick and head toward Kerry, stopping along the way in the heritage town of Listowel. Here you will visit the Seanchaí Visitor Centre which shows the works of the great Kerry authors in a unique audio-visual experience. Located in a 19th century Georgian residence in Listowel’s magnificent square, the centre features five of County Kerry’s most esteemed writers – John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Brendan Kennelly and Maurice Walsh. The writings of these national and internationally renowned literary figures are filled with an abundance of rich characters, humour, romance and tragedy drawn from the towns and villages of North Kerry. Continue on your tour arriving in Killarney by late afternoon, where you will have time to explore this beautiful town before settling down to enjoy dinner in your hotel. Overnight Killarney DBB.
Day 8: Dingle Peninsula
This morning you will continue on your journey heading for the Dingle Peninsula. There is no other landscape in Western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. The Conor Pass which runs from Dingle on the southern end of the peninsula towards Brandon Bay and Castlegregory in the North is the highest mountain pass in Ireland, a tight, precarious road weaving its way around the sharp cliff faces and past magnificent lakes. Stop at the Blasket Centre on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula which celebrates the story of the Blasket Islanders, the unique literary achievements of the island writers and their native language, culture and traditions. Sadly, An Blascaod Mór was abandoned in 1953 as a result of the decline of its once vibrant population. Enjoy some free time in Dingle to explore the town and its many bars and cafés before returning to your Killarney Hotel. This evening enjoy a farewell show of traditional dance, song and music including a three course meal at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Overnight Killarney BB.
Day 9: Say “Goodbye”
After your final breakfast take the journey from Killarney to Shannon airport, arriving in good time to complete checking in formalities and that last minute duty free shopping.
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