June 6-16, 2020
Her Irish Road Trip, LLC
Meet at Shannon Airport after your overnight flight. An Irish driver (who will accompany us throughout Ireland) in a mini-coach will take us to the beautiful 13th century Timoleague Abbey ruins on the southern coast in County Cork. This is the Courtmacsherry Bay Area of West Cork.
Our evening’s destination is Liss Ard Estate, built for the leaders of the O’Donovan clan, a short drive from Timoleague. You will not forget this grand 19th century Georgian country house, situated on 163 acres, as we steal a little time in the peaceful surroundings from the wedding parties that generally occupy the hotel. Liss Ard is the site of the James Turrell Sky Garden, best described as an “installation.” Turrell, an American from California, was inspired by Celtic, Egyptian, and Mayan architecture. It is a sculpture of sorts, also called a “grass crater,” enjoyed on one’s back in the center, as the sky becomes a brand new sight. Turrell also is known for the “Roden Crater” in Arizona, United States.
In the evening, we will have a pint at the stately bar, followed by a delicious three-course Her Irish Road Trip welcome dinner (included) in the white-tablecloth, Michelin Guide restaurant on the premises. Let’s toast to our ensuing adventure!
On Day 2 we will sleep late or enjoy the beautiful Liss Ard gardens, wandering the estate at leisure. And then we head northwest to the renowned Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry on the lower west coast, known for its “craic” (good times), and explore this Irish-speaking part of the country with “beehive huts” & gorgeous vistas. On the way we will stop at the Kenmare Stone Circle (County Kerry), a Bronze Age religious site featuring 15 stones. It’s nickname is “Shruberries.” From there, we’ll travel over Moll’s Pass through the Macgillycuddy (yes, like Lucy) Reeks Mountains, to get to Dingle Peninsula.
Let’s immediately partake of Dingle Town’s many offerings, including shops, music, restaurants, pubs, and a pier. This will be the first of three nights in Dingle Town with its fish restaurants (with tonight’s dinner just coming off the boat) and quirky pubs.
On this lucky day, we start off with a driving tour around the peninsula, stopping at leisure to take pictures and see the sights, including the Gallarus Oratory (stone church), Fahan beehive huts from sometime in the 8th-12th centuries AD, once inhabited by monks and followers of St. Peter, the Louis Mulcahy pottery gallery, and breathtaking coastal views. After the tour and lunch we will have unstructured time to shop or relax before dinner. Those who wish may visit Dingle Crystal Factory, a mere stroll from our guesthouse, whose proprietor, Sean Daly, attained Master Craftsman status at Waterford Crystal. Not to worry, Dingle Crystal ships its splendid crystal!
Day 4 is all about the seaweed! The Irish have long indulged in seaweed baths to help rheumatism and arthritis and relieve tension. Seaweed, a natural anti-oxidant, improves the suppleness and elasticity of skin, stimulates the renewal of damaged skin cells, detoxifies, cleanses, tones, and moisturizes. The Peninsula Spa at the Dingle Skellig Hotel will provide a 45-minute seaweed body treatment to each of us—not a bath, but a seaweed salt body polish and oil massage—called “Detox by the Sea”, leaving your skin vitalised and nourished. This treatment won the Irish Spa Award for best indigenous Irish spa treatment. You may obtain other spa service(s), such as a bath, facial, or specialty massage, at your own expense, as we enjoy the spa pool, whirlpool, and deck overlooking the Dingle Bay. Her Irish Road Trip will arrange the spa day in advance for all to relish.
We will feel like pampered noodles by the time we return to the guesthouse to ready for another night on the town!
Before we bid Dingle a sad goodbye, we will take 2-hour cooking class at Dingle Cookery School, where we will eat the fruits of our labor at lunch. This is a hands-on class by Chef Mark Murphy, which of course includes instruction on Irish brown bread, the Irish manna from Heaven. You will not be able to stick to Atkins on this trip between the brown bread and scones! Chef Murphy, whose name is synonymous with Dingle food tourism, will school us on fish and meat cooking techniques, as well as some history of Irish cooking and the new Irish foodie scene.
We drive north to Doolin in County Clare, the preeminent Irish music locale, also on the Atlantic Ocean. This will be the first of three nights in Doolin at a lovely inn close to Doolin’s famous pubs. The evening holds in store a yummy, authentic Irish dinner and live music “session” at one of the pubs.
By now, we are starting to feel Irish! We feel “sorted out”! We will take a scenic drive to Loop Head, a promontory bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Shannon River with stunning cliffs and a lighthouse. This area is part of Ireland’s “Wild Atlantic Way.” After lunch at the charming Stella Maris hotel in the beach town Kilkee, we will enjoy a 2-hour, medium-level hike at Loop Head, while the local guide favors us with folklore and information about the flowers and geology. The terrain is gently sloped and uneven (and spongy in parts), but there is no actual climbing. For those who do not wish to hike, an alternative activity will be staying in Kilkee and strolling the beach or visiting a lovely tea house/art gallery near Loop Head.
On Day 7 we get gussied up and head to the castle and manor house! King John’s Castle is a beauty on the River Shannon in Limerick (County Limerick). With medieval origins, the castle derived from the Anglo-Norman invasion of the island. Onto Adare, which some call the prettiest town in Ireland. Adare Manor, with its 52 chimneys, built in the mid-1800s, will provide the afternoon tea (included) while we provide the good conversation and camaraderie. Then, back to Doolin for more live music in the evening.
During the morning of Day 8, we will visit the iconic Cliffs of Moher. Group selfies will abound! From there, we head east to Dublin, where we bid goodbye to our driver. We will check into our modern Radisson hotel in the heart of the city and convene for a late dinner and Jameson in the vibrant, historic, river-crossed city of Dublin. This is the first of three nights in Dublin.
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we take a two-hour walking tour guided by a post-graduate history student of either Trinity College or the National University of Ireland. Dublin is a cornucopia of sights, sounds, and tastes, and you will be independent for most of the afternoon, so that you can pursue your own interests. I recommend a hop-on-hop-off bus tour or the Trinity College tour (including the Book of Kells, circa 800, the Gospels penned by Columban monks in a very ornate fashion). Other fun spots include the Guinness Storehouse and Grafton Street for shopping and “buskers” (street performers). There are parks galore throughout Dublin for walking and people-watching. I will provide a list of places to see & things to do. We can stay in touch by texting and sharing our whereabouts. We meet up at the hotel prior to dinner at Gloria’s favorite Dublin restaurant in the Stoneybatter neighborhood.
Day #2 in Dublin is for hitting attractions that appeal to you. In the evening, we will try to see a play or Riverdance at one of Dublin’s historic theatres, which is an extra cost. This may be announced later and is optional. We will meet up for a farewell drink later in the evening, perhaps at the famous Brazen Head Pub, as this is our last night in Ireland and we must be merry.
We share taxis to the Dublin airport and say goodbye to the Emerald Isle.
All breakfasts included and a few other meals, as noted above.