July 3-13, 2021
Her Irish Road Trip, LLC
Meet at Shannon Airport after your overnight flight. An Irish driver (who will accompany us throughout Ireland) in a comfortable and roomy mini-coach will take us to one of the iconic Irish spots, the Cliffs of Moher. Selfies will abound! We’ll have a casual lunch and explore at leisure. Onto our first “home”—Doolin in County Clare—the preeminent Irish music locale, on the Atlantic Ocean. This will be the first of three nights in Doolin. Perhaps we’ll have time for a nap to refresh after the journey. The evening holds in store a yummy, authentic Irish dinner and live music “session” at one of Doolin’s famous pubs, where we will toast our ensuing adventure!
After acclimating to the time zone and partaking of a casual breakfast at the hotel, we take a scenic drive to Loop Head (County Clare), 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 on the way at the charming Stella Maris Hotel in the beach town of 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 due to heather), 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. Then, back to Doolin for dinner and more live music in the evening.
On Day 3 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 Ireland. 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. No doubt, we will be stuffed upon return to Doolin, but the proximity of the restaurants and pubs gives us the option to prolong our lovely day!
Let’s bid Doolin goodbye with an earnest wish that we will return some day. Next up is the renowned Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry on the lower west coast, known for its “craic” (good times). It’s lots of fun (and dangerous for the shoppers in the group) to explore this Irish-speaking part of the country with “beehive huts” and gorgeous vistas. We will 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. We may have a pint after dinner, or enjoy some brown bread ice cream at Murphy’s.
By now, we’re starting to feel Irish! We’re feeling “sorted out”! We’ll take 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 Saint 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, whose proprietor, Sean Daly, attained Master Craftsman status at Waterford Crystal. Not to worry, Dingle Crystal ships its splendid crystal!
Day 6 is all about the seaweed. The Irish have long indulged in seaweed baths to help rheumatism and arthritis and to relieve tension. Seaweed, a natural antioxidant, 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 appropriately called “Detox by the Sea” (included), leaving your skin vitalized and nourished. This treatment won the Irish Spa Award for best indigenous Irish spa treatment. You may obtain additional spa services, such as a seaweed bath, facial, or massage, at your own expense. Everyone will enjoy the whirlpool, and deck overlooking Dingle Bay. Her Irish Road Trip will arrange the spa day, with lunch at the hotel, for all to relish.
Before we bid Dingle Peninsula a sad goodbye, we will take a 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, whose name is synonymous with Dingle food tourism, including cooking techniques and Irish food history. Chef Murphy will tell us about the new foodie scene in Ireland.
Our next destination is Liss Ard Estate for the evening and night, built for the leaders of the O’Donovan clan, in Skibbereen on the southern coast (County Cork). 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 meal in the white-tablecloth, Michelin Guide restaurant on the premises (included).
En route to Dublin, we will stop at the beautiful 13th century Timoleague Abbey ruins (County Cork) on the Courtmacsherry Bay. Another highlight of this quaint town will be the Harry Clarke (1889-1931) stained glass windows in the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. The excitement will build as we head to vibrant, historic, river-crossed Dublin for three nights. Unfortunately, we say goodbye to our driver there. We will check in to our hotel and convene for dinner in this foodie-approved city. Perhaps we will hit the funky Temple Bar neighborhood for a nightcap.
This morning, we will take a two-hour walking tour guided by a post-graduate history student of either Trinity College or the National University of Ireland. The tour starts at Trinity College grounds, the iconic Irish university. Dublin is a cornucopia of sights, sounds, and tastes, and you will be independent for most of the afternoon after the tour, so that you can pursue your own interests. I recommend a hop-on-hop-off bus tour or the more specific Trinity College tour (including the Book of Kells, circa 800, the Gospel penned by Columban monks in an 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, including the stunning National Botanic Gardens . I will provide a list of places to see and things to do. We can stay in touch by texting and sharing our whereabouts. We will meet up at the hotel prior to dinner at Gloria’s favorite restaurant in Dublin 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 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 kiss and hug goodbye—for we are vaccinated against the coronavirus!
Her Irish Road Trip, LLC reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on closings due to COVID-19, weather, or when something great and unexpected comes along! All breakfasts are included and a few other meals, as noted above.