Scenic Western Ireland
Join us on a tour of Ireland's southwest corner to discover a rugged landscape of jagged cliffs, sheltered bays and peaceful coastal towns. Based in Rosscarbery, on the lovely West Cork coastline, you'll head out each day on four unforgettable excursions, visiting the likes of elegant Bantry House, the lively city of Cork and the pretty harbour town of Kinsale. You'll also enjoy a boat trip to the renowned gardens on Garnish Island, and take a spectacular drive through the astounding landscapes along the Ring of Kerry.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Fly to Cork and transfer to Rosscarbery
Fly to Cork Airport, meet your Tour Manager and transfer by coach to your hotel in Rosscarbery. Depending on your arrival time, you're free to spend the rest of the day exploring this pretty village or perhaps taking a walk along the estuary - a bird watchers' paradise.
Day Two: Visit Timoleague and Kinsale
Our day begins with a drive through Clonakilty, birthplace of Irish hero Michael Collins, before we reach the village of Timoleague, where the ruins of its 13th-century abbey stand proudly at the water's edge. The abbey is one of very few early Franciscan foundations with extensive remains still standing in Ireland.
From here we'll continue to the attractive harbour town of Kinsale, where a maze of narrow streets lined with galleries and shops are overlooked by its mighty 17th-century fort. Enjoy lunch with a view at the quayside (payable locally), where you'll find a wonderful choice of cafes and restaurants.
Day Three: Take in the views along the Ring of Kerry
Travel along the celebrated Ring of Kerry, part of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, on today's spellbinding journey. Stretching west from the picturesque town of Kenmare, this 110-mile circular route around the sublimely beautiful Iveragh Peninsula takes in a concoction of charming towns and rugged landscapes of forests, tumbling waterfalls and the raging waters of the Atlantic. During the day we'll cross soaring Coomakista Pass, catch sight of the monastic marvel of Skellig cast out in the sea, and have the chance to explore the pretty towns of Waterville and Cahersiveen. This is a long but truly memorable day, which for many may well be the highlight of the holiday.
Day Four: Explore Cork and Cobh
We'll enjoy a change of scenery today, as we head into the city of Cork. This lively city is built on an island in the River Lee and is comprised of waterways linked by small bridges, Georgian avenues and rows of colourful painted houses. Don't miss the triple-spired St Finn Barre's cathedral and the English Market, where you'll discover an astonishing array of fresh produce.
In the late morning we'll head to the historic and delightful seaside town of Cobh, the departure point for over three million Irish emigrants and the final port of call for the ill-fated RMS Titanic in April 1912. After time to enjoy lunch we'll visit the excellent Heritage Centre (entrance fee payable locally), where a multi-media exhibition tells the emotive story of Irish emigration through to the 1950s, and traces the town's history back to the 1600s.
Day Five: Visit Bantry House, Glengarriff and Garnish Island
Enjoy the highlights of Bantry Bay on today's captivating journey. We'll begin with a guided tour of Bantry House, the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry, and still lived in by the family. This grand building overlooks the bay and is set in magnificent Italian gardens inspired by the travels of the second Earl.
Our day trip continues with a visit to the subtropical oasis of Glengarriff. Protected by the rugged Caha Mountains and overlooking the sheltered waters of Bantry Bay, this unique village enjoys a balmy microclimate in which sub-tropical plants and even bamboos flourish. See the exotic species at the Nature Reserve and shore-side Bamboo Park, and explore the cafes and shops in the village.
Later, we'll set sail on a short boat trip across the bay to Garnish Island, famous for its pretty walking trails and beautiful gardens, where flowers bloom from May right through to October. As we cross the bay, keep an eye out for resident seals, often sighted on the banks of Seal Island.
Day Six: Fly back to the UK
Transfer to the airport to catch your flight home after a wonderful holiday in this beautiful and unspoilt part of Ireland.
The Celtic Ross Hotel ★★★
Airport transfer times
The transfer time from Cork airport to your hotel is approximately one hour, 15 minutes.
Hotel spa treatments
To avoid disappointment, please book any treatments direct with the hotel prior to arrival.
Combining hotel transfers
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
We are often asked about gratuities on our Irish holidays. At the end of a tour it is customary to give a coach driver around £2-3 per person per day and a Tour Manager around £3-5 per person per day; a gratuity of £1 per person per day for dining/waiting staff in your hotel will also be greatly appreciated. In a restaurant leave about 10% of a bill (no need to tip in a bar) and around £2 for services such as hairdressing.