Gardens of Ireland North with Ciscoe Itinerary
September 21st to October 4th, 2017
- Thursday, September 21st: Depart for Belfast
- Depart Seattle for Belfast, Northern Ireland. Flights from Seattle or Vancouver
depart all day, arriving the following day in Belfast.
- Friday, September 22nd: Belfast Arrival
- Arrive Belfast in the early part of the day on Friday, September 22nd* . We're
staying at an estate on the northern edge of the Ards Peninsula, just outside of
the city, overlooking Belfast Lough. Afternoon is free to explore Belfast and
acclimate to the time change. We'll meet this evening for a welcome pint before
dining at the hotel. Overnight Belfast (D)
*Guests wishing to arrive early in Dublin for a day or two prior to the start of this
tour would travel with us to Belfast.
- Saturday, September 23rd
- We start the day with a visit to Mount Stewart Estate and Garden. We'll spend
the morning with a tour of the world class gardens. After a break for lunch, we'll
have time to visit the historic house, recently reopened after an £8M restoration.
Overnight Belfast (B,D)
- Sunday, September 24th
- We start the day with a morning visit to Rowallane Garden just south of Belfast in
County Down. This is a National Trust Garden, with a walled garden woodedwalk, and rock garden. Though we can't make any purchases, their annual plant
sale with be fun to attend.
After lunch, we'll travel into the city to visit Titanic Belfast, the worlds' most
complete collection of artifacts and displays from the pride of the Wolfe Shipyard,
RMS Titanic. Overnight Belfast (B,D)
- Monday, September 25th
- We'll drive up the coast this morning through the Antrim Dells on our way to the
first tip of the day, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. This optional event entails
walking across a rope bridge that spans 66 feet. The original bridge was first used
over 350 years ago by local fishermen.
We're then traveling to the basalt stone formation known as the Giant's
Causeway. We'll break for lunch in the town of Bushmills for lunch, followed by a
tour and tasting at the historic Bushmills Distillery. Our afternoon will continue
with a garden tour of Downhill, the estate of Frederick Hervey. We're then
moving on to Derry, our base for the next two nights. Overnight Derry (B,D)
- Tuesday, September 26th
- We'll start the day with a tour of the walled city, including the Derry Bogside
Murals. We'll break for lunch in town before traveling the rugged Donegal
Peninsula to Glenveagh National Park for a tour of the gardens and castle.
Overnight Derry (B)
- Wednesday, September 27th
- We depart Northern Ireland for the Republic of Ireland this morning with a visit to
the Ulster American Folk Park. This museum showcases cottages, farms, schools
and shops as they were 100 years ago and looks at the Irish exodus to the United
States during the famine. After lunch in Donegal, we'll have a guided tour of the
town and historic castle. With time, we'll visit a family owned woolen mill in the
area before traveling to our hotel. We're spending the next two nights on the
lake at a castle hotel dating back to the 1800s. The castle is located just outside
the town of Donegal.
Overnight Lough Eske
- Thursday, September 28th
- Scenic driving this morning by Lough Erne on our way to Enniskillen. We'll stop
for lunch there before making a stop at the Cliffs of Magho for the outstanding
views. Weather permitting, we'll take the time for a walk along the shore. We'll
tour the workshop and gallery at the world famous Belleek Pottery before
returning to our castle for the evening. Overnight Lough Eske (B,D)
- Friday, September 29th
- We make our way south through Yeats Country to our first stop, the 5,000 year
old site of the Carrowkeel Megalithic Tomb Complex. On the way, we'll visit the
town of Cong, which is easily recognizable as the movie setting for The Quiet
Man, starring John Wayne and directed by John ford. We'll arrive in Galway late
afternoon. We'll be in town for the annual Galway Oyster Festival, one of the
largest in Ireland, with food, arts, and music. Overnight Galway (B,D)
- Saturday, September 30th
- We'll take the morning fast ferry to the Aran island of Inishmore. Once there,
we'll explore the Iron Age fort of Dun Aengus, perched high on the cliff side
overlooking the North Atlantic. Overnight Galway (B)
- Sunday, October 1st
- We're spending the day touring Connemara with suggestions from our local
guide. Overnight Galway (B)
- Monday, October 2nd
- We depart for county Offaly this morning, but will stop to see another with a
morning stop at Birr Castle for a tour of the gardens and castle.
We're checking into another castle hotel for our final two nights on the tour.
Kinnitty Castle is situated just outside Birr. There're been a fortified dwelling on
this site since the late 1100s. The current castle hotel dates back to 1928.
Overnight Birr (B,D)
- Tuesday, October 3rd
- We'll visit the monastic site of Clonmacnoise Overnight Birr (B,D)
- Wednesday, October 4th
- We'll be leaving Birr in the early hours to catch morning flights from Dublin the