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FEBRUARY 18 – 24, 2005

DAY ONE       18TH February, 2005       DEPART NEW YORK

We will be leaving JFK at 6:50pm aboard an Aer Lingus flight.

DAY TWO       19th February 2005       ARRIVE SHANNON

Cead Mile Failte!

Arrive into Shannon airport early this morning, where you will be met by your driver/guide and escorted to your luxury touring motorcoach.

Your first stop of the day will be for morning coffee & visit to Craggaunowen in Co. Clare.

The Craggaunowen project is a re-creation of life in neolithic times, inspired by the late historian and archaeologist, John Hunt. The most striking feature is the Crannog, or lake-swelling complex, with its wattle and daub houses. There is also a ring fort with souterrain. It is thought that there were once some 40,000 similar settlements throughout Ireland.

Another tableau is a cooking site of the type often used on hunting trips as well as in settlements. Pits were dug into the marshy ground where water would seep; baked stones were then thrown in to heat the water. Water was kept at very high temperatures by the addition of more hot stones. Also on display is a replica of the Brendan Boat, built by Tim Severin, who sailed across the Atlantic in support of his theory that St. Brendan reached the shores of the New World in the 6th century. The centre-piece of Craggaunowen is the castle itself, dating from 1550. It was one of more than 80 constructed in County Clare. The castle interior has been authentically furnished.

Continue to Ennis where you will check into your hotel The Temple Gate which will be your base for the next 5 nights. Resting on the site of a 19th century convent, the gothic style combines with luxurious charm in this town house hotel. Situated just off the main street, a short walk through the cobblestone courtyard leads to the town center. Exceptional bedrooms include executive and junior suites. AA Rosette for JM’s Bistro 6 year. Accalimed bar menu in award winning pub.

Ennis, of a quaint narrow streets and broad visitor appeal, is a natural center to Clares unrivalled attractions. The town developed around the Franciscan Abbey, which was founded by the OBrien Kings of Thomond in 1240, and is now a national monument. Over the centuries, Ennis became a thriving market town, which it continues to be today. It is a town that treasures its history and its culture and is proud to share this past with visitors. History abounds and its monuments and landmarks, such as the old Franciscan Friary, add to the great character of the town. Visitors particularly enjoy the range of shopping including craft shopping and superb dining options to suit all tastes. Ennis is the traditional music capital of Ireland and music resounds from many centers, particularly from within its famous character pubs.

Relax and freshen up after your transatlantic flight. Dinner will be served at your hotel this evening.

DAY THREE       20th February 2005       CLIFFS OF MOHER & THE BURREN

Clares pure fresh Atlantic air also offers the perfect environment for tranquil stress-free breaks solitude without loneliness. Dramatic and millennia-old monuments dot the landscape and signal an historic past that is palpable castles and round towers, stone-age tombs and iron-age forts, cathedrals and abbeys will connect you to thousands of years of history. Clares towns and villages reverberate with traditional music, song, dance and folk tales, which can be experienced throughout the county. Nighttime is particularly lively with the music pubs and ceilis in full swing.

The magical attractions of Clare come in many varieties; your first stop will be the awesome 213 meter high Cliffs of Moher standing firm against the might of the Atlantic Ocean; Situated in County Clare and bordering the Burren Area, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara.

The Cliffs reach their highest point just north of O’ Brien’s Tower this tower was built by Cornelius O’ Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru, to impress female visitors. The seastack, Breanan Mr, stands over 70 metres above the foaming waves. You are advised to dress warmly when visiting the cliffs because of the cool Atlantic winds blowing in off the ocean. Nevertheless, a walk along the cliffs is not to be missed. Those with a head for heights can easily walk to the edge of the cliff and view the Atlantic Ocean below.

Travel northwards towards the match-making spa resort town of Lisdoonvarna. Match making was one of the oldest traditions of Ireland, when the country had two classes the rich land owners and the poor peasants the rich organized match making so that their sons and daughters would meet and marry other people who were also well to do. The Spa town of Lisdoonvarna was picked and traditionally the people from Ireland went there in their thousands to drink the healthy Spa waters and bathe in the three different mineral cure waters that the Spa Wells had and still offers. The month of September was picked, as it is the month when the hay and crops are saved and the livestock do not need extra feeding until later in the autumn. The Match Making Festival takes place every year from September 1st until October 6th in Lisdoonvarna. The Match Makers of old were the dealers who attended the street fairs as it was they who knew the farmers who had eligible sons and daughters around the country, it was they who invited the farmers from all over Ireland to attend the festival and it was they who collected the generous dowries when the matches were made.

You will then continue along the solemn grandeur of the Burren limestone cap, stretching over miles and millions of years; As you travel through the Burren, 7,000 years of history unfolds before your eyes, with farmsteads from the Stone Age and Iron Age, churches, abbeys and high crosses plus castles and fortresses of local lords. You will stop at the Burren Exposure, which will give you the history of the formation of the Burren over 350 million years ago, through the inhabitance of the area since the Stone Age to the amazing selection of flora, where Mediterranean, Alpine & Artic plants can be found growing side by side!

Enjoy some free time in Doolin before returning to Ennis. Doolin is a special village in a special part of Ireland. Nestling between the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and the Aran islands it is renowned as the traditional music capital of Ireland. It is many things to many people. For some, it’s a centre of music and merriment, for others it is a place of great beauty and tranquillity where one can refresh and spirit away the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

DAY FOUR       21st February 2005      GALWAY

Today you will travel northwards to Galway City. En route you will stop for a visit to Rathbaun Farm to include Tea/coffee and homebaking.

Rathbaun farm is situated 18 miles from Galway amidst of one of Irelands loveliest farming areas. It is a very different type of tourist attraction where either Mr or Mrs Connolly or their son Fintan take you on a tour of the Farm. You see a demonstration of sheep shearing and a sheep dog manoeuvring the animals. You will visit the barns with an array of animals and your host explain the difference between the breeds of sheep cattle, poultry and so on..

Continue to Galway, known as the city of the Tribes, and enjoy a panoramic tour viewing Eyre Square, St Nicholas Church and the Spanish Arch. Galway is noted for its traditional Irish music and song. Galway nestles at the neck of Galway Bay and is reputed to have been Columbus final point of departure on his epoch-making voyage of discovery. St Nicholas Church, medieval church, which is dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, was begun 1320. Spanish Arch, the name is a reminder of the city’s trading links with Spain. Part of the medieval town wall is visible on the south side of the arch. Eyre Square – this is the focal point of the modern city between the old town and the docks centres on a small park, named after John F Kennedy.

You will have some free time in Galway to catch up on some shopping to enjoying some of the renowned public houses!!

Return to Ennis for dinner at your hotel & overnight

DAY FIVE       22nd February 2005       LIMERICK

Today you will travel into nearby Limerick City, where your driver will bring you on an orientation tour of the city. Rivalry has long existed between Cork City and Limerick City. Nonetheless it was a Cork author, Frank OConnor, who described Limerick, at the mouth of the Shannon, as the pleasantest town in Ireland. Someone who has more recently put Limerick firmly on the literary map, by writing of the poverty and wretchedness of this childhood there, is migr author and retired schoolteacher Frank McCourt. His autobiography Angelas Ashes won him the Pulitzer Prize and a degree of controversy from his native city.

You will be brought on a walking tour of the city designed to show you the sights written of and subsequently screened in the “Angela’s Ashes novel. The original text depicts the life and times of the people of Limerick in the early twentieth century. The route includes stops at Arthur’s Quay, River Shannon, Sutton’s Coal, Windmill Street, Redemptorist Church, Roden Lane, People’s Park, Dominican Church, Railway Station, Naughton’s Chipper, the Dispensary and many more.

After lunch you will visit King Johns Castle King Johns Castle is a 13th century Castle on Kings Island in the heart of medieval Limerick City. The Castle overlooks the majestic river Shannon. Discover history at its best, magnificent views and life in Norman times. Explore 800 years of history brought to life in the imaginative historical exhibition, excavated pre-Norman houses, fortifications, siege mines, and the battlement walks. King John as Lord of Ireland minted his own coins and the Royal moneyer would have struck coins in the Castle mint. Today you can receive your own special coin as souvenir of your visit to the Castle. The sights, scenes and sounds of the Castle and its environs all combine to recreate the atmosphere of the era.

Later this afternoon you will visit Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Bunratty is despite all the hoopla, another thought provoking experience and not to be avoided. The castle dating back to 1277, has seen turbulent times and much fighting before its walls. It has been rebuilt a number of times but the present structure dates to 1450. Like Craggaunowen it has been restored and furnished with items befitting the period. Consider booking a place at the evening medieval banquet, the best in Ireland, hosted by celebrated singers and entertainers.

The Folk park in the castle grounds depicts Irish lifestyles through the ages. Cottages have been furnished accurately whether from Connemara or Kerry. There is an authentic 19th century village with working craft shops and general stores in which the serving staff wear period costume.

It the evening you will return to enjoy the famous Bunratty Banquet in the Castle. Bunratty Castle was built by the Earl of Thomond, from here he ruled over his Chiefdon and entertained lavishly, in fact he was famous for his hospitality. Following this tradition of hospitality, the world-renowned Bunratty Medieval Banquet is held twice nightly throughout the year. For 35 years the Ladies of the Castle, aided and abetted by the Earls Butler, have welcomed guests from the four corners of the globe to join them at the Earls Banquet. This is an evening of refinement and fun. The entertainment provided by the superb Bunratty Singers is a fitting compliment to a four-course meal, a lively meal reception and of course good wine. You are invited to enjoy an unforgettable evening surrounded by the splendour of the castle itself.

DAY SIX       23rd February 2005       WEST CLARE

Today you will travel into southwest Clare – an unspoiled, natural beauty. It is wedged between the Shannon Estuary and the Atlantic, which has carved giant natural sculpture formations from the stone faced coastline, trimmed with fine-grained, safe beaches and old-world fishing villages. Seafaring and sea fare is ingrained in the traditions, culture and visitor amenities of the area. Pleasant scenes along the Shannon Estuary side of the peninsula contrast with the spectacular seascapes.

Travel across to Dunbeg, on to Kilkee & Kilrush, continuing to the Killimer Ferry. From here you can cross the Shannon estuary from Kilimer to Tarbert and onto Foynes where you will stop at the Fly Museum where Irish Coffee was invented.

From 1939 to 1945 Foynes, County Limerick, was the centre of the aviation world, for air traffic between the United States and Europe. The Foynes Museum recalls this era with a comprehensive range of exhibits and graphic illustrations. You can travel back in time in the museums authentic 1940’s cinema, while watching the award winning film ‘Atlantic Conquest’. The museum features the original Terminal Building, Radio and Weather Room (complete with transmitters, receivers and Morse code equipment). The exhibits feature an introduction to the first transatlantic passenger service and Foynes during the war years. Irish Coffee was invented in Foynes. Chef Joe Sheridan made the first in 1942 to warm up some damp and miserable passengers. Since then Irish Coffee has become one the most popular welcoming drinks in the world.

You will return to Ennis via Adare. Snuggled in a wooden and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Irelands prettiest and most picturesque village. Situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: “Ath Dara” – the “ford of the oak” – from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. During its long history, Adare, as a strategic location, has been the subject of many conquests, wars and rebellions.

The old town of Adare, which stood on the northern bank of the river Maigue, near the Desmond castle, was destroyed during the 16th century wars. Almost all of the present village was built in the 19th century. The early developments were very haphazard but from about 1820, streets and buildings were laid out according to the, then, Earl of Dunravens design. He built houses and rented them, under various agreements, to his tenants, working on his estate lands.

Today, Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of, world famous, ornate, thatched cottages line part off the villages broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins.

Return to Ennis for a farewell dinner at your hotel.

DAY SEVEN       24th February 2005      DEPART

Your driver will bring you to nearby Shannon airport for your departure flight to the US.


Price is $1099


  • 1) Round Trip Airfare from New York to Shannon, Ireland
  • 2) 5 nights accommodation at the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis
  • 3) Full Irish breakfast daily
  • 4) Dinner at your hotel on 3 evenings
  • 5) Dinner & Entertainment at the Bunratty Castle Banquet
  • 6) Morning Coffee and scones on arrival
  • 7) Entrance fees to: Cragganowen, Kilfenora Heritage Centre, King Johns Castle, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, & the Flying Boat Museum
  • 8) Angeles Ashes walking tour of Limerick
  • 9) Visit to Rathbaun Farm with tea/coffee & homes baking
  • 10) Irish Coffee in Foynes at the Flying Boat Museum
  • 11) Kilimer Tarbert Ferry
  • 12) Porterage of 1 bag per person at hotel & airport.


  • 1) Airport Taxes
  • 2) Lunch
  • 3) One Dinner
  • 4) Tip for bus driver

For reservations or information contact Neil O’Sullivan at
Healy-O’Sullivan Travel (845) 735-9500 or 1-888-32-IRISH
Or send email to [email protected]

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