Come on Home to Ireland

Mon., October 5 – CHICAGO / EN ROUTE

Late this evening we depart Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on our non-stop American Airlines flight to Dublin, Ireland. 


Tues., October 6 – DUBLIN / GALWAY

 After landing at Dublin Airport and clearing customs, our Driver/Guide welcomes us to Ireland. We’ll leave the city behind and journey through the Irish countryside to Kilbeggan Distillery, established in 1757, the oldest licensed distillery in the world. We will see how the whiskey is produced and enjoy a sample of the finished product. We’ll visit the medieval monastery of Clonmacnoise on the River Shannon, before heading to Galway, the city of The Tribes. On arrival we’ll enjoy a panoramic introduction to the city’s main sights including the stunning Cathedral of St. Nicholas, set on an island in the River Corrib; Eyre Square; the Old Quays; the Spanish Arch; and the Claddagh, an independent fishing community beyond the city walls. We’ll enjoy dinner tonight at our hotel for the next two nights, Salthill Hotel. 

Wed., October 7 – GALWAY

Today we’ll begin by traveling along the shores of Galway Bay before stopping in the town of Spiddal for a view of the Aran Islands. Then we’re headed to picturesque Kylemore Abbey, a castellated neo-Gothic mansion occupied by an Irish Benedictine community of nuns, where we’ll have an opportunity to walk the abbey grounds. Tonight we’ll enjoy a special treat at the famous O’Connor’s Pub in Salthill with our Galway host and story teller, Brian Nolan, where you’ll have an opportunity to pour a pint of Guinness, while we enjoy music from Ian. 


Thur., October 8 – GALWAY / DERRY

 We depart Galway today and stop to visit Cong where we’ll enjoy an interactive tour of “The Quiet Man” movie. Then we’re headed to the town of Sligo, a vibrant coastal town known for its literary and musical heritage, and closely associated with W.B. Yeats's poetry, prose and drama. We’ll have time for lunch and a pint at Hargadons Pub, maybe even time for a song or two from Ian at this pub known for its live music sessions. Heading north we’ll stop at Drumcliffe, at the foot of Benbulben, to view the final resting place of Yeats. Then we’ll travel through County Donegal to the Grianan of Aileach, a hilltop stone fort dating from 1700 BC, where we’ll enjoy breathtaking views of three counties and Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way. Our final journey will take us to into Northern Ireland and Ireland’s only walled city, Derry, also known as Londonderry. We’ll enjoy dinner tonight at our perfectly located hotel for the next two nights, City Hotel Derry.  

Fri., October 9 – DERRY

 This morning our guide, Ruairi O’hEara, will take us on a walking tour of the iconic Derry Walls where we’ll learn about the 1,500 years of history and culture enclosed within Ireland’s only completely walled city; from the sixth-century monastic settlement to the vibrant European city of the twenty-first century. We’ll also visit the Museum of Free Derry. Opened in 2007, the museum tells the story of the dramatic events which took place between 1968-72 in the Bogside neighborhood. As violence escalated, the area was proclaimed "Free Derry" and is widely regarded as ground zero in the fight for Catholic civil rights in Northern Ireland. The remainder of the day is free to explore Derry and its many museums, historic buildings, pubs and more. Tonight we’ll enjoy music from Ian at Peadar O’Donnell’s Irish music pub. 

Sat., October 10 – DERRY / BELFAST

 This morning we make our way along the North Antrim Coast to enjoy the view of the spectacular Glens of Antrim and Dunluce Castle, featured in the series “Game of Thrones.” We’ll explore the Giant’s Causeway, a mass of 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns formed over 60 million years ago. Afterward we’ll travel to the small village of Bushmills, settled on the banks of the Bush River where we will find the Old Bushmills Irish Whiskey Distillery, the oldest working distillery in Ireland. For over 400 years Old Bushmills has kept to the philosophy that hand crafting small batches is the way to produce beautifully smooth tasting Irish whiskey, and we’ll enjoy a tour of the distillery along with a sample. Then we’ll depart for Ian’s hometown, the city of Belfast, bustling with stunning scenery, historical landmarks and a vibrant city center. After dinner at our hotel for the next two nights, Europa Hotel Belfast, you’re free to explore the nearby pubs, including two of Ireland’s most iconic, Robinson’s and The Crown.  


Sun., October 11 – BELFAST

  After breakfast we’ll set off on our guided “Troubles” tour; we’ll see the raw side of Belfast city and its colorful, often tragic, history, as we make our way up the Falls Road and down the Shankhill, the main Catholic and Protestant areas that were home to the bloody battle grounds. Today these events are commemorated with wall murals, memorials and gardens. Then we’ll head to Titanic Belfast, a fascinating and moving interactive experience. Explore the shipyard, walk the decks, travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover the true legend of Titanic in the city where it all began. Tonight we’ll enjoy a traditional Irish pub crawl, where we’ll be treated to Ian performing in one of Belfast’s iconic pubs. 


Mon., October 12 – BELFAST / DUBLIN

 We depart Belfast and travel south to Downpatrick, where we’ll visit Down Cathedral and see the historical burial place of St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. Then we’re in for an unforgettable experience as we dine in the atmosphere of the popular show “Game of Thrones.” Upon arrival at Winterfell Castle you will be greeted by the Maester and escorted to the Armory & Forge to choose your authentic costume. You will then be escorted to your table for your medieval lunch. Your dining experience begins with candles that are dimly lit, smoke flowing from open fire pits, and traditional music, including a few songs from Ian himself. Afterward we’ll travel into the Republic of Ireland to the capital city of Dublin, where you’ll have time to relax and enjoy an evening at leisure. The next two nights will be at the Iveagh Garden Hotel. 

Tues., October 13– DUBLIN

  This morning we’ll set off on a narrated bus tour of Dublin City. We’ll pass the G.P.O, the Bank of Ireland, Dublin Castle, the Four Courts, O’Connell Street, Kilmainham Gaol, most famous for the executions of the leaders of the Easter 1916 uprising, and many other sites associated with the birth of Ireland. We’ll end our tour with a visit to The Guinness Storehouse to see exhibits on how this world famous stout was first created and why it is so popular today, and visit the rooftop bar, Gravity, where you can sample a draft Guinness and enjoy the view. The afternoon is free to explore Dublin at your own pace. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner and a Hooley featuring traditional Irish music, dance and entertainment at The Irish House Party, where we’ll also enjoy a song or two from Ian. 



All too soon our Ireland with Ian Vacation comes to an end as we travel to Dublin Airport for the return journey home. No better time to reflect on vacation memories and new friends made along the way. 

Giant's Causeway


In the footsteps of giants...

Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it.

The Vacation Price Includes: • Economy-class air transportation by scheduled airline service • Transportation by deluxe private motor coach with accompanying Irish Driver/Guide • First class hotel accommodations • Irish breakfast each morning at the hotels, and other meals indicated in the itinerary • Sightseeing as detailed in the Day by Day Itinerary including applicable entrance fees • Luggage handling for one suitcase per person at the hotels • Taxes for included ground services, departure taxes, Customs service charges, and airline security fees • All performances by Ian Gould! The Vacation Price Does Not Include: Items of a personal nature such as passport fees; laundry and cleaning; telephone calls; optional tours and excursions; tips to the Driver/Guide and local guides, tips to hotel and breakfast room staff; luggage handling at airports; personal travel protection; meals other than those stated above, and drinks with meals.  

Titanic Museum, Belfast


Discover more about RMS Titanic, uncovering the myths and legends surrounding her story. Dive into the Ship Fact Files for fascinating trivia about many other great ships built in the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard and explore our exclusive Titanic Stories - original pieces of research on the world's most famous ship.

Grianán of Aileach, Inishowen County Donegal


The Stone Fort of Grianán of Aileach is sits on a hilltop in Inishowen County Donegal. 250m above sea level, the stone fort was probably first built on an earthen rath. The view from Aileach is breathtaking. The glistening waters of Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly are clear, as is the form of the entire peninsula. A windy and exposed place, Grianán has been a silent witness to the history of Ireland.

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, County Galway


Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I.

St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin


It takes bold brewers to brew bold beers. In 1759, Arthur Guinness took out a 9000-year lease on a brewery; the brewers then brought you the blackest beer with the most colorful flavor, and braved the perils of the high seas to transport it across the globe.