Once you’ve decided to join us we’ll need to know your name(s), email address, and whether you need one or two beds. EMAIL: email@example.com. Inishfree Tours will then send out email invoices that can be paid online with a credit card.
Counties Cork – Kerry – Clare Itinerary
Oct. 10 – We welcome everyone aboard around 9:30 a.m. after your breakfast at the B &B (note: breakfast at all of the hotels and B and B’s is included in the price of the tour) and head southwards to County Cork. Our first stop is in the beautiful town of Adare, a classic Irish village on the scenic River Maigue. Here we will have a chance to stretch our legs before gathering in the beautiful town park for a brief “go around” of introductions of our fellow guests and an overview of our itinerary for the tour. We then drive south to Kenmare, a charming fishing village, where we will have lunch. From Kenmare, we will drive on to our first hotel in Skibbereen, where we will be staying at the West Cork Hotel for three nights (http://www.westcorkhotel.com). You’ll have some time to relax and freshen up before the evening’s proceedings — a group dinner in the hotel restaurant followed by a private set of excellent Irish music.
Oct. 11 – We’ll start the day off with a visit to the Skibbereen Heritage Center to delve into some Irish history with an emphasis on the tragic 19th century famine. (http://www.skibbheritage.com/famine.htm). Then we’ll drive west along scenic roads, stopping off in the village of Glandore on beautiful Glandore Bay for lunch before continuing on to the ancient Drombeg Stone circle (http://www.megalithicireland.com/Drombeg.htm) . If we have time and the weather is suitable, we’ll visit Roscarberry Beach for some some fresh sea air before returning to the Hotel. After a rest break, we’ll jump back on the bus and head into the town of Clonakilty, where you can choose from a number of dining options for dinner. Then we’ll gather in the bar at the hotel for some traditional music and dancing.
Oct. 12 – We’ll make a scenic drive to Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southwesterly point for a look at the historic lighthouse and some fabulous scenery (http://www.mizenhead.net/). From Mizen Head we’ll head into the classic fishing village of Crookhaven (http://www.crookhaven.ie/) for lunch by the bay before proceeding to the wonderfully remote Barley Cove Beach (http://www.myguideireland.com/barley-cove-beach). In the evening guests will have dinner on their own and then we will have a session at a local pub.
Oct. 13 – Today we’ll move on to County Kerry for three days and nights on the Dingle peninsula. We’ll stop off at Molly Gallivan’s cottage and farm museum (http://www.mollygallivans.com/) to experience the classic Irish country life, followed by lunch either at Molly’s or in the nearby town of Kenmare. We’ll pass through the edge of Killarney National Park as we proceed on to the Dingle Peninsula, stopping off at Inch Beach (http://www.myguideireland.com/inch-beach) for an invigorating walk. You’ll have time to rest up and grab dinner at the hotel restaurant before an excellent private concert by talented local musicians.
Oct. 14 – This morning we’ll visit several ancient sites in the area, such as the Gallarus Oratory (http://www.sacred-destinations.com/ireland/gallarus-oratory) and Kilmakedar Church (http://www.megalithicireland.com/Kilmalkedar.htm). In the afternoon we’ll take in the breathtaking Slea Head drive along one of Ireland’s most scenic stretches of scenery, making several stops including the Blasket Island Heritage Center ( where we will also eat lunch), and two different beaches. Then it’s back to our hotel to refresh and rest a couple of hours before our second group dinner. Following dinner, we will explore Dingle town for music on our own at one of the many local pubs specializing in traditional music.
Oct. 15 – Today is a partial ‘free day’. A day on your own to do whatever you feel like. We will suggest several options: hiking, shopping in Dingle, an eco tour by boat around the Blasket Islands (fee required), golfing, renting a bike, or just hanging out and relaxing or going for a walk in Ballyferriter. Our bus will head into Dingle a couple of times throughout the day, and we’ll do our best to help get you to whatever spot you choose. We will all plan to meet up at O’Sullivan’s Court House pub (http://www.osullivanscourthousepub.com/) in Dingle at 4:30pm for some fantastic Irish music. Afterwards, people can eat on their own in Dingle and then back to Ballyferriter.
Oct. 16 – Today we all pack and head out for three days and nights up in County Clare. We’ll cross the famous River Shannon on the Tarbert Car Ferry, stop for lunch in Lahinch, a seaside town along the way, visit St. Bridget’s holy well (http://www.unc.edu/celtic/catalogue/stbrigid/St_brigids_well.html), and stop off to view one of Ireland’s most famous and spectacular sites — the Cliffs of Moher (http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/) We then head to our hotel in either Doolin or Ennistymon.
Oct. 17 – Today, weather-permitting, we take a ferry ride over to Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands (http://www.inisoirr-island.com/), a 40 minute trip from Doolin pier. We’ll have time explore the sublimely quiet, stone fence-lined backroads of Inisheer or hang out on the beach or mingle with the islanders in the local pub. On the return trip (assuming the seas are calm), we will get an up-close view of the Cliffs of Moher from the sea. For those who don’t like boats, there is great walking in the Doolin area and a few great shops, pitch-and-putt golf, and pubs if the weather is iffy. In the evening we will meet at another local pub for more great music, food, and fun.
Oct. 18 – Today is our last full day together. We will tour the Burren region, a unique limestone landscape with plenty of history encapsulated in ancient tombs, stone forts, old churches and graveyards. We’ll make a stop at the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen (http://www.megalithicireland.com/Poulnabrone.htm) and return to our hotel on the spectacular Black Head drive along the edge of Galway Bay. In the evening we will have our last group dinner and a final “go around” of farewell thoughts on the tour, a few songs, many hugs, and possibly a few tears.
Oct. 19 – We head back to Shannon Airport in the morning.
Note: Most folks come on our tour in large part for the music. Most music sessions ( a group of Irish musicians playing traditional jigs, reels, and songs, usually unplugged) begin around 9:30pm, sometimes 10pm, and continue til around midnight. This can be a bit late for most Americans at first. So be prepared for late nights. The flip side of the coin is that we don’t head out most mornings until 10am, so you can either sleep in or clear your head with a walk before we leave for the next day’s activities. And you are always free to stay in any night. We pride ourselves on our flexibility.
Also, a free full Irish breakfast is provided B & B style at each hotel, normally in the dining room. Usually between approximately 8 – 9:30am.
Also: We want you all to know that if for any reason you prefer to sit out any of our planned day or evening outings to do something on your own or just relax, that is perfectly fine. Just let us know so we know how many heads to count in the bus.