At the airport you are met by your guide and brought through Dublin’s fair city. See its Georgian splendour, its literary and artistic heritage, and its great houses. Check in to your elegant 5* city centre hotel to rest and relax, wander in the park or relax in the spa.
Jewish Heritage Tour (12 days)
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Explore Dublin City and its main landmarks such as Trinity College, Book of Kells and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Explore the Jewish Dublin. See where Chaim Herzog, former President of the State of Israel, was born and bred in what was known as Dublin’s “little Jerusalem” . Visit the Irish Jewish Museum to explore this fascinating part of Ireland’s history. Until the 1950s there were enough Jews in Dublin to support eight kosher butcher shops and a dozen synagogues. In 1660 the earliest recorded synagogue was established, consisting of a prayer room in Crane Lane, opposite Dublin Castle. In the afternoon visit the James Joyce Centre, followed by a Joycean walking tour – retracing the steps in a day spent by the Jewish hero of Ulysses, Leopold Bloom. Return to the hotel.
Your journey starts South to Kilkenny, an enchanting medieval city with castle, cathedral and stories of phantom witches. Visit Kilkenny Castle, a 13th century castle which stands breathtakingly above the River Nore and has undergone a meticulous restoration. Visit Rothe House, now a museum, it was once the house of ~Elizabethan merchant John Rothe. Built in 1594 and preserved as it was, it gives a splendid idea of how such a merchant lived. As you stroll through the city you will find many quaint and interesting shops.
Built by prosperous merchant John Rothe in 1594, Rothe House was soon enlarged to accommodate his family of 12 children. Second and third houses were built around cobbled courtyards and a well dating to 1604. The façade houses shops, one of them was John Rothe's own emporium.
The Society Library and the County Genealogical Research Service for Kilkenny is located at Rothe House.
Your next stop is Waterford City which was founded by Viking traders in 914 and it has an exciting medieval flavor and riverside bustle. The Waterford Museum of Treasures tells the 1000-year-story of Waterford from the treasures of Viking Waterford at Reginald's Tower, the oldest civic urban building in Ireland, to the story of Georgian Waterford at the Bishop's Palace from 1700 to 1970.
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From Waterford to Cork via Youghal, which was the first town in Ireland or Britain to have a Jewish Mayor when William Annyas was elected to that position in 1555.
Youghal which was the first town in Ireland or Britain to have a Jewish Mayor when William Annyas was elected to that position in 1555. Like many of the first Jewish people to come to Ireland his family were Marrano merchants from the Iberian peninsula. His daughter married Yacov Kassin daughter of Yehuda Kassin, a Marrano merchant who had moved to Galway in Ireland. His surname Annyas is sometimes written anglicised to Ames, in some case the family may have used the surname Ennis. His uncle commanded the English garrison in Youghal during the Desmond Rebellions and had a colourful life working as a spy for Sir Francis Drake in the Azores!
Explore the city of Cork, rich with Jewish heritage and visit the Synagogue. The first Jewish community to be identified in Cork was comprised of Sephardic Jews from the Iberian countries who engaged in the import and export of kosher meat to the West Indies.The evidence of this community remains in the old maps of the City of Cork where the Burying ground is clearly marked located in the north-eastern area of Kemp Street.
Cork city is Ireland's second largest city and takes its name from the marshy land on the banks of the River Lee on which St. Finbarre founded a monastery around AD 650. The city's narrow alleys, waterways and Georgian architecture give it a distinctly Continental feel. The north side of the city is dominated by the 18th century St Anne's church. The church's salmon-shaped weathervane was chosen by local monks to assert their right to fish for salmon in the river Lee. The church houses a small collection of 17th century Bibles and the letters of poet John Donne, as well as a carillion of bells that the visitor can ring. The Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald Park traces the city's role in the struggle for Irish independence. The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery on Emmet Place houses an excellent permanent collection of work by Irish artists such as Jack Yeats and Sean Keating as well as works of the British Newlyn and St Ives' schools. Cork City Jail first became a prison in 1824 and the 35-minute tour of the restored cells is a fascinating and moving experience. Check out the National Radio Museum upstairs where you can see collections of interesting old radios. Since the 19th century, when Cork was a base for the National Fenian movement, the city has had a reputation for political rebelliousness.
Today, this mood is reflected in the city's attitude to the arts and its bohemian spirit, which is very much in evidence at the lively annual jazz festival in October. For a wide choice of different cuisines head for the pedestrian area between St Patrick's and Paul Streets. The English Market is a covered fruit and vegetable market established in 1610. Now selling a wide range of hand-made and exotic foods as well as the original fruit and vegetables, it is a food lover's paradise. Sample some locally brewed Murphy's or Beamish stout at one of the city's many lively pubs.
You could spend a week exploring the Cork area and still not have seen all the highlights. The bells of Shandon, The English Market, St Finbarre's Cathedral & The Crawford Gallery are a few of the highlights of the city. Blarney Castle, with its eloquent stone is a short drive to the north.
Explore Kinsale, an ancient town full of style and character. It is also a winner of the National Tidy Towns Competition. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was an important English naval base, and it still has a distinct Georgian flavour. With its yacht-filled harbour, brightly painted cottages, bow-winded houses and displays of flowers in pots, tub and handing baskets, it marks the beginning of scenic West Cork, and well deserves it's booming tourist industry
Only 18 miles from Cork, it is ideally placed as a deep-sea angling and yachting centre. In 1601 Kinsale was the scene of a battle in which English troops defeated a mixed Irish-Spanish force. It was followed by the 'Flight of the Earls', when many of the Irish aristocracy surrendered their lands and fled to mainland Europe.
Continue onto the famous Blarney Castle. The story here says that Dermot MacCarthy had the gift of 'plamas', the Irish word for soft-talking flattery. MacCarthy tried to talk his way out of handing over Blarney Castle to an agent of Queen Elizabeth I. He prevaricated until the Queen declared "I will hear no more of this Blarney talk", and gave the English language a new word. The legend persists that anyone who kisses the famous stone high up on the castle parapets will be endowed with the "gift of the gab". Aside from the magic stone, the castle, added in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy to an earlier tower, is well worth a visit. The massive four storey keep changed hands during the Civil and Williamite Wars and was used at one point as a prison for the Protestants of Cork. The gardens known as Rock Close were laid out by the Jefferyes family in 1759. Beside the castle is the Victorian Scottish baronial home of the Colthurst family. In the village are The Blarney Woollen Mills, one of the largest and best craft shops in Ireland.
Finally, visit Cobh, a seaside town just outside Cork.
Housed in restored Victorian railway station, the Cobh Heritage Centre is an entertaining and informative place recounting the journey of over 2.5 million emigrants departed from this port, as well as an exhibition on the Titanic – Cobh was its last port of call.
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Tour from Cork to Kenmare through West Cork. The first stop is Bantry.
Bantry House, with its "staircase to heaven" gardens is a wonderful example of a landlord's home and has a stunning collection put together by the 2nd Earl of Bantry who did well at Napoleon III's bargain basement sale at Versailles. Visit Garnish Island, a garden with no house laid out in the early 20th century by the great designer Harold Peto to take advantage of the gulf stream. On the boat ride out there watch out for seals. There are several boats going to the island but the prettiest harbour is definitely the Blue Pool, particularly when the Rhododendron are blooming. Leave plenty of time for Kenmare- it has excellent pubs and restaurants, some beautiful shops, and a generally relaxed air.
The Irish name for Kenmare 'An Neidín' translates into English as 'The Little Nest'. The name Kenmare is the anglicised form of Ceann Mhara "head of the sea", that is the furthest point inland reached by the sea. The three main streets form a triangle in the centre of the town. All the streets have pubs, restaurants (most with really excellent food) and wonderful shops. In particular the ladies will enjoy Cleo and Brenmar John.
There is one of the biggest stone circles in Ireland very close to the town, showing occupation by the early Irish long before Celtic occupation. The circle has 15 stones around the circumference with a bolder dolmen in the centre. Towards Killarney is Kissane Sheep Farm, a traditional working mountain farm with approx. 1000 sheep and their lambs. Visitors can experience the hard work on the farm - sheepdogs gather the sheep in the mountainous terrain of the farm and into a sheep yard and sheep shearing demonstrations (in shearing season)
Around Kenmare there are several marked (mountain) walks with beautiful views on Kenmare Bay, MacGillycuddy's Reeks and the Black Valley
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
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Your journey today starts in Kenmare and onto one if Ireland’s best drives.
The Ring of Kerry is a circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula. It is best to do it in an anti clockwise direction - Killorglin, Glenbeigh, etc. Killorglin situated on a hill overlooking the wide and graceful River Laune, a river offering salmon and trout angling. Dominating the landscape to the south are the MacGillycuddys Reeks. It is the location of the famous "Puck Fair" festival.
The Bog Village is situated half way between Killorglin and Glenbeigh on the main Ring of Kerry route. It is a must for you to stop off and enjoy a step back in time to the early 18th century to recapture the way life would have been at that time. Peat, or turf as it is usually called in Ireland, is harvested from bogs and is still used as domestic fuel. The village is here to preserve the past for your enjoyment. This is a most worthwhile and historic visit to see the real Kerry life as it was, in the heart of Kerry's bogland.
Glenbeigh is a popular holiday base nestled at the foot of a well-wooded mountain and close to the head of Dingle Bay. It is dominated by the strange ruin of Wynn's Folly, or Hedley Towers, once home of the Winns, Barons Headley. The Title dated from 1797. Wynn's Folly was burnt down in 1922. The view from 'Wynn's Folly is superb, and provides a breathtaking view of the village and surrounds of Glenbeigh. After Glenbeigh pass through Kells Bay where a local shepherd gives demonstrations of working sheep do
From Cahirciveen you can divert to Valentia Island. Be sure to visit The Slate Quarry, Glanleam Gardens and The Tetrapod Trackway - In 1993 an undergraduate geology student (Iwan Stossel) made the discovery of a lifetime. While examining rocks on the island's coast he came across a rock platform containing a set of ancient animal footprints. The tracks have since been dated to almost 400 million years ago and are regarded as among the earliest footprints known to science, and certainly the oldest known footprints in Europe.
Valentia is an island of unique scenic beauty, tropical vegetation, breathtaking cliffs and magnificent seascapes. The Skellig Experience is located here. This is where the story of the Skelligs is told. The themes include the monastic settlement, the lighthouse, the bird and underwater life.
Head on to Ballinskelligs via St Finans Bay. Look out for the Skelligs Chocolate Company – some of the best chocolates in Europe. In Ballinskelligs is the Cill Rialaig Centre - once a deserted and almost forgotten pre-famine village of thatched stone cottages situated on the Bolus road near Ballinskelligs, it is now an international artists' retreat .
On through Charlie Chaplin's Waterville and Caherdaniel where, by golden beaches, stands Derrynane House, the ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell, lawyer, politician and statesman. Today some 120 hectares of the lands of Derrynane, together with Derrynane House, make up Derrynane National Historic Park. Plantations and garden walks were laid out in the 18th and 19th centuries, principally north and west of the house. Some features of the demesne are strongly associated with Daniel O'Connell, including the old Summer House. The main area of the gardens, set inland and to the north of the house, can be reached through a tunnel under the road.
Through Sneem and back to Killarney by way of Molls Gap (the Strawberry Fields Pancake House is well worth a stop)
Explore The Dingle Peninsula which has been inhabited for almost 6,000 years.
The first settlers on the peninsula were nomadic hunters and gatherers who foraged on the coast for their food. Later Stone Age man and Bronze Age man were to build their tombs, erect their standing stones, and toil the land for the first time. The Celtic population arrived in the couple of hundred years before the birth of Christ and brought their ancestoral goddess "Duibhne", after which the Dingle Peninsula has been named in Gaelic: Corca Dhuibhne, the seed or tribe of Duibhne. In the centuries that followed, the peninsula was to be visited by Vikings, Normans and English.
This is one of the richest areas in archaeological remains on the west coast of Europe, with almost 2,000 sites. Here are the largest collections in the world of clocháns or beehive huts, of the stones with the unique ogham writing, of dúnta or ring forts. These remains, including the Oratory at Gallarus and the cross stone of Reasc, give evidence of skilled craftsmanship
Leaving Dingle head for Ventry home of Legend and Great Kerry Footballer Padi O'Shea. You will pass his pub here with its pictures of many famous visitors on the walls of the pub. Check out Coomeenole Beach (the most westerly beach in Europe, New York 3000 miles). Do not swim here! As you look west you can see Great Blasket Island and to the North West Inishtooskert (the sleeping giant !).
The hillside along the Slea Head Drive in the townland of Fahan is littered with Clocháns, or Beehive Huts. At one stage there were over 400 of these drystone, corbelled huts surviving, prompting one antiquarian in the 19th century to refer to the area as the "City of Fahan". These structures occur as single units or can also be found within stone fort complexes. They are generally believed to have been habitation sites, although the tradition of such buildings continued up to the early 20th century for storage purposes. Dating the huts is difficult because the skill of corbelling has been used in Newgrange (3100 BC) and as recently as the 1950s.
Many Spanish Armada Ships went down here as the currents are very strong. Looking out to sea here you will forget all the stresses of modern day life. As if in slow motion the huge Atlantic swells crash on the bare rock at Dunmore Point, sending the spray towering into the sky, 3000 miles west and 8000 miles south the Atlantic can send a sting in its tail to these shores especially in Autumn Winter and Spring. Continue on 1/2 mile and from the lay-by you can see a pier at sea level on the opposite side of the bay. Here you can walk down to the pier and see Currachs (traditional boats used by Islanders) and in good weather can get a boat to Great Blasket.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
From Kenmare, your journey continues North through Killarney, Limerick and Ennis to The Cliffs of Moher. A sheer precipice 8 km long & rising to a height of 203m, one of the most impressive stretches of the coast in the West of Ireland, remarkable especially at nesting seasons for the quantity & variety of seabirds there. The Doolin Craft Gallery in the village at the foot of the cliffs, as well as selling treasures from Ireland is also worth visiting for its scrumptious food & stunning gardens - a plantsman's paradise.
Lisdoonvarna is a spa town known for its stinking spa waters. The Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna has the best smoked food in Ireland. September was, & still is, the peak month of the matchmaking season here & with the harvest safely in bachelor farmers still flock to Lisdoonvarna in search of wives. The Sulphur Spa Well also continues to attract the crowds.
Words simply cannot do justice to this eerie, peculiar 193-square mile area of ancient seabed that suffered glacial activity during its long history. The Burren, is a bare lunar like landscape of a limestone plateau dotted with Stone Age forts & megalithic tombs. In the narrow crevices that criss-cross this pavement flourish orchids, gentians & other rare flora, an amazing mix of arctic, alpine, temperate, & tropical vegetation growing side by side. Twenty-two varieties of orchids thrive here, nourished by underground rivers & rich soil. You’ll see treeless meadows of limestone karst that forms natural pavement interspersed with lush flora. Scholars of history can scour the Burren for tombs, chambers, & dolmens (two stones that support a horizontal slab), traces of Stone Age inhabitants. To the north the Burren is bounded by Galway Bay with the fishing port of Ballyvaughan, a noted centre for oysters, while to the west the Aran Islands stand out against the broad expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.
Hidden sites in the Burren include Cahercommaun Stone fort, The Burren Perfumery, Poulnabrone Dolmen & Ailwee Cave.
In Kinvara, home of the Galway Hooker (a fishing boat) you pass Dunguaire, the castle of King Guaire the Generous, whose right arm was longer than his left from so much giving.
Continue North passing through Galway City, the bohemian capital of Ireland and into Ashford Castle for your overnight stay.
Tour Wild Connemara, which is the area of Western Galway & South Mayo bounded by the Atlantic & Lough Corrib. It is an area beloved by artists & poets who find magical inspiration in its wide open bogs & its towering cloud capped mountains. Cottages nestle into hillsides where wild looking sheep with thick fleeces & great curling horns freely graze. The rugged coastline is punctuated with little fishing villages.
Turn left out of Ashford and towards Leenane, and on the way visit Joyce’s sheep farm. In Leenane turn left to Clifden. Follow the shore of Killary Harbour, a glacial fjord, to Kylemore Abbey, awesomely beautiful and with a recently restored Victorian garden. Clifden, the capital of Connemara is known for its tweeds. Be sure to follow the Sky Road into Clifden, and if you have time visit some of the coral beaches out towards Roundstone. Follow the main road to Galway and at Maam Cross turn left for Maam and back to Cong.
Transfer to Dublin or Shannon Airport for your departure flight.
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JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR
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Insider TipDon't miss a private visit with Lord Ross, Brother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II, at his private residence at Birr Castle.
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