Thin Places – A Soulful Celtic Journey
Our exclusive itinerary awaits you…
Upon arrival at the airport in Dublin you will be met at luggage claim and transferred to the deluxe and iconic Shelbourne Dublin.
This 5 star hotel is a timeless landmark located in Dublin’s city centre, overlooking St. Stephen’s Green, and within walking distance to the shops on Grafton St. as well as many of the city’s historic buildings. Not only was The Shelbourne Dublin the site of the drafting of the Irish Constitution in 1922, the hotel also offers genealogy services to guests who are interested in tracing their Irish heritage.
We will immediately meet in the lobby to head out on a walking tour of the downtown core. We will see some of the capital city’s major tourist attractions; which include a visit to the famous Trinity College and to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, one of the oldest in Ireland. A wonderful opportunity to orient yourself to this vibrant city.
Trinity College Dublin
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
We will stop for lunch at a local pub before returning to The Shelbourne hotel.
This afternoon relax and settle in to your deluxe room and unwind from the journey before heading out on our own Private Musical Pub Crawl. Enjoy a pint and snacks as you immerse yourself in one of the important aspects of Irish tradition!
Private Musical Pub Crawl
Traditional instruments such as pipe, accordion, violin and Irish bagpipe will thrill the group while the duo will tell the story of Irish music and explaining its influence on the contemporary music world.
A light dinner with wine will follow at Cliff Townhouse Restaurant. Dinner will be served in a private room overlooking the famous St. Stephen’s Green and will showcase a creative range of dishes to suit all tastes.
Rise and enjoy a full Irish breakfast at leisure in the hotel’s Saddle Room Restaurant.
This morning we depart to explore some of the legendary “Thin Places” just outside Dublin. Pádraigín Clancy, a graduate in Irish Folklore & History, will join us as we make our way to The Hill of Tara. Here, she will walk us through the site explaining the history & folklore of the area. We will also see the “holy well” (said to have healing properties) before sitting down to a casual lunch. Pádraigín will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
The Hill of Tara
Next stop is the famous site of Newgrange, here we will enter the chamber and learn about the history of the magnificent structure. Feel free to wander the grounds and take in the beauty and majesty of the surrounding area. Pádraigín will be happy to further expand on the folklore and spirituality of this renowned site.
It is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art.
The 19 metre long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The amount of time and labour invested in construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialised groups responsible for different aspects of construction.
Above the entrance passage is a ‘roof-box’, which precisely aligns with the rising sun at the winter solstice (December 21), so that the rays touch the ground at the very centre of the tomb for about 20 minutes. Many of the upright stones along the walls of the 19 meter passage, which follows the rise of the hill, are richly decorated.
Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. At dawn, from December 18th to 23rd, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens within the chamber so that the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. Each year the winter solstice event attracts much attention at Newgrange. Many gather at the ancient tomb to wait for dawn, as people did 5000 years ago.
Return to the hotel to relax or perhaps visit some of the many shops on Grafton St.
We have rather an unusual event in store for you this evening as we head off to Christ Church Cathedral. Step back in time as we descend into the Cathedral’s 12th Century Crypt for a private cocktail reception. Enjoy some Irish whiskey tasting, hors d’oeuvres and stirring entertainment. Docents will also be on hand to offer tours of the Cathedral.
Christ Church Cathedral
Dinner tonight is on your own and at your leisure.
The Divine Destination Collection’s on-site concierge service can help make restaurant recommendations and arrangements for you.
Enjoy a full Irish breakfast at leisure in the Saddle Room Restaurant.
This morning is at your leisure to explore Dublin. There are many options in this energetic city…visit the famous Guinness Storehouse, or the Book of Kells in Trinity College, have a leisurely stroll through St. Stephen’s Green or get some power shopping in before we depart Dublin.
Just before lunch we will depart Dublin and head west to Co. Clare. Everyone will receive their own deluxe lunch basket to enjoy as you take in the magnificent Irish scenery. We will make a stop along the way for a few oysters & Guinness (a true Irish tradition)
We arrive in Ballyvaughan and check-in at the quaint and delightful Gregans Castle. With breathtaking views across Galway Bay and idyllically situated overlooking the unique Burren landscape, this is the ultimate luxury and gourmet hideaway. An oasis of comfort and genuine Irish hospitality, award winning innovative cooking and elegant bedrooms free from the intrusion of televisions. Antiques, modern art, turf fires, candlelight and garden flowers add to the indulgently relaxing atmosphere.
Spend the balance of the afternoon relaxing in your “one-of-a-kind” guestroom or explore the hotel’s magnificent gardens.
This evening you will have the opportunity to get to know the locals! We have arranged for everyone to dine with a local family…sit down at their dinner table for a delicious home cooked meal, wine and a good “chin-wag”. Great “craic” (fun) to be had by all!
After dinner, Irish coffee will be served back at the hotel bar as everyone shares their dining experiences!
Enjoy a full Irish breakfast at leisure in the hotel restaurant.
Today we will explore another aspect of Irish culture & tradition as we hop aboard the ferry to Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands. Upon arrival Pádraigín Clancy will join us again as our hostess and guide around the island. We will tour the island via pony & trap (horse & carriage) and stop at the haunting ruins of the Seven Churches, the holy well of St. Enda and of course the famous Dún Aonghasa.
A light lunch will be served at a local restaurant before we head back on the afternoon ferry.
This evening join Simon & Bridget (the charming owners of Gregans Castle) for cocktails on the lawn.
Dinner is on your own and at leisure. We recommend you experience the hotel’s gourmet award-winning restaurant…it’s not to be missed.
This morning enjoy a full Irish breakfast at leisure in the hotel restaurant.
You will have a couple of hours to enjoy the hotel before we depart for our last stop on this magical journey. Along the way we will visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher as well as St. Bridget’s Well before heading to Ennis for a lovely lunch at The Cloister Restaurant.
Cliffs of Moher
This afternoon as we meander up the impressive winding drive, we arrive at the dramatic Dromoland Castle Hotel and Country Estate. With an extraordinary history stretching back to the 5th Century, Dromoland seamlessly blends Old-World elegance with contemporary luxuries. With a reputation built on its unparalleled warm hospitality, you will truly understand what a special experience it is to stay at one of the finest 5 star hotels in Ireland
Once you have checked in to your beautiful Queen Anne guestroom, feel free to explore the extensive grounds or have a cup of tea in the Library.
Our final evening will be a casual Garden Party held privately in the age-old walled garden of the castle. Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner with wine along with local entertainment (ideal for a sing-a-long). A perfect ending to an enchanted journey.
This morning enjoy a full Irish breakfast at leisure in the hotel restaurant, followed by a return private group coach transfer to the Shannon Airport.
Ireland…a country that welcomes, a people who are genuine, a landscape that beguiles…castles, song, poetry, folklore, sacred sites, mysticism and great ‘craic’ (fun).