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IRELAND HISTORY TOUR

Irish independence - RMS Titanic - RMS Lusitania

*the final year of the national museum's independence exhibit*

Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Cobh, Killarney, and Ring of Kerry

April 30th - may 11th, 2017

Join us on a twelve day tour of Ireland, as we learn about the history behind Irish independence and its leaders.  We will focus on the famous Easter Rising, which occurred during the middle of WWI and sparked the final struggle for a free Irish nation once and for all.  We'll also learn about the building and launch of the Titanic at the museum in Belfast, built on the very docks from where she first sailed.  We'll then visit the last port of call for that infamous ship and learn about the Lusitania, another famous passenger liner, torpedoed off the Irish coast during WWI.  For a final bit of Irish history, we'll learn about the legendary Michael Collins and his unenviable role trying to run a compromised government to keep the British and Irish happy.  We'll stay in the hotel where he spent his last night, before traveling to the country road where he was ambushed and killed.

 

In all of our historical travels, we'll take time to enjoy numerous famous and beautiful highlights of Ireland, including a visit to the Guinness Brewery, the Jameson Distillery in Midleton, an option to explore the gorgeous and mysterious locations of the series "Game of Thrones," and enjoy two final days of charm, tranquility, and beauty along the Ring of Kerry.  

It's a perfect way to finally understand the Irish experience - returning home with unforgettable memories you'll always cherish.

What We'll Experience:

 - the National Museum in Dublin

 - Kilmainham Gaol Museum

 - Glasnevin Cemetery

 - the best pint of Guinness in all of Ireland

 - a private tour of the Guinness Brewery complex

 - Dublin's oldest pub

 - White Star Line Experience in Belfast, including the Titanic Museum

 - Game of Thrones location tour option

 - Imperial Hotel in Cork - Michael Collins' last lodgings

 - The very dock in Cobh from which the Titanic sailed

 - a walking history tour covering the Titanic and Lusitania

 - a day off in Cork to choose to visit the Blarney Castle and Stone, the Jameson Distillery, Mizen Head, or do a tour of Michael Collins' last movements before his death.

 - the Ring of Kerry tour in Killarney

This 12-day tour of Ireland covers the following:

 - 11 nights in three and four star hotels

 - 7 dinners and all breakfasts

 - all transportation for group events

 - all entrance fees and local taxes for listed activities

 - private tour and guides in multiple locations

Airfare is not included, but we will assist with all flight purchases.

Total Cost:  $3,995 (based on double occupancy rates)

                      $4,750 (single occupancy rates)

ITINERARY

DAY ONE:  Saturday, April 29th

Travel day - fly to Dublin, Ireland.

AlpVentures Tour Members Only:

This tour is being offered in cooperation with our partners, AlpVentures, who will be finishing up a Britain at War! tour in London.  Anyone who opts to go on both trips will get a $300 discount off of the Ireland trip total price. 

DAY TWO:  Sunday, April 30th

Arrive into Dublin.  (Flights are not included in the price but will be coordinated by GBC Tours to secure the best prices and ensure similar arrival times.)

Meet your guide at the airport and head to the hotel to drop bags.

We'll take an orientation walking tour of the Temple Bar area, eat lunch, and head back to the hotel to check into your rooms. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore at your own pace.

Morning taxi from your London hotel to the train station. Board your rail/sail train for Holyhead, Wales.  You'll arrive in the ferry terminal hangar and clear customs before boarding your ship to Dublin.  Enjoy the views, two movie theaters, lounges, a giant bar, restaurants, and a gift shop as you make your journey across the Irish Sea!

You'll be met upon arrival late afternoon at Dublin Port, and we'll head to the hotel to check in and drop your bags.  We'll then link up with the rest of the group.

Group Introduction Dinner in Dublin - ALL

Evening orientation walk around Temple Bar and time for a pint for those arriving from England.  Those who arrived by plane that morning are free to finally get some well-needed rest.  

OVERNIGHT:  DUBLIN   (D)

DAY THREE:  Monday, May 1st

Breakfast at hotel, before we head over to the National Museum to visit the Easter Rising and the Irish Independence Exhibit (ends at the end of 2017). We'll then head out to see some of the important sights of this conflict: the General Post Office building - where the siege took place, a guided tour of Kilmainham Gaol - the notorious prison where the Easter Rising leaders were executed, and the beautiful national cemetery of Glasnevin, where we'll see their graves, as well as those of Ireland's first president, Éamon de Valera, and the venerated Michael Collins.

We'll take a special exit out of the back of the cemetery for a proper local experience:  a pint of Guinness at the John Cavanaugh - known affectionately as the "Gravedigger's Pub."Group dinner afterwards - and then a free evening to enjoy.

OVERNIGHT:  DUBLIN  (B, D - and a pint of Guinness)

DAY FOUR:  Tuesday, May 2nd

Armed with a proper grounding in Ireland's story, you'll be much more in tune with the culture and people of Ireland.  After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a wonderful free morning and early afternoon in Dublin!

Suggested sights:

- Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College

- Famine Memorial

- U2 Studios walk

- National Gallery

- St. Stephen's Green

Mid-afternoon, we'll meet at the hotel, before we head over together to the Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate.  Enjoy a private, informative, and hilarious tour of the massive Guinness complex and learn all about its ingredients, methods, and history.  The tour finishes atop the main building at their bar - where your ticket will get you a pint to enjoy with a 360 degree view over all of Dublin.

Next up, we'll head over to the Brazen Head, Dublin's oldest pub - dating back to 1198.  We'll enjoy dinner and traditional music.

OVERNIGHT: DUBLIN (B, D - and another pint of Guinness!)

DAY FIVE:  Wednesday, May 3rd

We'll eat breakfast at the hotel, before we head over to the train station for a morning departure for Belfast, Northern Ireland.

After our 2 hour and fifteen minute journey by rail, we'll head over to our hotel and drop bags, before eating lunch nearby.

We'll then enjoy an unforgettable afternoon of the White Star Experience: touring the giant Titanic Museum; a walking tour of some of the key sights around the yards where she was built; and an engaging tour of the museum, SS Nomadic - the sole surviving ship of the White Star Line.

Back to the hotel for a quick break, we'll head out into charming Belfast for an orientation tour before dinner, after which you are free to explore.

OVERNIGHT: BELFAST (B, D)

DAY SIX:  Thursday, May 4th

Enjoy a free day with numerous options of sights to enjoy:

 - Award winning Game of Thrones tour

http://www.gameofthronestoursireland.com/

 - Ulster Museum: view the Irish Revolution from the other side.

 - Base One Europe: learn the story of the Irish Marines and visit a little-known museum devoted to the US Naval presence in Derry which oversaw operations in Europe through the Normandy landings.

 - Or take the day off and explore Belfast's famous political murals, shops and markets, or enjoy a good pub and a few pints...

OVERNIGHT:  BELFAST (B)
 

DAY SEVEN:  Friday, May 5th

Travel day...

We'll head out for Belfast's main rail station and head south, past Dublin, to Ireland's second largest city: Cork.

With a late morning departure and a late afternoon arrival, we'll get checked into our lodgings at the Imperial Hotel.  It was here that Michael Collins spent his last night before he was killed.  It will serve as our base of operations for the next three nights.

Dinner in town.

OVERNIGHT:  CORK (B,D)

DAY EIGHT:  Saturday, May 6th

Today we'll cover the final story of the Titanic, visiting the main port so very central to the Irish diaspora.  It was from Cobh (formerly known as "Queenstown") that the many ships full of immigrants fleeing the Great Famine left for the United States.  It was also from this port that the Titanic made its final call before it's fateful voyage into the Atlantic.   Of further significance, it was here that the survivors of the torpedoed liner, Lusitania, were brought ashore - as well as the many bodies of the dead.  We'll go on an informative walking tour of this famous harbor, docks, cemetery, and memorial.

Then back to Cork for the evening.  Our hotel is centrally located to countless pubs and restaurants to enjoy.

OVERNIGHT:  CORK (B)

DAY NINE:  Sunday, May 7th

Free day with a host of options:

Cork and immediate vicinity sights include:

 - Blarney Castle and Stone

 - Jameson Distillery tour

 - Mizen Head Coastline

Or head out with your guide to Clonakilty and a tour of the last movements and spot where Michael Collins was killed.  We'll cover the cost of your chosen activity of these four excellent options.

We'll compare notes over dinner in Cork that evening.

OVERNIGHT:  CORK (B, D)

DAY TEN:  Monday, May 8th

Heads full of history, we'll check out of our hotel in Cork and head west to the famous city of Killarney and all of its local charms.  We'll spend two full days in this beautiful city and give you time to relax, hike, and explore to your heart's content. Instead of taxis, you'll love the laid back feel of the famous jaunty cars - small horse drawn carriages - as you visit the nearby sights and enjoy some private time with hysterical local drivers.  Our lovely hotel will be right in the heart of this picturesque center, with plenty at your fingertips.

We'll arrive at lunchtime and check into our hotel, and then you're free to enjoy lovely Killarney at your leisure.

OVERNIGHT:  KILLARNEY (B)

DAY ELEVEN:  Tuesday, May 9th

This will be your last full day to enjoy and explore before we head back to Dublin and prepare to fly home.  

If you've fallen in love with Killarney, stay close and local, and get out and stretch your legs - or cozy up to the bar at a favorite new pub. Lunch is on us.  

Or for the ultimate coach drive, head out on a paid-for Ring of Kerry tour along Ireland's gorgeous southwestern coastline.  This will be an all day affair.

OVERNIGHT:  KILLARNEY (B)

DAY TWELVE:  Wednesday, May 10th

All good things must come to an end...  Enjoy breakfast and a free morning in Killarney to finish exploring and shopping.  After lunch, we'll make our way back to Dublin, arriving late afternoon.  We'll check into our hotel and make one final pilgrimage to Temple Bar for a final group dinner and one last night on the town.  It will be a fitting close to a wonderful tour, in none other than the capital city.

OVERNIGHT:  DUBLIN (B, D)

DAY THIRTEEN:  Thursday, May 11th

Fly home!