IRELAND WITH JAMES KEELAGHAN
MAY 12 - 21, 2017
Cork - Kerry - Clare Detailed Tour Itinerary
Note that the below schedule is often dependent on the weather. We will always have a plan B in case of rain.
We hire the best Irish musicians we can in each county we visit.Folks like, Luka Bloom, John Spillane, Karan Casey from Solas, Lumier (Eilis Kennedy, Pauline Scanlon, and Donogh Hennesy from Lunasa), Muireann McCauliff of Danu, Seamus Beagley, Cathay Jordan of Dervish, Tommy O’Sullivan, John Doyle from original Solas etc.
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.
If the above info does not answer all your questions, contact John and Jo Smith along with Vicki Belinoski at Inishfree Tours. firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you and sharing 10 days and nights in Ireland taking in breathtaking beauty by day and hearing fabulous music with the Irish folks each night.
Thanks folks, sign up early and spread the word, this promises to be an unforgettable tour.
Day 1. Friday, May 12, 2017
We welcome everyone aboard this morning around 9:30 a.m. after your breakfast at the B &B and then 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 Cork City's historic English Market where you can procure your lunch from one of the many excellent food vendors at one of the world’s oldest municipal markets. From Cork we will drive on to our first hotel where we will be staying for three nights. (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.
Day 2. Saturday, May 13, 2017
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. 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 . 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. In the evening guests will have dinner on their own around 7pm in the town of Skibbereen followed by lively entertainment at our hotel bar lounge around 9pm-ish. Maybe even get a chance to learn an Irish dance or two?
Day 3. Sunday, May 14, 2017
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. From Mizen Head we’ll head into the classic fishing village of Crookhaven for lunch by the bay before proceeding to the wonderfully remote Barley Cove Beach. In the evening guests will have dinner on their own followed by a sing-along in a local pub.
Day 4. Monday, May 15, 2017
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 to experience the classic Irish country life, followed by lunch 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 for an invigorating walk. We’ll visit the town of Dingle and settle into our hotel. You’ll have time to rest up and grab dinner at the hotel restaurant before an excellent private concert by talented local musicians.
Day 5. Tuesday, May 16, 2017
This morning we’ll visit several ancient sites in the area, such as the Gallarus Oratory and Kilmakedar Church
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 Great Blasket Centre (where we will also eat
lunch), and two different beaches. If you haven’t noticed, we love a stroll on the beach whenever possible. Then it's back to our hotel to refresh and rest a couple of hours before our second group dinner followed by music at one of the many local pubs specializing in traditional music.
Day 6. Wednesday, May 17, 2017
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 Dingle. We will all plan to meet up at O' Sullivans Court House Pub in Dingle at 4:30 p.m. for some fantastic Irish music. Afterwards, people can eat on their own in Dingle, followed once again by music at one of the many local pubs.
Day 7. Thursday, May 18, 2017
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 and stop off to view one of Ireland’s most famous and spectacular sites - the Cliffs of Moher ) We will be visiting the quaint town of Doolin, renowned for its traditional Irish music scene. After checking in and a rest, we will meet at 7:30 at one of the local pubs in Doolin for dinner on our own followed by rousing Irish “trad” music.
Day 8. Friday, May 19, 2017
We will tour the Burren Region of County Clare including a talk by a local person about the region. The Burren is 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 and return to Doolin on the spectacular Black Head drive along the edge of Galway Bay. In the evening we will meet at another local pub for more great music, food, and fun.
Day 9. Saturday, May 20, 2017
Today is our last full day together. Weather permitting, we take a ferry ride over to Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands, a 40 minute trip from Doolin pier. We’ll get a guided tour on a covered wagon and grab some lunch at a small, family-run cafe. There are a couple of options for returning. You can choose the early afternoon departure and get an up-close view of the Cliffs of Moher from the sea and an incredible look at hundreds if not thousands of nesting sea birds -- kittiwakes, razorbillls, guillemots, and puffins (in season - May thru July). Or if you’d rather have some extra time to 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, you can catch the late afternoon ferry back to the mainland. 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 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.
Day 10. Sunday, May 21, 2017
We head back to Shannon Airport on this morning. Be sure to let us know your departure time if you fly home, or whatever other arrangements you have made for the rest of your vacation - renting a car, taking a bus, etc.