IRELAND WITH JAMES KEELAGHAN and HUGH MCMILLAN
September 1-10, 2019
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Counties Cork, Kerry, and 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.
Day 1. Sunday, September 1, 2019
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 We then drive south to Kinsale https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsale for lunch. Kinsale is a charming town known for it many wonderful restaurants and important military history. After lunch 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 concert of excellent Irish music.
Day 2. Monday, September 2, 2019
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). Tonight we’ll have a concert with more local musicians!
Day 3. Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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 at Sullivan’s by the bay before proceeding to the wonderfully remote Barley Cove Beach (http://www.myguideireland.com/barley-cove-beach).
This evening you will have dinner in town or at a pub in Skull after which you will have a private concert with James Keelaghan and Hugh McMillan.
Day 4. Wednesday, September 4, 2018
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, and perhaps a stop at Inch Beach. Lunch will be in the nearby charming town of Kenmare. We’ll pass through the edge of Killarney National Park as we proceed on to the Dingle Peninsula and we will arrive at the Skellig Hotel (https://www.dingleskellig.com) in the town in Dingle. You’ll have time to rest up and have our 2nd group dinner before visiting a pub session in town.
Day 5. Thursday, September 5, 2018
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 Great Blasket Centre (http://blasket.ie/en/) (where we will also eat lunch), and a stop at Clogher Beach, weather permitting. Then it’s back to our hotel to refresh and rest a couple of hours before our dinner at the hotel bar followed by another wonderful concert of traditional music at the hotel.
Day 6. Friday, September 6, 2018
Today is a ‘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 St. James’ Church for a concert. Your guide will tell you the time to meet. Dinner is on your own in town.
Day 7. Saturday, September 7, 2018
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. We will be staying in the quaint town of Doolin, renowned for its traditional Irish music scene. Accommodation will be at two B and B’s – Dunroman House http://www.doolinbedandbreakfast.com or O’Connors Guesthouse http://www.doolinbedandbreakfast.com After checking in and a rest, we will meet at 7:30 at one of the well-known local pubs, McDermott’s, for dinner followed by another great concert.
Day 8. Sunday, September 8, 2018
We will stop off to view one of Ireland’s most famous and spectacular sites — the Cliffs of Moher (http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/) after which we will drive through the Burren region of County Clare (http://www.galway.net/galwayguide/visit/burren/). 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 (http://www.megalithicireland.com/Poulnabrone.htm). Lunch will be either in Ballyvaughan or at Cassidy’s Pub. We’ll return to Doolin, and in the evening, we’ll meet at another local pub, McGann’s, for more great music, food, and some great Irish craic!
Day 9. Monday, September 9, 2018
Today is our last full day together. Weather permitting, we take a ferry ride over to Inisheer, (Inis Oirr in Irish), the smallest of the Aran Islands (http://www.inisoirr-island.com/), 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. Depending on conditions, there may be a couple of options for returning. You may be able to 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. Your guide will let you know if there is a choice. 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 the Doolin Hotel to 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. Tuesday, September 10, 2018
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, such as renting a car, taking a bus, 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 along with Vicki Belinoski at Inishfree Tours. firstname.lastname@example.org
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Counties Mayo, Galway, and Clare
Day 1. Thursday, May 31, 2018
This morning we welcome everyone aboard around 9:30 a.m. after your breakfast at the B&B. If you are staying elsewhere, you will still meet at the B&B in Bunratty as that is the departure point for the tour. We’ll then head northwards to County Mayo. Our first stop is at Coole Park, (http://www.coolepark.ie/), the home of famed Lady Gregory, a patron of the arts whose guests included James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, and many other notable Irish poets, writers, and playwrights. We’ll have a chance to stretch our legs before gathering in the gardens for a brief “go around” of introductions to our fellow guests and an overview of our itinerary for the tour. We then drive to the village of Cong in county Mayo for lunch (http://www.tourclare.com/cong.html). Cong is the quaint village where much of the 1952 movie ‘The Quiet Man’ with John Wayne and Mara O’Hara was filmed. After lunch we drive to the beautiful town of Westport where we’ll be staying in the Clew Bay Hotel (http://www.clewbayhotel.com) for 3 nights. After settling into the rooms and resting up for a bit, we’ll meet for our first group meal in the hotel restaurant, followed by a private Irish music concert with a talented local musician.
Day 2. Friday, June 1, 2018
In the morning we’ll hop on the bus and head to the wonderfully scenic Achill island, Ireland’s largest island, which is accessible from the mainland via a bridge. Here, a knowledgeable local guide will lead us around the island to visit several points of interest (http://www.achilltourism.com/places.html). In the evening we’ll be back in Westport for dinner on your own and a session of traditional Irish tunes in one of Westport’s many lively pubs. One famous pub is Matt Molloy’s; Matt is the well-known flute player of the famous Irish band, The Chieftains (http://www.mattmolloy.com/pub_about.html) . Also, if anyone is interested, there is a great theater show of the Legend of Grainne Mhoal the Irish “Pirate Queen” at the Westport Hotel, 25 euro a seat (http://www.grainnemhaol.com/).
Day 3. Saturday, June 2, 2018
Today we will visit Ballintubber Abbey for a guided tour talk/walk of the Abbey. http://www.ballintubberabbey.ie We will also make a visit to the Country Life Museum http://www.museumsofmayo.com/country-life-museum.htm An excellent museum with displays showing the amazing changes in Ireland between 1850 to 1950. Just across the road is an old round tower and abbey. There will be some tree time in Westport this afternoon to explore Westport. This evening we will all be on our own for dinner and then a pub session.
Day 4. Sunday, June 3, 2018
We’ll pack our bags and move south through gorgeous scenery to County Galway. We’ll stop at the National Famine Monument at the base of Croagh Patrick in Murrisk, County Mayo. The monument depicts a coffin ship with skeletons and bones as rigging. We’ll then head down through the atmospheric Doolough Valley, stopping for a hike if the weather allows. We’ll proceed on past beautiful Ashley Falls and through the town of Leenane for lunch before stopping off for a look at the picturesque Kylemore Abbey (http://www.kylemoreabbey.com/). We’ll arrive in the scenic village of Clifden in the late afternoon and check in for our three-night stay at the Alcock & Brown Hotel (https://www.alcockandbrownhotel.com). After some time to rest and refresh, we will have our second group dinner followed by a private concert by a local Galway songwriter at the hotel.
Day 5. Monday, June 4, 2018
Today please wear waling shoes. We will tour and walk around the Connemara region in the morning with a local archeologist guide Michael Gibbons. We will stop for lunch on our own in the picturesque sea village of Roundstone (http://www.roundstone-connemara.com/) followed by an afternoon walk nearby, and then back to Clifden. Dinner on our own and another great music session at a local pub.
Day 6. Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Weather permitting, we drive to the small fishing village of Cleggan, from where we’ll catch the 40-minute ferry over to Insihbofin (http://www.inishbofin.com/), a very beautiful, peaceful, low- paced island. We’ll get the chance to stroll around the island on foot, or rent a bike, or take a mini bus guided tour of the island. We’ll return back to Cleggan on the late afternoon ferry and drive back to Clifden for a rest before heading out for dinner and more wonderful music. If weather doesn’t permit the voyage to Inishboffin, we will visit some other local sites and you’ll get to explore Clifden, and we’ll try our luck at visiting another island in Co. Clare.
Day 7. Wednesday, June 6, 2018
We’ll pack up and head south to County Clare. We’ll drive through some wonderful Connemara scenery and on to Galway City, Ireland’s third largest city, where we’ll stop for lunch and a stroll up Shop Street — a pedestrian mall with shops, cafes, buskers, bookshops and pubs. Leaving Galway, we’ll take a quick stop in Kinvara to see the wonderful Dunguaire Castle ruin. Then we’ll drive on to the quaint town of Doolin (http://www.doolin-tourism.com/), renowned for its traditional Irish music scene. Accommodation for your group will be at two B&B’s – Dunroman House and O’Connor’s Guesthouse, (http://www.doolinbedandbreakfast.com). After checking in and a rest, we will meet at 7:30 at McDermott’s Pub for dinner on our own followed by rousing Irish “trad” music.
Day 8. Thursday, June 7, 2018
Today we will start with one of Ireland’s most spectacular and well- known sites, the Cliff’s of Moher, with breathtaking views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/).We will also tour the Burren region of County Clare (http://www.galway.net/galwayguide/visit/burren/) The Burren is a unique limestone landscape with plenty of historical sites including ancient tombs, stone forts, old churches and graveyards. We’ll make a stop at the Poulnabrone Dolmen (http://www.megalithicireland.com/Poulnabrone.htm) We’ll have lunch in the village of Ballyvaughn which is on the edge of Galway Bay, and then return to Doolin where we’ll meet at another local pub for more great music, food, and fun.
Day 9. Friday, June 8, 2018
Today is our last full day together. We’ll drive to an ancient ring fort, Caherconnell Stone Fort to visit the heritage center and we’ll also have a fun sheep dog demonstration (http://www.burrenforts.ie/). We’ll also have a stop at the Burren Centre in Kilfenora. In the evening we’ll 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, October 8
We head back to Shannon Airport in the 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 holiday.