Riches of the Emerald Isle
Experience the best of Ireland’s heritage and natural history on this 10-night adventure including stays in Ennis, Killarney, Mallow and Dublin. From dancing to storytelling to a special farm-to-fork meal, you’ll sample Irish culture, cuisine and traditions. Walk along the fossil-laden limestone terrain of the Burren and peer into a Neolithic portal tomb on the dramatic Cliffs of Moher—a UNESCO Global Geopark. On the Loop Head and Dingle Peninsulas, take in the stunning coastline from land and water. Cruise to the Aran Island of Inishmore to learn more about island life from a local guide, and explore Killarney National Park by horse-drawn carriage. Watch border collies corral sheep in the open countryside of the Ring of Kerry, and meet the shepherd to learn more about the dogs and flock. Cap off your journey in seaside Dublin and Dalkey Village. Your first-class accommodations are enhanced by a generous meal plan featuring wine with dinner.
Exclusive Departure: this departure is considered exclusive and the participants are U-M travelers, who consist of alums, family and friends.
Depart gateway city
Arrive in Shannon | Transfer to Ennis
Transfer to the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis.
Discovery: Ennis tour. On a guided walk, learn about this lively market town’s unique history and hear how the area is steeped in legend and folklore. Gather for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.
Enrichment: Irish Music and Dance. During an exclusive show, tap your foot to the lively beat of a traditional céilí band, accompanied by dancers.
The Burren | Cliffs of Moher
Enrichment: Irish Seanchaí. These storytellers were the bearers of old Celtic lore. Listen as Eddie Lenihan, Ireland’s premier folklorist/seanchaí, relates stories and tales in the time-honored style.
Discovery: The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher, a UNESCO Global Geopark, sit on Ireland’s breathtaking Wild Atlantic Way, a spectacular coastline of cliffs, sea caves and inlets. The Burren’s rocky landscape features diverse flora and karstic limestone formations. Take an exclusive guided walk through the Burren with local expert Tony Kirby, who offers fascinating geological, archaeological and botanical insights. Enjoy lunch in a family-run pub in the Burren.
Continue to the portal tomb, Poulnabrone, a vision resting on the stark limestone pavements, dating from 2,000-2,500 B.C. Drive along the scenic coast to marvel at the stirring sight of the Cliffs of Moher, rising 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.
Discovery: Aran Island of Inishmore. Board a ferry and sail across Galway Bay to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. As you explore on a minibus, listen to entertaining stories about island life from your local guide. Visit Dun Aengus, the ruins of a Bronze Age stone fort. Stop for lunch in the area.
Loop Head Peninsula
Discovery: Loop Head Peninsula. Gaze in awe at the marvelous, rugged cliffside scenery on either side of you as you travel the Loop Head Drive between the Atlantic Ocean and the Shannon Estuary. Take in expansive views from the Loop Head Lighthouse.
Relax over lunch during your day on the peninsula.
Dingle Peninsula | Killarney
Discovery: Dingle Peninsula. Depart for Killarney via the picturesque Dingle Peninsula. Take a short ferry ride from Killimer to Tarbert. Continue via motor coach through the towns of Tralee and Dingle, and relish sweeping mountain vistas and coastal scenery on the Slea Head Drive. Enjoy lunch along the route.
After lunch, visit the Blasket Island Heritage Center, which honors the remote island’s former residents. Return to Dingle with some free time to explore.
In Killarney, check in to the Great Southern Killarney.
Discovery: Killarney National Park by Carriage and Cruise. This park on the Ring of Kerry is a tranquil oasis of oak woodlands and shimmering lakes. Ramble through the park on a pleasant, leisurely ride in a traditional, horse-drawn carriage called a jaunting car. Your “jarvey”, or driver, will share local lore and history. Next, board a cruiser to glide across the pristine Killarney Lakes.
Free Time: Spend time in Killarney at leisure.
This evening at the hotel, delight in a whiskey tasting led by a local expert.
Ring of Kerry
Discovery: Ring of Kerry. Located on the Iveragh Peninsula, the circular drive of the Ring of Kerry is among the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. Watch border collies bound through the fields and maneuver a flock of sheep during a demonstration. Afterward, meet the local shepherd and ask questions about the dogs, farm life and the flock. Relax over lunch in Waterville.
Depart for Mallow and check in to Longueville House, a family owned, 500-acre country estate.
Field to Fork. Meet the owners of this family-run hotel, who will share how they revitalized the farm, gardens and orchard to aceieve their field-to-fork vision. Then savor a very special dining experience, prepared by the chef-owner of Longueville, that showcases the estate’s freshly picked produce.
Depart this morning for captivating Dublin.
Upon arrival, join your Travel Director for an informal walk through the area around your hotel on bustling Grafton Street. Check in to The Westbury.
Enrichment: Irish Literature. Ireland boasts four Nobel Prize winners in Literature, and Dublin is UNESCO City of Literature. Learn about the key figures who shaped Dublin’s rich literary heritage.
Dublin Bay | Dalkey Village
Discovery: Dalkey Heritage Town. Journey along Dublin Bay past pretty coastal towns and waterfront vistas to charming Dalkey Village. Steeped in ancient history, Dalkey is beloved for its vibrant culture, food scene and seaside walks. Stroll with your guide and pop in a local pub for an Irish coffee or a pint.
Free Time: Head off to see more of Dublin’s varied architecture and verdant gardens on your own.
Tonight, gather for a Farewell Reception and Dinner.
Depart for gateway city
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight.
Meet Your Trip Host
Diarmaid Ó Foighil
Diarmaid Ó Foighil is currently serving as professor and chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and as a Curator of Mollusks in the U-M Museum of Zoology. A native of the Connemara Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) of County Galway, Ireland, Ó Foighil completed his undergraduate education at the National University of Ireland, Galway and his Ph.D. at the University of Victoria (British Columbia). After postdoctoral studies in Canada and the US he joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1995. He works on invertebrate evolution and conservation and although his primary background is in marine systems, since moving to Ann Arbor he has also become interested in freshwater and terrestrial taxa, including endangered Pacific Island land snails.
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