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Europe's Capital of Culture extends a warm welcome as you prepare to discover a land where religious beliefs run deep in the hearts and minds of the locals. You'll enjoy an orientation of Galway with your Travel Director before paying a visit to the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, built in the mid-20th century. This evening, you'll join your Travel Director and companions at a Welcome Reception to begin your trip.
'Dive Into Culture' and celebrate nature and the cycle of life when you visit the award-winning Celtic gardens at Brigit's Garden set within woodlands and wildflower meadows in Rosscahill. Join a weaving workshop and create your own Brigit's Cross. Leave your tranquil surrounds behind and continue to Kylemore Abbey, a magnificent castle-like structure built as a family home and transformed into a Benedictine monastery. See its magnificent Victorian Walled Garden before continuing to Westport. En route, we'll stop at Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre to see the statue of St. Patrick at the foot of the 'Holy Mountain'. This evening, we'll dine at our hotel.
Meet your 'Local Specialist' this morning for a walking tour during which you'll learn about the town's heritage - from its settlement 5,000 years ago to modern times. Next enjoy a Small Group Sightseeing guided tour of Ballintubber Abbey, the only church in Ireland founded by an Irish king that is still in use. Then continue to the pilgrimage town of Knock to view the Marian Shrine where villagers witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady in 1878. This evening you will have an opportunity to experience Mass at the Parish Church.
Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way provides a beautiful backdrop for our visit to Poulnabrone Dolmen, one of the country's most iconic archaeological and oldest megalithic monuments. Learn what lies below these mystical stones before a memorable encounter with the Cliffs of Moher, which plunge dramatically into the Atlantic Ocean. We 'Connect With Locals' and join Oonagh to forage for ingredients that will be used to create our 'Be My Guest' lunch at Barrtra Seafood restaurant. Cross the Shannon Estuary next, keeping a keen eye out for dolphins as the Tarbert Ferry makes the brief crossing between Counties Clare and Kerry.
Ireland's soul-stirring Ring of Kerry takes centre stage today as we embark on a scenic drive past its mountains, lakes and lush green countryside - unquestionably one of the most scenic routes in Ireland. We'll see Daniel O'Connell's Cahirciveen, the fishing village of Waterville, Moll's Gap and Black Valley, whose remoteness saw it become the last area in Ireland to receive electricity.
Your first stop today is a memorable visit to Blarney Castle to kiss the stone and acquire the 'gift of the gab'. Now, it's on to the seaport town of Youghal, once home to Sir Walter Raleigh. Later this afternoon, you'll arrive in Waterford, once a thriving Viking settlement and your home for the night.
We journey to the peaceful 6th-century monastic ruins at Glendalough which survived repeated Norman attacks over the centuries. Arriving in Dublin later today, you'll embark on a sightseeing tour of the Irish capital. Walk the cobbled courtyard of Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, before enjoying a spiritual encounter, as many have for over 1,500 years, in St. Patrick's Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland.
Join an informative and poignant tour with a 'Local Specialist' at Glasnevin Trust this morning. Our visit will 'Make a Difference' to its efforts to preserve Irish history and we'll hear stories about some of the country's bravest characters. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Our pilgrimage nearing its end, we join our Travel Director and fellow travellers for a memorable Farewell Dinner.
Say farewell to new friends and take a transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
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