• Ha' Penny Bridge in Dublin
  • Evening of Traditional Irish Music
  • Rock of Cashel Ruins
  • Kinsale Pub
  • Blasket Islands
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Aran Islands
  • Market in Belfast
  • Slán leat!

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Ireland in 14 Days Tour

Rick Steves' Best of Ireland tour kicks off with the best of Dublin, followed by Ireland's must-see historical sites, charming towns, music-filled pubs and seaside getaways — including Kinsale, the Dingle Peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Galway, Connemara, Giant's Causeway, Old Bushmills Distillery, and the compelling city of Belfast. All along the way, Rick's guides will share their stories to draw you in to the Emerald Isle, and the friendliness of the people will surely steal your heart. Join us for the Best of Ireland in 14 Days! 

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Ireland come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 27 group sightseeing events • Dublin walking tour • Trinity College • Book of Kells • Kilmainham Gaol tour (when possible) or Powerscourt Gardens • Rock of Cashel • Kinsale walking tour • Charles Fort tour • Sheep farm tour • Dingle's Slea Head Drive • Blasket Islands Heritage Centre • Gallarus Oratory • Irish musical evening • Burren nature walk • Cliffs of Moher • Boat ride to Aran Islands (weather permitting) • Aran Islands minibus tour • Dun Aengus Fort • Connemara drive • Cong visit • Ashford Castle School of Falconry • Drumcliff visit • Derry coach and walking tour • Dunluce Castle • Giant's Causeway • Old Bushmills Distillery tour • Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (weather & season permitting) • Guided tour of Belfast...and more
  • All group transportation from Dublin to Dublin
  • 13 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels and B&Bs
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Ireland guidebook, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Ireland

Meet your guide and fellow tour members at our hotel around 5 p.m. After a group meeting, we'll enjoy a traditional Irish dinner together, followed by an orientation walk through the heart of Dublin. Sleep in Dublin (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: The Historic Heart of Dublin

This morning we'll take a walking tour through Dublin, learning about its rich history from the days of Viking raids to the hard centuries of British occupation to the proud and progressive city of today. We'll end at Trinity College for an illuminating look at the remarkable Book of Kells, a creative jolt that helped pull Europe out of the Dark Ages. You'll have the rest of the day free to feel the pulse of a city thriving with street poets and musicians. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 3: Kilmainham Gaol and Ruins

On our way out of Dublin, we'll stop at Kilmainham Gaol (when possible) and learn about its place in Ireland's stirring struggle for independence less than a century ago. Then, overlooking the green Plain of Tipperary, we'll tour the ecclesiastical center that thrived in St. Patrick's time: the evocative ruins of the Rock of Cashel. Our day will end with dinner together in the picturesque harbor town of Kinsale, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: Kinsale and Charles Fort

This morning we'll be treated to a walking tour that brings Kinsale's past to life, places its story in the wider sweep of history, and makes the stony sights much more than buildings. Inspired by all we've learned, we'll continue on to explore the massive and (for its time) revolutionary Charles Fort which overlooks the harbor. You'll have the afternoon and evening free to make your own discoveries in Kinsale, known as Ireland's gourmet capital. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 5: Killarney National Park and Dingle

Today we'll take a scenic drive along the forests (Ireland's largest), mountains and lakes of Killarney National Park. Then we'll balance-off this peacefulness with a visit to a local sheep farm, marveling at its talented dogs in action. We'll end our day in Dingle, where we'll enjoy dinner together and one of the country's best traditional music scenes. Sleep in Dingle (3 nights, groups may be split between two B&Bs). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 6: Gaelic Heritage

It's a great day to experience some of Europe's wildest natural beauty and most ancient Christian sights. We'll hop aboard our bus with our local expert to follow the famous Slea Head Drive, our vote for the most beautiful road in Ireland. We'll stop to tour the strikingly-designed Great Blasket Centre, where we'll get an intimate look at the language, literature and daily life of a traditional Gaelic Blasket community. Tonight we'll return to our home village, Dingle, with as much dancing and singing with new friends as we can handle. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 7: Roam the Dingle Peninsula

Today is all yours...free on the Dingle Peninsula. Take a long walk along the local paths and lanes, hire a bicycle and pedal the scenic 30-mile Dingle Loop, sail for the day to the rugged Blasket Islands, or simply savor your generous Irish breakfast and hang out in town. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 8: Cliffs of Moher and the Burren

This morning we'll drive through County Clare to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, where you'll find yourself leaning into the wind, teetering on the very edge of Europe, more than 600 feet above the churning waters of the North Atlantic. Farther up the road, we'll tour the rocky moonscape of the Burren to learn about its unique ecosystem and hardy prehistoric residents. Tonight we'll share dinner together and sleep in Galway (2 nights, groups will be split between three B&Bs). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Galway and the Aran Islands

Weather permitting, this morning we'll hop aboard a ferry bound for the stark beauty of Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. There you can join your guide for a minibus tour 'round this dramatic island, including the site of its ancient, cliff-hanging Celtic fortress, Dun Aengus. Or, you'll have plenty of time to set out on foot, hire a pony cart or pedal a bike to explore this windswept island on your own. Boat: 2 hrs. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 10: Connemara Countryside

Today we'll drive through the Connemara region, enjoying the beautiful Irish countryside. We'll stop in the charming town of Cong — where Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne filmed "The Quiet Man" in 1951, stroll through the picturesque abbey ruins and visit the hawks of Ashford Castle. Then we'll drive north to County Mayo and Westport, where we'll settle in for the evening. Sleep in Westport (1 night). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: To Northern Ireland

We'll seamlessly cross into Northern Ireland today. In Derry, a local guide will take us on a tour of the town, sharing stories about "The Troubles" and the infamous "Bloody Sunday" of 1972. Then we'll drive on to the nostalgic seaside resort of Portrush, where we'll have dinner together and sleep (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Antrim Coast and Old Bushmills

Today we'll explore Northern Ireland's spectacular Antrim Coast. We'll tour the romantic, cliff-top ruins of Dunluce Castle, then marvel at the bizarre basalt columns and local legends of the Giant's Causeway. After taking time to fortify yourself with a wee dram at the venerable Old Bushmills Distillery, you can test your nerve (optional, wind permitting) teetering across the scenic Carrick-a-Rede rope footbridge. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 13: Belfast and Return to Dublin

This morning we'll drive to Belfast, the vibrant capital of Northern Ireland. We'll start with a rolling tour that takes us along reminders of the past decades' Troubles, including the striking political murals of Shankill and Falls Road, then we'll join a local guide to learn about the city's great industrial era and the remarkable Titanic, which was launched from Belfast's shipyard in 1911. After a relaxing drive back to Dublin — completing our circumnavigation of the Emerald Isle — we'll kick up our heels at a classy farewell supper together, where we'll share travel memories and toast new friends. Sláinte! Sleep in Dublin (1 night). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

You can fly out of Dublin's handy airport, or take the ferry to Wales for further adventures in the British Isles. Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Slán leat!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Ireland in 14 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Walk ½ mile uphill at the Giant's Causeway.

Reviews

Dawn

Centennial, CO

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour, and I couldn't be happier with it. The sights visited were outstanding. I felt both welcomed by the local residents and intellectually stimulated by the quality of guides and the history presented. The bus we traveled on was excellent, and the driver, Dennis, was very proficient and careful on the many narrow roads we traveled on. What special memories I will have of this tour! Thanks so much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Giant's Causeway was my most memorable outdoor experience."

Carolyn

Macon, GA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland is just gorgeous, even in the rain. This tour doesn't include everything worth seeing but it's a good start. Our guide was well informed and lots of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sun coming out and the landscape just glows. Unfortunately the Cliffs of Moher were socked in all the way to the bottom, but I can't blame that on you."

Nancy

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was so well organized that we were able to really appreciate and understand the history of Ireland,the people and the beauty of the land.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really loved the total experience....no one moment comes to mind, I will give it some thought."

Carole

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just when we think the RS tours can't get any better, along comes our guide and provides us with an unbelievable tour of Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to enumerate, but perhaps it was arriving at the Cliffs of Moher (after 2 previous visits on our own) only to find them completely fogged in with not a single cliff to be seen. Declan, in his wisdom, provided us with a bit of Irish liquid refreshment, and let us wander or dine on our own. And before the bus was to depart, the fog had lifted enough to provide a pretty spectacular view of the famous cliffs."

Catherine

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was so full of joyful, historic, musical good times. Declan was an outstanding guide and didn't miss adding lots of extras to each day. I would go with him on any tour anywhere. His knowledge, musicality, and sense of fun made for a totally enjoyable time. Our bus driver, Dennis, was a miracle man as he guided that huge bus down narrow country roads. The group size was just right and there was lots of mixing and matching at meals and events so you got to know everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"An evening spent in the music store in Dingle for a small concert was so wonderful. We got to hear a true cross section of Irish music from fiddles to step dancing. I would love to be there again anytime."

J Patrick

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great time, great group, great guide, great driver, good weather other than the Cliffs of Moher, but our guide made up for it with an Irish toast with Bailey's Irish Cream in the fog and rain. Wonderful history and excellent local guides. Would highly recommend it to friends and family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Giant's Causeway."

Priscilla

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been to a total of RSTours and that in itself is a testament to the quality of these tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick only one big moment just like it is hard to pick the best tour. The giant causeway and the view over the Irish Sea looking at the not so distant Scottish Islands was quite amazing. I learned a lot about the country's history. Ireland is distinctly beautiful and the Irish people were very friendly."

Sally

Manhattan Beach, CA

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Accommodations were excellent, group meals were outstanding. Declan adds to the tours with his personality, singing and poetry, and his history talks are never boring but are completely informative. The local guides were excellent and such a good idea. It gave a different and refreshing flavor to each important place we visited. I truly felt I was listening to an expert each time. I loved the choices of places to visit, with a great mix of culture and nature. Outstanding in every way!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very difficult to decide, but I guess it was the beautiful raw scenery on the drive to the Kissane Sheep Farm, and then the sheep dog demonstration and sheep shearing. It was so lovely and yet educational about the plight of the sheep farmers and the falling wool prices.The drive through Killarney national park was beautiful, and we finished the day with a wonderful group dinner at the Global Village in Dingle."

Michael

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Simply incredible. We saw so much more than should be possible, and upon reflection, probably have a much better understanding of the places and people we visited than had we just figured it all out on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While taking us through the country and building upon the layers of history, making it both fun, entertain and informative I finally feel like I have real understanding of Irish history and culture. When I felt that for the first time...WOW."

Bill

Kalispell, MT

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

we had just a great time! We had previously been to Ireland twice prior to this, but this tour, and our guide made it very informative, well paced, excellent meals, and gave us a much better insight to Ireland than we had achieved on our prior trips.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Answering this question for me is like trying to answer the question "what is your favorite country in Europe, South America, Asia" Each is a unique experience onto itself."

Cherill

Lopez Island, WA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Much exceeded my expectations. Guides were knowledgeable and humorous. Accommodations were very nice. Food was wonderful and varied.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Falconry at Ashford Castle. Irish Coffee at Prince of Wales Bar."

Alena

Columbus, OH

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although this was my four Rick Steves tour, every day exceeded my expectations. From the beginning (with 70 degree sunny weather in Dublin!) to the end (getting pretty much drenched at Giant's Causeway), I truly enjoyed it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"#1 was when everyone got to fly the hawk at the falconry. A very close second was viewing the cliffs at the Aran Islands."

Edward

Freeland, WA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide made a great trip a sensational one. He was full of stories about Ireland. He told us the history of his Ireland, the politics then and now, and the pubs to go to to hear good music. The accommodations were good, the food above average and the bus comfortable with plenty of room.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry at Ashford Castle."

Robert

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep farm and Bushmills"

Roderick

West Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We learned a lot about Irish history, especially as far as the English were concerned. Also enjoyed the music and the changes in style from the south to the north. Stephen was a very good tour guide with lots of interesting stories. An understanding of the separate cultures in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants was eye-opening. Especially the drive through Shankill Road area and through the 2 sets of gates (still used from time) into the Falls Road area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ashford Castle and the Falcon Centre nearby. Kilmainham Gaol with its history very good. Titanic Centre in Belfast."

Robert

El Dorado Hills, CA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our very first Rick Steves tour and our first ever group tour! We had nothing to compare to, so we took the tour with no expectations. WOW!! We loved it!!!! We loved our guide. We loved Bart, our bus driver. We loved having only 28 people on the tour. We loved Ireland. To sum up our experience.....we loved it!!!!!! :-)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many of our firends have already asked us this question and we've had a difficult time answering. We had many WOW moments. First, the scenery was breath taking. The Irish people were very welcoming, friendly and fun. We are birders and the trip to the falconry was an awesome surprise!!"

Marianne

Tampa, FL

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour far surpassed my expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to name. I loved the contrasting styles and experiences. One moment we were touring a castle and the next time a sheep farm. Outstanding thought process went into each step of the trip."

Jeanne

Tigard, OR

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

we were lucky enough to have blue skies and warm weather for much of our trip. We had a great group on our tour, a fun and extremely skilled bus driver, and a fantastic tour guide. We had excellent accommodations, fantastic food, great Guinness, and wonderful music ! Our guide, had fun surprises and had great recommendations for restaurants , activities and music. I had a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I surprised myself by walking across the rope bridge, and it was a once in a lifetime experience to "go hawking" at Ashford Castle! Not to mention having an Irish coffee in their bar."

Brian

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent tour (our 7th!). Really did an excellent job of covering the history, economics, social structure and culture of Ireland. Also a very well balanced view on the situation with Northern Ireland. The scenery was terrific, and the falcon school was terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was Inishmore - a really fabulous day (might not qualify as a "moment", but nonetheless.... The falcon school was a close second - not something I ever thought I'd do!"

Hans

Fayetteville, PA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First and foremost. Our guide is tied as the best tour guide I've ever had I've modified my concept of Ireland as a paradise to Ireland as a paradise for really tough people. From rocks in the west to troubles in the north and from persecution in the past to guarded optimism today, the Irish have to be strong in body and mind ... and stubborn as hell ... they are. And this tour let me see it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots to pick from. Number one to me was the opportunity to experience falconry by retrieving, feeding and launching a bird off my gloved hand. What a rush! Second would be the Titanic memorial in Belfast although not enough time was spent there. Suzie Millar, the grand-daughter of a crew member killed when it sank, brought the experience to life. No knocks on the other wows ... they seemed to get better each day. I would not eliminate any of them."

Angela

Cedaredge, CO

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fabulous trip seeing a lot and learning a lot. It WAS a bit fast-paced and busy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting to partake in "hawking" at Ashford Castle; and the cliffs at Dun Aenghus"

Carol

Delmar, NY

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland was beautiful, the Irish people wonderful, and our tour group was filled with bright and enthusiastic travelers. Our itinerary never disappointed; each day was filled with new adventures, delicious food, and stunning scenery. However, our tour guide made the trip extra special. He made each of us feel well-cared for, while he efficiently led us around Ireland enthusiastically showing us its amazing sites and carefully explaining its long and complicated history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments, but some of the outstanding ones were the visits to Inishmore, Giant's Causeway, and the Burren. I also now have a better understanding of the "Troubles", based on our visit to Derry and Belfast. (Unfortunately, the guide in Derry was very weak, but despite that we were still able to understand the enormity of what happened there on Bloody Sunday.)"

Donald

Delmar, NY

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland was wonderful, and we felt that the tour gave us a complete experience of the varied places there. We never could have done as many things or learned as much if we had been traveling on our own. And everything was made so convenient for us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Kinsale was really memorable. A charming harbor town with music in the pubs, a terrific local tour, and important connections to Irish history in general."

Larry

Cedaredge, CO

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again a great group of travelers ready for a "Rick Steves" experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconery experience at Ashford castle was amazing!"

Robin

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was our first group tour and we were wondering whether we would like it or not. We wound up loving it! The group was wonderful, we were always doing something interesting, Our guide was extraordinaire!! We like trips where we are on the "go" and this definitely fit our bill! We were given a small amount of time to do our own thing which was also good. Suggestions were given to fill our "down" time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the working sheep farm! Watching the dogs work was wonderful. We also learned about the plight of the sheep farmer. We also loved the small towns, Kinsale, Dingle, Port Rush were off the beaten path and lovely! Being near the water for much of the trip was great. Views were great."

Donald

Fayetteville, PA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole concept of small group, detailed balanced plans and a great experienced tour guide made for an excellent experience. This was our 1st Rick Steves tour not likely our last. Question can they all be this good...god willing we'll find out in the near furture. From other more experienced Steves travelers the food events and B & B's have improved, we were very pleased with both.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Aran Islands and our brief time with the falcon."

Cathryn

Fayetteville, PA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first reaction is "WOW"! This Ireland trip has definitely tied with our first Rick Steves trip back in 2000 on the Best of Europe in 21 Days as the very BEST!! From the moment we all met our guide Berry, had introductions and got our buddies, everything started to click. It wasn't long before we were becoming life-time friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our surprise visit to Ashford Castle and to the School of Falconry. Learning about the birds and then having the opportunity to launch and retrieve our Hawk Mya was amazing. Also Kissane Sheep Farm. Overall, the sheer beauty of Ireland. Plus the Irish people. They are so proud of their country and history and that came through every day."

Sharon

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great experience! I kept thinking as the tour progressed that we would hit a boring or just a less-than-fantastic day, but it didn't happen. Every day had it's own unique aspect and the local guides' enthusiasm and passion made each stop come alive. Our guide really kept the group entertained and engaged, and he made sure to point out sites that had special significance to individual tour members, such as an ancestral castle or the shooting location of a favorite film.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very hard to choose just one, but I think the visit to the falconry school and feeding the hawk was definitely an unexpected and wonderful wow moment. On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, Kilmainham Gaol and the Famine Trail were both incredibly powerful visits."

Bruce

Indio, CA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour, and guide, and the numerous sights and tours were outstanding. Ireland is a beautiful country, and we saw much of it. Accommodations were very nice, and the restaurants and meals included were among the best we have had on our four tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We enjoyed the Dingle pennisula, the sheep farm, the falconry/hawks, and the many pub crawls and music. All were "wow" moments."

Steve

Adamstown Nsw,

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A meticulously planned and executed tour with a guide who never failed to create enthusiasm in his group for Ireland, its people and history. Excellent accommodation and dining options throughout the tour made life very pleasant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The opportunity to try falconry at Ashford Castle (Irish School of Falconry) fulfilled my long held wish to try this sport. It also connected us with a part of Irish heritage that few see or experience during their visit to Ireland."

Matt

Kent, WA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide! Great group of people! The tour was busy, with lots of moving and packing and unpacking and a bit tiring, but we saw a lot and did a lot!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire tour was very good, and there were lots of great moments, but no single moment that I could identify as a favorite wow moment."

Margaret

Monterey, CA

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is only the second organized tour I have taken in my life, and it was outstanding! The hotels and B and B's were wonderful, and the breakfasts and group dinners were excellent. The VERY BEST thing about the trip was the incredible history and culture that our guide shared as we made our way around Ireland's perimeter. We were well-prepared for each stop on the itinerary. The pace was perfect, and our local guides were fabulous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide surprised us with a stop at Ashford Castle, a mini-Versailles. Besides getting a glimpse of this elegant property, we had a falconry demonstration with the opportunity for each tour member to put on the leather glove and have Swift, the Harris Hawk, dive from the tall trees and land on our arm. The falconer was a young man who gave the most interesting talk about birds of prey. This stop was totally unexpected and so memorable!"

Denise

Holliston, MA

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I did not want to go on a tour, based on the experience I had many many years ago, but my husband insisted. However, I chose the tour and I definitely made the right choice. We are in the "active adult" phase of lives and yet at the end of the tour, I could have gone on for two more weeks. Handling our own bags (and not having to have them in the hall @ 6:00am) and having free time to explore was great! Pace was perfect! Food was great! Accommodations were comfortable and inviting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just one? Okay - I really enjoyed the School of Falconry at Ashford Castle. I approached the outing thinking I might just watch, but what fun in such a beautiful setting! Our guide was very personable, patient, and informative and made it seem so easy. I'm so glad I participated. My husband videoed my turn on my phone and my 2 1/2 year old grandson loves watching "Grammy and the Bird.""

Tom

Santee, CA

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was only my second Rick Steves' tour, and like the last one (nine years ago - Wow! That long!), this tour of Ireland was fantastic. I can't say enough good things about our guide. Her always calm, interesting, enlightening and fun commentary was a highlight. Our small group of traveling companions were great to be with. Traveling with others who embrace the Rick Steves travel philosophy is one of the best parts of the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was just a brief moment on a trip filled with with many memorable events, but our unexpected visit to Ireland's School of Falconry was great fun - something I never would have planned to do on my own. What a thrill to hold a Harris Hawk!"

Patricia

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really loved our tour of Ireland. Everything was so well organized and seamless, I felt like a kid on a really long school field trip...with surprises around every corner! We were lucky to have a great guide, and a great mix of people. I didn't want the tour to end, and have been listening to music I bought in Dingle ever since.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was more than one. The falconry, getting to fly a falcon at that beautiful estate. The working sheep farm, and the surprise story teller at dinner in Dingle."

Chuck

Edgewood, WA

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Ireland tour was as fantastic as we had hoped – scenery, history, food, tour members, guide, bus and bus driver, and overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no single "wow" moment. It was all "wow". We especially liked the smaller towns, the countryside and the outstanding weather given that it was almost Fall."

Sean

Colorado Springs, CO

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 4th Rick Steve's tour and everything was as expected!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. Our day on the Antrim Coast that included Giant's Causeway, Bushmill's Distillery tour, and the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. 2. Falconry experience at Ashford Castle 3. John Kissane sheep farm"

Rick

Middleburg Hts, OH

Tour: 09/13/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time. For the first time in Ireland, this was the perfect tour. I am going back in March 2014 to my favorite spots.

Linda

Long Beach, CA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was very enjoyable. The combination of the natural beauty and opportunity for local experiences made this trip well rounded with not as much museum time as other trips we have taken. The country is beautiful, the locals were engaging and fun loving and the history is very interesting. Due to the timing of our trip we were able to see the local sports in action such as Hurling and Gaelic football.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I will never forget the day we spent on the Cliffs of Mohr and The Burren. The sites were interesting and spectacular. But what made this day my wow moment was the 60 mph wind gusts and rain that greeted us at the Cliffs and followed us to the Burren. It was scary and exciting at the same time. It highlighted the fury of the west coast weather that the hardy folk of Ireland have successfully endured. I also really appreciated the musical events that we were able to attend in Dingle."

Benjamin

Long Beach, CA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall tour was great. Good people and good guide. I believe the guide did not give a unbiased view of the "troubles" and the relationship between the Rep of Ireland and Northern Ireland, given that he was a "Cork man".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was looking forward to a "wow" moment at the School of Falconry, but for some reason we did not go there. I'm not sure why. Although it's not listed as part of the official tour, many people comment on what a great time they had there. Not us! The Giants Causeway and rope bridge at Carrick-a Rede were a "wow" dispute the weather."

William

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cliffs of Moher"

Barbara

Bremerton, WA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first trip to Ireland and it was wonderful! I enjoyed the history in Dublin and the quaint town in Kinsale. The many beautiful old churches, the uniqueness of Giant's Causeway, and seeing and hearing the Gaelic music was great. I heard, but could barely see, a young man's feet tapping quickly to some Gaelic music. The Cliff's of Moher were awe-inspiring. I enjoyed the Aran Island of Inis Mor. It was interesting that the plants were similar to those here in WA.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was the Cliffs of Moher. Declan gave us shots of Bailey's Irish Cream before our very windy trek up to the viewpoint area. The view of the cliffs was breath-taking. Four men and women from our tour group, hooked arm-in-arm, were blown down due to a large gust of wind. It was the strongest wind I have ever been in. It was exciting!!"

Nikki

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I discovered while on this two week tour (my first) that I had maintained an eroneous concept about the "tour experience". In the past my family and I had always researched and planned our own trips to Europe and I had looked at "those tourist buses" with some distain. I WAS WRONG! This trip with our ever-flexible, very versatile, talented guide was a surprise and a delight from start to finish! It could not have been better! I felt fortunate to be traveling with this group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Could not possbily isolate any one place or exeperience really. However an enormous surprise was the stunning beauty of Port Rush and the 55 Degrees Restaurant there with it's utterly breathtaking views. Will not be forgetting how it felt to walk into the dining room and have my breath taken away by those sights!"

Susan

Dallas, TX

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was everything I expected and more. The itinerary, transportation, lodging and staff met or exceeded all of my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Castles, Castles, Castles."

Rick

Xenia, OH

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great, super, outstanding, everybody should go, our guide is the best ever!!! The history and culture were brought to life by the experiences, the music and our guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The swinging bridge, Dublin, the meals with the group. There are so many but our guide's stories and songs may be the best. I think Declan made the wow moments better!!"

Alicia

San Jose, CA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The quality of most restaurants. It was a nice surprise."

Edward

Xenia, OH

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed our time in Ireland. The people were extremely friendly and enjoyable to be around. Our trip was well planned. An appropriate amount of free time was included.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially like our visits to Dublin, Kinsale, and Dingle. The provided meals were excellent."

Roberta

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour of Ireland provides you with more than facts. It offers experiences you have never had before and will always remember. Irish coffee in Ashford Castle. Falconry-having a Harris hawk land on your leather gloved arm, eat the meat provided, and casting him off to fly. Live Irish music in small local pubs and church. Entertaining stories about the people and the Irish culture. Great memories!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow! Up close and personal with a Harris hawk. "Swift" flew from the tree and landed on my arm. I could really see his beady eyes, sharp beak, and talons. I love birds and now have a new respect for the Harris hawk."

Steven

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fun and educational. Nice country to drive through and friendly locals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The conflicted history of the two parts of the island and how very recently they have been killing each other over religion and nationalism."

Jean

Front Royal, VA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome! Our trip to Ireland began a new chapter in our lives--Retirement! This was our first tour experience. Our Tour Guide; Assistance, and Driver, Bart created deeply memorable experiences that will be replayed in our minds over and over again for the rest of our lives. Rick Steves' personal values ran through the entire tour, creating a holistic experience of Ireland like no other.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the thrill on my husband's face as he handled the hawk at Ashford Castle was top of over 100 WOW moments! Dave's was watching Jean's face as she walked through the historical farms in Killarney National Park. She so enjoyed talking to the folks working there."

Irma

Coeur D'alene, ID

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a wonderful experience! I loved the friendly people, beautiful scenery, fun pubs and great music. Stephen and Susie really made Ireland-both historically and currently--come alive for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: music in the pubs of Dingle, crossing the rope bridge in the wind and rain, Bart maneuvering that large bus on those tiny country roads, and the beautiful Aran Islands on a picture-perfect day!"

Nancy

Moses Lake, WA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had not thought about going to Ireland until my In-laws asked if we would like to go on the same trip. I would have rather gone to Scotland and England, everything turned around once I met the people and recovered from my butt burning fight across the pond. My taste for beer improved with my first Pint pulled at O Neill's Pub along with their Fish and Chips. Thinking that this might be the extent of their cuisine I was also pleasantly surprised by many of the meals that we ate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Killarney National Park horse cart ride and the BEST The School of Falconry at Ashford Castle. Loved meeting Colin the keeper and Swift the Hawk. Delightful experience."

Jim

Holland, PA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time. Our guide was fantastic! He was extremely knowledgeable and his personality was worth the price of the trip. Our assistant was equally informative and very helpfully at all times. I would be glad to travel again with your tour company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many but the surprise visit to Ashford Castle and the Falcon ( Hawk ) flying was my highlight. The overall scenery of Ireland was also a wow factor but the background info from our guides contributed to the enjoyment of the experience. The local guides were also very informative especially Tommy in Dublin,Stephen in Derry and Sussie in Belfast. I also loved the island trip to Innsmore. It helped that the day was bright and sunny. We all overcame some incriminate weather."

Christopher

Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our guide is great guide , very entertaining and knowledgeable. Bart was fun and much more interactive than drivers in the past, Very helpful when my wife and I became ill on the way thru Belfast. Our assistant will be a great guide in the future and was very helpful. this group had less interaction than past groups between group members, but a nice group of people. For instance most had breakfasts at separate tables ( though part of that was the way the dinning rooms were set up.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the Burrens and felt a longer stop or stops there would have been good. Also the hawks were amazing"

Kevin

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time. I learned so much and saw so many great sights. The locals in Ireland where always happy to talk with us and our guide always had great recommendations. I would recommend this tour to everyone!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in a small pub in Westport listening to local musicians play folk music. While they were deciding what to play next a local gentleman starting sing a wonderful solo ballad. Makes me smile every time I think about it."

Sandra

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I left our passports, my newly purchased perfume & my night gown in the hotel. They were all returned to us in the next town. Dublin, Kinsale, Dingle, Aran Island (Inishmore) were great. I liked the walled city in Belfast, city hall Wanted to spend more time in Cong. I hated Portrush, the stay was too long (2) nights. It should have only been a stopover on the way to somewhere nicer. I liked the Dunluce Castle and the Giants Causeway and the rope bridge. The Dublin Zoo, & Irish Museum was.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The howling wind, rain & cold in Portrush. The Indian Restaurant in Galway was excellant."

Sheila

Buford, GA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We could not have been more satisfied, in fact, the tour actually exceeded our expectations! While I am sure all the Rick Steves tour guides are professional and good at what they do, we were THRILLED and so very luck to have had our tour guide and his assistant. His passion for what he does and extensive knowledge of the history and culture of Ireland and Northern Ireland add so much to the overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The three days in Dingle were the highlight of our trip as we were so very interested in seeing local musicians perform their music for us all three nights. Our guide arranged musical events for us as well as he and his assistant accompanying us, which made the experience even more enjoyable. The Cliffs of Moher were breathtaking and we were also treated to a special surprise of Irish coffee at the Ashford Castle with a tour of the Falconry as well. WOW-how interesting for us all!!"

Edward

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We are still on the road with little time for open ended questions. We enjoyed everything we saw, the people on the tour. Loved our guides.

Elaine

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We are still on the road with little time for open ended questions. We enjoyed everything we saw, the people on the tour. Loved our guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Conomarra driv. Rock formations"

Garry

Coeur D'alene, ID

Tour: 09/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Stephen was an exceptional guide. His knowledge and passion for anything Irish was especially appreciated. I think I finally understand the "troubles." Susie was also exceptionally knowledgeable, personable and helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was especially moved with the visit to the Rock of Caschel. It was certainly a "thin place.""

Catherine

Federal Way, WA

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic trip. Guide and Driver made the trip a grand one for me, my daughter and 24 others. Within the 14 day tour our group had become close traveling buddies-I say this because the tour members immediately began chattering without being prompted at the 1st meet/greet. Lodgings and breakfasts were alll good. I enjoyed our guide's historical discussions and his insight into the Irish people's thoughts and lives. I felt safe with Pascal's driving.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"2 favorites: watching dogs herd sheep at a sheep farm; learning falconry where each tour member took a turn with hawk Inca standing on our gloved arm before sending her flying through the air to land and return to another's gloved arm. Don't imagine these experiences happen on other tours."

Marie

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic! The hotels and/or B&Bs were of very high quality, the meals we ate together were thoughtfully selected, and our guide was beyond superb! The itinerary was varied and well executed and the pace, while busy, not over-whelming. And the country is wonderful! People were friendly and helpful and it was very clean.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many were 'WOW' moments, but the first was the Dingle peninsula. It was there where I first truly understood that Ireland truly is "40 Shades of Green"."

John

Blacklick, OH

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour and based on my experience I would do it again. Small group, plenty of sites to visit and just enough free time made this memorable. Ireland and its people are wonderful. We had a good group to travel with as we all got along and everyone seemed to be very considerate of time and travel needs. No complaining/whining was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not sure I can pick out one wow moment. They were all wow as each one surpassed in a different way the previous one. I enjoyed the country side much better than Dublin though we spent several days before the tour in Dublin."

John

River Falls, WI

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well run- very good tour guide - accomdations where excellent to good - restaurant recommendations for group meals where very good. ideas for day trips and places to see as a group and on your own where very good. Good pace of travel - stayed in most places more then one day so we got to see the area well. Free time was well planned out - didn't get to much of anyone person on the trip - everyone moved around and made acquaintances well, no one took over the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery of Ireland and the people of the country where the wow moments of the trip. People made you feel accepted and welcome."

Bob

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the educational experience particularly. You think you know everything but find out you really are ignorant. We try to avoid pointing to one thing and then the overall experience pops out. The countryside, the people, the long history, small villages and each ones unique character. Our guide made it come together. The anarchist flavor in the murals in Belfast left me concerned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The human and geological history lessons"

Janet

Hobart, IN

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Ireland in 14 Days was the best 2 weeks in our recent history. From start to finish, we were thrilled, and wanted to bring the whole group home with us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Do not publish this part since it would spoil the surprise for those on wonderful trip, but since my husband and I announced that we were celebrating our 60th year together (although the date is not until December 4th), I was allowed to carry the wonderful falcon, Inca out to the launching or hunting at the Ashford Palace Falconry. That was awesome for both of us, and at the end my husband and I were given an extra treat of sending Inca off with joined gloved hands!"

Richard

Fairfax, VA

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was the perfect combination of structured activities and free time for me. The people on the tour were uniformly nice and friendly, but the nicest and friendliest of all had to be the guide and driver, Pascal. Both went above and beyond the call of duty in their jobs, so I cannot say enough good things about them. At the end of the tour, I felt that they were no longer your employees, but my friends, and I knew I'd miss them both a lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a tough one! The Cliffs of Moher and the Giant'ss Causeway were spectacularly beautiful and probably my favorite places. But I was most wowed by our visit to Ashford Castle's School of Falconry, where everyone was able to "land and launch" Inca the Harris hawk."

Keith

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was everything I thought it would be and wanted it to be. The weather was great. We only had one day of rain and I enjoyed it. It gave us a glimpse of what Ireland weather can be like. I really enjoyed the education that I received in the history of Ireland and the music was fantastic. Also the scenery was breathtaking. The group was great and ours was the best as a tour guide. What more could one want.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but one would be the dancing at the Dingle Music Shop. Hard to believe a person can move their feet that fast."

Jo

Hugo, MN

Tour: 09/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fabulous experience led by a great guide and shared by a wonderful group of people. We got a great sense of Ireland, historically and culturally. Every time you turned around, there was another beautiful view or landscape.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"School of Falconry at Ashford Castle"

Diana

Austin, TX

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good itinerary for a "backdoor" type experience. A lot of variety in our tour considering we traveled over 1000 miles in two weeks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The isolated experience of the people on the Aran Islands. So much sunshine and good weather throughout the tour."

Helen

Austin, TX

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experience. Our group bonded almost immediately. Our guide was very knowledgeable and fun. I enjoyed each day. Loved the walking and physical side of this tour. Really hands on, or in this case, legs on. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday had WOW moment or moments."

Susan

Camano Island, WA

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can honestly say that I had a brilliant time in Ireland! Part of this was due to the activities my traveling companion and I chose to do in Dublin before the tour began, but most of it was the diversity of the cities we visited and the many sites the tour provided. The bus was comfortable and the driver very adept in his driving skills and most pleasant socially.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The opportunities to hike offered me many wow moments! The many cliffs we hiked to were exhilerating! I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to hike on our own at Compass Hill above the town of Kinsale, the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant's Causeway, Powerscourt, on the Aran island and the Carrick-a-Rede area. However, I would have preferred more time to hike the Giant's Causeway especially."

Lucia

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Ireland trip was our first tour with Rick and we found that every part of our tip met or exceeded our expectations. Traveling companions were all way fun, no grumps and lots of laughs were had as we went down the road. This group was alive and ready to experience Ireland. Our guide and bus driver are excellent professionals, providing security, safety, confidence and cooperation time and again. The placement of dinners on Steve was excellent as was the selection of restaurants.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1, The surprise session with the Falconer and falcon. Participating, learning, engaging with the falcon, terrific grounds at the castle/hotel. All in all, great. 2. The concerts and gatherings to enjoy trad music was a true highlight. Especially at Tommie O'Sullivan's in Cork and at the church the next evening. 3 The tour in Derry given by Martin, the first class tour leader 4. The time spent with Mary on the Burren, discussing the grave site, the vegitation etc 5. The Stone Circle."

Keith

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was by far exceeded my expectations in content, accommodations and food. This was not my first trip to Ireland. our guide communicated to all of us with respect, clarity, dignity and knowledge, all with a bit of humor. The guides at the "local" stops were very informative and personal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two "wow" moments: Visiting the Ireland School of Falconry....and ....The lecture/talk given to us in Derry. Now that I think more about the trip, the last night dinner in Dublin was another "wow" for me."

Richard

Richland, WA

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I felt that we came away a whole lot more informed about Irish history and got to see most of the sights that we had hoped to see. It is hard to compare this with three prior Rick Steves' experiences considering the different countries, different guides, different group make-ups, and our own changing selves (as in aging). Hotels and provided meals were all very good, as were the local tour guides. I was also impressed with the Irish people who were friendly and helpful at all times, pretty mu

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many of the famous sights along the northern coast were quite impressive, but the "wow" moment for me was having a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream on my oatmeal in the morning - what a neat discovery that must be repeated often in the future! Another "wow" was a bunch of old guys sitting around a table in a pub and just jamming" with their Irish music - from their souls. Neat!"

Douglass

Sachse, TX

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves' tour experience and I don't think that my wife and I could have made a better choice in touring Ireland. Our tour group was made up primarily of experienced tour participants with a smattering of first time tourers. The group soon became a fairly close knitted group and using a 'buddy system' that paired up individuals who would look out for each other through out the day's events brought people even closer. I do not recall any incident that broke that bond.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say that two added events produced the most 'wow factor. The first was the visit to the extraordinary Powercourt Gardens even though as a photographer I would have liked to have had more time there. The second was a side trip to Ashford Castle grounds and Ireland's School of Falconry. I do believe that everyone enjoyed the opportunity to handle a falcon and many had opportunity to repeat that process several times. I would highly recommend these two events."

Penny

Spring, TX

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Two weeks in Ireland was absolutely wonderful - our guide is knowledgeable, pleasant, organized, helpful - all with a sense of humor. The weather was unusually nice - only a couple of sprinkles the entire time, the food way beyond our expectations,hotels comfortable and centrally located, local guides knowledgeable and easy to learn from, bus comfortable, other travelers delightful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not sure I can pick out one "wow," - Dingle Peninsula and the time spent at the Blaskett Island Center was very intriguing! So many authors from that small environment! I purchased a book from one of the residents and look forward to a first hand account."

Paul

Spring, TX

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was well organized; local guides gave an in-depth account of the particular subject. Choices of lodging and dining were excellent. Our guide was a delightful, resourceful and knowledgeable guide. She is a value to your organization.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visits to Derry and Belfast. As usual the press we receive in the states about Northern Ireland concentrate only on the bad. We were delightfully surprised at the enterprise obvious in both cities."

Joan

Richland, WA

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is a delightful tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable and it was obvious she dearly loves Ireland. The people in our tour group were all outgoing and friendly and we mixed together easily. Thoroughly enjoyed all the small towns, the geography of the coast line, and the green fields. Our needs were carefully attended to, the restaurants our guide chose for our group meals were first rate and the food was delicious. I would definitely recommend this tour to friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We went walking one evening in Kinsale; heard some "trad" music that sounded good so stepped into a crowded pub. The atmosphere was congenial and a group of older men were ensconced in a corner booth with their instruments. What wonderful celtic music we listened to for the next hour or so as we sipped our beer. That was the best little pub, that had music playing, that we were in on the trip."

Tori

Austin, TX

Tour: 08/30/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Loved meeting our fellow travelers; great group, nice and informative guide and bus driver. Very good to get up and go every day. Amazing history and resilient people of this ancient land of Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Dublin, hotel location primo! Next best were Kinsale and Dingle. Wish we could have lingered longer. The Rock of Cashel & Cliffs of Moher were very special. Great trad music both in pubs and at a more private concert in a church nearby. Excellent performances by fine local musicians. Gorgeous Powerscourt and Ashford Castles. Falconry a big hit. Portrush and The Giant's Causeway was the best with the geologic formations of basalt. Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge a good confidence builder."

Susan

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steve's Best of Ireland tour was perfectly designed for our first visit to Ireland. The itinerary included all of the key sights on our must do list. Having free time and longer than one night stays in towns led to personal discoveries we will always remember. Ireland is beautiful and we were extremely fortunate to have seen it all with the nicest group of people from across the United States and Canada.

Susan

Burleson, TX

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful. I enjoyed it all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to say! it was all great."

Richard

Shoreview, MN

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent group of people in our tour group. We did have some younger people, while most were retirement age. Our tour guide, Declan was outstanding. The tour days were full, but enjoyable and we had sufficient time on our own, to further explore areas where we stayed. We got a good history lesson on the people of Ireland. We really enjoyed interacting with local people, as they were very friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the scenery of the countryside was spectacular, but the cliffs of Mohr were my highlight."

Jeanne

Maple Valley, WA

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a terrific trip. Loved it all. I have recommended your tours to everyone!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't pick one. Either it was Declan singing on the bus or a new wonderful geological wonder ( giant's causeway, the burren. the cliffs, the rock walls) the was something new and wonderful every day."

Marie

Warwick, NY

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall tour experience was excellent...more than we ever expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite WOW moment was two. When our guide, asked us our connections with Ireland, if any, and I said my grandparents were born in Ireland and he responded "Welcome Home". WOW! The same thing happened with a local during one of our free times. It has been my dream to go to Ireland to honor my mom and grandparents and at age 72 was finally able to realize that dream. Thank you."

Patricia

Arlington, TX

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip. I had toured Ireland twice before on my own using Rick Steves' book and that has its own rewards but enjoyed new sights on this tour. Hearing the myths and history of the country made everything we saw (and heard) so much more meaningful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maybe not a "wow" moment but really enjoyed the little town of Kinsale which was so much fun. Delicious food, lots of history, great guides, magnificent scenery. Of course the views from the Slea Head Drive and the Antrim Coast."

Kevin

Orleans, ON

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful opportunity to see and experience Ireland. I really felt that the journey was organized as a trip through this country's history with Dublin setting the stage describing the Middle Ages and Viking contributions then moving along to Kinsale to see how the events there set the stage for all that has followed. The final act was the visit to the North to see and learn of the recent events concluding with hope and promise of the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Driving through the West coast areas before and after the sheep farm visit. It was spectacular and scenic."

Donna

Orleans, ON

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The style of the tour was exactly what we were looking for, with the combination of group interaction and free time, and especially the many opportunities for active touring such as hikes and city walking tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to choose one! The breathtaking scenery on the Dingle Peninsula brought tears to my eyes. I loved learning about the history of the areas we visited, from ancient to 20th century events."

Bill

Boise, ID

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip. Not having to drive was a blessing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cliffs of Moher and all the quaint seaside villages. The village of cong was fascinating."

Bob

Loveland, CO

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a very rewarding experience. Most contributed by the organization and execution of the Rick Steves service and guides. The other most contributing was the people that comprised the tour group, by design or accident the group was very congenial and compatible. The personalities were exceptionally well linked.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not a moment but a day..........in northern Ireland . Giants Causeway, the castle. and the other stuff organized for that day."

Randy

Ft Wayne, IN

Tour: 08/25/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide was excellent. He made the trip exciting with his knowledge and songs. The local tours guides were excellent as well. They gave context to the sights and helped us to understanding the history and signficance of what happened.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle with its musicians. We attended 2 unplanned music concerts and got to hear Irish musicians and an Irish dancer. This was great to experience the arts anc culture of the island."

Krissy

Edmonton, AB

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Great trip. I did find a group of 28 a bit too large - difficult to get to know everybody.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Giants' Causeway Kinsale - Kitty O She's musical evening was great, likewise the 2 musical nights in Dingle Dublin was great Northern Ireland exceeded expectations. Aran islands was a great day."

Jane

Selbyville, DE

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A memorable trip and Ireland is at top of my list of places/countries I have visited. This was my first Rick Steve's tour and it was far greater than my expectations. The lodging, transportation, food, sights, tour group members and Stephen were all superb. A beautiful country with friendly, fun loving passionate people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire trip was "wow" moments! But just the varied colors of green were breathtaking. I now know why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle."

Karen

Cedar Falls, IA

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour of sights, experiences, learning, and fun. Our tour guide, Stephen, was exceptional. Not only was he highly knowledgeable, he was a great communicator (story teller) and a funny, funny guy. He had us rolling in laughter on the bus. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and highly recommend to anyone who wants to experience the essence of Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our surprise visit to Ashford Castle for Irish coffee in their exquisite bar, followed by the falconry exhibit and opportunity to participate. On top of that, there happened to be a period movie or TV show being filmed on the grounds, which was fun to see."

Judy

Georgetown, TX

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 14 days in Ireland with your tour was fabulous. From the itinerary, to the accommodations, to the great group of travelers and especially our outstanding guide, Stephen, I've never had a better experience. I'm terribly afraid this tour may have spoiled me for all future travel.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a special treat, Stephen took us to Ashford Castle for a mid-morning Irish coffee in the Prince Edward room - and a lesson in falconry. How unexpected and special!"

Gale

Rockford, MI

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Stephen McPhilemy, our tour guide extraordinaire, made the time go by on the bus with his knowledge of history, his Irish Storytelling skills, and his comedy. I'm afraid that all future tour guides will never reach the bar that he has set. Our trip seemed to be equally balanced between history, sights, and events like dog herding, and falconry, which we loved. Stephen took us right to the heart of Derry and Belfast, so we could get a true sense of the places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle Peninsula and Falconry. The beauty of the land, and the closeness we had with a bird of prey. Also the herding dogs, they were great!"

Elaina

Hudsonville, MI

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our experience in Ireland was our very first trip to Europe. Our guide, Stephen McPhilemy, was the absolute BEST in my book and has set the bar high in terms of future tours we take. Our B&Bs were well-appointed, clean, and the hosts most helpful. We received our materials well in advance, which aided us in planning the few extra days we stayed. Dennis, our driver, was very helpful and accommodating. Overall, an outstanding experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The second week Stephen had a surprise for us: we went to Ashford Castle and had an Irish coffee in the bar. AND, due to a cancellation, we were able to go to their School of Falconry to take one of the Harris hawks for a walk and feed him...AWESOME!!"

Lee

Hudsonville, MI

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was great...thank you!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ashford Castle"

Constance

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful trip because it had a perfect combination of all the important sites all over the country, informative, interesting and entertaining narrative from our guide, and surprises that were not on the itinerary. We have taken many guided tours with different companies and this is among the best we have ever taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moments are too many to pick one. They would have to include all the experiences along the way with locals in pubs where we heard amazing music, a music store in Dingle where we saw the Irish National dance champion and heard wonderful local musicians, and a "surprise" trip to the Falconery School at Ashford Castle in Cong."

Nancy

Wenatchee, WA

Tour: 08/18/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful, but tiring to get all those sights in that two week nutshell. Wish it could have been longer with more free days. Guess I should have stayed on to do a little exploring on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ashford Castle: who could resist Irish coffees, falconry lessons, and watching the actors, in period dress, on the grounds, for a film on Mary Queen of Scots? More than a wow moment....a wow day!"

Tracey

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 08/11/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For me the trip was special because Rozanne knows people in most of our stops so we weren't just tourists but friends of a friend! I felt we received special attention/ care in most of our stops because of her relationships with our hosts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cycling Innishmore island! Number 2 - The night at Tommy O'Sullivans Bar. Great music and food! Great Local experience."

Cynthia

Ft Worth, TX

Tour: 08/11/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This being our first Rick Steves tour, we weren't sure what to expect. We've taken many cruises and like the fact that you unpack once, while you're out exploring, the ship is "home base". I wasn't sure if I would enjoy moving from hotel to hotel via bus several times in 2 weeks, but I've changed my mind. What a wonderful way to see a beautiful country and learn so much of its rich history. So glad it included NI. My overall tour experience was so amazing, I'm already planning our next RS tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several favorite "wow" moments, so I'll try to rate them. #1 - Cliffs at Dun Aonghasa World Heritage Site on Inismor, Aran Islands, #2, Cliffs of Moher, #3 Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site, #4 Derry & the Derry City Tour by Martin Mc Cossan about Bloody Sunday, #5 The School of Falconary at Ashford Castle, #6 Dingle & the Dingle Peninsula"

Sue

Quesnel, BC

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have always dreamed of visiting Ireland and whatever I imagined Ireland to be was made 100 times more wonderful having taken this tour. I wholeheartedly embrace Rick's travel philosophy; lots of walking and exploring to met local people. I loved the variety of our tours' experiences; historical, cultural, physical, culinary, music, song and dance! The travel pace was great, with cherished free days! Our tour group was wonderful- like minded, friendly people who I will keep in touch with!

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Everything"-sounds to good to be true-but unless I was to group my wow moments into categories the list would still be so long. Meeting locals and taking their photos and hearing and recording their stories was a highlight and something I'm eager to put together. Walking to and from the Dingle races on a rainy free day was one "wow" moment for me. Not to bet on the races but to get close to the horses, jockeys and the excited crowds. I loved the variety of all the activities."

Neva

Auburn, WA

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I hoped it would be and more. This was my 8th Rick Steves tour and I keep coming back because each one is unique and I come away knowing so much more about each country and it's people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything in Dingle! The beautiful countryside, Slea Head drive, great traditional music, the great B&B with delicious breakfasts, the wonderful dinner at Out of The Blue, hiking to the lighthouse, seeing the Harry Clark windows at the Diseart Chapel and seeing the 18 yr. old Irish grand champion dancer perform at Siopa Ceoil. Also I was facinated with the Burren with all the different flowers, plants, and rock formations. I wished we had more time to explore it."

David

Lebanon, IN

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a great tour. Our guide was a wonderful guide with lots of humor. Our tour group was also great and a lot of fun to travel with.

William

Attleboro, MA

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Ireland tour was fantastic! The tour itinerary was well planned and every detailed meticulously worked out. We were not rushed as adequate time was allotted for each stop on our tour. The tour guide was outstanding and one of the reasons the we had such a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "wow" moment from the tour was the visit to the Ashford Castle and the School of Falconry. We started with an Irish coffee in the hotel and then had a presentation by the staff at the school of falconry. The highlight of the visit was flying a hawk and having her land on my arm. Our tour guide arranged this visit as an extra that was not listed as part of the normal tour. It certainly was one of the highlights of the trip that neither my wife or I won't soon forget."

Charles

Lebanon, IN

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed the entire tour around the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. With an entertaining and knowledgeable guide and a very competent bus driver, the trip was a breeze. Whoever ordered up the weather was our hero as we only had rain part of one day and a heavy mist on parts of two days. I expected to see rocks, rock walls, rock everything and multiple hues of green but I was just overwhelmed by them. The welcoming character of the Irish was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can you only have one? Dunluce Castle, the Rock of Cashel, and the serendipitous opportunity to attend a class at the Ireland School of Falconry were right at the top of the list."

Kanene

Lebanon, IN

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland was beautiful. Our guide was fantastic and the tour was full of amazing history, great unique experiences, delicious food and amazing scenery. Our fellow travelers were interesting, polite, well traveled and great fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I saw the stone fences with sheep grazing on the pastures and an ancient castle on the hill beyond. Doing falconry was a close second."

Michael

Thorntown, IN

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day on the tour was something new and exciting. Our guide did an excellent job of keeping us informed and entertained while on the buss. He made recommendations about what and where to go for entertainment and food when we were free. Each town was different and exciting. Music styles varied at each town and pub. This was one the highlights for me. Each person on the tour was special and fun to get to know. We all liked different things and I learned to enjoy these differences as I got

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Kinsale listening to Big Lehum make music!"

Elizabeth

Oxford, MI

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was visiting Ashford Castle in Cong where we were treated to a hawking lesson and each got to fly Inca, the hawk, two times!"

Sandra

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations! My tour guide was absolutely wonderful. He was very enthusiastic, knowledgeable of the areas, the culture, the language, the customs, and was a great story teller and singer. He loves Ireland and loves being a tour guide; these qualities are so evident. With his guidance all tour members quickly blended together into a nice, harmonious group and looked after each other. Our bus driver, Dennis, was wonderful, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed all aspects of the tour, but one of my highlights was the visit to Ireland's School of Falconry and a hands-on turn (actually 2 turns) having a hawk land on my glove and then sending him on his way again. I was also wowed by the Giant's Causeway and also the rope bridge which I crossed. Due to my fear of heights, this was quite an accomplishment for me. Our guide explained so much of Ireland's history, including the religious and political situations that I wasn't very aware of."

Kathy

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience..... Just the right amount of scheduled and free time.... Felt we saw a lot and did justice to the places we visited. Got a real taste of Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The school of falconry at Ashford Castle.... he had trained hawks land on our gloved hand and take off again.... very cool......."

Melissa

Attleboro, MA

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide "made" the trip. His vast knowledge, story telling and enthusiasm were superb. Our bus driver, Dennis was also fantastic. He was an excellent driver. The trip itself was a perfect "taste" of Ireland. We enjoyed the varied choice of cities and towns that we visited. We loved the varied Irish music that Stephen exposed us to.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The experience at Ashford Castle with the falcons and the demonstration of sheep dogs herding the sheep were tour highlights. The Giant's Causeway was also fabulous! The Dingle hotel, Castlewood was the best! The breakfasts there were fantastic!!"

Edward

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary - excellent. The right mix of old structures, scenic vistas, natural wonders, quaint towns, history, music, food and culture. The guide - awesome. Half the value of the trip is being with Stephen. His knowledge, ability to communicate it, his approach to travelling, how he handles the group and adjusts to conditions is the best money can buy. We really got close to Ireland due to his efforts. Singing on the bus and telling stories - priceless!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A "wow" moment beyond all other "wow" moments: The falconry session at Dunluce Castle. Steve was able to use his connections and his budget flexibility to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity to get both Irish Coffee and a falconry session at Dunluce Castle. That session was a fantastic experience, beyond any expectation, and a very special treat. It's very likely you'll hear that same thing from others on this trip."

Denise

Laguna Niguel, CA

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland was great, but it was our guide, Stephen, made the places, the people, the history, and the music come alive! Plus, I can't remember having laughed so much in a long, long time. I have a history of being an inveterate solo traveler, but can't image having had the same intensely interesting experience if I had just done it on my own. Stephen was great in so many ways, and my trip to Ireland is one I'll never forget. Many thanks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our 'Surprise Visit" to Ashford Castle, and the Falconry School. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd have the opportunity to 'fly' a hawk, not once, but twice!"

Karen

Okemos, MI

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Flying the hawks!"

Ronald

Norwood, NY

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Magical! Well designed and excellently led. Tour guide -- and coach driver -- could not have been better. Beautiful countrysides, hills, mountains, seacoasts, lakes, wildlife, sea life, flowers -- and people! "Real" "Irish" music, in situ. "Living history"; after The Troubles (1960s-'90s), an example of hope for solving other world difficulties (e.g., Palestine--Israel). Outstanding lodgings. Delicious meals. Companionable and interesting travel colleagues.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sorry: only one? A. In Dingle, the evening of music by Eoin Duignan (piper and whistle player) and others in St. James' Church. B. Dunluce Castle ruins. C. The dogs working at Kissane Sheep Farm. D. In-role interpreters, at Muckross Traditional Farms, Killarney National Park. E. Irish Coffee, leisurely, in sumptuous Ashford Castle -- and the raptor experience. F. Derry -- all. F. Lagan Legacy museum, on the M.V. Confiance, docked on the Lagan R., in Dublin. G. Great Blasket Centre."

Katherine

Round Rock, TX

Tour: 08/04/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Over the course of the tour we transformed from being a collection of strangers to the clan McSteve, for our leader Stephen McPhilemy. Steve insured we all knew each others names early in our adventure and how to use our free time wisely. Those two facts were key.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry. That was the experience of a lifetime. I realize that we were oh so fortunate to have this opportunity and it was just so hot damnable cool!"

Patricia

Otis, OR

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland was the star experience, of course, but our guide was so informative, and an excellent story teller and singer. He arranged some wonderful, intimate concerts featuring local musicians and dancers, and all of the arranged meals were delicious. On a couple of occasions during our free time he suggested locations or activities that would be of particular interest to me. Our fellow travelers were an enjoyable bunch--good humored, always on time, welcoming to those of us traveling singly.

Marshall

Springfield, NJ

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour. Our tour guide and driver Dominic were great. The accomodations were all good and well positioned to city centers. The sites chosen on the tour were excellent. Generally one of the best tours we've taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really enjoyed Dingle. The visit to the Blasket Island Museum was much better than anticipation. Having a botanist to help explain the Burren was really great. The Giants cause way visit was exhilarating."

Margo

Frederick, MD

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We travel lots of places in & out of the US without a guided tour but when we need more information than we would get on our own we would always choose a Rick Steve's tour if available because of the quality of the guides & the small groups. This tour was no exception.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After hearing the rousing story of Irish independence, I felt sure that eventually Northern Ireland would join the Republic. Then at breakfast one morning when we were discussing that topic the bus driver said something like, "They wouldn't want to join now because we're controlled by the Germans." Wow! how much more complicated & diverse it is-just like the US. Nothing is simple. Good to be reminded."

Charlotte

Frankfort, IN

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. There was the right balance of free time and time with the group. The food was excellent and the places we stayed overnight were very nice. What a surprise to have such a big bus for only 23 people! It made the trip more relaxing. All of the tour members were considerate and easy to get along with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked the sheep farm and the Giant's Causeway."

John

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Ireland 14 Days Tour was well worth the investment and I heartily recommended it already to a number of my friends. The itinerary focus on gaining a real feel for the people and culture was extremely successful. I had no idea a tour could be so in depth and enjoyable in only 14 days of travel. I appreciated the suggestions to travel light and will try to encourage my family to do the same in their future travels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Irish music nights in Dingle were amazing and the level of talent provided my "wow" moment. Gerry O'Beirne's guitar in the St. James Church and Billy Crosby's keyboard at the ? restaurant left me totally awestruck. Crosby's band had two singers that should be on the T.V. show "The Voice"."

Anne

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the tour and learned more than I ever could have imagined about Ireland. Declan gave us all of the info we needed to enjoy our tour. We had a congenial group and there was just enough "group time" and "on our own" time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It had been raining something fierce and Declan pointed out that the water was rushing down the mountainside at an unusually rapid rate. We made a brief stop at Torc Falls and it was wilder than Niagara Falls!!!"

Jodi

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide's vast knowledge and teaching background complemented the tour greatly and his storytelling was enlightening and engaging. The assistant guide was always so delightful to work with as well... happy and helpful and I loved all of the treats we sampled along the way that she passed out to us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Amsterdam, at the Rijks Museum, the guide there didn't really hold up her end of the bargain (she spoke too quietly and her descriptions of the art wasn't very interesting). When she finished, our guide stepped in and got all of us re-engaged and interested in the art, the artists and the history, basically taking us through the museum again. He was so impressive to say the least!"

Anne

Springfield, NJ

Tour: 07/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Over the past 34 years I have traveled to Ireland 7 times prior this trip. This experience was one of the best trips I have made to the land of my grandparents. There were numerous places I had never been to before and so much new information our guide and the other experts who lead specific tours gave us was a true bonus. We experienced the true feel of the Irish people and culture we wanted.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was standing on the edge of the cliffs overseeing the Giants Causeway and looking out at Scotland. The sky was clear, the wind blew steady, and looking down at the hexagon pillars as the sea crashed upon them was magnificent."

Tim

Lithia, FL

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour - got to see all of Ireland's top locations. Starting with Dublin and going around the island. Tour guide (Barry) was one of the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Especially enjoyed the Western and Northern coasts with highlights being the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the Giant's Causeway, and the Rope bridge."

Marcia

Fort Pierce, FL

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Ireland tour was relaxing, informative, and fun. We couldn't have asked for a nicer group to share the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. The falconry, where a falcon followed our group through the forest as he landed and took to flight from each of us, listening to local Irish music in the pub in Kinsale was very entertaining as was watching the sheepdog demonstration. Renting bikes to go on a little excursion on the Dingle Peninsula was fun as well as just riding on the bus and seeing the changing terrain along the way."

Evan

Lithia, FL

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic as we had our tour guide and he did a fantastic job of making sure everyone was enjoying themselves and having a good time at each location. He also did a great job of keeping even some more lackluster, in my opinion, sites more interesting. Our assistant also did a fantastic job in Belfast when she explained the titanic incident that occurred near there and the site it was created and did a amazing tour of the city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Giants's Causeway was the best moment of the tour as the view of the ocean was spectacular and the way the rocks were was very amazing it was fantastic."

Marie

Lithia, FL

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great tour which I would recommend to anyone wishing to visit Europe. The Irish people were friendly and welcoming. There were quite a few tourists in Ireland, which I hadn't expected, but the tour did a good job overall in avoiding large crowds or mobs of tourists.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved Giant's Causeway. The descriptions and pictures couldn't prepare you for this unique location. I only wish we had been able to spend more time there and perhaps enjoy a picnic lunch."

Don

Fort Pierce, FL

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Scenery and friendly people of Ireland were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry demonstration at the castle was wonderful."

Richard

Kansas City, MO

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour went well from the starting meet and greet till the farewell dinner. Even the weather cooperated except for the first few days being in the tail end of an abnormal Irish hotspell. Seeing the country from an elevated seat in a bus is much better than driving a small car always behind a tall hedgerow, even though we did rent a car for four days after the tour was over. The people were friendly and the food was much better than the expected stereotype of boiled potatoes and cabbage.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two actually. The 1st was scenic drive thru Killarney Nat'l Park with its 40 shades of green countryside, rolling hills, woods and pastures. We also stopped at a working sheep farm and got to see the border collies work and sheep sheared. Many of us remarked that this is what we thought Ireland would look like. The 2nd was after we left Cong and we stopped at Ashford Castle Hotel. While on the grounds we did a wonderful walk thru the forest with an actual falcon flying to each person."

William

Valrico, FL

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Incredible guides made our journey through a beautiful and historic countryside a magnificent experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The story of Susie Millar's Great Grandfather had us crying in the Park in Belfast."

Nancy

Stephenville, TX

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour! Enjoyed every minute. Excellent guides, especially Barry, pre-tour information, accommodations, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle peninsula, Murrin cliffs, and Linsale. Also loved the falconry demonstration at Ashford."

Trafford

Stephenville, TX

Tour: 07/21/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was even better than I expected. The country is beautiful and the history is very interesting. I love Ireland. I mixed some with the locals. Everyone was very friendly, great personalities, and great sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dingle Peninsula. Everything about it, especially the scenery!"

Joe

Portland, OR

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was memorable, enjoyable and educational. The individual stops along the tour were very well planned and made complete sense. Our tour guide was knowledgeable, caring and had a wonderful sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite tour moment was listening to music in a pub in Dingle."

Glenn

Roseville, CA

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great! We arrived Dublin two days early, and stayed two days after, so we could explore a little more on our own - so glad we did. Our guides did a fantastic job as Tour Leader and Asst Tour Leader - couldn't ask for better. The hotels were great as usual. Pascal, our coach driver, was amazing - I swear he could park a coach in my hip pocket and I wouldn't even know it was there! The weather was amazing, although the locals were concerned in that it hadn't rained in 3 weeks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say there was a particular "wow" moment - mostly a series of insights and small joys such as a good pub, listening to traditional Irish music in Galway or Dingle, meeting interesting folks along the way, even if for a brief chat while on queue. Probably our most memorable were the Eco Boat Tour we took in Dingle on our own, and Stephen's guided tour of Derry."

Carol

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the second trip to Ireland, I did this tour five years ago with my husband and this time I took my granddaughter. It was amazing just like the first time. We both loved every minute of the tour and the group as always was wonderful. Great music, amazing guides, good food, wonderful accomdations , and this time the weather was actually a little too hot, but much better then rain. Five years ago we had amazing weather, but not as hot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the special extra things that our guide did. His singing songs for us, the one act play we went to in Dublin, the music in Dingle, the sheep farm and the castle in Donagal."

Nicholas

Kensington, MD

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland is fascinating and the 14-day tour captured its history, culture, and struggle for Independence. A memorable part of the trip was exploring Irish music by night while touring the Irish countryside by day. The tour guide and local guides made the trip most enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In our trip to Greece, visiting the Acropolis could easily be cited as the "wow" moment. Ireland is different. I found two "wow" moments. One was enjoying the local music scene in Dingle. Scores of musicians present wonderful music nightly. A few days later we saw the City of Derry and could feel the political and religious differences that have divided the city for years. Experiencing the division that is still so close to the surface can be considered a "wow" moment."

Susan

Kensington, MD

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the overall tour, the variety of sights, scenery, music, free time, hiking. Enjoyed the group camraderie very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having a tour guide who sang to us on the bus! Ireland is kind of a combo wow--scenery, people, history, politics. Declan's ability to synthesize with humor and song put it over the top."

Gracie

Arlington, TX

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ever since first reading (listening to the audiobook) Frank Delaney's outstanding book, Ireland, (2005), the Emerald Isle has been on my wish list, and I've been "preparing" for it ever since. After lots of reading, studying and thought, decided a group tour designed by RS professionals was the way to maximize the enjoyment. *****Our expectations were high! The actual tour exceeded our expectations!***** (Part of this will be repeated in answer to Q #16)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That is not a fair question for this tour! :-) Too many to name only one! Simply soaking up the gorgeous scenery was a huge highlight[INVALID]and one (among MANY!) of those "WOW! Look at that view!" sites: everywhere we looked in the Connemara region... with a special callout for Cong. For a man (my husband) who's watched the John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movie, "The Quiet Man," dozens of time, this was a special treat!"

Shannon

Jacksonville, FL

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned so much about Ireland. Every place we visited was great! The food was great! Just an amazing trip all around! I have not one negative thing to say

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about the troubles in Derry."

Ronald

Sherwood, OR

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had seen several of Rick Steve's DVD's on Ireland and I'll admit I questioned if I wanted to spend 14 days their. However, everyone I had talked to about Ireland said it was a great trip and highly recommend we go. After spending 14 days in Ireland, I'll also admit, it was one of the best trips I've been on. The scenery is beautiful, the small towns have so much character and history, the pubs are lively and fun and the Irish people are extremely friendly and make you feel very welcome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Okay, my wow moment was the sheep farm. I couldn't believe how well trained the dogs were. I was also impressed with pubs, each village had countless pubs and all of them had some form of music, and yes I like Guinness. Then I really was impressed with the cliffs of Moher and could have spent hours exploring the area."

Craig

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. The guide did a great job with a solid group of travelers. It was the right pace for a two week adventure. The highlights were the Cliffs of Maher, and our visits to Kinsale, Dingle, the sheep farm, the Famine monument, Westport, and Donegal. The lowlight was our stop in Galway: lodging was subpar and the music, from supposedly the music center of Ireland, was less than enthralling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning that Belfast and Derry are beautiful places and not the war torn places the media in America makes them out to be. We had a chance to visit the Titanic area (briefly), Queens University, the botanical gardens, and the wonderful market in Belfast and the city walls and city of Derry...places that I didn't know existed. I thought Belfast was just Falls and Shankill Roads and the marches and the bombs. Our guides made them places where real human beings live."

Judy

Normandy Park, WA

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again(#6) a wonderful trip. Great guides, driver, food , everything. Just wish the trips were longer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Boat trip around Blasket Island"

Dennis

Normandy Park, WA

Tour: 07/14/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 6th Rick Steves tour and once again it was right up there with all the others. Another great group of people and an excellent tour leader.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dingle peninsula was maybe the favorite part of the tour."

Susan

Boulder, CO

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought this was an excellent trip for many reasons. Our guide was exceptional. The places we visited were all wonderful spots. The only problem was I could have spent more time at every one of them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several but I guess I'd have to say going "hawking" was the best wow moment."

Marsha

Omaha, NE

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew I would like Ireland the country and it's people. But what I didn't know was that I would LOVE the country and it's people. They are so open and welcoming. I would go back again in a heart beat. Not to mention meeting some very nice people in the tour group. I now have some new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting to go to Ashford Castle and going on a Hawk walk. The experience of having a hawk land on my arm and being that up close and personal with that beautiful bird will be with me for a long time to come."

Frank

Pinehurst, NC

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the entire tour, especially the small towns and scenic stops. Our guide kept everyone entertained with his hilarious Irish stories, but we also got great insight into the sectarian strife that has troubled Ireland for centuries. We were blessed with warm and dry weather for the entire two weeks, necessitating purchase of some short sleeve shirts, since we came prepared for cooler temps. The music concerts and pub shows in Dingle which were recommended were memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The surprise stop at Ashford Castle and the school of falconry were my favorite "wow" moment, but there were plenty of others. The Antrim Coast was fantastic, as was Dun Aenghus on Inishmore."

Erica

Lloydminster, AB

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

14 days in Ireland with no rain! Who can complain about that. Ireland was everything I always imagined it would be. Green, beer, sheep and more green. The scenery just made our bus days so enjoyable. But its the people you meet that make the trip. Everyone is so welcoming. Having Irish ancestry, I loved seeing the whole country and learning about the past and present. I wouldn't hesitate to return and would recommend the tour to everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide - 100% made the trip for us. But seriously, sitting on the grass on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher people watching and soaking up the views was an amazing experience. Fishing in Dingle, watching the sheep dogs in action and doing the hawk walk were definite highlights of the tour. Overall I just really loved the coast lines, pub atmospheres and the Irish people. Such beautiful scenery all throughout Ireland."

Tim

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So well organized and thought out. Very pleasant accommodations and meal choices. Our guide was a very engaging and energetic guide and we had the great privilege to meet his beautiful family and share some personal time with him. Ireland has produced some of the world's best literature and it is easy to see how people could be inspired there. Very hearty people with lots of stories to tell.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The pubs and music on the south and west coasts. Incredible crack- Kinsale, Dingle and Westport. Great to see the music scene being supported there."

Bill

Stilwell, KS

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It was a very good trip. The two weeks of no rain and warm temperatures helped. It was a good overview of the country. Our guide really made the tour a great pleasure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry school. Hunting with the hawk and having it land on my hand was something I would have never experienced without the tour."

Nina

Portland, OR

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One of the best trips to date, with a total of 8 Rick Steves' trips Knowing little about Ireland's history, our guide filled us in on what's been happening over the last 500 ~years. He is a great story teller and fan of Irish music and he shared both with us. We are still waiting for the top 1-2 stories that he didn't tell.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I believe this was a unscheduled event orchestrated by our guide. We were ushered into the Ashford Castle, served Irish coffee(the best), and then trooped through the woods on a hawk walk. Everyone of us got to have the hawk land on our gloved left arm and have the hawk do a stare down with us. The walk back to meet the bus was beautiful."

Thomas

New Oxford, PA

Tour: 07/07/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything I expected and more. The tour guide did a terrific job of running and directing. The fellow tour members were super. We couldn't do everything in 12 days of travelling but we caught most of them. Now it is time to go through the books and analyze/document what we saw and what we missed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single favorite. Kensale: the music provided by Riorden and Walsh. The tour by Don Herlihy. Dingle: the ride around the peninsula. The music at St. James and at the Music Shop. Cong: Ashford Castle, the Falconry School, and 'Quiet Man' locations. Derry: walking the wall and Peace Bridge. Portrush: the Giant's Causeway and dunluce Castle. Dublin; the historical sites."

Jacqueline

Nanaimo, BC

Tour: 06/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What can I say? This was our first RS tour, and it exceeded all of our expectations. We wanted to visit Ireland, the dates were right and off we went. From the moment we met our guide and the tour members, our experience was terrific! Wonderful people, exceptionally well organized tour. It was fun to stay in so many bed and breakfasts and have contact with local people. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the ample free time. I especially liked the 2 and 3 night stops in most places. Great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was when my husband (of Irish ancestry) put on his flat top hat and became an instant Irishman! He felt right at home in a country of red haired, pale skinned people. The hawk experience at Ashford Castle was another "wow" moment. There are too many more to mention them all."

Jeff

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 06/30/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This experience was a combination of fun and education, and a good blend of the two. As per usual with RS tours, we had a good group that was interested in history and culture (and food!). The total number of folks was a bit high for a Rick Steves' tour. Please arrange similar weather for our upcoming tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most memorable "wow" moment was our local guide in Derry (Martin) discussing "The Troubles" and his own experience. The most fun "wow" moment was biking on the Aran Islands in perfect weather, especially when some teenage tourist tried to show off and pass me on the upper road (hah, how do you say "eat my dust" in Gaelic)."

Michael

Rutland, VT

Tour: 06/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 5th tour with Rick Steves. So far I've completed the Best of Eastern Europe, Best of Great Britain, Paris and the Heart of France, Best of Bulgaria, and now the Best of Ireland. The guides and the tours have been fantastic, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every single one. This summer's tour of Ireland however was the best one yet!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment took place in O'Sullivans Courthouse Pub in Dingle the first time I heard Theresa Horgan sing. The pub was filled with a vibrant mix of tourists and locals. The boistrous crowd was joking and laughing and drinking, and taking pictures, and sharing stories, and ordering frothy pints of Guinness. The mood was a bit raucous but friendly and fun. Then Theresa began to sing. Within 10 seconds the crowd went silent. Everyone was just captivated by the sound of her voice."

Kathleen

Arlington Heights, IL

Tour: 06/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a good combination of locations and destinations. The timing was good, the guide was not only an expert with a great sense of humor, he had established relationships with many of the "locals" along the way which provided us with a few extra treats and VIP treatment. The tour left me with a solid feel for the country, history and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After spending two days in Dublin we set out for the Irish countryside. My first glimpse of Ireland's beauty was a the Rock of Cashel. The rolling hills and push green landscape brought tears to my eyes. The scenery only got more magnificent from there."

Bonnie

Arlington, WA

Tour: 06/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed our tour guide as he was always going above and beyond to make the trip very enjoyable. He was extremely knowledgable with history and current events. The tour group was a mixture of many states in the US and they all had many stories to tell about families and travels. The accommadations were great and I loved not having to cook -great food and people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Kinsale as it seemed like a happy place. The colorful buildings Irish music, abundance of history, Irish humor."

Sally

Evanston, IL

Tour: 06/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very pleasant, unusually fabulous weather, felt like I saw a lot and was told a great deal of interesting history, well organized schedule, good food, enough free time, nice places to stay.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Music in the Irish Pubs."

Benjamin

El Cajon, CA

Tour: 05/19/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 9th Rick Steves tour. Each group we have traveled with gets better and better and this was one of the best. Our guide was knowledgeable, personable, and with such a good sense of humor that he could be a stand-up comedian. The local people are super friendly. Our hotels, country inns and B&Bs were all charming, well managed, clean and centrally located. We learned much of Ireland's history from ancient times through the current day(without taking sides in todays "troubles").

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In our free time we visited many of the local music pubs. This by itself was worthy of a separate tour if one could be arranged. Stephen is also a musician and introduced us to several performers."

Clyde

Coupeville, WA

Tour: 05/19/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded my expectations and was good to gain a deeper sense of the deep and complicated history of Ireland's influence on the world's cultures. Our guide was the perfect guide in every sense.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has to be the Giant's Causeway for the geology, and the thousand-year-old Church in the Dingle area. One of the " WOW" moments was the personal lesson and then the experience of actually handling a falcon; a real surprise and the perfect ending of a perfect day!"

Albert

Durham, NC

Tour: 05/17/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Ireland was great from beginning to end. Our driver ,Pascal, was superb. He was a wizard at guiding our coach over narrow roads and through tiny passages. Having had motion sickness all my life I was so thankful for his driving skill.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess my "wow" moment was the Giants Causeway . The scenery there and on the Dingle Peninsula was incredible."

Weather

Ireland / Dublin

Dublin Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Dublin before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Ireland guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try a pint in a cozy pub, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Dublin that we will not be doing as a group: Hop-on/Hop-off bus tour; National Museum; National Gallery; Dublin Castle; Dublin Writers' Museum; Guinness Brewery and Gravity Bar. You may also enjoy visiting the Brú Na Bóinne archaeological site, home to the Newgrange burial tomb (shuttle bus available from Dublin). For complete details, see your Rick Steves Ireland guidebook.

Transportation

Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

Dublin is a major transportation hub, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy. As many flights connect through London, a quick visit is easy to add just before or after your Ireland tour. Both Rick Steves' Great Britain and Rick Steves' London guidebooks have London sightseeing, hotel, and restaurant suggestions.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Ireland: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Packing

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.