• ireland-cliffs-of-moher
    Cliffs of Moher
  • ireland-dingle-town
    Dingle Town
  • ireland-gaelic-music-evening
    Irish Musical Evening
  • ireland-ock-of-cashel
    Rock of Cashel
  • ireland-dublin-walking-tour
    Dublin Walking Tour

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217

Heart of Ireland in 8 Days Tour

from $2,295 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $625

See Tour Dates

Tight on time? The Heart of Ireland in 8 Days — Rick's personal "best of" distillation of our two-week Best of Ireland tour — starts in Ennis (just down the road from Shannon Airport) and ends in Dublin. Each day along the way, in the good hands of your Rick Steves guide and local experts, you'll be amazed at all you'll experience in a mere week of touring the Emerald Isle: must-see historical sites, charming towns, music-filled pubs, artisan visits, and walking tours — including the Rock of Cashel, the Cliffs of Moher, Ennis Friary, Adare Village, Dingle Town, the Dingle Peninsula, the Great Blasket Centre, crystal cutting, and whiskey tasting, plus the Brú na Bóinne archaeology site, Kilmainham Gaol, and more. Join us for the Heart of Ireland in 8 Days!

Dates & Prices

2016

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 19 group sightseeing events • Cliffs of Moher • Ennis orientation walk • Storytelling evening with Ireland's preeminent seanchaί • Ennis Friary • Adare visit • Walking tour of Dingle • Irish music evening • Dingle's Slea Head Drive • Crystal cutting demonstration • Blasket Islands Heritage Centre • Gallarus Oratory • Dingle Distillery tour and whiskey tasting • Dingle harbor cruise • Rock of Cashel • Dublin walking tour • Trinity College • Book of Kells • Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum • Brú na Bóinne archaeology site…and more
  • All group transportation from Ennis to Dublin
  • 7 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels and B&Bs
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • 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 2016
  • 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

At 2 p.m., we'll gather together at our hotel for a brief meeting. Then we'll take a 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. Afterward we'll return to Ennis and get to know one another over a hearty "Welcome to Ireland" dinner together. After dinner will meet one of Ireland's preeminent storytellers, or seanchaί, who will tell us tales of Ireland's magic, myth, and mystery. Sleep in Ennis (1 night). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 2: Ennis to Dingle Town

After breakfast we'll pack up and board our comfy bus, setting course for Ireland's Dingle Peninsula. En route we'll stop to visit the 13th-century Ennis Friary and County Limerick's lovely village of Adare. At the end of our drive we'll arrive in the pastel-painted, quintessentially Irish harbor town of Dingle. Tonight we'll enjoy a gourmet dinner of local specialties at our guesthouse. Sleep in Dingle (3 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 3: The Dingle Peninsula

It's a great day to experience some of Europe's wildest natural beauty and most ancient Christian sites. We'll start our day with a crystal cutting demonstration from a master craftsman, then 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 situated Great Blasket Centre, where we'll get a close-up look at the language, literature, and daily life of a traditional Gaelic Blasket community. Working up a thirst, we'll find relief with a tour and tasting at the Dingle "Founding Fathers" Whiskey Distillery. Following free time to soak in more of Dingle's charms and enjoy dinner on your own, we'll rendezvous for an intimate evening of Gaelic tunes. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 4: All Day in Dingle

This morning we'll have a lively walking tour of Dingle Town, learning about its seafaring heritage, rich history, and perhaps a bit of local gossip. After lunch on your own and time to explore, we will see Dingle from another angle and hopefully meet its famous dolphin, Fungie, as we take a boat cruise around Dingle Bay. Your evening is free, so no doubt you'll return to Dingle town with a pub in mind, ready for as much dancing and singing with new friends as you can handle. No bus. Walking: light.

Day 5: The Rock of Cashel and Dublin

Today we'll bid goodbye to Dingle as our bus transports us across the Emerald Isle to Dublin. On our way we'll stop to tour one of Ireland's most historic and evocative sights: the Rock of Cashel. St. Patrick himself was here more than 1,500 years ago, and ever since, the Rock has been the spiritual heart of Ireland. From the craggy remains of the cathedral and castle to the views stretching out across the Plain of Tipperary, this is where the Irish in you will stir from head to toe. Upon arrival in Dublin we'll stretch our legs with a neighborhood orientation walk, followed by dinner together. Sleep in Dublin (3 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 6: Prehistoric Tombs and onto Dublin

Today we'll drive an hour out of Dublin to one of Europe's premier archaeological sites: the ancient tombs of Brú na Bóinne. Predating Stonehenge by a thousand years and the pyramids at Giza by 500, these massive "passage tombs" of Newgrange and Knowth are windows into a mysterious, pre-Celtic Ireland, just as it was pulling itself up and out of the Stone Age. This afternoon we'll return to Dublin to tour Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum, the final resting place of more than one million Dubliners, including many of Ireland’s national heroes and heroines. The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to explore more of diverse, dynamic Dublin. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: The Historic Heart of Dublin

This morning we'll take a walking tour through Dublin, learning about its often calamitous history, from the days of Viking raids to the hard centuries of British occupation, to its remarkable literary legacy, to the modern city of today. We'll begin at Trinity College for an illuminating look at the remarkable Book of Kells, a jolt of Irish creativity that helped pull Europe out of the Dark Ages. The rest of your day will be free to take in some of Dublin's other world-class sights, such as the National Museum or Dublin Castle. Tonight we'll compare notes and celebrate our marvelous week together over a farewell dinner. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. 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.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Heart of Ireland in 8 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.

Reviews

Robert

Apex, NC

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved the tour, and especially Dingle. Barry was a super Tour Guide and made it fun. Pascol did a great job guiding the bus through tight spaces. The tour was just the right length for us at 7 nights. We felt like we got a good sampling of Ireland, from small towns like Ennis and Dingle to Dublin. The weather, by pure luck, was the best Ireland had seen in 2 years! Couldn't beat it !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me as a guitar hobbyist, it was the Concert at St James church in Dingle. Wow!! Simply outstanding musicians playing their hearts out for us. Also enjoyed the smaller concert at Dingle Music Shop. We did some pub-hopping in Dingle and found some the of same folks playing in the pubs. The music was just great!"

Gayle

Apex, NC

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved Ireland. Clean and friendly country. Barry was outstanding. Best tour guide we've ever had anywhere!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle. Loved it. The music. The shopping. Beautiful countryside. Would like to go back and rent something for a few weeks. Explore some of the little towns."

Kelley

La Jolla, CA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Barry our tour guide was just wonderful! So pleasant and smart. He made us feel like we were his long time friends.

Rebekah

Madison, WI

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the tour. I found it to be a good balance between scheduled activities and free time. I definitely was able to see and experience more than I would have on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the Dingle peninsula. It was just lovely."

Evelyn

Vienna, VA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour gave me a much better understanding of Irish history. What these people have survived! And not survived.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments, it's hard to choose one. Seeing the view from Room 1 in Clonamara B&B in Dingle was one such moment. We walked into the room and found ourselves looking out over a cove to the town of Dingle. Extraordinary! It was also fun at our farewell dinner trying to identify all the ingredients in the dishes. Everything tasted wonderful but was seasoned in ways that were new to us. Fish pie."

Mindy

Foxfield, CO

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Ireland trip was delightful and very informative about the history the country. We were able to really meet so many locals from the fairy story teller, the bar keep who was John B Keenes son in Listowel, the musicians in Dingle town and Stephen at the B&B with his gorgeous Irish Wolf Hound Shamus! It really complimented the historical sights of Ireland and made us fall in love with Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well the Guiness factory was very impressive but the lunch in Billy Keene's bar in Listowel - on the day they won the "tidy town award" - was a memory we will never forget as being something we never could have planned without Barry's guidance! So beyond just the sights!"

Walter

Charleston, SC

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonerdreful friendly engaging guide Barry with I shared rugby conversation;impossibly fortunate with great weather;good travel group who supported each other;exposure to the storytelling gifts of the Irish

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the nonending postcard scenery and small Irish towns"

Candace

Sarasota, FL

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This a return Ireland visit for me as I took a Rick Steve's 14-Day Ireland tour in 2014. I was quite happy when Rick offered this 8- day tour to my favorites of the longer tour--Dublin and Dingle. This tour had a lot packed in the 8 days, but offered scenic drives, historic sites, charming Dingle and big city Dublin. It had the best of everything! And to top over a perfect trip we had NO rain the entire 8 days!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two "wow" moments[INVALID]The Slea Head drive was spectacular and we were fortunate to view it on a clear, sunny day. I also loved the Cliffs of Moher[INVALID]again on a perfect day."

Leonie

Charleston, SC

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great overview in 8 days which really helps those of us who have limited time to travel,experience such a wonderful country.The weather was excellent with no rain and everyone commented on our magic bringing such great weather- even the sheep and cows were happy. We celebrated the winning of the tidy town in Listowel and the world cup rugby successes in the pubs,Our guide,Barry was superb- every travelers dream- he was knowledgeable ,sensitive to the group's needs with a great sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many moments since the Irish experience was full of friendly people,natural beauty and rich history.The experience of driving through the countryside and learning so much about Ireland including story telling ,lunch pub lecture experience with Keane,music in Dingle all were WOW moments."

Jean

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Tour Guide was exceptional! His knowledge and insights greatly added to our enjoyment of Ireland. Barry genuinely cared about his tour members and went above and beyond to make our time in Ireland the best. Barry arranged truly unique experiences for us. One example was lunch in a Pub listening to the owner reminisce. He also arranged a special tea experience for a group of us in Dublin. Any help or information we needed he was ready to help.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in the John B. Keane Pub in Listowel listening to the charming and interesting Mr. Billy Keane. Billy shared his memories of growing up in a pub in Ireland during turbulent times. It was fascinating to hear stories of his father and mother, learn of his father's outspoken and sometimes controversial positions. The food and the beer were pretty great too! I am certain I never would have had this experience on another tour or using a guidebook on my own."

Cathy

Gainesville, FL

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized and ran smoothly.. Barry is an experienced guide who coordinated our tour with ease. Pascal successfully delivered us to each site and he has an excellent future as a tour guide! We had sufficient time to visit each site we along with free time to explore on our own. Our tour members were were wonderful traveling companions and the overall tour experience exceeded all of my hopes and expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two of us visited Great Blasket Island off Dingle Peninsula. Our trek began with a taxi ride to the boat ramp, followed by a short ride in a rubber dinghy; then we climbed into a boat that took us toward the island. The shallow water required us transfer back to the dinghy to reach the steep incline to access the site which is hauntingly beautiful and well worth the round trip.. Six published authors lived on the island before it was finally evacuated in 1953. I will remember this day forever!"

Marlisa

Westminster, CO

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the 8 day format, perfect for those of us with only a small amount of vacation time from work. Please consider more tours like this. It was enough to ensure I want to return to Ireland again! This was an amazing tour experience, I'm so glad I went.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day had at least one wow moment, often more. Cliffs of Moher was stunning, Dingle area is amazing and the local music was incredible. Dublin - wow, what a treat! I will return to explore that city more on my own at some point. This trip was all I hoped and more!"

Brian

Chula Vista, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never taken any kind of a tour previously and didn't know what to expect. The experience my wife and I enjoyed was marvelous. It was educational, sometimes exhausting, but always very fun. Stephen was amazing. Engaging and funny, but also exceptionally knowledgeable. He made us feel like we were the only ones on the tour at times.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day we drove around the Dingle Peninsula started gray and wet but by the end the sun was out and we could see for miles in all directions. Just a little while after we left the Blasket Island there was a landscape of sea and cliffs and mountains and farmhouses that was just amazing. I took as many pictures of that as I could. I currently use two of those photos on my desktop and Facebook page."

Karen

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the Ireland trip -- maybe one day too short.

Janet

Wylie, TX

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my very first Rick Steves tour and it was a wonderful experience. It was a good blend of planned and unplanned time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many people asked me that when I returned and I don't know if I had a favorite "wow" moment. I enjoyed each aspect of the trip in its own way.Was it Stephen singing an old Irish tune on the bus that tugged at the Irish in me, was it the surprise story-teller the first night, the guitarist who came to our hotel to play for our group when one of the planned activities got changed unexpectedly to another night, was it the old church with the celtic crosses, too many to count."

Johnny

Wylie, TX

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

enjoyed it

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle Pennisula"

Coe

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the tour.Stephen was outstanding. The Irish singalongs on the bus were part of my favorite. The tour provided the right amount of time at sites and also a good balance of free time. Stephen's advice and information and stories our wonderful. First night hotel at Old Ground Hotel in Ennis was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle was our favorite. Beautiful site, wonderful b&b, great shops and walking, lots of free time. It was the highlight of the trip."

Pamela

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous tour. Accommodations (two hotels and a B&B) were quite nice, with excellent dinners for each of the ones we had as part of the tour. Breakfasts were amazing, with a wide variety of foods to [INVALID] from. I really appreciated the carefully [INVALID]ed sites we visited and local tour guides at many locations. But main kudos to our overall tour guide, Stephen. He was a gracious, interesting, knowledgeable and good-humored host (and "paws" to his Irish wolfhound, Seamus).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several--how to narrow it to one? The stunningly rugged sites of the west coast of S. Ireland, the Tidy Town of Dingle in all its colorful and historical beauty, the ancient beehives, the ancient Rock of Cashel, or the lovely traditional Irish music concert at St. James Anglican Church in Dingle. They were all stunning "Ahhh" moments."

Timothy

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time on the tour. Our tour guide and Bus driver were outstanding. My time in Dingle was the high point of the tour. I have been to the Republic of Ireland 10 times since 1970 and spent many a wonderful time with family and friends but in those many visits I never went to Dingle and I wish I had gone sooner. Steve and our guest guides did a great job introducing us to the various places we were visiting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our visit to the music shop in Dingle and to Saint James church will stand out as evenings that will stay in my memory always. Our bus driver, Pascal, making the turn on the tour of Dingle will always remain with me. The main is extremely gifted and during the tour was always pleasant and good fun."

Cynthia

Brighton, MA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A great introduction to Ireland, that left me wanting to return! The time on tour flew by, and I kept finding more things I wanted to see and do!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed all the live music events in Dingle, especially at the Court House pub and the concert at the music school."

Lynn

Knoxville, IA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was just the right balance of group experiences and personal time to explore. I only wish we had more time in Ireland!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My time in Dingle was fantastic. I wished I could live there full time. The scenery, the people, the group experiences, the music, and the quaint village just completed the whole package for me."

Todd

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour allowed us to see both the laid-back charm of small-town Ireland and the bustling urban energy of Dublin. The hotels were wonderful and the included activities, including concerts and tours, really gave us a glimpse of the country's rich heritage. Along the way, we had plenty of free time to enjoy whatever activities we wanted, from pub crawling to bike riding. Moreover, the tour group was full of fun and interesting people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in the central chamber of Newgrange, looking up at a ceiling composed of rocks assembled without mortar that had lasted intact for about five thousand years."

Lori

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour and it lived up to the high expectations set by my first tour. Stephen was an amazing guide and Pascale was an awesome driver. This tour was a perfect mix of guided activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick just one "wow" moment. I'd say the whole tour was a never ending series of "wow" moments. From the fantastic concerts and seeing Fungie the dolphin in Dingle, to visiting the Rock of Cashel and the amazing views from there, to seeing the Book of Kells, the whole tour was one giant "wow" moment."

Michele

Escondidio, CA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

#4 was fabulous!!!! My husband is of Irish decent so this tour was especially meaningful to him and it was such a privilege to be by his side while experiencing this breathtaking country of "40 shades of green". Thank you so much for a full itinerary and magical experiences!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Biking and hiking to the Eask Tower while in Ennis. I felt quintessentially in Ireland! The quaint pubs and local music were exceptional as were all the "Rick Steve's" extras!!! Thank you Stephen! Also, walking through the passage in Bru na Boinne."

Marcia

Ashland, OR

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent experience. Loved the green countryside dotted with happy sheep, the friendliest people I've ever encountered, the local tour guides were knowledgeable & conscientious, the glass cutting demo was fascinating, and accommodations perfect, particularly the Milltown House in Dingle. Actually, I would have been happy to spend a couple more weeks in Dingle! Your guide, Stephen, shared several of his interesting Dingle acquaintances with us, which added a very personal touch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stephen - was best tour guide in Ireland and, "therefore, in the world". He was an accomplished story teller (some of which you don't want to know about:-), loaded with fascinating Irish history, talented singer of wonderful Irish ballads, and always approachable & available. He had ample suggestions for restaurants, local music and sightseeing recommendations."

Kevin

Elmhurst, IL

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The whole tour met all my expectations "plus"; the Rick Steves guidebook was right on. Steve more than made up for any other details. The group activities were very well balanced with free time to go off on our own (we only got lost once in Dublin, at night, after a Guinness or two). The local tour guides were all very good with fine senses of humor; the stops we made at local businesses were interesting and hospitable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not sure I have a "wow" moment, but I think that the whole tour was most enjoyable, that in it's self is kind of "wow"."

Edward

Gig Harbor, WA

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

While we only stayed in three different towns, we were on the go a great deal. The countryside experience of Ennis and Dingle gave us a rich cultural and historic experience and having the bus at our disposal served perfectly. As we got to Dublin, there were many things to experience within easy travel from the hotel. We wished we'd opted for the 14 Day tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Certainly, learning about the history and challenges of gaining independence from the British was an eye-opener, but the artistic aspect of Book of Kells was pretty amazing! Feeling the amazing spirit of the Irish people was wow-inspiring, too."

Susan

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the dingle area and town. And the people. Very fun trip.

Sandra

St Anthony, MN

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was so excited to have the option of an eight day tour of Ireland offered this year. Outstanding aspects of our tour included: (1)Our guide Stephen - We were so lucky to have such a knowledgeable and entertaining guide; (2) Dingle - We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our stay in Dingle. Three concerts, the distillery tour, our guided tour around the peninsula, the time on our own to explore. This is a magical place; and (3) A fantastic group of people on our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm not sure I had one "wow" moment, just a sting of enjoyable moments that sent me home more relaxed than I've been in a long time."

Penny

Minnetonka, MN

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time touring Ireland. Having just spent a week in BUSY London on our own, Ireland was a nice change to more of a laid-back, relaxing time. It was also nice to a part of a group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of the countryside, breathtaking views, flowers."

Stephen

Sonoma, CA

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was wonderful. Our guide was excellent, very well versed on the history of Ireland and had a great sense of humor. He was both interesting and entertaining. Best guide we've every had on any tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time in Dingle. Had that old small town Ireland feel and the people were tremendously friendly."

Naomi

Naperville, IL

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

During the tour, we learned interesting facts from the history of Ireland, listened to samples of music in the bars and on the bus (tour guide had a great voice), and took Stephen's suggestion to engage in conversation with the locals in the pubs - everyone was genuinely friendly. The food was outstanding and we feel that the cities chosen - large and small - were representative of Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had no idea Ireland had a place as beautiful as the Dingle peninsula. We very much enjoyed everything about our stay there."

Melissa

Everett, WA

Tour: 08/23/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first ever trip out of the Washington area and it was fabulous! I saw everything I could have ever wanted to see in Ireland in the time I was given. My only regret is that I was unable to take the 14 day tour due to work commitments. I will however be going back (hopefully) in the Spring, a lot of my comfort and confidence in saying this is because of the excellent tour experience I had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was kind of a "wow" moment in my opinion but the two things that really stuck out to me were visiting the Cliffs of Moher and the Dingle Peninsula."

Joy

University Place, WA

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful combination of small town/big city, historical sites/modern settings, bus travel/walking, and group tours/free time. Our guides, Rozanne and Julia, were not only great guides, but friendly companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Ireland is a definite "wow". Driving around the Dingle Peninsula was breathtaking. My personal "wow" moment was being in the village of Adare, the village my grandparents were born and raised in, then left in 1910!"

Judith

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! Ireland is a wonderful country to visit. I have had a lot of opportunity to travel and I would rank Ireland my number one place to visit. In addition to the beauty of the country the Rick Steve's tour and tour guides were great. They made the tour interesting and were responsive to the needs of our group. Also they were kind and added a very personal touch to our tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to identify one "wow" moment because there were many sights that were exceptional..................maybe the Cliffs of Moher."

Kathleen

Bellefonte, PA

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rozanne ensured that we got our money's worth. Each day was jam-packed from morning through the evening. The tour was the perfect combination of exercise, history, culture, and beautiful sites. The cuisine was delicious and a pleasant surprise. The hotels and B&Bs were well selected with quiet, comfortable rooms to ensure a restful night. The tour bus was a surprise also[INVALID]luxurious, comfortable and the Wi-Fi was a real bonus. The driver, Pascal, was a superb driver[INVALID]very safe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dingle Peninsula guided tour was the highlight for me, followed by t he Cliffs of Moher and New Grange."

Bruce

Plano, TX

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland was amazing and should be on everyone's bucket list. The history, music & culture of this country is very different from all others I've visited. The western shores & countryside are breath taking, and if you love sea food it's the place to be. The 8 day tour gives you both history, picturesque scenery, small town life & ends in Dublin with big city excitement. Pub crawls or at least several pub visits for lunch or night life a must.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cliffs of Moher"

Michael

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide! Stay in Dingle was a highlight of trip. Transportation, food, lodging all excellent. Nice balance of information provided.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cliffs of Moher."

Donald

University Place, WA

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a wonderful time on our tour. Rozanne was awesome and a very caring host. The people in our group were so nice and friendly and we shared great moments together. The food couldn't have been better and the tour guides at each city were superb. I will reccommend this trip to all our friends. Our favorite place was Dingle but Dublin had lots to offer as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cliffs of Moher and sights around the Dingle peninsula"

Ellen

Charleston, SC

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and I thought it was incredible!!! Transportation was excellent and B&Bs in Ireland were wonderful. Hotel Trinity in Dublin was not as good. Rooms were very small and cramped and housekeeping services were not that great. One small bar of soap for 3 days, no bath mat for 2 days and no wash clothes. Get a new hotel in Dublin!! The tours were great and our guide Rozanne was awesome!!! I wish we could have spent more time in Adare and Killarney. Precious towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Trip onto and off of Dingle Peninsula and trip to outer most western part of peninsula!!! Also harbor walk in Dingle where there were cows grazing. Also loved concert at St. James church in Dingle."

Cheryl

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was top notch, from our guide Rozanne, the lodging, food and meeting lots of wonderful people. We could have never planned a full itinerary like we experienced on our own. Even though we had a full schedule, there was plenty of time to explore on our own. I would highly recommend a Rick Steve's tour to anyone of any age.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, it's really hard to choose. I loved the Dingle Peninsula and the Slea Head Drive which gave me a real essence of Ireland and it's beauty. The Cliffs of Moher were awe inspiring. The Irish people are the most industrious, hard working and friendly people I have ever met. And they all have that positive outlook on life and the gift of wit and amazing story telling. So I would have to say that my favorite moment was meeting and talking to the people in Ireland."

Ginan

Carrollton, TX

Tour: 08/16/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I enjoyed many aspects of the trip. I felt that the trip was designed to give us a mixture of experiences, and it did. Rozanne was a great tour guide. She was always kind and patient. It was also great to have Julia on the tour and it was very nice to get to know her.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I knew this question was coming, and so thought about it during the trip. Unlike other countries/cities that I've visited that have those one or two sights that are seared in to a traveler's mind, I found Ireland to be a different type of experience. Ireland was about the people and the natural beauty of the land. It wasn't a place that was overwhelming, pushy and demanding of your attention, but rather one gently sat beside you and let you soak it in and temporarily become a part of it."

Shannon

Lowell, MI

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was everything I expected it to be and so much more! Our tour guide, Barry, was wonderful, funny, helpful and so knowledgeable. Our bus driver, Joe, was kind, helpful, and really got to know everyone in our group. The group size was perfect, not too big, not too small. The sights were beautiful and unforgettable. I also learned so much about each sight because of our tour guide, bus driver and local guides. The length of the tour was perfect for my needs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was walking along the Cliffs of Moher. The day was clear with the perfect temperature and a nice wind. The sheer size of the Cliffs and the contrast between the green grass, grey rock and blue water mesmerized me! It was a stunning and memorable way to begin our trip!"

Karen

Lansing, MI

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the whole experience. I thought the group size was perfect. If there were less, it might be difficult to find some with shared interests. If there were more, you wouldn't have a chance to get to know who you were traveling with. The accommodations were varied with some exceeding my expectations and some falling slightly short. I felt the same about the meals that were included and appreciated the effort to offer both traditional fare and gourmet options.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was not a moment but a day, Independence Day. I often dread it at home because it seems it has become a month long string of late nights filled with loud noises and bright lights flying in the air. But, in Ireland, the whole country seemed intent on honoring my culture with flags flying and flowers arranged in beautiful red, white and blue bouquets. There were even restaurants offering pecan pie and Kentucky bourbon. The people there are the friendliest I have ever met."

Ralph

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized with excellent local tour guides, excellent cultural experiences, great food, and sufficient free time for both exploration and rest along the way. Barry was attentive to the needs of the tour members and offered great advice on ways to use your free time. Overall, another great Rick Steves tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, the music in Dingle was a highlight, particular the special concert at the music store. The drive along the Dingle peninsula was great."

Barbara

Findlay, OH

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I understand that the 8 day Ireland tour was a newly added abbreviation of the 2 week tour. It was perfect for us and I'm sure it will be popular with many people. I am a 60 something woman who traveled with my 40 something son and daughter-in-law and my teen and preteen granddaughters. Finding time for a 2 week tour that would fit everyone's schedules was impossible. This tour certainly hit the highlights and was complete in itself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I chose Ireland for this, my only trip to Europe, because I wanted to see the waves splashing against the cliffs and the lush green of the countryside, and I was not disappointed. Over and above that, and it is hard to call this a "wow" experience, but I was touched by the warmth of the people. You sometimes think of tourists being a bother to the local population but everyone was genuinely welcoming and I didn't get the "ugly American" feel at all."

Pamela

Marshall, MI

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

THIS WAS ONE OF THE MOST THRILLING TIMES OF MY LIFE. FROM DAY ONE TO THE LAST DAY, I ENJOYED IT ALL! BARRY WAS AN INCREDIBLE GUIDE AND PERSON, AND THE DRIVING, BY JOE,AMAZING! THE HOTELS WERE EXCEPTIONAL, AND ESPECIALLY LIKED THE OLD GROUND HOTEL. GREAT FOOD AND SERVICE. DINGLE'S B&B'S WERE COMFY AND FRIENDLY, LOVED THEM! THE SITES WE WENT TO WERE JUST WHAT I HAD HOPED TO SEE. THE OLDER THE BETTER! THE ROUTES WE DROVE ON HAD INCREDIBLE LANDSCAPES AND VIEWS. CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT TRIP

Favorite "WOW" moment

"ALL OF THE LANDSCAPE WAS INCREDIBLE, BUT I THINK MY FAVORITE WAS DINGLE! I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT'S CHARM AND BEAUTY. THE PEOPLE OF DINGLE ARE SO FRIENDLY IT MADE ME WANT TO STAY! I AM AN ANTHROPOLOGY BUFF, SO I WAS THRILLED TO GO TO THE KNOWTH MOUNDS. EVEN THOUGH I HAD SOME PHYSICAL ISSUES, I MIGHT HAVE BEEN LAST, BUT DIDN'T MISS ONE IMPORTANT THING! BRINGING MY FAMILY NEXT TIME!!"

Linda

Buchanan, NY

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour and my husband's first. We had a wonderful time and everything was very well organized. The other tour members, the driver and guide were all exceptional traveling partners. We were fortunate enough to have the sun shine during our visit to the Cliffs of Moher and if we could have stayed there longer that would have made the trip outstanding. We managed to pack in a lot of history and local culture in a short time with plenty of free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cliffs of Moher were my "wow" moment, apparently it is rare to have the sun shine during your visit and they truly are a sight to be seen. Simply breath taking!"

Jean

Brandon, FL

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Barry was great and our driver Joe was too! The hotels were very nice and the entertainment was extraordinary. I had a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entertainment. The musicians and dancers blew me away. Fantastic!"

Cameron

Newark, OH

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was seamless. Our time was well occupied, never a dull moment, with a good balance of free time to explore on your own and scheduled trips. The tour was a great balance of sights, sounds and society - something for just about everyone!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I say there was close to one "wow moment" after another, maybe that's why it is called "Best of Ireland". If I have to narrow it down I would list these: 1. The Cliffs of Moher, 2. Knowth Passage Mounds, 3. The Great Blasket Center. If challenged I couldn't justify leaving out a lot of things, but here it is!"

Lindsey

Eldersburg, MD

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour far exceeded any expectation I had. Having been on quite a few tours in Europe before I had thought I knew what I was getting myself into, I was wrong. From our amazing tour guide Barry, to our fantastic tour driver Joe aka Handsome Joe, the travel companions, the experiences planned...it was more than I could have imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The concerts in Dingle, those are experiences you do not normally get on other tours. You see the highlights, the tourists attractions, these were intimate cultural experiences that made you feel like part of the community."

Frances Evelyn

Tualatin, OR

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Memories were certainly made. I enjoyed my tour very much and felt like I will do another one. The overall feeling was amazing and I continue to relive the moments in my heart and mind. I enjoyed our Bed and Breakfast but wish it would have been closer within Dingle. The food was amazing and any concerns anyone had seemed to be delt with very quickly. I especially appreciated our cheerful and kind bus driver Steven. Patrick was always very accomadating and made us feel valued. Great tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle peninsula."

Pam

Orono, MN

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I could not be happier! Every aspect of the tour was more than I could have imagined - Pat did a fantastic job as our guide, and I love that the group was smaller than other tours. I plan on going back to Ireland at some point.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Newgrange tomb was just stunning."

Nancy

South Bend, IN

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot praise this tour highly enough. The sights were amazing, Pat was a terrific guide, Stephen guided our bus through some very narrow spaces, the mix of activities provided something for everyone and my fellow tour members were delightful. As always, the tour was a good mix of structured and free time. I particularly enjoyed the two concerts in Dingle, which provided us with a wonderful dose of traditional Irish music.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This tour had many WOW moments, but my favorite had to be Bru na Boinne. Actually being able to enter the Newgrange passage tomb was incredible and it was humbling to think that ancient people stood in the same place 5,000 years ago."

Ella

Lawrence, KS

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the experience on the tour was great. I had honestly expected just to be riding along with 26 strangers for a week but by the end everyone had made a few new friends. I also definitely feel like the tour covered a lot for being 8 days, rather than the 2 weeks, and I saw almost everything I wanted to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my "wow" moment was visiting the John B. Keane pub. I really am a huge fan of Irish lit and Keane has always been on of my favorites. Getting to meet Billy Keane and hearing his stories of his father and family was just so amazing. And he was so kindhearted and wonderful. Getting to sit in the very same pub as John B. Keane was just so great."

Melody

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Our Ireland tour was taken following our Scotland tour and we were "spoiled" in Scotland. There was a different vibe on the Ireland tour, feeling more like a history classroom. We visited interesting and significant places and were treated to some out-of-the-ordinary experiences. I appreciated the knowledge and practiced information that Pat brought to our tour. I wished there had been follow through on doing the "buddy bio" during our first day, because I think it would have bonded us better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was the significance and amazing tombs of Bru na Boinne. To stand in a place that was that ancient, to realize the magnitude of what was accomplished was phenomenal!"

Constance

Show Low, AZ

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A great tour, but it could have benefitted from a few changes. Begin the tour in Dublin on Sun night as the weekend lines for attractions were noticably longer than during the week. An additional night in Ennis would have been ideal. Otherwise, a very fun time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cliffs of Moher and the beautiful town and music in Dingle."

Peggy

Garden Grove, CA

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I've been on four Rick Steves tour (heart of Italy, Scotland, Heart of France and Heart of Ireland. Ireland was the least favorite of all. The people of course we're wonderful! Always a cheerful crowd. But the Wow moments in Ireland happened before the tour began on our own days.... Boat ride beneath the Cliffs of Moher, Flying the Falcons at Ashford Castle and being invited into the Quiets Man house, and a dinner and show at Knappogue Castle.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cliffs of Moher were wonderful! Plenty of time there to enjoy. Could have done without the distillery in Dingle and the Guiness brewery in Dublin. And I do like to drink. Just thought they weren't worthwhile experiences. Many of the Guiness exhibits weren't working. Jail was interesting, then again not part of the tour. Enjoyed Book of Kells and Trinity College. Rock of Kashel was a nice stop. Loved the day when I walked to the lighthouse. Dublin was an overwhelming city."

Laurel

Red Oak, IA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our whole family had a wonderful time on the Rick Steves tour. It was well planned out, not too much was packed into each day and we were given time to explore on our own. We have traveled Europe on our own for ten years so it was a unique experience to join a tour. It took some of the stress off of the planning and it was fun to be part of the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle was amazing. The concerts were magical. The Blasket Island day was so much fun. We were wow-ed pretty much the whole time."

Christopher

Enid, OK

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first European trip traveling with a tour group. The overall experience was fabulous, it was energetic, informative and yet seemed really stress free. The transportation, coach, hotels, tour guides and local guides were all top notch. I personally like this way of travel, packing light, small group, getting closer to the local people. The tour stayed on schedule, maximized the sites to be seen, provided you with information overload of local history, while throwing in some personal time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My personal "WOW" besides the scenery, the friendly people, the history lessons, the wonderful food and drinks "never a bad meal" was meeting and watching Sean Daly cut crystal at his shop in Dingle. I do not like shopping in general, especially on vacation. So I did not let my wife go in to Dingle Crystal on Green St in Dingle. Well the next day our tour visited Sean's shop in Milltown, we watched Sean and his son cut crystal "by hand", it was amazing. I bought Dingle Chrystal!!!!"

Nicole

Enid, OK

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Heart of Ireland tour was an wonderful experience. I enjoyed every aspect of the vacation. It was wonderful to go from a busy daily routine to a relaxing vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow" moments, well there were several. The history and ruins we encountered as well as the beautiful views from the cliffs of moher to dingle bay to just the average countryside were amazing!"

Dawn

Farmington, UT

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

After taking six previous Rick Steves tours we had come to expect a certain level of excellence. We were excited for the shorter Ireland tour which fits our schedule better. However, the lack of leadership from our guide was a great disappointment. This colored our satisfaction with our tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The high school students that broke into song in the library at Trinity College. Lovely madrigal singing in a spectacular setting."

Bryan

Farmington, UT

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The guide was pleasant enough, she didn't seem to be passionate about the country or the culture. We had to rely on city guides and our own reading to give information. We enjoyed Ireland and the stops we made, but the lack of enthusiasm by our guide did color our overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The pubs in Dingle...the music and the friendliness of the people."

Debra

Flagstaff, AZ

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the pace of this tour and seeing the highlights of Ireland. Rozanne was extremely knowledgable about the history of Ireland. The local guides were also excellent and added to our experience. We loved being in most places for 3 nights and spending a bit more time than the usual RS tours where we were 2 nights on stops. The tour was a good combination of small towns, big city and time on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many wow moments, but some of my favorites were the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, the folk music in Dingle and the fascinating Bru Na Boine. Dingle was definitely our overall favorite stop on the tour. We loved the place and the people!"

Theresa

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour guide (Rozanne) and bus driver (Steven)!! I felt that the tour covered 90% of my wish list of what I wanted to see in Ireland. I think the accommodations were above averge and the food great! Enjoyed the "local tour guides walking and the one that joined us in dingle for the day tour. I felt they added to the local, new and ancient history. Really ENJOYED our tour and have already discussed which tour will be next and when.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Trinity library was a really "wow" moment for me. Amazing, beautiful and a group after us broke into to song while in the library and it was absolutely angelic."

Nancy

Bay Village, OH

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

The reason we signed up for a Rick Steve's Tour is because we were hoping to have a better overall experience then we have had with other tours. By that I mean, we were looking forward to the tour guides insight into the culture,influence of the church, politics, past history, current events, future, etc. All the insights one would expect from a Rick Steve's Tour. That didn't happen. Our tour guide was very nice however there were hours of silence on the bus. That time could have been used.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Dingle Peninsula."

Anne

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This 8-day Ireland experience was both lovely and relaxing! It was exactly what we hoped for. We explored many Irish ruins and historical sites, with knowledgeable, and welcoming local guides. Local guides in Dingle and Dublin were wonderful. All the Irish natives who hosted us, or whom we met in various places were extremely welcoming and helpful. Meals especially tasty! Temps were a little chilly, even for Ireland in late-May, so we encourage a weather phone app! Great group, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My experience was pretty "even" in terms of "wow-factor." Probably the most impressive was the Book of Kells at Trinity College."

Arnie

Edmond, OK

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second tour with you and liked this one even more! Our Tour Guide (Rozanne) was so knowledgeable and so nice at the same time. She really made the tour outstanding. Our local guides were great too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The two music events were awesome!!!!"

Joan

Bar Harbor, ME

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The "Heart of Ireland" 8 day tour was exactly that. Every place we went we were giving history by local guides and community members who were so genuine in how they shared this knowledge. The bus drivers, hotels and restaurants were fabulous and I feel all good choices. There was the right mix of time together as a tour group and time on or own. Our tour guide Pat made extra efforts for us to get to know the people of Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved every moment, but the standout was Bru' na Boinne, the passage tomb of Newgrange."

Katherine

Orono, ME

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour covered all the things I most wanted to see in Ireland - - the wild western coast, the traditional music scene (in Dingle), the Newgrange prehistoric site, and the early stone buildings at Cashel and on the Dingle peninsula. The inclusion of special things like the crystal cutting demo and the visit to John B Keans' pub were also good. It was the perfect introduction to Ireland and I personally find the items included in this itinerary to be better than the 14-day Ireland tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was enjoyable."

Randy

Calgary, AB

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Country, People & Scenery exceeded my expectations. Perfect mix of urban and rural environments. Chose first tour of year as we anticipated crowds may be an issue during the summer period. With the exception of spending a Saturday in Dublin our activities were not impacted. That Saturday was positioned as the announcement date of the national plebiscite and could be considered an exception. Perhaps spending Saturday in Dublin could be avoided?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed having the opportunity to interact with the local people. musicians, storytellers, writers & day guides."

Bernice

Woodway, WA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Thought it was great. Have no complaints.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved all the music choices on the bus. Loved the pub scenes in the Dingle area. Enjoyed the library at trinity."

Beverley

Pittsfield, MA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the trip overall. I saw things that I would otherwise have missed, learned a lot about and feel that I saw a good deal of Ireland, appreciated the special dinners, and was very glad to have a good amount of free time as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Gallarus Oratory. It was stunning. Other highlights: Cliffs of Moher, the town of Dingle, seeing the countryside, concert at St. James Irish Church in Dingle and at the Dingle music shop (Dingle Record Shop?). I was excited to see the Book of Kells but wish that the arrangement for viewing it were better. I know that setup has nothing to do with Rick Steves' tours but thought I'd pass it along."

Craig

Pittsfield, MA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall I had a very good time. The hotels, dinners, guides, and sights were all very good. I got to see and do some things that I would not have seen or done on my own. The weather the first four days was difficult, unseasonably cold (many of the locals were apologizing for it)and seasonably rainy. I expected the group to "gel" better than it did. Everyone was pleasant but not really connected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We arrived two days early and experienced our wow moments at Cragaunowen and Quinn Abbey. The OPW at Quinn Abbey was delightful and gave us a great tour. They should be added to your tours. On the tour, the Slea Loop Drive and Newgrange were pretty special."

Bob

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual, the total experience was great. Pat was truly outstanding - this was the first ever RS 8 day tour of Ireland and he worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth experience for all of us. One of the ladies was having a couple of unrelated problems and he went over and above expectations to help her have a positive outcome and experience. He selflessly spent several of his evenings to give us an insider's taste of Ireland. Great guide, great group, great places to experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Meeting Billy in his pub for lunch and two nights later getting to see a play in Dublin (thanks again Pat) that had been written by Billy's father. This made for a very personal taste of Irish culture."

Weather

Ireland / Dublin

Dublin Weather

Planning Tips

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.

Trip Resources

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

Transportation

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. The town of Ennis, where our tour starts, is an easy half-hour bus ride from Shannon Airport.

Many 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.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Shannon and out of Dublin ("multi-city" on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, bus trip, or additional overnight stay in Ireland. Both Shannon and Dublin are major transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

Note: If you plan to spend a few days in the UK as part of your itinerary, you'll find a better selection of post-tour Dublin-London flights to choose from than pre-tour London-Shannon flights. The Rick Steves Great Britain and the 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 to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing on Your Own

If you arrive in Ennis before your tour begins, use the Rick Steves Ireland guidebook to get oriented. Wander the city center, join a day trip to the nearby Burren, try a pint in a cozy pub, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

If you plan to spend extra time in Dublin before or after the tour, here are suggestions for sightseeing that we will not be doing as a group: Kilmainham Gaol; "hop-on/hop-off" bus tour; National Gallery; Dublin Castle; Dublin Writers' Museum. For details and other possibilities, see the Rick Steves Ireland guidebook.

Packing

Many of this tour's activities are outdoors, and Ireland's weather can be unpredictable. We recommend you pack along a rain jacket and a warm layer for underneath it (light sweater or microfleece liner). Also bring comfortable walking shoes with good traction.

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick's packing tips.