• Ha' Penny Bridge, Dublin, Ireland
    Ha' Penny Bridge in Dublin
  • Pub fiddler, Temple Bar neighborhood, Dublin, Ireland
    Evening of Traditional Irish Music
  • Rock of Cashel, Cashel, Ireland
    Rock of Cashel Ruins
  • Pub in Kinsale, Ireland
    Kinsale Pub
  • Great Blasket Island, Ireland
    Blasket Islands
  • Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
    Cliffs of Moher
  • Biking on Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland
    Aran Islands
  • Portrush
  • St. George's Market, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    St. George's Market in Belfast

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

Best of Ireland in 14 Days Tour

from $3,895 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $725

See Tour Dates

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!

Dates & Prices

2018

2019

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 29 group sightseeing events • Dublin walking tour • Trinity College • Book of Kells • Kilmainham Gaol • Rock of Cashel • Kinsale walking tour • Charles Fort • Sheep farm • Crystal cutting demonstration • Dingle's Slea Head Drive • Great Blasket Centre • Gallarus Oratory • Irish musical evening • Burren nature walk • Cliffs of Moher • Boat ride to Aran Islands • Aran Islands minibus tour • Dun Aengus fort • Connemara drive • Cong • Ashford Castle School of Falconry • Drumcliff • Derry coach and walking tour • Dunluce Castle • Giant's Causeway • Old Bushmills Distillery • Titanic Belfast • Belfast coach and walking tour • Discover Ulster Scots Center…and more
  • All group transportation from Dublin to Belfast
  • 13 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 2018
  • 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 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 of 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 at 5 p.m. After a group meeting, we'll enjoy a "Welcome to Ireland" 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 our tour 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 and learn about its place in Ireland's stirring struggle for independence less than a century ago. Then we'll continue on to the green Plain of Tipperary where 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 hours. 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 hour. 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, group may be split between two B&Bs). Bus: 5 hours. 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 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 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 hours. Walking: moderate.

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). Bus: 5 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Galway and the Aran Islands

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 hours. Bus: 2 hours. 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 hours. 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 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: Antrim Coast and Old Bushmills

Today we'll explore Northern Ireland's spectacular Antrim Coast, marveling 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, we'll visit the romantic, clifftop ruins of Dunluce Castle. Bus: 3 hours. Walking: strenuous.

Day 13: Belfast and the Titanic

This morning we'll drive to Belfast, the vibrant capital of Northern Ireland. We'll begin at the Titanic Belfast visitor experience, located on the very site where the great ship was built. After lunch, we'll join a local guide for a walking tour of historic Belfast. A visit to the Discover Ulster Scots Center will provide a glimpse into the rich heritage of this influential Protestant group, known in the United States as the Scotch-Irish. Then we'll board our coach for a rolling tour that takes us along reminders of the past decades' Troubles, including the striking political murals of Shankill and Falls Road. Our day will end as we kick up our heels at a tasty farewell supper together, where we'll share travel memories and toast new friends. Sláinte! Sleep in Belfast (1 night). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: light.

Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. You can fly out of Belfast or Dublin's handy airports. For those not ready to return home yet, both cities are a great jumping off point to Paris, London, Amsterdam, and many other exciting destinations. 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 Best of Ireland in 14 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) 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 a half-mile uphill at the Giant's Causeway, and navigate cobblestones and difficult terrain at ancient sites.

Reviews

Jackson

Williamsburg, VA

Tour: 04/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Irish are welcoming and engaging. You'd think by now they would have had enough of Americans, but they go way beyond what they need to do to serve the customer. Lots of good Craic! This tour is thoughtfully designed to pack a lot in, and cover a lot of territory, while still giving down time to do whatever. We had a very good group of folks and that added to the pleasure. Stayed in Trim and toured Boyne valley ahead of tour...good RS recommendation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd say the impromptu visit with Father Malcolm at Drumcliffe near Sligo. Cathie arranged it, and we had to rush to stay on schedule, but he was a delightful story teller. His individual blessing for all who wanted it (and everyone in our group did) was sweet. Also went with one other tour member to Matt Moloy's pub in Westport for music. Who shows up but the man himself to sit in and play a session. Like Charlotte Heston arriving and parting the seas in the crowded room."

Jane

Thiensville, WI

Tour: 04/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fantastic tour filled with the history and culture of Ireland. The scenery was breathtaking, and there were many opportunities to connect with locals. Our lovely tour guide, Cathie, made it all come alive through her beautiful singing of traditional songs and the multiple opportunities she provided for us to experience Irish music and dance. I loved the balance between rural, urban, and small-town sites and history and cultural experiences such as the falconry and sheep herding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Wow" moments seemed to come daily due to Cathie's warm guidance! For scenic beauty, I was especially impressed with the Antrim coast including Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede bridge. The town I was most wowed by was Dingle with its friendly charm and music."

Donald

Ashland, OR

Tour: 04/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I've only been on two Rick Steve's tours. They have both been excellent tours with a good blend of culture, history and sites. Our tour guide, Cathie pushed our 14 day Ireland tour over the top. With her knowledge of history and local contacts, she was able to arrange or suggest local places or people of interest. During slack times, Cathie was always busy texting or calling ahead to verify or take advantage of opportunistic arrangements for our group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my most memorable activities was one of those opportunistic moments. Cathie was able to arrange for the priest at Drumcliffe Parish Church to give us a history of St. Colomba. He was an excellent storyteller and enthralled and entertained the whole group. Most people were disappointed he only had 15 minutes as we already scheduled for a tour down the road. Cathie also scheduled a couple of evening entertainments with local groups that were amazing."

Carol

San Diego, CA

Tour: 04/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cathie was a terrific guide who shared lots of information about the country and culture. Accommodations were lovely and the food bountiful Our group was supportive of one another and everyone enjoyed savoring the lovely Irish countryside

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We all stood around a memorial and Cathie sang a lovely Irish ballad"

Carol

Winter Park, FL

Tour: 04/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful experience on the Best of Ireland Tour. Our guide, Cathie, was excellent. She did a great job as a tour director, has a very pleasing personality, and a has a beautiful voice. I thought all of the cities and towns we visited were excellent! We went to areas with historical significance and/or gorgeous scenery. The small seaside towns were wonderful, and the seafood was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One "wow" moment was our trip to the sheep farm where we were able to view a border collie take charge of his flock of sheep. It was amazing to see this wonderful dog in action. His owner demonstrated to us how he used verbal commands and a whistle to instruct the dog as to where the sheep should be herded. The border collie kept the flock together as they ran up and down a steep hill at a quick pace. More wows below."

John

Huntsville, AL

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw a great deal of the two countries, learned a great deal about their long and moving history, and ate a great deal. This pretty much summarizes the two week tour: A GREAT DEAL!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I particularly enjoyed the many magnificent natural features along the Dingle Peninsula, Aran Islands, Burren, Cliffs of Mohr and Antrim Coast but the nightly opportunities to hear good Irish music created meaningful connections to the island's culture, people and traditions. I also found myself saying "wow" at many of our meals together."

James

Del Mar, CA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour gave us the flavor of Irish culture. Successfully visited a great initial exposure to both Irelands.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The programs with Irish music and dancing at the local pubs."

Marilee

Del Mar, CA

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Friendly people in the group, tour guides, and the people of Ireland. We enjoyed learning about Ireland's history and seeing the places where history occurred.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ashford Castle and the falconry. Loved being able to have the Harris hawk land on my arm, eat the food, and taking off again. Fantastic!"

Janet

Portland, OR

Tour: 04/27/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great adventure! Ireland is gorgeous, with great history and wonderful stories. Susie was the best. I think we all wanted to take her home with us. Plus, Dennis, our driver was very good. Somehow he managed to get us through all of those tiny Irish roads. Our group did very well together. As one of the singles, I was able to mingle quite a bit and spend time with everyone at dinner or as we were walking. Food and and accommodations were excellent, especially in Dingle!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Inishmore and The Giants Causeway. Living on the Island must be hard, but the people we met seemed very happy. The natural beauty (the cliffs) was spectacular. I chatted with several people and asked questions. Everyone seemed willing to talk about their lives on the Island. Giants Causeway was just mind blowing. The myth around the giants is great fun. The reality of how those rocks were created is hard to imagine."

Rodger

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We covered a lot of ground and saw things we would have missed or not had time for. Joe and Pascal were amazing...day and night

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cliffs of Mohet, Rock of Cashel, Giants Causeway, Ashford Castle, falcons, lots of great pubs and music."

John

Redmond, WA

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Joe was terrific! Very knowledgable, fun and responsible -- Always looking out for us and pointing out things Irish which were not obvious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Book of Kells, Trinity College, Dublin."

David

Junction City, OR

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an outstanding time. Joe our tour guide is the Best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While visiting a Falconry school the Hawk we were working with flew away and caught a Wild Stoate which is a type of weasel. Very cool moment."

Sue

Mesa, AZ

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This group was fantastic! All ages and everyone got along so well. Joe was such a great and knowledgeable guide and so much fun to be with during our travels. The listening devices made the location walks so nice so we could hear as we all walked. Joe chose super restaurants for our dinners and food was excellent. Local guides were so good and Berry the very best in Kinsale!! Pascal was one great driver so we were always safe on the road.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My highlight was flying the hawk! Wow!!!! Next was the sheepherding visit."

Kenneth

Richardson, TX

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We took my spouse's parents with us on this tour. All four of us greatly enjoyed the experience and our fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was the drive around the Dingle Peninsula. The scenery was stunning. The Cliffs of Moher were beautiful as well, but the crowds on the cliffs and in the parking lot affected the experience a bit. I don't know if the itinerary could be adjusted in any way to see these early in the morning or at a quieter time (if there even is one)."

Kathryn

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt we received exactly what we wanted, that is an overall tour of Ireland without driving or hassles of touring on your own. The tour packed in lots of activities but still allowed enough free time for us. I was very pleased to learn more about Ireland's history, geography, music and people. We certainly got a good dose of Irish spring weather! While we had near the maximum number of people on the tour, it was an on-time and friendly group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One moment was in our hotel the first night in Dingle. Joe had arranged local musicians to play after dinner and with the dramatic scenery in the background, they played, sang and mesmerized all of us. West Coast scenery was great, especially Cliffs of Mohr and Aran Islands. Loved the pubs; there is nothing quite like it elsewhere. Titanic Experience too!"

Sandra

Redmond, WA

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have watched Rich Steves on TV and taken his guide books with us on our trips but this was our first tour. Wonderful experience! Loved the well organized days planned ahead with times and locations of where and when we travel to new places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't expect to learn so much history. So interesting, prompting me to go to the library and do some further research on my own. We have not done much geneology search on my husband's side but now suspect we should after learning about the emmigration to America."

Jean

Junction City, OR

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide was fantastic, the hotels were great, the bus was comfortable, and our fellow travelers were super.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Any part of the tour was a wow for me. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was cooperative!"

Diana

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 04/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide, Joe, was extremely nice and informative. We had a good group and everyone was pleasant. The hotels were very nice as was the B&B Milltown in Dingle which was just charming as were the owners and staff! Our driver, Pascal was always very careful on the road and very polite and helpful with the luggage. I loved the country side all around Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hawks were amazing! It was such a fun experience. The Cliff of Moher were breathtaking and we were lucky to have good weather while there."

Connie

Portland, OR

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was an excellent experience that provided many good memories. The beautiful scenery, the Irish people, the music, and my tour group were the best. Rick Steves tours are a great way to sample what a country has to offer.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no one moment but some of the things that stood out were the small villages and towns like Cong and the surrounding area, wandering the grounds of Ashford Castle on the sunny and calm day after being in hurricane-pummeled Galway, the Antrim Coast, and the traditional Irish music and step dancing at the Belfast pub."

Kerry

Houston, TX

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautiful scenery, FANTASTIC food, wonderful travel companions, a remarkable tour guide (Dara), cool temps (we're from Houston after all, and crave cooler weather!), quaint towns, fantastic and authentic Irish music (thanks many times to Dara), Plan B success, breathtaking views, historical revelations, and truly charming people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day we spent on the Antrim coast has to be one of the highlights: early hike to see Giant's Causeway, the Bushmills's Distillery tour, the Carrick-a-Rede rope footbridge, and the ruins of Dunluce Castle. Outside of the day spent in Galway sitting out "Deadly Ophelia," we were able to dodge a lot of the disagreeable weather. We were thankful always for the thinner crowds at these amazing tourist spots as well as at the Cliffs of Moher because of the timing of our tour."

John

Arroyo Grande, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was yet another outstanding Rick Steve's tour as we have come to expect. The tour was well-organized with meaningful activities. Dara was an excellent tour guide and helped the group to bond and have an enjoyable time. He organized some excellent musical experiences for us. Having the focus on Irish music was an excellent addition that I was not expecting and it was very welcome. In many cases I felt I could have stayed a little longer in one place or another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When the hurricane Ophelia came through and we were right there I got to witness the fierceness of a hurricane. I never felt unsafe. But it was a peak moment. In addition to that there were two tour guides who were so exceptional they moved me to tears and gave me a very insightful view of the history of Ireland."

Steve

Houston, TX

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland was as scenic as I had imagined from films such as "The Quiet Man" (and visiting the village of Cong where the movie was filmed was an added treat). We enjoyed performances of several traditional Irish music groups thanks to our guide Dara. Visiting Northern Ireland was an added treat. Yes, it rained a third of the time but the right rain jacket made that manageable. Food was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably our stay in Galway where we experienced the hurricane. Our trip to the Aran Islands had to be cancelled due to the weather but our guide Dara scrambled to arrange a local guide of Galway (Brian Nolan- superb) and also arranged a personal concert by two extremely gifted musicians. This was also a great time to get to know some of our fellow members better as we waited out the storm in comfort of our hotel lobby aided by pints of Guinness."

John

Holly Springs, NC

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another wonderful Rick Steves tour! RS can be trusted for providing the types of travel experiences that enlarge one's heart and mind.

Joanne

Everett, WA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was one of the best tours I have ever taken.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Belfast for the first time."

Lila

Browns Valley, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland, where do I begin... the country, the history, the people, the stories, the food, and the music! Definitely saw the best of Ireland in the most organized fashion with a very knowledgeable and talented guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention."

Nancy

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Ireland trip was fantastic. I feel that we had the "perfect storm" (a little hurricane humor!). First of all, Dara was absolutely wonderful. He was so personable, passionate about all things Ireland (especially music, family and Dingle), fun-loving, organized, helpful, hard-working, knowledgeable, always available, enthusiastic! Second was just the fact that we were in Ireland with its spectacular scenery and friendly people. Third of all was the members of the tour: totally delightful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't have just one "wow" moment: I loved flying the hawks; loved all the musical concerts; loved the bonding that went on during the "hurricane;"loved that we were able to go to Northern Ireland (I never felt that I would ever be able to visit Belfast after all The Troubles in recent history); loved the small towns and the rugged coast line."

Mary

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really couldn't of asked for more - really, this trip was a 10 PLUS. Our tour guide, Dara, was brilliant. We had heard that Ireland was beautiful - scenery that I will never forget - and that the people were friendly - another 10 PLUS. All of the hotels were great, the food excellent, and Irish music was over the top. With Dara, and the local tour guides, we learned so much about the history and culture of the Republic and Northern Ireland. It truly was "The Best of Ireland."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. Wow, what a fun and knowledgeable tour guide. Wow, what a skilled bus driver - Dennis. WOW, the scenery. Wow, the sheep farm. Wow, the falconry. Wow, the castles. Wow - what a great group we have. Wow, the interesting activities on the itinerary. Each day brought new sites to explore - wow!! The music and the pubs - Yowza!"

Richard

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first time on an organized tour group and the first time with Rick Steves. I was very impressed with the caliber of the experience in terms of strong organization and logistics, great and informative tour guides, wonder balance between group time vs. individual time and also a very informative tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment of the tour would have been our day at Ashford Castle. The grounds were stunning, the weather was perfect and our activity of falconry was very unique and special. In addition, we were treated to an extra lake cruise which allowed us to experience the area of Cong and the castle from a different perspective."

John

Browns Valley, CA

Tour: 10/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide and excellent local guides. Well planned tour hitting all the best sites with adequate free time. Lots of culture, history, and music. Wonderful tour group too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments with the musical opportunities but the Falconry School expericience was memorable."

Linda

Freeland, WA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We did expect a lovely tour, but got MUCH more!! Pascal and Heidi were informative and funny too. Caroline the driver was a lovely and funny lady who could drive the bus with confidence and safety. Her wit and kindness make her well suited for Rick Steves. Beyond the beautiful scenery of Ireland, we had great experiences: the falconry, the sheep herding and dogs, the Irish Dancers, concerts, Rope Bridge, local musicians coming to our hotel. What fun everyone had. We became a family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The rope bride over the ocean. The day was windy, and it was truly exhilarating to be walking over a huge gap in the rocks!"

Mary Jo

Santa Fe, NM

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's Tour. It was as Pascal would say "fantastic!" I especially like history and Ireland's history is long and complex. I learned about Ireland, saw an excellent choice of places as we circled the island and enjoyed the people and the music. The green, green land and windswept cliffs along with the rain rain and clouds made me know I must be in Ireland. I was impressed at the impact made by your promotion of the Dingle Glassworks and the differnce that make

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have lots of "wows". My favorites include the walking tours of Dublin and Belfast, Kilmainham goal, Rock of Cashel, Slea Head Drive with the ancient bee hive and Gaelic Blasket Centre, the Burren landscape, Aran Islands trip, and th Titanic Center. My top favories are the sheep dog working, the hawks at Ashford castle and getting to see both Ireland and Northern Ireland and sense that situation and the differences. I liked the free time to explore on our own."

Lee

Diamond Bar, CA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent. The best run tour I've ever experienced. Knowledgeable trip leader, lots of Irish history, a reasonable pace. Enjoyed the variety of experiences on our itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many. Most poignant was our tour of Belfast, learning in detail about "The Troubles" and how much they scarred the entire country but especially the north."

Kaye

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed the people, the scenery and the food in Ireland. We learned a lot about the history and culture. The tour was well organized and well run. We had a good mix of down time and group activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Irish culture on Slea Head drive and Falls Road tour in Belfast."

Sharon

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Ireland wasn't on my bucket list and I'd never heard of Rick Steves. A friend signed up for the tour and asked me to go along. My expectations were low-ish. In hindsight, this really is the "Best" of Ireland and our guide, tour assistant and bus driver (Caroline) delivered a top notch experience. I highly recommend this trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the day we did the Slea Head Drive around the Dingle Peninsula. The scenery was spectactular and the Blasket Island Center is a fantastic learning experience."

Harriet

Freeland, WA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time, despite Hurricane Ophelia, on this tour. The tour group was wonderful and we enjoyed meeting and getting to know all of the people. Pascal and our driver, Carolyn, were wonderful representatives of Ireland and we REALLY enjoyed getting to know them and about their lives and families. The food was outstanding and all of the hotels beyond just comfortable, they were interesting Local guides were very knowledgeable and I learned so much about Irish history, the Troubles

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dun Aengus, despite the rigorous walk for a 70+ year-old was amazing as was "Seven Churches." Two of the "think places.""

Glen

St John's, NL

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved everything about this tour.... It was the first time going on a Rick Steeves tour and will certainly use this company again. It was well- organized and when bad weather occurred the team of Pascal, Caroline and Heidi seamlessly made adjustments. The tours, hotels, meals were excellent. The tour group members were easy and fun to travel with. Ireland has spectacular scenery, stirring history, beautiful music and friendly people and Rick Steeves tour let us share all of that for 2 weeks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many "wow" moments: All the scenery especially the Slea Head Drive Sheep shearing and Falcons at the castle The music and musicians in cosy pubs and venues The ferry ride to Aran Island and the quaintness of life there Learning about the famine and the "troubles" in Northern Ireland was emotional"

Kevin

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed our tour of Ireland. Much like the other Rick Steves tours that we have been on, this trip was a great way to see and learn about Ireland, its history and its people. It was well organized and led by Pascal, and while the weather was not the best, we still had a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess to the "wow" moment for me, was learning that parts of Northern Ireland are still very divided with neighborhoods in Derry and Belfast still divided by walls much like Berlin had been. The other "wow" was learning of Ireland's history and how current the impact is on Ireland today."

Sherrie

Lake Forest, CA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland in 14 days was an excellent tour. I enjoyed all the sights, and the tour guide provided some extraordinary entertainment. He went out of his way to get musicians and even Irish dancers to put on a show. Truly amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The music in Dingle at St. John's church. One of the musicians played the uilleann pipes: incredible. Duo playing at the little record store in Dingle also was great."

Jane

Slidell, LA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was wonderful

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the waves splash the cliffs"

Melony

Diamond Bar, CA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the whole tour. It was one of the very best tour companies I've been with. I liked the respect each of us gave the other by being on time, changing seats in the bus all to allow everyone an opportunity to have equality. I liked the family atmosphere where the guides and bus driver were encouraged to eat with the rest of us and thereby allow us into their lives and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The educational aspect that delved into the history of Ireland and allowed me to get a better understanding of the issues behind the actions of the people prior to today and gain insight into the psyches of today's population. Very moving."

David

Munising, MI

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best ever!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything from Dublin to Belfast! All the wonderful local people we met All the tour members What a GREAT tour"

Richard

Lacey, WA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland is great and the tour was even better!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Biggest WOW was the scenery. The cliffs of Moher to the Sleay head loop - the towering cliff with the sea crashing is just spectacular! Impossible to really come up with only one."

Dianne

Lacey, WA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized, and able to adapt to unusual circumstances (Ophelia). We saw fantastic scenery, learned a great deal about the history of the island and its people, both ancient and current, consumed some memorable meals in a variety of places, heard some great local musicians in several interesting venues, from churches to music stores and a hardware store by day which was a pub by night. We also had the opportunity to make many new friends. It was fabulous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too numerous to choose just one: Slea Head Drive and the Blasket Islands, Cliffs of Moher, The Giant's Causeway and the Antrim coast, the Aran Islands with Dun Aengus, the political murals in Belfast."

Karen

Webster, NY

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful way to see and learn about Ireland with a formal tour as well as time on our own to explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a hard question because there wasn't just one. All the scenery is stunning. The falcon walk was awesome as was visiting the sheep farm. Greatly enjoyed listening to the informal Irish music in the various pubs and all the music/dancing shows arranged on the tour. So much talent!"

Bubba

Slidell, LA

Tour: 10/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our third RS tour. All have been somewhat different, yet all have been outstanding. Great leadership by our two guides. Ireland was beautiful in multiple ways.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" reply is not a moment. The "wow" of tour for me was the wonderful people of Ireland. Almost without exception, the people of Ireland were extremely helpful and kind in multiple encounters. They were engaging, polite, and happy."

Paul

Gales Creek, OR

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding, but could have used a little more time to explore on our own. I would have preferred skipping Northern Ireland and concentrating on the south with the time spent in the north used to have more free time in the south.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hawks / falconry school, valley of ghosts/bog traditional music incredible food"

David

Grosse Pointe, MI

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As was the case with our first Rick Steves tour to Italy 3 years ago, the Ireland tour was extremely well done. We'll cherish the memories for years to come. Declan didn't just take us around the sites, but made sure that we were immersed in Irish history, culture and tradition. We visited big cities and small towns. We saw sites that everyone sees, but would also stop along the way and see and do things to bring us more in touch with everyday life in Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment - I think all of the ruins. All of the old castles, churches and monasteries, most dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. It certainly puts our present day world into perspective."

Michelle

University Place, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour guide: Declan Great bus Driver: Pamela Great group of fellow travelers, lots of history of Ireland and the sites to go with it. All my expectations were surpassed, it was magical!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Trinity College, the Great Hall in the Library, Book of Kells, the Archelogical Museum and all the artifacts that have been found, Titanic Experience, the small towns, people and the traditional music."

Susan

Gales Creek, OR

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience overall. The Irish people are welcoming and friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking with the hawks at Ashford Castle Falconry School"

Anne

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything I read before the tour is true, the weather changes everyday and all day from sunny, dry, and warm to rainy and cold. But it was wonderful. I love the sheep and cows. The people are so nice and so very proud of their heritage, rightfully so, after learning so much of Irish history from our guide Deklan and our many valuable city guides. Deklan was amazing, and oh so talented, we were so lucky to have him. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone. The country is so beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a difficult question to answer. I had more than one WOW moment. Learning the history and the struggle the Irish have endured and the beautiful towns we visited. Dingle musicians including our own Deklan. The hike and view at Dun Aengus Castle, Inishmire, Aran Island. That was a WOW for me and of course, the Red tail Hawk sitting on my arm. Amazing."

Nancy

Sedro Woolley, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic group, guides, weather, scenery, variety, music, locals, logistics. No complaints.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scenery, falcons, history lessons, music....all a great experience."

John

Juneau, AK

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A fine mix of heritage, history, and harmony.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle coastline. And... the hawk walk."

Robert

Lakewood, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the best experience of my life. My wife and I planned this trip for 2 years and were completely blown away by the fullness of the tour. It was a lesson in history, geology, culture, archeology and so much more. It was completely beyond my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Rock of Kashel was most impressive. I had expected to just see another relic but instead was treated to a massive fortress of unexpected size, complexity and beauty."

Ed

Yamhill, OR

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th RS Tour and we thought you couldn't top some of our other tour experiences but the Ireland Tour definitely rose to the level of one of the best.It was well planned and executed and Declan was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the Titanic Experience in Belfast. I thought I knew a lot about that part of history but the exhibit really was informative."

Linda

Yamhill, OR

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 7th RS tour and it didn't disappoint. It was well planned and executed and included, not so much internationally famous landmarks, but plenty of the natural beauty that is Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cliffs of Mohr. They were breathtaking!"

Shannon

Gales Creek, OR

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We saw some wonderful things. I had never been on a tour, and was unsure. In the end, I really loved not having to make decisions and then second guessing them during the experience. I just enjoyed the dinners, places, and experiences. We did things I never would have signed up for. The local guides were amazing. I could have spent a few hours at the Burren alone, but a whole day with the women who showed us around. The cultural difference between N. Ireland and the Republic really struck me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the music in Dingel! We attended two concerts, one in a small church and one in a music shop. And then at a pub one night Declan found me a violin to play and everyone passed around a guitar and sang a song."

Janet

Lakewood, WA

Tour: 10/01/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a lot of fun. The guide and bus driver did a good job with introducing me to Ireland and the Irish culture. Even the long bus days were full of music and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking around the Burren with the local guide; seeing all the different plants and how the plants have adapted to the rocky land was a real wow moment."

John

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our seventh trip to Ireland(our second Rick Steve's trip to the "Emerald Isle")so we expected rain. However, because of the hurricane coming in there was a little more than usual. We still had a good time with a great guide and very superior accomodations, food, and activities we had not experienced before

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked the falcon activites, but I'll have to go with the sheep dog exhibition. The handler of the dog seemed to be able to communicate with the dog with a little more that a whisper over asignificant distance. The dog was great as was the handler. I thought it amazing."

Judith

Snoqualmie, WA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed Best of Ireland very much - learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed our tour members. It's always a pleasure to have the driving and planning taken care of by Rick Steves' people. All I had to do was enjoy and learn about Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments for this tour - just like other RS tours. The feeding and flying a falcon was amazing as was the beautiful castle setting! Attending 2 pub shows in Dingle and Belfast complete with Irish dancing was a true highlight."

Joann

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome guide, cohesive, friendly and respectful tour group, and outstanding scenery!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: the lovely, kind people of Ireland we met throughout our journey were so friendly and down-to-earth; the extraordinary landscape with every shade of green neatly partitioned with those incredible rock walls; the Falconry school with Lima the gorgeous falcon; the excitement of being a witness to an inspirational Eighth Amendment march in Dublin; the Kenmare Stone Circle;the fun shepherding demonstration; and the delicious Irish food!"

Jacqueline

Keene, NH

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour covered all the best sites. Local guides were all superb (especially Peter in Dublin and Barry in Kinsale). Our tour guide, Lynn, was excellent in that she was very informative and organized. Enjoyed most of the hotels. The one exception was the hotel in Galway, Eyre Square Hotel. Would suggest using a different hotel. Could not get any hot water in AM for over an hour. The Castlewood House in Dingle was wonderful, especially their breakfasts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Dingle peninsula. Touring Kinsale - wonderful town with great Irish music."

John

Montgomery, TX

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly enjoyed the 14 Day Best of Ireland Tour. The entire tour, including our guide, Lynn, was fantastic. The scenery throughout the country was just beautiful, as were the people. The coach was very comfortable for the size of the group and all accommodations were quite comfortable. I was pleasantly surprised with the food throughout Ireland and I encourage all to eat the local dishes and leave the continental choices alone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't identify just one. Loved the geography and landscape. Loved the small towns we spent time in; Kinsale, Dingle, Galway.... Loved Bushmills. Had a great time with the falconry demonstration."

Lisa

Greenwood Village, CO

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour group and tour guide helped to make our travels fun and informative! We enjoyed getting to know people from across the country and rekindled a friendship from long ago. The scenery was amazing and the villages and towns that we visited were quaint and friendly!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was Ashford castle and the falconry demonstration. I loved the walk around the town of Cong. So peaceful and beautiful!"

Rosemary

Lakewood, CO

Tour: 09/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 10th Rick Steves tour and as always it was excellent. We have now been to Ireland 6 times, 4 times on our own but decided we wanted someone else to do the driving. We took the 8 day tour last year and decided to do the 14 day trip this year and it was a good decision. The weather could have been better but we didn't let it ruin our fun. It was a delightful trip with a great guide, great tour members and, of course, the beautiful Emerald Isle.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I wanted to do this trip not only to return to Ireland but to go to the falconry school. It was as good as I expected. It was a wonderful experience. I also really enjoyed the sheep dog demonstration. Dingle is my favorite place in Ireland so spending 3 days there was another wow. As always we enjoy the music, the pubs and the beautiful country and the wonderful Irish people."

John

Dallas, TX

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While this was the season ending tour, Lisa and Jessica did a great job of keeping everyone on time and entertained. It was extremely valuable to be briefed on the history of each town were we heading towards. As well as the suggestion for music an food when out on our free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingel - The timing of the Food Festival with our visit was perfect."

Ankara

Cedar City, UT

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa was well informed, kind, and very comfortable with Irish history and the language. She set the tone for the tour. The individual docents were amazing, and after the trip I wanted to turn around and do it all again. I travelled with my husband, and daughter, and it was fun to share this time and many wonderful experiences with them. This was a bucket list adventure for me, and I am so thankful that I got to travel with Lisa, Jessica, and the amazing coach driver, Stephen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Kilmainham Gaol, and reading the letters the prisoners were sending home was very powerful, and emotionally charged. Musically it was Dingle. Historically the Kilmainham Gaol. The Long Room and Book of Kells was visually powerful. Overall the wonderful people of Ireland, their resilience, their joy, and their kindness will never be forgotten. Be sure to keep Sean and Dingle Crystal on the tour."

William

Fort Mill, SC

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lisa did a good job leading the group. Most of the hotels were good, as were the tours. I definitely liked the sheep herding demo, something that I never would have chosen on my own. I learned a lot of Irish history and culture which left me with a real connection to the Irish people

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a tossl up between the Aran Islands and the Titanic Museum. The bus rides through the mountains was also quite spectacular."

Judy

Atwater, CA

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Last year my friend and I went on the Italy tour, Best of Venice, Florence and Rome. We wondered if anything could top that, so we signed up for the Best of Ireland tour. It was equally incredible. A couple of months before the tour I learned that my 3 times great grandmother was born in Ireland in the early 1800s. That made everything more relevant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments. The Cliffs of Moher were amazing. The coast of the Dingle Peninsula was stunning. The many times we listened to music in the pubs or other venues was memorable."

Barbara

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having never been on a tour or a cruise it was a new experience and it was absoultely fantastic!...Not much involved in the planning and no stress at all on the trip. A great bunch of fellow travellers and guides. The food and hotels definitely exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Difficult to say...I just loved all the beautiful scenery and the raging seas and wind and especially the Cliffs of Moher and The Giants Causeway and all the history which we were told. Having been a high school drop out in in history and geography I now have a new interest in learning and following up on much of the information we were given and will be heading to the library!"

Leslie

Dallas, TX

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour far exceeded my expectations! The tour guide (and local guides) were excellent and really brought the people and history of Ireland to life for me. And the activities were great. We were also lucky that everyone on the tour was very punctual!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour around the Dingle peninsula."

Patricia

Bismarck, ND

Tour: 09/24/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved learning about Ireland and its people, land, history. The places we stayed were comfortable and the food was wonderful. The local tour guides were knowledgable and enjoyable. Ireland is beautiful and its people warm and friendly. We enjoyed the trip immensely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the border collies herd the sheep at the Kissane Sheep farm."

Eveleen

Creswell, OR

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour. I like a very active tour and this itinerary delivered (and we were lucky with the weather.) If only there was a way to fold in Newgrange, Glendalough, and the Wicklow mountains! There were many opportunities to talk with locals, who may be the best thing about the country. The tour appropriately gives music and history equal billing with the natural beauty of the country. ( I have already persuaded my sister and husband to take the tour next year. )

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough question. No wow moments such as I experienced in Turkey, Greece, Spain and Sicily. But there are many reasons to love this country: the people; the lush green countryside; breathtaking coast; wonderful songs, musicians and dancers; heartbreaking and exhilarating history; and a lively Capitol city with lots to experience. (All that said, it was a thrill to fly the hawk.)"

Donald

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A lot was included in this tour. I felt very rushed and shorted on time at several sites, especially the Giants Causeway. We barely had time to make the walk out and back, leaving no time at all to visit the displays at the visitor center. Could have easily used another 45ish minutes. Only slightly disappointed that we missed the rope bridge due to weather. Would have preferred that time at the Causeway. We were also seriously short of time at the Titanic exhibit in Belfast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, but near the top if not the top would be the Falconry at Ashford Castle. I was amazed at the beautiful scenery all along the coast, especially places like the Cliffs of Moher and Dun Aonghasa. It is absolutely breathtaking. As a side note, we met Cisco Morse, a Seattle icon, on our way down from Dun Aonghasa. He was there with a different group or on his own, not sure which. I also truly enjoyed our visit to the sheep farm and the heard dog demonstration."

Diane

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learned a lot about a beautiful land. And the people, so different from the Scots and English (not to take anything away from either) in that the Irish were so friendly and seemed to have so much fun with life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Realized how mountains and coastline of the west ... how breathtakingly beautiful."

Barbara

Windsor, CA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a marvelous time. The experience was as strenuous as we expected and the weather was nearly perfect. We honestly didn't know what to expect going into the tour and we were amazed at the amount of history and information we gained that we were not aware of. It is wonderful to capture so much in such a short time without having to make all of the arrangements yourself. We are great fans of the Rick Steves' tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was what I learned more about the famine. What we learn in history lessons doesn't compare to what we can see and touch while in the country."

Allen

Creswell, OR

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first trip to Ireland (my wife's 3rd), was a real eye-opener. The exposure to the history through the great local guides was excellent. Especially the Dublin walk and the Derry tour. Very compatible group, and I can't say enough about Dara's fine job. He really made us all feel welcome and willing to share our experience with each other as we traveled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Falconry at Ashford Castle was great, but the Cliffs of Moher and Inish More were also fabulous. Then there were the many nights of music, Dingle especially. Ok, I guess I don't have a favorite."

Randy

Damascus, OR

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour. Great guide, great hotels...spectacular scenery.

Chris

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour guide, Dara, was outstanding...knowledgeable, articulate and fun to be with. His knowledge and ability to share it with us was fantastic. I was also very pleased with all the meals and variety of choice and quality. The hotels were much better than my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful landscape...the lush rolling hills checker boarded with ancient rock walls and hedges. Not sure how many photos I took out the window of the bus."

Bill

Edmonds, WA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

GREAT music, tours, nature, AND tour guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Various pub etcetera music events."

Michael

Santa Rosa, CA

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time. I was hesitant to be involved in a tour, figuring that we would just be invading the landscape in an obnoxious way but that was not at all the situation. In fact because of the way that Dara had organized special events for us there were locals that were able to be integrated. The fact that we had local involvement with the tour was phenomenal and the way that Dara organized musical shows, dance shows, and comedy shows was incredible. We learned history politics and cultur

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hearing music Dancing Falconry Riding bikes in my free time in Kinsale and Westport Learning history politics and Irish Seeing the Burren and Aran Islands Wait, I thought this was to be about one moment but that's impossible"

Kay

Brighton, MI

Tour: 09/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Traveling with Dara, Caroline and all of our fellow travelers was more than we could ask for. I especially enjoyed the sense of humor, timeliness of tour members, welcoming attitude of everyone and stress free itinerary. With all of the transportation and lodging taken care of, all of our Ireland experience was spent enjoying the sights, music, fine food and camaraderie. Traveling with the "locals", Dara and Caroline, gave us a unique insight of the culture, history, language, music and more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Burrens! Mary Howard opened the crevasse micro climates and plant diversity for me. Had I been there without her enthusiasm, I would have said, yes it's a bunch of flat rocks. The stone fences, sheep and cows that go on forever! The rugged landscape, ocean and wind. The lucky livestock that graze so close to the ocean. DINGLE!"

Karen

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my fourth Rick Steves your and they just keep getting better. Having a native of Ireland, Declan, was such a bonus. he has lived through a lot of the political issues in Ireland and knows firsthand how the country and citizens have been affected. The organization he provided made every moment enjoyable, fun, and educational. All of the hotels were centrally located and well equipped for a tour. Ireland is a beautiful country which everyone should visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There is no favorite wow moment. All of the local guides were outstanding and came from all walks of life. Tommy, as a magazine publisher, in Dublin, a retired police chief in Kinsale a local driver in the Aran Islands and the Rick Steves tour leader in Belfast. I know I hve left someone out, but they had so much information and were so glad to share with us. They were my wow moment."

Joseph

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A great group of people to spend time with. Declan has a lot of history to impart and has a good time sharing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dun Aonghasa. The place was stark but beautiful. I liked no fences."

Christine

Webster, NY

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations! There was a tremendous mix/variety of sights to see, experiences, enough free time, historical/political/cultural/social/artistic discussions and experiences, etc. to the point that I ended the trip with a solid awareness of ancient through present day Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It was a true all-around experience for me. We were kept busy- both mind and body! Just the way I like it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a gazillion wow moments for me but coming upon the beautiful Inch Strand Beach gave me the wow moment after traveling through rugged landscapes leading to the Kissane Sheep Farm and Killarney National Park. Yes, Inch Strand was the wow moment. There certainly were others, though!"

Art

Lewisville, TX

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous trip and fabulous tour guide (Declan). I enjoyed Declan's extensive history lessons, music, etc. almost as much as the tour stops. And Allan was absolutely wonderful as our tour driver.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No one moment. Just a huge WOW to the entire country, wonderful people, fabulous scenery. Brilliant!"

Gary

South Portland, ME

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am a retired Merchant Marine Captain who has traveled the world via it's seas. My wife would be waiting with bags packed upon my return following the raising of or four children to explore our world. We have never gone on a "tour" and the experience we both shared with others was truly exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was truly about the overall experience of the trip. It was fantastic to be taken care of versus being on your own traveling,"

Bruce

Webster, NY

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was well organized and content rich. Good mix of artistic, culturalnatural and historical venues. Thought that the building of perspective on Irish history on the trip was useful, especially as the tour entered N. Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"-Falconry event at Ashford castle. -Visiting the "Troubles" area of Belfast."

Nancy

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

For me, tours are heavily dependent on the quality of the tour guide and Declan Field was phenomenal! His knowledge of the history, music and art of Ireland really added value to my experience. We ate fabulously, stayed in lovely, unique hotels and Alan (our bus driver) was incredibly efficient at getting out of tight spots with a large bus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The concert in Dingle with the incredibly talented young artists, the step dancer performance and Declan singing to us, followed by "decapitated" Irish coffee. Magical!"

Bob

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding. Ireland is a beautiful country and its people are most gracious; its culture rich.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The west coast of Ireland. The cliffs and ocean surf."

Shari

Penfield, NY

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour director, Declan, was wonderful. He shared information and went out of his way to do whatever it took to make the tour the best it could be. He had the patience of a Saint, which he needed often. The bus driver was amazing. He handled the bus as a pro and was very friendly and nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have several "WOW" moments from the tour. I think the one that touched me the most was the support from Declan and the other passengers when my husband got really sick on the bus trip. I felt encouraged."

Debra

South Portland, ME

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From start to finish, the whole tour was superb! Our guide, Declan is truly a renaissance man - historian, artist, musician, poet. His good humor and thoughtful interest in all the tour members was unwavering. The tour itself was well-planned and comfortably paced. We never felt rushed. All the places visited and local experts served to build a wonderful, rich and complex picture of Irish history. I learned so much about Ireland. Fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow! how little I really new about the depth and breadth of Irish history."

Susan

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Declan was so knowledgable, funny and just a great person. He guided our fantastic 28 member group through Ireland and gave us some real fun and educational insights to the area. Everywhere we went he had people coming up to him and having a conversation. He was well known and liked in every area we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cliffs of Mohr.....spectacular and we lucked out with great weather."

Barry

Snoqualmie, WA

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our forth tour and it was excellent. Surprised to find 28 members as our others had been 24 max, but Declan said all Ireland tours are 28. Rick, your original Stevedorians are aging and I was pleased to see the addition of ear buds for the local walking tours. This was a HUGE improvement for anyone with any hearing impairment, myself included. I estimate that over half of our group had some degree of impairment and appreciated the buds which also allowed the group to string (continued below)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"out without losing touch with the talk. I'm sure you already knew this as you chose to use and supply the equipment. I have a suggestion that could be iimplimented with little additional cost or effort. Have the tour leader mic up also on the bus and give tour members the option of using their buds. Unless you have some degree of hearing impairment, you may not appreciate the difficulty many of us have hearing the speakers on the bus. I know of at least 10 members who would have used this."

Andrea

Stillwater, OK

Tour: 09/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very good tour from the beginning to the end. Knowing that we would not be visiting great museums or cathedrals as part of this tour, I really didn't know what to expect. However, this tour was an historical and cultural banquet! Our guide, Declan, kept us prepared for the next points with background, songs, stories and music.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Knowing this was a question on the tour evaluation, I thought about the trip "wow" as we went. I enjoyed everything, but I'm going to put our guide, Declan, as the wow. He is a multi-talented man who obviously loves his homeland and who thoroughly enjoys sharing it. The CD's he played for us set the mood for either what was coming up next or reflected what we'd just visited. He has a wonderfully engaging laugh and is a story teller supreme. Highest marks go to him."

Lory

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We loved touring Ireland but if we were to go back would omit Galway and Belfast while sticking to the smaller towns. Dublin was more interesting from a historical and cultural standpoint. We had fabulous weather and I'm sure that impacted our overall feeling about the trip. Of the individual experiences, I was less interested in the Burren and the sheep herding/shearing and if the weather had been better, might have enjoyed them more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved our time in Dingle and especially our "day off" where we were able to walk out to the lighthouse, eat a casual lunch at a cafe in town and browse the shops. I also loved the day on the Antrim Coast and Bushmills. If I could offer a way to improve the tour, I'd try to give more free time in the towns of Westport and Portrush."

James

Renton, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour although we have used guidebooks for quite some time. We loved our tour. People were great. Guide was wonderful and provided much historic information in just the right amounts. The mix of scheduled to free time was perfect. Country of Ireland exceeded expectations! I like to take pictures enroute to places. I tried to take pictures through the window but was typically not very successful. Prior notice of roadside stops would have been helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thought Inishmore was spectacular. Barren and beautiful. Windy and rugged. Dun Aengus was amazing and we saw a young couple get engaged up there to boot."

Ron

Cottage Grove, MN

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent introductory tour of the Emerald Isle, led by a uniquely qualified individual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough question. The night at the music shop with the musical and step dancing performances, or the last night in the Belfast pub with music and dancing."

Kathleen

Richmond, VA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed this tour so much! Susie was a great guide, and our fellow tour members were amazing. In Dingle, Susie got the group tickets to two concerts that were both amazing. Her restaurant recommendations were spot on, also. Ireland is a beautiful country with such friendly people. I would go again in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several: 1. Tasting Stonewell Cider in Kinsale! 2. Our concert in the music store in Dingle, along with meeting the shop owner beforehand and watching his videos of Rick Steves playing the piano and the bohrain in his shop, and getting a taste of Irish moonshine. 3. The scenery."

John

Carlsbad, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide and great group of people. Lodging was for the most part excellent and food was wonderful. Ireland is beautiful with an incredible history, enjoyed every part of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick between Kinsale and Dingle. Both beautiful and would would not mind staying in both for another day. The Muckross (spelling?) mansion and grounds were amazing. Wish we had had time to tour the house."

Carol

Tiburon, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding! Sorry to be so late in submitting this. Intended to fill in more details but never got around to it. Happy Holidays to all, especially to Susie Millar. And thanks to Steve for maintaining an excellent and ethical business. Regards, Carol Weibel

Jacquelynn

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was so wonderful from beginning to end. Our group was great as was our tour guide, Susie, and our skilled bus driver, Denis. The interwoven history of the Irelands throughout our entire trip, the lovely landscape and interesting geography, the diversity and timing of the historical sites, charming towns, music and countryside seemed just right as did the mix of group activities and free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Returning home to find out how much more interested I'd become in Ireland ordering books (Now reading Eagan's The Immortal Irishman), DVDs, listening more carefully to news stories, monitoring hurricane Ophelia forecast to hit Ireland 10/16. Travel really does make our world larger and enriches our lives."

Nancy

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our group was fabulous, our tour guide was awesome. We all had fun together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"i really don't know, the road on the coast of Ireland was amazing to drive and the views were spectacular."

Linda

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's Tour, and it truly exceeded my expectations. All of the accommodations were very, very nice to outstanding. The group meals were delicious and fun! But what I really appreciated was how much I learned about Ireland - it's history, culture, politics, people and the wonderful music. The history and politics were courtesy of our guide, Susie, who as a Belfast native, really knew her stuff! Ireland's history is very complicated, but she made sense of it for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but I think it was at the Ireland School of Falconry at Ashford Castle, where we each had the opportunity to have Lima, a Peruvian Harris Hawk, land on our arm (of course with a glove on)! Then we had a treat for him. It was breathtaking. I also really, really enjoyed the sheep dog demonstration after we left Kinsale. So cool. The dogs are super smart! Either that, or sheep really are not very bright! Great fun. OH! And the show at the Music Store in Dingle!! Outstanding!"

Christine Marie

Sammamish, WA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent! Our tour guide, Susie was an absolute delight! She was very patient with all of our questions, she was very knowledgeable about Ireland, we loved how she shared her personal Titanic story, and she was a lot of fun! Dennis our bus driver was wonderful. He always made us feel very safe on those narrow Ireland roads!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Irish music, Irish dancers, Getting upclose and personal with the Peruvian hawk at the falconry. Loved the sheep herding experience too!"

Linda

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The "Best of Ireland" was an amazing tour because we learned about the history of the resilient Irish citizens. We enjoyed exploring the rugged and rolling countryside which included famous castles/forts, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, hawks and sheep! Our fantastic tourmates were respectful and easygoing which made for a smooth tour. The food in Ireland was wonderful; from the Irish fry breakfast to the gourmet seafood dinners!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day we experienced the breathtaking Antrim Coast! We climbed on the Giant's Causeway, walked across the rope bridge, hiked up stone steps, tasted Bushmills famous whiskey and discovered Dunluce Castle. (and saw more sheep) Wow!"

Gayle

Torrance, CA

Tour: 09/15/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never been on a Rick Steves Tour. Since the Best of Ireland tour, I look forward to taking other Rick Steves tours. I thoroughly enjoyed Ireland and I give credit to the design of this tour. The size of the group was perfect. It was well planned and we got a good mix of local tours and free time that made this experience enjoyable, and not over whelming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The country of Ireland was my favorite "WOW" moment."

Norm

Milpitas, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the first tour group trip we have taken and we had high expectations as we had watched many of Rick's travel DVDs and had the opportunity to meet Rick in San Francisco. We bought his recommended carry on luggage and day packs and vowed top pack light. When we finally got to Dublin and had our first group meeting and met our guide, we knew this was going to be a fun adventure and that all of our group were friendly, health and easy to get to know. The guide was great too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to come up with just one wow moment but I guess for me it would have been getting to a pub and listening to the Irish folk music live. The tour of the Guinness brewery (on our own time) would be the second. The Clifts of Moher would be the third."

Peter

Abbotsford, BC

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Joe was awesome. Pam the driver was terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The prison in Dublin was an emotional point. Aran Islands was a beautiful place to visit."

Orilyn

Abbotsford, BC

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Ireland was outstanding, a wonderful experience, which is what we have to anticipate and expect for a Rick Steve's tour. This was out 8th RS tour and it was one of our best in every way. The cold, wet and windy weather at the beginning was the only part I Was not fully prepared for. Every other aspect, that can be planned and organized made for another great memory for us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands, and so many more beautiful places that we experienced. Loved the quaint port town of Kinsale. One amazing experience was at the Falconry and having the chance to have the Hawks land and take off from our glove."

Janet

Newberg, OR

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I were blown away by this, our first experience in Ireland. Our tour was totally incredible, and much, much more than we had envisioned prior to going.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gee, only one?!? We had many "Wows!" First, the countryside took our breath way...the hillsides of patchwork stone fences across a sea of beautiful greens. Second, the music and vitality encountered in the "sessions" at various pubs and other locations. Listening to the concertinas, guitars, pipes, and awesome solo and blended voices was something we will never forget! And I could go on and on..."

Kelley

Siloam Springs, AR

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip in both educational and sightseeing opportunities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everyday was a "wow" moment!"

Scott

Siloam Springs, AR

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful group, great guide and excellent itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Biking Slea head-on our free day in Dingle"

Don

Abbotsford, BC

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 8th RS tour and one of the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry visit was an unbelieveable "WOW". An experience like no other."

Mark

Newberg, OR

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Have followed Rick, his travel principles for 25 years; our first RS tour. High expectations: travel efficiency; rich local history; sites, views; fun food, drink; lively local music; new friends; even unexpected new experiences. All expectations were exceeded. Tour was executed smoothly. Enjoyed the Irish history, appetite for more. Photo opportunities abound. I miss the music and atmosphere that filled my memory. Tour friends were fantastically prompt following the full daily schedules.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being face-to-face with a personally-landed a Harris hawk at falconry by Ashford Castle, with Dingle peninsula Slea Head Drive and Giants Causeway also some of my favorites."

Marie

Milpitas, CA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Joe made Ireland come alive. He shared with enthusiasm his knowledge of the history and culture of Ireland. Our fellow 26 travelers were all great. Hoping our paths cross again in the future - I think I hear another Rick Steves' tour calling. We experienced so much of the richness of Ireland - food, beverages, music. We are encouraging our friends to take the same tour!The Irish are a very friendly lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow - fell in love with Dingle and the variety of music and dance there. I always loved Irish music but Dingle was like being a part of a musical Renaissance. Saw instruments played that I had not seen before. Musical people outside of Dingle seemed drawn there by the power of music to touch your soul. Everyone there was so devoted to their passion for music. It was very inspiring!"

Eric

Slatington, PA

Tour: 09/10/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't say enough positives about this trip. It all began with Joe Darcy; he is an OUTSTANDING guide. His knowledge of history, and warm personality is a delightful combination; He made the trip SPECIAL. The accommodations were great...not a bad room the entire two weeks. The final night at the Europa was just perfect. The food choices were also excellent. More choices than previous tours we've been on and again, the restaurants were all excellent selections.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Harris hawks at the falconry school. Cliffs of Moher. Aran Islands (Inishmore) Giants Causeway. Titanic museum"

Linda

Morgantown, WV

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked the variety of experiences such as the historical, the urban and rural environments, music venues, the ancient stone climb up the Aran island, the Great Blasket Center with its story of the Blasket community, the ancient Christian sites. Scenery through the bus windows was special. The tour was well planned and carried out with time for exploring and time for some rest, too. The County Derry guide shared the difficulties of the "troubles" with passion and love for his community.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"it is hard to choose, but perhaps the climb and rope walk at Carride-A-Rede was beautiful and challenging- I wasn't prepared for it, but was so impressed with the beauty. Dublin was impressive and I learned so much at the Kilmanheim Gaol and the sculpture outside. I appreciated the exposure to the history of Ireland."

Mavis

Morgantown, WV

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Best of Ireland 2017 Tour was awesome in many ways. The sites that we visited and the history that we learned were so impressive; I felt like I got a really overview of Ireland and the people. I enjoyed visiting with some locals and experiencing the music in a variety of settings. The tour group was very compatible and cohesive; there was nice balance between structured and free time. All in all, it was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments, but I think the most favorite was when - on 9/11- Cathie took us to the 9/11 Remembrance Garden at Kinsale and then sang the song There Are No Words in her beautiful clear voice. It was such a moving experience. Cathie sang several other times in poignant settings and each of those times was very moving also."

Carol

East Aurora, NY

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour experience and it exceeded my expectations. I thought the tour was very well- organized, and a great deal of thoughtful planning went into designing it. Our tour guide, Cathie was outstanding and her enthusiasm, and love for Ireland made our tour an unforgettable experience. I loved learning about the history and culture of Ireland, and enjoyed our in-depth study of it. I also loved all the walking we did, and meeting people in our free time. Also the music!??

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep herding demonstration was my favorite wow moment! Also seeing the beauty of the Dingle area, and walking up to the Cliffs of Moher!"

Karen

Long Beach, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Oh, my gosh, where do you start? It was all so fantastic. We hit all the highlights of Ireland. I had been to Ireland (not on a tour) 7 years ago & I learned so much and saw things I didn't by myself. Your itinerary is wonderful. Thank you for such a fabulous two weeks!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots to choose from but I think #1 is the falconry at Ashford Castle. Gorgeous setting and hands-on experience was once in a lifetime! Thank you! #2 all of the Antrim coast experiences! Fun-filled days Being in Ireland on 9/11 and stopping to see the forest of trees planted in memorial to the firefighters in NY. Very moving. The "coffin ships" memorial. Hit home for me, as some of my ancestors died on one in route to the US, leaving an orphaned son to extend their legacy."

Lawrence

Long Beach, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first group tour of this type & it far exceeded my expectations. Definitely the way to go! Everything planned with awesome hotels, food, and mini tours daily. Like small groups, so less than 25 would be ideal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ashford Castle. The falcons were ok, but I love the castle and grounds very much. Should be an included hotel!!!! HA HA, too expensive, but I can dream!!"

George

Morgantown, WV

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As in RS trips before, my expectations were met. Cathie was a star! The members joined together nicely. The itinerary was varied and pace reasonable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On 9/11/17, Kinsale, on way to Fort Charles we stopped at The Garden Of Remembrance established by an Irish nurse who worked in NYC. After we stood in silence reflecting on that event, Cathie sang a beautiful tribute."

Grant

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well planned and executed

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bog jumping, drinking moonshine, the falcon school"

Gail

Santa Monica, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent- well planned. Tour guide Cathie Ryan was over the top. She sang to us, took such great care of us, and told us the history of everything. Cathie even arranged to have dinner delivered to our room in Dingle from the restaurant in the beautiful Castlewood B&B when my husband was sick and could not go to the group dinner. Cathie, Brian Ann Tat are wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sheep heading and seeing Shlea Head Drive."

Anita

Ellensburg, WA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was 8th Rick Steves tour and this was definitely one of the best. Our guide loves Ireland and her enthusiasm was contagious. The group we traveled with was one of the most congenial groups as far as being open to all expriences and each other. We were all friends at the end of two weeks! Ireland really is as green as you think it is. Ireland has been through many hard times with are recovering now and the people never lost there ability love ,laugh, and sing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Irish people and their interest and helpful attitude toward us. We felt completely at home in a foreign country. We were in Ireland on the anniversary of 9/11. An Irish women planted memorial trees for all the fallen fire fighters. We realized that event in the America truly effected the rest of the world."

William

Ellensburg, WA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great trip, enjoyed each and every day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just seeing the green, green Ireland and how neat and tidy the country was. Enjoyed the pastoral nature of the country and was so impressed with neatness of households, farmsteads and fields."

Kris

Marshfield, WI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour and we were totally impressed. The tour guide, Cathy, was phenomenal, and all of our meals & lodging first rate. We learned all about the country & got a total overview. Nothing was missed that we are aware of.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Kinsale Garden of Remembrance for 9/11. We were there on 9/11. I was surprised that another country would care so much."

Douglas

East Aurora, NY

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful...( first tour we ever took) tour. Congratulations to Rick Steve's and his entire team! Very well organized from top to bottom. I think the entire tour group would say the Cathie was the key to a very happy and educational two weeks. Give that lady a raise!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention...we were very fortunate to meet the Irish people....that was probably our highlight."

Kathryn

Bristow, VA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being Irish, I loved traveling around Ireland. I especially liked the small towns and friendly people. Cathie was a fantastic tour guide - the best I've ever had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to pick one. I loved Dingle - the hotel, music, pubs, people. The Aran Islands were wonderful - rugged and so different from the rest of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher were dramatic. Galway was so walkable and lively."

Emily

Fairfield, CA

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the opening meeting, we knew this was going to be a cohesive and friendly group of travelers. We hailed from all corners of the United States, and from a variety of walks of life. Our guides were masters at bringing Irish history to life for us. The centuries of drama, tragedy and heartbreak in Irish history, coupled with the tremendous love of life among the Irish people made for a gripping tale every day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Kinsale, our guide suggested we go to Dalton's Pub for the Irish music after dinner. As the performance time neared, the place got increasingly crowded, until it was SRO. We scooted around a table to make room for three "older" ladies, Eileen, Mary and Norrie. Everyone who entered stopped by to give them a kiss or say hello. We had a great evening with them, bought them a round of drinks, and were bowled over when Mary sang, "Danny Boy" to an adoring crowd."

Jack

Marshfield, WI

Tour: 09/08/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Out standing

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the whole trip was a grate Thank you"

Lucia

Fulshear, TX

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time in Ireland. It would have been perfect had the "cold" not permeated itself through the group. I think that half of us got sick. Ireland is a beautiful country and Dara did his best to make it shine. For a short 12 days, we saw and experienced as much as was possible. I especially enjoyed that sights near Dingle and Kinsale - the out-of-door sites were wonderful! The Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Aran islands, etc. Wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was very ignorant of Irish history before the trip. Dara helped - without acting emotional or biased - us to understand the background of the "Troubles". I feel very sad how England forced it's colonization upon Ireland centuries ago.. now with decades of English ancestry in place, I wonder if unification can ever occur. The "Wall" in Belfast was very sad..."

Judy

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent, I wish it could have gone on and on! Dara, our guide was full of information about every thing we saw. I especially liked the music he chose relating to the area or town we were passing through. The places we saw were varied and each interesting in their own way. The food and accommodations were also excellent and the choices of restaurants amazing. Our weather was typically Irish, lots of rainbows, showers, but the sun came out most times when we were walking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Rock of Cashel was near the beginning of the tour. I loved the history and the position and the views from the site."

Ellen

Hornick, IA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized. I would have liked more time at the Book of Kells. While I understand the needs of group planning it was the one place I felt cheated. The Burren turned out to be a bust but that was weather related more than a poor choice. And it was pretty funny when I realized that the wind blown rain hitting my face was really hail! There was a nice balance if group and private time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Book of Kells. Also the wind at the Cliffs of Mohr had to be experienced to be believed."

Robert

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour with my wife, it being one of her life long dreams to visit Ireland and see where her ancestors were from. I don't like to travel, but happy wife - happy life, so I went. She loved every minute of it - a lot of interesting things to do and at the right pace. I have to admit, I loved it too - the worst thing I have to complain about, other than the mediocre fish and chips we had in a restaurant Dara didn't recommend, was the missing Kleenex box in one of the hotel rooms.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't like surprises, and there were none. Everything was consistently very good to great. A few little surprises were the huge dogs at the Millhouse Inn, the free samples at Bushmills, and the falcon landing on my arm."

Cyndy

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual for a RS tour, it was very well organized. It was a good mix of culture, nature, history and museums. We had a very congenial group, maybe too congenial because a couple of our group dinners were very loud/hard to hear each other. The accommodations were excellent, a huge "step up" from our first tour in 2001! Since we've aged that much, the nicer accommodations are definitely appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Dingle Peninsula and the Blasket Island Center. When Dara said we'd have 2 hours at the Center, I wondered why we needed that long. I could have definitely used another hour!"

Kathleen

Springfield, MA

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought that the organization and balance of places visited and activities was very good. I have visited Ireland several times before as I am of Irish heritage but this trip offered some new spots-especially the north. My friend had never been so this trip suited both of us very well. Good travel companions, almost all open to sitting with and being with other travelers. This is nice. Superb guide and bus driver. And they were a nice team.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess I would say seeing the continuing modernization of Ireland. My last visit was in 03 and much has changed. I was happy to see the north."

Robert

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour provided me with an insight of the culture, history, language, political struggle for independence, emigration, cuisine, beautiful countryside, and hardiness of the people. All of my travel expectations were fulfilled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Cliffs of Moyer was my wow moment. The rugged coast line, the wind, the blustery weather, and the awesome views are my most significant memory of the trip."

Lauralee

Calgary, AB

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is my 5 th Rick Steves tour and it met my expectations very well Even Rick cannot control the weather!!!! I was very impressed with our accommodations....the best overall of all the RS tours that I have done Our guide Dara was very prompt and we were always on time which adds so much to the overall feel of the tour It was a treat to have Emily ...she added a lot to the trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Titanic Exhibit I was in Ireland in 2011 the year before the exhibit opened...it is awesome!! Aran Islands...fascinating to see how those Irish live there..what a desolate life but fascinating to learn about Sheep farm......collie herding and sheep shearing...liked that a lot Guinness in Dublin...everyone should see that place....great view from the top too"

William

Fulshear, TX

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour! Dara was the best guide we've had and Emily went out of her way to assist us. Jan and I especially enjoyed the music and dance which Dara wove throughout the tour. Our group was exceptionally friendly, hated to see it end!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The evening of music and dance at the "Book Shop" in Dingle. It was really a family soiree as everyone was related and both young and old participated."

Edward

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary is very well designed. We accomplished our objectives in seeing much of the island of Ireland. We are pleased that Northern Ireland was included in the tour. Dara was well organised and hospitable. We would tour with him again. And, Emily provided able assistance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots of good moments. Perhaps the tour of the Dingle Peninsula was the most outstanding."

Mary

Sioux Falls, SD

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fabulous tour guide in Dara. He was fun and informative gave us lots of little tips to improve out experience and was a expert on the history of the country. Dublin walking tour was well done with a very knowledgeable guide who supplemented the orientation Dara gave us. Here there was a little overlap that could be avoided and perhaps have allowed more time at the Book of Kells which really requires more time than allowed. Eliminating the duplication =more time..

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WOW the wonderful accommodations in Dingle! the scenery, all the shades of green, the Giant's Causeway, the Book of Kells, Dunlace castle where my ancestors were, the Blasket center especially since one of our group's grandmother emigrated from there.... the beers, and in Dingle a young dancer floored us!"

Steve

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

R.S. tour great as usual. Accommodations VERY comfortable and pleasant. Dara very knowledgeable and well organized. My rating for "Outstanding" are your guides who give the information presentations from memory or short notes facing the group on the bus (A VERY HIGH STANDARD). Bus sound system had problems and difficult to hear the information over the PA. Ireland is not a land to observe (like Germany or France) but rather to experience with its deep ambience of HISTORY.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the tie in of the museum at the GPO for the 1916 uprising and the execution yard in the Dublin prison (goal(sp)). So recent, alive and still a driving force in the divided Island Ireland."

Colleen

Plymouth, MN

Tour: 09/03/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was wonderful - a good mix of sites, history, people, food, music and experiences - many of them totally new. Irish toilets were hard pressed to handle groups however!! Overall scenery was exhilarating (as was some of the driving rain!! but it never lasted long) from castles, to cliffs, to rainbows; the pubs and music absolutely delightful; the people charming and the bus driver a rock (he threaded the needle when he shimmied through a tunnel in Derry!)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to have just one - awed by the Trinity College library (just the magnitude, the age, the history); Kilmainham Gaol and what happened there struck me viscerally; the falconry awesome."

Thomas

Pasadena, CA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dara was a great guide...has a real love of Ireland, always had great suggestions for activities in our free time. He even arranged extra entertainment for us. Dennis, the bus driver, was very helpful....besides being a good bus driver."

Kathee

Carnation, WA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt very well cared for and planned for and welcomed. There was variety in the kinds of places we saw and all of them were "wouldn't miss it" stops.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the music/dance events planned by our Guide, Dara"

Laura

Grayslake, IL

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour. This tour lived up to our expectations. We wanted to see as much of Ireland as possible and learn about the history. This tour achieved all of that and more. We did things on the tour (Dingle Peninsula tour, Ashford Castle Falconry, Burren stop, Aran Islands to name a few) that we wouldn't have done on our own. We really enjoyed wandering around the coastal towns and looking at the beautiful scenery and talking to the locals in the pubs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide as well as the local guides were my "wow" moment. They all showed so much passion for Ireland as well as whatever topic they were discussing- Kinsale, the Burren, Derry and the troubles. It was amazing to listen to their stories and to the history or Ireland."

Robert

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful. Enjoyed the sights, though not all equally, of course. I was struck with the beauty of many of the small towns we went through. I especially enjoyed Kinsale. Favorite other places were Dingle, Bushmill's, and Titanic Museum, and the Londonderry tour. But this isn't to say I didn't enjoy most of the other sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nothing to add here."

Stephen

Eagle, ID

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we were not disappointed. The tour was very well coordinated and exceeded my expectations. The accommodations and group meals were excellent and we had a first class tour guide that really paid attention to details and individual needs. Outstanding trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoyed all aspects of trip and tour. Really enjoyed Jamison Whiskey tour."

Dennis

Meridian, ID

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was an excellent overview of Ireland history, culture and landscapes. The schedule was a good combination of organized activities and free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no single "wow" moment - we had many. We particularly enjoyed the smaller communities. Dara's network of musicians that performed for the group was definitely a highlight. All locations were worthwhile. We particularly enjoyed Dingle, Kinsale and Portrush. Most enjoyable to me were the local people that we met that have designed a way to practice their craft/profession in the community that they love: a master craftsman producing crystal in Dingle, musicians/dancers, brewers."

Lauren

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent. This was our first Rick Steves tour and we enjoyed it very much. The itinerary had more depth and variety than those from other groups. We were, for instance, happy to bypass the Blarney Stone! The group was congenial, though a bit larger than we're used to. Tour maestro Dara and his driver/assistant Dennis, provided clear and accurate commentary, managed our wide-ranging group, and made us all aware of Ireland, its history, its people, and our own ties to it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmm. Rainbows over the Giants' Causeway? Sheepdogs responding to distant calls? The mini gardens of the Burren? Kinsale's bright streets or the life tree by the ring of stones? The fragrance of Bushmill's or church concerts at dusk in Dingle? The glide of a Harris hawk, jesses tinkling, onto my gloved wrist? The music and dance in Belfast? the moving last moments of the Titanic? In the end, however, I have to say Dingle-- when music,dance, mystery, and mood all came together."

Matt

Grayslake, IL

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was wonderful, I particularly enjoyed the smaller towns, tidy towns, we went to, those felt like a true Ireland experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A couple of wow moments come to mind, interacting with the locals at the small pubs for the music events were great. My favorite moment was doing falconry, having a wild bird fly toward you and land on your arm was really cool for me."

Howard

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour was wonderful! Dara is an ideal guide - very knowledgeable, fun, and caring for the group - in total and individually. Tour and dining arrangements and individual requests were handled seamlessly. Overall the tour was well planned with sights worth seeing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was the Giant's Causeway - it met all of my high expectations going in - supplemented by a spectacular rainbow."

Peter

Courtenay, BC

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Everything provided by Rick Steves' Tours was excellent. The accommodation (with one exception), the comfort of the bus, the group meals, the breakfasts, the guide (both Dara and local guides) and Denis the driver were super. This being the first group tour we have taken, was a bit of an eye opener for sure and I'm not sure we will do another one in the near future, but that assessment puts no fault on Rick Steves' Tours nor their personnel. We simply weren't prepared for the "group" aspect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Scenery!! The Greenery!! The Cliffs!!"

Henry

Junction City, KS

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip met all my expectations of what I hoped to see , hear and taste of Ireland. Our guide, Dara, went up and above the call of duty many times to insure our experience, hotel, meal, etc. was superb and that we had no concerns. He took us to or provided us with suggestions for meals or authentic local music in a pub, etc. that were not on our itinerary. The other travelers in our group were a great group to get along with and made the trip even more special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cliffs of Moher stop and the Giants Causeway stop that we made"

Barbara

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was vey well organized. I thought we received a good overview of Irish history and culture. The music and food were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough one to answer. The drive around the Dingle Peninsula was spectacular, flying Hudson Hawks was great and every musical event was very special."

Helen

Courtenay, BC

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour had something for every traveler. It met and often exceeded our expectations in every way. Our tour guide, Dara, was excellent, possibly the best part of the tour. The scenery was beautiful, our accommodation was beyond our expectations, the dinners provided by the tour were unexpectedly remarkable and the local attractions were interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had so many favorites that I can't select just one; the cliffs of Moher, the evidence of the Troubles in Belfast, the Dingle Penninsula, the Irish pub entertainment"

Mary

Meridian, ID

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have looked forward to visiting Ireland for many years. The 14 day tour was a wonderful way in which to get an overall "view" of Ireland (its beauty, the people, the history). The selection of cities, villages, and venues only enhanced the experience. It seemed appropriate to start in Dublin, wind our way thru charming villages, then end in Belfast. If only the time spent in rural Ireland could be extended (maybe a 3 week tour?)!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are so many "wow" moments, it's hard to pick just one. However, all of the coastal drives were spectacular (Dingle, Cliffs of Moher, Antrim coast[INVALID]especially Giant's Causeway). Other equally outstanding moments on our tour were the musical venues. We were privileged to see well known singers, dancers, story tellers, and instrumentalists (favorites being the Riverdance dancer at a Dingle bar, "Duo" at the Dingle Music Shop, and group of musicians and dancers at a small venue in Belfast)."

Kathy

Green Valley, AZ

Tour: 09/01/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was so well organized, from our first orientation and meeting all our travel companions to each daily tour. I know if we hadn't chosen the tour, we would not have seen most of what we saw. The country and weather was far above expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each day was a new 'wow'.... I was completely surprised each day with what we did. Our tour guide, Dara, made a special stop at the Portrush Golf Club (home of the 2019 Open) just for a few avid golfers to purchase souvenirs. I really enjoyed our nights of watching the local musicians and dancers, my favorite was Tomas in Dingle at the Music Shop. Just would like to day we had the best tour guide Dara and bus driver, Dennis."

Rawy

Englewood, FL

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was mostly as expected based on our Yugoslavia tour with Tina 4 years earlier. Many lovely sites, local flavor, possibly too much to fit some days. Guide Lynn was excellent. The group was nice but too big at 28 Vs 23 last time. I am willing to pay more for groups of 16-20. Will probably try OAT next time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"cliffs and local music (most of which we found on our own)"

Gerard

Overland Park, KS

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a wonderful time and met some great people both the locals and the tour group. I have a much better appreciation for the history and culture of Ireland. Was really struck by the ruggedness of the country, which explains a lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the fort on the Aran Islands. Spectacular views."

Ian

Pontypool, ON

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We picked the Rick Steves' tour so we could comfortably tour the best areas of Ireland, along with learning the history and social/ political climate of why Ireland is the way it is and how it got there. We were not disappointed. The area guides were outstanding in bringing to life the area history. Our tour guide, Lynn Corken, was the perfect mix of group controller and encyclopedia. It was wonderful to have someone so understanding of the country and it's geopolitical history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think just about every day had a "wow" moment. Every bit of the tour was filled with great scenery, things to do, historical facts and wonderful accommodations. I guess Wow would mean I would go back and do it again. My wow was the accommodations in the Dingle Peninsula. We were fortunate to be housed at Clonmara, and our hosts Blandina and Michael O'Connor went well above the expected to make our stay special."

Allen

Kingston, ON

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Lynn was absolutely fabulous. She made the trip, no doubt about it. Overall, I enjoyed the trip but would have preferred more free time, i.e. less group suppers. The itinerary was great. I wouldn't change it a bit, though it would be nice to have a bit more flexibility. When we were at the Cliffs of Moher, it was foggy until ten minutes before we had to leave. Given a bit more flexibility, we could have really enjoyed the views, but bus had to leave.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hospitality at the Clonmara B&B. I felt like we were visiting relatives."

Judith

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

wonderul and enthusiastic. We accomplished a lot in the 2 weeks. Overall I think it was well organized and led. Loved out guide Lynn. I really can't believe we did all that we did!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry school and getting to experience that was so amazing. I hope you keep that in the tour!"

Maureen

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 08/27/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This tour was a very thorough view of Ireland and No.Ireland covering key towns, cities, important sites to see. It included a good sampling of authentic Irish food and music. Lodgings ranged from very good to adequate. Our tour guide, Lynn, was outstanding. I appreciated her daily calendar, her great sense of humor, her love and knowledge of all things Irish, and her welcoming attitude. She is a good ambassador of the Rick Steves's philosophy of travel. Pamela, our driver was super.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being able to see the Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head drive, on a sunny day! The fog lifting at the Cliffs of Moher 10 minutes before we had to leave! Getting to spend about 2 hours in the Titanic Museum. Walking a trail at the Giants Causeway in light rain. Hearing some great Irish music played by a fabulous violinist, having Tommy Graham as our guide through Trinity College, seeing Kilmaimhaim Gaol."

Kathleen

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our main memories of our Ireland tour in 3 words - the dry stone walls everywhere, the music, the humor of everyone we met. We loved the countryside, the small towns/villages, joining into the action in the pubs. We were amazed by the Titanic Museum in Belfast and Susie Millar's personal connection to it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Participating in the Ireland School of Falconry hawk walk"

Carolyn

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I normally travel independently, so I don't have a great deal of tour experience. Nonetheless, I felt that this tour was excellent. It gave me a great taste of Ireland, the people & history of the 2 countries. I personally love "culture" like going to museums & seeing castles & churches. This tour was a little light in this aspect, but I still felt that I received a good overview of Ireland. And the 4 days I spent in Dublin pre-tour helped me to get my "culture fix".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose as there were many "wow" moments, & they were all different from each other. As far as Irish history goes, the Kilmainham Gaol gave me such a meaningful introduction to Irish history. The Cliffs of Moher were totally spectacular. And since I have wanted to visit the Aran Islands for over 40 years, our trip trip to Inishmore was memorable. I also loved the several Irish music concerts that were offered to us as well as visiting various pubs to hear locals play there as well."

David

San Diego, CA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Tour with Rick Steves' and we were not disappointed. We enjoyed the towns, accommodations,and tour guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour guide, Susie, explaining how the Titanic was important to her. Her great grandfather went down with it and his body was not recovered."

Mary

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I LOVED every moment of this tour! Ireland's people and countryside are beautiful. I especially enjoyed the time we spent on the west coast and the various opportunities to hear live Irish music. The balance of time on the bus and outside in the fresh, often misty :-) air was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One night we went to The Blue Heaven in Kinsale. The three performers read the audience reaction and geared their show more to American country music. They were very good, but I told them as we were leaving that I was a little disappointed that they had not played more traditional Irish music. They had gauged what we wanted by what they audience sang along to. I told them I would have sung along if they had played "The Mountains of Mourn." They sang it for me right then! Gave me goosebumps!"

Stephen

Monroe, WA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed myself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That was the sheep dog and the sheep shearing demonstration."

Jim

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour guide in Susie and the audio devices are wonderful. This is my 10 RS tour and the first to use the hearing devices for all of the tour. Thank you from a hearing impaired traveler

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Cliffs of Moher were quite spectacular"

Kathleen

Monroe, WA

Tour: 08/25/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our whole tour experience was excellent! I traveled with my husband, and we aren't used to a lot of social contact. We were worried that a tour might mean too much "togetherness". But the people in our group were all easy to like, and there was ample time to do things on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose! We really enjoyed the sheep farm and their wonderful dogs. It was such a lovely location, and a connection with local people trying to cope with changing times. The Great Blasket Centre gave a sensitive portrayal of a vanished way of life. Best of all was Susie's story of her family connection with the Titanic. The pennies given by her great grandfather to his son before he sailed are priceless, what a privilege to see them and to hear her tell the story."

Barbara

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations in many ways. Our guide was exceptional - knowledgeable, approachable, and very responsive to concerns or issues as they surfaced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all really cool, but my favorite was the falconry experience. With the sheep dog / shearing demonstrations as a close second."

Linda

Laurel, MD

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour in a wonderful country with wonderful people with a wonderful tour guide; Joe. Did you get that I thought all of this was wonderful! This was our 4th tour and we came home tired but very satisfied from the sites, food, lodgings, and events. Resting up for another! I was not prepared for the amazing 360 degree views. Everywhere you looked was a wow. Thanks for the experience. Love the Irish people and the opportunities to learn.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Falcon flying and all of the amazing scenery."

Martin

Pleasanton, CA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first R. Steves tour and I enjoyed it very much. There was enough time to do things on our own which I appreciated. I would have liked to spend another day in Belfast but I also understand there is only so much time available. I have done trips with other tour company's which were very good but this was my first organized international tour. I liked all the pre-trip information and suggestions, very helpful. Will begin planning my next R. Steves Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being my first international trip with a tour company, it was all good."

Nancy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour with RS 17 yrs ago. While some of the places were the same, there was enough differences that it felt fresh and a new experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Kinsale and of course the Dingle Town. The Falconer experience- great!"

David

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was truly outstanding. Everything was taken care of, the tour guide was excellent, activities varied daily, and new knowledge and experiences gained with no stress. It exceeded all my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry school at Ashford Castle and the experience of getting to work with the hawk was completely unexpected, totally unique, and was a 'once in a lifetime moment'. It was thrilling!"

Ron

Carmel, IN

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

There where so many, from the pubs to the Titanic museum in Belfast. Hard to pick the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The music performance by Rosie and Matt in Dingle."

David

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We may have a bit more perspective on this tour than some others, although that is not to imply our observations are any more accurate. We say this because this was our ninth Steves tour, it immediately followed the RS tour in Scotland, and we took the Best of Ireland tour in 2000 (guide was Martin.) Both the tour and Ireland have changed in some significant respects, and those impacted our impressions. Our overall experience was excellent, and this was a better tour than the one in 2000.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Music nights in Dingle, the walks at the Antrim coast near the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede footbridge, the local tours at the Rock of Cashel and Kinsale, the drive through Connemara, and the Falconry demo."

Robert

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Joe was an excellent guide. the accommodation and transportation were spot on great locations and easy to walk to dinners, banks, and in to town. Each day it was clearly posted what we were going to do which was fantastic. the driver was courteous and prompt and professionally engaging with the tour members. I liked that we got out and walked around and went in to areas to see the exceptional beauty of Ireland. I was impressed with the tour and would not hesitate to go again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was really impressed with 2 specific events, the working sheep farm and the demonstration of the working dogs to heard the sheep and the school of falconry. these were something I would not have seen on my own and both were very impressive!"

Phyllis

Carmel, IN

Tour: 08/20/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Ireland and our 4th Rick Steves tour. The tour was planned and covered all the areas of Ireland we wanted to see. We feel we really got to connect with the Irish people and their history. It is such a unique and beautiful country. Our time couldn't have been better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick out one wow moment as there were so many. We loved the concerts we went to, the scenery was incredible. We went to a falconry and got to fly a falcon - which was really special. Each day brought its own wow moment."

Robert

Painesville, OH

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cathie is an incredible guide. The tour group had no grumps. I learned a tremendous amount of the history and people behind Ireland. Dennis, our driver, was "The Quiet Man" who did an awesome job of navigating the narrow roads of Ireland. The weather was really good with only 3 "soft" days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I should say The school of Falconry. And it was terrific. My favorite "wow" moment was learning about the history of the peoples and the country from our local guides, from Cathie and The Epic Center and Museum of Archaeology."

Bruce

Louisville, CO

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the Hawk Walk at Ashford Castle. All the birds were wonderful, but having that beautiful hawk landing and taking off from my hand was glorious. It seemed like everyone else thought so too."

Verdery

San Diego, CA

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland is simply amazing! Being able to visit places ancient and modern, full of beauty and history broadened and deepened my knowledge of Ireland and of people in general. I also enjoyed being able to walk around interesting towns and to tromp along paths across interesting countryside. I particularly liked the music, though getting to know the people was a close runner-up. And visiting "thin places" was very meaningful as well. And the food was interesting and delicious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose, but having our tour guide sing--in Irish--a children's carol in Cormac's Chapel at the Rock of Cashel was particularly moving. Close runner-up: getting to "fly" a hawk at a falconry at Ashford Castle."

Michael

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We cannot praise Cathie Ryan enough. Well organized, friendly, thoughtful, kind, and knowledgable. She even sang to us on several occasions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The falconry tour and demonstration. It was something we did not expect and was truly unique."

Dave

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was excellent and informational as well. Cathie was an excellent guide and was very courteous and knowledgeable. The events were very well coordinated and I thought that the 14 days was presented very well timewise.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was the Ashford Castle with the falcon school."

Arthur

San Diego, CA

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked the fact that our tour guide (Cathie) is a talented singer and that she would occasionally sing to us while we were touring in the bus."

Elizabeth

Painesville, OH

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Cathie made the tour of Ireland an unforgettable experience. The country was beautiful and were the people. The tour was very busy with much time on the bus. This was unavoidable with the coast line. The tour was physically more challenging than the Portugal. I would go back to Ireland in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The suspension bridge was my "wow" since I am afraid of heights. It made me get outside my comfort zone."

Rachael

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. It was a great blend of history, scenery, music, and food. I learned so much and would love to go back to Ireland!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hawk walk was amazing. I've never done anything like that."

James

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I would rate the trip good about 6.5 to 7 on a 10 point scale. Guide Cathy was very good. The food was surprisingly good and we saw and did a lot, perhaps too much. There was only one young person on the trip and the average age must have been 70 so all the long walks up and down hills was a lot to ask. I could have done without the aran island sweater commercial and dun aenghus. same with the rope bridge. Belfast also disappointed and newgrange should be on this trip. The hotels were average.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cliffs of Moher"

Gregory

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beyond expectations. From Cathie, the country, natural wonders (Moher, hills, fjords), ancient sites (forts, castles, manors and churches), animals (herding dogs and falcons), museums, all of the local guides,food (all of our group meals and Cathie's recommendations) and the Irish people made this the best of our four Rick Steves Tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Almost impossible to pick one. Toss up between the falconry school and the amazing food."

William

Penngrove, CA

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip to Ireland could not have been any better. The locations that we visited were wonderful. The accommodations (overall) were wonderful. Our guide was off the chart. She gave of herself so generously and sincerely that we never once felt like cattle being herded into and out of a tour bus -- which we had feared.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are too many to mention: The DIngle Penninsula. The visit to Dingle Crystal. The Blasket Islands interpretive center. The Rock of Cashel. Many many more. Cathie singing in a 1300 year old abbey!!! (She is a gem!) The Titanic Museum is one of the best such places I have ever visited."

Mary

Madison, WI

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'm amazed at how little I knew about Ireland's history, geography, and culture. I'd heard that the Irish are very friendly, but couldn't appreciate that until I had interactions with people on the street, in museums, shops and restaurants. From my arrival in Dublin through the bus ride back to the airport, I had very pleasant exchanges with everyone I met.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time at the Burrens, and trying to imagine creating arable land from this landscape."

Stacy

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a lot of fun on the tour with my mother-in-law. I'd been to Ireland in 2016 but only stayed on the west coast. I yearned to see more and your tour provided that. Great outings, good food, and an AWESOME tour guide made it a great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have a couple of wow moments actually. First was while we were staying at the Dingle Skellig. We took a walk out to the lighthouse near the hotel and it was just a very relaxing way to spend an hour with great views. The second was at the Ashford Castle. It wasn't really the falcon part that was the wow moment (although that was great too), but the beautiful walk up to it through the trees. I live in Arizona where we don't get that kind of greenery so it was just breathtaking."

Margaret

Penngrove, CA

Tour: 08/18/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first tour, and we loved it. The right balance of free time and organized activities. The planned meals were at great restaurants. People should heed the information about packing light as you will be responsible for your own stuff.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the wonderful music and history lessons."

Ann

Bothell, WA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Michael and I thoroughly enjoyed our time visiting important historical and present-day sites. We had researched Irish history before the trip an appreciated seeing the places that we had read about in our books.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think learning about the history of Blasket Island was one of the 'wow' moments. The museum was thoughtfully laid out and gave me an appreciation of the challenges that the people faced. Peg and the other characters that were the focus had skills in many areas, and those allowed the culture to survive as long as it did."

Gregory

Chugiak, AK

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have always wanted to visit Ireland. I retired recently and this was on the top of my list. I had originally thought about doing the tour on my own using a Rick Steves' guide book for advice. Instead I decided to try a Rick Steves tour, my first and I am glad I did. First and foremost our guide Dara made the trip special. His knowledge and love of Ireland, which he freely shared with the tour group added a new dimension to the tour experience. The pace of the tour was just right.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Falconry at Ashford Castle. Comedy routine at Dew Drop Inn in Galway. Music in Curran Bar in Dingle, and Concert at Dingle Music shop. Sheep herding demonstration in Killarney on the way to Dingle. Dingle itself was the highlight of the tour on a tour full of highlights. Dinner at Stix and Stones on our final night in Belfast. Riding on the bus and listening to our guide Dara, he had great jokes and stories about the areas as we were driving through. Castle Wood House in Dingle was great."

Deborah

Cary, NC

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour, but there will be many more in my future! I'm fairly well traveled, but I've always traveled independently, but I'm finding that there are definitely many pros to traveling with a tour group. The main downside in my opinion is that I wanted more time at some of the stops along the way, but I guess I can do those on my own if I return to Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, but mostly the gorgeous landscapes in and around the Dingle peninsula and the Antrim Coast/Causeway of the Giants. I also loved the town of Cong, the Ashford Castle/Hotel and the falconry experience! I also adored northern Ireland from the gorgeous coastline to the charming people in both Derry and Belfast! I felt so welcomed there; it was a "wee" experience I will not soon forget!"

Leonard

Edwardsville, IL

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We find it hard to describe to our friends how much we enjoyed this trip. We left feeling in love with Ireland. Our guide Dara made it happen. The sights are beautiful but the trip was so much more than that. It was the things that we learned and things we experienced that we remember like music in Dingle and the Scilly walk in Kinsale and making new friends. Our guide brought us to understand and appreciate Ireland and its people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When my friends ask that question I answer "On which day?" But forced to pick one it would be the night in J. Curran's pub in Dingle in a crowd packed so tight that breathing was difficult listening to Irish music played by a group that included Rosie Mackensie and John Sheahan. Rosie's CD is now one of my treasures."

Teresa

Kenmore, WA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience far surpassed my expectations. Everything we did and saw in Ireland was outstanding but what made the tour exceptional was our tour guide, Dara. Because he lives in Dingle and is connected to so many people he arranged opportunities for us to experience Ireland in an unique way that I will always remember, especially the music.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The concert Dara arranged for us at his family's music store. It was a very authentic experience with beautiful music. His cousin, mother, father, uncle and Dara all sang and/or played instruments."

Andrew

Kent, WA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour is a great way to see and experience the real Ireland. The island is full of physical history and amazing views, but what makes it more real is the depth and passion by which the guides tell the story of the place and the people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle peninsula was amazing by land and sea."

Nathaniel

Statham, GA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had heard from other Rick Steve's travelers that the Ireland tour was fantastic. We signed up, and it was fantastic. Ireland is just a beautiful country, the history is fascinating, the people are friendly, and the pubs are special. Our tour guide, Dara, was superb! He was fun, funny, informative...and committed to introducing us to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland - including the Irish pub life...which just gets you smiling and tapping your feet to the music or dance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was a wow day - seeing the stunning coastal beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, followed by a memorable night in a Dingle pub."

Michael

The Villages, FL

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

best R/S trip we have taken. Dara was outstanding. Eclectic , gregarious , bawdy ,intnese and delightful. The history , geography , cultural , political social and international education was beyond compare. I am a history junkie and I came back well educated beyond my previous studies. I appreciated the honesty in explaining the "troubles" . Very necessary to understanding the long term historical perspective. The international political current affairs was interesting to hear from a European

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't pick one. I was there to visit my ancestral beginnings [ I am an O'Rourke] .The thought that I had returned to my Great Grand Fathers birthplace carried an emotional connection to the land."

Colleen

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed every day with all the variety of activities, gorgeous scenery, historical sites, yummy food, (amazing bakery's) and very fun tour group with a outstanding guide and coach driver. We especially enjoyed the colorful tidy towns, Seaport cities and their flowers. We were celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary and Dara our guide made sure it was a very special day and evening we will never forget. Very memorable vacation!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dingle boat ride, sheep dogs, the Comedians, last night dinner and dancers/musicians, St. Patrick's show, castle tour, Titanic Museum"

Ted

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's great to have someone else figure out the lodging, transportation, tourist attraction, dining, and schedule issues...we got to enjoy Ireland with an amenable group and informed, enthusiastic guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sharing pub music with the Dubliners' John Sheehan...participating in falconry at Ashford Castle...Mary Howard explaining the flora, fauna, and geology of the Burren...exploring the history of The Troubles in Belfast--and their current manifestations in art and attitudes."

Mark

Colbert, WA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very valuable as a history lesson of this country. Our guide, who was from Dingle, was very knowledgeable about the area and history of each area we visited. Not only did we learn about the culture but the heart and soul of the Irish people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really enjoyed Dingle. We were able to listen to local vocalists and musicians perform in their own environment, the pub, I felt more like a local than a tourist. One performer was the last living member of the Dubliners. He was amazing. All musicians played from the heart."

Karen

Berwyn, PA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour of Ireland was amazing. Due to some interesting twists prior to the trip, I did very little research. I thought I would be lost or at least uninterested far various parts of the tour. I wasn't. Our tour guide, Dara was amazing as were all of the individual tour guides at the various locations. The tour was just the right blend of history and fun. The pubs and the music were heavily intertwined throughout the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about Irish history and how it likely impacted my great grandparents decisions to emigrate to the US."

Jacque

Colbert, WA

Tour: 08/13/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was absolutely amazing. I truly felt I had a very intimate, authentic experience into Irish culture, history, arts and music. This tour covers most of the island, and in doing so, gives you the rich diversity of scenery, language, foods, people and politics. The tour had local guides at most every stop that provided a more in depth understanding of that particular local that was priceless. The landscapes were breathtaking. The people were warm, friendly and always ready to help.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments on this tour!! The falconry at Ashford Castle was incredible! The music provided by Irish legends in a simple pub (arranged by Dara, our guide) was beyond words."

Mary

Fond Du Lac, WI

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ireland is beautiful & the people very friendly. I found the sites we visited to be very interesting. I enjoyed seeing the country side as we drove from place to place. I really liked the hedge rows & seeing the sheep dot the fields. The visit to the sheep farm was especially interesting as well as the time spent learning about the hawks of Ashford Castle. The tour at Derry to learn about the troubles was also interesting. It was a very enjoyable trip with a great group of fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a couple of moments. The Rock of Cashel, the Giant's Causeway & at the Titanic museum to see how high the ship sat out of the water."

Ralph

Washington, DC

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our sixth RS tour and we are already planning our next one. As with each of the others, the tour guide, along with the tour assistant and the local guides, provided the insights that we could not get if we visited on our own. An outstanding driver and fellow tourists added to the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Wow" moments every day, but the most memorable and meaningful was in Belfast in front of the Titanic memorial when our guide (Susie) recounted the story of the loss of her great grandfather on that ship.She succeeded in transforming the well-known large-scale tragedy into a much more personal story about the individual losses that so many families incurred."

Molly

Evansville, IN

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very enjoyable and educational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Belfast and Susie Millar's family backgound with the Titanic disaster."

Linda

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Ireland was a wonderful adventure! We loved seeing so much of the country, both the important sites all tourists are interested in and the behind the scenes special spots too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many...I especially loved the grounds of Ashford Castle and the falconry."

Christine

Madison, WI

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Susie was a wonderful guide. Knowledgeable about the history of Ireland. Always ready to answer questions. Able to corral a large group and keep us on time without any obvious coercion. Accommodating. Aine, our tour assistant, was a lovely addition. Steven was an amiable and conscientious driver. Hotels were nice, though sometimes cramped. Food was excellent. Perfect balance of free time and "together" time. Loved the music and in-depth history we got. Great balance of varying activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cobblestone Pub in Dublin. Loved other pubs at night, but this one had musicians dropping in from the neighborhood to jam, not for pay but just because they love their Irish music. Arrived 4:20 pm & there were 4 musicians. When we left 2+ hours later there were 17 of them, ages 7-80, playing a variety of instruments and having a ball. Loved the serendipity of it! (The 2 mile walk each way was well worth it.)"

Steve

Valdosta, GA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my fifth tour and it again met my expectations. Good guide, excellent bus driver, compatible group from all over the country. Good use of free time. Wished for more time in Belfast and could have done without the rope bridge although the scenery is brilliant once you get there. Felt it was too much sugar for a dime. Not nearly enough time to do the Titanic exhibition justice, but it is certainly impressive. Local guides very good. You need a new pic of Tim Collins in guide book!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many ... Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head Driver, Cliffs of Moher, falconry, Giant's Causeway, Titanic Exhibition (Susie's moving story of her great grandfather)."

Diane

Trabuco Canyon, CA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was well planned, on time, excellent city guides, comfortable and clean bus with a friendly driver, knowledgeable tour director that made you feel special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Cliffs of Mohr and the Giants Causeway. The scenery was one of the many reasons I wanted to see Ireland and these places did not disappoint."

Kathleen

Washington, DC

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really appreciated the history - something I was rather vague on before the tour. Susie, and her perspective, was great. Her great grandfather's story was very touching. Our bus driver, Steven, was a really pleasant part of the tour. We connected with him very well and he was a real addition to the tour, beyond being a good driver. I would suggest spending more time at the Giant's Causeway even if we have to skip the rope bridge. Don't skip Bushmill's, however.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several: Visit to Falcon training. I would love to have had a tour of the public rooms at Ashford Castle, if possible. Giant's Causeway. Cliffs of Moher, Inishmore and Dun Aengus; loved the Burren tour and the Burren national park. The ancient Yew Tree in cloister of the monastery ruins where we stopped to see the gardens of a big house - possibly day 8 or 9. Would have liked to spend more time in that park; possibly tour house. Sheep dog demonstration. Roadside cross for famine victims."

Jean

Converse, TX

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I appreciate the thought that obviously went into planning the tour itinerary especially the emphasis on the history of the country. The local guides were passionate and knowledgable and our dedicated guide, Susie, was great at handling the group dynamics and logistics. I feel the description of the tour and the tour experience was accurate...no surprises or disappointments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite overall memory is of the Irish landscape. The rolling, lush-green hills with peacful grazing sheep dotting the stone walled fields...but my one single experience is of having Lima the hawk sitting on my arm at the falconry. I think it is very important that this particular activity happened after the members of our group had been together long enough to form relationships with each other. This way, we enjoyed watching each others turns as much as our own."

Laurie

Claremont, CA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time exploring Ireland with Susie Millar as our guide. Susie is not just knowledgeable, she is passionate about the history and the soul of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; she conveyed this throughout the two weeks we traveled. It is not easy to make each person in a group of 26 feel both part of a group and individually appreciated, yet Susie managed to do this every day. All of Ireland is both beautiful and historically rich; the combination can't be beat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Having the opportunity to learn about the Titanic from Susie! Her expertise and personal connection...Wow! Also, celebrating our anniversary with a scavenger hunt in Dingle that led us to an impromptu waltz accompanied on the accordion by the owner of the music store we visited along the way!"

Nancy

Racine, WI

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I am very glad I opted for the 14 day tour. I very much enjoyed seeing the extra sights and the stay in Kinsale and Portrush. As our guide, Susie, led us on an evening beach walk at Portrush, we were treated to memorable and highly photographic sunset. Our farewell dinner and evening of traditional Irish music and dancing was vey enjoyable and a wonderful way to end the tour. The food at all the group dinners was excellent. The best pub night with music was at Dalton's in Kinsale.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moments were some of the simple things: fabulous bread and butter pudding at Castlewood Hotel breakfast, sheep farm visit and watching the dog herd sheep, and School of Falconry at Ashbury Castle where the hawk landed on my arm. If I were traveling on my own, I wouldn't have done the last two and yet they are some of my favorite memories."

Christa

Blandon, PA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a wonderful experience in every way. I really can't think of any ways to make it better! Wonderful hotels, tour guides, dinners, sights, museums, towns,, and Irish landscapes.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to decide.... I loved the Aran island tour, especially after visiting the Blasket Center..... . Thinking about how different life is for the people living there compared to the fast pace of life in the US. My favorite town was Dingle and the B and B there. All the tour guides were terrific. I liked how each one was different. They explained things so well."

Larry

Claremont, CA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We learned a great deal about Ireland from Susie who has a wealth of knowledge. She was professional but displayed a great sense of humor when appropriate. Susie and Aine were always make sure our needs were met and that we were enjoying the trip. The accommodations were top drawer and conveniently located. Steven, our bus driver, was very professional, personable, and skilled at maneuvering the narrow roads of small villages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I particularly enjoyed the hawks at Ashford Castle. I enjoyed being taught the history of Ireland by Susie as we drove along in the bus. The historical sights added a depth to the learning experience. Susie brought the Titanic experience to a deeper level by sharing her family's experiences. Ireland's scenery was beautiful but rugged."

Maggie

Valdosta, GA

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

All of the tour was well organized. I especially appreciated the birthday celebrations. The guide made the tour fun and educational.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Flying the falcon."

Don

Longwood, FL

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic. The group coehesiveness was good. Took in a lot in a short time. NEVER could you do this and see as much "on your own". Another R/Steves fantastic tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just the Ireland experience and all its beauty. Unbelievable scenic views!!! Loved the side tours - sheep dogs, crystal glass tour, hawks experience etc. But then, I loved the alabaster tour we had in Italy just as well. Unbelieveable experience. Well worth the cost."

Noel

Libertyville, IL

Tour: 08/06/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first guided tour ever. Usually, we are DIYers with a Rick Steves Tour Book and months of planning to create an itinerary with the logistics built in. We didn't have time this year and it was great to not have to worry about getting lost or where to park, etc. Perhaps next time we will consider a "My Way" tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery is absolutely breathtaking- My pictures do not do justice to these two amazing countries. The folk music everywhere was special but in Dingle, I liken it to Nashville where musicians used to gather to perfect their craft by working with other talented musicians. The trip is like a series of wrapped package that one unwraps one experience, one day at a time."

Frank

San Pedro, CA

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour so we knew what to expect. We were not disappointed. Our guide Pascal was very knowledgeable. He was extraordinary in meeting our needs. Patrick, our driver handled the narrow roads professionally and was always there with the bus meeting us with a smile as we boarded. The scenery was spectacular.The group meals were great. I gained about 5 pounds. With a couple of exceptions the guides were top notch. The hotels were convenient and generally comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The amount of music available all along the route. WE sure enjoyed the good craic in the hotels and pubs."

Raymond

Chevy Chase, MD

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent in every respect--sights, experiences, sense of the Irish past and collective memory, life in present-day Ireland. Hotels and food. And Pascal gets highest marks--by turns informative, funny, and compelling in his illustrations of life in Ireland. He gave us a feel for Irish culture, and what life in Ireland is like, including collective memories.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Irish music in Dingle, at St. James's Church, at the Dingle Music and Coffee Shop, and at several bars."

George

Farmington Hills, MI

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the entire experience. Pascal was a fountain of information about Ireland. He was happy to answer even our most naive questions. I appreciated his sincere concern about our safety at each stop. I also appreciated Pascals expressed love for his country with important emphasis on the pre-Christian, Christian, and modern struggles and troubles finding and finally achieving a Free Republic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The trip over to Innismore island, and the tour of the Blaskin Islands Information Center. I only regret not taking the tour over to the Blaskins. Pascal has inspired me to go back to Ireland. He told many wonderful stories."

Gary

Corsicana, TX

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Pascal, was a blast! He was excellent and kept our group entertained. He made our trip wonderful. Ireland was much more beautiful than I expected. The green of the countryside was amazing. The Irish people were all very friendly and helpful. We stayed in beautiful hotels and had excellent food. I especially enjoyed the small towns of Kinsale and Dingle. The music performed in some of our hotels was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Slea Head Drive and the scenery along the sea were stunning. Ashford Castle and the hawk experience were outstanding. Dunlace Castle was spectacular, and the Carrick-a-Rede rope footbridge was quite an experience--not to be missed."

Sheila

Twin Falls, ID

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Once again, our Rick Steves vacation did not disappoint! Our trip to Ireland this summer marks our third tour with Rick Steves. We couldn't have been happier with our 2-week tour through Ireland with our great guide and wonderful coach driver! Each provided valuable and humorous insight into their delightful country and its beautiful people. Please see comments at the end about this tour feeling more 'rushed' than the other Rick Steves tours we've done. thanks :)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I asked my husband this question and he said hands-down for him it was his time spent with the Falconry School at the Ashford Castle in Cong working with the Raptors. He LOVED that interactive experience! For me, I have many favorites; the outstanding music in Dingle, walking the charming streets of Kinsale, talking with the local weavers about yarn (I'm a knitter), touring the remote wind-swept Aran Islands, sampling Irish Whiskeys, and watching the border collies do their work herding."

Peter

Freeland, MD

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip exceeded my expectations. This was our first trip using any tour company and we were fortunate to book with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire country of Ireland was my wow moment. The beauty of the countryside is like nothing I have ever experienced."

Theresa

Freeland, MD

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was more than I could have ever asked for! My husband and I had the time of our life, learned so much about the wonderful country of Ireland, met wonderful people, saw places I still cant believe we saw. The places we stayed were charming! The towns we visited and the tours we experienced I truly believe we will remember for the rest of our lives!!!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The entire landscape of Ireland (that we experienced) was bigger than a WOW for me. I literally was blown away at the beauty and AWESOMENESS...."

Dennis

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip. The places we visited were all interesting. Local guides were excellent. I can't imagine a better leader than Pascal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The music was great. I've been around Irish music all my life and hearing it live was special."

Patricia

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved it! The loved the pace of the trip. Our guide, Pascal, and our driver, Denis, made us feel thoroughly cared for.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Kinsale and Dingle, both with their pubs and music and dance."

Bob

Lowell, MI

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was everything I hoped it would be. This was two weeks of beautiful scenery, music, history, camaraderie, relaxation, exercise, and excellent beer. Pascal was such an excellent guide. He was always happy to answer our questions with his great sense of humor. He often had us laughing at the fairly common (but brief) Irish picnic weather (drizzle or rain). The whisper system was great! It is the perfect way to deal with crowds and narrow busy streets This may be my best vacation ever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is tough. The Trad music with step dancers on our last night was a close second. But, on a free evening in Dingle, Pascal tipped us off to a tiny little pub in a 400 year old former hardware store where a couple of very talented musicians performed to a packed house of about twenty people. This was such an intimate performance by these very talented musicians, I'll never forget that moment."

Lee

Washington, DC

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic guide and bus driver, compatible fellow tour members, excellent sites, food far better than we had been told by others who had been to Ireland. Excellent choice of places to visit. Local guides were by and large excellent. History of Ireland well conveyed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gallarus Oratory"

Noel

Lowell, MI

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We took this tour to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, and it far exceeded our expectations! It was a fabulous way to see Ireland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved seeing the Beatrix Potter hedges, pastures, and magpies. I loved our visit to Inis More. I loved our visit to the Giant's Causeway and the rope bridge. The hawk walk was wonderful too. There were so many wonderful moments, and they were all special in their way."

Kathy

Corsicana, TX

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was not terribly excited to be visiting Ireland. Boy was I wrong!!! This was a fantastic tour, and I cannot believe Ireland is so very beautiful! The forty shades of green are amazing. We visited some of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. Day after day there were new surprises and vistas waiting for us. I loved every minute of this tour and could hardly wait for the next day to see what we were going to do and see. Our guide, Pascal, was terrific! So was our driver, Denis.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Slea Head Drive was so beautiful. We made several stops along the way to see historic sites. Loved the towns of Dingle and Kinsale, and visiting the Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle. Loved everything about this tour!"

Benjamin

Media, PA

Tour: 08/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful to return to Ireland for the first time since 1990. " The 14 Days in Ireland " tour was the perfect balance of structured time and free time. My tour experience was GREATLY ENHANCED by the AWESOME group , Organizer/Lead Guide , Driver, and Local Guides. Aside from fog at Cliffs of Moher, even the weather cooperated. " Picnic Weather" , coined by Pascal to describe the patches of heavy rain we occasionally encountered , became a running joke. Will definitely do this tour again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many highlights to list just one "wow moment" . The entire north of Ireland was a series of " WOW MOMENTS " .The evidence of Peace taking hold. The boom in Belfast is a building/Peace boom, incl. The Cathedral District. Walking in the Bogside and standing at Free Derry Corner. The natural beauty of Giant's Causeway . The history of Dunluce Castle and Titanic. Flying Inca the Peruvian Hawk at Ashford Castle, Dun Aengus, and glorious Dingle also stand out."

Janice

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

OUR GUIDE, CATHI, WAS GREAT! SHE GAVE US JUST ENOUGH HISTORY TO FULLY APPRECIATE WHAT WE WERE VISITING & NOT BECOME BORING. OUR FREE TIME WAS VERY WELL TIMED TO ALLOW FOR EXTRA REST OR SITE SEEING ON OUR OWN.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"THE VISIT TO THE SCHOOL OF FALCONY @ ASHFORD CASTLE."

Donald

Buckley, WA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very comprehensive tour and presentation of Ireland and its long history

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No particular wow moment, but kathy's patriotic and religious songs were very moving. I particularly liked the basalt formations and bog jumping."

David

Langley, BC

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely fantastic! Best tour ever. Cathie is a wonderful amazing gal.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A favourite wow just may have been the night Cathie organized a private session in the lobby of our hotel in dingle, just for us! The intimacy of 28 people gathered around in a circle not 5-12 feet from the artists. Was so magical. They were talented folk. The most talented of the tour. And we saw musicians every night. Sometimes twice in an evening. That night was magical."

Colleen

Langley, BC

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely fantastic! Never having done a 2 week tour I was a little concerned, but it was amazing.Such a stunning island! I can't say enough about our tour guide Cathie. She was kind, gracious, talented, knowledgeable and full of pride for her country. She is an extremely talented Irish vocalist who serenaded us on the bus and arranged musical events that we could explore every evening. This made the trip extra-special. We all bonded and became a tight-knit group very quickly. So fun!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cathie arranged a private performance for us on our last night in Belfast. Brilliant musicians and dancers performed a show that encompassed history, song, dance, culture. It was amazing. I even got a lesson in Irish dance which was a highlight for me! A night to remember! Another sweet moment was when we all jumped on a bog. She created some beautiful bonding moments and sweet memories. The Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Arran Islands and Giant's Causeway were stunning!!"

Joseph

Mount Holly Springs, PA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was absolutely incredible. The tour was awe inspiring even though the terrain was a challenge at times. The views and experiences were worth the effort. The musical presentations were a joy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment(s) were at the sheep farm watching the sheep dog demonstration herding sheep and at the Irish School of Falconry in the village of Cong. Although my turn at launching "Lima" turned into a dud, [due to no fault of Lima's], just seeing such a majestic creature up close was fantastic."

Roy

Oakland, CA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour, thanks to our tour guide, Cathie, exceeded our expectations. This was our first Rick Steves' tour and we were really impressed with the enthusiasm, knowledge, dedication, and pure enjoyment she took in showing and explaining to us Ireland's long history, culture, amazing natural beauty, ever changing landscapes, incredible geological formations, and vibrant art and music found everywhere - on the streets, parks, pubs, churches, and museums.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wows" were when Cathie sang at trad music sessions that we attended in pubs and other venues (or just for us on the bus, or inside old stone chambers, as we traveled around Ireland.)"

Jack

Spokane, WA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Before leaving, I had three expectations from this tour: 1) learn more about the Irish culture, 2) explore the beauty of Ireland, and 3) learn about Ireland's Christian heritage. This tour went way beyond my expectations. We could not have had a better tour guide and our travel group was exceptional. This was a once in a life time experience. Cathie was focused and on top of everything. She is a great task manager and gets the job done without alienating anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When Cathie sang an Irish song honoring God in the Chapel at the Rock of Cashel. Very powerful and moving."

Rusty

Tumwater, WA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wow! From the outset, we knew how organized everything was. A firehose of info and experiences followed over the next 14 days, leaving us now in the afterglow trying to digest it all. Great tour guide, wonderful driver, matchless scenery, scrumptious food. What's not to like? A lifetime trip! And, our tour guide Cathie sang for us in various locations, most notably in the seventh century darkness of Gallarus Oratory.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the sheep farm to watch the sheepdogs. Unbelievable!"

Patricia

Mount Holly Springs, PA

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was enjoyable every single day!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the concert at the Music Shop in Dingle."

Dennis

Aberdeen, SD

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall tour experience was excellent it exceeded out expectations. Every aspect was very well organized with just about the right amount of time allocated to each place that we visited. Since this was our first group tour I was somewhat apprehensive about traveling with a group of people that we did not know. My reservations proved to be unfounded and we really enjoyed meeting and getting to know each member of the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the experience of flying the Harris Hawk. I am an avid outdoorsman and had watched hawks and eagles hunt in the wild but this experience gave me a lot of knowledge about falconry. The young lady that was the bird handler was very informative and had a very good relationship with the hawk."

Maureen

Westwood, NJ

Tour: 07/30/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's probably mostly about the guide. Cathie was alot of fun and had lot's of information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The bog jump - and being introduced to Smithwicks Red Ale."

Joel

Pelham, NH

Tour: 07/23/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Was a bit ambivalent about visiting Ireland but agreed to go because my wife had always wanted to. So glad she convinced me. Ireland is great! The scenery is spectacular, the people friendly and engaging, the history is very interesting and the food surprisingly good. Loved the music and pub culture. I could go back to Dingle again and again. Our group and tour guide were awesome. Made many new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking around Dingle harbor past the lighthouse to the cairn at the top of the hill with four other tour members. Being able to handle a hawk at the Falconry School in Cong. Felt as excited as a little kid again."

Weather

Ireland / Dublin

Dublin Weather

Pre-Tour Planning

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.

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email. About one month prior to the tour departure, we'll email you directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as the complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Transportation

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.

Belfast has two easy-to-access airports. In addition, there are hourly buses to Dublin's airport. Since Dublin is a major transportation hub, it makes additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

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 Dublin before your tour begins, use the 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: National Museum, National Gallery, Dublin Castle, Dublin Writers' Museum, Guinness Brewery and Gravity Bar, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. 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 the Rick Steves Ireland guidebook.

Packing

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

Special packing note: We use an audioguide system for many of our sightseeing and museum tours. If you wear a hearing aid, we strongly recommend bringing headphones that go over your ears to allow you to fully enjoy these tours.