Departure dates of two early spring 2018 adventures in Ireland are thoughtfully scheduled immediately after St. Patricks’ Day celebrations in Dublin on March 17.
This means that before joining a tour, guests of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/) can have the best of all worlds Irish. On their own they can partake of St. Patrick’s Day events March 15-19 in Dublin, the gateway city for both of these week-long tours. Then filled with bonhomie and by-now most certainly desperate to find a leprechaun – or at least a luck-filled four-leaf clover – their journey of Ireland’s south and south west begins.
Last year just over 100,000 North Americans visited Ireland over the St. Patrick’s Day period. The relatively warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and the prevailing southwesterly winds help make March’s climate moderate and usually pleasant. Here is a link to the official festival website http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/events. This celebration honors Ireland’s patron saint who brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century and whose influence brought about Ireland’s Golden Era.
On all Vagabond tours a bounty of live music is a given, but fiddles become even more intense over this holiday that’s celebrated worldwide with the wearin’ o’ the green. Also givens on these tours are excellent meals in some of Ireland’s best pubs and restaurants and accommodation in carefully vetted guest houses and small hotels that reflect their communities. The two March departures coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day journey roundtrip from Dublin to Ireland’s southwest Wild Atlantic Way, with photo-op stops aplenty and visits to breweries, whisky distilleries, shops and galleries.
But first guests have to decide just how action-packed they want their exploration of Ireland to be. Fit and active travelers will probably opt for an 8 Day Vagabond Wild Irish Rover Tour departing March 18 with Vagabond Adventure Tours. This was recognized as a Top 50 National Geographic Tour of a Lifetime. Physical activities are interwoven with stories of, among many others, 5th century monks who lived in beehive-like huts, and tales of ancient castles and circles of stone (some optional):
- Walking and hiking through some of Ireland’s best scenery including the Bullig Bay loop by the ancient ruins of Dunboy Castle
- Horseback riding on the Dingle Peninsula
- Mountain biking or bike touring in Killarney National Park
- Sea kayaking with Funghi the Dolphin in Dingle Bay
- Golfing on The Dingle Golf Links
- Learn some skills of Gaelic football or hurling, traditional Irish sports
- Spotting seals in Bantry Bay
- Sampling at the Dingle Irish Whiskey Distillery, one of a new breed of exciting distillery’s in Ireland
- Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle
The per person double rate is €1,919 (single supplement €315). For details please see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/ireland-trips-award-winning-8-day/
This company’s complementary division, Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that emphasizes unique scenery, culture and history at a more relaxed pace, has a 7 Day Driftwood Treasure Island departure March 19, 2018, that includes an overnight in Dingle, a town with a population of 2,500 people and 54 pubs, and another overnight in a haunted Irish castle hotel, all on a search for some of Ireland’s great houses and gardens:
- Muckross House and Gardens, Kerry
- Bantry House and Gardens, Cork
- Garinish Island Gardens, Cork
- Kylemore Abbey and Grounds, Connemara
The per person double rate is €1,699 (single supplement €300). For details please see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-treasure-ireland-tour/