Mooathon Marathon & Half – Ireland Tour – Sept 13

Our Irish Tour to the Mooathon Marathon & Half was enormously successful with 30 people joining us on this holiday of a lifetime to Garth’s home country and his local knowledge was invaluable as he designed the tour around the Mooathon. Great results from everyone including Marta Kelly winning the ladies event and Kevin Sears winning 3rd place in the Marathon, a great time was had by all and a few celebratory pints were consumed by everyone who took part in this tough challenging race. After the race it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of the tour of Northern Ireland and down to Dublin and Kilkenny.

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Thu, Sept 26 – Arrive Dublin 9.15am

After landing at Dublin Airport, complete customs and immigration formalities. Then your CIE Tours driver/guide will welcome you to Ireland and escort you and your luggage to the coach. Take an orientation drive around Dublin city center. Dublin is one of the liveliest capitals in Europe but there are plenty of historical places also. See the main thoroughfares of O’Connell Street and Nassau Street, the shopping streets and some lovely public parks. Then drive to your hotel and check in. This afternoon leave Dublin and drive across the Wicklow Mountains to see the 6th century monastic

ruins of Glendalough, where the peacefulness of the valley conjures up the spirit of the monks. The Visitor Centre explains how St. Kevin founded this settlement at a time when Christianity was burgeoning throughout Ireland. Today the monks have long gone, leaving the ruins of numerous churches and a round tower. Then drive to Blessington and tour Russborough House, a stately mansion built for a wealthy Dublin brewer, Joseph Leeson, in 1741. See the excellent plasterwork throughout the house and the fine rooms with antique furniture, tapestries and carpets. Here you can see the Beit Collection, one of the finest art collections in Ireland. Return to Dublin.

OVERNIGHT: BURLINGTON HOTEL, DUBLIN

Fri, Sept 27

SLIGO & LETTERKENNY

Leaving Dublin travel across the country via marketing towns such as Mullingar and Longford and see how many Irish people make a living from mixed farming. Travel through County Cavan, which is renowned for its lovely lakes, which are popular with fishermen and artists. Reach County Sligo, a county of gentle mountains, lakes and coastline. This area is associated with the great writer, W. B. Yeats. Visit his grave at Drumcliffe Churchyard in the shadow of the Benbulben mountain range before driving to Letterkenny and checking into your hotel where you will stay for the next 3 nights.

OVERNIGHT: STATION HOUSE HOTEL, LETTERKENNY

Saturday Sept 28

Race Expo & Day at leisure in Letterkenny – No Guide / Driver or Bus available today

OVERNIGHT: STATION HOUSE HOTEL, LETTERKENNY

Sunday Sept 29

Mooathon & Half – Day at Leisure – No Guide / Driver or Bus available today

OVERNIGHT: STATION HOUSE HOTEL, LETTERKENNY

Monday Sept 30 – DUNLUCE CASTLECARRICK-A-REDE BRIDGE, GIANT’S CAUSEWAY & BUSHMILLS

This morning meet your driver/guide and depart Letterkenny and drive across the northern coast to experience one of Ireland’s popular scenic routes. Stop and visit Dunluce Castle just outside Portrush. This splendid structure sits on basalt rock jutting out over the sea, reached by a wooden walkway. During the 16th century it was home to the MacQuillans, and later the MacDonnells. A short distance away visit the Giant’s Causeway, an impressive area of hexagonal columns formed over 60 million years ago by cooling lava which has given rise to many legends. Then visit the Bushmills Distillery which is the world’s oldest whiskey distillery, having received a license in 1608. See how whiskey is distilled and then try a sample at the end of your tour. Heading south stop en route to visit the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which spans a chasm of some eighty feet deep. Its construction once consisted of a single rope handrail and widely spaced slats, which the fishermen would traverse across with salmon they caught off the island. This swinging rope bridge is not for the faint-hearted, but the coastal views are wonderful, even without crossing the bridge.

Continue south to Belfast and check into your hotel.

OVERNIGHT: FITZWILLIAM HOTEL, BELFAST

Tue, Oct. 1 BELFAST

Today enjoy a sightseeing tour around Belfast, including the University area. In the city center see the Albert Memorial and the ornate Victorian buildings of the Opera House and the Crown Liquor Saloon. In Donegall Square visit the imposing City Hall, completed in 1906. The richly decorated interior contains stained glass portraying Belfast’s principal industries. In the Titanic Quarter, visit the newly opened Titanic Belfast. Embark on a journey through the life of the Titanic, from her conception in

Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. Through state of the art technology, the exhibitions nine interactive galleries take you back to the sights, sounds and stories of Titanic as well as the City and people which made her. The exhibition also explores the discovery of the wreck and has live links to current marine expeditions. The remainder of the afternoon and evening are at leisure to explore Belfast and dine on your own in one of the many fine restaurants in Belfast.

OVERNIGHT: FITZWILLIAM HOTEL, BELFAST

Wed, Oct. 2 STEWART & ST. PATRICK CENTRE

This morning depart Belfast and head south to visit Mount Stewart, an 18th century mansion with superb works of art and furniture collected from around the world. The extensive gardens reflect designs from the 1920s and include almost every style of gardening. Travel south along the scenic Ards Peninsula and take a ferry to Downpatrick. Stop to visit Down Cathedral where St. Patrick is reputedly buried. Then visit the Saint Patrick Centre where the early Christian monastic life is depicted and

explained. Continue south through Dundalk and then onto the motorway to Dublin.

Check into your hotel.

OVERNIGHT: MALDRON CARDIFF HOTEL, DUBLIN

Thu, Oct. 3 HIGHLIGHTS

Set off with a local guide who will show you around the prominent historic buildings and monuments of Dublin. Dublin is an ancient settlement, founded by the Vikings in the 9th century. The city has been molded through the centuries with many architectural styles, reflecting the economic, political and artistic influences. Stop in Trinity College to view the 8th century Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the gospels. Next visit the Guinness Storehouse to see exhibits on how this world

famous stout was first created and why it is so popular today. Finish your visit in the roof-top bar, Gravity, overlooking the city center where you can sample a draft Guinness and enjoy the view of the city. The afternoon and evening are free for independent activities, sightseeing, shopping, dining, pubs and much more.

OVERNIGHT: MALDRON CARDIFF LAND HOTEL, DUBLIN

Fri, Oct. 4 CASTLE & NATIONAL STUD

Depart Dublin and drive into the countryside. Stop near Athy for tea and scones in a farmhouse before driving south to Kilkenny with its intriguing medieval streets and buildings. Tour Kilkenny Castle, home of the Butlers, Earls and Dukes of Ormonde. The castle was first built in 1192 and added to over the centuries. Restored to 1830’s splendor, it houses wonderful paintings and furniture. Visit the Kilkenny Design Center, a showcase for the best of Irish design and workmanship. Built in 1760 as a coach house and stables for Kilkenny Castle, th is design center consists of a central shop surrounded by a collection of workshops of different types. Head back to Kildare with a stop at the Japanese Gardens and National Stud in Kildare. These gardens, which represent the Life of Man, were started in 1906 and learn about Ireland’s exciting horse breeding industry at the National Stud. In the evening head to the Merry Ploughboy Pub for a great dinner of Irish specialties and a lively show with popular Irish songs and intricate step-dancing.

OVERNIGHT: CLONTARF CASTLE DUBLIN

Sat, Oct. 5 TO CANADA

All too soon, your vacation in Ireland has come to the end. Transfer to Dublin Airport in plenty of time to check in for your flight, clear security and claim your VAT refund. You may do some last minute shopping at the duty free stores. Then board your aircraft and fly west across the Atlantic Ocean back to Canada.

To book or for more information please contact –

Garth or Helena Millar

Vision 2000 Travel – Tel – 506 214 1085 or e-mail helena.millar@vision2000.ca

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