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March 15
th 20th  2014  

Saturday 15th March              Departure USA.  

Sunday 16th March               Bunratty Castle & Folk Park & Galway City of The Tribes 

On arrival we will meet our drivers, board our coaches  and travel from Shannon airport to Bunratty Village where  we will enjoy a special welcome to Ireland Irish Breakfast  in a local venue.         
At  0900  we  will  visit  the  acclaimed  15th  century Bunratty Castle and the 19th century Bunratty Folk Park.
  The  Castle  is  the  most  complete  and  authentic  medieval fortress in Ireland.  Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor and now contains  mainly 15th and16th  century furnishings,  tapestries,  and works of  art  which capture  the  mood  of  those  times.  Within  the   grounds  of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th century life is vividly  recreated.   Set  on  26  acres,   the  impressive  park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. Meet and chat with the Bean an Ti (Woman of the House) and

various street characters including the Policeman and Schoolteacher who give the site its sparkle during the summer months.  Time and energy permitting we can pay a visit at Durty Nellys one of Irelands most famous pubs and located right beside Bunratty Castle. On route to Galway we will an option to stop for a light lunch at our own expense in Paddy Burkes Pub in Clarinbridge and then continue to Galway where we will check in to our  accommodation in the city centre.  This evening the Mayor of Galway will officially welcome the Group to Galway for the St Patricks Day Parade at a special reception hosted by Fáilte Ireland, the Irish Tourist Board in Galway Museum. You will have the rest of the evening free to explore Galway City at yourleisure and savor the lively atmosphere.


Monday 17th March Participate in St Patricks Day Parade Today we will march in the St Patricks Day Parade in Galway City.  Pipe bands, Dance Groups and Performance Artistscome from all over the world to Galway each year to experience a parade that is widely regarded as one of the best in Ireland.  The beauty of the Galway Parade is that it is small enough for group to truly feel a part of, yet big enough tocreate a special atmosphere. Up to 50,000 spectators line the streets each year and some of the narrow streets create anintimate cauldron that is an unforgettable experience for all participants.  The Parade route is thronged with spectators from start to finish, creating a non-stop carnival atmosphere.  This evening we will continue to join in the celebrations and attend a traditional Irish Pub Dinner and Hooley in Monroes Tavern in the heart of the city.  Monroes has a solid reputation as a home for traditional Irish music so expect to be up dancing with the locals! 

 Tuesday 18th March Magic of Connemara  A trip to Ireland for St Patricks Day would not be complete with out making a visit to Connemara.    Our Driver/Guide will take us through Connemara, one of Europe's last great natural wildernesses with towns and villages existing along a beautiful, indented coastline. We  take the very scenic road from Galway towards Oughterard, the gateway to Connemara and passing through quaint villages on the way with views unmatched anywhere else in Ireland. Not far into our journey we will get to stop at the famous bridge that was used in the Quiet Man film with John Wayne.  We will pass through Maam Cross where you will see for the first time one of numerous lakes that  makes Connemara so famous. While driving we will have the Maumturk Mountains to our right side before seeing the magnificent Glencoaghan horseshoe part of the twelve Bens  mountain range, one of Ireland's famous hiking routes.  

We  now  make  our  way  through  the  wonderful   Inagh Valley,  one  of  the  most  beautiful  parts  of  Connemara where we will stop to take in the breath-taking views with some photos. Our next stop will take you on to the magical Kylemore Abbey, the only  Irish home of the Benedictine Nuns.   Built originally as  a Castle (1868) it is one of the best examples of Irish neo-gothic architecture.  The estate features  include  a   Victorian  Walled  Garden,  restored Abbey,  Reception rooms, Gothic Church, tranquil walks, craft shop, pottery, and restaurant.  

After lunch we will make our way to 'Killary Fjord', Ireland's only fjord. Marvel at all the mussel beds in the fjord as you look at Mweelrea, the highest mountain on thewest coast of Ireland. You will not be disappointed with this natural wonder of the world.   We will continue our journey along the Connemara Coast road and we will stop in Tigh Hughes Pub in Spiddal village to hear some music by the local musicians before returning to our hotel.  The rest of the evening is at our leisure.

  Wednesday 19th March - Ancient and Mythological Aran Islands  This morning we travel by coach along the Connemara Coast road to Rossaveal where we will depart by ferry to Inis Mór the largest of the 3 

Aran Islands.  Inis Mór is criss-crossed by dry stone walls and the landscape is bleak with soaring cliffs rising out of the Atlantic.  Aran has retained much of old Gaelic culture and Gaelic is stillthe spoken language of the Islanders.  On arrival to Inis Mór we will enjoy a guided tour with a local expert who will bring us to The Dun Aengus Fort, a 4000 year old fort situated on top of 400-ft high cliffs. DunAengus Fort is just one of 27 nationally protected monuments on Inis Mór more than anywhere else its size in Ireland or even in Europe.       

Lunch is organized in Joe Wattys, a thatch pub with an excellent reputation for great food and music.  There will be time to explore the village and visit the local craft shops before boarding a return ferry to Rossaveal. The evening is at your leisure to explore the pubs and restaurants of Galway City.

  Day 6:          

hursday, 20th March
This morning we will travel to the Airport for our return trip home. (B)