Jewels of Ireland Tour – October 10-22, 2019

Thanks for checking out my Jewels of Ireland Private Luxury Tour, hosted by me, Greg Tamblyn, N.C.W., along with Ireland specialists Hammond Tours.

Cliffs of Moher Walkway

Cliffs of Moher and Walkway

If Ireland isn’t already your favorite country in Europe, it very well could be after this tour.

Ireland has everything: neolithic stone circles and dolmens, Celtic history and culture, spectacular mountain and coastal scenery, terrific food, beautiful small towns and villages, stunning abbeys and castles, fascinating ruins, and absolutely fantastic music. (Heck, even amazing wool sweaters.) And much more, all of which we’ll explore and enjoy.

But none of these is the main attraction.

The main attraction is the Irish people. You know that saying about the Irish gift of gab? It’s real. The Irish are a nation of poets, songwriters and storytellers. Seemingly all of them can entertain you for hours with a stream of anecdotes and clever expressions. Maya Angelou famously said “People will forget what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.” The Irish have always made me feel more than welcome.

Irish Pub

Temple Bar in Dublin

If you’ve never traveled with me, we’re positive, open-minded explorers who enjoy new experiences and new horizons. We enjoy getting to know each other, and the new people and places we visit. We make time for connecting with each other. Whenever possible, we sing, and tell jokes and stories. I’ll have my guitar along, and share as many songs and stories as you can stand.

Our one basic rule is: No Whining.

Everything is material for good stories!

Hiking in Killarney National Park

A Short Hike in Killarney National Park

THE QUICK FACTS

When: October 10-22, 2019 (13 days, including travel). We depart the US on October 10, then arrive and begin our tour on the morning of October 11. October weather is usually mild, daytime in the 60s, nights in the high 40s. Think: Layers!
Where: Ireland, North and South
Who: Hammond Tours (specializing in Ireland)
What: The Jewels of Ireland, Luxury Private Coach, 4-Star Hotels including one night in Dublin Clonarf Castle

Why Now:

  • Unforgettable adventure, incredible photos and videos, memories to last a lifetime
  • Good exchange rate
  • October weather is usually mild, and it’s after the big tourist rush.

How Much: $3,099 plus airfare *

How Many: We need 20 travelers to get this (amazing!) price.

IMPORTANT: Based on the amount of interest already received, we may reach this number quickly. Please make your deposit as soon as you can fully commit!

* I did not find a better price for a tour like this anywhere online. I interviewed twelve (12!) tour companies over three months until I negotiated this great deal with Hammond Tours.

Hammond Tours specializes in luxury tours and customized travel to Ireland, Britain and Scotland. With 35+ years of personal experience in Ireland travel, they’ve earned hundreds of accolades from even the most discerning travelers.  Reviews: https://eendorsements.com/company/hammond-tours

* Our tour is 100% customized. This is not a package tour. I worked with Farah at Hammond Tours on details and specifics for places I know you’ll love, enjoy, remember, and want to come back to. I’m very proud of this itinerary. I think it’s uniquely special, memorable, and fun.

View your complete day-by-day itinerary with photos below.

* Single room supplement is $989. NOTE: Our hotels are really nice. All double rooms have a king (for couples) or two doubles (for roommates). Bring a friend! You’ll probably have more fun anyway!

If you like, we can to introduce you to a potential roommate. Here’s how it works: when you call to make your deposit, let Hammond know you would like a roommate. Hammond will send you the name and email address of a potential roommate (and send her yours) for you to contact and see if you’d like to room together.

You can see links to photos of each hotel, its guest rooms and common rooms, below the itinerary.

* Airfare options are many and flexible. The tour company has arranged a group airfare rate (minimum 10 people): $875 from Newark, plus airfare from your departure city. Or you can arrange your own. Or use miles. (Airport to Hotel transfers are included with group airfare.)

June 1 Update: Currently Aer Lingus is having a nice fare sale. Check it out.

* I won’t be taking advantage of the group airfare because I’m going over early to prepare. But I encourage you to check it out with Farah.

* Physicality: This is not a strenuous tour, but there will be some walking involved. If you don’t feel up to a specific bit of walking, there is almost always an alternative place for you to have an easier stroll, or just sit and people watch, or pop into a pub.

Ireland Coastline

Irish Coastline

3 WAYS TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE:

  1. Online at the Hammond Tours website, on the special page for our tour, click on Place Deposit
  2. Or you can call Hammond Tours on the toll free number: 866-486-8772 and make a deposit over the phone
  3. You can copy, paste, print and mail the application form (located below) with a check

The deposit is $250. PLEASE only make your deposit if you are committed to joining us. If for some reason we don’t reach 20 passengers by the end of May, your deposit will be refunded in full, no penalty. Final payment is due by July 11.

TRAVEL and CANCELLATION PROTECTION

Travel protection is highly recommended. Depending on what kind you get, it can cover you for almost any reason you need to cancel, plus unforeseen emergencies, medical, baggage, etc.

We recommend you contact one of the companies below to assess what is best policy for your individual needs, as there are so many choices.  Some require buying it within a certain period of tendering a reservation to cover preexisting conditions.  Because there are so many choices and caveats we prefer to send you directly to the source.

  1. Hammond Tours recommends travelguard.com
  2. Another travel insurance company has been recommended to me from a friend:
    https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance
  3. Some credit cards have travel protection included, so check with your credit card company. But it’s probably not comprehensive, so make sure.

Make sure you compare what is actually covered in different policies!

QUESTIONS?

Hammond Tours (866-486-8772) can probably answer specific questions better than I can, but feel free to call me any time at 816-756-0069. If you get the voice mail, just leave your name, number, and I’ll get back to you asap. Or you can always email.

THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST!

I’ll do everything I can to make sure you have the most wonderful, memorable adventure imaginable. If you’ve ever dreamed about going to Ireland, I hope you’ll join me on this colorful, magical Irish tour.

Thanks!
- Greg

Feel free to leave your comments in the Comment Box at bottom. All questions will be answered. If you’ve never commented on this blog before, your comment will have to be approved (by me) before it is posted. But it will be, as soon as I can.

DAY – BY – DAY   ITINERARY

* A Quick Note About Meals And Music *

We’ve included all breakfasts and two dinners: a welcome dinner and a farewell dinner. It’s way more fun – and much cheaper – to explore the local pubs and restaurants than to arrange dinner for a large group in the hotels. Plus, it keeps the tour price down.

Also, in every town or city there will be ample opportunity to see the best local musicians on any given night.*

* Yes, this happens in pubs.

** There is no smoking allowed in Irish pubs.

Irish Music

Irish Music

Day 1, October 11, Friday: Dublin

Morning arrival at Dublin Airport where after clearing customs we’ll meet our wonderful Irish Driver Guide and be transferred to Dublin. It is here we visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then onto the Epic Emigration Museum. Time for some more sightseeing in Dublin. We then make our way to the Guinness Brewery for a tour. It is then onto our hotel for check in and freshening up before our Welcome Dinner. Overnight and dinner at The Mont Clare Hotel.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Guinness Brewery

Guinness Brewery

Day 2, October 12, Saturday: Dublin

After breakfast we are met by our Driver/Guide in the lobby of our hotel @ 9:00 am. We experience the three Dublins: Viking Dublin, Georgian Dublin and Modern Dublin in this full day contemporary tour. From her humble beginnings as a Viking trading port to a walled medieval city and then-in a glorious century of expansion –to an elegant Georgian Metropolis with wide streets, gracious squares and great houses, neatly bordered by its two canals. This includes a visit to the priceless Book of Kells at Trinity College, we visit the Jameson Distillery, nestling in the heart of Old Dublin on the site of the original distillery, with its origins dating back to the year 1780. Other inside visits subject to tour length. Overnight at The Mont Clare Hotel.

Grafton Street, Dublin

Grafton Street, Dublin

The Book Of Kells, Trinity College, Dublin

The Book Of Kells, Trinity College, Dublin

Day 3, October 13, Sunday: Dublin-Glendalough-Kilkenny-Cork

After breakfast we are met by our Driver/Guide in the lobby of our hotel @ 9:00 am We drive through Dublin and head south. We continue through County Wicklow here if time permits a stop at Glendalough is suggested. This is the 6th century monastic home of St. Kevin surrounded by beautiful mountains and gardens where once again time has stood still. We continue to the Medieval City of Kilkenny, where we enjoy an optional visit The Kilkenny Castle which has been completely refurbished in recent years. The impressive Victorian building was erected in the mid-19th century when it served as a home to the Hackett family. We then make our way to Cork City, where we have plenty of time to explore the English Markets. Overnight at The Imperial Hotel Cork.

Glendalough Monastic Community

Glendalough Monastic Community

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Day 4, October 14, Monday: Cork–Blarney–Clonakilty-Skibbereeen-Bantry-Glengarriff-Kenmare- Killarney

After breakfast we are met by our Driver/Guide in the lobby of our hotel @ 9:00 am. We then make our way to Blarney Castle. Time to visit (optional) the Blarney Stone and the Blarney Woolen Mills. We then make our way south and travel along the breathtaking coast of Ireland, some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. We travel through Clonakilty where castles dot the shores of the bay and The Catholic Church is a fine example of gothic architecture. Next stop is Skibbereen. Skibbereen is rightly known as the capital of West Cork. It is the “hub” from which the many “sparkling jewels” of the area can be reached. Bantry sits at the head of one of Ireland’s most beautiful bays with a harbor that reaches right into the town center. We then head to Glengarriff. Located in the sheltered harbor of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, in Southwest Ireland, Garnish Island is a small island of 37 acres known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of great beauty. Its sheltered position nurtures luxuriant Mediterranean flowers such as fuchsia and arbutus. It is then on to Kenmare. Known as Ceann Mara (Head of The Sea) by the ancients. Our journey makes its way to vibrant Killarney. Overnight and Dinner at The Killarney International Hotel.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Skibbereen

Skibbereen

Bantry

Bantry

Day 5, October 15, Tuesday: Dingle

After breakfast we depart Killarney for the Dingle Peninsula. The journey begins with some of the most magnificent scenery in all of Ireland. The little town of Dingle is straight out of a story book. The fishing boats in the harbor and tiny brightly painted pubs portray a time that has continued to stand still. The population of 1500 people and only 52 pubs are ready to welcome you this afternoon. Worth the wait is the native seafood chowder served up at lunch time with freshly baked brown bread. We continue on to Slea Head. Along the way, we will see bee hive style huts, originally inhabited by 12th century monks, which overlook the rugged Blasket Islands. The awe-inspiring beauty of this particular area is unmatched. There is no other landscape in Europe. Overnight at The Killarney International Hotel.

Dingle Village and Marina

Dingle Village and Marina

Famous Pub in Dingle

Famous Pub in Dingle

Slea Head

Slea Head

Blasket Islands

Blasket Islands

Day 6, October 16, Wednesday: Killarney-Cliffs of Moher-Galway

After a full Irish breakfast, we depart Killarney and head to Newmarket stopping along the way at the Cliffs of Moher. We take a tour of Ireland’s stony place – the Burren (Bhoireann). It is home to rare alpine plants, delicate wonders that grow in the thin soil and crevices – gentians, orchids and maidenhair ferns amongst others. The survival of both alpine and Mediterranean plants in this unusual habitat continues to arouse and to delight its visitors. The Burren contains dozens of megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses and a ruined Cistercian Abbey dating from the 12th century, Corcomroe. You can find villages abandoned since famine times and green roads on which you can walk for miles without ever seeing a car. Continue on and gaze at the majestic awe of the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs, a spectacular natural phenomenon, rise 660 feet above the Atlantic. O’Brien’s Tower is the best location from which to view the Cliffs. From this vantage point one can see the Aran Islands as well as The Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk Mountains to the north in Connemara. As you depart, you’ll travel through the little village of Liscannor and just across the bay, you’ll see the beautiful seaside village and golfers’ mecca, Lahinch. We then make our way to Galway for our overnight. Overnight at The Meyrick Hotel Galway.

Cliff of Moher, Ireland West Coast

Cliff of Moher, Ireland West Coast

The Burren

The Burren

Corcomroe Abbey

Corcomroe Abbey

Day 7, October 17, Thursday: Connemara Peninsula

After breakfast we meet our driver guide in the lobby of the hotel at 930 am. Before stopping in Clifton there might be an interest in Dan O’Hara’s Farm. The farm models pre-famine Conditions and cleverly reconstructs ancient dwellings and fortifications. The grounds also hold a megalithic tomb and a dolmen. Connemara, (Conmaicnemara – the tribe of Cormac by the sea), white sand beaches, dark bogs and tall jagged mountains make this one of the most scenic and unspoiled areas in the country. Wild and rugged, in some places here, Gaelic remains the only spoken language. We travel first to Clifden, (An Clochan). Founded in the early 19th century by John D’Arcy, it retains much of its Georgian architecture. Placed at the head of a broad Atlantic Bay and nestled below the Twelve Bens, the town is blessed by its beautiful setting. Known as the capital of Connemara, Clifden is a lively location full of shops, pubs, restaurants and cafe?s. From here travel the Sky Road, an exhilarating circular drive west of Clifden. Leave the town and as you pass the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel (on your left) turn and look beyond the hotel and back towards Clifden. The 12 Bens provide a wonderful backdrop to the town and along with the two church spires give Clifden its distinctive skyline. Further along the road is a gateway leading to the ruins of the old D’Arcy mansion, Clifden Castle. These ruins overlook the sea and can be reached by going on a ten-minute walk down a farm track. Once a Gothic Mansion, the D’Arcy’s lived here until 1850 when the estate was sold to the Eyre Family who lived here at intervals until the castle fell into ruin in the early 20th century. Along the high road you will pass the ruins of the old coastguard station (on your left) and, as the road rises, there are breathtaking views of the islands (Inishturk and Turbot), and the surrounding coastline. At the summit of the Sky Road peninsula there is a car park. As you descend and continue the road you will eventually, along Streamstown Bay, there is a Connemara Marble quarry. Heading north along the coast, Kylemore Abbey will be next. This extraordinary neo-gothic abbey looms at the base of the hill at Kylemore Lake. The highlight is the recently restored Gothic chapel, a cathedral in miniature with a plain, simple cemetery on one side and a lavish Victorian garden on the other. This is another often-photographed vista from Ireland. Ireland’s only fjiord looms next at the Harbor. Overnight at The Meyrick Hotel Galway.

Connemara

Connemara

Clifden

Clifden

Clifden Castle

Clifden Castle

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Day 8 October 18 Friday: Galway-Sligo-Donegal

After breakfast we depart Galway and travel to Sligo where famous author William Butler Yeats is buried. It is onto Donegal. The town is set in a valley girdled by Barnesmore Mountains and Donegal Bay and overlooking the town can be seen the remains of several earthen forts. Today, Donegal Town is the center of activity for South County Donegal. The town center, known as “The Diamond” is where the Killybegs, Ballyshannon and Ballybofey Roads converge and it is here that you are likely to meet almost anybody; usually with a smile on their face and a few ready words. Overnight at The Central Hotel Donegal.

Sligo

Sligo

Donegal

Donegal

Donegal

Donegal

Day 9, October 19, Saturday: Donegal-Westport-Derry-Belfast

After breakfast we make our way to Westport. Westport enjoys the designation as one of Ireland’s Heritage Towns. It is situated in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay. One of the few planned towns in the Country, Westport was designed in the 18th Century by James Wyatt. It has become one of Ireland’s established tourism centers, with many outstanding features, most notably the beautiful tree lined boulevard known as The Mall, running parallel to the Carrowbeg River. We then continue onto Derry. To really experience Derry’s history, we stroll along the parapet walkways as we do the “Walled in City Tour”. The history of this area and the fact that Derry is one of the last fully intact walled in cities left in all of Europe makes this a must for every visitor. We then make our way to Belfast, where you take a tour of the famed Titanic Museum. Overnight at The Jury’s Hotel Belfast

Westport

Westport

Westport

Westport

The Guildhall, Derry

The Guildhall, Derry

Day 10, October 20, Sunday: Belfast-Glens of Antrim-Giant’s Causeway-Belfast

Today we experience one of Ireland’s magnificent scenic routes. The Coast Road takes us through the Nine Glens of Antrim, which offers wonderful views of mountains, valleys and the coastline. Our first stop is the oldest licensed distillery in the world, Bushmills, where we savor a sample of this renowned amber liquid. We then travel the coast to visit the Giant’s Causeway. This impressive area of hexagonal columns was formed over 60 million years ago by cooling lava. Legend also has it that the Giant’s Causeway was built by the ancient giant, Fionn Mac Cumhail. We then return to Belfast via Ballymena. Overnight at The Jury’s Hotel Belfast.

Glens of Antrim

Glens of Antrim

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

Day 11, October 21, Monday: Belfast-Dublin

After Breakfast depart Belfast and travel south. Stop firstly at Monasterboice a famed monastic site. The Boyne Valley will be your next stop with a visit to Knowth. Knowth is a 5,000-year-old Neolithic passage tomb. This spectacular site, older than the pyramids of Egypt, consists of two long passages to an inner chamber, entirely made of stone, and constructed so well that they are accessible 5,000 years later. The passages are designed so that the inner chamber is lit by the sunrise on a few specific days of the year. After this you can enjoy some leisure time in Malahide. We continue to Clontarf Castle. Farewell dinner and entertainment tonight by our host, Greg Tamblyn. Overnight and Farewell dinner at The Clontarf Castle Hotel Dublin.

Monasterboice

Monasterboice

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

5,000 Year Old Knowth Passage Tombs

5,000 Year Old Knowth Passage Tombs

Day 12, October 22, Tuesday: Cavan-Dublin Airport

This morning we meet our professional Irish Driver Guide and are transferred to Dublin Airport for our flight home. We bid our driver farewell who has become like a member of our family. In true Irish tradition, we wish you a “safe home.”

Your Luxury Jewels of Ireland Tour Includes:

  • Round Trip Airfare from JFK to Dublin, if you so choose (Air Schedule to be announced 90 days prior to departure)
  • Professional Blue-Badged Certified Irish Driver Guide with Luxury Coach from Day 1 October 11th arrive Dublin Airport until Day 12 October 22nd arrive Dublin Airport
  • Accommodations for 11 Nights as follows or similar in standard rooms:
  • Dublin-The Mont Clare Hotel-2 Nights **** www.ocallaghanhotels.com
  • Cork-The Imperial Hotel-1 Nights **** www.flynnhotels.com
  • Killarney-The Killarney International Hotel- 2 Nights **** www.killarneyinternational.com
  • Galway- The Meyrick Hotel-2 Nights **** www.hotelmeyrick.ie
  • Donegal-Central Hotel-1 Nights **** www.centralhoteldonegal.com
  • Belfast- The Jurys Inn-2 Nights *** www.jurysinn.com
  • Dublin-Clontarf Castle-1 Night **** www.clontarfcastle.ie
  • Full Irish Breakfast Daily
  • 2 (TWO) Dinners w/Entertainment from our host, Greg Tamblyn, a Welcome & Farewell Dinner
  • Admissions Included: Guinness Brewery, Kilronan Jail, Book of Kells, Jameson Brewery, Glendalough, Kilkenny Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, Walled in City Tour Derry, Titanic Museum, Giants’ Causeway, Boyne Valley Visitors Center with Knowth
  • Fully escorted sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Porterage of one suitcase per person (plus one carry-on bag)
  • All Driver’s Expenses
  • Hotel tips and taxes (Except to Driver/Guide)

Not Included:

  • Any items of a personal nature.
  • Dinners and items not mentioned as included

Reservation Application

This application is for copying, printing, filling out, and mailing. You can’t use it to register online. For that you need to go to the special page for our tour. Once there, click on “Place Deposit.”

Please reserve _____ seat(s) on your October 11-22, 2019
I enclose a deposit of $ _________ ($250.00 per person) Deposit Due: ASAP to hold seats FINAL PAYMENT DUE: July 11, 2019
Name (as on passport) ________________________________D.O.B.________________
Companion Name: ___________________________________ D.O.B.________________
Address: ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
Tel: (home): _______________(work): ________Email: ________________________________
Room Type: Twin (2 Beds) _____Double (1 Bed): __________
Single Supplement: $989.00 _________YES
GROUP AIR FROM NYC: $875.00 _____YES_____NO (must know with initial reservation. Group air based on minimum 10 Participants
Cancellation Insurance per Person: Contact www.travelguard.com

We Accept Visa, MasterCard & American Express. No service charges

TOUR IS BASED ON MINIMUM 20 PARTICPANTS AIRFARE IS NOT GUARANTEED UNTIL PACKAGE IS PAID IN FULL (Make Check Payable to Hammond Tours)
Send check and application to:
HAMMOND TOURS
34 Wedgewood Lane
Voorheesville, NY 12186

TEL: 518-765-2056

TEL: 866-486-8772 (TOLL FREE)

Email: operations@hammondtours.com

Click Below for Hammond Tours Reviews:

https://eendorsements.com/company/hammond-tours

• Cancellation Penalties: (LAND) if written cancellation is received by Hammond Tour 90 Days or less prior to departure- a 100% cancellation penalty fee applies. We strongly recommend Travel Cancellation & Interruption Insurance. Please contact www.travelguard.com to purchase insurance. Any circumstances of a personal nature other than the are not covered. Please note, Hammond Tours and Seaside Shadows are not responsible for any loss, damages or injuries that may happen while on the tour.

And Finally…

Another little note. In all our trips around the world to places like Machu Picchu, the Great Wall, Uluru in the Outback, Tibetan monasteries, sacred sites in France, and others, I have never felt the “energy” of a place. But in Ireland, I do. I can’t explain that. It’s just palpable. It’s a cool feeling.

Feel free to leave your comments in the Comment Box at bottom. All questions will be answered. If you’ve never commented on this blog before, your comment will have to be approved (by me) before it is posted. But it will be, as soon as I can. Patience, Grasshopper. Thank you.

© 2019 Greg Tamblyn

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8 Responses to Jewels of Ireland Tour – October 10-22, 2019

  1. Mike Barry says:

    What’s the weather likely to be in October?

  2. Barb says:

    Are the travelers more couples? Singles?

  3. Doug Sheafor and Joyce Knott says:

    I would like to reserve spaces for us both but the reservation form above will not accept any input

    • admin says:

      Hi Doug and Joyce,

      The res form above is for copying, pasting, filling out, and snail-mailing. It’s not meant for registering online. I’ve added the link for registering online just above the form. Thanks for letting me clarify this.

      Greg

  4. Ann Leavell says:

    HI, this says 3 spots left for GEMS OF IRELAND ; to go to special page for online reg but that page says SOLD OUT, which is it, please?
    Assuming time to be critically important, could you call me at 269.455.8475.
    Thank you, Ann Leavell

  5. Lynn Escajeda says:

    What is the suggested tip for the guide /driver? Will we have the same guide and driver throughout the tour? In the states I usually leave housekeeping a tip. What is the custom in Ireland?

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