Custom Itinerary for Chris
11/15/2009 to 11/18/2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009 : Overnight Flight to Ireland
Day #1 Sunday, November 15, 2009 : Shannon Airport to Galway (Map A to C)
with a side trip to Doolin
Ballyvaughan  Ballyvaughan village is situated between the hills of the burren and the southern coast line of Galway Bay. Ballyvaughan (O'Behan's town) developed as a fishing and farming community from the 10th century. A castel site and celtic ring fort hint at earlier habitation of this sheltered bay.

If you're in The Burren for the evening, or even Doolin for that matter, head over to Monk's Cafe in Ballyvaughan for dinner. Grab a pint and wait for your table (during high season) on the stone wall overlooking the harbour. The food is not only wonderful, the surrounding beautiful -- but the nightly entertainment is worth the stop itself. 
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park  The castle has been restored and filled with a curious assortment of medieval furnishings, giving the modern-day visitor a glimpse into the life of its past inhabitants. This is the first stop for many arrivals from Shannon, so expect crowds. 
Cliffs of Moher  The Cliffs are 8km long and 214m high, it is here that one can most easily get a feel for the wildness of the terrain over which the Celts wandered, for although they built imposing castles, very often they preferred the outdoor nomadic life and enjoyed the hunt. The tower was built in 1835 by Cornelius O'Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru. The High King of Ireland, and the O'Brien's of Bunratty Castle, Kings of Thomond, as an observation point for the hundreds of tourists who even then visited the Cliffs.

O'Brien's Tower is the best location from which to view the Cliffs, from this vantage point one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk Mountains to the north in Connemara and Loop Head to the South.

Although the sign says "Do Not Enter", you'll find many tourists ignoring it and hiking along the edge of the Cliffs to Hag's Head. I was fortunate enough to do that in October 2002 with some friends on the advice from the toll booth attendant! 
Doolin Village  Doolin is a special village in a special part of Ireland. Nestling between the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and the Aran islands it is renowned as the traditional music capital of Ireland. It is many things to many people. For some, it's a centre of music and merriment, for others it is a place of great beauty and tranquility where one can refresh and spirit away the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Doolin is a great base to ensure a beautiful view of the Cliffs of Moher as well as hiking the Cliffs to Hags Head. 
Ennis  Ennis, located on the west coast of Ireland, is the capital of County Clare and serves Ireland as a primary tourism destination. Shannon International Airport, just 15 miles to the south, provides Ennis with direct air access to North America, the United Kingdom and other international destinations. The Shannon Free Airport Development Company and assistance program has made Ennis and the Shannon region the location of many multinational companies. With the aid of an excellent education system, Ennis and the Shannon region offer foreign industries an educated and skilled work force to serve Ireland, Britain and the global market. Historically, Ennis has played a major part in changing the face of Irish history on several occasions. Today, however, the historic character of the architecture and geography of the old town center is complemented by a variety of shopping and tourism attractions. The city has gained a reputation as an excellent holiday destination with first-class hotels, conference centers and world-class golf facilities. Salmon and trout are available on the river Fergus. 
Galway  Galway is the capital of the West of Ireland, a thriving modern city with a University, Regional Technical College, Shipping Port and Airport. With a festival to cover everything from the traditional music to horseracing, Galway is a uniquely cosmopolitan city with something for everyone. It has also recently become an important centre for promoting the Arts and Culture. Although it has recently been classed as Europe's fasting growing city, it still manages to retain much of its old world Medieval charm.

Base yourself here for a few nights if you want to take day trips to Connemara, The Aran Islands or The Burren. It's ideally suited for all of these places and many bus tours run daily from the center of town. Simply check with your B&B owner for information on these tours.

Shopping is also one of Galways treasures, with a great number of stores to shop for wool sweaters, crystal, jewelry and more! 
Galway Bay Course  (6,533 Metres / Par 72) Christy O'Connor Jr., Ryder and World Cup player, designed this 18 hole course to highlight and preserve the ancient historic features of the Renville Peninsula. The spectacular setting on Galway Bay is distractingly beautiful and the cleverly designed mix of holes presents a real golfing challenge which demands total concentration. 
Lisdoonvarna  Matchmaking soon became one of the main activities of Lisdoonvarnas holiday-makers. September was, and still is, the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of wives. Matchmakers prospered as matches were contrived and marriages made. The Spa Well also continues to attract the crowds. Today the complex houses a modern recreation centre, a solarium, saunas and keep-fit equipment. 
Salthill  Salthill is one of Ireland's most popular holiday destinations, with its lapping waters and sandy beaches being the main attractions. Located beside Galway city (2 klms), Salthill boasts a promenade 2 miles long where locals and visitors stroll in the evening and take the fresh sea air, while "watching the sun go down on Galway Bay". The visitor has a host of safe sandy beaches from which to choose.

Swimming, sailing, snorkeling and sea angling can be enjoyed. Leisureland's recreational complex has a host of wonderful amenities including an indoor heated swimming pool, and waterslide, which proves very popular with the children especially on rainy days. 
The Burren  The Burren is an amazing place. It is a karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq km which lies in the north west corner of Co Clare, in Ireland. It is composed of limestone pavements, which are eroded in a distinctive pattern known as karren. This pavement is crisscrossed by cracks known as grykes and underneath the pavement there are huge caves and rivers that suddenly flood when it rains. It contains dozens of megalithic tombs and celtic crosses and a ruined Cistercian Abbey from the 12th century, Corcomroe.

There are many hiking tours available for The Burren, both here and while on vacation -- just look for signs while driving through. 
Day #2 Monday, November 16, 2009 : Galway to Killarney (Map C to D)
Abbeyfeale  Cupped amid rolling hills in the heartland of traditional culture where Limerick borders county Kerry, the market town takes it name from a Cistercian Abbey dating from 1188. Plasterwork shopfronts are an unusual feature of the commercial centre where a statue honours priest-champion of tenant farmers against landlordism, Fr. William Casey (1844-1907). 
Adare  Like a perfect little medieval town plucked from a children's book, Adare is a bastion of thatched cottages, black-and-white timbered houses, lichen-covered churches, and romantic ruins, all strewn along the banks of the River Maigue. And it's got two of the best hotels and one of the best restaurants in Ireland, to boot. 
Dromoland Castle Course  (5,719 Metres / Par 71) It is a course of considerable character with natural lakes and streams, which come into play on a number of holes. Set in the grounds of Dromoland Castle, the course is particularly wooded and very attractive. 
Ennis  Ennis, located on the west coast of Ireland, is the capital of County Clare and serves Ireland as a primary tourism destination. Shannon International Airport, just 15 miles to the south, provides Ennis with direct air access to North America, the United Kingdom and other international destinations. The Shannon Free Airport Development Company and assistance program has made Ennis and the Shannon region the location of many multinational companies. With the aid of an excellent education system, Ennis and the Shannon region offer foreign industries an educated and skilled work force to serve Ireland, Britain and the global market. Historically, Ennis has played a major part in changing the face of Irish history on several occasions. Today, however, the historic character of the architecture and geography of the old town center is complemented by a variety of shopping and tourism attractions. The city has gained a reputation as an excellent holiday destination with first-class hotels, conference centers and world-class golf facilities. Salmon and trout are available on the river Fergus. 
Galway  Galway is the capital of the West of Ireland, a thriving modern city with a University, Regional Technical College, Shipping Port and Airport. With a festival to cover everything from the traditional music to horseracing, Galway is a uniquely cosmopolitan city with something for everyone. It has also recently become an important centre for promoting the Arts and Culture. Although it has recently been classed as Europe's fasting growing city, it still manages to retain much of its old world Medieval charm.

Base yourself here for a few nights if you want to take day trips to Connemara, The Aran Islands or The Burren. It's ideally suited for all of these places and many bus tours run daily from the center of town. Simply check with your B&B owner for information on these tours.

Shopping is also one of Galways treasures, with a great number of stores to shop for wool sweaters, crystal, jewelry and more! 
Galway Bay Course  (6,533 Metres / Par 72) Christy O'Connor Jr., Ryder and World Cup player, designed this 18 hole course to highlight and preserve the ancient historic features of the Renville Peninsula. The spectacular setting on Galway Bay is distractingly beautiful and the cleverly designed mix of holes presents a real golfing challenge which demands total concentration. 
Newcastle West  Situated on the N21, Newcastle West is long recognised as the gateway to the south west of Ireland. Located just twenty minutes drive from Limerick city and just a mere hour from Killarney. Historically, Newcastle West is a medieval town, which was occupied by the Knights Templar and the beautiful Desmond Hall, situated in The Square, is the focal point of the town. Leisure amenities are in abundance with local GAA club, soccer, tennis, rugby and athletics. A fully equipped leisure centre, complete with swimming pool, is just five minutes away and there are two 18 hole golf courses situated within ten minutes drive. The River Arra is renowned as one of the best rivers for trout fishing in Ireland.  
Salthill  Salthill is one of Ireland's most popular holiday destinations, with its lapping waters and sandy beaches being the main attractions. Located beside Galway city (2 klms), Salthill boasts a promenade 2 miles long where locals and visitors stroll in the evening and take the fresh sea air, while "watching the sun go down on Galway Bay". The visitor has a host of safe sandy beaches from which to choose.

Swimming, sailing, snorkeling and sea angling can be enjoyed. Leisureland's recreational complex has a host of wonderful amenities including an indoor heated swimming pool, and waterslide, which proves very popular with the children especially on rainy days. 
Day #3 Tuesday, November 17, 2009 : Killarney to Dublin (Map D to E)
Dungarvan  Dungarvan is one of Ireland's gems - a bustling market town of more than 7,000 people perched on Dungarvan Bay beneath the Comeragh Mountains. The salmon run past the 14th century church tower and up the rushing Colligan River to lay their eggs in the gravel beds beyond the town. Wide, sandy beaches are just minutes away, and not much further lie glacial lakes and dramatic coums and waterfalls. 
Fermoy   
Killarney  Sites of interest in the town reflect it's strong religious and educational history. Killarney was a Church foundation from the 5th or 6th Century, house settlement began here from around 1500.

Explore colourful laneways, a fine cathedral … historic buildings dating back to the days of the landlord … experience the ambience of busy streets in the town centre.

Nestled amidst deep, lake filled valleys with astounding sights such as the famous Ladies' View (Named after Queen Victoria's Ladies' in Waiting) and the MacGillicuddy Reeks - Ireland's largest mountain range, home of Carrauntoohil our largest peak.

Killarney itself is a lively hub of activity, with many hotels, restaurants, pubs, discos, along with outlets for renting bikes, cars and the famous jaunting cars. It is an ideal base for touring the Ring of Kerry, Dingle and Tralee. 
Killarney Killeen Course  (6,474 Metres / Par 72) Golf has been played here - in majestic surroundings amidst the famous Lakes of Killarney - since the 19th century, hence the oft-heard referral to its being a "golfer's dream". Among the better holes on the Killeen parkland course are the 1st which follows the curve of Lough Leane's shore, the stunning par three 3rd also along the water's edge and the 13th - a long par 4. 
Killarney Mahony's Point Course  (6,152 Metres / Par 72) The second of the two championship parkland courses at the Killarney Golf Club, Mahony's Point runs adjacent to Lough Leane with the mountains of Kerry rising on the other side of the lake. Mahony's Point is no less challenging as it is beautiful. 
MacGillycuddy's Reeks  One of several mountain ranges on the Iveragh Peninsula, MacGillycuddy's Reeks boasts the highest mountain in Ireland, Carrantuohill (3,404 ft.). Whether gazed at from afar or explored up close on foot, the Reeks are among Ireland's greatest spectacles. 
Mallow  Mallow (Irish Magh Eala "valley of the swans") is the "Crossroads of Munster" and the administrative capital of north County Cork, in Ireland. The Northern Divisional Offices of Cork County Council are located in the town. A thriving and prosperous market centre, Mallow is the largest town along the lovely Blackwater Valley, and a good centre from which to explore that river and many interesting locations in the neighbourhood. Up to a century ago it was renowned as a spa, with crowds of visitors frequenting it - crowds whose behaviour gave rise to the well-known song 'The Rakes of Mallow'. The old Mallow Castle stands in the middle of the town. Behind it stands the 'new' castle, a fine baronial building privately owned and superbly maintained. In the grounds you might catch a glimpse of a herd of white fallow deer. They are all descended from two white bucks presented by Queen Elizabeth I to an earlier owner.  
Muckross House & Gardens  This stunning Victorian mansion with its exquisite gardens is also home to skilled artisans at work. Nearby are a series of reconstructed traditional farms, with animals and docents, providing a gateway to rural Ireland as it was for centuries. 
Ring of Kerry  The Ring of Kerry is part of the mystical & unspoilt Ireland that has attracted visitors for hundreds of years. It's spectacular beauty is beyond question and it is a natural centre for outdoor pursuits including golf, watersports , cycling, walking, riding and the very best fishing for salmon & trout. The Ring of Kerry has some of the finest beaches in Europe that provide all the facilities for a traditional seaside holiday. Above all the Ring of Kerry provides an amazing insight into the ancient heritage of Ireland - see the Iron Age Forts & Ogham Stones, Old Monasteries and a landscape carved out of rock by the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. 
Tarbert/Killimer Ferry  The main tourist routes of the West of Ireland's Shannon Region are linked via the Killimer-Tarbert car ferry. This pleasant, 20 minute journey across the Shannon Estuary will save 85 miles (137 km) from ferry terminal to ferry terminal providing a staging point for the many attractions of Clare, Kerry and adjoining counties.

When traveling between Dingle or Killarney and Cliffs of Moher/Doolin, this ferry can save quite a bit of driving time. 
Tramore Course  (6,055 Yards / Par 72) Eighteen hole championship course with generous fairways. In a recent survey, by Sports Columnist John Cowyn, two holes - the 4th and the 6th were rated in the top eighteen in Ireland. 
Day #4 Wednesday, November 18, 2009 : Dublin to Dublin Airport (Map E to F)
Dalkey  This charming south-coast suburb of Dublin enjoys both easy access to the city and freedom from its snarls and frenzy. It has a castle, an island, a mountaintop folly, and a few parks, all in ample miniature. With all the fine and simple restaurants and pubs and shops anyone needs for a brief visit or a long stay, Dalkey is a tempting town to settle into. 
Dublin  Sample some local brews. - Have a pint of Guinness or a shot of whiskey in one of Dublin's 1000 pubs!

Visit a Castle - Step back in time and visit a selection of ancient and historic castles situated both in the city and throughout Dublin County.

Dine with the locals - Dubliners like to eat, and the last ten years has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan and chic food culture, which is mirrored in the hundreds of restaurants you will find throughout Dublin city and county.

Discover the story of Dublin - Visit some of the numerous museums and learn the history of this ancient capital.

Visit Georgian Dublin - Stroll through the elegant Georgian streets of Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares, as fine examples of the great Georgian period.

Shop 'til you drop! - Dublin offers a wonderful array of products ranging from the traditional to the more contemporary. A must for all shoppers is the central shopping area which runs from Henry Street to O' Connell Street and on to Grafton Street, and is easily explored on foot. There are also many fine shopping centres throughout the city and county.

Tour Dublin - See Dublin on any of the city's hop-on-hop-off tours, or escape the hustle and bustle of the city and visit the countryside or costal villages just 20 minutes drive from the city centre.

'Rock & Stroll' around Dublin - Dublin is among the most important music cities in the world, so why not visit the many significant sites associated with Dublin's famous musicians, rock groups and pop artisits?
Party the night away! - Dublin has one of Europe's most happening nightlife cultures. Whether it's the traditional pubs with Irish music, or the hip and trendy bar and club scene of a major European city that you're after, you'll find it all in Dublin! Dublin is also famous for it's playwrights and plentiful theatres alike so if drama's your thing why not check out what's on at the theatre?

 
Dublin Zoo in the Phoenix Park  Kids love this 30-acre zoo, with its array of creatures, animal-petting corner, and train ride. The surrounding park has room to run, picnic, and explore for hours (or days!). 
Dublin's Viking Adventure  This is a fun learning experience. Kids travel back in time to be part of Viking life with "real Vikings" working and interacting in a model Norse town. It's on the site where the Vikings made their home in Dublin. 
Dun Laoghaire  Dún Laoghaire is a town on the coast about 7 miles (11km) south of Dublin. Together with the splendid harbour and surrounding rolling hills, Dún Laoghaire is the ideal place to begin or end your journey through Ireland. It was once called Kingstown and before that the English called it Dunleary.

This is an excellent base for Dublin City -- the DART (Dublin Rapid Area Transit) station whisks you into the city within minutes! 
Portmarnock Championship Course  (6,497 Metres / Par 72) Host to many of the Irish Open championships, this course displays what many consider to be the finest use of bunkering on any course in any country. The 14th and 15th are Portmarnock's most famous with the former being described as "the best hole in the world" by Sir Henry Cotton. 
Portmarnock Links Course  (6,260 Metres / Par 71) One of Ireland's newest championship links. Designed by Masters champion, Bernhard Langer, this magnificent site was chosen to be his first design of many. Opened in 1995, the perceptive planning provides all the necessary ingredients for the links purist. You will enjoy your round at this former stop on the PGA European Tour. 
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