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Our trip to the Aran Islands had to be cancelled due to the weather but our guide Dara scrambled to arrange a local guide of Galway (Brian Nolan- superb) and also arranged a personal concert by two extremely gifted musicians. Well planned tour hitting all the best sites with adequate free time. I feel that we had the "perfect storm" (a little hurricane humor! Second was just the fact that we were in Ireland with its spectacular scenery and friendly people.
All along the way, Rick's guides will share their stories to draw you in to the Emerald Isle, and the friendliness of the people will surely steal your heart. Meet your guide and fellow tour members at our hotel at 5 p.m. We'll end our tour at Trinity College for an illuminating look at the remarkable Book of Kells, a creative jolt that helped pull Europe out of the Dark Ages. On our way out of Dublin, we'll stop at Kilmainham Gaol and learn about its place in Ireland's stirring struggle for independence less than a century ago.With Dara, and the local tour guides, we learned so much about the history and culture of the Republic and Northern Ireland. Having the focus on Irish music was an excellent addition that I was not expecting and it was very welcome.It truly was "The Best of Ireland." "There were many. In many cases I felt I could have stayed a little longer in one place or another. In addition to that there were two tour guides who were so exceptional they moved me to tears and gave me a very insightful view of the history of Ireland." Beautiful scenery, FANTASTIC food, wonderful travel companions, a remarkable tour guide (Dara), cool temps (we're from Houston after all, and crave cooler weather!We saw fantastic scenery, learned a great deal about the history of the island and its people, both ancient and current, consumed some memorable meals in a variety of places, heard some great local musicians in several interesting venues, from churches to music stores and a hardware store by day which was a pub by night.We also had the opportunity to make many new friends. "Too numerous to choose just one: Slea Head Drive and the Blasket Islands, Cliffs of Moher, The Giant's Causeway and the Antrim coast, the Aran Islands with Dun Aengus, the political murals in Belfast." Ireland is great and the tour was even better! The cliffs of Moher to the Sleay head loop - the towering cliff with the sea crashing is just spectacular!"There was no one moment but some of the things that stood out were the small villages and towns like Cong and the surrounding area, wandering the grounds of Ashford Castle on the sunny and calm day after being in hurricane-pummeled Galway, the Antrim Coast, and the traditional Irish music and step dancing at the Belfast pub." We really couldn't of asked for more - really, this trip was a 10 PLUS. We had heard that Ireland was beautiful - scenery that I will never forget - and that the people were friendly - another 10 PLUS. Dara was an excellent tour guide and helped the group to bond and have an enjoyable time.
All of the hotels were great, the food excellent, and Irish music was over the top. He organized some excellent musical experiences for us.
Your guide will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead.
This was my first time on an organized tour group and the first time with Rick Steves.
The beautiful scenery, the Irish people, the music, and my tour group were the best. "I don't have just one "wow" moment: I loved flying the hawks; loved all the musical concerts; loved the bonding that went on during the "hurricane;"loved that we were able to go to Northern Ireland (I never felt that I would ever be able to visit Belfast after all The Troubles in recent history); loved the small towns and the rugged coast line." This tour was yet another outstanding Rick Steve's tour as we have come to expect.
Rick Steves tours are a great way to sample what a country has to offer. The tour was well-organized with meaningful activities.
After lunch, we'll join a local guide for a walking tour of historic Belfast.