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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Ireland by Train

Eight nights’ tour of Ireland by train, including Dublin, the west coast, the Aran Islands and Belfast.

A touring holiday by train designed specially to give a flavour of the contrasts of Ireland.  Carefully created for those who prefer to use public transport rather than driving, but still wish to visit the highlights of North and South, this trip features impressive Georgian Dublin, fascinating Victorian Belfast complete with the Titanic Experience, and the rural far West around Galway and the Wild Atlantic Way.  This eight-night holiday also includes a day taking in the Cliffs of Moher and on the wonderful Aran Islands, where you will step back in time to a land of horse-drawn carriages and craft shops.

Read about Tom’s February 2017 car-free break to Ireland on our blog

 

 


At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Avoid the crowds by visiting in spring or autumn

Why not...

upgrade to five star hotels in Dublin or Belfast?

Prices From

£1125

No of Nights

8

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Office Hours (UK time) Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm

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Details

Day One – Dublin

Your first base is the Georgian city of Dublin

Your Accommodation in Dublin

A true home away from home, this elegant Victorian guest house in the beautiful leafy suburb of Ballsbridge is undoubtedly one of the city’s finest bed and breakfasts.

Beautifully appointed rooms, with sky-high ceilings and large picture windows ensure a restful night’s sleep, whilst the inviting guest lounge, replete with complimentary hot drinks and home-made treats, is a peaceful spot in which to plan your day, yet you are just 15 minutes’ walk from the centre of Dublin.

Days Two and Three – exploring Dublin

Time to explore with a guided walking tour of the city included to help you get your bearings and learn some of the history from a local expert.  Once home to literary greats such as James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, the city boasts an abundance of Georgian architecture as well as cosy bars and lots of great restaurants.  Enjoy them all by walking in the area around Merrion Square and St Stephens Green; wander into Trinity College where the famous Book of Kells is on display; head to the Guinness Storehouse to sample this most famous of drinks in its historic homeland or pay a visit to one or both of the city cathedrals.  Cross the Liffey on the Ha’penny bridge and visit the GPO -site of the famous 1916 Easter Rising – and take in the Dublin Writers Museum or catch an Irish play at the Abbey Theatre.

Day Four – to Galway

Today catch a morning train to the contrasting city of Galway – Europe’s Westernmost.

Your Accommodation in Galway

Your base is a family owned, grand Georgian townhouse, featuring a charming tearoom which is open to the public for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Set directly at the dramatic river Corrib salmon weir, many of the house’s five elegantly appointed rooms feature superb views across the water and beyond. Despite the house’s location just moments’ walk from the city centre, you’ll feel detached from city bustle in this peaceful pocket of Galway.

Day Five – to the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher

Today you will enjoy a fantastic full-day tour as part of a small group. Setting off from the centre of Galway, your local driver-guide will transport you along the Wild Atlantic Way in to north Co Clare and its picturesque coastal villages. At Doolin, board the ferry for the short crossing – often accompanied by dolphins – to Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran islands, where you’ll have time to explore its ancient castles and churches, and take a stroll on its usually deserted beaches.

The three rocky limestone outcrops that make up the Aran Islands are a bastion of traditional language, culture and music, unique in their geology and archaeology and unrivalled in their potent sense of history. Each has its own distinct atmosphere and character, and the dramatic landscapes and endless sea form a backdrop to a labyrinth of meandering stone walls and tiny, tightly packed fields.  In between, a network of narrow winding roads and grassy lanes sweep from pristine beaches and craggy shores to the dizzying cliffs that mark the edge of Europe.  The islands have lured legions of writers, artists and visitors over the centuries – their enigmatic ancient monuments, early Christian remains, holy wells and historic lighthouses adding to their sense of timelessness and mystery.  This serenity makes the islands a precious sanctuary from the rush of modern life and their isolation guarantees their place as a stronghold of traditional culture.

Returning to Doolin, you’ll be transported to the soaring Cliffs of Moher – reputedly Europe’s highest – where you’ll have an hour or so to take in their quite incredible scale.

You will return to Galway in the early evening.

Day Six – Discover More of Galway on a Guided Walk and Boat Trip

This morning after breakfast, meet the friendliest and most knowledgeable local guide and enjoy a walking tour of this most appealing city, focusing on its rich maritime past. You’ll head for the harbour and board a slick motorboat for a one-hour tour in the bay, seeing the city from its best perspective, before returning to lunch of the freshest seafood at the quayside café.

Day Seven – to Belfast

Time to return to Dublin then connect to the Enterprise train to Belfast, arriving late afternoon in the capital of Northern Ireland.

Your Accommodation in Belfast

Your hotel is a locally owned guesthouse close to the University area and a mere 10-minute walk from the city centre. This AA four-star rated accommodation comes highly recommended for offering great value for money and a comfortable base from which to enjoy the city.  There is complimentary WiFi in all rooms and a light and airy breakfast room, and within a few minutes’ walk, a host of restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and budgets; as they say in Belfast “the craic is never far away”.

Day Eight – Exploring Belfast

The city is compact and easy to get around on foot or public transport.  Although there has been much new development in the city, there’s still a genuine heritage and a truly warm welcome for visitors.  The Cathedral quarter is the historic cultural heartland of the city, whereas the Titanic Quarter of east Belfast – where the legendary liner was built – is full of reminders of a proud maritime and industrial past.  Here the brand new, state of the art, Titanic Visitor Experience is a must visit destination and a suitable memorial to the tragedy of 100 years ago.

Other must-see destinations range from the grand Victorian City Hall to Stormont, the home of government; from the Ulster Museum – where the Girona exhibition of Spanish Armada Gold is unmissable – to historic pubs such as the Crown Liquor saloon – a rather unique National Trust property.  This morning we will arrange a private Black taxi tour where you can learn about the city’s recent turbulent history and its remarkable resurgence and optimism.

Day Nine

Time to return home – from Belfast or onwards to Dublin.

 

Sustainable Travel

This holiday is part of our ever-growing collection of public transport based holidays, enabling you to reach destinations around Ireland without the need to drive. We feel strongly that true sustainability also means promoting and helping to maintain a way of life in areas where the economic benefit of tourism can make a genuine difference to the local community, which is why we have used locally-owned small accommodation and local guides on this holiday.


Location

Map Explore-Ireland-by-Train

Three centres: Dublin, Galway and Belfast. You can start or finish in any of these and we can arrange travel by ferry or plane to either Dublin or Belfast as preferred.


Pricing

£1125 per person for February, March, November & December, £1160 per person for April & October, £1195 per person in May, £1245 per person from June to September.

Price is based on two sharing an ensuite double or twin room for seven nights on a bed & breakfast basis.

The supplement for a single traveller is £465 per holiday.

The holiday includes a walking tour of Dublin; a day tour to the Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher; a walking tour and boat trip in Galway with lunch included; a political “black taxi” tour of Belfast; ticket for the Titanic Visitor Experience; return train travel between Dublin and Galway, and Dublin and Belfast.

A Wee Touch of Luxury

You can upgrade to 5 star hotels in both Dublin and Belfast and to first class on the Dublin to Belfast rail journey to add a little indulgence to your journey.

In Dublin you can upgrade to stay in a luxurious 5 star hotel nestled on a leafy Victorian street deep within the Irish capital’s most sophisticated quarter. The building’s somewhat traditional facade encases a contrastingly contemporary and fashionable interior. This hotel offers the quirkiest of delights at every opportunity from the modern Irish music playing in your room as you enter, to the chocolate afternoon tea in collaboration with Cocoa Atelier available to enjoy from the lounge’s eccentric chair collection. For this hotel add £95 per person in February, March and December, £160 per person in May, June, July, August and September and £120 per person for travel in March, April, October and November.

In Belfast spoil yourself with a stay in 5 star opulence. Originally designed and built in the Victorian era as the grandest of bank headquarters, this striking building in central Belfast has been transformed into a landmark five-star hotel.  Whether enjoying breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktails or dinner in the original banking hall, your eyes will undoubtedly be drawn to the incredible ceiling.  Look out for the plump cherubs atop the magnificent Corinthian columns.  Rooms are sumptuously decorated with richly-coloured fabrics, ornate mirrors and classic pieces of furniture.  To stay here add £175 per person for this luxury two night stay.

To travel in first class between Dublin and Belfast add £45 per person.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

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This holiday can be arranged from February to mid-December.

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