A Majestic Tour of the Emerald Isle

Ireland Tours.jpg

Majestic Ireland

Her crashing coastline, sky-piercing mountains, glacial lakes, sleepy surf towns and characterful castles set the stage for your own personal Emerald Isle production with your very own tour company. Enter: Wilderness Ireland’s new collection of adventure vacations. Designed by locals and delivered by local legends, the seven trips are said to “bring travelers closer to the source of where adventure meets fantasy and where fiction comes to life.” Works for us. Oh, and get this… the rock pinnacles of the Skellig Islands will feature prominently in Rogue One, the latest Star Wars flick for those who want to geek out and get a Star Wars location scout visit. Oh, and for Game of Thrones fans, the small village along the Causeway Coastal Route is better known as the location for Game of Thrones’ Iron Island. The best part? A favorable exchange rate and countless flight options makes it the perfect time to experience Ireland’s wild landscapes and enchanting history.

Here’s our latest eco-adventuring pick for Ireland’s fair sights:

Wilderness Ireland’s new small-group tours debut in Spring 2017

  • Hiking and Island Hopping Cork and Kerry: On foot and by boat, travelers discover Kerry and Cork, exploring the wildest corners of the striking southwest where tales of pirate invasions were born and ancient Neolithic sites are scattered across the land. Amongst many highlights is the climb up the bare rock steps of the UNESCO World Heritage site Skellig Michael. The Skellig Islands were home to Christian monks until the 12th Century and are now a filming location for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII. Travelers might also spot whales, puffins, dolphins, seals and sharks from the coastal trails.
  • Hiking the Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal: The Causeway Coastal Route is home to rolling mountains awash with local legends and myths, the highest sea cliffs in Europe and remote lodges dishing out fresh seafood from the Atlantic. From the most northerly point of Ireland at Malin Head, hikers can look across the windswept landscapes and its ancient archaeological remains, before the ascent up Mount Errigal to Glenveagh castle. Guests traverse the Pilgrim’s Path, a route once used for Christian pilgrimage, to meet with a local tweed-maker still practicing his craft on a traditional handloom.
  • Cycling and Yoga Escape: Each day begins with a gentle yoga session to help cyclists prepare for their two-wheel journey in the peaceful north-west. From laidback surfing villages to wild mountain ranges and historic pubs overlooking the Atlantic, this bike tour has it all. Travelers cycle through the charming Irish countryside and across glaciated valleys to ancient castles.
  • Hiking the Ring of Kerry Mountains: Hikers summit some of Ireland’s highest peaks in Killarney National Park, Corrán Tuathail and Mount Brandon, and take lost pilgrimage paths along the sea cliff’s edge to white sandy beaches. Travelers uncover the legend of Cú Chulainn and the giant as they explore the stories of the Dingle Peninsula. Evenings are enjoyed in cozy inns with traditional live music and the finest local fare.

Hiking the Mountains of Connemara and Mayo: Following in the footsteps of Saint Patrick, hikers will conquer three of the highest mountains in the west of Ireland. Guests explore the spectacular mountain and bog wilderness of Connemara, home to Ireland’s only true fjord, Killary Harbour. Watching wild dolphins play in the nearby surf makes the Mayo Coastal Trek one of Ireland’s most memorable.

  • Bike Tour – Connemara and the Aran Islands: The westernmost regions of Ireland have their own distinct culture and traditions. Places such as the Aran Islands are the last bastion of the Irish Gaelic language. Back on the mainland, in The Burren National Park, ancient tombs, friendly farming communities, and cozy pubs are natural complements to the exhilaration of riding through this majestic landscape.
  • Hiking the Burren, Aran Islands and Connemara: The limestone landscape of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher are blanketed in colourful wildflowers in summer. Travelers follow the winding paths of the Aran Islands to visit Europe’s most important prehistoric sites and enjoy outstanding views of Galway Bay, Connemara and Black Head.

WildernessIreland.com

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Ireland: The Wild Atlantic Way with Vagabond Adventure Tours

Vagabond Tours

Vagabond Tours

The Wild Atlantic Way… we’d never heard about this rugged beautiful place before, but, apparently, it’s the longest defined coastal touring route in the world, embracing Ireland’s wild West Coast landscape, ancient monuments, and historical sites. This stunning route twists and turns for 1,600 miles along an undulating coastline from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork. The Wild Atlantic Way is not just a driving route, it’s an invitation to adventure.

With countless ways to explore it by sea kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and even surfing, we wanted to introduce our readers to Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland makes it all accessible, thanks to their smartly planned multi-sport scheduled trips that take adventurous travelers to these authentic, off-the-beaten path areas along the route. In operation since 2002, Vagabond was founded by Rob & Amy Rankin after traveling extensively through Southern Africa. Impressed by the classic African travel modes of safari and overland tours, they decided to bring the concept to Ireland. They established Driftwood Irish Journeys of Discovery in 2011 as a division of Vagabond to offer trips for more leisurely travelers. We can dig that since we love leisure.

Surfing in Ireland with Vagabond Tours (because... why not?)

Surfing in Ireland with Vagabond Tours (because… why not?)

Utilizing custom-designed Land Rovers that take no more than 13 passengers, Vagabond trips explore an area in depth with daily adventures. One day, it might be sea kayaking in sheltered waters off the coast of Cork, while another day its horseback riding along a beach in Kerry. Nightly stays are in coastal villages and towns, in locally-owned guesthouses and small hotels.

One of Vagabond’s classic Wild Atlantic Way journeys is their World Tour of Ireland. Focused on the southwest and counties Kerry and Cork, this seven-day trip includes sea kayaking off the Beara Peninsula, horseback riding on the Dingle Peninsula, and mountain biking in Killarney National Park.

The price is $1,340, based on double occupancy, including accommodations and breakfasts.

The Wild Atlantic Way may be Ireland’s best-kept secret and with the dollar at its strongest in 11 years, this is quite possibly the perfect year to discover it.

vagabondtoursofireland.com

5 Great Girlfriend Getaways

Dubai’s Shopping Mall

Our friends at Friendly Planet Travel, a leading full-service group tour operator that specializes in high-quality tours to international destinations at affordable rates, has just told us about a five new packaged deals that revolve around exploring, sunbathing, shopping and dining… perfect for a relaxing trip with the girls.

Dazzling Dubai & Bangkok: this 9-day tour starts at $2,299 and takes the ladies to the epicenter of modern luxury in Asia. From world-class shopping and dining, to fascinating culture, it may be hard to convince the girls to come home!

Some leather bags in Florence

Leather bags in Florence

Incredible Italy: this 10-day tour from $3,099 takes travelers through Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome and more for a true taste of the flavors of Italy. Travelers will enjoy the charismatic Italian countryside, the celebrated wineries and see Italy’s most famous art – not to mention enjoy world-class shopping! If you love leather, the shops in Florence give you plenty of choices when it comes to handmade items such as wallets, belts, gloves, jackets, briefcases, and shoes.  Most of the leather shops are in Santa Croce and San Lorenzo, but Florence is also famous for two outdoor markets between Piazza San Lorenzo and Via Nazionale along the Via Dell’Ariento.  The other market is known as the Mercato Nuovo which was built in the 16th century and is located under a logia a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio.

The Springs Resort - Costa Rica

The Springs Resort – Costa Rica

Captivating Costa Rica: this 7-day tour starting at only $1,179 is the perfect getaway for girlfriends looking to soak up the sun! The tour takes travelers to explore the tropical rainforests and jungles, cloud forest, volcanoes, mountains and more that define Costa Rica.

Kenya Safari Express: this 8-day tour from $2,299 takes girlfriendson the ultimate African Safari. Savvy travelers and novices alike can check Kenya off of their list of dream vacations. With abundant wildlife and lavishly gorgeous, incredibly photogenic landscape, travelers will enjoy the teeming cities and exotic wildlife that Kenya is known for.

Taste of Ireland: this 7-day tour from $1,799 takes travelers through Dublin, Kerry, Limerick and Kilkenny. The ladies can enjoy the quaint Irish towns, explore the rolling green hills and end the day enjoying a pint of Guinness and Irish music.

All Friendly Planet Travel tours include round-trip airfare, deluxe hotel accommodations, many meals, comprehensive sightseeing and more so check them out and tell ’em we sent ya!

www.friendlyplanet.com

Ireland: Last Minute Deal

A view of Dublin

“Giorraíonn Beirt Bóthar”… that’s an old Gaelic expression meaning, “Two people shorten the road.”

In another words, it’s much better to have company on a journey.

Welcoming travelers to Ireland for 46  years,  Terry Flynn Tours has  come up  with  a way… a last-minute bargain  for  May and June.  Their  land-only Magical  Ireland package includes six nights’ accommodation in Bed & Breakfasts, full Irish breakfast daily, five days’ car rental with unlimited mileage (stick shift), reduced rate on CDWinsurance, Hop-On-Hop-Off city tour of Dublin, a detailed itinerary and reductions on entrance fees to many historic sites—all for only $430.  But this last-minute trip must be booked by May 31st and finished by June 30th.

Terry Flynn Tours (yes, there is a Terry Flynn) is known for professional service with the personal touch.  This means they’ll answer your queries quickly and they’ve chosen B&Bs that are family-owned but government-approved, have friendly helpful hosts, and offer private baths and a full Irish breakfast.  (That breakfast of OJ, eggs, bacon, sausages, white pudding, tomato, fried potatoes, brown bread and strong Irish tea or coffee will keep you going for a whole day of touring the Irish countryside.)

Prices quoted are per person, double occupancy, are subject to availability and do not include air fare, gasoline, CDW insurance or deductible, or location charges (at airports, etc.).

www.terryflynntours.com

The Renaissance Re-Brand: Luxury Savings & Romantic Escapes

Paris Arc de Triomphe Luxury Hotel RoomFinally!  Renaissance Hotels, part of the Marriott group, is celebrating the launch of two incredible new hotels and a whole new look for the Renaissance brand.

On September 17th, they’ll be holding a simultaneous launch event in NYC & Paris to celebrate the opening of Renaissance NY Hotel 57 and the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe, along with 9 days of exclusive packages at Renaissance hotels around the world.

These amazing packages are for purchase and bid, offered at a savings of 50% off, and include things like a holiday package in both Paris and New York with NYE in Times Square, elephant trekking in Thailand, backstage access at Oprah, tracing your ancestry in Ireland, celebrity chef experiences, and riding on a float during Mardi Gras, “These fun, incredible deals,” as Elizabeth Caminiti, Marriott’s PR Manager for International Relations, says, “speak to what Renaissance is all about… incredible experiences and discovery.”

Sample packages:

Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel

Sweet Suite in Paris, offered at $2,500, includes:

Three nights in a luxurious suite, VIP welcome including a bottle of Champagne upon arrival, in-room Indonesian massage for two, private cooking lesson with chef of Makassar restaurant, exploring Paris’ hidden treasures with insider’s tour with hotel Concierge, two tickets to “The Lion King”, and, get this… an unlimited in-room mini-bar!

Must stay before December 30th

New Orleans Luxury HotelsRenaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette HotelMardi Gras Spectacular in the Big Easy auction package includes:

3 nights in deluxe suite, a tasting menu at the Chef’s Table in the kitchen at MiLa, an exclusive viewing of the parades on St. Charles Street’s Intercon Stage with Bourbon Street balcony passes, a ride in the Krewe of Endymion Parade, ending the evening at the Endymion Ball in the Louisiana Superdome with limo transport. Not to mention… a couples massage at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, dinner at Le Cote Brassierie at the Renaissance New Orleans Art Hotel with a parade view, the Krewe of Bacchus Parade, front row seats at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, and breakfast for two each morning plus brunch at the famous Brennan’s restaurant!

Package available February 12-15, 2010

Other packages include:

The Blackstone Renaissance Chicago HotelBE Blackstone VIPs – Auction Package

Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & SpaRomantic Bliss at Koh Samui is offered at $950

The Shelbourne Renaissance Dublin HotelRoots in the Old Country: An Irish Special is offered at $950

Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & SpaA Hollywood Red Carpet Treatment is offered at $900

La Concha Renaissance San Juan ResortLiving LA VIDA: San Juan Style is offered at $1350

Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach Resort & SpaSun and Fun, In Miami Beach is offered at $2,700

http://www.renaissancehotels.com