Throughout the Irish Life Experience, students will see and visit some of Ireland’s most historic places and impressive sights. They will experience Ireland’s beauty through guided tours and scheduled stops. Each of our featured tours offers students the chance to step back in time to places that have retained their original beauty and historical significance.
Students will have the option of visiting and attending a play at the famous Abbey Theatre-the National Theatre of Ireland. The Abbey Theatre was founded in 1903 by WB Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory. It’s a magical experience for anyone interested in the arts-truly a must see.
Students will visit the Aran Islands, the westernmost point of Europe, where they will be able to practice their Gaelic language skills with the local residents. The Aran Islands offer some of the country’s most historic sites such as Dun Aengus and the Seven Churches. Limestone landscapes and stretches of majestic cliffs border these beautiful islands.
Book of Kells
Welcome to the Old Library and the Book of Kells Exhibition – a “must see” on the itinerary of all visitors to Dublin. Located in the heart of Dublin City, a walk through the cobbled stones of Trinity College Dublin will bring visitors back to the 18th century, when the magnificent Old Library building was constructed. Inside is housed the Book of Kells – a 9th-century gospel manuscript famous throughout the world.
Black Taxi Tour
Take part in a world-famous Black Taxi Tour of Belfast. The local guides will tailor your tour to your liking, giving you the option to decide where you’d like to visit. Start your tour in the city center then move through the shipyards to see where HMS Titanic was built and launched. See the political districts, which have borne the brunt of conflict over the last thirty years, before ending your tour in the elegant University Quarter and Museum district.
Blarney Castle and Stone
The Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near the city of Cork. The castle originally dates before 1200 AD. Students are allowed to explore the grounds, climb to the top of the castle and kiss the Blarney Stone which is said to give the gift of eloquence. They will also have time to shop at the popular Blarney Woolen Mills where they can choose from many traditional souvenirs.
The Burren is an area in western Ireland known for its unique landscape, beautiful flora, underground rivers and limestone “grikes” (cracks). Those interested in the ancient history of Ireland will find a wealth of material in the Burren: megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses, a ruined Cistercian Abbey and more than sixty wedge tombs and dolmens.
Burren Walking Tour
A study of contemporary Irish drama. Students will be assigned to groups and given historical Irish figures, study them, write a limerick, and prepare a creative group performance.
The Carrick-a-Rede Bridge is a rope suspension bridge that connects the mainland to Sheep Island, a tiny island primarily used for fishing. The bridge and its surroundings are absolutely gorgeous and, on a clear day, you can actually see to Scotland! Although, at first glance, it appears that it would be a scary undertaking, the bridge has been updated to ensure its safety. There has never been an injury as a result of crossing the bridge.
Cliffs of Moher
Located on the western coast of Ireland between Doolin and Lahinch the Cliffs of Moher reach 700-feet tall and span for nearly ten miles. These cliffs, as well as O’Brien’s Tower which sits atop the highest point, offer some of the most breathtaking views in all of Ireland.
Pronounced “Cove,” this seaport town is located on the south shore of Great Island in Cork Harbor. Best known as the point of departure for nearly 2.5 million North American emigrants and as the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic, Cobh has become an amazingly vibrant town and is home to several yacht clubs and social venues.
Students will visit Croke Park, the largest sports stadium in Ireland and home to the national games of Gaelic Football and Hurling (two workshops offered as part of the Irish Way). The Stadium Tour goes behind the scenes at this 82,300 capacity stadium including dressing rooms, pitch-side, corporate suites, VIP section and state-of-the-art media center.
Dan O’Hara’s Cottage
Students will take a guided tour of Dan O’Hara’s Cottage and the surrounding grounds which will include a tractor ride, a demonstration of turf cutting, story telling, horseshoe throwing and a few games of tug-of-war. The tour is very entertaining and educational, giving students the chance to experience firsthand the history and traditions of the Connemara region.
Dublin City Tour
Hop aboard the double-decker Dublin Bus while you visit some of this great city’s sights and attractions, including Trinity College and the Book of Kells, St. Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar District, Dublin Castle and much more, all with colorful commentary provided by a professional guide.
Giant’s Causeway is a remarkable geologic feature that has earned the honor of being the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom and the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Consisting of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns which were formed by an ancient volcanic eruption, this will be one of the highlights of the Irish Way!
Glendalough, meaning “Glen of Two Lakes,” is a glacial valley located in County Wicklow. Renowned for its early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, a hermit priest, it was destroyed in 1398 by English troops. This will be the Irish Life’s first stop the day they arrive in Ireland en route to Waterford. Students will be able to walk around the gorgeous lakes and breathe the fresh air.
Guinness Storehouse (Brewery)
Join us for a tour and sampling at the Guinness Brewery, Ireland’s #1 International visitor attraction. Since opening in November 2000, the Guinness Storehouse has attracted over four million visitors from every corner of the globe. Enjoy the tour of the Storehouse before sampling the goods at the top-level Gravity Bar while you enjoy views of Dublin.
Discover the time-honored secret of how three simple ingredients: water, barley and yeast are transformed into the smooth golden spirit that is Jameson Irish Whiskey. At the end of the guided tour each visitor is offered a complimentary glass of Jameson. Guides select volunteers to take part in a whiskey comparison tasting, demonstrating the subtle difference in taste between various types of Irish Whiskey, and comparing it to leading Scotch and American Whiskeys.
Located in Kilkenny, just an hour south of Dublin, this grand castle sits on the River Nore overlooking Kilkenny’s city center. Once a private estate, the first tower dates back to 1172. Much of the original structure remains. It has recently been restored and is open to visitors who are able to visit a portion of the National Art Gallery on display as well as the ornamental gardens that surround the property.
As we tour the Connemara region outside of Galway, we will come upon the original Kylemore Castle, now called Kylemore Abbey, home to the International Girls’ School. The castle itself served as a private home in the late 1800s before being converted into an Abby for Benedictine nuns who fled Belgium during World War I. The house and gardens are open to the public.
Each summer, the Irish Way visits the Irish President’s House for a private tour. Students may even be greeted by the president! Built in 1751 and situated within the 1,752-acre Phoenix Park near Dublin, the original house was built by Park Ranger Nathaniel Clements. By 1782 it had been acquired for use by the Viceroys who oversaw British rule in Ireland. It became the official residence of the President of Ireland in 1938.