Experience an Authentic Taste of Ireland in 2012

Slea Head – Dingle

Recently, I was challenged by a friend to design an inexpensive tour to one of my favorite destinations. Ireland came to mind because its close proximity to the USA and many links with our culture.  More importantly, Ireland presents an amazing opportunity to experience the great outdoors, traditional music, fine food, great Guiness and a unique culture… all without the stress of learning a foreign language!

I think I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping to the challenge.  On this tour, join me and a lively group of folks as we visit Doolin, Dingle and Dublin… my three top destinations for an authentic taste of Ireland.  Doolin, in County Clare, on the west coast of the island, offers a wild unspoiled beauty that’s hard to match anywhere.  Down on the southwest tip of Ireland we will make Dingle our home for a couple of nights. Finally, explore Dublin where writers, poets, rustlers, royalty and rebels all played an important part it Dublin’s evolution from a Viking outpost to a modern capital city.


Here is a detailed description of the tour plan and a few pictures to get you dreaming.

June 22: Fly to Ireland — Board your overnight flight from your USA hometown to Ireland. Roundtrip flight from Jacksonville, Florida is included in the tour cost. Additional USA departure locations are offered for a small fee. 

June 23: West Coast of Ireland — After airport arrival procedures you will be met by your Exploring Europe guide and driver. Enjoy a comfortable ride to the west coast of the island. We will visit the rugged Burrens, a chunk of land littered with rock and limestone outcroppings resembling the surface of the moon. Then, enjoy a visit to the most photographed landscape in Ireland, The Cliff of Mohar. Experience a “hang over the side and spit” view of sheer cliffs dropping more than 300 feet to the sea, all surrounded by rolling green hills and the vast North Atlantic. The village of Doolin waits with a fine guesthouse, three pubs, and real traditional Irish folk music. After settling in, we will gather in the village for dinner, traditional music and maybe even a pint or three. Sleep 2 nights in Doolin.

June 24: Galway — After a hearty “full Irish” breakfast, we’ll travel along the Atlantic coastal drive and around Galway Bay. Once in Galway we will take an orientation walk around the highlights of this perfect Georgian university city. After lunch, enjoy an event-free afternoon to do some exploring on your own. Here you can pass the time shopping, wandering in the pedestrian area, listening to local musicians and enjoying life. Later, return to Doolin for dinner on your own and a free evening.





June 25:  Dingle — Enjoy a scenic drive through County Clare, a ferry crossing of the River Shannon and a breathtaking trek across the coastal mountains on your way to southwest Ireland.  Dingle is my favorite destination in Ireland and one which presents an authentic charm to our American “image” of Ireland.  Our guesthouse is just a block from both the harbor and town center.  Tonight, enjoy a group dinner at one of the town’s gourmet restaurants.  The remainder of the evening is event free so you can experience Dingle. 

June 26: Dingle Peninsula – Today, experience some of Ireland’s wildest natural beauty and most ancient Christian sights. We’ll travel the Slea Head road through endless fields of “40 shades of green,” ocean waves crashing on rocks, and all the sheep you’ll ever want to count. Visiting the Blasket Islands Heritage Centre, you will get a close look at a traditional Irish community at the turn of the 20th century. Later, return to Dingle for an event-free afternoon and dinner on your own. Along about 9:00 p.m. we’ll meet at a local pub for a pure traditional Irish folk music session.

June 27: The Road to Dublin — We will leave the rugged southwest behind and make a diagonal beeline across the island to Dublin, the capital of the Republic. During the five hour drive we will make a couple of sightseeing stops, arriving in Dublin near midday. Once set up in our hotel, we will spend the remainder of the day exploring the rich history of Dublin. Writers, poets, rustlers, royalty and rebels all played an important part it Dublin’s evolution from a Viking outpost to a modern capital city. As the sun goes down and the Irish (and tourists) come out, we will devote our time to the “hip” Temple Bar area of town. Here, enjoy a tasty group dinner, a lively mix of street entertainers, plenty of pubs and lots of music!

June 28: Dublin — Enjoy a walking tour of the grand Georgian styled O’Connell Street and a visit to Trinity College. See the famous enlightened manuscript, from the Middle Ages, known as the Book of Kells. You will have the remainder of the day to discover more of Dublin. Tonight, enjoy a grand and gourmet farewell dinner at my favorite French restaurant outside of France. After, dinner enjoy your last hours in Dublin singing in a pub, dancing in the street and enjoying a pint or two!

June 29: Heading Home — Your tour ends today. Fly home from Dublin International Airport.

You can find out all the tour details by visiting my Exploring Europe website.  I hope you’ll consider joining me in Ireland in June 2012!

About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
  1. Susan McInarnay Reply

    I have traveled with David for over a decade now. I have been to Ireland with him 4 times, but I am signing up again for this trip. Ireland is my all time favorite country to visit. Part of it is because of my Irish Heritage and part of it is because of David. We share that Irish heritage and a love of the country and its people. I am hoping my best friend from college will go on this adventure as well as some other friends and family. I can promise you that if you have never traveled with David you will not be disappointed. Ireland is describes as 40 shades of green and it is ever so true. I hope to see you on this trip, but until then my Irish heart will be dreaming of returning to the Emerald Isle in 2012.

  2. Sandra Correa Reply

    I recently traveled with David in the March 2011 spring break trip to France and Spain. It was definitely the best trip I’ve ever experienced. The trip was well organized; we had very knowledgeable tour guides, and experienced both countries not just as tourists, but also as “locals”. Every day was a different adventure. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and I know that I will get the outmost experience going in this 2012 trip. I am planning on going and hopefully be able to bring a few friends with me 🙂

  3. Susan McInarnay Reply

    You will love Ireland! I am looking forward to traveling with you. Even though we work at the same place our paths rarely cross.

  4. Shirley Johnston Reply

    David, so excited about another opportunity for a discounted trip. Ireland is a place I have wanted to visit for years. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t able to go on the spring trip, but just maybe lady luck will strike again. LOL I left a post somewhere else on your blog, but I could not find it. Who knows what I did. : ) Shirley J.

  5. Aaron Giddens Reply

    Im excited to bhear that you are giving another discount opportunity. I have wanted to go o Europe for a long time. I have always wanted to see Italy, France, ireland and Scotland. I hope I get to travel with your tour some day!

  6. Debby Jones Reply

    Everyone who goes to Ireland seems to love it. I sent my daughters with a tour through UNF several years ago– when they had their short-lived “Irish Studies” deparment-but didn’t send myself. I’d love to do this tour during Spring Break.

    • admin Reply

      Ok Debbie, it seems like you should sign up for the tour and treat yourself to a trip.

  7. James Richardson Reply

    Ireland looks like an amazing place to visit. I would love to go there someday. I haven’t travelled with David McGuffin before but I am planning on going on his trip to Italy next year. I’m really looking forward to the trip and I hope to take more trips to Europe.

  8. Annette Webb Reply

    If I don’t have to pay off something with my income tax next year I’d like to go on this one. Time will tell.


  9. Saly Reply

    Looks wonderful and I’m considering going … just wish the economy were not still so unstable.

  10. David McGuffin Reply

    Thanks to the folks who’ve commented on my Ireland tour. I believe you’ve bought into the spirit of blogging. Now, if you do travel with me to Ireland you’ll see that all I rave about is true.

  11. Beth Reply

    My family and I have fantasized about going to Ireland for many, many years now. I have finally made the leap and signed us up for this trip. We are all so excited. Even my son-in-law, who’s in the military, is going to try to “juggle” his leave time so he can travel with us. I know I will probably drive David crazy with hundreds of questions between now and then!

  12. jayne blow Reply


    Dylan and I traveled with you during the Europe Tour for SCHS with Mr Kidd, etc. What a whirlwind experience for those kids, esp. the ones who had never had an international travel moment. It was a great time, and I envy that you can do this in your “spare time”……….Going to Ireland would be a dream as I know that there is family there (my paternal Grandmother left at age 17, a true “gypsy”)…….she was an O’Hara, and I am her namesake (Winifred, middle name, third generation); I know I will find a look-a-like of me there………..some of my extended family have made the trip, and Dylan and I will someday as we ventured toward ENGLAND and SCOTLAND, and beyond, hopefully after his eduaction is complete (Sr. this year…) Lucky You!

  13. Carolyn Ward Reply

    John and I will never forget all the fun times we had when we traveled with you in Ireland last year. The people were so friendly and the country was so inviting and beautiful. You took us to the most wonderful places like the Cliffs of Mohr and enjoying great food and closing down the pubs in the Dingle Peninsula! Too much fun! It was affordable, beautiful and memories we will never forget! Thanks so much for your expertise in organizing this tour. It was amazing!

  14. Lynn Porzig Reply

    This looks like a great trip! I have been to Ireland once, which is definitely not enough. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the East Coast of Ireland, but ran out of time to visit the West Coast. This trip would give us that opportunity, as well as a welcome revisit to Dublin. We were so pleased with the hospitality of the people of Ireland wherever we travelled.

  15. Cathy Reply

    I haven’t been back since the band went to Dublin. I’m excited about this trip. Hope I can make it.
    I miss traveling with David.

    • davidmcguffin Reply

      Well, Duh! I’m looking forward to sharing a picnic with you again.

  16. Asa Reply

    This sounds very interesting!! Laurie and I will try to make this one happen!
    Are you going to lead this trip? We hope we can make it!!!!!!

  17. Shy Reply

    I really want to see Ireland, but first I must conquer Tuscany!

  18. Linda Eason Reply

    My husband and I traveled with David several years ago to Switzerland, Spain and France and will never forget the wonderful time we had. We would LOVE to make this trip as Ireland has been on my list of places to visit….hope we can make it happen!

  19. Shirley Johnston Reply

    Fingers crossed!!! LOL If not this trip, hopefully another. Thanks, David. : )

  20. Lisa Travers Reply

    I’ve been all over the southern part of europe but would love to experience Ireland. Which ive heard is sort of the mediterrean of the isles 🙂 I work more than full time so this itinerary is nice!

    • davidmcguffin Reply

      Hi Lisa, I hope you consider joining me on the tour.

  21. Beth Reply

    Hey Linda, it would be great to visit with you and catch up all while having an awesome time in Ireland. I look forward to finding out that you’re really going! With you, me, David and Susan, it will seem like old times exploring the new!

  22. Annette Webb Reply


  23. Annette Webb Reply

    this be

  24. Annette Webb Reply

    cheating??? BAHAHAHAH 🙂

    • davidmcguffin Reply

      HA! Annette, very inventive in your post. Maybe the luck of the Irish will shine on you.

  25. Sally Reply

    When I tell people I’m thinking about taking this trip they say, “Screw the economy, go!”

  26. Linda Mowers Reply

    Hmmmmm, David — you make it sound heavenly! I got my whistle wet this Spring on one of your fabulous trips to London and now I’m hungry for more. We had such a perfect trip, you couldn’t have made it any better for our group. The Ireland trip sounds like a great encore….to be followed perhaps by another trip to Scotland…then across the channel to mainland Europe? I’m feeling overcome by wanderlust!

  27. Katie Carter Reply

    Are you still staying at the bed and breakfast in Dingle that we stayed in after my graduation? That was probably one of the nicest European bed and breakfasts I have ever stayed in!

  28. Sally Reply

    Which is more beautiful: Ireland or Tuscany.? Discuss.

  29. Debby Jones Reply

    Linda, I know what you mean about the wanderlust.. ever since our London trip. I’ve been wanting to get on a plane again. Ireland would be a dream trip for me. And it’s a real plus to not have to learn a new language, even though I turn the subtitles on when I watch The Commitments, cause I often can’t understand their English. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a real live singalong?

  30. Susan Reply

    Both are beautiful places, but I have to go with Ireland- and I hope you go with me. You have mountains and 40 shades of green and a coastline that is beyond discription! You also have music and pubs to add to the mix and even though the Villa at Tuscanny was awesome- you will love the pub experience!

  31. Wendy Richardson Reply

    The trip to Ireland sounds absolutely wonderful. This trip is one that I hope to take one of these days. I would love to sample the foods and hop from pub to pub hearing the stories and songs of the locals.

  32. Susan Reply

    I would have to vote for Ireland. Both are beautiful, but there is just something special about Ireland that is hard to describe in words. It is truly 40 shades of green. You have mountains and the most beautiful coastline I have ever seen. I say go if we wait until we retire we won’t be able to afford it!

  33. Su Reply

    Ireland! Let’s go!

  34. Odeen L. Tyre Reply

    Bonnie and I are interested in making this trip!

  35. Cora Bartholomew Reply

    I have never been to Europe, but Ireland has always been at the very top of my list. I agree with the “forget about the economy and go” mentality. There’s always going to be something… bad economy, replacing a water heater, buying a new car… but I think that if you can sacrifice a bit here and there, you’ll thank yourself when you’re sitting in an Irish pub, drinking local brew, and making great memories to last a lifetime.

  36. Debby Anson Reply

    This is one experience that should be on everyones “bucket” list. I loved it the first time. Can’t wait for the next.

  37. Aurelia Reply

    do you do a Northern Ireland short itinerary? I love Derry….and always like to revisit Knowth and Newgrange (and Doth when I can get to it….). And a day near the Giant’s causeway is a must. Belfast is also beautiful. Finally, there is a restaurant near the border that has great lamb!

  38. Annie Taylor Reply

    I traveled with David 6 years ago to Ireland and had a wonderful time. That being my first overseas trip…..I would love to go again and see more of the country. It was very peaceful and the pubs were alot of fun as well.

  39. Jay Reply

    Looks like a beautiful place! Wish I had an unlimited budget – I would travel every 3 or 4 months!

  40. Mike Croghan Reply

    Hi David.
    My name is Mike Croghan and I run Rathcroghan Tours in Co. Roscommon. I see that you are organising a jaunt over here in 2012 and feel that I would be able to add a really authentic Celtic experience to the tour.
    Please have a look at my website http://www.rathcroghantours.com and if you feel that I may be of service please feel free to contact me.

    Take care,

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