- David’s Blog
Ireland is the land of forty shades of green, all the sheep you'll ever want to count, and a warm welcome on every doorstep! It is a mystical place, full of fairy forts, stone circles, ancient passage tombs, and superstitions that run deep. During the “Dark Ages” it was the home of saints and scholars who carried on teaching and learning while the rest of Europe struggled just to survive. Furthermore, Celtic heritage is proudly displayed in traditional music, the Irish language, and Gaelic sports. This Essence of Ireland tour is the perfect match of sightseeing and cultural experiences packed into nine days offering a worry-free taste of the history, culture, music, and cuisine of Ireland.
This tour kicks off with a driving and walking tour of Dublin, where you’ll get a solid introduction to Irish history, culture, and charm. Then we will head out into the countryside to experience four distinct regions. You’ll visit ancient monastic sites, fairy forts, geological wonders, and charming villages. Enjoy some of the best fresh local food on the island all seasoned with local traditional Irish music. This tour provides in depth tour experiences in Dublin, Blarney Castle, The Ring of Kerry, Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher, Westport, Derry, The Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, Newgrange, and more.
Dublin - 2 nights
Kenmare (Ring of Kerry) - 2 nights
Doolin - 1 night
Westport - 1 night
Portrush (Northern Ireland) - 2 nights
Dublin - 1 night
Optional Single Supplement: $540
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Let’s plan to meet today at 1:00 p.m. in our hotel lobby for introductions and a tour overview. Then, join your Exploring Europe guide for a scenic overview tour of Dublin City. Enjoy a stop at the famous Guinness Brewery for a look at the production process and a visit to the panoramic Gravity Bar for your first taste of an authentic pint of the stout brewed here in Dublin. You'll get your fill with a traditional dinner at a favorite Dublin pub. The remainder of the evening is free for you to enjoy more of Dublin or return to the hotel and settle in. Sleep 2 nights in Dublin. Walking: light. Driving: 2 hours. Dinner.
The great tomb known as Newgrange was built in the Neolithic or New Stone Age between 3370 and 2920 B.C. Its name is derived from a monastic settlement established here during the 1300’s. Today you’ll experience Newgrange on an organized tour departing from Dublin. After your return to the city, you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon and evening on your own. Walking: moderate. Driving: 3 hours.
Today, we will travel to the little village of Blarney. The castle, known for its famous “Blarney Stone,” is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. After an opportunity to “kiss the Blarney Stone,” you will enjoy a visit to the Blarney Woolen Mills. This huge shopping complex is your one-stop spot for authentic Irish arts, crafts, textiles, and apparel. After lunch, travel to the little village of Kenmare down in County Kerry. Enjoy a pleasant dinner at our hotel and an opportunity to take in some live traditional music. Sleep 2 nights in Kenmare. Walking: light. Driving: 6 hours. Dinner.
Today, enjoy a driving tour of the Iveragh Peninsula, commonly known as the Ring of Kerry. The Lakes of Killarney, rugged mountains, and beautiful coastal vistas make this one of the most photogenic areas in Ireland. Late in the afternoon, we will return to our home village of Kenmare for an evening on your own. Walking: light. Driving: 6 hours.
Enjoy a scenic drive through Country Kerry as we head to the far west coast. We’ll make a stop at the Cliffs of Moher where you’ll find yourself teetering on the edge of a 700 foot windy cliff perched on the North Atlantic. These cliffs stretch for five miles along the Atlantic coast in County Clare. On a clear day one can see the distant Aran Islands and the soaring mountains in Connemara and the Dingle Peninsula. Later, we will arrive in the seaside village of Doolin. McDermott's, the local pub, will set us up with a hearty dinner and a pint of your choice to wash it all down. Then, pull up a seat for some traditional local music to keep your foot tapping. Sleep 1 night in Doolin. Walking: moderate. Driving: 4 hours. Dinner.
Leaving Doolin, we will trace a route along Galway Bay into north western County Galway. Connemara National Park is loaded with scenic mountains, woodlands, and blanket bogs. It is home to the Twelve Bens mountain range, some of the tallest in Ireland. We will make a stop at the neo-Gothic Kylemore Abbey. Built in the 1860’s by Mitchell Henry, the manor house, chapel, and gardens provide a look back to the era of English domination. After lunch, we will make our way to Westport for the evening. Sleep 1 night in Westport. Walking: light. Driving: 6 hours. Dinner.
Traveling through Mayo and Donegal, we will eventually cross into Northern Ireland near the town of Derry. In Derry, we will meet a local guide who will share stories about “the troubles” and struggles between the Protestants and Catholics. Later, we will arrive in the seaside vacation town of Portrush where you’ll enjoy a free evening and dinner on your own. Sleep 2 nights in Portrush. Walking: moderate. Driving: 5 hours.
Today we will explore Northern Ireland’s scenic Antrim Coast. The Giant’s Causeway, a collection of unusual octagonal basalt columns jutting out of the North Atlantic, have long been the source of local legend and geological conjecture. Farther up the coast, enjoy a trek across the scenic Carrick-a-Rede rope footbridge (weather permitting). Before returning, enjoy a tour of crumbling Dunluce Castle, perched high on a hill on the North Atlantic. Back in Portrush, we will meet for a group dinner at a favorite restaurant. Walking: moderate to strenuous, your choice. Driving: 3 hours.
We will take a final look at Northern Ireland in Belfast City. Hop aboard a city sightseeing tour with a local guide and learn about “the troubles” from past decades, the city’s industrial boom, and of course some stories about the Titanic and Game of Thrones. Then, we’ll cruise the highway back to Dublin for one last dinner celebrating our Emerald Isle vacation. Sleep in Dublin, 1 night. Walking: light. Driving: 6 hours. Dinner.
Breakfast is included today, but there are no plans beyond that. Your guide can help with any post-tour plans and travel connections if needed. Sláinte!
Itinerary specifics are subject to change.
Transportation by coach and/or mini bus from your Dublin hotel to your final Dublin hotel.
9 nights’ accommodation in traditional hotels, guesthouses, and B&B’s. All rooms have private en-suite baths.
All tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, restaurant, and hotel staff.
A guaranteed Small Group consisting of 6-24 participants.
All breakfasts and five of your dinners.
Traditional and gourmet dining experiences at some of David's personal favorite restaurants. Eating well is a priority and you’ll enjoy fine regional fare featuring the best the locale has to offer.
Water is included with all meals. Soda, beer, wine, spirits, coffee and tea are your responsibility.
All tours and admissions at no extra cost: Comprehensive Dublin walking and driving tour covering all the essential sights in the city ▪ a visit to the Guinness Storehouse and Gravity Bar ▪ Newgrange and the Hill of Tara tour ▪ entrance to Blarney Castle and its famous kissing stone ▪ Kenmare orientation ▪ Ring of Kerry driving tour ▪ The Cliffs of Moher experience ▪ Doolin village pub and trad music session ▪ Connemara National Park driving tour ▪ Kylemore Abbey entrance and tour ▪ Westport orientation ▪ Derry walking tour and driving tour ▪ Portrush orientation ▪ The Giant’s Causeway experience ▪ Dunluce Castle entrance ▪ Carrick-a-Rede rope footbridge admission (weather permitting) ▪ Belfast driving and walking tour ▪ and much more! (Itinerary specifics are subject to change).
A full time Exploring Europe guide and local experts dedicated to bringing to life the art, history, and culture of the tour destinations.
David’s printed tour handouts detailing each day’s historical and cultural experiences.
Free luggage tags.
David’s drawstring backpack designed to enhance your Exploring Europe tour experience.
Our Unconditional Tour Price Guarantee that once locked in, will never change.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance providing full coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the moment you depart for your tour.
$50 Tour Alumni discount for each McGuffin tour you’ve taken prior to 2018 (only one discount per year).
$100 discount if making all payments by check, cash or bank draft. The $400 initial deposit may be made by credit card and still qualify for this discount.
Walking and Physical Activity: We have planned this trip to provide maximum tour experiences by foot, boat, and vehicle. The basic nature of Europe does require some degree of physical activity to get out and see the sights, especially in the countryside. To help you plan, we’ve included a daily projection of physical activity. Here is our key for our walking activity ratings:
Light – Walking done on level surfaces with some small hills and elevation gains. In most cases, the bus will drop-off and pick-up at nearby locations. Two miles or less of required walking during the day.
Moderate – Walking done on paved and gravel paths. To enjoy the full tour experience, some up and down hill walking is to be expected. Four to five miles of walking per day.
Strenuous – Walking done on rugged and rocky paths with some steps and stairs. Up to six miles of walking per day.
Your Choice – No matter what your walking ability, we will help you find alternative ways to enjoy and experience all Europe has to offer. To get the most out of our tours you should be able to operate at the light level everyday with spurts of moderate and strenuous.
The Best of Ireland and Scotland Tour – Enjoyed each meal, never thought about beans being a breakfast food before now have once a week. My best memory of dinner was taking a private boat to go have dinner on my birthday, this was another WOW day for me. – Dianna, Pensacola, FL
The Best of Ireland and Scotland & Tuscany Villa Vacation – David’s tour ran very smooth. Great hotel rooms with breakfast each morning. He gave informative tours of the cities and areas we visited and then we had time on our own to visit in more detail or go shopping (my favorite activity anywhere). David was happy to stop along the way for photo opps and rest stops. We did check out some new sites with him. Each day was an adventure filled with great food, wine, and sites. Loved every moment of the trip. Planning next adventure with him now. -Elizabeth, Orange Park, FL
A Taste O’ Ireland Tour – The tour fulfilled our wildest expectations. After years of research trying to decide how best to travel and what to see, your tour accomplished both. Louise and I couldn’t be happier with the travel and places you picked out for us to explore!! David says he from Scottish descent but he looks ever so Irish with his beard, glint in his eye and friendly demeanor. He knows his business and it shows. His attention to detail and planning makes the tour very relaxed, educational, and fun. Believe me, if you want a tour that gives you a great bang for your buck and a very personable and knowledgeable tour leader you need look no further than traveling with David McGuffin. – Dick, Orange Park, FL
The Essence of Ireland Tour – This was my second tour with David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe. It was an amazing trip. A very relaxed pace during the delay that allows you to see the sites and plenty of time to take pictures. Of course, the dinners and meals were amazing. It’s so very nice travel with all lodging, schedules, and transportation already planned. I’d like to add that possibly our group had just too good of a time! Our small group really enjoyed every minute and had an absolute blast with Charlotte (our guide). We just laughed and had fun every day. While that makes for a fantastic vacation…it does make the ‘re-entry’ to normal life just painful. – Patti, Atlanta, GA
A Taste O’Ireland Tour – I flew to Europe for the first time and got to experience a totally different culture. I really did had the time on my life! David takes you to some of the most amazing local restaurants that you typically wouldn’t think about going to. The food was AMAZING! Maurice, our bus driver took the time to show us how to play Hurling (a popular Irish sport). It was incredible! – Staci, St. Johns, FL
A Taste O’Ireland Tour – The tour was wonderful. Well researched for a touch of history and culture each day; experiences of city life, monastery ruins, castle and total country living; comfortable bus and accommodations; terrific food ! The group was such fun -friendly and easy-going. David was great about sharing historical and cultural facts as we traveled along the way, so we had enough information without being overwhelmed. He also enjoyed our own input and experiences, and loved sharing stories and food preferences. We ate well — and loved the music. Doolin was a terrific choice for trad music and easy living -with an amazing sunset that lasted forever. Another true WOW ! – Louise, Orange Park, FL
A Taste O’Ireland Tour – I can’t say enough positive things about Seamus, our bus driver. Notwithstanding his driving skill, I found him very pleasant, receptive to questions and knowledgeable about Irish culture. -Gregory, Daytona Beach, FL
The Essence of Ireland Tour –David does a great job leading tours! He is very knowledgeable about the places visited and accommodating to travelers needs and wants. The tour to Newgrange was great, the lady leading the tour was outstanding. Her knowledge of the history of the area was amazing. Finally, the food was great, we ate in mostly small local places where we got the true taste of Ireland. – Asa, Fernandina Beach, FL
A Taste O’Ireland Tour – It was very well organized, everything went without a hitch. We got to see and experience the best features at each stop along the way, including the scenery, culture, history, music, and of course, the always fresh and delicious food! -Angela, Pensacola, FL
The Essence of Ireland – The Mary Gibbons Newgrange tour was outstanding. She is wealth of information both historic and contemporary issues. Once I returned to the states I found myself researching several topics/places that she detailed because I was just curious. Which is great! Always learning something new. Robert was our driver and he has spoiled all of us. We enjoyed his company – he was extremely professional, knowledgeable and personable. It wasn’t easy to say goodbye. He took great care of our group. – Patti, Atlanta, GA
A Taste O’Ireland Tour – I would definitely recommend a trip with David. You will NOT find an experience that equals a “McGuffin Experience” with any other tour company. The accommodations, food & drink are with friends that he has made throughout the years of travel. We, as his guests, were treated as friends/family by the proprietors of the establishments that we patronized. You will NOT be disappointed! – Laurie, Fernandina Beach, FL
Ireland Student Band Tour for St. Patrick’s Day – David was a good leader. He seemed to know a lot about the different places we went, and shared interesting information. Our bus driver, Maurice, was a hoot, and I loved when he got to speak about local customs and legends. –Tara, Orange Park, FL
Ireland Student Band Tour for St. Patrick’s Day – The tour was well organized. It was complicated event. 80 high school marching band members and adult escorts. And an additional 28 family members in a shadow tour. Three buses, loads of gear and a well organized tour company. It could not have gone any better. We will utilized David McGuffin Tours again. – John, Orlando, FL
Now that you’ve decided to join this tour, we are sure you’ll have some questions. Don’t worry, we are here to help you through each aspect of your tour from start to finish.
To truly understand a David McGuffin tour, you have to see it to believe it. This film documents the journey of four travelers on David’s “Taste of Ireland” tours. Filmed on location in Ireland, we hope it will give you a sample of just what to expect on a David McGuffin tour to Europe. IRELAND: The David McGuffin Tour Experience
Join David as he shares impromptu moments from his travels in Ireland. Watching these short 60 second segments are a great way to experience David’s travel style and adventures. Watch David’s Explore Ireland and Scotland.
David and his team have answered many travel related questions and they are all tucked away on his blog. But, no need to go there, just type in a keyword in the search box at the top or bottom of this page (it’s the gray rectangle with a small magnifying glass icon) and you will get results for your query.
We are happy to answer your travel questions and give advice and suggestions. email@example.com or 800-570-1351.