The Royal Sites of Ireland Tour
Collection from the ship at 08.30
We drive north for about an Hour to visit the oldest Building in Europe Newgrange predating the Egyptian pyramids by over 3000 years. Although Classified as a passage tomb it is now being accepted that Newgrange was more a temple of worship that a tomb. Aligned to the rising sun on the winter solstice this is when the magic of the site really comes to life. Above the entrance to the passage is a lintel window that runs to the centre of the mound at dawn on the winter solstice the sun shines through this window and lights up the chamber at the end of the passageway. This only happens for about 3 days either side of the solstice but you can share in the experience during your visit. Newgrange is the best known Irish passage tomb and dates to c.3,200BC. The large mound is approximately 80m in diameter and is surrounded at its base by a kerb of 97 stones. The most impressive of these stones is the highly-decorated Entrance Stone
Leaving Newgrange we follow the Boyne valley to the town of Kells where the famous book of Kells was found a stop at Kells Heritage Centre is a must a new vibrant visitor attraction located in the Heritage Town of Kells. Housed in the beautifully restored Courthouse are a multi-media exhibition, a gift shop and tourist information centre. The exhibition, entitled The Splendour of Ireland gives an insight into the crafts and culture of monastic Ireland and entices the visitor to explore the various sites of interest throughout Kells.
The Hill of Tara
Though best known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland,
the Hill of Tara has been an important site since the late Stone Age when a
passage tomb was constructed there.
The Hill of Tara was at the height of its power as a political and religious centre in the early centuries after Christ.
Malahide Castle, set on 250 acres of park land in the pretty seaside town of Malahide, was both a fortress and a private home for nearly eight hundred years. The Talbot family lived here from 1185 to 1973, when the last Lord Talbot died. The house is furnished with beautiful period furniture together with an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings, mainly from the National Gallery. The history of the Talbot family is recorded in the Great Hall, with portraits of generations of the family telling their own story of Ireland's stormy history. One of the more poignant legends concerns the morning of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when fourteen members of the family breakfasted together in this room, never to return, as all were dead by nightfall. The Gardens as they exist today were largely created by Lord Milo Talbot in the years 1948 to 1973 and cover an area of over 8 ha - 6.5 ha of shrubbery and 1.5 ha of Walled Gardens. An emphasis has been placed on the cultivation of plants from the Southern Hemisphere - many species and varieties collected by Lord Talbot. Genera which are particularly well represented are Olearia, Azara, Escallonia, Syringa, Hypericum, Clematis, Euphorbia, Salvia and Berberis.
Arrive back to your ship at around 4.30
The Dublin City Tour
Collection from the ship at 08.30
First stop to beat the crowds is Dublin’s Trinity College no visit to Dublin is complete without stopping to see the book of Kells housed in its famous library. The book of Kells contains the four Gospels in Latin based on the Vulgate text which St Jerome completed in 384AD, intermixed with readings from the earlier Old Latin translation. The Gospel texts are prefaced by other texts, including "canon tables", or concordances of Gospel passages common to two or more of the evangelists; summaries of the gospel narratives and prefaces characterizing the evangelists. The manuscript’s celebrity derives largely from the impact of its lavish decoration, the extent and artistry of which is incomparable. Abstract decoration and images of plant, animal and human ornament punctuate the text with the aim of glorifying Jesus’ life and message, and keeping his attributes and symbols constantly in the eye of the reader.
Leaving the college, we head to the home of Dublin’s most famous export, the Guinness Brewery at St James Gate. Guinness Storehouse is a Guinness-themed tourist attraction at St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland. Since opening in 2000, it has received over four million visitors
Dublin's Kilmainham Gaol held some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history such as Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, the 1916 Rising leaders and Eamon de Valera. Please note that due to major building works being undertaken at Kilmainham Gaol until the end of December 2015, certain areas of the Gaol, principally the East Wing and the Exhibition/ Museum area will not be accessible from time to time. Reduced admission fees will be applicable in respect of the re-development period.
St. Patricks Cathedral.
Saint Patrick's Cathedral has been at the heart of Dublin and Ireland's history and culture for over 800 years. For long periods it was the largest enclosed space on the island and it remains the largest Cathedral in the country. It has been visited by some of Irish history's most influential individuals from Cromwell, William of Orange and King James I, to Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert. It is the final resting place for one of Ireland's most famous men, Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's travels and Dean (head) of the Cathedral. It has witnessed the birth of the expression "to chance your arm" within its walls as well as being the site of the very first school in Ireland, the Cathedral Choir School. It is today the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland a place of worship.
Returning to your ship at between 4 and 4.30
The Wicklow Gap Glendalough Tour
Collection from your ship at 08.30
Driving south of Dublin we pass through Enniskerry is one of the prettiest villages in Ireland, lying in a wooded hollow among the hills west of Bray on our way to one of the most iconic houses in Ireland Powers court house and Estate, located in Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland, is a large country estate which is noted for its house and landscaped gardens, today occupying 19 hectares. One of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland! The gardens at Powerscourt were laid out over two main periods. Many of the people involved in their creation and development never saw the gardens completed in their lifetime. When the house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the surrounding grounds were also remodelled. The design reflected the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider landscape. And what a view it is! To the North formal tree plantations framed the vista from the house, while a walled garden, fish pond, cascades, grottos and terraces lay to the South. Walks wound through the wooded grounds and a fine tree lined avenue was created. When you arrive at the tree lined avenue today, hundreds of beech trees will guide your visit. Powers court Waterfall is Ireland’s highest at 121m (398ft.) and is 5km from the Main Estate. It is set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful parklands at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. Be mindful of the other inhabitants of the parkland! It is a haven for wildlife and children can have fun trying to spot some of the locals – the Chaffinch, Cuckoo, Raven and the Willow Warbler. Some other inhabitants are the Sika Deer which were introduced to Ireland in 1858 and there may be a red squirrel or two.
On leaving Powers court estate we drive through the Sally Gap Northwest of the village of Laragh, there are spectacular views of the surrounding blanket bog and the Wicklow Mountains. Sally Gap is one of two east-to-west passes across the Wicklow Mountains and the narrow road running through it passes above the dark waters of Lough Tay and Lough Dan. It also passes over the Luggula Estate, which covers most of the valley as far as Lough Dan and the area forms part of the famed walking trail, known as the Wicklow Way. Several major films having being filmed in Wicklow Mountains National Park and surrounding areas, including Excalibur, Michael Collins, Braveheart, and of course Ps. I Love You! Where you can visit the famous Ps. I Love You! Bridge.
One of Ireland’s most beautiful visitors’ destinations Glendalough is also one of Irelands historic religious sites For thousands of years people have been drawn to ‘the valley of the two lakes‘ for its spectacular scenery, rich history, archaeology and abundant wildlife. Glendalough is a remarkable place that will still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul. Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century
A stop at Johnny Fox’s pub before heading back to the ship is a must
Established in 1798,(the year of the Irish rebellion led by Wolfe Tone), it is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland but is most famous for being the highest pub in Ireland. It is situated high in the Dublin mountains, surrounded by beautiful scenery and serenity, in the village of Glencullen, Gleancuillean in Irish, meaning” valley of the holly”.
Return to ship at approximately 4.00 pm.