Irish Itinerary Days 1-6
Dublin – Book of Kells – National Museum of Ireland – Beaghmore Stone Circles – North Antrim Coast Drive – Dunluce Castle – The Giant’s Causeway – Emain Macha (Navan Fort) – Kells  

Day 1

We will begin the Irish tour early afternoon with a visit to the National Museum of Ireland which houses a fantastic collection of ancient Irish artifacts from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages including exquisitely crafted gold jewellery, weaponry and everyday household items.  Its early Christian collection includes the internationally famous Tara Broach and Ardagh Chalice.  You will also be able to view a wonderful example of a female fertility stone carving, a sheelanagig as well as the Museum's Viking exhibition. Following our visit to the Museum we will meet at our Dublin Hotel in the early evening and have a get-together followed by our welcome dinner and a visit to a pub with live traditional music.  As our hotel is located in the heart of Dublin, good shopping and a myriad of restaurants, cafes and pubs are within easy walking distance.  

Day 2

A visit to Dublin would certainly not be complete without seeing the Book of Kells, a beautifully illuminated 1,000 year old manuscript.  It is one of Ireland’s greatest treasures and was written and illustrated by Irish monks more than 1,000 years ago.  It is housed in the Trinity College Dublin Library and we will start the day here. There will also be ample time to explore the centre of Dublin and maybe visit Dublin’s Viking interactive exhibition or hop on a Dublin bus to take the city tour. The evening will be free.

Day 3

After a leisurely breakfast, we will leave Dublin to drive north to Cookstown stopping on the way to visit Monasterboice to see some of the most spectacular high Celtic crosses in Ireland.  Archaeologists have identified over seventy ancient monuments in the area around Cookstown and, in the afternoon, we will drive to the most beautiful of these, the Bronze Age site of Beaghmore with its seven very lovely small stone circles, cairns and stone rows.  It is the most wonderful place to do ritual and meditate.  We will return to Cookstown where we will have the evening free.

Day 4

We will get an early start and drive to Portrush where we will begin our day’s journey along the stunningly lovely North Antrim Coast.  Certainly one of the world’s great drives, we will make as many stops as we can to take in the magnificent views of the coastline and, in particular, visit the ruins of Dunluce Castle, located high on the cliff tops.  We will also spend several hours at the Giant’s Causeway, with its unique set of spectacular hexagonal natural rock formations and have lunch here.  In the afternoon, for those who would like the challenge, we will walk across to Carrick-a-Rede Island using the famous swinging rope bridge.  The island boasts uninterrupted views to Rathlin Island and to Scotland.

Day 5

After checking out of our hotel, we will drive to Armagh to visit Navan Fort, or Emain Macha, the ancient seat of the Ulster Kings.  It is an area of great archaeological importance comprising massive earthworks, settlement sites and sacred places and is Northern Ireland’s most important ancient monument.  The site is particularly associated with the mythical stories of King Conor and the great warrior Cu Chulainn and his great battle with Queen Maeve of Connaught.  At the Visitor's Centre we will see a film about the most important myths associated with this sacred site as well as visiting a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse.  We will also visit the nearby sacred pool known as the King’s Stables where offerings were made in ancient times.  The area has been sacred for 7,500 years. We will then drive to Teltown near Kells in County Meath where we will spend the next five nights.  

Day 6

A free day to relax at our beautiful B&B, Teltown House, just south of the town of Kells. A 17th century house and working farm, Teltown has its own ancient burial mound and ditch beyond the barn complete with the 1,000 year old ruins of a Celtic church destroyed in a Viking raid and and a 5,000 year old carved spiral stone.  It has been a sacred site for thousands of years with burials having taken place as recently as the 1970s and is today visited by local pagans for ritual purposes.  It was also here that the ancient Taillteann Games were celebrated by the Celts at the Fire Festival of Lughnasadh and for hundreds of years chariot and horse races were held on a course around the Taillteann mounds which we will visit on the last day of the tour. Our wonderful hosts, Renee and Bartle, always treat us like long lost friends. If you wish, arrangements can be made for you to visit Kells on this free day.  Once the place of many battles between Anglo, Irish and Norman fighters, Kells was on the border of English occupied Ireland.  It was at the ninth century Abbey of Kells that the Book of Kells was kept for centuries until its removal for safety reasons to Trinity College Dublin.  You can visit the Abbey’s round tower and also see some wonderful examples of large Celtic crosses.