COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland, Oct. 23, 2018 – The 125-mile Ring of Kerry in southern Ireland gets highest marks for its musical IQ – and for being the premier tourist route in the country.
Folded into this region’s psyche is The Rose of Tralee, a ballad named for a beautiful vale and today County Kerry’s largest city. The holly green and the ivy green of Christmas in Killarney crop up year-round. Renditions of The Kerry Dance are sprinkled liberally about. Watching the sun go down on Galway Bay is on many a bucket list.
But come high season, tourists are sprinkled liberally as well about the Ring of Kerry. An international cacophony competes with home-grown melodies as enthusiasts with selfie sticks dominate the views, advises Rob Rankin, founder and owner with wife Amy of Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland.
This company’s new 7-Day Driftwood Castles & Kingdoms tour focuses for a portion of the trip on the scenery and hidden gems of the Ring of Kerry itself and then whisks guests away from the maddening crowds to delve into the Wild Atlantic Way. But first comes an overnight at the early 16th century Ballyseede Castle Hotel on 34 acres of woodlands and gardens in Tralee.
“Owing to the mass popularity of the Ring of Kerry, the best thing about it is often leaving it!” quips Rankin. Thus, this itinerary includes some spectacular but less-visited scenic gems such as:
-Valentia Island, one of most westerly points of Ireland and a terminus for the first transcontinental cable laid across the Atlantic Ocean;
-Cathergal, a 7th century ring fort;
-Caherdaniel, home of Daniel O’Connell who championed Catholic emancipation;
-Ballaghisheen Pass, known for superb hiking and isolation;
-Rossbeigh and Derrynane, home to empty beaches of golden sand;
-Skellig Island, (optional) boat trip to visit a Gaelic Christian monastery circa 6th century and a site featured in the last Star Wars movie;
-Scattery Island with deserted village, monastic ruins, stone round tower hinting of Napoleonic-era battlements;
-Loop Head, a narrow headland besieged on both sides by the ocean, yielding dramatic geological formations at the Bridges of Ross.
In addition to living like lords and ladies at Ballyseede Castle Hotel, guests are introduced to the lifestyles past and present of ancient Gaelic chieftains, Norman lords and Anglo-Irish aristocrats at:
-Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle and Gardens;
-18th Century Bantry House and Gardens;
-19th Century Muckross House Gardens;
-Cahir Castle, one of Ireland’s largest medieval structures;
-Dunguaire Castle (drive-by for photos);
-Castle McCarthy, ancestral McCarthy clan stronghold built in the 15th century.
Guests will also enjoy…
-Killarney National Park in a horse-drawn carriage;
-Gazing in awe at the towering Cliffs of Moher;
-Exploring the country’s gourmet capital, Kinsale;
-Visiting a working sheep farm for a sheep herding and shearing demonstration;
-Chatting up local artisan food producers, and master craftspeople at their workshops and studios;
-Raising toasts at local pubs.
The per person double rate is €1,789 inclusive of six nights hotel accommodation with breakfast; seven full days on tour with a professional home-grown guide; transportation in a Mercedes Benz/Volkswagen mini-coach; fees for most daily activities and visits; and all relevant taxes. For details see https://tiny.cc/castlestour.
Vagabond Small Group Tours if Ireland includes experiences along the Ring of Kerry in other trip itineraries offered, such as:
-Vagabond 7 Day World Tour of Ireland - https://tiny.cc/7dayworld
-Vagabond 8 Day Wild Irish Rover - https://tiny.cc/8daywild
-Vagabond 12 Day Giant Irish Adventure - https://tiny.cc/12daygiant
-Driftwood 11 Day Discover Ireland - http://tiny.cc/11dayireland
-Driftwood 7 Day Treasure Ireland - http://tiny.cc/7dayireland
This award-winning travel company offers two styles of culturally immersive travel:
-Vagabond Adventure Tours for active travellers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping.
-Driftwood Journeys of Discovery with similar itineraries but at an intimate and in-depth looking and lingering pace, sans the physical exertion.
Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.”
About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland
Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named the “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. In 2017, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification and in 2018, Vagabond Tours won The Green Tourism & Entertainment category in Ireland’s most prestigious Green (business) Awards.
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