Europe

Ireland with Brian Moore International Tours

written by | Posted on March 1st, 2011

After a day full of the excitement of travel, the role of clients’ accommodations becomes all the more important. We were grateful to be staying at Killarney Towers Hotel & Leisure Centre, with its modern-meets-traditional aesthetic. Rooms here are spacious, with upscale features like jacuzzi baths for ultimate post-tour relaxation. And its location in the heart of Killarney means clients can continue to explore after the coach tour has ended. Killarney itself is a quiet village, with streets lined with boutiques and antique shops—and pubs, of course, that showcase live music most nights.

galway-limerick The last leg of the trip is also one of the most engaging, with spectacular scenery, live entertainment and a vibrant, bustling town to visit. The first stop upon leaving Killarney is the Cliffs of Moher, which compete with the views along the Ring of Kerry for the title of “most picturesque.” Plunging near-vertically down into the sea, meeting crashing and foaming waves, the experience of visiting these cliffs in person can’t be accurately captured in photos—but clients will want to try anyway, of course. A long but relatively flat walking path leads up to the best vantage points, meaning that visitors of almost any age can experience the thrill of looking out over the edge.

Next stop: a very different kind of scenery in the town of Galway. Just outside the city, you’ll find the village of Claddagh, birthplace of the popular Claddagh ring, also known as the Irish Wedding Ring. Produced since the 1700s, you’ll find these rings in gift shops all over the country, but smart shoppers will wait until they arrive at Galway to do any serious shopping—the variety here outshines anyplace else on the tour.

And that’s just the beginning of the shopping to be done here. A connected series of pedestrian walkways are lined with souvenir shops, clothing stores, jewelry boutiques and, of course, quaint historic pubs. Clients shouldn’t be intimidated if a pub looks crowded from the outside; some have surprisingly large underground dining venues with plenty of rustic charm.

A visit to Bunratty Castle is one of the last stops before clients depart for home. Visitors can tour the grounds, including a folk park with costumed “locals,” farm animals and walking paths. There’s even a medieval-themed dinner show, complete with traditional Irish music, mead wine, and dining sans utensils. Touristy? Absolutely. But after a week spent immersed in Irish history, culture and personalities, clients will feel in on the joke.

Brian Moore International Tours’ 9-day Best of Ireland package, which visits every site mentioned above and also includes a stayover in a genuine Irish castle, starts at $1,199 for the March 27 tour and at $1,299 in April.