Here is our itinerary for the next 9 days. I will be posting updates and pictures all throughout the week. A special thank you to Peters Way Tours, and specifically our travel coordinator, Kaitlyn Stankunis, for putting this together!

Day 1: Depart for Ireland 

Depart Chicago O’Hare International Airport for our flight to Dublin. 

Day 2: Arrive Dublin, Corrib River Cruise, Galway 

Morning arrival at Dublin Airport. Proceed through Passport Control, claim our luggage, and our Peter’s Way tour manager/guide, Seamus, will meet us as we exit from Customs. Board our comfortable touring bus, and we will be on our way to Galway, the capital of the west. An independent stop will be made for tea, coffee and scones. As our Galway hotel rooms are unlikely to be ready upon arrival in Galway, we will enjoy a Corrib Cruise. This journey provides visitors with wonderful views of the historic monuments and natural amenities that make this one of the most spectacular waterways in Ireland. Then, we will continue to Galway for our hotel check-in. Dinner and overnight at the Clayton Hotel Ballybrit in Galway.

Day 3: Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, Knock, Sung Mass in Knock 

Irish breakfast at the hotel. This morning, we’ll travel through the Connemara Region en route to Kylemore Abbey. This is the country of The Quiet Man and The Purple Taxi – two famous films made in this region. It is an area full of contrast - granite mountains (populated only by sheep), hundreds of lakes forming a fisherman’s paradise, and a seacoast with many sandy beaches. Its stone walls, small farms, thatched cottages in isolated splendor, and heather covered hills create an unforgettable scene for all its visitors. A tour takes us from Galway to the lake-dotted center of Connemara at Maam Cross. Visit Kylemore Abbey, a Gothic-style castle built in the 19th century by Mr. Heny, a rich Liverpool merchant, which today belongs to the Benedictine Nuns. Impressive, hidden between mountains and a lake and surrounded by rhododendrons, the Abbey is situated in a romantic place of great beauty. The entrance hall and three other rooms are open to the public. Restored by the nuns in a major restoration project, it can be described as a ‘cathedral in miniature’ and is very faithful to the so-called decorated style Church. 

Independent lunch. 

Continue to Knock. This little town is an important pilgrimage center and has been famous for over a century as the site of visions, apparitions, and miraculous cures. Knock Shrine contains a number of churches and shrines, including the modern Basilica and the Church of the Assumption. In 1879, an apparition of St. Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist was recorded, later recognized as authentic. Since then, the place has attracted millions of pilgrims each year who gather in front of the Church’s wall. The special message of Knock is the need for Penance. There are religious goods shops to be visited, and pilgrims from all over the world to be met! At 3:00 pm attend the Solemn Mass and blessing of the sick, sung by Saint Benedict Parish Choir at the Basilica of Knock. (view program)

Return to Galway. 

Dinner and overnight at the Clayton Hotel Ballybrit in Galway.

Day 4: Burren Region, Cliffs of Moher, Medieval Castle Dinner 

Irish breakfast at the hotel. 

This morning, we will be transferred to the magnificent Galway Cathedral for the 11:00 am scheduled Mass Sung by the Saint Benedict Parish Choir (view program). After Mass, drive through the most spectacular Burren Region. ‘Boirean’ is the Irish for ‘Rocky.’ It received its name from its polished limestone landscape. The whole area, with its rich flora and fauna, is heaven for geologists and botanists. It also has over 2,500 historical sites to keep you busy. Next, we will stop at the Cliffs of Moher. The most majestic cliffs in Ireland rise from the Atlantic Ocean at 215 meters and extend for over seven kilometers. From this height, you can admire the Aran Islands and the Connemara Mountains, and listen to the many sea birds that colonize this place from springtime on. 

Independent lunch. 

Continue to Limerick for hotel check-in. 

Enjoy a Medieval Banquet at Knappogue Castle Banquet. The world famous medieval banquet is a testament to the cultural and social life of its former inhabitants. The ladies of the castle, aided an abetted by the Earl’s butler, ensure an evening of entertainment, which follows in the best tradition of Irish hospitality. The wine flows as the entertainers recreate the magical atmosphere of the Earl’s banquet through drama, music and song. 

Overnight at the George Hotel in Limerick. 

Day 5: Dingle Peninsula 

Irish breakfast at the hotel. 

This morning, head south through the Dingle Peninsula, one of Ireland’s most popular coastal scenery drives. Dingle is the most northern of the Kerry peninsulas. This peninsula is famous for its Celtic, pre-Christian monuments and Christian churches. It is also a ‘Gaeltacht' (Irish-speaking) area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savoring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbor. Attend the 10:30am Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Listowel sung by the St. Benedict Parish Choir (view program). Tea and light refreshments provided by the people of St. Mary’s.. 

Continue on the road around the Dingle Peninsula and pass through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. From Inch, a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie Ryan’s Daughter, admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach. Drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here, the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blasket Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found. We will visit Gallarus Oratory - the most impressive early Christian monument on the Dingle peninsula. It has withstood the passage of time for over 1200 years. Built in the shape of an upturned boat, the oratory formed part of a larger monastic site and was used as a place of prayer and reflection. 

Dinner and overnight at the Killarney Court Hotel in Killarney.

Day 6: Ring of Kerry, Muckross Estate, Evening Sung Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral 

Irish breakfast at the hotel. 

Today, we will tour of the Ring of Kerry - the most famous and panoramic route in Ireland. The astonishing beauty of this large peninsula, Iveragh, comes from the great diversity of its scenery, which offers incessant contrasts. En route around the Ring, take in spectacular scenery—mountains, peat bogs, lakes and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, as we travel along the coast road. Leaving Killarney, pass through Killorglin, famous for its Puck Fair, then to Glenbeigh, where the cliff road affords panoramic views of the Dingle 

Peninsula and Dingle Bay. Continuing to Cahirciveen, we’ll pass the birthplace of Ireland’s National Hero, Daniel O’Connell. Next, continue on through peat bogs to the town of Waterville. See Sneem Village, famous for its brightly colored houses. The road, then, continues through the mountains to Moll’s Gap and Ladies View, with superb views of the famous lakes of Killarney. 

Independent lunch. 

This afternoon, we will visit Muckross House and Gardens. Built in Elizabethan style in 1843 by the Herbert family, this house is one of the most sumptuous residences in Ireland. Surrounded by beautiful gardens—particularly famous for its rhododendrons—Muckross House is in the heart of the Killarney National Park, the first such park opened in Ireland. Continue to St. Mary’s Cathedral for rehearsal. Attend the 6:15 pm Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, sung by Saint Benedict Parish Choir (view program).

Mass will be followed by a 30-minute organ concert presented by Jeremy Kiolbassa (view program). 

Dinner and overnight at the Killarney Court Hotel in Killarney.

Day 7: Blarney Castle, Noon Sung Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Dublin 

Irish breakfast at the hotel. 

This morning, we will depart for County Cork to visit Blarney Castle, where you will feel compelled to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence or as an 18th century French consul put it, “gain the privilege of telling lies for seven years”. Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland's greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, the castle has been attracting attention ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney making it a world landmark and one of Ireland's greatest treasures. The castle itself, a tower house, dates from 1446 and is built on solid limestone. Stop for shopping at Blarney Woollen Mills, which sells high quality Irish crafts. 

At 12:00pm. Celebrate Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Blarney, sung by the Saint Benedict Parish Choir (view program)

Independent lunch. 

Check-in at our hotel in Dublin. 

Dinner and overnight at the Academy Plaza Hotel in Dublin.

Day 8: Dublin, Highlights of Dublin & Farewell Dinner 

Irish breakfast at the hotel. 

This morning we will have an orientation tour of Dublin. This tour will allow you to take in all the sights, including the famous ‘Doors of Dublin,’ the elegant Georgian squares, and Phoenix Park. Highlights of the tour will be a visit to Trinity College, to view the 8th century illustrated manuscript, The Book of Kells, followed by a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, made famous by its former dean, Jonathan Swift (Dean of St. Patrick's 1713-1745), author of Gulliver’s Travels. The cathedral, built in 1213, is the largest in Ireland. This Gothic Cathedral, with a splendid interior, is adorned with funeral monuments, such as the Boyle Family Memorial and the grave of Dean Jonathan Swift. The Chancel has ornate stained-glass windows, some by Harry Clarke, which are magnificent features. 

Independent lunch and afternoon at leisure. 

Perhaps we would like to visit the Guinness Storehouse to see how this famous brewery was established and how the popular black brew is created. Enjoy a sampling. We recommend a stroll down Grafton Street, where you can enjoy the best in street entertainment. The shopping is also great in this area of the city! This evening, enjoy dinner and entertainment at The Merry Ploughboy Pub. Enjoy fine food and a lively show featuring contemporary Irish dancing and well-known guest artists. At The Merry Ploughboy Pub, youthful vibrancy has successfully combined with traditional craftsmanship to provide an excellent evening entertainment. 

Overnight at the Academy Plaza Hotel in Dublin.

Day 9: Return from Dublin 

Irish breakfast at the hotel. Late morning transfer by coach to Dublin Airport for our flight home.

Jeremy Kiolbassa