Across The Sea To IrelandPosted on: 19 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
A ramble this is not, more accurately an exciting and informative guided tour through spectacular ever-changing Irish scenery that at times takes your breath away.
Bernard Murtagh takes a 'Shamrock Rambler' coach tour to Ireland.
A ramble this is not, more accurately an exciting and informative guided tour through spectacular ever-changing Irish scenery that at times takes your breath away. Indeed the lush landscape was only interrupted by many picturesque cottages and gardens, which show a strong element of pride in their surroundings.
Ireland is a truly wonderful place, from its friendly people, absence of litter and locally produced food that is on every menu at very reasonable prices.
On meeting our coach we handed our luggage to a driver/courier who stayed with us all week, displayed a quiet knowledge of the tour and provided a helping hand to all. We were kept informed of points of interest and intriguing local history as we travelled over 1000 miles from a viewpoint in our seats that car drivers never see.
After a pleasant drive to Holyhead and leisurely ferry crossing we arrived at our first hotel for an overnight break. We couldn't wait for our first full day for a real taste of Ireland (and I don't mean the Guinness!) as we headed to Waterford and Blarney.
Our hotel for the next 4 nights then welcomed us with open arms, providing tea and coffee to replenish our thirst. Well presented and boasting a first class leisure club with excellent pool & Jacuzzi; it was very welcome after an exhilarating scenic drive.
Next morning we travelled along the coast to Kinsale and marvelled at the Kenmare River, scene of many an historic battle and skirmishes. This was followed by a half day in Cork with plenty of free time to enjoy the modern shopping facilities and soak up the bustling city life. Finbars Cathedral was a highlight not to be missed. Its style and architecture was combined with a beautiful interior, enhanced by some of the finest illuminated windows I have ever seen. To witness them is a sight to treasure.
By complete contrast our next visit took us to a busy 'English Market' where a colourful mix of food and produce of all kind was displayed - and served in that renowned friendly Irish way that always makes you feel so welcome. Customers have a fantastic vantage point, looking down on all the activities from a balcony, whilst sipping freshly brewed tea and coffee and local specialities.
Next on the itinerary was the famous 'Ring Of Kerry' that left us speechless with amazement. Encircling the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula along its coastal road, spectacular scenery and narrow roads kept us on the edge of our seats.
But it wasn't long before our thoughts regretfully had to focus on home as we neared the end of a spellbinding Irish adventure. Day 6 was a quiet run to Killiney Bay en route to our last night in Ireland in the capital, Dublin.
An optional guided tour around Dublin was a special experience and not to be missed. The vibrant city with its river and many bridges, each with a story brought to life by our excellent guide, had the coach enthralled and amused.
Soon it was time for a visit to the local pub for a night-cap that ensured our holiday was to end on another special note.
Next morning a relaxing ferry journey across the Irish Sea to Holyhead was followed by a pleasant coach trip home, back to familiar surroundings After a thoroughly enjoyable visit, my vivid memories are bound to fade too quickly so I am determined to return to Ireland one day soon.
Bernard Murtagh travelled on a 7-day 'Shamrock Rambler' Wallace Arnold tour that forms part of a comprehensive year-round Ireland programme. Priced from £389, the holiday includes six nights dinner, bed and breakfast, en-suite accommodation and two excursions. Travellers from the south of England can enjoy a nine-day holiday, available from £475.
For further details or copies of Wallace Arnold's latest holiday brochures telephone 0845 756 6665, or contact your local travel agent.
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