We catch the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin and head to our overnight hotel in the Dublin area where we are met by our tour manager.
Day 2 - Steam train journey from Dublin Connolly to Killarney
We board our heritage train at Dublin Connolly station and enjoy a scenic steam-hauled journey through the breathtaking Irish countryside, crossing the River Liffey on a six arch viaduct and passing through the Curragh, a 5,000 acre plain that has been associated with horse racing for centuries. After the town of Mallow, we travel through the Valley of the River Blackwater, passing many megalithic tombs, standing stones and moated sites, before disembarking in the charming town of Killarney, on the edge of the Killarney National Park.
Later, we check in to our hotel close to Killarney where we stay for the next two nights.
Day 3 - Free day in Killarney or optional scenic coach tour of the Ring of Kerry (£19pp)
Our optional excursion takes us on a scenic coach tour of the Ring of Kerry, through some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes Ireland has to offer. From rolling hills, tranquil lakes and dramatic mountain passes to a rugged coastline and white-sand beaches, we drink in this glorious scenery, passing through charming towns such as Killorglin, Waterville and Kenmare.
Day 4 - Steam train journey from Killarney to Westport
On today’s scenic steam train journey, we retrace our steps as far as Portarlington where we change locomotives and head towards Westport in County Mayo. Along the way we pass through the town of Tullamore, which takes its name from the low flat-topped hill or tullacht mhor, past the ancient monastic site of Killomeenagh and across the River Shannon, the longest river in the British Isles. Once in County Mayo, the scenery ranges from lush green fields to also desert-like landscapes before we reach Westport on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
From here, we travel to our hotel near Westport, our base for the next two nights.
Day 5 - Day at leisure or optional excursion to Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden & Connemara National Park (£19pp)
On our second optional excursion, we head first to Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden. We visit the restored rooms of the beautiful Gothic Abbey, home to a monastic community of nuns, and explore the six acre Victorian Walled Garden where only flower and vegetable varieties from that era are grown.
Afterwards, we explore the scenic mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands that make up the Connemara National Park. Covering around 3,000 hectares of scenic countryside, the park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including the famous Connemara ponies.
Day 6 - Steam train journey from Westport to Dublin with optional guided city tour (£10pp)
We head back to Westport station where we board our train for our final steam-hauled journey, heading back across the centre of Ireland, from west to east, enjoying the picture-postcard natural beauty along the way. We disembark in the Republic’s wonderful capital of Dublin.
The afternoon is spent at leisure in Dublin. Just some of the sights here include the historic Temple Bar area, known as the entertainment and cultural quarter of Dublin, and Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland set in 40 acres of cobbled squares, gardens and parks. There’s also the chance to join an optional guided city tour of Dublin to see some of its highlights.
Afterwards, we head to our hotel in the Dublin area where we spend the last two nights of our stay.
Day 7 - Day at leisure in Dublin
After an early breakfast, we catch the morning ferry back to Holyhead and continue our journey home.
Due to ferry times, coach pickup times may be very early in the morning. On the last morning in Ireland, breakfast may be a packed takeaway breakfast due to early sailing schedules.