This 6 night tour will take you all around this wonderful island, introducing you to some of its oldest pubs. These very pubs have helped in shaping the widely-held belief that Irish pubs are the best in the world.
This tour is set up so that you can also fit in a huge amount of sightseeing during the day before climbing up onto a high stool at night and hearing the history of that pub. Some will have live music and will be filled with tourists, others will have cosy turf fires and contain only a handful of regulars. All will be memorable experiences where strangers will become friends you’ll want to visit again and again.
This is a tour that doesn’t have to be for the big drinker but one with a keen interest in learning why the Irish pub is the greatest institution in Irish society.
- Brazen Head or Johnnie Foxes – Dublin City
- Guinness Storehouse & Jameson Distillery
- Crown Liquor Saloon or McHughs Bar – Belfast
- Newgrange & Titanic Belfast
- Sean’s Bar – Athlone
- Giant’s Causeway & Fermanagh Lakelands
- King’s Head – Galway
- O’Connell’s Bar – Galway
- Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle
- Durty Nelly’s – Bunratty
Inclusions & Extras
- Automatic economy car (7 days) with Unlimited mileage, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Theft protection (TP), Value added tax (VAT), Third party liability, Location service charge (LSC)
- 4 star hotel in Dublin (1)
- 4 star hotel in Belfast (1)
- 4 star hotel in Athlone (1)
- 4 star hotel in Galway (2)
- 4 star B&B in Bunratty (1)
Attractions & Tours
- Guinness Storehouse Experience
- Cliffs of Moher
- Breakfast included each morning except day of arrival
- Deluxe travel wallet with comprehensive travel documents, luggage tags and driving map.
- Expert service from dedicated sales guide before, during and after your trip.
- Jameson Distillery
- EPIC Emigration Experience
- Walking Food Tour of Dublin
- Travel Protection
- Chauffeur Driver
- Rental Car Upgrade
- Room Upgrades
Day 1: Dublin & The Brazen Head
Today you will arrive in Dublin and settle into your hotel. You should have lots of time to spare during the day. Take the open top bus tour and visit sites like the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, Book of Kells, Kilmainham Gaol, and/or Glasnevin Cemetry & Museum, the guardians and storytellers of over 1.5 million Irish people.
Your pub for tonight will be the Brazen Head, a place of refuge for some of the biggest names in Ireland’s history, including revolutionary figures (Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Michael Collins) and a literary giant or two (Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Brendan Behan). Ask the right (or the wrong) local, and they might even persuade you that Robin Hood drank there.
Life for the Brazen Head began as a coach house in the early 12th century. Does any trace of the coach house remain? We’re not sure. But… were it to still form the structure of the existing edifice, the Brazen Head would date to 1198, making it one of the oldest pubs on the planet.
If you see the Brazen Head during the day and want to try something different tonight, Johnnie Fox’s is over 200 years old, surrounded by the Dublin Mountains, and claims to be the highest pub in Ireland. There is live music there every night and a shuttle bus runs from the city centre.
Day 2: Belfast & The Crown Liquor Saloon
This morning you will take the 90 minute drive up to Belfast. You may wish to stop off and view Newgrange, the famous passage tomb. There is also much to do in Drogheda and scenic drives aplenty around Carlingford and Downpatrick. In Belfast itself, be sure to visit Titanic Belfast.
Your pub for tonight will be The Crown Liquor Saloon. Step in to discover a traditional pub of unique character, revered for its eclectic range of real ales and its heartily classic pub food, which are served, as they should be, with a generous measure of famous Irish hospitality.
The Crown is both ageless and priceless, a gem of Victoriana. Formerly known as The Liquor Saloon in Great Victoria Street, Belfast, it was one of the mightiest Victorian gin palaces which once flourished in the industrial cities of the British Isles.
Alternatively (or also) try McHugh’s Bar. It is a pub housed in the oldest building in Belfast. Surrounded by mementos of Queen Victoria’s visit in 1849, step in here and you’re stepping inside a Georgian Grade A Listed building.
Back in the summer of 1907, regulars at McHugh’s could have easily eavesdropped on activist Jim Larkin’s passionate orations during the Belfast Dock Strike. His stage, where he addressed an audience of tens of thousands, was the Customs House steps, directly across the square. The Duke of York is also an excellent pub.
Day 3: Athlone & Sean’s Bar
Today you will go to Athlone, the centre of Ireland geographically. Rather than retracing your footsteps to Dublin, add another hour to your journey by going through the wonderful Lakelands of Fermanagh, as well as Cavan and Longford. These are lesser traveled part of the country but are no less beautiful. Athlone has some wonderful shopping to stretch your legs as well as its famous castle. It is also on the River Shannon.
Your pub tonight will be Sean’s Bar. When an excavation of Sean’s Bar in 1970 exposed walls consisting of ancient wattle and daub (mud and hay) building method, it was clear that the owners were sitting on something special. Coins, too, minted by the landlords of the era, were found in the same Athlone plot.
Today, both the walls and coins call Dublin’s National History Museum their home. And what does this ancient architecture and coinage mean for Sean’s Bar? According to the pub’s owners and the Guinness Book of Records, this is the Oldest Pub in Ireland (and is in the running to be the oldest pub on the planet). Come for the 1200-year old legacy, stay for the live music, colourful clientele and cannon ball decorations.
Day 4: Galway & The King’s Head
Today you leave Athlone and make the short trek to Galway. This is a straight trek on the motorway of about one hour but if you wish to add an extra half hour to that journey, you will see more of the real Ireland. Tiny little villages like Dysert and Brideswell where the pub is the centrepiece.
When you eventually make it to your hotel, park your car for the rest of the day and just enjoy Galway. If it is a nice day, you can people-watch in Eyre Square, stroll down Shop Street ducking in and out of any shops that take your fancy. Listen to buskers and street entertainers. Have lunch in one of the many bars or restaurants along the way. Galway is such a warm and beautiful city full of friendly people that you will be entertained.
The King’s Head might be a good choice for tonight. The Kings Head dates back over 800 years with research showing the building in existence since the 13th century. The building has several links to the 14 Tribes of Galway; above the two fireplaces you’ll find marriage stones from the Martin, Bodkin and Lynch families. A full history of the bar and the story behind its name can be found on the website but it is believed the bar was given in gratitude for beheading the King of England Charles I.
If you wish to sample a few more bars, Taaffes next door is an old timey bar that serves food and traditional Irish music, as do Tig Coili across the street and Tigh Neachtain just down the street.
Day 5: Galway & O’Connells
This will be your second day in Galway. You may wish to take the car out for a spin around Connemara today. Go all the way out to Clifden. Stop off at Kylemore Abbey and take some pictures of this wonderful building and its beautiful gardens.
You may instead wish to spend the day on one of the Aran Islands which can also be arranged. The best way to see the islands is by bicycle. The ferry crosses in the the morning and returns in the evening so you will expect to spend the entire day there. If you visit Inis Mor, be sure to spend some time at Dun Aengus.
Tonight can certainly be a bar free night if you wish. There are still dozens of great bars to discover if you are up for it though. If you head across the river, you can spend some time in Monroe’s, The Blue Note, Roisin Dubh, Crane Bar and Massimo’s.
Most of these draw a younger crowd so if that doesn’t suit, you can stay around Eyre Square. Definitely have a pint in the snug in O’Connells. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a normal Irish bar when you walk in the door. Continue out the back and into the little room on the left. You will feel like you are having a pint in someone’s kitchen in 1950’s Ireland. You may never want to leave.
Day 6: Bunratty & Durty Nelly’s
From Galway, you have another short drive to your next location and so another chance to see some of Ireland’s world famous scenery. Take the west coast through Kinvara to the Cliffs of Moher and get lost in their majesty, after going through the ruggedness of the Burren. You will then arrive in Bunratty on time to explore the Castle and Folk Park.
Your pub tonight will be the original Durty Nelly’s. Durty Nelly’s can truly be described as one of Ireland’s landmark pubs. Nestling in the shadow of the magnificent Bunratty Castle and the adjoining Folk Park. Perhaps the biggest single charm of Nelly’s – as it is known locally – is the fact that it’s a meeting place for both locals and tourists alike, and the interaction between the two is what makes it such a unique Irish pub.
You’ll typically find groups of overseas visitors and locals chatting away as if they were lifetime friends, swapping stories or asking after friends or relatives who’ve settled around the world – or stayed at home in Ireland. From here it is only a short walk to your B&B.
Day 7: Return Home
As you are already in Bunratty, you will have a very short spin to the airport from here, just a 20 minute drive. No doubt you will have had so much fun, you will be planning your next trip to Ireland on the plane home.
We are more than happy to include a flight quote separately to your package so that you can decide if you would like to book with us or on your own. While booking flights can seem straight-forward, there are often hidden fees or classes of service that do not include seat assignments, meals or checked bags. We have been booking flights since 1985 and know the best routings and have great contracts that mean we often have better prices than what you will see online.
In Ireland, we generally try to book hotels that are at a 4 star level or higher. In some situations, we will book some 3 star or B&B properties but we do require them to be at a certain standard. We try to ensure a member of the team have stayed at each property in recent years or that we have done a site inspection.
Your first vacation quote, and up to two revisions, for trips of 9 or fewer days, and 45 days in advance of travel, are complimentary. If an itinerary requires further revisions subsequent to this, we will require a non-refundable deposit of $75 per person in order to continue.
If you are requesting a quote for a vacation that is 10 days in length, or with travel dates within 45 days, or to a non-core destination, a deposit of $75 per person will be required in order for us to begin working on your proposal.
Planning deposits can then be put towards the cost of the trip should you decide to proceed with the booking.