“Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible.” -Charles Haughey

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The Irish Food & Drink Trail: 9 Days

Day 1

Meet with your driver and guide and depart for Kilkenny area.

Overnight: Kilkenny area

Day 2

Kilkenny produces very fine foods and drink and today you will have an opportunity to enjoy some of the local produce. Stop at Keogh’s Model Bakery in Callan. One of the oldest bakeries  in the country, the bakery has been here since 1838. The owners still bake in the old fashioned stone ovens. Continue to Highbank Orchard. From apple to bottle, partake in living organic farming with a tractor train tour through the organic orchards, a visit to the distillery ending in the stone built 17th century mill with a sampling of delicious Single Estate organic ciders, syrups and apple spirit. Next visit will be to Goatsbridge Trout Farm, located near Thomastown, south of Kilkenny city. A tour will help you learn about a traditional trout farming system, the art of smoking and processing, as well as the family history and the heritage behind their farm. Follow this with a light lunch containing a taste of Goatsbridge products. Return to Kilkenny later this afternoon and your evening is at leisure to enjoy a meal in one of Kilkenny’s many fine restaurants or pubs.

Overnight: Kilkenny area

Day 3

Across the road from Kilkenny Castle, take a little time to discover the National Craft Gallery, one of Ireland’s most exciting artistic venues. The centre is part of Kilkenny’s Castle Yard, built in the 1780s by the Butlers, Earls of Ormonde, as the coach houses and stables of historic Kilkenny Castle. Depart for Limerick and stop to visit the Milk Market. Open in Limerick since 1852 and providing access to a wide variety of fresh, local, in-season produce – typically directly from the producer. This is a haven for all who care about the provenance and quality of the food they eat. It is a place to explore, to ask questions, to discover new flavours and savour the unique atmosphere at hand. Then visit the Curragower Bar and Restaurant. Serving high quality and tantalizing food, the restaurant’s menu has won a number of awards and accolades and it is here that we will enjoy dinner this evening.

Overnight: Limerick area

Day 4

Today we leave the city and  travel into the Burren region. You will discover some of this. “Burren” means “large stones”. In fact its name describes this impressive scenery perfectly well. Often described as lunar, the Burren is a high plateau of porous limestone situated in Northern Clare No trees are growing here, no land is covering the stone, the

limestone is bare. But the cracks  allow different types of flowers to grow all year round. The rocks hide many caves like Ailwee, as well as “Turloughs”. During the day we will enjoy a Wild Food walk with Oonagh O’Dwyer. Oonagh will take you to a secret beach, where a family of wild seals play hide and seek on the rocks nearby, where barnacle geese and wild duck forage on the rich pickings and maybe catch a glimpse of a hump back whale! She will show you how to sustainably harvest up to 12 of our native seaweeds. A seaweed cookery demo will take place in Barrtra Seafood Restaurant which is located very close to the beach! In the late afternoon return to Limerick and enjoy your evening at leisure.

Overnight: Limerick area

Day 5

Today we travel to Galway. Known as The City of Tribes and located at the mouth of Galway Bay, Galway is both a picturesque and lively city with a wonderful avant-garde culture and a fascinating mixture of locally owned speciality shops. Enjoy a short walking tour in the city and some free time to enjoy lunch at your leisure.

In the afternoon drive through the Connemara region. Connemara is a land of lakes, rivers, bogs and mountains. Connemara is a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the South. On its northern shore the land  is harsher and more secret, with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful fjord of Killary Harbour. Dinner is at your hotel.

Overnight: Westport area

Day 6

Today travel to Achill Island visit Calvey’s – Achill Mountain Lamb.  Seven generations of the Calvey family have been raising Mayo Blackface Mountain Sheep on the mountains and shorelines of Achill Island. They will tell you all about their Blackface Mountain Sheep. It ends with a tasting. Remaining on Achill, we visit Keem Bay Fish Products. Gerard and  Julie Hassett started smoking wild Atlantic salmon and other fish species in 1985, in their smokehouse based on the island. This has developed from a

cottage industry supplying locally to a successful business supplying international customers. They pride themselves on quality and customer service and their stock is freshly prepared and quality standards. The products have become part of the Gourmet Greenway, a showcase food in the areas of Mulrany, Newport, Westport and Achill. The Chalet Seafood Restaurant has been in the family since 1963 and you will enjoy lunch here. Return to Westport and visit a local pub in the town for some local craft beer tastings! Evening at leisure.

Overnight: Mayo area

Day 7

Today we leave the west coast of Ireland and travel once more to the east coast and our capital city, Dublin. Enjoy a Panoramic City Tour, the ideal introduction to “Dublin’s Fair City”. The tour will introduce you to the principal sites. You will Georgian squares, Trinity College, Christchurch and Phoenix Park. The tour includes a pass by Guinness Brewery and Collins Barracks.

In the afternoon visit and whiskey tasting at the Teeling Distillery. Located in the heart of Dublin City Centre, in the historic Liberties, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery is the only operational distillery in the city and home to the Spirit of Dublin. Enjoy a fully guided tour and each tour concludes with a tasting of award winning Teeling Whiskeys. Evening dinner at O’Connell’s Restaurant in Donnybrook which is run and established by husband and wife Tom and Annette O’Connell. Their vision is to create a ‘home away from home’ Irish Brasserie. Using the best of Irish produce, with contemporary cooking and an insistence on value for money.

Overnight: Dublin area

Day 8

Participate on a Fab Food Trail! On a gentle 2.5/3 hour stroll you will visit seven to eight different places, all independently owned, enjoy a tasting in each place and meeting the purveyors or makers. The tastings reflect the current food scene, bringing new international and contemporary tastes to the Irish table and all using great Irish produce. As you enjoy the food, you’ll also learn a little about the culture and history of our lively and charming city from your local guide. Visit to Guinness Storehouse. The Guinness Brewery is Europe’s largest stout producing brewery and home to the storehouse. Opened in 1904, the Storehouse was  an operational plant for fermenting and storing Guinness. Today it houses  a very fine exhibition dedicated to the Guinness story. Visitors will discover what goes into the making a pint of Guinness – the ingredients, the brewing process, the time, the craft and the passion. The exhibition shows how the brew has been marketed and how it is today sold in over 150 countries. Once the tour has finished, the guest is invited to the Gravity Bar to enjoy a pint of Guinness. This panoramic bar gives terrific views across the city and bay area of Dublin. Afternoon and evening at leisure to discover Dublin.

Overnight Dublin area

Day 9

Depart for Dublin Airport and your return flight home.

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