The Grand Atlantic - 4 Day Rail Tour

4 Days Starts in Dublin, Heuston Station & Ends in Dublin, Heuston Station

Tour highlights

Travel South and Southwest by Train

A truly unique opportunity to visit Ireland's great Southern and Western coastal regions, with fabulous seascapes and mountain scenery and visits to premier tourist locations such as Cork, Cóbh, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry, Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay, and Connemara. This tour takes in part of the Wild Atlantic Way and includes 2 nights accommodation in Killarney and 1 night in Galway.

Itinerary

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Cork, Blarney Castle and Cobh

Check-in is 20 minutes prior to Train Departure Time - look for Railtours Ireland check-in hosts in the yellow jackets!

Check-in for 07:00am departure from Dublin Heuston, opened in 1844 as the headquarters of the Great Southern & Western Railway, which is now the official principal station of Iarnród Éireann, Ireland’s national railway company. As your train departs, travel in a south westerly direction, through Dublin's western suburbs and then through the lush fertile countryside of Co. Kildare. Journey through the Curragh, which is famous for its racecourse, home of the Irish Derby, and there are many stud farms in the vicinity. The final approach to Cork station is through Ireland's longest railway tunnel, which is a rather modest 1.2km.

Arrive into Cork Kent Station, then transfer to your Railtours Ireland tour coach through Cork City to Blarney Village and historic Blarney Castle, built in 1446 by Dermot Mc Carthy. You will have time to kiss the famous stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eternal eloquence on those lucky enough to do so. There is also time for shopping and lunch at Blarney and it is recommended that you have lunch there, as this will be the only opportunity during the day to have a substantial meal.

Depart Blarney Castle for Cóbh, via the city center and a short city tour. Cork’s population is approximately 150,000 (Ireland’s 3rd largest city after Dublin and Belfast). It is the only city center in Ireland that actually stands on an island - the River Lee divides and rejoins on either end of the city center. It is also home to Murphy’s and Beamish, the Southern Capital’s rival to Guinness.

On arrival at Cóbh, visit St Colman’s Cathedral. The tour will then proceed down along the sea front passing the former White Star Line offices en route to the beautifully restored Victorian railway station/transatlantic terminal. This is now the Cóbh Heritage Center, home to the "Queenstown Story". When Queen Victoria visited Ireland in 1849 she came to Cóbh and the town was renamed Queenstown in her honor – it was renamed Cóbh after Irish independence in 1922. Cóbh was of course the final port of call of the RMS Titanic and this theme is well expounded. The center also houses much information about the Great Famine and subsequent Irish Emigration, 3 million Irish people emigrated from Cóbh, (principally to the United States) including Annie Moore, whose statue is located in front of the heritage center. The Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Cork, marking the United States’ entry into the First World War - the small number of survivors were brought to Cóbh for refuge. Cóbh is also the headquarters of the Irish Navy and you will most likely see some navy ships.

Depart Cóbh by train to Killarney.

The rest of the evening is free and there is a large selection of cafés, restaurants and bars in Killarney town as well as many opportunities for live traditional Irish music entertainment.

Visitor Attraction Admissions included: Blarney Castle and Gardens & Cobh Heritage Center. 

Overnight Stay:

Free upgraded 4* Hotel

FREE UPGRADE TO FOUR STAR STANDARD HOTEL IN KILLARNEY!

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Ring of Kerry Tour

Enjoy your Full Irish Breakfast at leisure.

You will be collected from your accommodation at 09:45am (or as directed by our Killarney representative) for your Ring of Kerry tour.

There are plenty of stops along the Ring of Kerry for morning tea, lunch and taking photos, etc. Ireland’s highest mountains are located in Kerry and Carrauntouhil, which can be seen en route, is their highest peak, standing at 1041 meters. The tour will make a stop at the Kerry Bog Village Museum, which gives an insight into how people lived and worked in rural Ireland in the 18th century. The village is the only one of its kind in Europe. Later on the approach to Waterville there are views (weather permitting) of the Skellig Rocks (islands), where Star Wars 'The Force Awakens' was recently filmed. The tur will make several photo stops, a stop for lunch and one final stop at the pretty village of Sneem, for about 30 minutes or as directed by your tour leader.

An essential part of any visit to Ireland, this tour circles the magnificent Macgillycuddy's Reeks and runs through its many passes and valleys along the shores of Dingle Bay and Kenmare Bay. There is an unspoiled nature to Ireland's most beautiful region and the Ring of Kerry provides many unforgettable memories as it passes through the many picturesque villages such as Glenbeigh, Waterville and Sneem and returns via Ladies View, the famous Lakes of Killarney and through the Oakwoods of Killarney's magnificent National Park. At the end of the tour you will be brought back to Killarney.

Overnight Stay: 

Free upgraded 4* Hotel

FREE UPGRADE TO FOUR STAR STANDARD HOTEL IN KILLARNEY!

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Limerick, Cliffs of Moher, Galway

Enjoy your full Irish Breakfast at Lesiure.

07:30am - Depart Killarney by road to Limerick to join the Bunratty Castle and Cliffs of Moher Tour.

Arrive into Limerick, where you will join your Railtours Ireland tour coach. Limerick has a population of about 90,000 and its city charter was granted in 1197AD, making it older than London! As you cross the river Shannon, which is Ireland’s longest river, you will see views of King John’s Castle to the right. The castle was completed in 1200 and marks the origins of the city. Limerick’s most famous author, Frank Mc Court, grew up here and used this place as the setting for his book, ‘Angela’s Ashes’. Limerick is also the birthplace of celebrated BBC radio DJ, Terry Wogan and Hollywood star, Richard Harris. The tour will pass the GAA grounds of Páirc na nGael – the home ground of County Limerick’s Hurling and Gaelic Football teams. Limerick is also the home of Irish Rubgy and you will pass Thomond Park, the Rugby stadium. After a brief city tour, travel onto Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The castle was completed in 1425 and, after many years of neglect, has been restored to its former glory. There is also a folk park here, which you will have time to explore.

After the visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk park, make your way to Co. Clare. There is a lunch stop at "O’ Connor’s Pub" in Doolin before arriving at the Cliffs of Moher, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. There is plenty of time to visit Ireland’s second most popular tourist attraction and your host will advise you of the departure time. From here, your tour will take the coast road for much of the way to Galway, with time for photos along The Burren, Ireland's famous national park. The word Burren comes from the Irish Language, it means ‘rocky place’. It is a unique lunar landscape of limestone which was described in 1649 by one of Oliver Cromwell’s men as: “No tree to hang a man, no water deep enough to drown him and no soil deep enough to bury him”. Today, the Burren is noted for its diverse Flora with few parallels elsewhere in Ireland or indeed, Europe. Continue along the coast road to Black Head, passing the quaint coastal villages of Ballyvaughan and Kinvara before joining the main road to Galway.

At the end of the day the coach will set you down at Eyre Square in the center of Galway City adjacent to your hotel (and the railway station). You will be directed to your hotel by your host and your evening is free in Galway.

Overnight Stay: Galway City Center

Visitor Attraction Admissions included: Bunratty Castle and Folk Park & The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience.

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Connemara and Kylemore Abbey

Depart Galway on your conducted tour of Connemara, which leaves Galway to the village of Moycullen. From Moycullen the road rises and falls towards the lovely village of Oughterard on the shores of Lough Corrib, traditionally regarded as Ireland’s premier angling center. Now the gateway to Connemara opens, and the breathtaking colors of this unspoiled countryside are revealed in all their natural splendor. At Maam Cross, the Connemara "crossroads", there is a replica of the cottage used in the 1950s John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara film "The Quiet Man", which was filmed here. From Maam Cross, your tour heads out to Leenane, Kylemore Abbey and Letterfrack, in the shadow of purple mountains rolling down to blue and green rocky valleys, reflecting the rich and varied colors of Connemara. There is a lunch break at Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, an 18th century castle now owned by the Benedictine nuns who run an excellent pottery, gift shop and restaurant here. Letterfrack is one of Ireland’s major national parks. The colorful town of Clifden has been one of Ireland's leading holiday resorts for generations. It is an excellent touring center beloved by the walker, the biker, the hiker or the fisherman. It was here too, at Derrigimlagh Bog, near Clifden that aviation history was made when Alcock and Brown crash landed after their historic transatlantic flight in 1919.

Back at Maam Cross again and the road turns southwards now through the Screeb, Costello and Rossaveal. Rossaveal is the departure point for ferryboats to the Aran Islands and is also a major fishing port. You are now in the Gaeltacht or Irish speaking area of Connemara where Gaelic or Irish is still the everyday spoken language of all bilingual people.

Your tour of Connemara heads homewards to Galway City now, along the shores of Galway bay, through the Gaeltacht villages of Inverin and Spiddal and looking out across the blue waters of the Atlantic at the unique limestone of the Burren and the hills of Clare. After your day's touring you will be returned to Galway Station. Upon arriving at Galway Station, please present your Railtours Ireland ticket and travel pack at the ticket barrier and you will be directed to your reserved seats on the train, where your host will be waiting for you.

Depart Galway for Dublin Heuston Station. Returning to Dublin Heuston at 09:45pm.

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In association with Iarnród Éireann, Irish Rail, Railtours Ireland First Class offer Independent Travellers the chance to see a great portion of Ireland that they would not ordinarily be able to experience comfortably in 1 or more days.

All tours / vacations with accommodation included are guaranteed departures. With fast, comfortable Intercity trains and luxury coaches we offer wonderful vacations.

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The Railtours Ireland First Class team: Peter, Jennifer, Fiona, Melena, David and Mervyn - all Ireland experts are here to advise, plan and book your Railtours Ireland First Class vacation. We look forward to welcoming you to Ireland and on board our service. 

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What's included

  • Return Rail Tickets
  • Reserved Seats on the train
  • Railtours Ireland Host throughout
  • Visitor Attraction Admissions
  • Escorted Coach
  • 2 Nights Killarney B+B / Free Upgrade to 4* Hotel
  • 1 Night Galway 3* or 4* Hotel

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