Throughout the Irish Life Experience, students will see and visit some of Ireland’s most historic places and impressive sights. They will experience Ireland’s beauty through guided tours and scheduled stops. Each of our featured tours offers students the chance to step back in time to places that have retained their original beauty and historical significance.
Students will visit the Aran Islands, the westernmost point of Europe, where they will be able to practice their Gaelic language skills with the local residents. The Aran Islands offer some of the country’s most historic sites such as Dun Aengus and the Seven Churches. Limestone landscapes and stretches of majestic cliffs border these beautiful islands.
Take part in a world-famous Black Taxi Tour of Belfast. The local guides will tailor your tour to your liking, giving you the option to decide where you’d like to visit. Start your tour in the city center then move through the shipyards to see where HMS Titanic was built and launched. See the political districts, which have borne the brunt of conflict over the last thirty years, before ending your tour in the elegant University Quarter and Museum district.
Visit Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery. Watch whiskey being made and enjoy a wee taste (or two) as they unlock the secrets to over 400 years of distilling. You’ll discover magic in every drop!
The Burren is an area in western Ireland known for its unique landscape, beautiful flora, underground rivers and limestone “grikes” (cracks). Those interested in the ancient history of Ireland will find a wealth of material in the Burren: megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses, a ruined Cistercian Abbey and more than sixty wedge tombs and dolmens.
The Carrick-a-Rede Bridge is a rope suspension bridge that connects the mainland to Sheep Island, a tiny island primarily used for fishing. The bridge and its surroundings are absolutely gorgeous and, on a clear day, you can actually see to Scotland! Although, at first glance, it appears that it would be a scary undertaking, the bridge has been updated to ensure its safety. There has never been an injury as a result of crossing the bridge.
Located on the western coast of Ireland between Doolin and Lahinch the Cliffs of Moher reach 700-feet tall and span for nearly ten miles. These cliffs, as well as O’Brien’s Tower which sits atop the highest point, offer some of the most breathtaking views in all of Ireland.
Students will visit Croke Park, the largest sports stadium in Ireland and home to the national games of Gaelic Football and Hurling (two workshops offered as part of the Irish Life Experience). The Stadium Tour goes behind the scenes at this 82,300 capacity stadium including dressing rooms, pitch-side, corporate suites, VIP section and state-of-the-art media center.
Students will take a guided tour of Dan O’Hara’s Cottage and the surrounding grounds which will include a tractor ride, a demonstration of turf cutting, story telling, horseshoe throwing and a few games of tug-of-war. The tour is very entertaining and educational, giving students the chance to experience firsthand the history and traditions of the Connemara region.
The only completely walled city in the British Isles, Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland. Derry is brimming with history and has a rich and varied culture. To grasp the complex history of this fascinating city, we highly recommend taking part in one of the many walking tours offered by the city of Derry.
Built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the Castle is the main attraction to the town of Donegal. The Castle had extensive 17th century Jacobean-style additions made to it by Sir Basil Brooke. The Castle is furnished throughout, including Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the Castle’s owners from the O’Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family.
County Sligo, better known as Yeats Country, is not to be missed for its pure depth and wonder. Here students will visit the gravesite of the famous poet William Butler Yeats at the Drumcliffe Churchyard, under the loaf-shaped Benbulben Mountain. This area is considered to be the main source of inspiration for the poet because of its beautiful scenery and long coastlines.
Hop aboard the double-decker Dublin Bus while you visit some of this great city’s sights and attractions, including Trinity College and the Book of Kells, St. Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar District, Dublin Castle and much more, all with colorful commentary provided by a professional guide.
The magnificent views alone are enough reason to make Dunluce a stop on your visit. Set 100 feet above the ocean on a pinnacle of basalt rock, isolated from the coast by a 20-foot chasm, Dunluce Castle must have looked formidable to its attackers. Some of the castle’s remains at Dunluce date back to the 1200s but much of the Castle was built after that time. In the late 1500s and throughout the 1600s extensive additions were made to its fortifications and residential quarters.
Giant’s Causeway is a remarkable geologic feature that has earned the honor of being the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom and the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Consisting of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns which were formed by an ancient volcanic eruption, this will be one of the highlights of the Irish Life Experience!
Situated just outside Manor Hamilton is the beautiful Glencar Waterfall. W.B. Yeats made this enchanting waterfall famous in his poem, “The Stolen Child.”
Join us for a tour and sampling at the Guinness Brewery, Ireland’s #1 International visitor attraction. Since opening in November 2000, the Guinness Storehouse has attracted over four million visitors from every corner of the globe. Enjoy the tour of the Storehouse before sampling the goods at the top-level Gravity Bar while you enjoy views of Dublin.
Discover the time-honored secret of how three simple ingredients: water, barley and yeast are transformed into the smooth golden spirit that is Jameson Irish Whiskey. At the end of the guided tour each visitor is offered a complimentary glass of Jameson. Guides select volunteers to take part in a whiskey comparison tasting, demonstrating the subtle difference in taste between various types of Irish Whiskey, and comparing it to leading Scotch and American Whiskeys.
Built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol served as a prison for almost 140 years. Its cells held many famous people involved in the campaign for Irish independence. It was also the site of several executions, including many of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. It now stands as a museum and has been featured in several films and U2′s music video for A Celebration.
As we tour the Connemara region outside of Galway, we will come upon the original Kylemore Castle, now called Kylemore Abbey, home to the International Girls’ School. The castle itself served as a private home in the late 1800s before being converted into an Abby for Benedictine nuns who fled Belgium during World War I. The house and gardens are open to the public.
Each summer, the Irish Life Experience visits the Irish President’s House for a private tour. Students may even be greeted by the president! Built in 1751 and situated within the 1,752-acre Phoenix Park near Dublin, the original house was built by Park Ranger Nathaniel Clements. By 1782 it had been acquired for use by the Viceroys who oversaw British rule in Ireland. It became the official residence of the President of Ireland in 1938.