ENCHANTING IRELAND – A Tour of the Emerald Isle

It’s a beautiful, magical land, where the gentle green landscape dazzles and the people delight; where warmth and hospitality are national traits and poets are national heroes. From Dublin to Galway, Killarney to Kilkenny, this full yet well-paced tour showcases Ireland’s many charms – both old and new – to our small band of travelers.

Download the brochure now!



Dates: August 18-30, 2024

Please note, all prices are for a standard, double room unless listed otherwise.

Land Only (transfers not included): $5,495

From San Francisco (air-inclusive)*: $6,692

*Other cities listed on brochure, which can be downloaded on the overview tab of this trip. Airline prices are subject to change, and airline upgrades will be additional to the costs listed above.

Your Tour Price Includes:

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 11 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels
  • 22 meals: 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)


If you would like to reserve your place on the Ireland tour, fill out the reservation form on the back of the trip brochure and email it to IEtravel@ucsc.edu.

On receipt of your signed reservation form and deposit, we will, subject to availability, reserve your place on your trip.


Travel Dates: August 18-30, 2024

Sunday, August 18, 2024 

Depart U.S. for Dublin, Ireland.

Monday, August 19, 2024

We arrive in the intimate, and beautiful, Irish capital today and check in at our hotel located right on St. Stephen’s Green. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.


Tuesday, August 20th, 2024

This morning’s city tour includes a visit to Trinity College, home of the stunning 8th-century Book of Kells illuminated manuscript; and to St. Patrick’s, the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. This afternoon we embark on an informal walking tour (led by our tour director), passing some of the haunts and hiding places of Ireland’s beloved literary sons. Dinner tonight is on our own in this enchanting city.


Wednesday, August 21, 2024

We leave Dublin this morning for Galway in the West, the region some consider to be the “most Irish part of Ireland.” En route we stop for tea and coffee at Tyrrellspass Castle then continue on to 6th-century Clonmacnoise, Ireland’s most important early monastic site. After lunch on our own we resume our journey, reaching Galway City this afternoon. We dine at our hotel located in the village of Bearna just outside the city.


Thursday, August 22, 2024

A day of scenic highlights is in store as we travel through western County Galway in the legendary region known as Connemara, a rugged, silent landscape of mountains, glacial lakes, endless roads, and uninhabited bog lands. Our first stop is at beautiful Kylemore Abbey, built as a private home in 1861 and one of Ireland’s most photographed castles. We continue on through this singular landscape, stopping for lunch en route. Tonight we enjoy dinner with traditional Irish entertainment at Padraicins overlooking Galway Bay.


Friday, August 23, 2024

Today we embark on an excursion to Inishmore, the largest of the fabled Aran Islands, whose unique culture and history have been an inspiration to artists, writers, and filmmakers. Sitting across Galway Bay in the midst of the Atlantic, the islands feature primitive stone forests, early Christian churches, and medieval castles – as well as shops, galleries, and restaurants. An islander guides our tour here, imparting local lore along the way. We stop at Dun Aenghus Fortress, the three prehistoric stone walls crowning the tallest cliffs of Inishmore; have lunch in a local pub; and enjoy some free time before returning to the mainland and our hotel late this afternoon. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant in the village of Bearna.


Saturday, August 24, 2024

Another day of breathtaking scenery as we leave Galway for Killarney, traveling south along the fabled coastline of County Clare. We pass through the Burren, the 116-square-mile “rocky place” of craggy gray karst (limestone) formations that stretch endlessly in all directions. Then we visit the Cliffs of Moher, the majestic flat-topped “mountains” that rise vertically from the sea for five miles from north to south. After lunch on our own here, we cross by ferry into County Kerry, reaching Killarney in beautiful Killarney National Park late this afternoon. This evening we enjoy dinners in local family-run B&Bs.


Sunday, August 25, 2024

Our exploration of this attractive town, founded as a resort in the 18th century, begins with a jaunting cart ride from the center of town to 15th-century Ross Castle, the last stronghold to fall to Oliver Cromwell’s forces in 1652. Then we travel by boat to Muckross House, a 19th-century Elizabethan-style manor housing the Kerry Folklife Centre, which showcases the art and craft of bookbinding, pottery, and weaving. We tour the elegantly furnished rooms, as well as the informal garden. Lunch is on our own here before we return to Killarney mid-afternoon


Monday, August 26, 2024

Today we expe­rience one of Ireland’s most popular attractions, the stunning mountain and coastal scenery of the Ring of Kerry, a 110-mile route connecting Dingle, Iveragh, and Beara peninsulas. This is the Ireland of postcards and pictures, with tiny villages dotting the breathtaking landscape; we stop in one of them for an Irish sheepdog demonstration and in another for lunch. We return to Killarney late this afternoon then dine tonight at our hotel.


Tuesday, August 27, 2024

On our way to Kilkenny this morning we stop in the small town of Blarney to visit the ruins of the 15th-century castle, with its celebrated Blarney Stone believed to bestow the “gift of gab” on those who kiss it. We also visit the Blarney Woolen Mills, housing an excellent selection of Irish crafts as well as knits and woolens of all kinds. After lunch on our own in Blarney, we continue on to the Rock of Cashel, the celebrated – and beloved – archaeological complex (c. 432 CE) of medieval ruins atop a limestone outcropping that presides over the surrounding plain. Late this afternoon we return to Kilkenny and our hotel, where we dine tonight.


Wednesday, August 28, 2024

Today is devoted to Kilkenny, a well-preserved medieval city known as Ireland’s cultural capital – and the country’s smallest city. We tour 12th century Kilkenny Castle, considered one of the country’s most beautiful, then embark on an informal walking tour of Kilkenny itself, noting the many buildings of “black” or Kilkenny marble, quarried locally. After lunch together at a local pub, the remainder of the day is at leisure


Thursday, August 29, 2024

We leave Kilkenny this morning for a final visit to Dublin, where we tour fascinating EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum depicting 1,500 years of Irish history in an interactive environment. Mid-afternoon we reach our hotel outside Dublin; tonight we celebrate our adventure over a farewell dinner.


Friday, August 30, 2024

We leave this morning for the Dublin airport and our return flights to the United States.




Your UC Santa Cruz Study Leader 

Jaye Padgett

Professor of Linguistics and Undergraduate Program Director, Humanities Division  

Jaye Padgett is a phonologist — someone who studies speech sounds in languages. Phonologists try to explain why speech sounds are common or rare, how languages develop their own systems of sounds and sound patterns, and how a language’s sounds change through historical time. Much of his research has focused on the Irish Gaelic language, documenting its unique sound structures and rules. Most recently this has included using ultrasound to understand Irish phonology. He is also interested in Irish language policy and the status of Irish as an endangered language.

Jaye has traveled broadly in Ireland. Outside of Dublin this includes especially the region of Connemara, an Irish-speaking area west of Galway, an area featured on this Inspired Expeditions tour. He is also a specialist in Slavic languages, with interests in Russian and Croatian, for example. He received a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and taught at Yale for a year before joining UC Santa Cruz.



The Shelbourne Dublin, Dublin / Days 2-3 / Deluxe

Well-located right on St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin city center, The Shelbourne Dublin offers easy access to shopping on Grafton Street and to Dublin’s many cultural attractions, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College. The hotel, built in 1824, offers restaurant, bar, and lounge; fitness center; Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

The Twelve Hotel, Galway / Days 4-6 / Superior First Class

Opened in 2007, The Twelve Hotel sits on the west coast of Ireland just a short drive from Galway City and its many shops, restaurants, and pubs. This 48-room boutique-style hotel combines classic Irish culture with many up-to-date amenities including a restaurant, bar, lounge, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and wellness center. Each air-conditioned guest room comes with private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, wet-bar, TV, and phone.



Killarney Royal Hotel, Killarney / Days 7-9 / Superior First Class

Owned and managed by the Scally family for three generations, the Killarney Royal Hotel stands in the heart of Killarney and just minutes from the Outlet Centre. This boutique-style hotel offers a restaurant, bar, bistro, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and safe deposit boxes. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.



Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny / Days 10-11 / Superior First Class

Located at the top of High Street, Kilkenny’s primary shopping district, the Pembroke Hotel offers beautiful views of the city and of neighboring Kilkenny Castle. With its marble façade and tinted glass windows, the newly built hotel resembles a traditional Irish hotel enhanced with contemporary facilities including a restaurant, bar, lounge, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center, and indoor pool with spa. The 74 air-conditioned rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.



Barberstown Castle Hotel, County Kildare / Day 12 / Superior First Class

A member of the Historic Hotels Worldwide group, the Barberstown Castle Hotel traces its history back to 1288 CE, when the original castle keep was erected. The hotel was improved and enlarged over the centuries, blending Victorian and Elizabethan architecture to create the elegant country manor that exists today. The Barberstown opened as a guest house in 1971, and was the home of renowned rock star Eric Clapton from 1979-1987, during which time scores of luminaries came to stay and play music with one of history’s finest guitarists. Built on 20 acres of beautifully manicured grounds, the hotel offers a restaurant, garden bar, courtyard coach house turned Irish pub, library, laundry and dry-cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Each guest room is uniquely decorated and includes antique furniture, private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.



Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast, Belfast / Extension / Deluxe

Well-located in the heart of Belfast on Great Victoria Street, the 131-room Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast offers easy access to many cultural attractions including the Grand Opera House, the Ulster Museum, and the Botanical Gardens. This classic-style hotel, opened in 2009, boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as a bar, fitness center, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and elevators. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.



Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport, Dublin / Extension / Superior First Class

Adjacent to the Dublin airport with complimentary 24-hour shuttle service, the contemporary Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport offers a variety of amenities including a rooftop restaurant, bistro, bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, and fitness center. The 100 air-conditioned guest rooms offer private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.


The Giant’s Causeway rises out of the Atlantic late at night as the last light of the sun disappears below the horizon, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe

Price*: $1,395, per person

Savor the dramatic beauty of the Antrim Coast, one of the most scenic in all of Ireland and the British Isles, and encounter the lively capital city of Belfast.

Your Tour Price Includes:

  • Round-trip private motorcoach or van transportation Dublin/Belfast
  • 3 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Belfast at Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast (Deluxe); 1 night in Dublin at Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport (Superior First Class)
  • 7 meals: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing including Belfast, Antrim Coast (Giant’s Causeway UNESCO site, Bushmills Distillery, Carrick-a-rede Bridge), new Titanic Museum in Belfast
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters

Photo Gallery

Ready to book?