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AUTUMN IN HIDDEN IRELAND

SHANNON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

DAY ONE – September 19 arrival, 6:30 AM (approximately) Following Customs, Immigration and baggage claim, Ann Quinlan will greet you at the arrival terminal. With exit and luggage assistance from our driver, Philip Jones, we will embark aboard our private coach. Ann will orient the group to our surroundings and make initial introductions. We are about an hour from our destination home, Ashley Park House in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. We'll find our rooms, unpack, refresh and get settled. Ann and staff are here to help. You are welcome to check in with Ann or our host, Margaret McKenzie, at any time.

12 NOON Meet in the dining room for a luncheon reception. The afternoon is yours for exploring the grounds, reading, napping while entering into a different time zone, i.e. jet lagging!

5:30 PM Meet in the Drawing Room for drinks. Please arrange a personal tab for alcohol during your stay. This is not covered by Spiral Journeys. Thank you!

6:00 PM Dinner is served in the elegant red dining room where we are surrounded by gilt mirrors and a view of the lake. Following dinner, Ann is available for questions, consultation and concerns.

DAY TWO – 7:00 – 8:30AM Breakfast at your leisure. You are welcome to check in with Ann or join her for an early morning walk.

9:30 AM Our coach awaits. Today we are joined by local author, historian and master storyteller, Danny Grace. We will travel a short distance to the town of Nenagh, Co Tipperary to visit the remains of a Norman Castle and Tower, dating back to the 13th century. Visitors are welcome to take the spiral staircase to the top for a grand view. We will plan on ambling further along to a recently uncovered Megalithic site. Danny will tell us about the discovery. We will locate a local café or pub where guests will find lunch, on their own.

3:30 PM We will wend our way back home for a restful afternoon. 6:00 PM Meet in The Drawing Room for drinks and conversation. 7:00 PM Dinner is served! Following dinner, the night is yours.

DAY THREE – Join Ann for an early morning walk on the grounds of Ashley Park House where we may encounter native wildlife including the resident peacocks of Ashley Park House!

9:00 AM Off to Galway City situated on The River Corrib, about a 90-minute drive. Home of the famous Spanish Arch and The Claddagh, this buzzing University town flows with art, book shops, museums, famous pubs, street vendors galore and charming coffee houses. History reports Galway as the last port-of-call by Christopher Columbus en route to The New World. Lunch on your own. Weather and time permitting, we will find a local tearoom en route home. We will stop for dinner on our own, then back home for the evening.

DAY FOUR – 7-8:30AM Breakfast time!

9:30 AM All aboard for Birr Castle, Demesne, Co Offaly. Founded in 1620, this castle with its numerous exotic trees and abundant rose gardens dominates the town of Birr. The tour provides amazing insight into the Earls of Rosse, most noted for their contributions to astronomy and science. Walking through the ground we will see the fully restored 18th Century telescope, a 56-foot wooden tube supported by two stone walls. The science center draws the curious and the serious students of astronomy and botany, from near and far. Birr town is indeed a charming one with many antique shops and crescent rows of fine houses, most continually occupied since the 17th Century. Time permitting we will stop for tea on our way home.

6:00 PM Drinks and chat in The Drawing Room.

7:00 PM Dinner is served!

DAY FIVE – 7- 8:30 AM Breakfast is served!

9:00 AM All aboard for Connemara, Co Galway. Along this coastal road called, The Wild Atlantic Way, we will be on the lookout for the legendary Connemara Pony. Ireland's only native horse breed, this elegant animal is famous for being sure-footed, having evolved over centuries along the rocky coast of The West. Predominantly white, their coat colors can vary. However, if a white horse materializes in Irish folklore, chances are it's a Connemara! This Western Region boasts lush rolling wilderness and delightful inlet towns and harbors such as Roundstone and Clifden. This will be a full day with vista stops along the way. Lunch on your own. We will head back home mid-afternoon, in time to rest and refresh.

6:00 PM Drinks and gathering in The Drawing Room.

7:00 PM Our "farewell dinner" at Ashley Park House! Please pack for the next morning, when we are off to Kerry!

DAY SIX – 7 – 8:30 AM Breakfast is served! Please let Ann know if you need assistance getting your luggage down to the front hallway.

9:00 AM All aboard board for our next Hidden Ireland Home – Carrig Country House, Co Kerry. This will be a traveling day, stopping for lunch along the way. As we enter the great "Kingdom of Kerry," so called because of its independence and disregard for Dublin rule! You will observe changing terrain and vegetation. The Gulf Stream hugs this Southwest Coast of Ireland providing mild climate for the natural propagation of wild orchids, palm trees and semi tropical plants. We will arrive at Carrig Country House in time to find our rooms, unpack, rest and refresh.

6:00 PM We will gather in the lounge for drinks and sharing the day. Kindly arrange a personal tab for drinks with our hosts.

7:00 PM Dinner will be served in the dining room. Following dinner we will adjourn to one of the charming reception rooms nearby, share the day's adventures and check in with Ann. Sweet dreams!

DAY SEVEN – 7-8:30 AM Breakfast is served!

9:30 AM All aboard for The Dingle Peninsula. This majestic corner of Ireland draws writers, poets and artists from all over the world. There is a sense of the mystical here. With its legends of hidden pirate booty, romance and skullduggery one enters this territory, forewarned! Following a short coffee break at the fishing village of Dunquin, where many of the locals speak only in the Irish tongue, we board our coach to begin the ascent up to Slea Head. Regardless of weather, this region offers spectacular vistas and fabulous photo opportunities. At the top we will enter the Blasket Island Interpretive Center where we will view a short film about the last inhabitants of The Great Blasket Island. There is a museum, gift shop and small café for lunch. We will descend from the other side of the mountain, find a nice spot for dinner on our own and begin the journey back to our Ring of Kerry home.

DAY EIGHT – 7-8:30 AM Breakfast is ready!

9:00 AM Our coach awaits and we are off to the charming medieval harbor town of Kinsale, in neighboring Co Cork. Kinsale boasts a rich history of literature, sailing and fine food. If you are a "foodie," Kinsale hosts one of Europe's finest festivals of food each year. This welcoming town offers a variety of meal choices along with art galleries, bookstores and restful walks along the harbor. Legend has it that native son, Brendan The Navigator, a 6th Century monk, sailed from these shores to many far off places, some of them in the underworld. Kinsale offers some of the finest sailing in the country.

DAY NINE – 7-8:30 AM Breakfast.

9:00 AM We are off to Killarney Town, Killarney National Park, Torc Waterfall and, time permitting, the famous Gap of Dunloe. While you may have heard about these famous spots, today you will become a part of them. There will be time for lunch and coffee or tea breaks throughout the day before we make our way back to Carrig House in time to rest and refresh.

6:00 PM Drinks while sharing our day in the lounge.

7:00 PM Dinner awaits!

DAY TEN – 7-8:30 AM Breakfast is served.

9:30 AM We head toward The Beara Peninsula bordering both Kerry and Cork. We will tour Bantry House, an 18th Century estate and gardens, overlooking Bantry Bay. On the grounds is The Italian Garden inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence and designed in 1850 by the 2nd Earl of Bantry. Traveling back through Glengariff we will visit Garnish Island with its semi-tropical plantings and beautiful views where we may spot cavorting seals on Bantry Bay. Home to refresh.

6:00 PM We gather for drinks and to share the events of the day.

7:00 PM Dinner is served!

DAY ELEVEN – 7-8:30 AM Breakfast!

9:30 AM Since this is our last day full day before departing Ireland we will enjoy the day traveling around the famous Ring of Kerry. This tour brings us a little further inland to the Lakes of Killarney, beautiful low mountain ranges and woodlands before we begin the swing around the loop. We will stop in Waterville for lunch, on our own, along with an opportunity to do a little shopping and treasure hunting for local art and pottery. We then head home, allowing time to rest and renew.

6:00 PM Gather for drinks, sharing our stories and experiences of the day.

7:00 PM Our farewell dinner at Carrig Country House awaits! Following dinner Ann will explain the plan for an early Shannon Airport departure in the morning.

DAY TWELVE – 6:30AM Breakfast.

7:15 AM We must roll out no later than 7:30AM to allow sufficient time for departing flights from Shannon. Our wonderful driver knows that route very well. He wants to allow for morning traffic while making sure we arrive at the airport with time to spare!