Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly
overnight to Cork
Depart from the U.S.
The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.
Day 2 - Arrive in Cork/Transfer to downtown Cork
Upon arrival at the Cork
airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. (Please note: Make certain your
VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify
you.) As you enter the arrival hall, look for your VBT representative holding a
VBT sign. Please wait here while your representative helps make arrangements
for your transfer to your hotel in Cork
(transfer time is approximately 20 minutes).
VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel
Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Cork. Take the rest of
the day to explore the city and have dinner on your own.
Day 3 - Guests meet in Cork
/ Transfer to Killarney
VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast on your own, meet
one of your VBT Trip Leaders at the Imperial Hotel, Cork at 9 a.m. (Address:
South Mall, Cork, Republic of Ireland; telephone +353  21 427 4040). To
reach the hotel, you can take a taxi from Cork airport to Cork (approximately
20 euros/$26.00 USD) or travel on Bus Eireann, which provides frequent and
direct coach service between Cork Airport, Cork City Center and Cork Bus
Station (this costs approximately 5 euros/$7 USD and takes approximately 25
minutes; for more details go to www.buseireann.ie). If your arrival in Cork is scheduled later
than 9 a.m. or if you are delayed, you must transfer at your own expense
(approximately 180 euros/$235.00 USD for a taxi, travel time approximately 90
minutes) to the first hotel in Killarney. Please contact the Cork hotel to advise them of any travel
delays or changes so the hotel staff can pass the message on to your VBT Trip
VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet one of
your VBT Trip Leaders in the hotel lobby at 9 a.m.
Once we have gathered, there will be a short introductory
meeting followed by a transfer by private bus from Cork to Killarney, approximately 90 minutes.
Our first destination is Muckross, within Killarney's National Park. Ensure you
are prepared for a day of walking as the bus will continue with our luggage to
the hotel after leaving us at the lodge entrance. Here we meet our second VBT
Trip Leader and see stunning vistas of the Killarney Lakes
and their impressive mountain backdrop. We walk through a lush meadow, along
the river and through the woodland onto the lakeshore. Across the waters, we'll
admire the tree-smothered slopes of Tomies Wood stretching upwards towards the
peaks of Shehy and Tomies mountains. We continue along the shoreline through a
delightful woodland glade until we come across the magnificent manor, Muckross
House. Enjoy lunch in the Muckross
This afternoon, we have the choice of enjoying a stroll
through magnificent displays of ornamental shrubs, flower beds, and wide
expanses of manicured lawns, or continuing with a walk around Muckross Lake.
Our afternoon walk takes us through ancient woodland, over Brickeen Bridge,
and across Dinish Island to the Meeting of the Waters and the Old Weir
Bridge. All the while, we
are surrounded by wonderful views, small lakeside beaches and rocky coves. We
meet our bus and drive to our home for the next three nights, collecting
non-walkers at Muckross House on the way.
After settling in, get to know your fellow travelers and
Trip Leaders at a welcome reception and dinner.
Day 4 - Discover the Gap of Dunloe
After breakfast we transfer to legendary Kate Kearney's
cottage, where the 19th-century beauty sold a brew “very fierce and wild,
requiring not less than seven times its own quantity of water to tame and
subdue it.” It's now a popular shop and pub, and the start of our walk up a
steady paved incline through a spectacular glacial valley, the Gap of Dunloe.
Our trail parallels a mountain stream over rugged terrain lined with massive
boulders, until we reach the pass between Macgillycuddy's Reeks (Ireland's tallest mountain range at 3,414 feet)
and the Purple Mountains. Then we descend into the Black Valley.
All the way we'll have a horse-drawn jaunting cart at the ready for those who
want a break.
A lakeside picnic awaits us at Lord Brandon's Cottage. From
here, we board open boats and cruise to Ross Castle, a 15th-century tower
house, as our boatmen regale us with local tales. This evening, we shuttle into
Killarney for dinner on your own and the opportunity to mingle with the locals
over a Guinness in one of Killarney's thriving pubs.
Day 5 - Glenbeigh and the Kerry Way
Today, our walk helps us explore the northern part of the Kerry Peninsula.
After a short drive, our bus will leave us at the trailhead, a paved quiet
country road circling Seefin
Mountain. As we walk,
enjoy the spectacular views over Lough Caragh. At the end of the road, you have
the option of rejoining the minibus and meeting the group in Glenbeigh or
walking to Glenbeigh up the mountain on a footpath through Windy Gap. This path
is part of the Kerry Way,
a 135-mile walking route over old droving paths and coach roads created more
than 20 years ago.
Upon reaching Glenbeigh, enjoy some free time and lunch in
this quaint town.
After lunch, you have two options. Shuttle two miles to
Rossbehy Creek and take a short walk along White Strand, a beautiful sandy
beach on a small peninsula stretching into Dingle Bay.
Or walk along the banks of River Behy and back on the Kerry Way through the sloped woods of
Curra hill, then shuttle down to Rossbehy
Tonight before dinner, we meet Denis Kissane, a local friend
who will give a nostalgic presentation on his childhood in “The Old Bohareen.
Day 6 - Walk through the Killarney
National Park into
Killarney and Ross Castle / Visit the home of Denis Kissane
After breakfast, pack your luggage. Today we leave Loch Lein
Country House for Kenmare. First we take a very short drive to Castle Ross
Hotel where we start our
walk into Killarney through the beautiful parkland. You can stop at Killarney
Cathedral and venture into town for shopping or join our Trip Leaders for a
walk around Ross Island. More of a peninsula than an
island, Ross Island is heavily wooded with a network
of paths leading to attractive viewpoints overlooking Lough Leane. Also visible
are remains of former copper mines, some dating back 4,000 years to the
prehistoric Bronze Age and others from the 19th century.
After free time for lunch in Killarney, we visit our
newfound friend, Denis Kissane, who has invited us to see both his childhood
home (featured in his talk yesterday evening), and his current home, where he
will entertain you with tea or coffee and freshly made scones. We then continue
to our new home for the next three nights, Brook Lane Hotel, Kenmare
Tonight is free for you to explore the town, a 4-minute walk
away along a footpath directly opposite the hotel.
Day 7 - Gleninchaquin
This morning we can have a later start and walk down to
Kenmare market square to sample the local market. Afterwards shuttle 15 miles
to Lough Inchiquin and into Gleninchaquin
Park, located at the end
of a beautiful valley. Here we meet Peggy and Donal Corkery whose ancestors
have lived in the valley for over 130 years. Then choose from a variety of
walks, from gentle farm or river strolls to a more challenging walk over the
448-foot waterfall (well worth the effort just for the views!). Make sure you
visit the Heritage Site to see the reconstructed 19th-century cottage that was
typical in this area.
When you return from your walk we will drive to a nearby
pier overlooking Kenmare
Bay to enjoy a freshly
This afternoon we shuttle back to Kenmare to enable you free
time to experience the pretty town of Kenmare
and this evening one of its pubs or restaurants.
Day 8 - Kerry Way
to Caherdaniel and Derrynane
Today the scenery is spectacular as we walk along the
southwestern section of the Kerry coast, with views of tiny islands, towering
cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and some of the finest beaches in Europe.
For those who would like a slightly more challenging option,
our morning trailhead starts along a single-track road. We follow this path
along another section of the Kerry
Way known to the locals as the Old Butter Road. This leads us along farm
tracks and then into open moorland. There is a slight incline before you drop
down into Caherdaniel with one of the best views in Ireland, over the bay.
Once in Caherdaniel, a pretty coastal village on the shore of Derrynane Bay, we transfer by our bus to
Derrynane House. The ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell, Derrynane House is a
public museum commemorating one of Ireland's leading historical
figures, known by the nation as the Great Liberator.
If you're after an easier option, you may shuttle directly
to Derrynane Bay
and enjoy a lovely walk with one of our Trip Leaders across to Abbey Island.
Here we'll view the remains of a tenth-century abbey and a local cemetery.
We all meet for an included lunch in the café at Derrynane
House, followed by a tour of the museum. Derrynane House is furnished with
family portraits, writings and a great many items belonging to Daniel
O'Connell: the dueling pistols he used to kill rival John D'Esterre in 1815,
the black glove he wore in remembrance of that day, and the fabulous gold
chariot he rode through Dublin
amidst jubilant crowds upon his release from prison. A video presentation
outlines the life and times of the Irish hero.
There'll be time to explore the gardens behind the house,
walk around the Derrynane Dunes nature trail, or just relax on one of the most
beautiful beaches in the country, with over a mile of golden sand. Meet our
Trip Leaders in the local Keatings Bar, just a small room in a private house
turned into a pub for the locals. After an included drink we will meet the bus
and drive back to Kenmare.
This evening we have a farewell dinner in the hotel and then
say goodbye to our VBT Leaders.
Day 9 - Walking Tour Ends / Transfer to Kinsale
VBT No-Air Package guests: Our tour finishes at the hotel
after breakfast. The hotel will help you book a taxi at your own expense to
either Killarney railway station (approximately 60 euros/$90 USD, travel time
approximately 50 minutes ), Cork Airport (approximately 150 euros/$225 USD,
travel time approximately 2 hours) or Shannon Airport (approximately 250
euros/$375 USD, travel time approximately 3 hours).
VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: Transfer by
private motor coach to the medieval town of Kinsale, known as a gourmet capital. It has
an abundance of traditional bars and restaurants, beautiful buildings, narrow
streets, shops and galleries and a pretty harbor area.
Once you arrive in Kinsale, the remainder of the day is free
for you to explore this quaint town. VBT provides you with City Information in
your Final Travel Booklet that includes recommendations on what to see and do
Kinsale has been seasoned liberally by Norman, Spanish and
English influences since medieval times, but nowadays most of the seasoning
takes place in the numerous fine restaurants that make this Ireland's
gourmet capital. Kinsale is also a yachting center (hence the great seafood!).
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, transfer to the Cork airport for your return flight.
Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, full
breakfast at the hotel may not be available but a cold tray is possible to be
delivered to your room. Please check with the Front Desk to verify the times
that breakfast is served and to arrange your cold tray if necessary.
VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in
advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay
beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport is at
your own expense.