So this is what a blog is. I've never used one of these things before, but you have been kind enough to ask for more details on my tour, and I wanted to make sure you knew that booking has opened for my 2020 tour.
Now let me first say that building this tour has not been easy. Ireland has become a victim of its own popularity. Hotel prices have skyrocketed in the past year to the point where booking a tour is fraught with trying to find availability that doesn't cost the earth. Our initial plan for 2020 was to build a 5 star exclusive tour, but once I got an estimate of the cost, I realized how ridiculous that price would've been. I simply could not allow you guys to pay those prices. There are people who can afford those kinds of tours, and indeed I could have aimed at them, but I wanted to build my tour for the people who come year after year, time and time again. I love and value you.
I went back to basics and started from scratch. The incredible Anne Tarrant and CIE TOURS can't have been so thrilled with me, but I made them build a whole new tour to get the price down. I know that the price has risen since last year, but I really am powerless in all this.
What I can say is that I have built something really fun. For inspiration I went back to our very first tour. That was a special time, and I have such fond memories of it. I mixed in some of that and went back to some places that I am particularly fond of.
Next year will be different. Everyone who came on the 2019 tour saw that I filmed my concert at the National Opera House. That TV show is being edited right now, and it will attract new tourists. I promise, though, that the essence of our tours will remain the same. The mission of every tour is to laugh our way around Ireland. We do that every year, and that will not change. You are still stuck with me, and WORSE, you are stuck with Austin.
Over the coming months I am going to do features on the various parts of the country we are visiting so you are more informed about what is available in each area before we get there. Watch out for our first feature on County Mayo, home of my grandfather and great grandfather Michael Londra I and Michael Londra II.
I should be able to show you a clip of the TV show in the next blog on this website, so watch for it. I really don't like looking at myself on TV.
Wed, Sep-09 DUBLIN ARRIVAL
Land at Dublin Airport and complete customs and immigration formalities before meeting your CIE Tours driver/guide, whom I would be lost without. He and I will be there to welcome you to Ireland. We will have breakfast at a local venue with the group before journeying to the planned town of Westport. You can rest on the trip if you flew in the night before. I, however, think you should consider flying in a day or two early and spending a night or two in Dublin. Upon arrival visit Westport House, an 18th century mansion set in superb parkland with magnificent views overlooking Clew Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. See stunning rooms with priceless furnishings, paintings, books, and silver. We then transfer to your nearby hotel where you check in and settle into your room. In the evening join your fellow travelers for a welcome drink, followed by dinner in the hotel restaurant. Off to bed then with ye.....or out for a few Jamesons in the pubs up the road.
DINNER & OVERNIGHT: CASTLECOURT HOTEL, WESTPORT
Thu, Sep-10 ACHILL ISLAND & DESERTED VILLAGE
This morning, travel along Curraun Peninsula to reach Achill Island, joined to the mainland by a short bridge. Follow the Atlantic Drive to capture wonderful and wild scenic views of steeply sloped mountains plunging into the shimmering Atlantic Ocean. Stop to view the deserted village, which provides a haunting reminder of times past on Achill Island. Return to Westport, where you will have some time on your own in this charming town before dinner. Lots to see and do around this town, and I will add information as we get closer to the trip.
DINNER & OVERNIGHT: CASTLECOURT HOTEL, WESTPORT
Fri, Sep-11 CONG & THE QUIET MAN TOUR
Today embark on a walking tour of Cong, a place made famous by the 1952 movie “The Quiet Man” featuring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Discover places featured in the movie and see some of the movie memorabilia in the Quiet Man Heritage Cottage. We had the best time the last time we took this tour. Then we drive to the wonderful town of Ennis. You check into your hotel and have some time to relax before dinner. This hotel is where I spent many a night as a rowdy youth. If you get me drunk enough, I will tell ye some stories. What happens in Ennis stays in Ennis.
DINNER & OVERNIGHT: OLD GROUND HOTEL, ENNIS
Sat, Sep-12 BUNRATTY FOLK PARK & TRADITIONAL IRISH ENTERTAINMENT
Enjoy free time this morning to explore Ennis. Later, visit the Bunratty Folk Park, a 19th century village street with a pub, school, general store and many other buildings where traditional lifestyles and crafts are demonstrated. Then join in the fun and feasting at Bunratty Corn Barn. Enjoy a traditional Irish dinner as your hosts entertain you with their songs and stories. There is also a really great pub called Durty Nellies right at the castle. Hopefully Austin will let us stop in for one.
OVERNIGHT: OLD GROUND HOTEL, ENNIS
Sun, Sep-13 FOYNES MUSEUM & KILLARNEY
Leaving Ennis, travel south to Foynes and visit the Flying Boat Museum. The museum recalls the early days of air travel during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Irish coffee was first created here to warm frozen, weary travelers, and you will learn how to make a perfect one, and of course, drink it! I like to think I am an expert at Irish Coffees, making them and drinking them. Then continue to the town of Killarney and check into your luxurious Victorian hotel, which is conveniently located in the town center. Enjoy time to relax before dinner in the elegant dining room. This hotel is really gorgeous and right in the heart of the action without being noisy.
DINNER & OVERNIGHT: GREAT SOUTHERN HOTEL, KILLARNEY
Mon, Sep-14 MUCKROSS HOUSE & MOLL’S GAP
This morning, visit Muckross house, a 19th century mansion set beside the tranquil Muckross Lake. A guided tour will fill you in on some local history and the family ties to the United States. Enjoy the elegant rooms and rich furnishings before strolling through the lush gardens. Then set off to see a section of the breathtaking Ring of Kerry. The scenic drive will take you to plenty of stops at strategic locations where you can take photos. Along the way, travel through Kenmare before pausing at Moll's Gap, which overlooks the Lakes of Killarney. Continue to Ladies' View for more spectacular views of lakes and mountains. Then head back to Killarney, where you are free to dine independently.
OVERNIGHT: GREAT SOUTHERN HOTEL, KILLARNEY
Tue, Sep-15 EPIC IRELAND
Leaving Killarney, travel through Ireland’s countryside into Dublin. Upon arrival, stop to visit EPIC Ireland, which celebrates the dramatic story of the spread of Irish culture around the globe and the ways Ireland has changed throughout the years. Drive a short distance to your hotel, check in and enjoy some free time before this evening’s festivities. I have wanted to do EPIC for some time, so I am excited about this. Tonight, enjoy a dinner of Irish specialties followed by a lively show of traditional Irish music, songs and displays of step-dancing.
OVERNIGHT: GREEN HOTEL, DUBLIN
Wed, Sep-16 RETURN HOME OR BETTER STILL, STAY ON IN DUBLIN A FEW EXTRA NIGHTS.
Transfer to Dublin Airport to check in for your flight. You may do some last minute shopping at the duty free stores before boarding your aircraft and flying back home.
PRICE WITHOUT AIRFARE | $2895.00
PRICE IF YOU BOOK BEFORE SEPT 1, 2019 | $2795.00
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT | $675.00
GIVE ANNE A CALL AT +1.201.370.2443 TO TALK ABOUT HOLDING A PLACE ON THE TOUR. SHE IS HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY HAVE.