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Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1: Shannon to Kinsale

After arriving at Shannon Airport proceed to pick up your rental car and start your journey around the southwest of Ireland. Shortly after leaving Shannon you will pass by the first place of interest which is Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Bunratty Castle was built in the 15th century and a collection at the castle features over 450 items of medieval furniture and artefacts found at the site.

The folk park showcases village life in Ireland in the early 19th century while Blarney Woollen Mills also have a shop here where you can purchase Irish woollens and a selection of knitwear. Soon after leaving Bunratty you will come to the city of Limerick, often referred to as the treaty city. The most popular tourist attraction in Limerick is King John’s Castle situated right on the banks of the River Shannon. The construction of the castle was completed in 1210 and due to extensive renovation work it remains in immaculate condition today. Travelling onwards to Cork you will have the opportunity to visit Hedgehog Fibres on the outskirts of Cork City. Hedgehog Fibres is an Irish artisan fibre and yarn dyeing studio that was set up by Slovakian Beata Jezek, The work displayed more often than not reflects Beata’s experiences and moods which result in a vast variation of colours and styles which staff on hand will be able to explain to you in more detail. Moving to the city centre you can find two craft shops within walking distance of each other. Located right on the banks of the River Lee is Vibes and Scribes, a shop where you can buy fabric, wool and yarns. Situated close by is the Cork Button Company where you will be able to buy various different types of buttons for knitting projects in the future. From here you can complete you journey to Kinsale.

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Day 2: Kinsale

Today you will have the opportunity to tour around Kinsale and its surrounding area. Kinsale is a seaside town located right on the south coast of Cork and is one of the most picturesque and historic towns along the coast. Vivi Trading Co is the main knitting shop in the town.

The shop which is located right in the town centre sells high-end wool and yarn. They also stock all the accessories required for knitting, crochet and sewing crafts. However, please take note of the opening hours which vary throughout the week with early closings on Monday’s and Tuesday's and longer opening hours later on in the week. As Cork City is relatively close to Kinsale you have another opportunity to visit Cork if you wish to experience more of the sights and sounds of the cultured city. Other places that you can visit close by to the city include the town of Cobh which was the ill-fated Titanic’s last port of call before it's voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The Titantic Experience details the ships final few days before tragedy struck and the story of the 123 people who boarded in Cobh. Located just to the east of the city is the town of Midleton where the famous Irish whiskey Jameson is distilled. A tour of the distillery followed by premium whiskey tasting is well worth a visit if time allows.

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Day 3: Kinsale to Kerry and Killarney Sightseeing

Today you will have two options for how you travel to Killarney. The first option for travel to the Kingdom County is to take the scenic route via the Sheeps Head Peninsula where you will pass through towns such as Clonakilty, Bantry and Kenmare. The Sheeps Head plays host to the annual Sheep’s Head yarn festival where a wide range of knitting workshops attracts enthusiastic knitters of all levels to the peninsula.

Further along the route you will come to the small town of Kenmare. Kenmare has a fine legacy in lace making dating back to 19th Century when a lace industry was established in the town. At the Kenmare Lace and Design Centre located in the main square in the town you can learn more about the history of Kenmare Lace as well as other laces from around Ireland such as Bobbin Lace and Limerick Lace. Lacemaking demonstrations are also available at the centre. If you decide to take the more direct route to Killarney, this will allow you to go sightseeing around the town upon you arrival. One of your first port of calls could be to the Mucros Weavers located at Muckross House in Killarney National Park. Mucros Weavers are widely renowned for their quality woven accessories that are sold worldwide. Something to watch out for is their Hattersly Looms that are used to weave scarves as these looms are nearly 200 years old. Surrounding Muckross House is the beautiful scenery and tranquillity of the national park where a stroll around the lake with views of the rugged mountains in the distance is a more relaxing way to spend your evening if you wish. Other well known attractions in Killarney include Torc Waterfall which is one of the finest waterfalls in Ireland, the 15th century Ross Castle located in the National Park and the Gap of Dunloe which is a narrow mountain pass with beautiful scenery of the mountains and lakes with horse drawn trap and cycling the two most popular forms of travelling through the gap.

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Day 4: Dingle Peninsula

Today you have the option to travel around the dramatic Dingle Peninsula as well as stopping in the primary town of the peninsula, Dingle. On your way to Dingle we recommend that you stop at the Kerry Woollen Mills in the small village of Beaufort which is just a short distance outside Killarney. This mill has been creating fabrics and yarn from fine wool for more than 300 years.

The mill uses modern technology with contemporary styling to give it a unique look to target niche markets in the knitting industry. Many of the buildings that were built over 300 years ago are still standing and functional so it gives you a perspective of how the woollen mill has changed through time. The Dingle Peninsula has more interesting antiquities, historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland and because of this it is one of the most popular touring routes in Ireland. Not alone is Dingle full of historic sites and mountain scenery, the peninsula is also a haven for craft makers with several studios dotted around the peninsula. You will find a complete list of craft stops in your Irish Tourism itinerary and from this you can choose the stops you would like to visit. Two stops in the town of Dingle which may be of particular interest to you are Lisbeth Mulcahy’s Weavers and Commodum Art and Design which stocks a great selection of Irish yarns.

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Day 5: Ring of Kerry

Today you have the option to see The Ring of Kerry, the most famous and popular driving route in Ireland. As the route is approximately 180km in length it will take up a considerable chunk of your day especially when stops are included. Some of the many highlights along the route include Derrynane House the previous home of famous Irish politician and statesman Daniel O’Connell and The Skellig Experience which is a centre dedicated to the life experienced by the Skellig monks that lived on the island.

If you wish to take a break from driving and get some fresh air why not sample the fresh breeze coming in off the Atlantic Ocean while strolling along one of the many beaches on the Ring of Kerry. Some of the best beaches on the ring include Derrynane, Reen Rua and Rossbeigh. If you took the direct route from Kinsale to Killarney you would have missed out on stopping in Kenmare where as mentioned above the Kenmare Lace and Design Centre is definitely well worth considering when passing through the town. Between Kenmare and Killarney you will drive through Moll’s Gap where a majestic photo opportunity of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range presents itself.

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Day 6: Kerry to Clare

Today you have the opportunity to travel from Killarney to County Clare. To break up your journey use the itinerary that you have been given to see what stop’s may interest you. One of the potential stops that you could make could be at the Adare Woollen Mills in the picturesque village of Adare in County Limerick where a large selection of traditional Irish woollens and knitwear are available.

The village of Adare is also widely known for its rare thatch cottages where fine craftsmanship has helped to maintain these cottages in good condition which is not common in modern day Ireland. Travelling onwards from Adare you will soon arrive in the city of Limerick, the third biggest city in Ireland. Limerick is most commonly known for its rich history and the River Shannon which flows through the heart of the city. If by chance you are passing through Limerick during the weekend the Milk Market in the heart of inner city Limerick is well worth considering when pondering where to visit. The market brings together traders all with different backgrounds into one place. The food stalls in the market with a mixture of local and international cuisine are highly thought of by locals while the market also has arts & craft stalls some which may be of interest to you. Otherwise a trip to King John’s Castle, a 13th century castle which is one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe is also an option. Continuing on from Limerick towards Clare, you will soon come to Bunratty Castle which was constructed in the 15th century and has been described as one of the most complete and authentic fortresses in Ireland. The Bunratty folk park showcases village life in Ireland in the early 19th century along with a collection of medieval artefacts with over 450 items in the collection. Leaving Bunratty and heading towards the west coast of Clare in the seaside town of Lahinch you will find Kenny’s Woollen Mills, a shop that sells wool and knitwear if you need to stock up for your future knitting projects. If you reach your accommodation in Clare by the afternoon a trip to the Cliffs of Moher, one of the best cliff views in the world is highly recommended. The cliffs rise to 214 metres at their maximum height with a round stone tower that was built in the 19th century adding to the attraction of the site.

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Day 7: Day Trip to Aran Islands

As part of your tour, return ferry tickets to the Aran Islands from Doolin are included. Your day trip would be to Inis Mór, the largest and most westerly of the Aran Islands. The journey on the ferry from Doolin to Inis Mór takes approximately 90 minutes each way. The Aran Islands are well renowned for their strong Irish culture with the Irish language being spoken fluently on all three islands.

When you arrive in Inis Mór you will alight at a small village of Kilronan which happens to be the largest settlement of people in the islands despite the population only being approximately 300 people. In the village you can find the Aran Sweater Market where you can browse through a large selection of Aran sweaters and other souvenirs of the Aran Islands. Outside of Kilronan, Inis Mór also has other tourist attractions for you to visit during your trip to the island including Dun Aengus, a prehistoric hill fort that is situated on the edge of a 100 metre high cliff and the lighthouse in the village of Eochaill. The lighthouse was built in the early nineteenth century and is surrounded by a fort and two terraced walls which are thought to be have been built sometime in the Iron Age. In the evening time you will take the ferry back from Kilronan to Doolin for your final night’s stay in Ireland.

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Day 8: Return to Shannon

On your final day in Ireland you will leave your accommodation and head for Shannon Airport to make your journey back home.

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