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Highlights
  • Absorb the beauty of Ireland’s West at the soaring Cliffs of Moher and the otherworldly Burren.
  • Learn about the life of an Irish farmer as one welcomes you to his land and discusses the meeting of tradition and technology in agriculture.
  • In Dublin, get a look at the Book of Kells, attend a show at the Abbey Theatre and enjoy free time to discover the city.

The spirit of Ireland is as stirring as a fiddle reel, as hearty as a pub breakfast and as complex as “Finnegans Wake.” Experience it as you explore Ireland’s cities, villages, farms and natural environments and interact with her people on this journey from the rural West to cosmopolitan Dublin in the East. Along the way, enjoy plenty of free time to make your own discoveries.

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Cities & Attractions
Flights & Transport
  • Internal airfare and ground transport

30
Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
87% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 2
Value
4.5 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.5 Lodging
4.3 Transportation
4.4 Meals
4.3
Enchanting Ireland: Town and Country

No reviews yet for this trip. Browse other reviews below for Road Scholar .

K

Does Not Recommend

Road Scholar Owes My Mom A Huge Apology and Refund. Highly advise AGAINST using them. May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
Let me preface this story with some background about myself: I backpacked through most of Europe by myself when I was studying abroad in Ireland. I suffered through horrendous bus rides, getting kicked out of seats on trains, sleeping in questionable hostels, and going weeks without being able to really do laundry. I know how crappy it can be to actually get from one place to another, and how worth it is to suffer through all of that just to lay eyes on something magnificent.

And yet, Road Scholar has, without a doubt, managed to give me the single worst travel experience I've ever had in my entire life, and we didn't even make it off the ground. I would never, ever, EVER recommend them to anyone looking to go anywhere, and as far as I'm concerned, Road Scholar needs to seriously reconsider their travel-making procedures and give my mother a huge apology and refund. (Also, I'm only in my twenties, so I have a lot of years ahead of me to make referrals.)

It all started with Road Scholar not getting us flights. We claimed our spot on a trip to the Lake region in Northern Italy, but no one ever called us back about any travel arrangements. It appeared we were on the trip IN Italy, but no one had bothered to make any arrangements to get us there. My mother called and left messages, emailed people, and the only response we got was that our flight should be booked at some point in early May (when our trip was set to start on May 22). Road Scholar urges people to book their flights through their preferred travel agency, which is who didn't call us back. Road Scholar, to market themselves as educational tourism rather than shallow "I just want to see things" tourism, partners up with different educational institutions, and ours was through Trinity College. The director of the Italian programs called us asking for our travel information, since she didn't have it yet. Interesting news to us. We were then told that we could make travel arrangements of our own (even though we were paying Road Scholar to do it for us) and then inform the program of our travel plans and how we were getting to our hotel. So we started to investigate making our own plans, when someone finally called us back saying that they were taking care of our travel arrangements, and they "didn't know why we hadn't had them made for us already." The director of the program was happy to hear this, because the Lake region of Italy is not as easily accessible as other areas.

We asked for upgraded seats because my mom has had both of her knees replaced, and while that doesn't inhibit her in the slightest from being active, it limits where she can sit on planes. In a cramped regular economy seat with no leg room on an international flight that was going to last 8-10 hours, she wouldn't have been able to walk off the plane because of how her knees would cramp up. But they said they could make the arrangements (which is also advertised on their website) so that was that. We got our itinerary, accommodations, and were all set. We were booked through United and Lufthansa (neither of which either of us will EVER book through again), so I downloaded the United app onto my iPhone so I could check us in and make sure we had mobile copies of our boarding passes in addition to the paper ones my mom printed out. We were all set to fly from Cincinnati to Washington D.C., from D.C. to Frankfurt, and from Frankfurt down to Verona where we would be meeting up with the group -- which, by the way, we never received any information regarding where the group was meeting, the transportation to the lake resort, etc. Nothing. Just "after you get there" stuff.

Then this morning, I woke up to a notification from United Airlines (and a text message alert that I had set up) saying that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled due to weather. Obviously I'm not blaming Road Scholar for that. What I am holding Road Scholar accountable for is what happened next: my mom called the Emergency Hotline (which is a recording -- and I HIGHLY recommend that they change this, because when I studied abroad, we had two emergency hotlines, both of which were always answered by real human beings, one for anything happening in the United States, and the other for the program, which was a different number for each location and a direct line to one of the program directors on the ground in the country you were actually in). We left a voicemail, someone named Mike called us back, and he was an absolute asshole. When you book your flight through a travel agency/group travel organization, if anything happens to your flight, it is the THEIR responsibility to take care of it. We were told by Road Scholar, and it's available on their website: "When you book your airfare through Road Scholar, we're there to help you in case of any emergencies." When Mike called us back and we told him that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled, he told us that he couldn't look up any other flights (on both United and any other airlines) for us to potentially get on to get to D.C for our transatlantic flight. Instead, he told us to call United ourselves and to go to the airport and talk to the desk agent. I then ended up on the phone (and on hold) the entire drive to the airport, which resulted in nothing because tons of flights had been cancelled due to airline politics and weather. We finally got to the desk agent at the airport, had a hell of a time getting rebooked on another flight, and weren't able to get the upgraded seats that we paid extra money for. When we called Road Scholar and Mike back to ask if during the course of our day when we would be traveling (and unable to make phone calls) he would call Lufthansa to at least make the airline aware of our need for better seating due to my mother's knee replacements, he was unhelpful and rude, at first attempting to refuse calling on our behalf and finally agreeing to, but only after repeatedly telling us "there's no guarantee of those seats" (something we definitely understood because we're not stupid).

Our rebooked flight wasn't set to leave until 7:45 PM tonight, putting us in Verona at 4:05 PM the next day (4 hours after the group transfer to the hotel), so we returned home instead of waiting around the airport for 12 hours. We got on both United and Lufthansa's websites and discovered that not only had our original itineraries not been removed, we had been double booked, one for a flight out of North Carolina to Munich through Delta, and another out of D.C. (the 7:45 PM flight) which had a 23 hour layover in Munich. A call to Road Scholar resulted in us being told that we had to contact the airlines. My mother was on the phone, talking to either United representatives or Lufthansa representatives, from about 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM. We were told we had reservations but no tickets, told we had tickets but couldn't see the numbers, told there were seats available for us to get upgraded to but we would have to try to get the desk agent in D.C. to arrange that for us, told that there was no guarantee we could get those seats, and more. It was incredible the amount of bureaucratic bullshit we had to put up with, especially since each airline wouldn't take any responsibility for us getting the seats we paid for and on a new flight, telling us "we'd have to talk to the other company about that." We finally called Road Scholar to see if there was anything more they could do, who encountered the same mess we already had, and all they did was eventually advise us to go back to the airport (a 45 minute drive) and talk to the desk agent to see IF they could put us in the upgraded seats -- ones we had already paid for and my mom couldn't make the trip without!

Then when asked how they would be getting us to our destination in the Lake region (which is not an easy place to get to, as I looked up the train and bus schedules myself, because - remember - I have tons of experience at this point traveling on the ground across Europe), they wouldn't outright say what our plans would be, which could've been anything from picking us up in the airport in a car, giving us a damn rental to drive ourselves, or simply paying for tickets and expecting us to haul all our luggage from the airport to the shuttle to the train station in Verona, take the 2+ hour train to a town an hour away from our destination, have to catch a bus to the actual town we were supposed to be in, and then walk the rest of the way there. Seeing what all happened, I would bet it would've been the latter, which isn't a problem for someone like me, but is an issue for someone like my mom.

The moral of the story here is that my mom and I shouldn't have had to be on the phone with anyone other than Road Scholar, PERIOD. Seeing as we paid well over $10,000 for this trip, the minute the flight was cancelled, Road Scholar should've called us to let us know that they would be making other arrangements for us to get to our trip in the Lake region of Italy. THEY should've been the ones on the phone, dealing with the airline bureaucrats, working their hardest to get us any combination of flights to get us to Italy in the seats that we paid for. Or, if it really came down to it, they should've made arrangements for us to be on this trip at another point in time, offered us another excursion in its place, or simply given us a refund. Instead, they didn't want to do the jobs that we paid them to do, and we were the ones that had to take time out of our day, which was already scheduled to be a hectic and stressful time because traveling is simply just that, to do Road Scholar's job. They didn't look out for us one single bit and completely and utterly RUINED what was supposed to have been a wonderful trip for me and my mom.

My mother has an adventurous and curious soul and hasn't gotten to go to Europe the way she always wanted to. Since I graduated college, my mother suggested taking a mother-daughter trip. This was supposed to be incredibly special for the both of us, getting to go somewhere new together (I hadn't explored Northern Italy much and that's where we decided to go), learning about the food and the culture, and bonding over all the amazing things we were going to be able to do. I think my mom was even more excited about this trip than I was, voraciously reading all the required/recommended reading, practicing Italian in her room so she could order correctly at restaurants, not giving up when we hit little bumps in the road along the way. Instead, we have been nothing but doubtful at best in the entire planning of this trip, and deeply disappointed and angered at worst. I will never again recommend Road Scholars to anyone looking to go on group trips. Instead, I will steer people away and recommend that they either find a better travel agency, book the trip themselves, or go through Rick Steve's program.

Road Scholar should issue my mother a refund and an apology or risk being sued.
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Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

They take advantage of the elderly May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I had high hopes for Road scholar. However, when I was diagnosed with cancer I got no sympathy from Road Scholar. The agents and management kept saying you should have purchased insurance. But the insurance was extremely expensive and would not have covered the cancellation fee either. I ended up attending anyways because I didn't want to lose my money. I felt sick the entire time and could barely complete the activities. The group leader was wonderful. But the program was very strict and I felt that they over charged for everything. They demonstrated shocking behavior for a non profit that is supposed to be all about education and supporting the elderly. Yet they constantly are sending catalogs and pushing expensive programs. I highly recommend taking your money elsewhere. They do not respect their customers and only care about money. They took advantage of a cancer patient and according to the others on my trip this is common.
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Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT August 2017

3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
WOULD NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING! WOW! A WAKEUP CALL FROM HELL. I WILL BE SHOUTING THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS SO NO ONE ELSE
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE. DO NOT PURCHASE ROAD SCHOLAR INSURANCE -- IT IS A BOONDOGGLE!
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Operator Road Scholar

LG

Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

2.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar

TCtssvawmc

Recommends

Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
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Operator Road Scholar

Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrival Day & Transfer to Ennistymon

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Falls Hotel.

Lunch: A served lunch in the hotel with tea, coffee and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. Before dinner we will have an Orientation in the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: A served dinner in the hotel with tea, coffee and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Free time to unpack, relax and prepare for the program ahead. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions should you wish to further explore Ennistymon.

Day 3: Galway & Coole Park Nature Reserve, Ennistymon

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Falls Hotel.

Breakfast: A full Irish breakfast in the hotel dining room. Choices vary but will include a variety of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, potatoes, cereals, fruit, toast, pastries and jams served with water, juices, tea and coffee.

Morning: We’ll board the motor coach for a full day field trip to Galway and Coole Park. Discover the cradle of Gaelic culture in the West and often referred to as the “city of tribes”, as it was once home to 14 famous merchant families. You’ll enjoy an expert-led walk around the city, visiting Galway Cathedral, the Spanish Arch and part of the original city wall before finishing at the Galway City Museum for some free time. Should you wish to explore the museum, it houses a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions dealing with archaeology, local history, arts and crafts.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: We board the motor coach for an afternoon field trip to Coole Park. Coole Park is a nature reserve spanning over 1000 acres and was the centre of the Irish Literary Revival in the early 20th Century; the seven woods celebrated by W.B Yeats can all be found within its confines. Here you’ll be able to trace your fingers across the historic Autograph Tree, its bark deeply engraved with the initials of many of the authors who helped Ireland rise to literary prominence during the revival.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Relax and enjoy an evening of traditional Irish music and dance.

Day 4: The Cliffs of Moher & The Burren, Ennistymon

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Falls Hotel.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we travel by motor coach to view two of Ireland’s most incredible natural phenomena. We begin at the Burren where we will meet a local expert, who will lead us through one of the largest karst limestone landscapes in Europe, stopping for a gentle walk on its moon-like terrain.

Lunch: Served in the village of Kilfenora.

Afternoon: After lunch visit the spectacular and world-famous Cliffs of Moher. We’ll have time to linger by the cliffs, which rise like a cathedral into the sky some 700 feet over the wild Atlantic Ocean. The views stretch as far as Galway Bay and the Aran Islands, and the location is also home to one of the major colonies of cliff-nesting seabirds in Ireland.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Free time.

Day 5: Transfer to Adare: Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Dunraven Arms Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we transfer by motor coach to the charming village of Adare. Regarded as being one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages, it is steeped in history and has been the site of many rebellions, wars and conquests. This legacy has shaped the village today and you’ll find a fascinating story around every corner. En route we’ll take the opportunity to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare, home to the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Originally built in 1425, Bunratty Castle was restored in the 1950’s and now mainly reflects how it would have looked in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Within the grounds of the castle lies Bunratty Folk Park, a living village where 19th Century life is vividly recreated through actors, volunteers and a painstaking attention to detail. We’ll then continue onwards to Adare, where we’ll enjoy an expert-led walk around the village.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 6: The Dingle Peninsula: 6000 Years of History, Adare

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Dunraven Arms Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We take a motor coach to the Dingle Peninsula, exploring the area’s rich archaeological heritage and unique culture. Once cited as “the most beautiful place on earth” by National Geographic magazine, much of the peninsula is a Gaeltacht – an area where the Irish language is widely spoken at home, in the workplace and at school. Along the way we’ll make a stop in Dingle Town, where you’ll have the opportunity for independent exploration.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in the colourful fishing port of Dingle.

Afternoon: We’re joined by a local expert to continue our exploration of the Dingle Peninsula, whose Slea Head is the most westerly part of Ireland.

Dinner: Taken at a restaurant en-route.

Evening: Free time.

Day 7: An Irish Dairy Farm, Adare

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Dunraven Arms Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Board the motor coach for a field trip to a local dairy farm, where you will meet a seasoned farmer who lead you through Ireland’s rural traditions past and present.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: Free time.

Day 8: Transfer to Dublin: The National Stud & Japanese Gardens

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Grand Canal Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we transfer to Dublin, Ireland’s bustling capital city, by motor coach. Along the way we’ll pay a visit to the Irish National Stud, a 1,000 acre holding where some of Ireland’s best racehorses are conceived and cared for. The site is also, somewhat surprisingly, the home to what is often considered to be the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe – a perfect place for quiet contemplation as you wander through its tranquil surrounds.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: The field trip and transfer continue.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 9: Dublin Castle, Trinity College & The Book of Kells

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Grand Canal Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy an expert-led insight into Dublin as we visit Dublin Castle; in continuous occupation for over 800 years and, until 1922, the seat of British government in Ireland. We continue on to explore Trinity College. Trinity College, sometimes referred to as the University of Dublin, dates back to 1592 and is one of the seven ancient Universities of Britain and Ireland. It is also home to the Book of Kells, one of the finest examples of illuminated manuscript in the world. The artistry and attention to detail in its spellbinding calligraphy and illuminations truly is a sight behold and the book, dating back to 800 AD, is considered Ireland’s finest national treasure.

Lunch: We will visit a local farmer’s market where you will receive a lunch allowance to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: Served at a local restaurant.

Evening: Enjoy a performance in one of Dublin’s many renowned theatres.

Day 10: An Evening of Traditional Irish Music, Dublin

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Grand Canal Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Free time to continue your exploration of Dublin. Perhaps venture further afield to the ancient megalithic monument at Newgrange, or stay closer to home and undertake some ancestral research at the National Library of Ireland. Your Group Leader will be able to advise and give directions.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: Enjoy a served farewell dinner at an evening of traditional Irish music.

Evening: Free time.

Day 11: Program concludes, Dublin

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: In the hotel. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast, whereupon a boxed breakfast will be provided.

Morning: Transfer to Dublin Airport (DUB) for onward flights. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 2,250

Price Per Day:

$ 205 per person
 
  • Select Custom Arrangements to get to and from Road Scholar-provided airfare for your program
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • 9 nights of accommodations
  • 1 expert-led lecture
  • 10 expert-led field trips
  • 3 performances
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes
Meals Included:

9 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 7 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Internal airfare and ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Accomodations

Falls Hotel: 3 nights  Ennistymon

Nestled in it’s wooded vale beside the tumbling waters of the River Inagh, the distinctive building known today as the Falls Hotel Spa Resort conceals within it’s walls an eighteenth century mansion, a late medieval castle, and a formidable history of four and a half centuries embracing clans and warfare, landlords and tenants, poets, dreamers and entrepreneurs.

 

Dunraven Arms Hotel: 3 nights  Adare

Country house hotel style with award winning beautiful landscaped gardens. The interior of the hotel contains antique furnishings and rich fabrics.

 

Grand Canal Hotel: 3 nights  Dublin 4

A coveted location in picturesque Dublin 4, the heart of the city near Dublin's theatre district of Grand Canal dock.

Start City
Ennistymon
End City
Dublin
Guides

Shane Connolly

A native of the Burren, Shane Connolly has a diploma in archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a diploma in local and regional studies from University College Cork. He is also qualified with a certificate in agribusiness , a degree in business studies and currently runs a cattle and sheep farm in Corkscrew Hill, Ballyvaughan. An experienced educational excursion leader in the Burren, Shane enjoys good conversation and a laugh. His interests include place names, stone wall construction and folklore.

Trip ID#: EncIreRoa

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