Foynes is a tiny little "one street down" on the West Coast of Ireland. Normally, cruise ships dock within walking distance of the town center. Not shuttle service is needed. However, in the unlikely even that we should be docked/moved to the second pier, the port does put on a little mini-bus to get into town. There are no facilities on the pier and in town there are a few Pub's and some local shops. Within walking distance of the pier is the "Flying Boat Museum".
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Board a coach for a leisurely drive through the countryside of counties Limerick and Clare to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Bunratty Castle, is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Enjoy a visit of the castle and learn the history and lifestyle of a bygone age. The site on which Bunratty Castle stands was in origin a Viking Trading Camp in 970. The present structure is the last of four castles to be built on the site. Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress in 1250. His lands were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants. Bunratty Castle and its lands were granted to various Plantation families, the last of whom was the Studdart family. They left the castle in 1804 (allowing it to fall into disrepair), to reside in the more comfortable and modern Bunratty House, which is open to the public in the grounds of the Folk Park.
Bunratty Folk Park
Next visit Bunratty Folk Park; it recreates rural and urban life in 19th century Victorian Ireland. There is an extensive array of vernacular buildings; indicative of all of the social strata from the poorest one roomed dwelling to Bunratty House, a fine example of a Georgian residence for the gentry.
Afterwards a stop is made at Mac's Pub to enjoy an authentic Irish coffee.
Following your memorable visit, rejoin your motor coach for your return drive to Foynes and your awaiting ship.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking over surfaces that include cobblestones in some areas, with numerous steps at the Castle. It is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair due to the approximately 90 minutes of standing at the Castle. It is recommended to wear flat comfortable walking shoes with layered clothing. Please bring water from the ship.
Limerick is situated on the River Shannon and is the gateway to the south west of Ireland. Noted also for its poetry, A Limerick is a witty, humorous, nonsensical poem with a strict rhyme scheme.
City of Limerick
Depart from the pier in Foynes and travel by coach to the nearby city of Limerick and enjoy a panoramic tour of Ireland fourth largest city. An ancient city with a Charter pre-dating that of London, the City of Limerick is magnificently sited on one of Europe's finest rivers, the Shannon. The dominant city landmark is King John's Castle. It is one of the finest examples of fortified Norman architecture in Ireland. Presently, the castle is home to a major interpretative centre.
Other city landmarks seen include the Treaty Stone where the treaty ending the siege of 1691 was reputedly signed, St Mary's Cathedral, which incorporates elements of both Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles and the much later St. John's Cathedral completed in 1859 which is a fine example of Gothic architecture. The modern City of Limerick epitomizes Ireland's industrial and cultural renaissance it boasts galleries, theatre, excellent restaurants and a world-class museum housed in the restored Custom House. Some free time is available so you can explore Limerick independently.
Continue the drive outside the city to the picturesque village of Adare. Snuggled in a wooden and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Ireland's prettiest and most picturesque village. It is situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon River, Adare dates back, to the early 13th century. During its long history, Adare, as a strategic location, has been the subject of many conquests, wars and rebellions. Today, Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of world famous, ornate, thatched cottages line part of the village's broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins.
Stop in Adare where tea/coffee will be served before you explore this heritage town independently.
Rejoin your motor coach at specified time for your return drive to Foynes and your awaiting ship.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking. In the City of Limerick and Adare walking is at the guests discretion during the free time. It is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair who can negotiate getting on and off the coach steps. It is recommended to wear flat comfortable walking shoes with layered clothing. Please bring water from the ship.
Experience the Old World architecture and flavours of Ireland during this picturesque, half-day sightseeing excursion.
Limerick City, Shannon River and King John's Castle
Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately 45-minute drive to Limerick City. Upon arrival, take a panoramic drive through Ireland's fourth-largest city. An ancient city with a Charter pre-dating that of London, the city of Limerick is magnificently sited on one of Europe's finest rivers, the Shannon. The dominant city landmark is the early-13th-century King John's Castle, regarded as one of the finest examples of fortified Norman architecture in Ireland. Presently, the castle is home to a major interpretative centre.
Important City Landmarks
Other important city landmarks include the Treaty Stone, where the treaty ending the siege of 1691 was reputedly signed, and the late-12th-century St Mary's Cathedral, which incorporates elements of both Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles. St. John's Cathedral, completed in 1859, is a fine example of Gothic architecture. The modern city of Limerick epitomizes Ireland's industrial and cultural renaissance, and boasts galleries, theatres, excellent restaurants and a world-class museum housed in the restored Custom House.
Bunratty, Durty Nelly's Pub and Irish Coffee
Next, continue your drive to Bunratty, in County Clare. Here, a visit is made to the famous Durty Nelly's Pub. During your visit, learn the story of her struggle and heartbreak behind her warm smile whilst relaxing with an Irish coffee in the warmth of this homey, traditional pub. At the conclusion of your visit, re-board your coach and commence the approximately one-hour drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, at times over uneven surfaces, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility, but is not wheelchair-accessible. Guests are advised to wear lightweight, comfortable clothing with flat, closed-toe walking shoes, and bring sun protection and raingear from the ship. Guests must be at least 21 years old to be served alcoholic beverages. The tour sequence may vary.
Marvel at the scenic natural splendour of Ireland above-and-below sea level during this memorable, full-day sightseeing excursion.
Cliffs of Moher
Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately two-hour drive to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. These majestic cliffs rise from the Atlantic Ocean to approximately 600 feet (about 183 metres) in height, and extend approximately five miles (about eight kilometres) from Hag's Head to O'Brien's Tower.
Atlantic Edge Visitor's Centre
Upon arrival, take in the grandeur of the Cliffs of Moher, then proceed for a visit to the new Atlantic Edge Visitor's Centre. This underground building features a huge domed cave containing images, exhibits, displays and experiences such as a virtual-reality, cliff-face adventure, The Ledge, shown in the audio-visual theatre. Experience life at the cliff-face from above-and-below sea level, and meet a cast of characters from among the native bird- and sea-life.
Doolin Village and Lunch
Next, re-board your coach and drive north to Doolin, a charming seaside village on the northwest coast of County Clare and the traditional music capital of Ireland. After lunch at a local hotel, embark a ferry for a breath-taking, approximately 2.25-hour ride around the picturesque counties of Clare and Limerick en route to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, at times over uneven surfaces and inclines, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach and embark/disembark the ferry. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Guests are advised to wear lightweight, comfortable clothing with flat, closed-toe walking shoes and raingear from the ship because at the Cliff stop is always very windy. The tour sequence may vary.