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Travel Buzz
Luck of the Irish
By Joe Boone

If you’re like most travelers, the enchanting land of Ireland is probably near or at the top of your bucket list. Just the mere mention of the Emerald Isle invokes images of mythical legends and fairytale stories from leprechauns to lucky shamrocks; and its heritage is toasted around the world with every proper pour of a nourishing and delightful Guinness. St. Patty's Day is even celebrated in the most remote reaches of our planet.

Ireland's natural and man-made attractions are indeed the stuff of knight's tales. Its landscape is dotted by a myriad of fascinating medieval castles, ancient churches and centuries old monasteries that stand proudly amidst lush green rolling pastures, rugged hills, and dramatic cliff shore lines. Modern day Ireland offers its own gems including the vibrant metropolis city of Dublin, and its countrymen's passion for sports rival their love of music, literature, and art.

One of the best ways to experience the true essence of Ireland is with the help of an experienced tour group like CIE Tours International. CIE Tours has been providing high quality vacation travel services throughout Ireland and the U.K. for over 85 years. Traveling with CIE Tours ensures your Ireland vacation will be filled with unique experiences and rich cultural immersion. They are known for their high standards, prompt and pleasant customer service, carefully chosen visits, enlightening entertainment and the best hotel accommodations. Hotel accommodations include elegant five-star castle hotels which can be booked in advance, as well as popular B&Bs. CIE Tours offers a wide selection of fully inclusive Ireland vacation travel packages on their state-of-the-art luxury coaches, with self-drive and chauffeur-drive programs also available.

CIE Tours popular chauffeur-drive tour packages allow you to explore Ireland on a more personal level and they are also happy to assist you with creating your own unique custom chauffeur-drive travel experience. Whether a party of two or a small group, it's a great way for family or friends to explore Ireland and celebrate a special occasion.

All of CIE's friendly and professional chauffeurs are fully experienced, familiar with area attractions, and willing and able to drive you all over Ireland. Make reservations at any of CIE's wide range of hotels and your personal driver will act as your guide, looking after you every step of the way. At the start of your trip, they'll sit down with you to discuss your itinerary, insuring that you travel on the best routes and visit the places most important to you. Your driver will be key to your vacation, taking you to all the best places to shop, eat or find entertainment and will share informal commentary on various aspects of your journey.

CIE's chauffeur–drive vehicles include a luxury sedan for two people, multi-person vehicle (MPV) for four people or a minibus or small coach for groups of eight or more. All chauffeur-drive programs pick up and drop off at any international airport in Ireland (or other domestic location by arrangement) and include: comprehensive insurance, gasoline, tolls and parking; services of a professional driver/guide; pre-booked hotels as required; full breakfast daily, except on day of arrival; driver's accommodation, meals and expenses; Ireland Step by Step – a 128-page guide with maps and suggested itineraries; Ireland at a Glimpse – discount book with 50% vouchers for almost 100 attractions; Get Ready! Get Set! Go! – an information book with basic travel facts; deluxe carry-on backpack, ticket wallet, luggage tags & strap; all local taxes, hotel service charges, and porterage for one suitcase per person; and concierge services of a dedicated CIE Tours’ travel expert to coordinate planning your tour.

Your driver has an accommodation allowance and will make his own arrangements – at times he may stay in the same hotels and other times not. A full breakfast in your hotel is included every morning. Lunch, dinner and snacks are not included. Your driver will have an expense allowance for their own meals; however, at times you may wish to invite them to eat with you. Admission fees to visitor attractions are also not included.

One of CIE Tours' more popular chauffeur-drive packages is their Irish Gold tour, a nine day/eight night journey that begins and ends in Dublin and includes two nights stay in each of the medieval towns of Galway and Killarney, and an overnight in Waterford. Along the way, stops include a visit to Clonmacnoise, an ancient monastery in County Offaly; Leenane, a quaint village on the shore of Killary Harbour; Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine monastery on the grounds of the Kylemore Castle in Connemara, County Galway; the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's top-visited tourist sites; a scenic 179 kilometer long (111 mile) drive around the Ring of Kerry, overlooking rugged and verdant coastal landscapes and rural seaside villages; Blarney, a town in County Cork known for its famed Blarney Castle, home of the legendary Blarney Stone; and Kilkenny, a medieval town in southeastern Ireland with its grand Kilkenny Castle, built in 1195 by Norman occupiers.

Kilkenny is a signature symbol of Ireland's past, proudly showcasing many well preserved monasteries and stone churches including St. Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower (one of only two Round Towers that people can climb in Ireland), offering a unique view over this historic city. Worship has taken place at this site for over 800 years. Kilkenny is also known for its public gardens, museums and performing arts theaters. Craft and design work shops can be found along its winding lanes, specializing in locally made pottery, jewelry and paintings. Choose this or any one of CIE Tours other pre-planned vacation packages or create your own for a truly memorable Irish experience that will last a life time.

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