This fun full-day tour combines rail and coach travel to introduce you to some of the loveliest and most interesting parts of southern Ireland.
Catch the Cork train from Dublin and travel through the soft green countryside of Kildare. The journey reveals typically Irish scenes such as racehorses being put through their paces in the Curragh. Stop at Cork and make a side-trip by coach to Blarney with its medieval castle and magnificent gardens. You'll have time to linger and enjoy the atmosphere of this enchanting place. And while you are there don’t miss the chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone and you’ll never be lost for words again. Or so the saying goes!
Enjoy a city tour of charming Cork before going on by train to to the seaside town of Cóbh. Then, before returning to Dublin, visit the delightful Cóbh Heritage Centre where the evocative ‘Queenstown Story’ exhibition has many poignant accounts of Irish emigration and the first, last and fateful voyage of the great ship Titanic.
To join your exciting Cork, Blarney and Cóbh Rail Tour, you should make your way to Heuston Station, Dublin by 0640h (6:40am). The tour operator’s representatives (wearing yellow jackets) will be waiting for you beside the customer service desk. They will check you in and show you to your reserved seats on the train. A dedicated host will be available on the train to assist you and may also act as a guide on sightseeing tours.
Your departure station, Dublin Heuston, was opened in 1844 as the headquarters of the Great Southern & Western Railway and is now the official principal station of Iarnród Éireann – Ireland’s national railway company. As your train departs, you will travel in a south westerly direction, passing some of Dublin’s western suburbs – and will soon be travelling through the lush fertile countryside of County Kildare. The train goes through the town of Newbridge, which marks the northern boundary of the Curragh of Kildare.
The Curragh (pronounced ‘curra’) is famous for its racecourse, home of the Irish Derby, and there are many stud farms in the vicinity. At this time of the morning, you are likely to see some of Ireland's finest bloodstock being exercised. The Curragh is also the headquarters of the Irish army and their buildings can be seen in the distance to the south. Shortly after the Curragh you will pass the town of Kildare, and the Church of Ireland (Protestant) cathedral of St. Brigid’s – completed in 1223 AD – can be clearly seen to the south (left hand side when facing direction of travel).
Your first stop is the town of Portlaoise (pronounced ‘Port Leesh-eh’), home to Ireland’s only maximum security prison – ask your host to point it out. You will pass the town of Templemore – home of the Garda Síochána Training College –Ireland’s national (and unarmed) police force. Shortly after Templemore, you pass Loughmoe Castle, which can be clearly seen on the southern side of the train. Built in the 15th century, the Purcell family (of Norman origin) lived there until 1760, when it went into ruin.
The train stops at the town of Thurles, where the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) was founded in Hayes Hotel in 1884 – the hotel is still in business today. The GAA is the sporting body responsible for promoting Ireland’s national sports, Gaelic Football and Hurling.
At Limerick Junction – a number of passengers from another tour (the Cliffs of Moher) will be leaving the train. Please remain on the train. Your final stop before Cork is at the town of Mallow – at this point, please use the ladies and gents facilities aboard the train to ensure a swift transfer from the train to the bus upon arrival at Cork.
The final approach to Cork station is through Ireland's longest railway tunnel, which is a rather modest 1.2 km. On arrival in Cork at 0950h (9:50am), you will transfer to a coach and will be taken on a guided excursion through Cork City to Blarney Village and historic Blarney Castle – built in 1446 by Dermot Mc Carthy. There will be a live commentary on the coach. You will be able to follow the example of everyone from Sir Walter Scott to various American presidents, world leaders, and international entertainers who have kissed the famous Blarney Stone; doing this is said to give you the gift of eternal eloquence!
There is also time for shopping and refreshments at Blarney and we recommend that you take this opportunity to have lunch (payable direct), as this will be the only opportunity during the day to have a substantial meal.
You depart Blarney at around 1330h (1:30pm) for Cóbh, via the city centre and a short city tour. Cork’s population is approximately 150,000 (Ireland’s 3rd largest city after Dublin and Belfast) and is the only city centre in Ireland that actually stands on an island – the River Lee divides and rejoins and either end. It is also home to the Murphy’s and Beamish and Crawford breweries – the Southern Capital’s rivals to Guinness.
On arrival at Cóbh (pronounced Cove), you will leave the train and board a coach for your sightseeing tour. You will visit St. Colman’s Cathedral before proceeding down along the sea front, passing the former White Star Line offices en route to the beautifully restored Victorian railway station/transatlantic terminal. This is now the Cóbh Heritage Centre, home to the Queenstown Story, the ticket for which is included in your tour.
When Queen Victoria visited Ireland in 1849 she came to Cóbh and the town was renamed Queenstown in her honour – it was renamed Cóbh after Irish independence in 1922.
Cóbh was the final port of call of the RMS Titanic and this theme is well expounded. The centre also houses much information about the Great Famine and subsequent Irish Emigration – 3 million Irish people emigrated from Cóbh, (principally to the United States) including Annie Moore, whose statue is located in front of the heritage centre.
The Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Cork – marking the United States’ entry to the First World War – and the small number of survivors were brought to Cóbh for refuge. Cóbh is also the headquarters of the Irish Navy and you will most likely see some navy ships.
We will be dropped back at Cork Station at 1630h (4:30pm) – or as directed by your host. On arrival in Cork you transfer immediately to the Dublin train. Your return train to Dublin departs at 1730h (5:30pm) and arrival in Dublin Heuston Station is scheduled for 2015h (8:15pm). There is a snack service on this train, serving tea, coffee and selection of alcoholic beverages. Your host will be able to advise you of the location of the snack car.
The tour ends at Heuston Station, Dublin, and you will need to make your own arrangements for returning to your accommodation.
We were very happy with the whole experience. The trip was excellent. Our guide was really enthusiastic and informative and it made the whole trip really enjoyable as we spent... theresa knierim
Jim Reid was a vey good tour guide.... Elmer A Dickson
Daily except Sunday
Approx 14 hours
Start time: 0640h (6:40am)
Duration: Approx 14 hours
Check in is at Heuston Station, Dublin, beside the customer service desk. The tour operator’s representatives (wearing yellow jackets) will be present to check you in and show you to your reserved seats on the train
Heuston Station, Dublin
Wear comfortable casual clothing and don’t forget the camera!
Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming departure details.
Luggage/ personal effects are carried at owner's risk. Please ensure that you do not leave anything on the train and/or coach on disembarking. The tour operator cannot be held responsible for any objects left on trains and/or coaches and we ask that you check seats and luggage racks before leaving.
Please observe instructions regarding times by your host and ensure that you use the ladies & gents facilities on the train before arrival at Cork to ensure a swift transfer from the train to the bus.
At Limerick Junction a number of rail tours passengers will be leaving the train for the Cliffs of Moher tour – please stay on the train
See the Cancellation policy for this product