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Ireland tours give you an insider's view of the Emerald Isle

Among the European countries that lure travelers year after year, Ireland has a truly unique appeal. Its famed natural beauty is an undeniable selling point, but so too are the...

Among the European countries that lure travelers year after year, Ireland has a truly unique appeal. Its famed natural beauty is an undeniable selling point, but so too are the island's history, cultural artifacts and warm, friendly people. While any visitor can get an overview of Ireland's charms, a few unique Ireland tour options take travelers deeper into the heart of the country.

Planning a trip to Ireland independently can be time-consuming and costly - and even still, you might only get a cursory glance of everything the country has to offer. Opting for an Ireland tour, pre-planned and arranged by experts like Tauck, not only offers savings of up to 40 percent over independent travel, but can also give you unique access to sights and experiences that are out of reach for other visitors. All you need to do is sit back and revel in the journey.

Visiting Ireland is about much more than seeing the “major” sights - though those are also important. To get a richer, more in-depth experience that really connects you to the country, make sure your Ireland tour takes in experiences and places like these:

* A visit with the locals. On a Tauck Ireland tour, one of the most unique opportunities is to visit a working dairy farm and meet the family who has operated it for generations. The experience combines a bucolic setting with genuine Irish hospitality.

* Learning more about arts and traditions. On visits to centers of fine craftsmanship like the Waterford Crystal Visitors Center and the Belleek Pottery factory, you'll get an up close and personal view of the remarkably skilled work that goes into producing these world-renowned works of art. The town of Kilkenny is also renowned as a center of art and craft, and should certainly figure into any Ireland tour.

* Delving deep into history. Travel through the centuries as you visit a wide variety of historic sites, like ruined Cistercian abbeys and medieval castles (such as the famed Blarney Castle). A Tauck Ireland tour gives guests an opportunity to immerse themselves in history with a stay at Ashford Castle, now one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, situated on the banks of Lough Corrib. An excursion to the Blasket Centre on the Dingle Peninsula offers a unique glimpse into the Irish-speaking people who lived in the area and carefully documented their isolated lifestyle in the early 20th century.

* Exploring the breathtaking landscape. For a relatively small island, Ireland is graced with an incredible bounty of natural beauty. Pictures alone can be stunning, but experiencing places like Giant's Causeway, the coast of Dingle Peninsula and the windswept mountains of Connemara in person are what lifelong memories are made of. From oceanside fishing villages to austere wild boglands, Ireland's scenic heart should figure heavily into any travel itinerary.

A trip to Ireland is on many travelers' lists of must-see destinations. But to make the most of your experience, an Ireland tour is an option that's worth considering. For more information, visit Tauck online.

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