Last updated: 12:23 AM ET, Thu July 02 2015

Five Ways to Experience Ireland on Your Own

Tour Operator | CIE Tours International | Kristina Rundquist | March 25, 2015

Five Ways to Experience Ireland on Your Own

PHOTO: Dublin, Ireland. Courtesy David Cogswell.

Relatively compact, easily navigated and home to more than 1,000 conveniently located B&Bs, Ireland is the ideal place for travelers -- experienced and novice alike -- to set out on an independent exploration. CIE Tours offers five ways to see Ireland on your own terms and makes it easy to plan an independent holiday that suits everyone from the most free-spirited traveler to those who require a bit more structure from their vacation.

1. Free and easy. Those who like to travel where their fancy takes them, will want to take advantage of CIE's self-drive tour vacations – they are the perfect answer to "what shall we do today?" Travelers can come and go as they please as they create their own itinerary and set their own pace. And, with open vouchers for stays at more than 900 three- and four-star B&Bs, they are bound only by which way the wind takes them. Those wanting to know where they will be laying their head at night (or simply traveling during peak season) can take advantage of complimentary pre-booking on the B&B Ireland website (from $391 per person).

2. Room and board. Combine the freedom of creating your own daily itinerary but the comfort of knowing you have a room waiting for you at the end of the day with CIE's self-drive, pre-booked itineraries. Choose from either the eight-day Independent Irish Spirit tour (from $735/person) or the 12-day Independent Irish Odyssey tour (from $1,138 per person). Regardless of the length of stay, hotels are pre-booked and an independent tour of Dublin is included.

3. Leave the driving to us. Want to explore to your heart's content but not up to doing the driving? CIE's Ireland Chauffeur-Drive program combines the best of both and is ideal for a family or small group. Travelers still have the freedom to choose their itinerary and are free to sit back and relax as a professional driver and guide shows them the best Ireland has to offer. Many of CIE's drivers have also worked as guides with the company so they are well-versed in various aspects of Irish life and culture and can also recommend routes and places to visit. Vacationers may choose from a host of hotels featured in the A La Carte Hotels section and pre-book as required (from $1,428 per person).

4. To the (North) Manor Born. CIE's 9-Day Ireland's Northern Loop starts visitors out with two days in Adair at Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel before moving to Ballina's Mount Falcon Castle. Then, it's off to Donegal for two nights at the Mill Park Hotel. From there, it's on to Enniskillen and the Manor House Country Hotel and the Cabra Castle Hotel in Kingscourt for two nights each (from $914 per person).

5. To the (South) Manor Born. Spend nine days traversing Ireland's southern countryside either with a driver/guide or on your own. This package includes pre-booked stays for eight nights in a manor house and Irish Country Hotels.

Travelers will experience two nights in Dublin, before heading to Kilkenny and the Pembroke Hotel. From there it's on to either Ballylickey or Sneem for two nights. Choose to spend the night in either Dingle or Ballybunion before closing out your visit with two nights in Adare's Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel (from $871 per person).

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