History & Architecture Tours
The Dublin bus company Dublin Bus (tel. 01/873-4222; www.dublinbus.ie) operates several tours focusing on Irish history and architecture, all of which depart from the Dublin Bus office at 59 Upper O'Connell St., Dublin 1. You can buy your ticket from the bus driver or book in advance at the Dublin Bus office or at the Dublin Tourism ticket desk on Suffolk Street.
Gray Line (tel. 01/605-7705; www.irishcitytours.com) offers a range of full-day and multiple-day excursions from Dublin, to the historic monastic site at Glendalough, as well as to the prehistoric remains at Newgrange, and the architecturally significant Powerscourt.
The national bus company, Bus Éireann (tel. 091/562000; www.buseireann.ie), provides a good range of tours throughout Ireland. You can tour Dublin and around to Glendalough or Newgrange by bus, or travel by boat to Waterford, and it also offers good tours of Galway, taking in the Maam Cross, Recess, Roundstone, and Clifden.
For a more historical, intellectual approach to Ireland's famous history, try Mary Gibbons Tours (tel. 086/355-1355; www.newgrangetours.com), which leads absorbing, in-depth tours of Newgrange, Powerscourt, and Glendalough.
For touring the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, try Discover Dublin (tel. 01/280-1899; www.discoverdublin.ie), which offers a tour it has dubbed the "Wild Wicklow Tour." Wild might be too strong a word, but it is certainly lively and enjoyable, and includes visits to the mountainous area around Avoca and the scenic Sally Gap.
The best tours in Belfast are the extraordinary Black Taxi Tours (tel. 0800/052-3914 or 0289/064-2264; www.belfasttours.com), which take you through the areas where the Troubles had the most impact, and explain it all in intelligent, compassionate, unbiased, firsthand terms.