CASTLE HOTEL TOUR OF IRELAND: CASTLES, FOLKLORE AND ISLANDS
8 days/7 nights
Absorb yourself in Irish culture, history and countryside during a week that will take you across the length and breadth of this most captivating of countries. From 3 spectacular castle hotels, take in all that Ireland and its islands have to offer, from whiskey and folklore, to rugged coastline and horse-drawn carriages . . . and not forgetting a kiss for the Blarney Stone!
Day 1: Arrive at Dublin Airport and stay at the glamorous 4* Clontarf Castle (or similar). You may like to visit the Guinness Storehouse or discover the city’s literary tradition at the Dublin Writers’ Museum; the choice is yours.
Day 2: Make your way west to Locke’s Distillery Museum in Kilbeggan, the last remaining example of a small pot still whiskey distillery in Ireland. Afterwards, head up to Strokestown Park House, a Georgian Palladian mansion. Its six-acre walled gardens have been restored to their original splendour and give an insight into horticultural design. It’s also the home of the Irish National Famine Museum, which highlights a tragic chapter of Irish history. Make your way to the 4* Ballynahinch Castle (or similar) for your overnight stay.
Day 3: Spend a day exploring some of the 300-mile-long rugged coastline of Connemara, a region of unspoilt natural beauty. Walk in the Connemara National Park, discover secluded coves and meandering lanes, island hop or investigate more than 5,000 years of history, including megalithic tombs and earth forts. Return tired but happy to the 4* Ballynahinch Castle (or similar) for your overnight stay.
Day 4: Take the early morning ferry from Rossaveal (Ros a’ Mhíl) to the Aran Islands’InisMórIsland (BigIsland) for a morning of exploration. Breathtaking scenery awaits, along with medieval castles, cliffs, prehistoric stone forts and rich folklore. You will probably also hear Gaelic, which is spoken by all islanders. Return to Rossaveal around lunchtime before making your way south to the 4*BallyseedeCastle (or similar) inCountyKerry for your overnight stay.
Day 5: Enjoy a memorable 2-hour jaunting car tour and lake cruise on Lough Lein in the comfort of a covered, heated vessel. Then board a traditional jaunting car to hear about local legends and folklore. Keep a look out for leprechauns! Afterwards, take a self-drive tour around the Ring of Kerry, covering some 110 miles. Beginning at Killarney, the route takes you round theIveraghPeninsula. Return to the 4*BallyseedeCastle (or similar) for your overnight stay.
Day 6: Head east to visit the famous Blarney Castle and gardens. Don’t forget to kiss the Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence found at the top of the tower, to ensure you’ll never be lost for words again. Afterwards, make the short journey to Cork and the Cobh Heritage Centre, to visit the Queenstown Experience, an exhibition of Irish history. Return to the 4*BallyseedeCastle (or similar) for your overnight stay.
Day 7: Make your way to the Adare Heritage Centre. Thatched cottages abound, along with picturesque ruins. Browse through a range of crafts, or research your family’s heraldry. Afterwards, head to the Irish National Stud near Kildare, which is the only stud farm inIreland open to the public. The stud also boasts the finest Japanese gardens inEurope, lakeside walks and a horse museum. Make your way to the 4*ClontarfCastle (or similar) inDublin for your overnight stay.
Day 8: If you have time before your flight home, you may like to visit Dublin Zoo or complete your tour by testing your Gaelic football and hurling skills at the Croke Park Experience; the choice is yours. Return toDublinAirport and home.
- 2 nights B&B at the 4* Clontarf Castle (or similar) in Dublin at the start and end of your visit, 2 nights B&B at the 4* Ballynahinch Castle (or similar) in County Galway, 3 nights B&B at the 4* Ballyseede Castle Hotel (or similar) near Tralee
- Admission to all 10 highlighted attractions
- Recommended daily touring itinerary
- Airport transfers
- Pre and post-tour nights
- Car hire
- Chauffeur drive