Irish Castles and Manors
Stay in some of our finest Irish Castles and Manor Hotels in Ireland’s most iconic locations Whether a family vacation or romantic Irish honeymoon, this is the perfect vacation package for you.
This 10 night vacation features your stay in some of the finest Irish Manors and castles that Ireland has to offer as well as an included ferry trip to Inismore Stay in some of our finest Irish Castles and Manor Hotels on this 10 night vacation to Ireland complete with ferry trip to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands and home to the spectacular pre-Christian Dun Aengus Fort. While this tour includes many of Ireland’s most iconic locations, it will also afford you the opportunity to experience something extra. Due to the fact all of our travel consultants live in Ireland, they also have an intimate knowledge of Ireland’s hidden gems, sights and locations they will be more than happy to direct you to. We design all of our tours in-house with precision and a dedication to quality that is unmatched in the industry. To compliment your tour you will have your own dedicated travel consultant as well as the comprehensive daily sightseeing guide that will be provided for you.
As well as the upgrades to 5-star hotels in both Kilkenny and Cork, additional highlights of the ‘GOLD TOUR’ while in Ireland will be attending the Dunguaire Castle Banquet in Kinvara, the Smithwick’s Brewery Experience Tour in Kilkenny, the Megalithic Tombs at Newgrange and much more. Keep in mind all elements of this vacation package can be customized to suit your needs. If you have any special requests (e.g. Places that you MUST see) please do mention them to your advisor and they will be happy to set them up for you.
Overnight Locations for this 10 night tour:
Day 1 – Dublin Airport to Kilkenny
Upon your arrival into Dublin Airport it’s time to collect your Hertz Car Rental and start your Castle’s and Manor Tour of Ireland. Considering your long overnight flight, your first day’s short drive will bring you southeast of Dublin City to the city of Kilkenny.
Kilkenny is also known as the ‘Marble City’, as well as being the most successful county in Ireland’s national sport of ‘Hurling’. It is also home to such historic sites as St. Canice’s Cathedral and Kilkenny Castle. As part of your tour, tickets for the ‘Smithwick’s Experience’ are also included. This famous Irish Ale was first secretly produced in Kilkenny city by its monks in 1231 and this atmospheric tour culminates with a pint of this now famous Ale.
For those with a love of horses, a stop on route at the National Stud in Kildare is a must, where a Horse Museum traces the history of the horse in Ireland.
Day 2 – While in Kilkenny
Additionally there are a number of exceptional day trips to be experienced from Kilkenny and all within easy reach. You can then travel on to Waterford where you will visit the Waterford Crystal factory. An alternate route is to visit the county of Wexford in the southeast. This allows visits to the Irish National Heritage Park, the 13th-century Tintern Abbey, Hook Lighthouse, Dunbrody Abbey, the Kennedy Homestead, ancestral home of JFK and finally the Dunbrody Famine Ship. An interactive exhibition re-enacts life on the Dunbrody as she carried passengers from New Ross to the US and Canada 150 years ago. Visitors experience life on board an emigrant ship as they explore the authentically recreated decks of the ship. The original Dunbrody was a three-masted barque built in Quebec, Canada.
Day 3 – Kilkenny to Cork
Your first stop today is the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. The Rock, which rears above the plain, dominated the area southwards. Kings of Ireland as well as Munster came to this spot and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock and converted the local King, Aenghus, here in the 5th Century. From Cashel, the small town of Cahir is just a 15 minute drive along the Cork road (the N8). Cahir Castle, once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, the Castle retains much of its original defensive structure. From Cahir, take the road towards Cork. On the eastern side of the city of Cork you will have the opportunity to take a small trip to visit The Queenstown Story in the small town of Cobh. Cobh, situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic in 1912 and was the closest port to the site of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. The heritage center recounts these events and tells the story of emigration from Ireland to the United States and Australia from the time of the famine in 1847 up to the 1950s.
Day 4 – While in Cork
Today, you have the option of continuing your sightseeing in and around Cork City. Just northwest of Cork lies the renowned Blarney Castle. A stop to climb to the castle ramparts to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’, said to bestow the gift of eloquence, and is a must for those who dare.
You could also travel about 25 minutes south of the city to the port town of Kinsale. As well as being a charming coastal fishing village, Kinsale's International Museum of Wine tells the story of the Irish emigrants who colonised the wine trade throughout the world after being forced to leave their shores. Also in Kinsale is the 17th century Desmond Castle was turned into a prison. The Charles Fort is a stunning sight and is also very close by and worth a look. Cork city is also home to Elizabeth Fort and of course the popular ‘English Market’.
Day 5 – Cork to Ballyseede, County Kerry
Today you have the option of the scenic but longer coastal route or the shorter route via Killarney. The longer route includes visits to Mizen Head, the southernmost point in Ireland, as well as Bantry House and Gardens and the French Armada Center, also in Bantry. From Bantry, you will be heading north to Killarney via the Healy Pass. Have your cameras at the ready for some breathtaking scenery across the Caha Mountains that divide the Cork and Kerry regions. After the mountain pass, you come to the town of Kenmare. The popular town of Kenmare was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty and has a history of lace making, demonstrations of which can be seen at the town’s Heritage Center. The alternative route for today's journey is a shorter one straight to Killarney. With its three famous lakes and majestic mountain ranges, Killarney has been the inspiration of poets and painters over many centuries. The Killarney National Park is renowned both for its scenic beauty and scientific interest. There are many walks and trails around Killarney including a 2-hour tourist trail around Kilkenny town itself. You will also have a chance to visit Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe or take a stroll through the streets of this quaint town to enjoy the great pubs and enjoy the traditional Irish music.
From here, travel to Ballyseede Castle just outside the town of Tralee where you will be spending the next 2 nights.
Day 6 – Ring of Kerry/Dingle Peninsula
Today you may choose to simply relax in Ballyseede Castle and the nearby town of Tralee or take in a day touring the Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula to the west of Kerry. While the Dingle Peninsula is the shorter drive and is graced with more interesting antiquities, historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry region includes the stunning views over the lakes of Killarney from Moll’s Gap as well as numerous colorful villages on this route. Not for the faint-hearted, you will remember this mountain pass drive forever.
The Dingle route includes visits to the lovely fishing town of Dingle and beyond to Dunbeag Promontory Fort, an archaeological site on the from the late Bronze Age, 800 BC. Continue on to Slea Head and here you will see Dun An Oir (Fort of Gold). Here in 1580, after a long three day siege, over 600 Irish and Spanish soldiers surrendered to Lord Grey only to be massacred by his troops. Nearby is the Gallarus Oratory, one of the best-preserved early Christian church buildings in Ireland. Back to Tralee to relax in the luxurious surrounds of Ballyseede Castle.
Day 7 – To Adare, Bunratty and the Cliffs of Moher
One of the most dramatic days of your tour brings you to the west coast of County Clare. Your first stop today will be the Village of Adare in County Limerick. Adare is regarded by many a seasoned traveler as Ireland’s prettiest village with its thatched cottages, manicured public park and ancient church in the center of the village. After taking in the sights of Adare continue towards Limerick City of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ fame and home to King Johns Castle. Shortly after this, you arrive at Bunratty Castle. Built in 1425, this majestic and medieval castle was restored in 1954 to its former splendor. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th-century Irish life is vividly recreated. Continue on to the magnificent ‘Cliffs of Moher’. The majestic Cliffs of Moher are without doubt one of Ireland’s most spectacular and scenic sights. The cliffs overlook the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of West Clare. You then arrive at the village of Doolin. Doolin is famous for its wealth of Irish music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions in any one of its excellent pubs. Just north of the Cliffs you then have the Burren region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs.
Day 8 – Ferry trip to Aran Islands
Drive the short journey onwards to Doolin pier and take the ferry to the Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Aran will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians. Take a pony and trap, or even a guided tour from the pier up the island to the stone fort of Dun Aengus. Dun Aengus fort is located on the top of a 300 ft sea cliff and is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe.
This evening you will attend the medieval banquet at nearby Dunguaire Castle, built in 1520 by the O'Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay.
Day 9 – To Dublin via Historic Meath
Today’s journey brings you east to our capital city of Dublin. A slight detour will also allow you a visit to the megalithic tombs of Newgrange. One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt and is foremost among the passage-tombs of Europe. Also in this area are the Hill of Tara (seat of Ireland’s ancient High Kings) and Trim castle, featured in the Mel Gibson movie ‘Braveheart’.
Depending on whether you took any detours earlier, you may have time to shop or sightsee in Dublin City Center. Close to your hotel are many of the city’s most historic attractions including The Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, Dublin Castle and the National History Museum.
Day 10 – In Dublin
Using the Hop-on Hop-off Bus ticket we provide, you will be able to visit many of Dublin’s most renowned and historical locations. Amongst other sites, you can see the Guinness Storehouse, the National Museum of Art and the historic Kilmainham Gaol where leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed. For a more light hearted experience a visit to the Irish Leprechaun Museum would be worth taking in. In the evening time, there are many great Irish plays on in Dublin city if that is to your taste. Of course, the authentic Dublin pub is an experience in itself and Dublin pub or literary tours are also available.
Day 11 – Homeward Bound
Regrettably, this morning it is time to leave for Dublin airport unless of course you are one of the lucky ones who has planned post night stays in Dublin or Belfast City.
|Low Season (Jan-Mar and Nov/Dec)||€2,360|
|Mid Season (Apr and Oct)||€2,517|
|High Season (May-Sep)||€2,973|