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9-Night Castles In The Mist Vacation

Price: From $1,128 Per Person 9 Nights

Stay at two different Irish castles! Our Castles in the Mist package includes two nights at Abbeyglen Castle & one night at Ballyseede Castle. A revitalizing two-night stay at The Lake Hotel also beckons - truly one of the finest hotel views on the planet! Seeing is believing at the wonderful monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise, stunning Connemara, the charming town of Westport, Achill Island, The Cliffs of Moher, Killarney National Park & The Dingle Peninsula...to name just a few highlights of this perfectly-paced itinerary. Your Ireland adventure also includes two nights in Dublin with a Double-Decker Bus Pass provided to informatively transport you to the city's very best visitor attractions!

                          **Use tabs above to view Itinerary, Prices & How to Book.**

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

  • 4-nights of 4-star hotels, 3-nights in Irish Castles & 2-nights in Authentic B&Bs

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 9 Full Irish Breakfasts

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Dublin 'Hop-On, Hop-Off' 2-Day Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus Pass

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Guinness Storehouse Tour
  • The 8th Century Book of Kells at Famous Trinity College
  • Galway City & Cong, County Mayo
  • Ross Castle & Killarney National Park
  • Kenmare & the Ring of Kerry
  • Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey
  • Westport, Achill Island & Croagh Patrick
  • The Cliffs of Moher & Poulnabrone Dolmen

Dublin, County Dublin

Arrive at

Arrive at Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Arrive at Dublin Airport after your overnight flight from the U.S. (not included in quoted price!)

Dublin is Ireland's main airport - located just north of Dublin City.
If you are heading downtown, it takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.
There are 2 terminals at Dublin Airport, the second of which opened to air traffic in November 2010.
Most flights from the U.S. (on Aer Lingus, Delta, United, US Airways & American Airlines) arrive into Terminal 2.


Accommodation

The Alexander Hotel - More Info - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time on your arrival day is after 2.00pm. Check out time is before 12.00 noon.


Included Experiences

Dublin Red Bus 2 Day Hop-On Hop-Off

Dublin, County Dublin

Hop on-board any Red City Sightseeing Bus and enjoy the freedom to explore Europe’s friendliest city across two great routes. Your ticket is valid for 2 days affording you ample time to visit attractions in Dublin such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle, The Guinness Storehouse & Kilmainham Gaol, to name but a few. Looking for things to do with kids in Dublin? Take the hop-on hop-off bus to The National Wax Museum, Croke Park Stadium or Dublin Zoo. The close proximity of Dublin’s main attractions mean that each stop on the tour offers lots of activities and makes Ireland’s capital the ideal location for a City Sightseeing's open top tour. Commentary is available live via witty & knowledgeable driver/guides, who have all kissed the Blarney stone at least once! Visit All of Dublin’s free Museums & Galleries, ask your driver about the free walking tour, or just relax and enjoy the view. City Sightseeing makes it easy to discover the best that Dublin has to offer.


Overnight Location

Dublin, County Dublin

On the Map: Dublin, Ireland's Capital City is located on the east coast of the country, and is well served by infrastructure linking it to all parts of the Emerald Isle.

Dublin is a lively cosmopolitan city brimming with culture. You could spend your time strolling the streets soaking up the atmosphere, relaxing in its cafes and bars or you could check out its myriad historical, literary and cultural delights. The 8th century illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, must be viewed. It is on display at the impressive Trinity College, Ireland's first university (founded 1592) in the heart of Dublin. For the rest of your time, it is up to you how much you want to pack in. Phoenix Park (twice the size of New York City's Central Park), Georgian Dublin around Stephen's Green, Dublin Castle, the National Botanical Gardens, National Museum, Kilmainham Gaol and the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery are all highly recommended stops on your tour. Then there's the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery.  A visit to Dublin's Temple Bar to experience the lively Dublin pub culture is a must, though many of Dublin's best bars can be found outside this area in the streets and laneways around Grafton Street, the shopper's street of choice. Purchasing a 'hop-on, hop-off' Dublin Bus Tour ticket is a great way to get around and see all the major sites at a very reasonable cost.


Must-See Sites

Trinity College, County Dublin

On The Map: Trinity College is located in the heart of Dublin City. Just south of the River Liffey, the campus grounds are bordered by Grafton, College, Pearse, Nassau & Leinster Streets.

Time spent in Dublin would not be complete without a visit to Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st, it is one of the oldest universities in the British Isles, and the very oldest in Ireland. Standing on a self contained site in the very heart of Dublin, the College itself covers some 35 acres of cobbled squares and green spaces surrounded by buildings which represent the accumulated architectural riches of nearly three centuries. Although Trinity offers much of interest to the visitor, the crown jewel is without doubt the Book of Kells. The Book is an 'illuminated manuscript', globally celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin), in a bold and expert version of the script known as 'insular majuscule'. Written in the 9th century, it has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid-19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year.


Guinness Storehouse, County Dublin

On The Map: The Guinness Storehouse is centrally located in Dublin City at St. James Gate, just off Crane Street and south of the River Liffey. The Storehouse is a leisurely 20 minute stroll west of Trinity College.

Come and explore Ireland’s top visitor attraction, providing an unforgettable welcome and a magical journey deep into the heart of the world famous Guinness brand and company. The Guinness Storehouse is located in the heart of the Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate, Dublin. Housed in an old fermentation plant, the seven-story visitor experience tells the epic tale of Ireland’s iconic drink and brings to life the heritage of Guinness from early days to growth as a global brand, known all around the world. The experience starts standing at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass, which rises through the building.  It’s a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in The Gravity Bar where visitors will receive a complimentary pint of Guinness while relaxing and enjoying spectacular views over Dublin. 


Grafton Street, County Dublin

On The Map: Grafton Street runs from Saint Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north

Grafton Street is without doubt Ireland's premier shopping street - in terms of retail rent, it's the fifth most expensive in the world! With beautiful historic buildings housing iconic Irish businesses such as Brown Thomas, Weir & Sons and Bewley’s Grafton Street Café, Grafton Street offers an experience that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. Since the 1980s, the street has been mostly pedestrianized, with the exception of a short stretch that contains two notable Dublin landmarks: The 18th century Trinity College Provost's House, home to the head of the college, and the more recent statue of Molly Malone, which has become a popular Dublin meeting place. If shopping's not your thing, Grafton Street is still worth checking out. It's a bustling, atmospheric spot, and high quality street performers including musicians, poets and mime-artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds.


Dublin, County Dublin

Accommodation

The Alexander Hotel - More Info - Dublin, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time on your arrival day is after 2.00pm. Check out time is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Temple Bar, County Dublin

On The Map: Temple Bar lies in the heart of Dublin City. Located on the south bank of the River Liffey, and just west of Trinity College and Grafton Street.

The lively and vibrant Temple Bar District - Dublin's Cultural Quarter, is well worth a visit. Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets, and is home to many cultural organizations, such as the Irish Film Centre & Project Arts Centre. There is a great array of small galleries and stores to choose from, but Temple Bar is probably best known for being Dublin's major nightlife centre. The area comes alive after dark, with many pubs, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from. Temple Bar may not be for everyone, but can never be described as boring!


Dublin Museums, County Dublin

Dublin has long been recognized as a center of art & culture. The city is literally awash with interesting museums and galleries of all types and sizes.
It's impossible to make note of them all, but three of the best are:
The Chester Beatty Library: Alfred Chester Beatty, a New Yorker donated a fantastic collection of books to the city of Dublin. Highlights include papyrus scripts, valuable copies of the Koran, Buddhist & Far Eastern literature, as well as early mediaeval manuscripts.
National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology: Enter this museum and be transported back in time to almost 7000BC! Gold and other treasures recount a varied Irish history through Christian and pre-Christian times. A range of exhibitions also present artifacts from many other cultures and regions.
National Gallery: Here you can admire European works of art from the late Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century. As well as Irish artists, the Gallery also boasts works by Angelico, Goya, Gainsborough & Reynolds, to name but a few.


Saint Patrick's Cathedral, County Dublin

On The Map: Saint Patrick's Cathedral is located in the heart of Dublin City, just south of the River Liffey, and west of such landmarks as Trinity College and Grafton Street. The Cathedral is located at the junction of Patrick Street and Upper Kevin Street.

Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral has contributed much to Irish life since its founding in 1191. The Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well, at which St Patrick himself reportedly baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. The writer and satirist Jonathan Swift was Dean of Saint Patrick's from 1713 to 1747, and is buried within the church. In a romantic twist, Esther Johnson (Stella) is buried next to Swift. Although never married, Swift had a life-long, intense and mysterious relationship with Stella, and she was an inspiration for much of his work. Handel's Messiah received its first performance there in 1742, sung by the combined choir of Saint Patrick's and Christ Church. Music has played an integral part in the life of Saint Patrick's since its foundation and it is the only cathedral in these islands to sing two services every day. Living Stones, the cathedral's permanent exhibition, celebrates Saint Patrick's place in the life of the city, its history and its role at the dawn of the third millennium. It emphasises that the cathedral is not a museum, but a building embracing the past to herald the future.


Dublin Castle, County Dublin

Since its foundation in 1204 Dublin Castle has been at the heart of the history and evolution of the city.  Today, spanning an area of over 44,000 square meters (11 acres), the site contains 2 museums, 2 cafés, an international conference centre, 2 gardens, Government Buildings and the State Apartments which are the most important state rooms in the country. The grounds of the site are free to explore, as is the Chapel Royal, the Chester Beatty Library, the Garda Museum and the Revenue Museum.  Access to the State Apartments is by guided tour only and tickets may be purchased from the Apartments in the Upper Castle Yard.


Connemara, County Galway

Accommodation

Abbeyglen Castle - More Info - Connemara, County Galway

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:30pm, check-out is before 12:00 noon. Hotel will try and accommodate alternative times, just call on 095 21201.


Enroute Sightseeing

Clonmacnoise, County Offaly

On the Map: Clonmacnoise is located on the banks of the River Shannon in the very middle of Ireland. The major town of Athlone is only a few miles to the north, through which the main M6 road passes. The M6 connects Dublin City (to the east) and Galway City (to the west)

The ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise is situated at the crossroads of Ireland in County Offaly and dates back almost 1,500 years. St. Ciaran, the son of an Ulsterman who had settled in Connaught, chose the site in 545 AD because of its ideal location at the junction of river and road travel in Celtic Ireland. The location borders the three provinces of Connaught, Munster and Leinster. The monastery is on the east side of the River Shannon, in what was then the Kingdom of Meath, but occupying a position so central it was the burial-place of many of the kings of Connaught as well as those of Tara. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th  -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian grave-slabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of grave-slabs are on display in the visitor centre. The long and varied history of Clonmacnoise is recounted in an audiovisual presentation shown in the visitor centre. There are also exhibitions that are dedicated to the flora, fauna and landscape of the region.


Enroute Sightseeing

Galway, County Galway

On the Map: Galway is a coastal city, located in County Galway in the west of Ireland. Galway is well-served by a good network of roads - the M6/N6 from Dublin (to the east) and M18/N18 from Limerick & Cork (to the south).

In a recent nationwide survey the people of Galway were found to be Ireland's happiest! And visiting Galway City, the capital of their county it is not hard to see why. It is a lively university city of narrow streets, quaint shopfronts, bustling pubs and stunning surrounding scenery. It has always attracted a bohemian mix of musicians, artists and intellectuals and that attitude is palpable as you walk the streets. Galway has been commercially important since the 11th century when it was a centre for trade with Spain and Portugal. In 1477 Christopher Columbus paid a visit. Galway earned the title “City of the Tribes” around that time, when it was ruled by 14 wealthy merchant families. Today it is lively, with loads of things to do, and is so popular that it can get very crowded in summer, especially during the annual Galway Races. The annual Arts Festival also attracts thousands, especially for its street parade, organized by the multi-award winning production company, Macnas. Its famous Druid Theatre produces and stages plays and has toured internationally, winning awards, including Tonys on Broadway.


Overnight Location

Connemara, County Galway

On the Map: Connemara encompasses a large area northwest of Galway City in the west of Ireland. It is most easily accessed via the N59 road that loops around the region and connects the cities of Galway (to the southeast) & Westport (to the northeast).

Northwest of Galway lies the rocky, barren, but breathtakingly stunning region of Connemara. This area is one of the few remaining in Ireland where the native tongue (Gaeilge) is still fluently spoken as a first language. Stop off in the fishing village of Roundstone, where currachs, old style featherweight rowing boats are still in everyday use. The village also boasts an impressive crafts complex, selling everything from teapots and sweaters to traditional Irish music instruments. Clifden, Connemara's capital is well worth a visit and the scenic Sky Road drive just outside town should not be missed.  From here travel north to see the exquisite neo-gothic Kylemore Abbey, nestled in a lush forest on the edge of Kylemore Lake. However long you spend in Connemara you will be constantly enchanted by the ever changing scenery of mountains and valleys, lakes and beaches and bays. This is Ireland's big sky country.


Must-See Sites

Sky Road, Clifden, County Galway

On The Map: The Sky Road drive begins in Clifden Town. Clifden is located on Ireland's west coast in the Connemara Region of County Galway. Clifden is reached via the N59 road from Galway to the southeast, and Westport to the northeast.

The Sky Road is an exhilarating 11km/7ml circular drive west of Clifden Town. The Sky Road is well signposted from Clifden. You will first pass Abbeyglen Castle Hotel (on your left), and after approx 400 metres beyond the hotel, take a look back towards Clifden. The 12 Bens mountains provide a wonderful backdrop to the town, and its two church spires, complete Clifden's distinctive skyline. The scenery along the Sky Road is quite simply, stunning. As you travel, the Sky Road separates into the lower and upper roads. The lower road takes you along the shoreline, and although pleasant, the upper road is more popular, owing to the commanding views it offers over the entire area. As the upper road rises, you are treated to breathtaking island & coastline views. There is a good-sized car park at the highest point of the upper road for wonderful photo opportunities. If you continue along the Sky Road thereafter, you will eventually join the main N59 Road, a few kilometres north of Clifden.


Connemara, County Galway

Accommodation

Abbeyglen Castle - More Info - Connemara, County Galway

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:30pm, check-out is before 12:00 noon. Hotel will try and accommodate alternative times, just call on 095 21201.


Must-See Sites

Westport, County Mayo

On the Map: Westport enjoys a coastal location in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland. The town is accessed via the N59 road from Clifden (to the south), or N5 road from Castlebar (to the east).

Westport is a postcard-pretty town with as lovely a main street as you'll be likely to find anywhere in Ireland. The town lies in the shadow of Croagh Patrick with Clew Bay and its 365 islands just to the west. While in Westport be sure to visit Westport House and climb at least a little of Croagh Patrick. Westport House dates from 1730 and offers everything from a dungeon to a zoo! Croagh Patrick is a 765-meter hill where St. Patrick is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland. This hill is climbed (often barefoot) by thousands of Catholic pilgrims each July. South of Westport are some stunning scenic drives leading into the Connemara region. A trip northwards will bring you to remote Achill island which is accessible by a small bridge. Even further off the beaten path is Belmullet in the northwest corner of County Mayo. Westport also boasts a great selection of traditional pubs, among them Matt Molloy's of the Chieftains. 


Achill Island, County Mayo

On the Map: Achill Island is located off County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. The island is accessed via land bridge from the N59 road connecting the cities of Westport & Bangor. 

Achill Island is the largest island in Ireland at 60 square miles and is accessible from the mainland by a land bridge. Here you can visit the quaint villages of Dooagh and Dooega, the high cliffs at Slievemore and Minaun and the magnificent beaches at Keel and Keem, under Achill Head. No visit to the Island would be complete without taking a journey of scenic splendour on the famous Wild Atlantic Way Drive which circuits the island. Achill's beautiful unspoiled, remote scenery and clear waters make it ideally suited to outdoor pursuits. You can explore the island's peaceful countryside with a beach walk, hill walk, or even a road walk! You can rent bicycles on the island if you would like to cover more distance. You can climb the highest mountain on the island, Mt. Slievemore (about 1800 feet), with ease and have a remarkable view of the area, or opt take a walk up the third highest point, Mt. Minaun and walk along the Minaun cliffs.


Croagh Patrick, County Mayo

On The Map: Croagh Patrick is a 2507 ft mountain, located just 5 miles southwest of Westport town in County Mayo.

Croagh Patrick is Ireland's sacred mountain, and has been since ancient times. In pre-Christian Ireland it was the focus of the harvest festival of Lughnasa, traditionally held around August 1. The mountain was especially important for women, who would sleep on the summit during Lughnasa to encourage fertility. According to Christian tradition, St. Patrick went up the sacred mountain at festival time in 441 AD. After fasting at the summit for 40 days, he banished all the snakes and demons from Ireland. The site quickly became an important place of Christian pilgrimage & a stone oratory dating from between 430 and 890 AD was recently discovered on the summit. Nowadays, as many as one million pilgrims and visitors make the trek to the top to pray at the stations of the cross, participate in Mass, do penance (in which case the rocky journey is undertaken barefoot!) or simply to enjoy the spectacular view.


Kylemore Abbey, County Galway

On the Map: Kylemore Abbey is located in County Galway, in the midwest of Ireland. The Abbey is accessed via the N59 road that connects the towns of Clifden (to the southwest) and Westport (to the northeast). 

Set in the Connemara mountains is Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful neo-Gothic Castle. Given it's picture-perfect location, Kylemore is often touted as Ireland's most romantic castle. Built by the English industrialist Mitchell Henry in 1868, visitors to the three reception rooms in the Abbey are touched by its history steeped in romance and tragedy. Kylemore Castle was sold to Benedictine nuns fleeing war-torn Belgium in 1920 and the Castle became an Abbey. The Community of Nuns re-opened their International Boarding School here and also established a day school for local girls. Mitchell Henry built the recently re-opened Neo-Gothic Church (under restoration) between 1877 and 1881 as a memorial to his wife following her untimely death. The Church, a ‘cathedral in miniature’, is a centre of reflection and prayer for many visitors. Visitors can also see the Mausoleum where the original owners are buried.


Doolin, County Clare

Accommodation

Churchfield - More Info - Doolin, County Clare

Guesthouse
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 2.00pm & 5.00pm on your arrival day. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please contact the B&B owners in advance on 065 707 4209.


Overnight Location

Doolin, County Clare

On the Map: The small village of Doolin is located on County Clare’s west Atlantic coast. The village is accessed via the R479 - a small country road that intersects with the R478 connecting the towns of Lisdoonvarna (to the north) and Lahinch (to the south).

People flock to Doolin from all over the world to sample wonderful, top quality traditional music in the local pubs. Until recently Doolin had only three pubs. There are now some new establishments on the scene but we recommend sticking to the old reliables: McGann’s, McDermots and O’Connor’s. Even at that you will be spoiled for choice. Each pub is full most nights with musicians and music lovers alike. Be sure to check out all three! The surrounding area has much of interest including the barren yet strikingly beautiful Burren region with, among other things, the 5,000 year-old Poulnabrone Dolmen. Also worth a visit is Doonagore Castle and of course the spectacular 650-foot high Cliffs of Moher, which are only a few miles from Doolin.


Must-See Sites

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

On the Map: The Cliffs of Moher are located on the western coast of County Clare. The Cliffs are accessed via the R478 road that connects Doolin (to the north) and the seaside town of Lahinch (to the southeast).

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's top Visitor attractions. The Cliffs stand 214 metres (700 feet) tall at their highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower, constructed by Sir Cornellius O'Brien in 1835, stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. There are two paths to take north and south along the cliff edge, providing spectacular views all the way.  Construction of an award winning eco-friendly Visitor Centre was completed in 2007. The interpretive centre named 'Atlantic Edge' contains state of the art displays and visitor facilities. The grass-roofed building is cleverly set into the hillside - a unique cave-like structure which minimises the visual impact on this fabulously scenic location. 


Poulnabrone Dolmen and Stone Fort, County Clare

On The Map: Poulnabrone Dolmen & Caherconnell Stone Fort are less than 1 kilometre apart, in the dramatic limestone Burren Region of County Clare, in the west of Ireland. Both sites are located just off the R480 road, which connects the towns of Corofin (to the south) and Ballyvaughan (to the north).

Poulnabrone Dolmen (pictured) is a Portal Tomb, and one of the most famous megalithic monuments in Ireland, mainly due to its memorable shape and easy access from the road. The thin capstone sits on two 1.8m (6ft) high portal stones to create a chamber in a 9m (30ft) low cairn. The site was excavated in 1986 and the human remains of more than 20 adults and children, plus other artefacts were discovered. Examination of these items allowed archaelogists to date the tomb to approx 3000 B.C. Just how the people of the time managed to get the truly massive capstone in place is unknown. Just 1 kilometre south of the dolmen, lies the impressive Caherconnell Stone Fort. Caherconnell is almost a perfect circle, and 140-145 feet in external diameter. It's walls are 12 feet thick and from 6-14 feet high, and it is an exceptionally well preserved example of stone ring-fort. The fort is in its original state, and its location, overlooking virtually all-surrounding areas, suggests a defensive settlement. This may not have been defensive in a modern military sense, but more for personal security from wild animals and raiders. Ringforts such as Caherconnell are thought to have been inhabited from 400-1200A.D.


Lahinch, County Clare

On the Map: Lahinch is a seaside town in County Clare, on Ireland's rugged western coast. The town is accessed via the N85 road from Ennis (to the southeast), or the more coastal N67 road from Lisdoonvarna (to the north) and Miltown Malbay (to the south).

The village of Lahinch is world renowned for two things: golf and surf. Lahinch Golf Club was founded in 1893 and has been confounding golfers from all over the world ever since. Matched only by Ballybunion in the famous links stakes, Lahinch is a must for anyone who loves the game of golf. The long sandy beach at Lahinch has long been a centre for surfing in the west of Ireland, but the recent discovery of a giant wave in the shadow of the Cliffs of Moher a few miles up the coast has brought dare-devil surfers flocking to Lahinch from as far away as South Africa and Hawaii. The result is that the village’s population of 800 swells to ten times that number each summer. The mix of golfers, surfers and bemused locals makes Lahinch a very unique place indeed.


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

The Lake Hotel - More Info - Killarney, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Superior Double/Twin (Lake View)

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your arrival day. Check-out time is before 12:00 noon.


Overnight Location

Killarney, County Kerry

On the Map: Killarney is located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is reached via the N22 from Tralee/ Limerick (to the north) and the N22 from Cork City (to the southeast).

Killarney lies on the edge of the astoundingly beautiful Killarney National Park, with its three magnificent lakes and the spectacular MacGillycuddy Reeks mountain range. The park is also home to Muckross House and Gardens. Killarney is a wonderful base for all manner of activities including angling and water sports, golf, riding, orienteering, hiking, cycling, and canoeing. The town itself is quite small but full of charm - this you will soon see as you walk down the brick footpaths and pass curious old-style shop fronts. Killarney is well known for its excellent shops, restaurants and cosmopolitan appeal. It is also renowned for its evening entertainment including many singing pubs, cabarets, dancing venues, and banquets. Traditional Irish music can also be heard in many of the local pubs on a nightly basis.


Must-See Sites

Killarney National Park, County Kerry

On the Map: Killarney is located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is reached via the N22 from Tralee/ Limerick (to the north) and the N22 from Cork City (to the southeast).

On the southwestern edge of Killarney Town lies an untamed, rugged & mountainous country. The area includes the McGillycuddy's Reeks, Ireland's highest mountain range. At the foot of these mountains nestle the world famous lakes of Killarney. Here, where the mountains sweep down to the lake shores, their lower slopes covered in woodlands, you'll discover the 26,000 acre Killarney National Park . The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls under ever changing skies, lends the area a special scenic beauty. The Park contains many features of national and international importance such as the native oakwoods and yew woods, together with an abundance of evergreen trees and shrubs. A profusion of bryophytes and lichens thrive in the mild Killarney climate. The native red deer are unique in Ireland, with a presence in the country since the last Ice Age. At the heart of the National Park is Muckross House and Gardens. The house, a late 19th century mansion features period furnishings and artefacts and is a major visitor attraction in itself. Killarney National Park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


Muckross House and Gardens, County Kerry

On The Map: Muckross House is located just 6 kilometres south of Killarney, County Kerry, in the southwest of Ireland. From Killarney, take the N71 south for Kenmare. The only vehicle entrance is located approximately 1km beyond the Muckross Park Hotel - on the right.

Muckross House, set close to the shores of Muckross Lake & amidst the beautiful scenery of Killarney National Park, was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolourist Mary Balfour Herbert. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was the designer. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843. Today the principal rooms are furnished in period style and portray the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century land-owning class. While in the basement, one can imagine the busy bustle of the servants as they went about their daily chores. During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. Between the months of April and July, Muckross Gardens are spectacularly adorned with the red and pink flowers of mature Rhododendrons. Other features include a Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and Stream Garden. An Arboretum, containing many trees from the Southern Hemisphere, was established in 1972. Muckross Traditional Farms are situated adjacent to Muckross House. These working farms recreate and portray the traditional farming methods, and way of life, of a typical local, rural community of the 1930s. The Walled Garden Centre incorporates the Garden Restaurant, Mucros Craft Shop and three Mucros Craft Workshops.


Ross Castle, County Kerry

On The Map: Ross Castle is located on the southern outskirts of Killarney, County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. From Killarney town centre, head south on the N71/Muckross Road for Kenmare. Ross Road is right turn off the N71, and is well signposted.

Ross castle overlooks the Lower Lake in Killarney, and commands magnificent views of Purple Mountain, Innisfallen Island & Ross Island. The Castle is a typical example of an Irish Chieftain stronghold during the Middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but construction was most likely completed in the late 15th century, by one of the O'Donoghue Ross chieftains. The castle is surrounded by a fortified bawn, and its curtain walls defended by circular flanking towers, two of which remain. Ross was the last Munster stronghold to hold out against Oliver Cromwell's infamous British forces, before eventually being taken by General Ludlow in 1652. The castle contains an impressive collection of 16th & 17th century oak furniture. Legend has it that Brian Boru, Ireland's most famous High King was educated on the site of the castle by the Monks in the 9th Century. Please note that this is a very popular attraction, and visitors may experience a delay entering the castle during the busy summer months.


Serenity at The Lake Hotel, County Kerry

For the next two nights, you'll stay in a Superior Lake View room at the Lake Hotel in Killarney. Each morning, you will be greeted by one of the most scenic sights in all of Ireland. Not a single modern structure intrudes on this most glorious & peaceful view of Lough Lein and the MacGillycuddy Reeks mountain range - Ireland's tallest. We don't expect you to be disturbed by the 12th century McCarthy Castle ruins at the edge of the lake, or the regular appearances of local red deer!


Killarney, County Kerry

Accommodation

The Lake Hotel - More Info - Killarney, County Kerry

4 Star
Room Type: Superior Double/Twin (Lake View)

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your arrival day. Check-out time is before 12:00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Kenmare, County Kerry

On the Map: Kenmare is located in scenic County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. The town is accessed via the scenic N71 road that connects the cities of Killarney (to the north) & Glengarriff (to the south).

Kenmare, with its pastel coloured houses, is along with Killarney, a usual starting point for the Ring of Kerry round trip. The small charming town, founded by a handful of Englishmen in 1670, has every tourist convenience imaginable, including 2 of the most luxurious hotels in Ireland, both of which have been awarded much coveted Michelin stars: The Park Hotel and Sheen Falls Lodge. Kenmare boasts a remarkable number of excellent restaurants and quality pubs for a town of its size, and has garnered a fantastic reputation as a gourmet destination in recent years. Owing to its enviable location adjacent to Kenmare Bay and the River Finnehy, all set against the backdrop of the Kerry Mountains, Kenmare's picturesque aspect is hard to match.


Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

On the Map: The Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula) is in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. Killarney is the usual starting point for people completing the Ring, although Kenmare is another good option for this purpose. The N70 road encircles the entire peninsula.

The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most scenic touring routes. At 110 miles long, it circles the awe-inspiring Iveragh Peninsula. You’ll feel as if you have moved into nature’s mystic arena, and truly you have, as you pass between soft mountains, through forest glades, around bogs, rivers, lakes and pristine beaches. The road between the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountains presents secret passes and valleys dotted along the fabled shores of Dingle and Kenmare Bays. Ireland’s natural beauty sings throughout the Ring of Kerry. You may wish to explore several charming villages along the route, including Glenbeigh, Waterville, and Sneem. Stroll and talk to people—this is what makes your travel experience unique. The Ring attracted Ireland’s first settlers, and has a wealth of ancient sites. A 6th century monastery, clinging to the windswept cliffs of the Skellig Islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Staigue Stone Fort is an Iron Age stronghold dating from 300BC. This is also an area of Ogham Stones, the first mysterious forms of writing and art, nestled along the Ring. Follow the drive to Killarney by way of the Ladies View and the legendary Lakes of Killarney and the National Park. The Ring of Kerry is the stuff of dreams and lifelong memories.


Killarney to Kenmare, County Kerry

We appreciate that your time in Ireland is precious, and you simply won't be able to do absolutely everything. Completing the 110 mile Ring of Kerry, for example, might be a stretch on this tour. We do however highly recommend that you at least drive the section from Killarney to Kenmare (or vice-versa), which forms a portion of the Ring. It's only 30 kilometres/ 30 minutes each way on a narrow, winding road, but you are scenically rewarded at almost every turn. Highlights include 'Ladies View', so named for the excitement the vista illicited from Queen Victoria's Ladies-in-Waiting, during her famous 1861 visit. There's a little cafe and plenty of spots to pull in and admire the view that so stimulated the Royal Entourage 150 years ago! A little further along the road, you'll arrive at Moll's Gap. Set high on a rocky ridge, The Gap overlooks mountains, rivers, lush countryside and the famous Lakes of Killarney, with truly breathtaking views - Carrauntoohill, Ireland's highest mountain to one side, the Gap of Dunloe to the other. There's also an Avoca Store & Cafe at The Gap, selling the finest of Irish goods and souvenirs.


Tralee, County Kerry

Accommodation

Ballyseede Castle - More Info - Tralee, County Kerry

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2pm. If your arrival will be earlier, please call the property on 066 712 5799.


Enroute Sightseeing

Conor Pass, County Kerry

On the Map: The Conor Pass is located just northeast of Dingle town on the Spa Road.

The Conor Pass is the highest mountain pass in Ireland, and provides the most dramatic and scenic way of entering or leaving Dingle. This narrow, twisting road runs between the town of Dingle and Kilmore Cross on the north side of the peninsula, where roads fork to Cloghane/Brandon or Castlegregory. The views from the road are breathtaking, as the glaciated landscape of mountains and corrie lakes comes into view. From the scenic carpark at the summit there are views as far as the Aran Islands, located off the coast of County Galway


Enroute Sightseeing

Slea Head, County Kerry

On The Map: Slea Head is located on the Dingle Peninsula in the south west of Ireland. From Dingle town, head west on the R559 that encircles Slea Head and eventually returns to Dingle.

The Slea Head Drive is a circular route, beginning and ending in Dingle, that takes in a large number of ancient & megalithic attractions as well as offering stunning views on the western end of the peninsula. The route is clearly labelled by road signs throughout its length. To properly enjoy the Drive, a half-day should be set aside for the journey. The route is suitable for motorists, but is also ideal for cyclists: it is possible to hire a bike at a number of locations in Dingle.


Enroute Sightseeing

Dingle, County Kerry

On the Map: Dingle is located in County Kerry on the beautiful southwest coast of Ireland. The town is most easily accessible via the N86 road from Tralee, a major town 50 minutes/ 50km to the east.

The residents of Dingle, or An Daingean as it is now officially known, are the envy of everyone in Ireland. They live in what many agree is the most beautiful part in the country, in a strikingly attractive fishing village with fantastic pubs, rousing music, great restaurants and more characters per head of population than anywhere in the world. The key to Dingle is to visit as many pubs as you can while there. Seek out the old pubs frequented by the locals, sit up to the bar, order a drink and prepare to be entertained! The Dingle Peninsula on which the town is located is littered with ancient archeological sites including stone forts and many beehive huts. Scenically, the Peninsula is an absolute delight with every turn of the road revealing more of the achingly beautiful landscape. One highlight is the Slea Head loop drive from Dingle which is easily driven in an hour or cycled in an afternoon. For the energetic, a day spent climbing Mount Brandon, the peninsula's highest, will be richly rewarded. The views from the top on a clear day are absolutely stunning.


Overnight Location

Tralee, County Kerry

On the Map: Tralee lies on the scenic southwest coast of Ireland in County Kerry. The town is accessed via the N21 from Limerick (to the northeast) and N22/N21 from Cork City (to the southeast).

Tralee is the capital town of County Kerry, and is almost 800 years old. Its setting is lovely, surrounded by mountains, and looking out over a sheltered bay. Today Tralee has all the facilities of a county capital: historic buildings, spacious parks, superb golf courses, horse and greyhound racing stadium, vibrant night-life and a range of all-weather visitor attractions unmatched anywhere in Ireland. If you want to see a show that truly reflects the wealth of Irish culture, then go to one at Siamsa Tíre Theatre. You don’t have to speak or understand Irish to appreciate the magic they create on stage. The end of August sees the hosting of the International Rose of Tralee Festival - Ireland's largest festival.


Bunratty, County Clare

Accommodation

Park House - More Info - Bunratty, County Clare

B&B
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is between 11.00am & 1.00pm and again from 3.00pm to 6.30pm. If you expect to arrive outside these hours, please call the B&B owners in advance on 061 369 902.


Enroute Sightseeing

Adare Heritage Village, County Limerick

On the Map: Adare is located just 20km southwest of Limerick City / 43km south of Shannon Airport. The main N21 road (connecting the cities of Limerick & Tralee/Killarney) passes right through the centre of the village.

Adare is a quaint picturesque place, lined with traditional thatched-roof cottages. Snuggled in a wooded and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Ireland's prettiest and most unique village. Situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: "Ath Dara" - the "ford of the oak" - from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of world famous, ornate, thatched cottages line part of the village's broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins. Situated in the centre of County Limerick, with just 15 minutes from Limerick City and 45 minutes from Shannon Airport, Adare Village is an ideal base from which to explore County Limerick's many visitor attractions such as Lough Gur and King John's Castle.


Overnight Location

Bunratty, County Clare

On the Map: Bunratty is located in the west of Ireland in County Clare. The main N18/M18 road connecting the cities of Limerick (to the south) & Ennis (to the north) passes right by the village. Shannon Airport is only 15 minutes to the west, also accessed via the N18/M18.

In Bunratty Village, one can enjoy the medieval grandeur that awaits in Bunratty Castle and its lively Folk Park. The castle, overlooking the River Shannon, is in excellent condition and well worth a visit. It is one of the finest surviving examples of an Irish tower house, and it's current peaceful and picturesque state belies its bloody and violent history. The strategic location of the castle on the river Shannon ensured it was the focal point of many battles, and it has it has been destroyed and re-built on at least eight occasions. The Folk Park adjoins the castle and vividly portrays what everyday life was like in rural Ireland about 100 years ago. It contains reconstructed farmhouses, cottages and shops, replete with authentic furnishings. The Park is a living museum: animals are tended, bread is baked, milk is churned, walls are whitewashed and roofs are thatched. You may visit an Irish farmhouse, watch the blacksmith fit a horseshoe, or attend a weaving demonstration. The village also reflects the fundamental changes that led to increased mobility in Irish society. Once you've explored the Castle & Folk Park, be sure to sample a relaxing cup of tea and freshly baked scones in one of the quaint thatched cottage cafes. The famous Durty Nelly's pub is in the heart of town, adjacent to the castle.


Must-See Sites

Craggaunowen, County Clare

On The Map: Craggaunowen is located in County Clare, in the west of Ireland. From Ennis Town, take the R469, heading east towards the village of Quin. Drive through Quin, and approx. 6 kilometres thereafter, take a signposted left turn off the R469, to travel the last few kilometres to Craggaunowen.

Craggaunowen – the Living Past Experience is Ireland’s original award winning Pre-historic Park. Situated on 50 acres of wooded grounds, the Park interprets Ireland’s pre-historic and early Christian eras. Visitors can view replicas of a Crannóg, Ring Fort, Iron Age Roadway, and an outdoor cooking site. Crannogs are lake or lakeside settlements which were inhabited from the Mesolithic to the Early Medieval period. The name is derived from the Irish word 'crann', meaning tree. Crannogs may have developed from a habit of living on small natural islands, either as a means of exploiting the fish and wild fowl, or for providing security in times of danger. Craggaunowen Castle, built in 1550, stands defiantly on a crag overlooking the lake. Another important attraction at Craggaunowen is the 'Brendan Boat' - the leather-hulled vessel in which Tim Severin sailed from Ireland to the United States in 1976, re-enacting the voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator, reputed to have discovered America in the 6th century. Be sure to savour some wonderful homemade fare in the charming farmhouse tea-room! **Please note that Craggaunowen is only open from mid-April to September each year.**


Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden, County Clare

On The Map: Knappogue Castle is located just 3.5 kilometres southeast of Quin Village in southern County Clare. Follow signs along the R469 road.

Knappogue Castle was built in 1467 by Sean MacNamara, son of Sioda (who built Bunratty Castle), and is a magnificent example of a medieval tower house. A wonderful feature of the castle and its grounds, is the beautiful walled garden (pictured). Dating from 1817, the garden is now restored to its former splendour. The tall and imposing walls of the walled garden are resplendent with climbing roses, grapevines and many clematis varieties. In the magical setting of Knappogue Castle, this is a romantic oasis to sit and picnic, or just escape the 'madding crowd'. In the 1920s, a cow belonging to a local farmer wandered into the ruinous castle, stepped onto a crumbling wood floor, and fell to its death. As compensation for the lost cow, ownership of the castle and its surrounding lands were granted to the farmer! The castle and lands continued to be used for grazing until 1966 when Mark Edwin Andrews of Houston, TX purchased the Estate. He and his wife (a prominent American architect), in collaboration with Shannon Development, carried out an extensive and sensitive restoration, returning the Castle to its former 15th Century glory. **Please note that Knappogue is only open from May to August each year.**


Depart From

Depart from Shannon Airport, County Clare

Return to Shannon Airport three hours prior to your flight's scheduled departure. Shannon is a small, convenient airport, so this will allow ample time to check in for your flight home.

After check-in and passenger security, browse the array of shops on offer at 'The Loop' in Shannon Airport.
Shannon is proud of its 'Duty Free' shops, and it should be: The concept of Duty-Free shopping was invented at Shannon in 1947!


Ireland Vacation Pricing Low Season Mid Season High Season
From $1,128 to $1,178 From $1,248 to $1,428 From $1,518

Your Price Includes

ACCOMMODATION

  • 4-nights of 4-star hotels, 3-nights in Irish Castles & 2-nights in Authentic B&Bs

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 9 Full Irish Breakfasts

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Dec 5, 2016 by Donald Barratt. Your Hometown: Lombard

Our Vacation was outstanding. The hotel (City stay St. Augustine) in Dublin was centrally located to everything we wanted to visit. The staff there was courteous, and helpful.Our visit to Roscommon was grand, and our stay at Gleeson's B & B was also nice with great food.Authentic Ireland did a great job setting everything up, and making our vacation worry free.A million thanks to Lonna a job well done.

“5 days in Ireland”

Dec 5, 2016 by Dan Karns. Your Hometown: Dillsburg, PA

Authentic Ireland was referred to me by a customer/friend of mine....and... i am so glad he did. We worked with Shannon, one of the representatives, and i couldn't be more happy with the experience and expertise that she had regarding details of our trip. I told her when we were arriving and leaving Ireland, what were the "must do" things during our stay, and what kind of accommodations we wanted to stay in. within a day or two, she had a full trip package, with other recommended things to do while there, sent to my email. the price was very reasonable, and after going on the trip, i appreciated the fact we used Authentic Ireland to get everything set up. kudos to the site and staff, especially Shannon. anytime i had a question, she had an answer. regarding car rental, electricity usage, what kind of money to keep on hand, anything... she was so much help. thank you so much!, you made our 20 year anniversary "holiday" that much better! the only thing i can even think about regretting, was that we didn't spend enough time there we spent the previous week in London, and think we should have cut that shorter and spent more time in Ireland... but.... that can be fixed by another visit! thanks again! your friends in Pennsylvania!

“Ireland Adventure”

Dec 4, 2016 by Jesse. Your Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Had a great experience working with the Authentic Ireland associate! I probably asked 9 million questions (this being my first international trip I'd planned), and patience and courteousness definitely describes the person that personally handled my account.The trip was great as well, including an itinerary that was well chosen, then tweaked for us. Rental car was indeed perfect for our crew that was traveling, as well as the accommodations arranged for us. I'm more of a researcher, but the website definitely put me leaps ahead with suggested places to visit at our lodging locations, as well as places to stop along the way.One of the only things I would have done differently was the transportation for our time in Dublin. I was so glad that we did not rent a vehicle for Dublin, but the sightseeing bus tour passes were not the most convenient for our purposes, in retrospect. We would have been better served with normal city bus passes. I also would have passed on the castle stay in our trip, but perhaps we just caught them at a bad time, as everything was great there, except the smell of cat urine just on the outside of the side door near our room.Authentic Ireland definitely impressed both myself and the members of my family that joined us on this trip! Definitely recommend them! Really great trip and a good price!

“Wonderful First Trip to Ireland”

Dec 4, 2016 by Alyssa Sommers. Your Hometown: Mahwah, NJ

This was our first trip to Ireland. You guys did a wonderful job of taking care of all of the details in regards to hotels, sites to visit with passes and car rentals. Each hotel and bed and breakfast was wonderful. All establishments offered breakfast in the morning. They all had WIFI. After spending 2 days in Dublin we left for the west coast in the car we rented. We spent the next 6 days traveling around the west/southwest part of Ireland. Maggie was the person that we dealt with at Authentic Ireland and she was great- she noticed that our hotel on the last night was over 2 hours away from Shannon airport so she moved us to a closer location... and what a location a 5-star castle!! There are no other words then amazing!! When we come back which we plan to do... we will be staying there.

“Outstanding Vacation”

Nov 5, 2016 by Anthony M. Kolankiewicz. Your Hometown: Jerusalem

The company did an outstanding job of arranging our circumnavigational tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland over a period of 17 days. We did the driving ourselves with an upgraded rental car, which offered the utmost flexibility in sightseeing destinations and route options. Our accommodations were in a combination of country homes, B&Bs, hotels, and a couple of castles.. Even the weather generally cooperated over such an extended period of time; only one day and one evening of steady rain that interfered with our plans. Overall, it was a delightful vacation that encouraged us to return for catch the attractions we didn't have time to see. There were only two quibbles we would mention. First, some of the driving directions left a lot of details out, especially in trying to get through larger towns and cities, such as Galway. More details would have saved us lots of time. Second, we very much enjoyed every place we stayed with the exception of the Lissyclearig Thatched Cottage in Kenmare. Unlike all the other places we stayed, our hosts' main concern was saving money and doing everything on the cheap. No heat in the rooms despite a chilly, rainy night and two cloudy days -- very uncomfortable! No WiFi connection (the only place not to offer it during our entire stay in the country). Even the breakfast was second-rate. Few choices on the buffet table and canned fruit instead of the fresh fruit we received in every other location. Might be time to drop this inn from the inventory! Otherwise, a great trip that we would do again through Authentic Ireland.

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