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8-Night Castles of the North

Price: From $1,378 Per Person 8 Nights

Are you looking to discover the allure of Northern Ireland? Well, look no further than our Castles of the North tour! This 8-night tour is perfect for those looking to experience this stunning part of the UK. Admire the beauty of the Northern coastline as you travel from Belfast to Derry City, taking time to visit the awe-inspiring Giants Causeway. Enjoy a tour of the world-famous Guinness Storehouse (in Dublin), access to Game of Thrones filming sites, and a history-filled Titanic Experience - all included in your tour. After exploring this stunning part of Ireland, relax in your hand-picked accommodations, including two castle hotels, a luxury spa hotel and a traditional Irish Manor. With each authentic gem, this tour is sure to leave even the most experienced traveler feeling inspired!  

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

  • 8 nights Accommodation – From Luxury Manor Hotels to Castle Estate!
  • Spend 2 Nights in the Beautiful 5* Lough Eske Castle

TRANSPORTATION

  • Economy Automatic Rental Car with Free Upgrade to Compact

DINING OPTIONS

  • 8 Breakfasts - Gourmet Irish Breakfasts Each Morning

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Visit Medieval Towns, Unspoilt Coastlines, and Ancient Castles
  • Explore Wicklow Mountains and Glenveagh National Parks
  • Ramble through Dublin's Temple Bar District & Visit Saint Patrick's Cathedral
  • Stop by the Traditional Town of Avoca & Explore the Ancient Monastic Site of Glendalough
  • Enter Wicklow Gaol to Experience Prison Life As It Was Endured by Its 18th Century Inmates
  • Take in the Breathtaking Views from Belfast Castle & Cave Hill Country Park
  • Explore the Unique Geography of the Giants Causeway
  • Discover Game of Thrones Filming Locations - The Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, & Mussenden Temple!
  • Visit Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge - Towering 100ft above the Crashing Waves
  • See the Jaw-Dropping Slieve League Cliffs -  Nearly Three Times Taller Than the Cliffs of Moher and Twice As High As the Eiffel Tower!
  • Visit Enniskillen - The Erne River Flows through the Centre of Town Giving the Place an Unbreakable Link to the Water
  • Explore Kells and See the Magnificent High Crosses
  • Stop by Trim Castle - the Largest Norman Castle in Ireland & Braveheart Filming Location

INCLUDED UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Guinness Storehouse Tour - Discover the Rich History and Process behind Ireland's Famous Brew!
  • Titanic Experience Belfast - Enjoy a Dramatic, Innovative and Exciting Presentation of the Real Story of Titanic
  • Visit the Giant's Causeway - Visit the Unworldly Site Made up of Some 40,000 Unique Geometric Basalt Columns Sticking out of the Sea

Killiney, County Dublin

Arrive at

Arrive at Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Arrive at Dublin Airport after your overnight flight if you are coming from the U.S. or Canada.

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

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel - More Info - Killiney, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Overnight Location

Killiney, County Dublin

On The Map: Killiney is a suburb of Dublin City in South County Dublin. Killiney is a coastal town to the southeast of downtown Dublin, and most easily accessed by the N11 Road.

Killiney Hill Park was opened in 1887 as Victoria Hill in honour of Britain's Queen Victoria's 50 years on the throne. The park boasts magnificent views of Dublin Bay, Killiney Bay, Bray Head and the mountain of Great Sugar Loaf (506 m), stretching from the Wicklow Mountains right across to Howth Head. The Park's topography is quite dramatic and its highest point, at the obelisk, is 170 metres above sea level. Other attractions include Killiney Beach, Killiney Golf Club, a local Martello Tower, and the ruins of Cill Iníon Léinín, the church around which the original village was based. The coastal areas of Killiney are often favourably compared to the Bay of Naples in Italy. This comparison is reflected in the names of surrounding roads, like Vico, Sorrento, Monte Alverno, San Elmo, and Capri. On clear days, the Mourne Mountains of County Down can be seen. Killiney is located just 5 minutes from the Dalkey DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) Station, offering quick and convenient access to Dublin's City Center.


Must-See Sites

Wicklow Mountains National Park, County Wicklow

Wicklow Mountains National Park covers part of a mountain range that extends over most of County Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland. The upper slopes and rounded peaks are blanketed with heath and bog. The open vistas are interrupted only by forestry plantations and the winding mountain roads. Fast-flowing streams descend into the deep lakes of the wooded valleys and continue their course into the surrounding lowlands.
The primary purpose of Wicklow Mountains National Park is the conservation of local biodiversity and landscape. The Park is also an invaluable recreational space for locals and visitors alike. Over one million visits are estimated to be made each year. The most visited area is the scenic Glendalough Valley where the ancient monastic settlement of St. Kevin is located. Escape from the summer crowds is possible for those coming properly equipped to explore the uplands on foot, where a sense of wilderness and isolation can readily be found.

Howth, County Dublin

On The Map: Howth is a coastal suburb of Dublin, located just northeast of the city. Howth is most easily reached via the northeastern portion of the M50 motorway that encircles Dublin. When the M50 ends, continue straight ahead on the N32 road, following signs for Sutton & Howth.

Howth (rhymes with both!), is a fishing and yachting port, and popular suburban resort on the north side of Howth Head, Just 15 kilometres (9½ miles) northeast of Dublin City Centre, its attractions are easily appreciated, particularly at the coast. Howth Head (pictured) offers fine views of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow Mountains, Boyne Valley & beyond. In the bay is the rocky bird sanctuary and monastic island of Ireland's Eye, to which boat trips may be taken in summer. Cliff paths lead around the coastline, through Howth village and its ruined abbey, and past Baily Lighthouse. The 15th-century Howth Castle is inland, partly in ruins, but with fine rhododendron gardens. Howth's pubs, hotels and fish restaurants, along with spectacular coastal scenery, make it a wonderful location to visit when in the area!


Malahide, County Dublin

On The Map: Malahide is a coastal suburb of Dublin, located just north of the city and east of the M1 motorway linking Dublin and Belfast

Malahide can trace its origins to the coming of the Vikings, who landed in 795 A.D., and used the Malahide Estuary as a convenient base. The village is an affluent spot, and boasts many retail boutiques, nice pubs and restaurants. Traditional shopfronts and several cobble-lock side streets give the village an intimate and welcoming feel. As well as being quite picturesque, the village also boasts the 800 year old Malahide Castle (pictured). Set on a 250 acre estate, Malahide Castle has a rich and varied history, not to mention being reputedly haunted by no less than 5 ghosts! There is an ancient covered well - St. Sylvester's - on the old main street. Malahide also has a substantial marina.


Killiney, County Dublin

Accommodation

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel - More Info - Killiney, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Included Experiences

Guinness Storehouse Tour

Dublin, County Dublin

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, now the seven-story visitor experience tells the story 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. 
No need to pre-book - use your included admission voucher to visit anytime today!


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.


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!


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.


Killiney, County Dublin

Accommodation

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel - More Info - Killiney, County Dublin

4 Star
Room Type: Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Glendalough, County Wicklow

On the Map: Glendalough is located in County Wicklow, in the east of Ireland - just 1 hour south of Dublin City. Scenically nestled in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough is served by a network of small country roads. From the northeast (Dublin), travel on the R755/R756, from everywhere else, arrive from the west on the R756.

Glendalough ("The Glen of the Two Lakes"), is the site upon which St. Kevin founded a unique monastic settlement in the 6th century. Most of what remains of the settlement is in ruins but the Round Tower at Glendalough, built as a refuge from marauding Vikings, is over a 1000 years old and is remarkably well preserved. The site itself is set next to two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep glacial valley. It is one of the most serene and beautiful places in all Ireland and it is easy to see why the monks picked it for a place of prayer and contemplation. There are a myriad of walking trails throughout the area making it a truly invigorating place to spend the day.


Avoca Village, County Wicklow

On the Map: Nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, Avoca is reached via a network of country roads. 1 hour/ 66km south of Dublin City in eastern Ireland, Avoca is most easily accessed from the N11 road that runs parallel to Ireland's east coast.

In Avoca Village, you will find the "Meeting of the Waters" - the point at which the Avonmore and Avonbeg Rivers come together to form the Avoca River. Avoca is home to Ireland's oldest woollen mill, Avoca Handweavers, established in 1723. This family-owned craft design company began at the Old Mill where weavers produced the beautifully woven fabrics which became Avoca's hallmark. In recent years, Avoca became famous for being the setting of the popular BBC soap opera "Ballykissangel".


Wicklow Gaol, County Wicklow

On the map: The renowned Wicklow’s Historic Gaol stands majestically on Killmantin Hill, in the charming seaside town of Wicklow.

‘Experience’ is at the heart of the programme of historic, interactive and entertaining visitor activities at Wicklow’s Historic Gaol. Pass through the ‘Gates of hell’ to re-live the 1798 United lrishman Rebellion, period-dining with the notorious inmates, a journey through the famine era to the 1916 Easter Rising and dramatic re-enactments of the Irish struggle for independence. Visit the reconstructed ship that transported some of the 50,000 Irish people as convicts to Australia. Discover the inmates’ true stories from children to murderers. For the paranormally inclined there is a haunted night tour where the prisoners will walk the corridors with you and, if you are brave enough, there is also a ‘Sleep Over in the Gaol’ option.


Ballymena, County Antrim

Accommodation

Galgorm Resort & Spa - More Info - Ballymena, County Antrim

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in times are between 2pm - 6pm, please call if you will be arriving outside these hours.


Included Experiences

Titanic Experience Belfast

Belfast, County Antrim

Visit the birthplace of the Titanic and experience the story. Titanic Belfast extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way; from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. The journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking, to the discovery of the wreck and continues into the present day with a live undersea exploration centre. No need to pre-book - use your included admission voucher anytime today!


Overnight Location

Ballymena, County Antrim

On The Map: Ballymena is located in County Antrim, in the northeast corner of the island of Ireland. Belfast is just 30 miles away to the south.

Ballymena, also known as the 'City of the Seven Towers', is an attractive town, with some notable features and history. The town was founded on land given to the Adair family by King Charles I in 1626. The King decreed that in return for the land, the town would hold two annual fairs and a free Saturday market in perpetuity. To this day, the town holds one of the largest two-day agricultural shows in Ireland each year, and the weekly Saturday market continues to run! Ballymena is located just 6 miles from distinctive Slemish Mountain (pictured), the legendary first home of St. Patrick in Ireland. After being brought to the country as a slave in the 5th century, St. Patrick reputedly worked for 6 years as a shepherd on the mountain. In more recent times, Ballymena has produced another famous Irish son in Liam Neeson - the well-known actor was born and raised in Ballymena, and was presented with the 'Freedom of the Borough' in 2013.


Must-See Sites

Belfast Castle and Cave Hill, County Antrim

On The Map: Belfast Castle is located just 4 miles north of the city centre on the slopes of Cave Hill. It is well signposted from the nearby Antrim Road.

Belfast Castle Estate is adjacent to one of the highest spots in Belfast, Cave Hill - at 400 feet above sea-level, the castle offers stunning views over Belfast Lough and the city. For generations, Cave Hill has been synonymous with Belfast, with its imposing outline visible throughout the city. The landmark, named for the five caves located on the side of the cliffs, contains a wealth of natural, archaeological and historical features, including Belfast Castle. Its most famous feature, known locally as Napoleon's Nose, is believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift's novel, Gulliver's Travels. Cave Hill Visitor Centre is located on the second floor of Belfast Castle. This fascinating and intriguing museum is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 10pm, and Sundays from 9am to 5.30pm, and admission is free! The Cellar Restaurant within the castle is open every day from 11am-5pm serving snacks, light refreshments and lunch.


Titanic Belfast, County Antrim

On The Map: Titanic Belfast is located on Queen's Road in Belfast's northeastern 'Titanic Quarter'. The land on which it stands was formerly owned by the famous Harland & Wolff Shipping Company - builders of Titanic in 1912.

Opened on March 31, 2012, Titanic Belfast is a very impressive, state-of-the-art facility that covers more than 130,000 square feet. The striking building took more than 4 years to construct at a cost of GB 77 million pounds. It stands at 126 feet high - the exact same height as the hull of the famous, doomed ship. Titanic Belfast extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way; from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. The journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking, to the discovery of the wreck and continues into the present day with a live undersea exploration centre.


Belfast, County Antrim

On the Map: Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is located in the northeastern corner of the country in County Antrim. Belfast is well served by a network of good roads, including the M1 motorway from Dublin City.

Approximately one third of the population of Northern Ireland - about half a million people - live in Belfast. It's setting is very attractive, nestling in a semicircle of hills, where the River Langan enters Belfast Lough. The city got it's name from Beile Feirst  "the mouth of the sandy ford" - and was founded in 1177 when the Anglo-Normans built a castle here. It began to really expand in the 17th century with the development of the local linen and shipbuilding industries (the Titanic was built here).  Sights to see in Belfast City, the Belfast City Hall, built of Portland stone in Classical Renaissance style, dominates the city center.  The Linen Hall Library, founded in 1788 is an absolute delight, a cultural centre with exhibitions, a Theater & Performing Arts Archive and a Genealogy and Heraldry collection. Away from the city center you have the Ulster Museum in the Botanic Gardens, near Queens University which has miles of galleries and exhibitions. This lively and friendly city, with historic buildings standing side-by-side with modern creations is a delight not to be missed.


Ballymena, County Antrim

Accommodation

Galgorm Resort & Spa - More Info - Ballymena, County Antrim

4 Star
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in times are between 2pm - 6pm, please call if you will be arriving outside these hours.


Included Experiences

Giant's Causeway

Bushmills, County Antrim

Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. Why not experience the Giant's Causeway for yourself? Visit the world-famous basalt columns with one of our knowledgeable tour guides (for a small additional fee paid on-site), or pick up an audio guide and go at your own pace. Climb the Shepherd's Steps and hike along the cliff-top trail to get a bird's eye view of the beautiful causeway coast. Unlock the mystery and stories of the landscape in the exhibition area of our award-winning visitor centre, which also boasts a café serving a seasonal menu, and retail zone where you can pick up locally sourced souvenirs and handicrafts.


Must-See Sites

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim

On The Map: Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is located near the small town of Ballintoy, in County Antrim Northern Ireland. The rope bridge connects the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick in the northeast corner of Northern Ireland.

Spanning a chasm some eighty feet deep is the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, it's construction once consisted of a single rope hand rail and widely spaced slats which the fishermen would traverse across with salmon caught off the island to which it leads. The single handrail was subsequently replaced by a two hand railed bridge, and the current, caged bridge was installed by the National Trust during Easter of 2000 as a further safety measure. Although no-one has ever been injured falling off the old or new bridge, there have been many instances of visitors being unable to face the return walk back across the bridge, resulting in them being taken off the island by boat, so not an activity for the faint-hearted!


The Dark Hedges (Bregagh Road, Ballymoney), County Antrim

On The Map: The Dark Hedges are located in the northeast of Northern Ireland, just 2.5 miles from the village of Armoy. From Armoy, head west on Carrowreagh Road. Turn left on Ballykenver Road, then right on Bregagh Road - The Dark Hedges Avenue. GPS / SATNAV: 55.1272, -6.3633

This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. And all this before George R.R. Martin had even the earliest inkling of his wonderful Song of Ice & Fire series! Since then the iconic avenue has been used as a filming location in HBO's epic Game of Thrones - representing the King's Road in the show - and global notoriety has of course ensued! Please note that this a pedestrianized avenue - free parking is available nearby at The Hedges Hotel.
Featured Scene:
Season 2, episode 1: On the King' s Road, Arya Stark has escaped from King’s Landing, disguised as a boy. She is with Yoren, Gendry, Hot Pie and others who are to join the Night’s Watch, in a cart, travelling north on the King’s Road.


Dunluce Castle, County Antrim

On The Map: Dunluce Castle is located on the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. The town is accessed via the A2 road that connects the towns of Portrush to the west & Bushmills to the east.

Dunluce Castle is sited dramatically close to the edge of a headland, along the North Antrim coast. One could spend hours marvelling at such a wondrous feat of construction 500 years ago! Surrounded by jaw dropping coastal scenery, this medieval castle stands where an early Irish fort was once built, and its history can be traced back to early Christians and Vikings. The Castle has a rich and varied history, connected with such famous names as Richard de Burgh, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and Sir John Perrott. Dunluce Village which once surrounded the castle was destroyed by fire during the siege of 1641, but some archaelogical remnants of walls remain. Also nearby are the ancient church ruins of St. Cuthbert's, and the site was witness to the sinking of the colony ship the Exmouth, bound for Quebec, which broke up on rocks off Islay with 240 deaths in 1847. The site features a visitor centre, shop and guided tours of the ruins, gardens and remnants of the town. As if all that were not enough, Dunluce has become even more alluring to visitors in recent years, since starring in HBO's Game of Thrones. The castle was the perfect location for bleak Pyke of House Greyjoy on the Iron Islands.


Giant's Causeway, County Antrim

On the Map: The Giant's Causeway is located in County Antrim on the northeastern coast of Northern Ireland. The Causeway is accessed via Causeway Road that runs north from the main A2 road (connecting Bushmills to the west and Ballycastle to the east).

The Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO Heritage site located in Northern Ireland. During the Paleogene period, County Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity. As lava rapidly cooled, unique contraction and fracturing occurred, creating the distinctive hexagonal columns seen today. Irish legend of course has an alternate tale of the Causeway's creation!: The Irish giant Fionn MacCumhaill (Fionn McCool) built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Benandonner. One version of the legend tells that Fionn fell asleep before he got to Scotland. When he did not arrive, the much larger Benandonner crossed the bridge looking for him. To protect Fionn, his wife Oonagh laid a blanket over him and pretended that the sleeping giant was actually their baby son. When Benandonner saw the size of the 'infant', he assumed the alleged father, Fionn, must be gigantic indeed. Benandonner fled home in terror, ripping up the Causeway in case he was followed by Fionn, and therefore only the Irish coastal steps remain.


Donegal, County Donegal

Accommodation

Lough Eske Castle - More Info - Donegal, County Donegal

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Overnight Location

Donegal, County Donegal

On the Map: Donegal town is located in County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland. The N15 road connecting the cities of Sligo (to the southwest) and Derry (to the northwest) passes-by just east of the town.

Donegal Town is famous for being the former home to the O'Donnell Clan, who played a pivotal role in Irish history. From the 15th to the 17th century, they provided the main opposition to the colonisation of Ireland by England. The town itself contains Donegal castle, on the banks of the River Eske and the remains of a Franciscan abbey which dates back to the 15th century on the Southern shore of the Bay. The Annals of the Four Masters are traditionally thought to have been started in the abbey in the early 17th century. The story of Red Hugh O'Donnell, Lord of Tyrconnell, was the inspiration behind many books and films, not least, Disney's The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966).


Must-See Sites

Derry, County Derry

On the Map: Derry City is located close to the northern coast in Northern Ireland. Derry is accessed via the N15/N13 from Donegal (to the southwest) and the A6 from Belfast (to the southeast).

The story of Derry is a long and tumultuous one. Set on a hill on the banks of the Foyle estuary, strategically close to the open sea, it came under siege and attack for over a thousand years. You can walk along the great 17th-century walls, about a mile round and 18 feet thick, which withstood several sieges and even today are unbroken and complete, with old cannon still pointing their black noses over the ramparts. The great siege lasted for 105 days. Today, there’s an atmosphere of optimism in Derry and the city buzzes with life. It’s an artistic city, with theatres, galleries and other cultural centres and a number of annual festivals. Its people, with their gentle accent, are very welcoming.


Mussenden Temple, County Derry

On The Map: Mussenden Temple is located in County Derry, on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. The Temple is accessed via the A2 road that connects the towns of Limaviddy (to the southwest) & Coleraine (to the southeast)

Mussenden Temple perches dramatically on a 120 ft cliff top above the Atlantic Ocean, offering spectacular views westwards over Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point and County Donegal, and to the east Castlerock beach towards Portstewart, Portrush and Fair Head. The temple was built in as a summer library in1785 by Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol (or the 'Earl Bishop'), and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome. Both the Temple and the surrounding views are among the most photographed scenes in Ireland. Over the years the Temple was in danger of being lost to the sea due as the cliff-edge drew ever closer. Thankfully, in 1997 the National Trust carried out cliff stabilisation work to prevent the loss of this lovely building.


Donegal, County Donegal

Accommodation

Lough Eske Castle - More Info - Donegal, County Donegal

Castle
Room Type: Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Must-See Sites

Killybegs, County Donegal

On the Map: Killybegs is a County Donegal coastal town in the northwest of Ireland. The town is accessed via the N56 and R263 from Donegal town (30 minutes away to the east).

Killybegs is Ireland's premier fishing port. Located on the northwest coast of Ireland, this natural harbour provides a perfect gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. It is an excellent place to base yourself when touring the south west of Donegal. A lively fishing town with Ireland's largest fleet of trawlers. Killybegs is a bustling town where local and foreign ships tower over the quayside. With large numbers of both trendy and modern restaurants and the more traditional pubs, Killybegs offers the visitor a variety of good food, drink and entertainment.


Slieve League, County Donegal

On the Map: Slieve League is located in County Donegal on the northwest coast of Ireland. The area is accessed via the R263 road that heads west from the fishing village of Killybegs.

The Slieve League cliffs are said to be the highest and one of the finest marine cliffs in Europe. To fully enjoy the spectacle of Slieve League, it is best to leave your car at the car park and walk the few miles to the cliffs so as not to miss the exciting scenery of the area. (You can lift the gate and drive to the top if you are unable to walk. Note there is only a small parking area at the top) There are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you walk towards the exceptionally high top of Slieve League, where the cliff face of Bunglas rises over 600 metres above the raging seas below. Experienced walkers only should venture beyond the viewing point onto One Man's Pass which loops around onto the Pilgrim's Path.


Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal

On The Map: Glenveagh National Park lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the northwest of County Donegal, in the northwest corner of Ireland. Access from Letterkenny Town is via the N56 road through Kilmacrennan, turning left onto the Gweedore road - R255, or alternatively via Church Hill, and past Gartan and Akibbon Lakes on the R251.

Glenveagh National Park is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains and pristine lakes. Donegal gets fewer tourists than other locations in Ireland, but with the remarkable backdrops of Mount Errigal (Donegal’s highest mountain) and Muckish, this is one of the most tranquil and scenic national parks in the country. Populated with red deer, the Park, which covers more than 40,000 acres, consists of three areas. The largest of these is the former Glenveagh Estate, including most of the Derryveagh Mountains. To the west are the quartzite hills around Crocknafarragh and to the south, the peatlands of Lough Barra bog, Meenachullion and Crockastoller. Glenveagh Castle and Gardens are at the heart of the park. The castle was built in the 19th century by the controversial John Adair, who evicted no less than 244 tenants from the homes, because they were spoiling his view! Access to the interior is by tour only, but morning and afternoon teas are served in the castle tearooms all season. The Park Visitor Centre houses exhibitions and an audio-visual show.


Leixlip, County Kildare

Accommodation

Leixlip Manor - More Info - Leixlip, County Kildare

Manor
Room Type: Manor Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time: 2 PM

Check-out time: 12 PM 


Overnight Location

Leixlip, County Kildare

On the map: The name "Leixlip" comes from the Old Norse Lax Hlaup which means "salmon leap". The was the name given to the area by Vikings when they established a settlement near the confluence of the river Liffey and Rye Water in the 9th century. The salmon leap itself was a pair of large waterfalls which are now gone from view following the installation of a hydroelectric power station in the mid-1940s.

After the Vikings, the Normans arrived and built a Castle overlooking the two rivers in 1132 known as Leixlip Castle. In 1732, the nephew of Speaker Connolly, William Connolly, bought the castle, and in the same year, Arthur Guinness began a small brewery on the banks of the Liffey beside the Main Street. The brewery moved to St. James’s Gate, Dublin in 1759 and has become one of the best- known global brands.

Thomas Connolly’s wife, Lady Louise, was responsible for the building of The Obelisk between Leixlip & Celbridge known as Connolly’s Folly, in 1740 and the Wonderful Barn, built in 1743.


Must-See Sites

Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

On the Map: Enniskillen is located almost exactly in the centre of County Fermanagh in the southwest corner of Northern Ireland. The town is well connected via the A4 coming from Sligo town (to the west), and the A4 coming from Belfast (to the east).

Enniskillen is the County Town of Fermanagh, and separates the Upper and Lower sections of Lough Erne. The town is home to a population of approximately 11,500, by far the largest settlement in the County. As one would expect, the town is a retail centre for the County, and beyond, but it has yet to succumb to the blandness which infects many modern towns. The town centre is firmly built along the long, narrow Main St, which actually changes name six times along its length! This gives the town a real sense of bustle and life as well as imbuing the shops with their own unique character. There is no new, anonymous, development to be found on the Main Street and the established High Street Stores sit comfortably beside small independent traders, creating a special atmosphere for the place. A feature of Enniskillen which is becoming increasingly unusual is the number of small bars and hostelries which appear on the Main Street, providing welcome relief from the shops!


Kells, County Meath

On The Map: Kells is located on County Meath, in the east of Ireland, and just one hour northwest of Dublin City, along the M3/N3 Road.

Kells is a quiet small town in the historical Boyne Valley area. It is believed that the beautifully illustrated Book of Kells was completed by the monks of the Kells monastery. The monastery was founded by St. Colmcille in the 6th century and it remained an important centre of religion and learning for over 700 years. Only a few of the buildings remain to this day, but visitors can still admire the well preserved round tower, celtic crosses and a small stone church across the road from the site.


Trim Castle, County Meath

On the map: Located in Trim, County Meath, Trim Castle is the largest, best-preserved & easily one of the most impressive Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland.

Trim get its name from the Irish áth Truim, meaning ‘The Ford of the Elder Trees', indicating that this was once an important fording point on the River Boyne. In 1172, shortly after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland, King Henry II granted Hugh de Lacy the Kingdom of Meath, along with custody of Dublin. For strategic reasons, de Lacy decided to make Trim, rather than Drogheda, the centre of his newly acquired lordship. The castle was converted from a ringfort into a wooden castle. The castle was seen as a threat by the Gaelic Irish and in 1174 it was destroyed by Rory O'Connor, King of Connacht. The following year work began on a more permanent stone replacement and over the following decades, Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter constructed the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Europe. Most of the castle visible today was completed by 1220.


Depart From

Depart from Dublin Airport, County Dublin

Return to Dublin Airport at least two hours prior to your flight's scheduled departure. 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 Dublin Airport. With an extensive range of stores, bars and cafes, any spare time you have will fly!


Low Season
Jan - Mar | Nov - Dec
From $1,378*
Mid Season
Apr - May | Sep - Oct
From $1,568
High Season
June - August
From $1,798

 

*Travelers must arrive on Sunday in January/February to avail of this low cost.

Your Price Includes

ACCOMMODATION

  • 8 nights Accommodation – From Luxury Manor Hotels to Castle Estate!
  • Spend 2 Nights in the Beautiful 5* Lough Eske Castle

TRANSPORTATION

  • Economy Automatic Rental Car with Free Upgrade to Compact

DINING OPTIONS

  • 8 Breakfasts - Gourmet Irish Breakfasts Each Morning

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Visit Medieval Towns, Unspoilt Coastlines, and Ancient Castles
  • Explore Wicklow Mountains and Glenveagh National Parks
  • Ramble through Dublin's Temple Bar District & Visit Saint Patrick's Cathedral
  • Stop by the Traditional Town of Avoca & Explore the Ancient Monastic Site of Glendalough
  • Enter Wicklow Gaol to Experience Prison Life As It Was Endured by Its 18th Century Inmates
  • Take in the Breathtaking Views from Belfast Castle & Cave Hill Country Park
  • Explore the Unique Geography of the Giants Causeway
  • Discover Game of Thrones Filming Locations - The Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, & Mussenden Temple!
  • Visit Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge - Towering 100ft above the Crashing Waves
  • See the Jaw-Dropping Slieve League Cliffs -  Nearly Three Times Taller Than the Cliffs of Moher and Twice As High As the Eiffel Tower!
  • Visit Enniskillen - The Erne River Flows through the Centre of Town Giving the Place an Unbreakable Link to the Water
  • Explore Kells and See the Magnificent High Crosses
  • Stop by Trim Castle - the Largest Norman Castle in Ireland & Braveheart Filming Location

INCLUDED UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Guinness Storehouse Tour - Discover the Rich History and Process behind Ireland's Famous Brew!
  • Titanic Experience Belfast - Enjoy a Dramatic, Innovative and Exciting Presentation of the Real Story of Titanic
  • Visit the Giant's Causeway - Visit the Unworldly Site Made up of Some 40,000 Unique Geometric Basalt Columns Sticking out of the Sea

Prices Based On

  • Prices are Per Person based on 2 people traveling together and sharing a room.
  • Single travellers are very welcome on this Tour - life-long friendships are regularly formed with fellow passengers! Single travellers may have their own hotel room each night at a single supplement price from US$898
  • Taxes & Fees Included.

“Simply Lovely Vacation!”

Oct 31, 2018 by Jacqueline Murphy. Your Hometown: Parish, NY

The week with my granddaughter was wonderful! Anastasia did an outstanding job coming up with an itinerary to accommodate us in our short time in Ireland. The B and B's were excellent as well as the hotel! The rental car was perfect. Our self guided tour was better than we expected. I needed to contact Anastasia while in Ireland and she immediately responded to my question. Well Done!!!

“Outstanding Holiday to Ireland”

Oct 25, 2018 by Kevin Murphy. Your Hometown: Summerville, SC

Megan did an outstanding job of creating a custom 3-week vacation based on the information I provided to her. We basically toured the entire island in a clock-wise direction. All of the accommodations were outstanding! Although this was a self-drive trip (which certainly is a trip, driving in Ireland!) but Megan provided numerous points of interest for each of our 11 destinations. I felt the tour was reasonably priced and it went off without a hitch. Megan's attention to detail was fantastic. I would highly recommend Authentic Vacations and I would definitely use them again for any future trips to Ireland or the UK!

Oct 25, 2018 by Robin. Your Hometown: Moss Point, MS

My husband and I just returned from a 10-day trip to Ireland/Scotland for our 30th wedding anniversary. When I started looking at this trip, I came across this site and Jocoya Fox-Jones came across the chat. I told her what I was looking at and she planned the rest. Our trip was AMAZING and we couldn't have asked for a better person than Jocoya to have planned our trip. We've already decided that we will be using her again for our next adventure. She made our bucket list vacation a perfect one!!

Oct 16, 2018 by Sunny Holtzman. Your Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel

This is the third trip I have booked with Jocoya Fox-Jones. Ireland, Iceland and now Japan. She has been consistently WONDERFUL, professional and has answered my every request quickly and so well. She is the BEST.

“9-Ireland Vacation”

Oct 9, 2018 by Maggie. Your Hometown: Missouri, USA

This vacation was surprise graduation gift for my two sisters who graduated from nursing school this Spring. We have all talked about traveling outside of the country, but we had never acted on these plans. I wanted to find a travel company that could help a novice traveler create a vacation that my sisters and I would remember. Thankfully, I happened across this site, and Jordan Elzerman! She took my travel requests and created the perfect itinerary for us. I don’t think the girls and I could’ve asked for a more perfect vacation! We’re already talking about “next time”. To any one who may feel reluctant to drive, I promise you that it’s not as scary as you think! We had at least one paid event every day that we were on vacation, and all the other time was free time that we could spend on whatever our hearts desired. It was the perfect combination of scheduled activities/free exploration.

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1. Click on the Green “Get Started” Button to the Right 

Submit your travel dates, number of people and type of transportation. We can adjust the length of our vacation packages to suit your needs.

2. Online Account & Quote Created

Our experts will create a custom quote & itinerary based on your requirements, and all details are posted to your Authentic Ireland online account (login info will be emailed to you!).

3. Make Changes / Ask Questions 

Your quote will have been created by your own personal Expert, who will be available to you at any stage of planning your vacation & even while you are in Ireland or Scotland. Call or email your dedicated Expert to discuss options, make changes or ask questions.

4. Reserve & Pay Online

Reserve your vacation package securely via your online account. We only require a 20% deposit to secure your vacation, and our Risk-Free Cancellation Policy provides you with complete peace of mind.

5. Print Your Travel Documents & Go!

Once your vacation has been paid in full, you will be able to print your travel documents directly from your online account. You’re ready to go!

Questions?

With offices in both Ireland & the U.S., we can offer you unrivaled support while you are in Ireland or Scotland. We truly believe all our clients deserve an extraordinary experience!

Call us toll-free, 1-888-443-5259 (US) or +353 01 293.3088 (international), and we will be delighted to answer all questions!

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