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8-Night Grand Castles & Manors Tour

Price: From $3,442.00 per person 8 Nights

Old world luxury in Ireland is yours when you choose our Grand Castles and Manors travel package. During the day you will discover the most scenic areas of Ireland. Breathtaking, stunning, astonishing…yes. But none of those words fully convey the strong sense of place, history and culture you’ll experience. You’ll settle into a Grand Manor or Castle every evening. Explore luscious grounds and gardens, go horseback riding or fishing, unwind in a healing spa, or play a round of golf on one of the finest courses in the world. Sit by the fire in the evening with a good book or peer around the corners of medieval castles. The award-winning splendor of The Mustard Seed and two of Ireland’s grandest castle hotels, Ashford and Dromoland, wait to enfold you. Prepare to be treated like royalty. Breathe deeply and let your senses fill with the mysterious beauty of Ireland...

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

Tour Highlights

ACCOMMODATION

  • 5-nights at the Finest 5-star Hotels & Stately Manors
  • 3-nights in Unique Irish Castles
  • Luxurious Room Upgrades in All Properties

TRANSPORTATION

  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 8 Full Irish Breakfasts
  • 5-Course Champagne Dinner at the Magnificant Kenmare Park
  • George V Castle Dinner at the Ashford Castle 

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Kenmare Bay Romantic Cruise

POINTS OF INTERESTS

  • Killarney National Park & Ross Castle
  • The Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula
  • Bunratty Castle & Craggaunowen
  • The Rock of Cashel & Glen of Aherlow
  • The Blarney Stone & Visit Kinsale Town
  • Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey
  • The City of Galway & Cong, County Mayo
  • The Cliffs of Moher & 5000 Year-Old Poulnabrone Dolmen

Adare Heritage Village, County Limerick

Arrive at

Arrive at Shannon Airport, County Clare

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

Shannon is Ireland's second airport - located in the west of the country in County Clare.
Shannon is a small airport, with only one main road in and out of the facility.
This ensures that travelling through Shannon is a pleasurable, stress-free experience!


Accommodation

The Mustard Seed - More Info - Adare Heritage Village, County Limerick

Manor
Room Type: Superior Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out is before 12:00 noon.
The Mustard Seed will try to accommodate alternate times / early check in, please call on 069 68508 to advise of your plans.


Included Experiences

Luxurious Upgraded Rooms

Ireland, Ireland

The Grand Castle & Manors tour places you at the very best accommodations, all with wonderful scenic views. All guestrooms at these properties are the stuff of fairytales, but we have gone a step further by including upgraded rooms at each location. In Adare Manor, a deluxe room with wonderful views over the formal gardens and River Maigue awaits. At The Park Hotel Kenmare, you will be accommodated in one of the hotel's truly magnificent suites. Open-plan, with lounge and dining area, the suites offer s stunning view of Kenmare Bay and are a special combination of tradition, timeless elegance and modern luxury. At Hayfield Manor, you will be pampered in a very large and elegantly presented deluxe room. At Ashford Castle, a deluxe room commanding lake views is yours to enjoy. A spacious, deluxe room overlooking the lake and gardens of world-renowned Dromoland Castle completes the fantastic line-up.


Overnight Location

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.


Must-See Sites

King John's Castle, County Limerick

On The Map: King John's Castle is located on King's Island in Limerick City, next to the River Shannon.

The impressive walls, towers and fortifications of King John's Castle are remarkably intact - it is one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe. The Viking Sea-King, Thormodr Helgason, built the first permanent Viking stronghold here in 922. He used the base to raid the length of the River Shannon from Lough Derg to Lough Ree, pillaging settlements. In 943 the Vikings were defeated by the King of Munster and the Limerick Vikings were forced to pay tribute to the clans. The arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the area in 1172 changed everything. This in spite of Domhnall Mór Ó Briain taking the drastic measure of burning the city to the ground in 1174 in a bid to keep it from the new invaders! After Domhnall Mór died in 1194, the Anglo-Normans finally captured the area in 1195. The current castle, built on the orders of King John and bearing his name, was completed around 1200. Between 2011-2013 the castle underwent a massive redevelopment, including a brand new Visitor Centre, interactive exhibitions with computer generated animations, and a cafe with views over the courtyard and river.


Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, County Clare

On The Map: Bunratty Castle is located in Bunratty Village - just off the main M18 motorway in the southwest of County Clare.

The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. We invite you to wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country, which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park, where 19th century Irish life is vividly recreated. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. Meet and chat with the Bean an Ti (Woman of the House) and various street characters including the Policeman and Schoolteacher. Enjoy the tastes, scents, sights and sounds of this enchanting place as you stroll from house to house or around the charming village complete with school, post office, doctors house, hardware shop, printers and of course the pub!


Adare Heritage Village, County Limerick

Accommodation

The Mustard Seed - More Info - Adare Heritage Village, County Limerick

Manor
Room Type: Superior Double/Twin

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 2:00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out is before 12:00 noon.
The Mustard Seed will try to accommodate alternate times / early check in, please call on 069 68508 to advise of your plans.


Must-See Sites

Glen of Aherlow, County Tipperary

On the Map: The Glen of Aherlow is located in County Tipperary in the southern midlands of Ireland. It stretches from the N24 road, just south of the heritage town of Tipperary, through sixteen miles of unspoilt countryside.

The Glen of Aherlow is a quiet country valley, secluded but not isolated, and affords some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. The Glen sits between the Galtee mountains on the south and the Slievenamuck Ridge on the North. The Galtees, Ireland's highest inland mountain range, boast five spectacular corrie lakes, dominated by a variety of magnificent peaks including Galteemore at 3,018 ft. This expansive vista is further enhanced by the many streams cascading down the face of the mountain. The foothills are forested, as is the 12 miles of the Slievenamuck ridge, providing the walker with a variety of delightful woodland trails.


Lough Gur, County Limerick

On the Map: Lough Gur is located in the southwestern midlands of Ireland in County Limerick - 21km southeast of Limerick City. To reach Lough Gur from Adare, head north on the N21 until it intersects with the N20. Follow the N20 south (signposted Cork) before exiting at the R516 road (signposted Croom). Follow the R516 east, until turning north onto the R512 in Bruff Village. Lough Gur is signposted thereafter.

Lough Gur is one of Ireland’s archaeological and historical hidden gems. From the level surrounding countryside, the beautiful and enchanted lake unfolds the beauty of its placid waters and rugged hills – a fairyland of stone circles, ancient habitation sites, megalith tombs, crannogs and castles. Lough Gur tells the story of the pre-Celtic settlers who first came to the area over 5,500 years and continues to the present day in the people who still dwell and farm in the locality. It is an archaeological site of outstanding significance. A visitor centre was built in 1980 and uses the design of two of the excavated stone age houses as its plan. The Centre houses a number of displays covering stone age and bronze age implements, pottery and weaving.  A slide show offers a very good overview of the area's history.


Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

On the Map: Cashel is located in County Tipperary in the southern midlands of Ireland. The main M8 motorway connecting the major cities of Dublin (to the northeast) and Cork (to the southwest) passes right by the town.

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig), more formally St. Patrick's Rock, is also known as Cashel of the Kings. One of the most visited sites in Ireland, The Rock is a spectacular group of medieval buildings set on a rocky outcrop of limestone, looming above the town of Cashel, County Tipperary. There is a 12th Century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century castle and the Hall of the Vicars. Long before the Norman invasion The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. The buildings represent both Hiberno-Romanesque and Germanic influences in their architecture. The complex has a character of its own, unique and native, and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.


Kenmare, County Kerry

Accommodation

Park Hotel Kenmare - More Info - Kenmare, County Kerry

5 Star
Room Type: 2-Night Suite

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3.00pm on your arrival day. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Included Experiences

5 Course Champagne Dinner

Kenmare, County Kerry


On one of your evenings at the Kenmare Park, enjoy a delectable 5-course dinner, complete with a complimentary bottle of bubbly. Your table overlooking beautiful Kenmare Bay awaits, and dining at the Park Hotel is a true experience in every sense.  Under an elegantly simple Lily Chandelier, blown specially for the room by Millers of Bond Street, the ever changing menu reflects the richness of this area. Enjoy tantalizing creations from the kitchen team lead by Chef Mark Johnston. Local produce is sourced for all dishes, and the hotel is blessed with a range of quality producers & suppliers in the locality. 


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Enroute Sightseeing

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).


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Overnight Location

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.


Kenmare, County Kerry

Accommodation

Park Hotel Kenmare - More Info - Kenmare, County Kerry

5 Star
Room Type: 2-Night Suite

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3.00pm on your arrival day. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon.


Included Experiences

Kenmare Bay Romantic Cruise

Kenmare, County Kerry


Enjoy a romantic cruise around spectacular Kenmare Bay. Prepare yourself for a totally different perspective of this scenic area, as the surrounding peninsulas and inlets are viewed up close from the water. Wildlife abounds on Kenmare Bay, and indeed it has the richest marine habitat in Western Europe. An abundance of wild birds (puffins, gannets, eagles) call the bay home, but it's the grey seals that are likely to steal your heart, particularly if you visit in July/August, when seal pups are born! Visit some of the many uninhabited islands of the bay, and soak up the sights of this most delightful region of Ireland.

**The cruise times change daily so please ask at reception at the time of check-in for a confirmation of your cruise time.**


Must-See Sites

Skellig Islands, County Kerry

On the Map: The Skellig Islands stand aloof in the Atlantic Ocean some 12 km southwest of Valentia Island, County Kerry. The islands are reached by boat from Portmagee Pier, on the western tip of the Ring of Kerry.

The Skellig Islands; Skellig Michael and Small Skellig, are spectacular pinnacles, which have magnetized viewers throughout all history – and beyond. These Skellig islands are world-famous, each in its own right: Skellig Michael is known throughout the world of archaeology as the site of a well-preserved monastic outpost of the Early Christian period – now designated a World Heritage Site. Small Skellig is equally renowned in matters of ornithology as the home of some 27,000 pairs of gannets – the second largest colony of such seabirds in the world. A wisp of cloud often adorning the peaks of these pinnacles creates a volcanic impression! But there is nothing volcanic about these Skelligs rocks; they are created of the same 350–million-year-old Devonian Sandstone that runs right through the backbone of Kerry - from the county’s south-western headlands to the shores of Killarney's lakes. In the Skellig Experience Centre you can experience many aspects of those offshore Skellig islands while remaining on the dry land, in a custom built, stone clad, grass roofed, prize winning building, located right on the waterfront beside the Valentia Island bridge at Valentia, County Kerry.


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.


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.


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.


Cork, County Cork

Accommodation

Hayfield Manor - More Info - Cork, County Cork

5 Star
Room Type: Deluxe 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

Cork, County Cork

On the Map: Cork City is located off the southern coast of Ireland. As Ireland's second city, it is well served by good roads - The M8 northeast to Dublin, the N20 north to Limerick & the N25 east to Waterford.

In the bustling city of Cork (often referred to as 'Ireland's Second Capital'), stroll the river walk at the University and pop into the Glucksman Gallery.  Relax in a café, and hit Shandon Street, just a short walk from the main shopping district.  Climb the 120 foot steeple, and ring the bells of Shandon.  Soak up the city views as they fade into the countryside. Award-winning restaurants line the streets, and nightlife choices include Irish Traditional, classy nightclubs, theater, opera, plays, and dance.  (Take the haunted night tour of the city jail—it’s a great way to start your evening with a bang.) Of course, there’s the Jameson Old Middleton Distillery in east Cork.  Learn how Irish whiskey is made, and finish with a tasting. 


Must-See Sites

Blarney, County Cork

On the Map: Blarney is located in County Cork in the south of Ireland. The village is a mere 20 minutes/ 11km northwest of Cork City. It is accessed via the R617, which intersects with the main N20 (Limerick City to Cork City) road just north of Cork City.

Blarney is a charming village, most renowned for its famous castle and stone. The impressive Blarney Castle, perched on solid limestone, dates from 1446 and is situated on magnificent grounds. The castle was constructed by one of Ireland's greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since.To acquire 'The Gift of Gab' one must kiss the Blarney Stone - located just beneath the battlements at the very top of Blarney Castle. This involves bending over backwards at quite a height - perhaps not to be attempted by the faint-hearted! Rumor has it that if you kiss the legendary 'Stone of Eloquence', you'll never again be lost for words!


Cobh, County Cork

On the Map: Cobh is a picturesque town situated on Great Island in Cork Harbour off Ireland's southern coast. Just southeast of Cork City, the island is connected to mainland Ireland by both rail and road.

Cobh has a relatively short history by Irish standards. It was established in 1750, but has played an important role in Ireland's past. From 1848 to 1950, over six million Irishmen and women emigrated from Ireland and over 2.5 million of these departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration in Ireland. Many of those emigrating left from Cobh and sailed to America to start a new life. You can find out more about Cobh's role in Irish emigration at the fascinating "Queenstown Story" visitor attraction at the Cobh railway station. Highly recommended! Cobh is also famous for being the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic, which sank after striking an iceberg on Sunday April 14, 1912. Though a tragic story, Cobh has become quite a draw for romantic couples, ever since the release of the famous 1997 movie! Today, Cobh is a pleasant town with streets that climb up the steep slope of a hill to the top where the impressive St. Coleman's Cathedral stands. There are wonderful restaurants to choose from, many serving fresh seafood dishes.


Kinsale, County Cork

On the Map: Kinsale is located in County Cork on Ireland's southern coast. From the main N71 road connecting Cork City (to the north) & Skibbereen/ Bantry (to the west), Kinsale is accessible via a variety of country roads.

Located just 16 miles from Cork City in a naturally protected harbour, Kinsale is one of the most picturesque, popular and fashionable towns on the southwest coast. Kinsale is a centre for yachting, sea angling, gourmet eating and golf. Restaurants in Kinsale pride themselves on their high reputation for culinary expertise, and the Good Food Circle has been organizing a Gourmet Festival here every autumn for over 25 years.  A charming town, its narrow streets are steeped in history and its harbour is always full of boats. Visit the museum housed in the French Prison or, just outside the town, the star-shaped Charles Fort with its spectacular views, before retiring to one of the town's many cozy atmospheric pubs.


Cong, County Mayo

Accommodation

Ashford Castle - More Info - Cong, County Mayo

Castle
Room Type: Deluxe Lake View Double/Twin

Check in policies:

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


Enroute Sightseeing

Salthill, County Galway

On The Map: Salthill is a coastal suburb of Galway City in the west of Ireland. The seaside resort is located just 3.5 kilometres west of town.

Salthill, once a small seaside resort west of Galway City, is now an important suburb of this ever-expanding town. The Promenade at Salthill is approx. 2 miles long, and offers wonderful views over Galway Bay. On clear days, the hills of County Clare are visible across the bay, and benches are provided along the seafront. Aside from its great location, Salthill offers much to the visitor.  The Leisureland complex, with its host of children's entertainments, including an indoor heated swimming pool, is always popular with the young, while the 'golden half-mile' of casinos, pubs and gourmet restaurants cater to older clientelle. Galway Bay and its lapping waters will always be the main attraction, however, and the visitor has a host of safe, sandy beaches from which to choose. Swimming, sunbathing, sail-boarding, snorkelling, sea angling and high board diving, can be enjoyed here. For the less energetic, a stroll along Ireland's longest promenade, is strongly recommended, for the fresh Galway Bay sea air is a tonic in itself!


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

Cong, County Mayo

On the Map: Cong is located in County Mayo in the midwest of Ireland. The village is 45 minutes/ 43km north of Galway City, and is most easily accessed via the R334/R346 road that intersects with the main N84 road connecting Galway & Castlebar cities.

Cong is without doubt most famous for being the location of John Ford's 1951 classic, "The Quiet Man", starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. The Quiet Man Cottage Museum allows visitors to relive the movie as if actually on-set.  Painstaking effort has ensured that all the furnishings, artifacts, costumes - etc. are authentic reproductions. The majestic remains of Cong Abbey are the relics of an Augustinian abbey founded in the 12th century by Turlough O'Connor, King of Connaught and High King of Ireland.  The Cross of Cong, an ornate processional cross intended for the abbey, is now in Dublin's National Museum. Ashford Castle, perhaps Ireland's most exquisite castle hotel is located just outside the village.


Must-See Sites

Quiet Man Bridge, County Galway

On The Map: The Quiet Man Bridge is located five miles from the village of Oughterard, in County Galway in the west of Ireland.

The Quiet Man Bridge is internationally famous as a location for the 1951 movie, "The Quiet Man", starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. The film is regarded as one of the top 100 ever made, and tourists by the busload stop to photograph it. Leam Bridge, as it is known locally, is in a condition almost identical to 1951. This is the bridge where Wayne's character, Sean Thornton dreams of his youth in the opening scenes of the movie and hears his dead mother's voice describing White O'Morn cottage. More than 50 years have passed since Irish-American director John Ford shot his classic movie, but interest in the film has never been stronger. Shot on location in the west of Ireland John Ford’s beloved romantic comedy The Quiet Man has been celebrated for its larger-than-life portrayal of the Emerald Isle. Most of the Quiet Man outdoor scenes were shot in various locations in counties Galway and Mayo - mainly around the scenic Maam Valley on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle and the nearby village of Cong.


Cong, County Mayo

Accommodation

Ashford Castle - More Info - Cong, County Mayo

Castle
Room Type: Deluxe Lake View Double/Twin

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

George V Castle Dinner

Cong, County Mayo


Boasting no less than 9 Waterford Crystal chandeliers, The George V Room at Ashford Castle is a sight to behold. The Dining Roon was named following a visit by the Prince of Wales, who subsequently became George V of England. On one of your evenings at the castle, a fantastic meal is included in the tour cost. Only the finest, seasonal produce is used - locally sourced wherever possible. Menus are inspired by the dramatic land and seascapes that surround the Castle; Salmon from the Corrib; Shellfish from Killary Harbour; Oysters from Galway Bay; Garlic Grass from the Estate; and the sweetest mountain Lamb from County Mayo. Luxuriate amid the pristine period decor and choose from a world-class menu of modern Irish and international cuisine. The discreet service and luxurious furnishings of the George V Room offer the perfect setting in which to enjoy the traditional art of elegant dining.


Must-See Sites

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.


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. 


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.


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.


Dromoland, County Clare

Accommodation

Dromoland Castle - More Info - Dromoland, County Clare

Castle
Room Type: Deluxe Double

Check in policies:

Check-in time is after 3.00pm on your day of arrival. Check-out time is before 12.00 noon. Hotel Tel: 061 368 144.


Enroute Sightseeing

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.


Enroute Sightseeing

The Burren, County Clare

On the Map: The Burren is located in the north of County Clare in Ireland's west. The closest town is Ballyvaughan to the north, but the Burren is also easily accessible from Doolin, Lisdoonvarna (to the west) and Ennis (to the south).

The Burren, or Boireann, meaning Great Rock, is in County Clare. It is, without dispute, one of the most unique - and strangest - landscapes in Europe.  The Burren occupiues approximately 250 square kilometers. Bounded by the Atlantic on the west and rocked by Galway Bay to the north, it is a multi-layered landscape where rare and delicate plants have adapted in order to thrive and flourish between harsh crevices. Stroll the meadows, be astonished by the boulders, and read the trail marks and footprints that the ice age and volcanoes left behind. The Burren is littered with ancient and megalithic sites. The most dramatic of these is the Poulnabrone Dolmen, an impressive 5,000 year old portal tomb. Poulnabrone is one of the most famous megalithic monuments in Ireland. Just how the people of the time managed to get the truly massive capstone in place, is a mystery which continues to baffle archaeologists.


Enroute Sightseeing

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. 


Overnight Location

Dromoland, County Clare

On the Map: Dromoland Castle is located in County Clare in the west of Ireland. The castle is reached via the R458, a country road that intersects the M18 motorway between the city of Ennis (to the north) and Shannon Airport/ Limerick City (to the south).

Dromoland Castle is one of Ireland's grandest hotels and also one of its best-loved. The ancestral home of the O'Briens, barons of Inchiquin and direct descendants of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, it is one of the few Irish estates tracing its history back to Gaelic royal families. Today, Dromoland is an oasis of tranquility. The grandeur of the castle itself, its magnificent furnishings and the surrounding lakes and parkland offer guests an experience almost impossible to find at other luxury hotels. It is a truly enchanting place.


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 $3,442 From $3,801 From $4,555

Your Price Includes

TRANSPORTATION & ACCOMMODATION

  • 5-nights of 5-star hotels/manors and 3-nights in Unique Irish Castles
  • Luxurious Room Upgrades in All Properties
  • Rental Car including our Exclusive Reduced Excess Insurance Package

DINING OPTIONS

  • 8 Full Irish Breakfasts
  • 5-Course Champagne Dinner at the Magnificant Kenmare Park
  • George V Castle Dinner at the Ashford Castle 

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

  • Kenmare Bay Romantic Cruise

Prices Based On

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  • Traveling alone? No problem. Just ask us for a single supplement price.
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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