IRISH CASTLES EXPERIENCE – ESCORTED 9 DAY TOUR OF IRISH CASTLES
Tour Categories: ESCORTED/COACH & SMALL GROUP TOURS FOOD & DRINK TOURS OF IRELAND IRISH CASTLES
HAVE A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE WHILE STAYING AT SOME SPECIALLY CHOSEN HISTORIC IRISH CASTLES & MANOR HOUSES WITH A PRIVATE CHAFFEUR & GUIDE TO HELP YOU SEE A SIDE OF IRELAND THAT MOST WON'T. THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE YOU WON'T FORGET!
About this trip
Ireland is famous for its Castles, many of which have been converted to 5 Star Hotels
On arrival in Dublin or Shannon Airport, we will transfer to your Hotel in Kinsale via
The Rock of Cashel.
Visit to Rock of Cashel, possibly the most photographed site in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel towers over the town of Cashel from its perch on a 200-foot high outcrop of limestone. It is a multi-period monastic site, which was a fortress before it became the seat of the bishop of the diocese of Cashel and is iconic in its historic significance, possessing the most impressive cluster of medieval buildings in Ireland.
Once the seat of the Kings of Munster. St. Patrick visited the rock in 450, while Brian Boru was crowned the first high King of Ireland here in the tenth century.
Granted to the church in the twelfth century, by the O’Brien clan, today the impressive stone walls enclose a round tower, a 15th century Tower House, a high cross, a Romanesque chapel, a Gothic Cathedral, the Hall of the Vicars Choral and an Abbey. Cormack’s Chapel, consecrated in 1134, with one of Ireland’s best preserved Irish frescoes and Romanesque architecture. The Vicars Choral has been recently restored and its basement houses a small museum of artifacts found on the site.
Kinsale for Kenmare, Co. Kerry via Skibereen, Bantry & West Cork.
You will travel along the scenic tunnels route to Glengarriff where the road leads you through a number of rock tunnels as you travel by the Caha mountains on the Beara peninsula. You will encounter stunning views of Bantry Bay before arriving in Glengarriff.
The Gardens of Ilnacullin (Garinish Island) are well worth a visit. It is a unique Island that plays host to a multitude of plant variations, and the blanket of Summer coloring which covers the Island and creates a rainbow of color.
Continue to Kenmare from Glengarriff via very spectacular views for overnight in your 5 Star, Sheen Falls Hotel, Kenmare.
Depart Kenmare for Killarney
via Molls Gap and Killarney National Park for a visit to Muckross House and a jaunting Car Ride through part of Killarney National Park.
This is one of Ireland’s loveliest districts. Mountains, valleys and lakes blend into a palette of scenic splendor. A delightful day includes a drive along the broad, dramatic coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula and through the charming village.
Visit Muckross House, a magnificent Victorian mansion and one of Ireland’s leading stately homes. The gardens at Muckross House are renowned world-wide for their beauty.
Overnight at the Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney. Deluxe Bed and Full Irish Breakfast
You will travel from Killarney onto the Dingle Peninsula via Inch Beach
– a long beach bordered by dunes and made famous by David Lean’s movie “Ryan’s daughter”. Admire the Iveragh Peninsula and Rossbeigh Beach, it may be nice to have lunch in Sammy’s Restaurant, situated on the beach.
This afternoon explore The Dingle Peninsula. Some of the finest coastal scenery to be seen in Ireland can be found in West Kerry, on the Dingle Peninsula, the most northern of the Kerry Peninsulas. This peninsula is famous for its Celtic, pre – Christian monuments and Christian churches.
It is also a ‘Gaeltacht’ (Irish speaking) area, where the Irish language and traditional ways of life are preserved. Dingle town itself is a thriving fishing town and offers plenty of opportunity for shopping or simply savoring the atmosphere of a typical country Irish town with its plentiful pubs, narrow streets and busy harbor.
Visit The Blasket Visitor Centre.
The Blasket Centre on the mainland in Dún Chaoin on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula is a fascinating heritage center/museum honoring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953.
The Blasket Centre tells the story of island life, subsistence fishing and farming, traditional life including modes of work and transport, home life, housing and entertainment.
The Centre details the community’s struggle for existence, their language and culture, and the extraordinary literary legacy they left behind- classics such as ‘The Islandman’, ‘Twenty Years A-Growing’ and ‘Peig’. Their story is told using a variety of means – exhibitions, interactive displays, artefacts, audio visual presentations and artwork.
The road around the Peninsula is truly spectacular. It passes through a chain of Mountains, called Slieve Mish. Enjoy an evening of entertainment in Dingle.
From Dingle you head to Dromoland Castle (Irish – Caisleán Dhrom Ólainn)
From Dingle, drive around the coast to Slea Head. Here the blue of the marine landscape surrounds the Blaskets Islands, deserted since 1953. In the distance are the two rocky Skellig islands, where the ruins of an early Christian Monastery can be found.
The Dingle Peninsula will charm you with it’s villages painted in bright colors and will bewitch you with the dramatic beauty of it’s landscapes. The road between Dunquin and Slea Head is dotted with beehive huts, forts and church sites. Prehistoric Dunbeg Fort is on a cliff top promontory with a sheer drop to the Atlantic and has four outer walls of stone. Inside are the remains of a house and a beehive hut as well as an underground passage.
Beehive huts are circular stone buildings shaped like a beehive which were lived in by the Kerry monks. Continue around the peninsula exploring some of Ireland’s nicest & most picturesque local shops, pubs, cafes etc.
You will take the spectacular Conor Pass which is the highest mountain pass in Ireland & via Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Bunratty Castle is one of the most complete and authentic medieval castles in Ireland. Built in 1425 and plundered on many occasions, it was authentically restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings and tapestries capturing the mood and the style of the times.
Attend the castles evening Medieval Banquet, which takes the participants back to the time that the castle entertained its visitors with fine food, wine and song. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th century 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.
Depart Dromoland Castle for the Cliffs of Moher. Situated on Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren Area, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights.
The Cliffs of Moher
Standing 230 metres above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara. Visit Aillwee Caves. One of the oldest Caves in Ireland.
Located in the heart of the Burren in County Clare. Perched high on its Burren terraced mountainside with what has to be one of the most spectacular views of Galway Bay. It is a must for all who find themselves in the area.
The Burren is a place full of wonder, beauty and discovery. Let the staff at AILLWEE Caves welcome you to the dramatic underworld of this area.
Expert guides will accompany and inform you during your leisurely tour. The tour consists of a 30-minute stroll through the beautiful caverns – over bridged chasms, under weird formations and alongside the thunderous waterfall which sometimes gently sprays the unsuspecting visitor! Marvel at the frozen waterfall and explore the now extinct brown bears’ bones (ursos arctos).
The guides will bring you back to the outside world where you can browse and shop in a distinctly different gift shop which is housed in the award-winning complex that guards the entrance to the Burren underground.
The Burren, part of which forms the 100 square km Burren National Park, is a unique place. It is a Karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq. km, which lies in the Northwest corner of Co Clare.
It is composed of limestone pavements, which have been eroded to a distinctive pattern. This pavement is crisscrossed by cracks known as grykes in which grow a myriad of wild flora and under which are huge caves and rivers which suddenly flood when it rains.
The Burren contains dozens of megalithic tombs and Celtic crosses as well as a ruined Cistercian Abbey dating back to the 12th century. You will discover small villages abandoned during the famine period and green roads on which you can walk for miles without ever seeing a car.
The flora on the Burren is a mixture of Arctic and Mediterranean and rare flowers such as gentian, orchids and bloody cranesbill are the rule rather than the exception. The Burren is truly an exceptional part of Ireland.
The Connemara Region
You will explore the Connemara region. Connemara is a land of lakes and rivers, bogs and mountains. A land of small villages where Gaelic is still the spoken language and where little has changed little since the beginning of time. It is without a doubt the wildest and the most romantic part of Ireland.
Connemara is a vast peninsula bordered by the arid and rocky coastline of Galway Bay in the south ~ a land characteristic for it’s stone walls and thatched cottages.
On its northern shore the land is harsher and more secret, with spectacular views of the Ocean and the beautiful fjord of Kilary Harbour, as well as the steep mountains overlooking numerous lakes and large bog areas. Connemara is a real paradise for Nature lovers and those in search of strong emotions.
Visit to Kylemore Abbey: Kylemore Abbey is located in the Kylemore Pass in Connemara. Mitchell Henry built the House in 1868, after having spent his honeymoon in the area.
The architecture is best described as neo-gothic and the house still displays all the characteristics of that period. One of Kylemore Abbey’s most famous features is its miniature cathedral, built in 1870 and known locally as the Gothic church. Today, the abbey is home to the Irish order of Benedictine nuns.
They bought the house in 1920, having fled their convent in war-torn Belgium in 1914. They established a private school for young girls, which today is the renowned Kylemore Abbey International School for young girls.
Facilities at Kylemore include a visitor center, an exhibition housed in the main reception rooms of the house and a video which takes the visitor through the history of the house and its occupants.
You can make a wish at the Giants Ironing Stone, meet the resident Connemara Ponies and enjoy wholesome food and home-baked goods in the Café or Garden Tea House. Please note: Lunch is not included in tour price. You may wish to sit in on one of the History talks that take place in the Abbey three times a day, or enjoy a tour of the Welled Garden.
You wont want to miss a browse through the Craft and Design Shop for unique gifts including Kylemore Abbey Pottery, award-winning chocolates handmade by the Benedictine Nuns, Kylemore Abbey Luxury Caramel Sauce and Kylemore Jams handmade onsite in their Chocolate Kitchen!
The beautiful neo-Gothic Church is a short walk from the Abbey, nestled nearby is the Mausoleum where Mitchell and Margaret Henry are buried side by side.
Unrivalled service, warm Irish hospitality and five-star luxury await at Ashford Castle. The castle was built on the perimeter of a monastic site in 1228.
Film director, John Ford came to the west of Ireland and used the grounds of the castle, as well as nearby Cong, for the backdrop for filming much of the film, The Quiet Man, staring John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara.
Overlooking Lough Corrib Lake on 350 acres of parkland, this deluxe Castle Hotel in a grand 13th-century Castle is a 9-minute walk from the Gothic Cong Abbey.
Opulent rooms come with antique rosewood furniture and high-end linens.
There is a palatial restaurant, a bistro, an oak-paneled bar and a medieval-style pub. Afternoon tea is served in a Victoria-era drawing room. And of course, an indoor swimming pool!
Your final day will take you from Galway to Dublin. Spend time relaxing and take in more the Dublin’s fine city before your departure for your return home.