Kylemore Abbey, captured on one of our Ireland Tours Kylemore Abbey, captured on one of our Ireland Tours

10-Day Deluxe Irish Castles Tour 2019

€1,990 to €2,390
10 days / 9 nights
Max. 26 Guests
Stay in Castles

A luxury tour with castle accommodation

Live like royalty on this luxurious exploration of Ireland's best-loved attractions. On this tour, you won't simply be visiting the landmarks of Ireland's rich history. You will actually be staying in its historic luxury castles and manor houses. On a tour that promises more, you can expect the finest accommodation, the best food and the most luxurious tour transportation.

Featured on this tour

Trim Castle, Ireland Tours attraction

The North West Days 2 - 3

Cliffs of Moher

Galway & The West Days 4 - 6

Cahernane House in Kerry Ireland

The South Days 7 - 8

Dublin Ireland Tourism

Dublin Day 9

Tour Itinerary: Day by Day

Click Here for Printer-friendly Itinerary

Tour Map

Click a day on the left to see what adventures await you on that day of your Ireland tour.

Day 1 Itinerary

Welcome - you've arrived on your Irish castle tour. On arrival in Dublin Airport reclaim your baggage and enter the Arrivals Hall. Here in the Arrivals Hall you will meet your professional Irish driver-guide (one person). There will be three Group transfers this morning between 0700 am and 1200 noon. Board your luxury air-conditioned coach and make the short transfer to Dunboyne Castle Hotel where you can relax and unwind after your flight.

15:00 Check in time. Hotel reception will store your luggage prior to check in.

At 1900 this evening all participants will gather for dinner in hotel restaurant where you will become acquainted with your fellow-travellers and the coming days can be discussed at leisure with your Professional Driver-Guide.

Included Today

Day 3 Itinerary

After some much needed sleep and a hearty full Irish breakfast we will depart for the 5 star Lough Eske Castle majestically set on the shores of Lough Eske in Donegal. Travelling west your route today will take through Meath, the Royal County due to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland.

Our first stop today will be at Trim Castle. Trim Castle is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter built it over a 30 year period, finished in 1206.

Continue on through the lake region of Cavan and briefly cross the border into Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and along the shores of Lough Erne Upper and Lough Erne Lower to visit Belleek Pottery, one of the oldest potteries in the world dating from 1857.

Cross the border back into Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and travel on to Lough Eske. Leisurely afternoon on the grounds of Lough Eske Castle. Tonight you will overnight and dine in Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa. After dinner you might like to retire to the Gallery Bar for a nightcap before bed.

Included Today

Day 3 Itinerary

Leisurely morning on the grounds of Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa. Depart for the historic fortified walled city of Derry / Londonderry in Northern Ireland. The city fortifications are among the best - preserved in Europe and were completed in 1618 to defend the city from Gaelic chieftains in Donegal.

Afternoon guided walking tour of the historic walls with a local guide. The city walls are up to 8 metres (26 feet) in height and in places are 9 metres (29 feet) wide. They were completed in 1618 and were never breached.

Take some free time in Derry / Londonderry to visit the shops and cafes of Derry / Londonderry to get a flavour of Northern Ireland before returning to Lough Eske Castle Hotel. Again this evening dine in Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa

Included Today

Day 4 Itinerary

This morning after breakfast will depart for the Ballynahinch Castle for an unrivalled experience of true Irish hospitality. Formerly the home of “Humanity Dick” Martin and The Maharajah Ranjitsinhji, Ballynahinch Castle has been welcoming visitors to Connemara for over 250 years. This unique castle is spectacularly located on a private 450 acre estate of woodlands, rivers and walks in the heart of Connemara.

Your route south to Ballynahinch castle will take you to Drumcliffe in Sligo where you can read the epitaph on the grave of WB. Yeats.

Travel on to the beautiful Mayo town of Westport on the shores of Clew Bay. Take time to explore this unique and charming heritage town nestled in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain where St. Patrick fasted for 40 days. I would suggest a stroll down the elegant tree lined Mall of Westport and wander along Bridge Street with its colourful and friendly mix of traditional shops and pubs.

Continue on via Leenane and along the shores of Killary Harbour, Ireland's only fjord on the Mayo - Galway border.

Travel on to Kylemore where you will visit Kylemore Abbey & Gardens, which is nestled at the base of Duchruach Mountain on the northern shores of Lough Pollacappul, in the heart of the Connemara Mountains. It is regarded as one of Ireland's most romantic buildings.

Journey down the spectacular Inagh valley with the 12 Bens of Connemara on your right and the Maumturks Mountains on your left as you travel to Ballynahinch.

Tonight you will overnight and dine in Ballynahinch Castle. After dinner you might like to retire to the friendly Fisherman's Pub for a nightcap before bed.

Included Today

Day 5 Itinerary

This morning after breakfast take time to explore at your leisure the extensive grounds of Ballynahinch Castle. Take time to stroll the estate's forest trails or simply sit in the tranquillity of the grounds listening to the song of the river as it makes its interminable journey to the sea.

Later this morning if the lure of the castle grounds are not too strong you will travel along the shores of the famous Galway Bay into Galway City, known as the "City of the Tribes".

You will have the afternoon free in Galway city, a small but vibrant city easy to explore on foot at your leisure with plenty of opportunities for shopping, seeing its historic sites or perhaps enjoying a leisurely afternoon drink in one of Galway's many legendary pubs.

Return to Ballynahinch Castle Inagh Valley.

Tonight you will overnight and dine in Ballynahinch Castle.

Included Today

  • Irish Breakfast
  • Evening Dinner
  • Ballynahinch Castle (See website)

Day 6

This morning after breakfast you will depart for the Cahernane House Hotel in Killarney, located on the lake shore of Killarney's famous Lough Lein with magnificent mountain and woodland views. Your journey to Killarney will take you down the Atlantic seaboard on the west coast of Clare via Galway.

You will see The Burren, which is Gaelic for rocky land – an apt name for this vast limestone plateau. In the 1640’s, Cromwell’s surveyor described it as “a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury”.

On the coast you will stand on the dramatic 650ft high and 8 kilometre long Cliffs of Moher to gaze out on the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. Further south in County Limerick take time to stroll the main street of the beautiful thatched village of Adare before travelling on to Killarney.

Tonight you will overnight and dine in Cahernane House Hotel After dinner you might like to retire to the Cellar Bar for a nightcap before bed.

Included Today

Day 7

This morning after breakfast you will set off on the world famous Ring of Kerry (Iveragh Peninsula) via Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Coomakesta Pass with it magnificent views over Derrynane, home of Daniel O’ Connell, known as “The Liberator”, to Caherdaniel.

Today you will have a traditional Irish pub lunch in The Blind Piper Pub in the village of Caherdaniel. Locals and visitors alike have been drinking here since 1865. The Blind Piper is Mici Cumba O'Sullivan who was born nearby in 1835 and became one of Ireland's most famous pipers.

Continue on via the pretty village of Sneem, Moll’s Gap, Ladies View and along the Lakes of Killarney to Killarney town. Tonight you will overnight and dine in Cahernane House Hotel.

Included today:

  • Irish Breakfast
  • Traditional Pub Lunch
  • Evening Dinner
  • Cahernane House Hotel (See website)

Day 8

This morning after breakfast you will depart for Killashee House Hotel set amidst over 280 acres of historic and intriguing gardens, walkways and parkland with magnificent views of the Kildare country side. Your route today will take you over the famous Cork/Kerry Mountains via the Irish speaking villages of Ballymakeery & Ballyvourney to the old market town of Macroom, where you will see Macroom Castle, once home of Sir William Penn, whose son was later to found the state of Pennsylvania.

Travel on to the village of Blarney via the valley of the river Lee. Visit Blarney Castle built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy and here you will have the opportunity to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone.

You will have an opportunity for shopping at Blarney Woollen Mills where one of the largest selections of Irish arts, crafts and produce can be seen on display.

Rising out dramatically from the plains of Tipperary you will visit the Rock of Cashel. This was the seat of kings and medieval bishops for 900 years and flourished until the early 17th century. Brian Ború was crowned King of Munster here in 977 and he became High King of Ireland in 1002.

Tonight you will overnight & dine in Killashee House Hotel. After dinner you might like to retire to the contemporary Jack's Bar for a nightcap before bed.

Included today:

Day 9

Trinity College founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I on the site of an Augustinian monastery. Trinity College is also home to the Book of Kells, which is the most richly decorated of Ireland’s medieval illuminated manuscripts. The book contains the four gospels in Latin. Some of the dyes used were imported from as far as the Middle East.

Christ Church Cathedral founded by the Viking King Sitric almost 1000 years ago in 1034. The cathedral crypt is one of the largest in the UK and Ireland, dating back to the 12th Century. Here in the crypt you can see the Mummified remains of the Cat and the Rat which were found in the cathedral organ and a rare 14th century copy of the Magna Carta. You will also have a unique opportunity to visit the Belfry and ring the Cathedral bells

Please note: Getting to the Belfry in Christ Church Cathedral involves climbing 86 stone steps in a medieval building and crossing the roof at the South transept – quite the experience.

Guinness Storehouse at St. James's Gate for a tour of the world famous brewery and afterwards enjoy a perfect pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar, which is located at the top of a glass tower that commands spectacular views of Dublin City and County in every direction.

You will have some free time this afternoon to explore and shop in Dublin and we would also suggest you take a stroll up Grafton Street. Tonight you will overnight and dine in Killashee House Hotel.

Included today:

Day 10: Departure Day

After a final great Irish breakfast this morning there will be three group transfers between 0500 and 1100 for you to choose from to get you to Dublin Airport for your return flight home.

Included today:

  • Irish Breakfast
  • Airport Transfer

Tour Highlights

Prices & Availability 10-Day Deluxe Irish Castles Tour 2019

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Arrival Departure Price Per Person Availability
Sun 05 May 2019 Tue 14 May 2019 - fully booked
Sun 19 May 2019 Tue 28 May 2019 - fully booked
Sun 02 Jun 2019 Tue 11 Jun 2019 - fully booked
Sun 16 Jun 2019 Tue 25 Jun 2019 - fully booked
Sun 07 Jul 2019 Tue 16 Jul 2019 - fully booked
Sun 21 Jul 2019 Tue 30 Jul 2019 - fully booked
Sun 04 Aug 2019 Tue 13 Aug 2019 - fully booked
Sun 18 Aug 2019 Tue 27 Aug 2019 - fully booked
Sun 08 Sep 2019 Tue 17 Sep 2019 - fully booked
Sun 22 Sep 2019 Tue 01 Oct 2019 - fully booked
Sun 06 Oct 2019 Tue 15 Oct 2019 - fully booked
Sun 20 Oct 2019 Tue 29 Oct 2019 - fully booked

The Deposit for the Deluxe Irish Castle Tour 2019 is €400 per person
The Single Occupancy Supplement is €500

Reviews of this tour

Rhonda Rine

October 2018  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

I went on the 10 Day Deluxe Castle Tour with my son and we had a very memorable trip. It was our first time in Ireland and so we decided to take a tour so that we wouldn't miss any history in the places that we visited and we wanted to get the most out of our days there. Our tour guide Joe was beyond wonderful. He was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about Ireland and it's history. My only negative comment would be that while the places that we stayed were all top notch and beautiful, almost all of them were a little too out of the way in terms of being able to walk into any towns and check out the local life. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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Paul Frederick

September 2018  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

TONY was Fantastic........ My wife and I completed the Deluxe Castle tour in September of 18. What made this 5 stars was the dedication, professionalism and knowledge of our tour director/driver Tony. The man is full of stories(some true) about the country and areas we visited. He guided us well, we saw much and enjoyed our time in Ireland. I felt we got a great sense of the country we visited. I liked the idea that we stayed two nights in all of our 'Castles'. Plus we had all breakfasts and dinners provided making for an easier vacation. All we needed to do was get on the bus to see the next area of Ireland. We left the driving to Tony. I highly recommend this company and if one is fortunate enough to have Tony, you are indeed in for a fine 'Irish' experience.

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Lisa Endres

September 2018  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

My sister and I just returned 2 days ago from Ireland after joining your Deluxe Castles Tour, and adding a couple days at the end to see more of Dublin. It was the first time in Ireland for each of us. We were very much impressed with all the aspects of the Castles Tour. The accommodations, food, and daily excursions were very nice, the staff were always helpful, and the service by everyone was incredible. I have to report that your country is very beautiful! Especially for me remembering the beauty of the Ring of Kerry drive, and our time at Connemara, the views out over Ballynahinch Castle grounds, and all of the mountains.

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Jill Whitman

September 2018  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

Two of my friends and I went on the Deluxe Castle Tour in August of 2018. It was a once in a lifetime trip and we had a fantastic time. Our driver was George and he was incredibly knowledgeable about all things Ireland! I would definitely recommend My Ireland Tours!!

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Maggie Chris

July 2018  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

This tour company is absolutely amazing and I would give it more than 5 stars if I could! We booked the Deluxe Castle Tour for our honeymoon and we could not have asked for a better experience!!! Martina did a fantastic job helping us decide which tour would meet our sightseeing criteria, and she helped us figure out what to pack and responded quickly to our questions via email.

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Sean Daugherty

June 2018  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

This Deluxe Castle Tour was phenomenal. The staff and tour guide were beyond excellent and my wife and I enjoyed the trip very much. If you get the chance to tour Ireland, I would highly recommend this company and this particular tour. It was first class! Thank you Tony and Martina for making our 30th anniversary trip one to remember.

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Susan Ouellet

February 2018  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

We absolutely can't say enough about our My Ireland Deluxe Castle Tour. We are telling all our friends...do this...you will NOT regret it. Enda, our driver/tour guide was absolutely amazing...to the point that we miss hearing his voice every day. He was full of wonderful information and insight about what we were seeing and the people. All the other guides we met along the way were also extremely knowledgeable. The hotels were gorgeously stunning to stay in and we were treated as royalty by much of the staff at each hotel. Despite some days with poor weather, we were able to keep smiling and keep seeing the many highlights that were on our bucket list. We even got engaged on the Cliffs of Moher...and all our tour-mates and Enda made that joyous occasion even more so. We would absolutely recommend and take another tour with My Ireland Tour...and would absolutely request Enda as our guide.

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Tonjua Donnelly

October 2017  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

Job well done! to my husband who set up the trip and to My Ireland Tour for being a great host to the Emerald Island. We had a fantastic time and met some wonderful people. Plus, our tour guide/bus driver Edna Sheehan was just amazing. We did the Deluxe Irish Castle Tour and went around a good portion of the island and saw a lot of history. Our accommodations at each location had very nice rooms, excellent food and wonderful staff members. We took our time in the mornings to take leisure walks to explore the grounds and the many wonderful sites to see. During the day we did our exploring with Edna to all Ireland's amazing sites and history. At night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with new friends. Just a time to remember for a lifetime. Can't say enough wonderful things about Ireland, My Ireland Tour and Enda Sheehan!

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Michael Gaumer

September 2017  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

Absolutely AMAZING!!!! My son and I went on the Deluxe Castle Tour and everything far exceeded our hopes and expectations , our driver / guide, Brian O'Rourke was fantastic , he provided very interesting information along the way and worked very hard to make our trip incredible . All of the lodging was first class and the meals were outstanding , we visited some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen , the Hill of Tara , Cliffs of Moher and the rest of the Ring of Kerry , simply breathtaking pictures do not even begin to do it justice. The historic sites : the walled city of Derry , Kylemore Abbey , the Rock of Cashel , Trinity College , Christchurch Cathedral and the Blarney Castle were outstanding , so much history . Our schedule had enough flexible time for individuals in our group to do their own sight seeing , I enjoyed our time in the Guinness Storehouse . I would highly recommend My Ireland Tour to anyone interested in visiting Ireland , I am anxiously waiting to return with the rest of my family so that they can have the same experience . I am looking forward to traveling with My Ireland Tours again , in the near future . Thank you Kristel and My Ireland Tours for giving my son and I memories that will last a lifetime :-)

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Kristin Garro

September 2017  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

My mother and I had a fantastic time on the Deluxe Castle Tour with My Ireland Tours. The company is based locally in Ireland; the tour group was just 20 people; the bus was spacious and comfortable; and most importantly, our guide (Brian) was fantastic! Staying at the castles was fun and one of our favorites moments of the trip was pulling up to Lough Eske Castle where the staff members greeted us out front lined up like the scenes Downton Abbey! The tour stops were all interesting and worthwhile, but two of the best stops were unplanned places Brian added once he got to know the group (Triona Tweed shop in Donegal and Celtic Crystal near Galway.) Our tour group had a range of people: married couples and single travelers; a teenager and some senior citizens; Americans and Brits, etc. We were a mother/adult daughter duo and it was a great fit for us. Go to Ireland! You'll love it!

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Holliday Harrigan

August 2017  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

Fantastic experience! My husband and I went on the 10-Day Deluxe Castle tour in mid-July and it was perfect. Our main concern was what the group dynamic would be - a bunch of strangers together on a bus for 9 days?? It ended up being great! Our entire group was 12 people; many of them told us of previous tours they had gone on with other popular companies where they were part of 50+ people, so there were two buses full of tourists getting on and off the bus at every site; sounds like mayhem and pretty impersonal. All of us were from the US, of all walks of life, with all different interests and experiences, but we were all eager to explore and see everything we could while in Ireland. We all had two seats to ourselves on the bus, so we could spread out as we pleased. It also allowed us to eat most breakfasts and dinners together which was a great bonding time. Don't even get me started on our bus driver, the wonderful Brian. He was so kind and eager to let us do as much as we could.

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Mike Curtis

July 2017  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

The 'BEST' that we could hoped for! My wife and I were celebrating our 30th anniversary during the Deluxe Castle Tour. The tours, accommodations, the food, and our tour guide Tom were outstanding! Every day was a new treat with the different tours and accommodations. Only having 26 people on the tour was perfect size, plenty of room to spread out on the bus. We made friends for life and memories we will cherish forever.

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TheSymphony06

June 2017  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

We thoroughly enjoyed our Deluxe Castle Tour! Every detail was met. Kristel, in the office did a great job in planning and attending to the details of our trip and accommodations. Every place we stayed was beautiful. The places we visited on the tour were interesting and fun. Tony our tour guide is simply the best! He was very informative and has a very nice singing voice! What a treat it was to learn from and travel with him. If you have a chance to travel with Tony, take it! Since this was our 40th anniversary celebration, extra special touches were added. This was truly the trip of a lifetime. We highly recommend using My Ireland Tour when traveling to Ireland. It really is the best way to go. You will be pleased.

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Kris Day

November 2016  •  Deluxe Castles Tour

We went on the luxury castle tour and got a very good, broad sense of Ireland. The tour went into Northern Ireland and then south in a general loop of the island back into Dublin. At some stops we had local guides who were fantastic. More of that could be good, but we feel like we got what we paid for. Some hotels were definitely superior to others. The dinners at the great hotels were great but the dinners at the attractive but mediocre hotels were clearly on a 'package' level and midrange quality which was our biggest disappointment. It would suit me if they moved dinners to 7PM instead of 7:00 and 8:00.

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This tour is great for...

The stunning Ballynahinch Castle with panoramic views over the lake

Stay in Castles

You will be staying and dining in some of Ireland's very best castles and manor houses. Live like royalty as you make yourself at home in these historic buildings. Your accommodation includes Ballynahinch Castle, overlooking its stunning lake and grounds (pictured above).

Ballynahinch Castle, your home during your time in Connemara, Ireland

Luxury Tour

The Deluxe Irish Castles Tour offers a first-class experience in comfort, luxury and inclusively. Travel in total comfort. Stay in uncompromising luxury. And enjoy one of the most inclusive Ireland tour packages you will find anywhere on this fair isle.

Tourists chat to a farmer during their Ireland Tour

All-Ireland Experience

From the city walls of Derry / Londonderry (Northern Ireland) to the breath-taking beauty of the Cork and Kerry mountains. This is a tour designed to show you the very best of the Emerald Isle. Always travelling at a comfortable pace, you will journey widely throughout a nation that is always equally welcoming wherever you go.

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Tour Accommodation Stay in luxury Irish Castles

The Deluxe Irish Castles Tour welcomes you to a different class of accommodation. On this Ireland tour, you will be staying in some of Ireland's finest castles and manor houses. We are very proud of the range of luxury accommodation we have put together for this exclusive journey. Many of these castle hotels and manors are family-owned, just like ourselves, and we have a long standing relationship with them all.

We know and trust the accommodation providers we use for our tours of Ireland, and we choose them carefully based not only on their star rating, but also on their location, service, value and character. With 30 years of experience offering tours of Ireland, we have the knowledge, the experience and the local contacts to design the perfect accommodation package for your vacation.

Tour Transport

Travel in Style

On a tour vacation, the journey can be just as important as the destination. That's why our vehicles are all of the highest standards both in terms of luxury and reliability. For our tour vehicles we use 34-seater coaches, but limit the number of participants to 26. This gives you more space to spread out, relax and enjoy the wonderous scenery. This Smaller Group Size is a core principle in our tours.

Please note: The Coach shown here is one of four 34 Seater Coaches we use on our Max. 26 Guest Tours. For any reason, should one of these become unavailable for your tour we will endeavour to provide you with an equally luxurious and comfortable touring vehicle.

Vehicle Features

  • Space to spread out
  • Tinted Windows
  • Panoramic Outlook
  • Air Conditioning
  • On-board Fridges

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Why Book with My Ireland Tour?

Our Small group guarantee

Because we want every guest to get the comfort, space and service they deserve. Find out more...

Unbeatable Value. No middle man.

We only sell our own tours. No middle man. That means the best possible value for you. Just compare!

Ireland's Top Rated Tour Company

Ninety-eight per cent of our guests' reviews have given us the perfect five-stars. Read our reviews...

Irish family business in Cork

Expect a warm and friendly service from a family business that's proudly small, proudly Irish.

Experienced Irish Driver Guide

Our driver-guides are expertly knowledgeable in all aspects of Irish life, history and culture.

Specialist Experts in Ireland Tours

Irish-born experts with a wealth of experience in the Irish tourism specifically. Trusted local experts.

No sales pitches. No up-selling

Our tours are inclusive packages. No up-selling, no arm-twisting, no sales pitches.

Your tour will run. Guaranteed.

We never cancel tours or change dates. If you book, the tour is guaranteed to run.

What's included in my vacation?

Included

  • Hospitality

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 Evening Meals
  • 9 Full Irish Breakfasts
  • 1 Pub Lunch
  • More

  • Irish Driver-Guide
  • Group Airport Transfers
  • All local taxes
  • Porterage of one suitcase per person
  • Luxury Air Conditioned Coach

Not Included

  • Air fares to & from Ireland
  • Gratuity for the Driver-Guide (one person)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Lunches except:
    • Blind Piper Pub Lunch on Day 7
  • Beverages except Tea / Coffee with Breakfast & Evening Dinner
  • Laundry
  • Room Service
  • Telephone Charges

Paying for your Escorted Tour of Ireland

Balance Payments:

The full balance is due 60 days before your tour.

Currency:

All payments are in Euros.

Credit Cards & Fees:

We do not charge any fees for paying by credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

Children's Rate:

Children ages 8 yrs - 17 yrs inclusive receive a 10% discount on the prices. Children must share a room with a least 1 adult. Our tours do not cater for children 7 yrs or younger. You must be 18 or over to travel on our Mini-Group Tours.

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The General Post Office

The General Post Office of Ireland The General Post Office of Ireland

The General Post Office of Ireland had many homes before finally settling on its current location of O'Connell Street, on January 6th 1818. It is most famous for housing the Irish Rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916.

The building was destroyed by fire during the uprising and was left unattended until the Irish Free State government set about restoring it. The General Post Office now acts as a visitor centre and sheds an amazing light on some of Ireland's darkest days and the country it was to become.