Welcome - you've arrived on your Irish castle tour. On arrival in Dublin Airport, reclaim your baggage and enter the Arrivals Hall. Here, you will meet your Irish tour guide (who is also your driver). 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 the hotel restaurant, where you will become acquainted with your fellow-travellers and the coming days can be discussed at leisure with your tour guide.
After some much-needed sleep and a hearty full Irish breakfast, we will depart for the 5-star Lough Eske Castle.
Our first stop today will be County Meath. Trim Castle. The largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter built it over a 30-year period and finished it in 1206. Trim Castle was also a film location for the movie "Braveheart".
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, and has been in operation since 1857.
Cross the border back into Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and travel on to Lough Eske. Enjoy a 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.
Leisurely morning on the grounds of Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa. Depart for the historic fortified walled city of Derry/Londonderry City. This historic fortified walled city is located on the River Foyle 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.
Take some free time in Derry/Londonderry City to visit the shops and cafes of the area and get a flavour of Northern Ireland, before returning to Lough Eske Castle Hotel. Again this evening dine in Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa.
This morning, after breakfast, you will depart for Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate. A luxurious 5-star hotel in Co. Galway, Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate is nestled elegantly on pristine 138-acre grounds, alongside Ireland's largest lake.
Your route south to Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate will take you to Drumcliffe. Located in County Sligo, this is the picturesque final resting place of W.B. Yeats. Here you can read the epitaph on the grave of one of Ireland's greatest poets.
Travel on to beautiful Westport Town in County Mayo, 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 Town and wander along Bridge Street with its colourful and friendly mix of traditional shops and pubs.
Travel on to Kylemore where you will visit Kylemore Abbey. An historic building nestled at the base of Duchruach Mountain, on the northern shore 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 Bushypark, County Galway.
Tonight, you will overnight and dine in Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate. After dinner, you might like to retire to the friendly Oak Cellar Bar for a nightcap before bed.
This morning after breakfast, take some time to explore at your leisure the extensive grounds of Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate. There are some who visit Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate and never leave the grounds during their stay, such is the splendour of the surroundings. The array of activities is another reason people like to linger on the grounds. Hours, if not days could be spent indulging in fishing, falconry, traditional boat tours, golfing and cycling.
Later this morning, if the lure of the manor grounds is not too strong, you will travel along the shores of the famous Galway Bay into Galway City.
You will have the afternoon free in Galway City, known as the "City of the Tribes", it is located right on the famous Wild Atlantic Way. Here you can take a ramble to Salthill Promenade, a Wild Atlantic Way discovery point, or down Quay Street with its many great pubs including "The Quays" and "Ti Neachtain" — a townhouse which belonged to "Humanity Dick", an eighteenth century MP who promoted laws against cruelty to animals.
Return to Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate.
Tonight you will overnight and dine in Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate.
This morning after breakfast, you will depart for the Cahernane House Hotel, situated less than 2 miles from Killarney National Park. The hotel is set in a beautiful mansion dating back to the 1870s and on impeccably manicured grounds. Your journey to Killarney Town 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 1640s, 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 Atlantic coast you will visit the Cliffs of Moher. Braced against the ocean, on the coast of County Clare. Here you will stand on the dramatic 702ft (214m) high and 9 miles (14km) long cliffs, a Wild Atlantic Way signature discovery point, 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 Town.
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.
This morning after breakfast, you will set off on the world-famous Ring Of Kerry. It is officially known as the Iveragh Peninsula. You will travel via Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Coomakesta Pass with it magnificent views over Derrynane, home of Daniel O' Connell, known as "The Liberator", to Caherdaniel. Travel on via the hamlet of Castlecove, the colourful village of Sneem and on via Moll’s Gap, Ladies View, Killarney National Park and along the Lakes of Killarney to Killarney town.
Stop over at the Blind Piper Pub. Here you will have a traditional Irish Pub Lunch. Located in the village of Caherdaniel, locals and visitors alike have been drinking here since 1865. Who is the Blind Piper you might ask? The Blind Piper is Mici Cumba O'Sullivan, who was born nearby in 1835 and became one of Ireland's most famous pipers.
This morning after breakfast, you will depart for the 5-star The K Club. Set amidst over 550 acres of historic and intriguing gardens, walkways and parkland with magnificent views of the Kildare countryside and the River Liffey. Steeped in history The K Club combines old-world elegance with indulgent luxury. Formerly the home of the Barton's, founders of the famous wine firm Barton and Guestier, The K Club today is home to two golf courses including the Arnold Palmer-designed Ryder Cup Golf Course and the K Spa.
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 to Sir William Penn, whose son later founded the state of Pennsylvania. (This is a drive-by only and only noted for historical reasons as the castle is in ruins).
Travel on to the village of Blarney via the valley of the River Lee. Visit Blarney Castle. Built on this site in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy. You will have the chance to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone. You will also have an opportunity to shop at Blarney Woollen Mills, boasting a huge selection of Irish arts, crafts & produce.
Today, visit The Rock of Cashel. Rising dramatically from the grassy plains of county Tipperary. 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, before becoming High King of Ireland in 1002.
Continue on to County Kildare.
For guests who start their tour on the 10th of July, you will overnight & dine in Carton House. After dinner, you can enjoy a relaxing drink in The Carriage House bar.
After breakfast this morning, you will explore Dublin City.
Visit Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I on the site of an Augustinian monastery. See the Book Of Kells. The book, which is housed in Trinity College, is the most richly decorated of Ireland's medieval illuminated manuscripts. It contains the four gospels in Latin. Some of the dyes used were imported from as far as the Middle East.
Also included today is a visit to 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!
Take a trip to Guinness Storehouse. With an address at the world-famous St. James's Gate. Here you will tour the world-renowned brewery and enjoy a perfect complimentary pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar — located at the top of a glass tower that commands spectacular views of Dublin City.
Return to County Kildare.
Tonight you will overnight & dine in The K Club.
For guests who start their tour on the 10th of July, you will overnight & dine in Carton House.
Today marks the end of the Deluxe Castle Tour of Ireland.
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.