8 Night Irish Castles and Manors Platinum Tour

Day 1 – Dublin Airport to Wicklow

Upon your arrival into Dublin Airport it’s time collect your Hertz Car Rental and start your Deluxe Castle’s and Manor Tour of Ireland. Taking into account your long overnight flight, your first day’s drive is a short one, bringing you south of Dublin City to Wicklow, the Garden County of Ireland. 

Wicklow is home to many of Ireland’s most historic and majestic attractions. Take time today to visit Powerscourt House and Gardens  

First stop will be Powerscourt House & Gardens situated just beyond your hotel, an 18th Century Palladian House in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, you will find a sublime blend of formal gardens and ornamental lakes together with secret hollows, rambling walks and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs. On to the ancient monastic settlement at Glendalough. Glendalough is a truly spellbinding place - an ancient monastic settlement and two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep valley, which was carved out by glaciers during the Ice Age. The monastic settlement was established  by St. Kevin in the 6th century. From here, follow the signs for Avondale House. Built in 1779 Avondale House is set in the spectacular surroundings of Avondale Forest Park, now a museum to the memory of one of the greatest political leaders of modern Irish history, Charles Stewart Parnell, who was born in Avondale on 27th June, 1846. On to Avoca where you can take the Avoca Handweavers factory tour, famed worldwide for the quality of its woven fabrics. 

Day 2 – Wicklow to Waterford

What a day in store! Travel down to Waterford today. En-route you will have a number of sightseeing opportunites. Continue to Wexford where you can visit the Irish National Heritage Park. The Park, which is one of the country’s top attractions, features replications of Irish homesteads, burial and worship sites, and takes the visitor on tour through 9,000 years of Irish history. Further down towards Waterford visit The Kennedy Homestead. The Kennedy Homestead, birthplace of President John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy, celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty and is still farmed today by his descendants. Joining the multitudes of Irish fleeing the Great Famine, Patrick Kennedy departed from this homestead for the port of New Ross on a wet day in 1848 to set sail for the United States where his descendants were to become one of the world’s most famous families.

On to the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross. The Visitor Experience provides a unique, authentic re-creation from a period in history which shaped modern day America and Ireland. Visitors climb the gangplank to the main deck of the Dunbrody and descend a companionway to enter the quarters of the captain and mate and the stateroom assigned to important passengers. These quarters are fitted out exactly as they were for a voyage. From here to Waterford where you will have the chance to join a tour of the Waterford Crystal Facility. On to Ardmore and the stunningly located Cliff House Hotel where you will enjoy a gourmet meal in the Michelin Star restaurant of Chef Martijn Kajuiter.

Day 3 – Ardmore to Killarney, County Kerry

The following route includes visits to Midleton, Cobh and Blarney Castle. Cobh, situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbours, was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic in 1912 and was the closest port to the site of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. The heritage centre sympathetically recounts these events and tells the story of emigration from Ireland to the United States and Australia from the time of the famine in 1847 up to the 1950s. A stop to climb to the Blarney Castle ramparts to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’, said to bestow the gift of eloquence, and is a must for those who dare. On to Killarney with its three famous lakes and majestic mountain ranges. Killarney has been the inspiration of poets and painters over many centuries & the Killarney National Park is internationally renowned both for its scenic beauty and scientific interest. Other major visitor attractions in Killarney include the 19th Century Muckross House & Gardens & their Traditional Farms, the Torc Waterfall & Ross Castle overlooking the Lakes of Killarney and of course the Black Valley and the Gap of Dunloe. You will be staying at the Europe hotel on the shores of Loch Lein. If you arrive in time, why not take your complimentary short riding session on the hotels Austrian Halflinger ponies around the hotel grounds.

Day 4 – Ring of Kerry/Dingle Peninsula

Today you may choose to simply relax in your hotel and the nearby town of Killarney or take on a days touring of either the Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula to the west. While the Dingle Peninsula is the shorter drive and is graced with more interesting antiquities, historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry includes the stunning views over the lakes of Killarney from Moll’s Gap as well as numerous colourful villages on this route. Not for the faint-hearted, you will remember this mountain pass drive forever.

The Dingle route includes visits to the lovely fishing town of Dingle and beyond to Dunbeag Promontory Fort, an archaeological site on the from the late Bronze Age, 800 BC. Continue on to Slea Head and here you will see Dun An Oir (Fort of Gold). Here in 1580, after three days siege, over 600 Irish and Spanish soldiers surrendered to Lord Grey only to be massacred by his troops. Nearby is the Gallarus Oratory, one of the best preserved early Christian church buildings in Ireland.

Day 5 – To Dromoland Castle in County Clare

First stop will be the Village of Adare in County Limerick. Adare is regarded by many a seasoned traveller as Ireland’s prettiest village with its charming thatched cottages, manicured public park and ancient church. From Adare continue towards Limerick City of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ fame and home to King Johns Castle. Shortly after this, you arrive at Bunratty Castle. Built in 1425, this majestic castle was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour. Within the grounds of the Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th century Irish life is vividly recreated.

Just north of Bunratty lies the majestic Dromoland Castle. Enjoy the castle grounds on arrival and following a private falconry session, enjoy a sumptuous meal in the Earl of Thomond restaurant.

Day 6 – To the Cliffs of Moher and Burren Region

This morning travel to the magnificent ‘Cliffs of Moher’. The majestic Cliffs of Moher are without doubt one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights and overlook the Atlantic Ocean and the Aran Islands on the coast of West Clare. Just north of the cliffs is the village of Doolin. Doolin is world-famous for its wealth of Irish folk music and in recent years has been attracting crowds to spontaneous sessions in any one of its excellent pubs. You then have the lunar like Burren region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs nearby.

An alternative to walking the cliffs and Burren region is to see them from the sea. With an early start, you may take the ferry to the Aran Islands from Doolin Pier. Aran will take you back to an Ireland of Celts and Early Christians. Take a pony and trap, or a guided tour from the pier up the island to the stone fort of Dun Aonghus. The fort is located on top of a 300ft high sea cliff and is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe.

This evening, attend the Bunratty Castle Medieval banquet just 10 minutes from Dromoland.

Day 7 – To Historic Meath and Dublin

Todays journey brings you east to our capital city of Dublin. A slight detour will also allow you a visit to the megalithic tombs of Newgrange. One of the great wonders of the ancient world, Newgrange is older than Stonehenge, Mycenae or even the Pyramids of Egypt and is foremost among the passage-tombs of Europe. Also in this area are the Hill of Tara (seat of Ireland’s ancient High Kings) and Trim castle, featured in the Mel Gibson movie ‘Braveheart’.

Then it’s off to the luxurious Merrion Hotel in the city centre where, depending on whether you took any detours earlier, you may have time to shop or sightsee. Close to your hotel are many of the city’s most historic attractions including Trinity College, Dublin Castle and the National History Museum.

This evening, enjoy your gourmet dining experience at Patrick Guilbuad’s Michelin star restaurant.

Day 8 – Dublin/Belfast or North Antrim Coast

Using the Hop-on Hop-off Bus ticket we provide, you will be able to visit many of Dublin’s most renowned and historical locations. Amongst other sites, you may see the Guinness Storehouse, the National Museum of Art and the historic Kilmainham Gaol where all of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed. For a more light hearted experience, maybe a visit to the Irish Leprechaun Museum would be worth taking in. Perhaps spend some time shopping either before or after your afternoon tea experience at The Merrion. 

In the evening, there are many great Irish plays on in Dublin if that is to your taste. Of course, the authentic Dublin pub is an experience in itself and Dublin pub or literary tours are also freely available.

Day 9 – Homeward Bound

Regrettably, this morning it is time for your private transfer to Dublin Airport unless of course you are one of the lucky ones who has planned post night stays in Dublin City.