Irish Castles and Manors Silver 7 Night Tour

Day 1 – Dublin Airport to Kilkenny

Upon your arrival into Dublin Airport it’s time collect your Hertz Car Rental and start your 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 southeast of Dublin to Kilkenny. Your first stop is the National Stud and Japanese Gardens where a Horse Museum tracing the history of the horse in Ireland. In fact the winner of the 2003 Californian ‘Breeders Cup Mile’ race is a National Stud horse, the 3rd in the last 9 years. The Japanese Gardens are situated in the grounds of the Stud Farm and were created between 1906 and 1910. They are planned to symbolise the 'Life of Man' from the cradle to the grave.  On to Kilkenny - Long renowned as Ireland’s Medieval Capital, the city’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. Kilkenny Castle is a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands. Also in Kilkenny is Saint Canice's Cathedral, built on the site of an earlier church, the major work was carried out in the 13th Century. As part of your tour, tickets for the ‘Smithwick’s Experience’ are included. This famous Irish Ale was first secretly produced in Kilkenny by monks in 1231 and this atmospheric tour culminates with a pint of this now world renowned Ale. 

Day 2 – Kilkenny to Ballyseede, County Kerry

This morning, you will be travelling from Kilkenny to the Kingdom of Kerry in Irelands spectacular South West. Your first stop today is the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Cashel was once the seat of the Kings of Munster and capital of this southern province. Kings of Ireland as well as Munster came to this spot and St. Patrick is known to have preached on the rock and converted the local King, Aenghus, here in the 5th Century. Just 10 miles further on stop is Cahir Castle. Once an important stronghold of the powerful Butler family, it is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. 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. There are many walks and trails around Killarney including a 2-hour tourist trail around the town itself. You will also have a chance to visit Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe with the Black Valley. From here, travel north to Ballyseede Castle just outside the town of Tralee where you will be spending the next 2 nights. Just a short distance from our offices, make sure to say hi to their 2 friendly resident canines, Einstein and Mr. Higgins.

Day 3 – Ring of Kerry/Dingle Peninsula

Today you may choose to simply relax in Ballyseede Castle and the nearby town of Tralee 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. Back to Tralee to relax in the luxurious surrounds of Ballyseede Castle.

Day 4 – To Adare, Bunratty and the Cliffs of Moher

One of the most dramatic days of your tour brings you to the west coast of 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. Continuing on 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 on the coast of West Clare. You then arrive at 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. Just north of the Cliffs you then have the lunar like Burren region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs.

Day 5 – Ferry trip to Aran Islands

Drive the short distance to Doolin pier and take the ferry to the Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. 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. For whatever reason, should you prefer not to take the ferry to the islands, then perhaps take a stunning cliff walk high above the Atlantic with stunning views of the Burren and Aran Islands. Travel to the lunar like Burren Region and the ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen Tombs. Also on route, you will have a chance to visit Dunguaire which was built in 1520 by the O'Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay. This evening, travel the short distance to Doolin or Lisdoonvarna to enjoy the best of traditional Irish music in one of the many excellent pubs.

Day 6 – To Dublin via Historic Meath

Today’s 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’. Depending on whether you took any detours earlier, you may have time to shop or sightsee in Dublin City Centre. Close to your hotel are many of the city’s most historic attractions including The Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, Dublin Castle and the National History Museum.

Day 7 – In Dublin

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 will 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. 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. In the evening you will attend the Irish House Party. The Irish House Party is completely unique in Dublin. Unlike any other traditional Irish music night in the city, it is organised and hosted by All-Ireland Champion traditional Irish musicians and dancers in an intimate and homely setting.

Day 8 – Homeward Bound

Regrettably, this morning it is time to leave for the airport unless of course you are one of the lucky ones who has planned post night stays in Dublin or Belfast City.