This is just a taster of what we can offer – everything we do is customised, so this can be tailored to suit your individual requirements.
Day 1 - Arrive Dublin
You will be met in the arrivals hall by your driver - Private Transfer to your hotel.
Enjoy a walking tour of the city with Pat Liddy, guide to HRH The Queen.
Enjoy a 3-hour walking tour of Dublin, and discover the historic city’s main sites, such as the bohemian Temple Bar district, and Dublin Castle. Immerse yourself in Irish history, and hear music and stories that make Ireland's capital city so unique.
- Stroll along the cobbles of Temple Bar and Trinity College, catching the cadences of Irish accents cascading through the streets
- Stand by the River Liffey and tilt your nose to inhale the hops wafting from the Guinness Brewery
- Marvel at the soft lilt of the Gaelic language
- Learn about some of Ireland's famous writers and freedom fighters
- Walk across the enchanting Ha'penny Bridge
Later enjoy afternoon tea with historian Turtle Bunbury at Number Ten
Speaker on Irish Culture - Turtle Bunbury – quite special!
The Hon. Turtle Bunbury, the younger son of Lord Rathdonnell, is a best-selling author and historian based in Ireland. His books include the Vanishing Ireland series, Sporting Legends of Ireland, The Irish Pub & Living in Sri Lanka. He was a curator of the first ever History Festival of Ireland in June 2012. He is the presenter on the 'Genealogy Roadshow', an ongoing tv series which first aired on Ireland's RTE1 television channel in 2011. In the 1990s he studied law and modern history at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and Trinity College Dublin and was then a journalist for several years on the South China Morning Post and in Cambodia.
Number 10 is a beautifully restored Georgian House on the Quays in the Centre of Dublin. It's Owner, Mr John Lynch has a wonderful collection of magnificent antiques, fine art and Modern Irish Art.
High Tea at Number Ten - This includes an escorted tour of the house with John Lynch (on request), silver service afternoon tea or morning coffee and/or a glass of prosecco, and warm scones served with clotted cream and homemade preserves, assorted finger sandwiches, miniature pastries and a selection of cakes, served in the Gallery Picture Room.
Overnight at The Merrion Hotel – Main House Junior Suite
Day 2 - The Grand Tour of Kildare & Wicklow
The Grand Tour is the quintessential circuit of Kildare and Wicklow, taking in the most spectacular scenery, the most beautiful big houses and gardens and the most intriguing Early Christian heritage sites… in a route as suited to a short visit as a long, leisurely meander.
Historically, the ‘Grand Tour’ was a European sojourn undertaken by young aristocrats, a rite of passage soaking up the continental highlights. Kildare and Wicklow recapture this notion, offering a complete Irish experience within a short drive of Dublin.
Roam from St. Kevin’s sixth-century monastic settlement at Glendalough to great mansions like Russborough and Carton House. Stop to smell the flowers in ravishing Irish gardens, savour warm village welcomes, or soak up epic scenery ranging from grassy plains, glacial lakes and wild mountain passes to a surprising eastern coastline. Enjoy a private Sheepdog demonstration at Russborough House.
Along with the hotspots, you’ll find plenty of hidden gems: a Givenchy dress worn by Princess Grace at the Newbridge Museum of Style Icons; a submerged townland beneath the Blessington Lakes, a fairy bower at Lullymore, at the heart of the Bog of Allen. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure right on Dublin’s doorstep.
Once back in Dublin, enjoy a private Literary Pub Crawl.
Colm Quilligan kicks off the Literary Pub Crawl with a song - Waxie's Dargle, with cheerful lines such as "When food is scarce and you see the hearse / You'll know you've died of hunger" - then takes us from the Duke pub through the cobbled square of Trinity College and into several pubs in a nearby maze of narrow streets.
He quotes at ease from Joyce, Behan, Beckett, Yeats and even James Larkin and Flann O'Brien, and although he must have said it all 1,000 times, he is witty, enthusiastic and informative, happy to veer off the mark and into subjects that wouldn't be covered by the city's tourist brochures, such as Eamon de Valera's signing, in 1945, of a condolence book for Adolf Hitler...
Overnight at The Merrion Hotel – Main House Junior Suite
Day 3 - Tour To The West – Royal Lunch
Travel through the gentle midlands of Ireland, a land of sensuously curving rivers, rolling hills and wide open bogs where grouse and skylark song breaks the windswept silence. There will be hidden gardens to explore, and historic mansions to visit.
Lunch at Birr Castle with the Earl & Countess of Ross
Birr Castle Demesne is open to the public every day of the year and attracts an average of over fifty thousand visitors annually. The castle itself, however, remains a private residence: still the home of the family which originally built it and has lived there ever since for some fourteen generations. Two hundred years ago, this family, called Parsons, inherited the Earldom of Rosse, and the present head of the family living at Birr Castle is Brendan Parsons, Seventh Earl of Rosse.
You will first be entertained with sherry or sparkling wine in the tapestried hall, which provides the most appropriate setting for a brief history of the castle and of the family.
Lunch is served…
Lunch is served in the rich red dining room, where the last seven generations, who built up everything from the Telescope to the gardens, look down from their formal portraits on the walls. Under a massive early ormolu and cut-glass chandelier, the main castle dining table seats over twenty whilst a more intimate one in an alcove overlooking the forecourt seats a further eight or nine. The tables are set with various family heirlooms, in silver, china or glass, all on family linen tablecloths and if the party is not too large, lunch ends with coffee served in cups specially commissioned to portray the castle nearly 200 years ago.
The tour continues…
After lunch, the family portraits and furniture in the dining room may be pointed out, as well as the great staircase, which dates from the reign of Charles II and is made entirely of yew wood.
Unless already included in the programme before lunch, Lord Rosse will take the group into the gardens to see the Great Telescope, as well as the galleries of Ireland’s Historic Science Centre, which is located in the castle’s old stable block. Lord Rosse will also show the group as much of the Demesne’s beautiful gardens as the programme may allow for.
Then back on the road to Ashford Castle – Irelands Grandest Castle Hotel
Dinner at your hotel tonight – drinks payable direct
Overnight at Ashford Castle – Junior State
Day 4 - Rib & Helicopter Tour OR Inishturk, Off-shore Inhabited Island
Rib & Helicopter Tour
- Being picked up at Bundorragha Harbour by a powerboat/rib, and visiting mussel and oyster farms along the fjord, with explanations and demonstrations of what is involved,
- Sampling fresh oysters with a glass of Guinness or white wine.
- Then follows a scenic walk to a traditional farm to watch a demonstration of sheep shearing, working sheep dogs and turf cutting.
- On returning to the boat, travel along the fjord to a scenic spot or deserted island (weather permitting) to enjoy a special Delphi picnic lunch.
- After lunch, a visit to a deserted Famine Village, only accessible by boat, where we can begin to understand the complex tragedy of the famine. This includes everything from the dependency on the potato to the culture and politics of the time and the harsh evictions that soon followed and scattered the Irish to the four corners of the world. A very special and memorable day to treasure forever.
Lastly, Return by Helicopter to Ashford with a final chance to take in the mesmerising Connemara coastal scenery "it really was for real".
Alternative Activity instead of the helicopter – Seafood & Farming Traditions Day
Killary Harbour is a dramatic deep fjord that penetrates 12km inland from the Atlantic and into which the lakes and rivers of the Delphi valley drain. It produces what is arguably Europe’s best selection of fresh shellfish within surrounding farm lands that have remained unchanged for generations.
The day begins with pickup by powerboat at the pier and visiting mussel and oyster farms along the fjord, explaining and demonstrating what is involved, and sampling fresh oysters with a glass of Guinness or white wine.
Then follows a scenic walk to a traditional farm to watch a demonstration of sheep shearing, working sheep dogs and turf cutting. On returning to the boat, travel along the fjord to a scenic spot to enjoy a special picnic lunch before returning to the pier at about 4pm.
Overnight at Ashford Castle – Junior Stateroom
Day 5 - Tour to Adare by way of The Cliffs & The Burren
The Cliffs of Moher, a sheer precipice 8 km long and rising to a height of 203m, is one of the most impressive stretches coastline in the West of Ireland, remarkable especially at nesting seasons for the quantity and variety of seabirds there.
The Burren - Words simply cannot do justice to this eerie, peculiar, 193-square mile area of ancient seabed that suffered glacial activity during its long history. The Burren, is a bare lunar-like landscape of a limestone plateau dotted with Stone Age forts and megalithic tombs.
Snuggled in a wooded and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Ireland’s prettiest and most picturesque village. Situated on the River Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: "Ath Dara" - the "ford of the oak" - from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. The bridge by which you enter the village, in the shadow of the ruined Desmond Castle, was built in 1329. Two groups of world famous ornate, thatched cottages line part of the village’s broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins.
On arrival at Adare, be greeted by a horse & hound welcome
Overnight at Adare Manor - Stateroom
Day 6 - Secret Ireland Escape
Discover a whole new standard of Irish hospitality with private access to the parts of Ireland many rarely get to see.
Experience a 'new' Ireland as we arrive at a modern villa, designed by a world renowned Irish architect. Meet the owners and view their private collection of contemporary Irish art & sculpture. Relish as only the best of fresh Irish seafood is served for lunch - a truly gastronomic experience. Dessert is served with a range of artisan treats, Nespresso coffees and/or Irish Liqueurs.
First Stop - Villa combined with Art Tour and Seafood Platter Lunch
Second Stop - Arrive at one of the following:
a) Hunters Manor- Receive three Irish whisky tastings in a private Shebeen in the company of the Lady of the Manor.
b) Private Castle- receive a full tour to the rooftop terrace and enjoy a Meade tasting at this secluded castle. Nestled on its very own island and restored to its original condition, the castle is now used as a private summer home.
Final Stop - Arrive at Garrykennedy, one of Ireland's smallest villages. Choose any of the following experiences:
a) Learn how to pull the perfect Pint of Guinness
b) Enjoy a wide selection of warm artisan tapas
c) Receive a local Craft Beer Tasting of a light beer, The Blonde, or, a dark ale The Ruby Red
Your luxury mode of transport for the day is The AZUL, Ireland's only skippered motor yacht.
Then, onwards to the Kingdom of Kerry
Overnight at Muckross Park Hotel – Superior Suite
Day 7 - Gap of Dunloe & Dingle Peninsula
The Gap of Dunloe Day Tour - Once in Killarney tour to the world renowned Kate Kearney’s cottage. Here, you take a 7-mile jaunt on a pony and trap through the Gap of Dunloe where you can view a spectacular glaciated valley. The Gap is a narrow mountain pass between MacGillycuddy Reeks (to the west) and the Purple Mountain (to the east) and five lakes all connected by the river Loe. This area is often described as one of the most spectacular glaciated valleys in Western Europe. This part of the journey just takes under 2 hours.
Your pony and trap ride ends at Lord Brandon’s Cottage where you can enjoy a light snack (not included).
This afternoon explore the Dingle Peninsula.
Set off along the shore of Dingle Bay to explore this lovely peninsula. You pass Inch Strand where ancient red cliffs lead down to a sandy spit going far out into the sea. This was one of the entrances to Tir Na Oge, the land of eternal youth of the legend of Niamh and Ossian. It was also used in the film Ryan’s Daughter, which you should see on DVD before travelling. Here also is Annascul, where John Crean lived, an Antarctic explorer with Shackleton. Coming on towards Dingle the road winds along the coast, past the ruins of Minard Castle.
The Dingle Peninsula has been inhabited for almost 6,000 years. The first settlers on the peninsula were nomadic hunters and gatherers who foraged on the coast for their food. Later, Stone Age man and Bronze Age man were to build their tombs, erect their standing stones, and till the land for the first time. The Celtic population arrived in the couple of hundred years before the birth of Christ and brought their ancestral goddess "Duibhne", after which the Dingle Peninsula has been named in Gaelic: Corca Dhuibhne, the tribe of Duibhne. In the centuries that followed, the peninsula was to be visited by Vikings, Normans and the English.
Overnight at Muckross Park Hotel – Superior Suite
Day 8 - Tour to Cork
Explore Kinsale - Gourmet Capital of Ireland
Kinsale town's fame was established years ago as a quaint seaside town with delicious restaurants and carefully preserved 18th-century buildings. In the 1960's Heidi McNeice, the wife of the poet opened the first restaurant here and it rapidly became a magnet for the world's glitterati. In the last decade it has become unquestionably the gourmet capital of Ireland; with music and cinema stars bidding up local real estate values, it is also one of the most expensive.
Kinsale is a National Tidy Towns Winner too but for all that it's still a very agreeable place. Once, it was an important naval port. In 1601 the Irish joined forces with Spain against the English, and the Spanish fleet anchored here before the disastrous battle of Kinsale, which led to the 'Flight of the Earls' and put an end to the rebellion against Elizabeth I and her reconquest of Ireland. St Multose Church is the oldest building in town, parts of it dating from the 13th century. Inside are the old town stocks. The churchyard has several interesting 16th-century gravestones which in spring are covered in white bells and bluebells, and in summer red valerian grows out of crevices in every wall. Desmond Castle, a tower house from the 1500s, was once used as a customs house, and later as a prison for captured American sailors in the War of Independence; it now houses an 'International Museum of Wine'. There is also an interesting museum in the old courthouse and market building, with material associated with the life of the town and port through the centuries.
Overnight Hayfield Manor - Grand Suite
Day 9 - Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey
Middleton Distillery, and enjoy a private tour and tasting.
Set on 15 acres and beautifully restored, this is where the true heart of Irish whiskey beats. The old distillery is a unique experience with some of the buildings dating back to 1795. Take a journey through history and see the old kilns, mills and malting, water wheel and old warehouses.
You will be lead through the extraordinary story of Jameson Irish Whiskey. A short film sets the scene before your guide walks you through the old distillery. After the tour enjoy a tutored whisky tasting to become a certified Irish Whiskey Taster!
The Jameson restaurant, the Malt House, is a great place to enjoy a delicious lunch before hitting the road. Don’t forget to pick up your personalised bottle of Jameson, with your choice of engraving.
Then, on to meet the three Jameson sisters, Kristin, Andrea and Tara- ninth generation direct descendants of John Jameson, whose name is synonymous with Irish whiskey.
Enjoy tea followed by a glass of Jameson poured by a Jameson!
Overnight Hayfield Manor - Grand Suite
Day 10 & 11 - Ballyfin House
Be sure to arrive at Ballyfin Demense in time for lunch, as the stay includes Irish breakfast, lunch, tea, coffee & homemade cookies & cake, soft drinks, a pre-dinner drinks reception, gourmet dinner, bedroom minibar of soft drinks and snacks, laundry and pressing facilities and use of most on-site recreational facilities (equipment supplied).
Enjoy the Demesne
Activities include boating and fishing on the lake, biking riding, picnics, exploring the 600-acre estate, swimming pool and fitness centre, spa treatments, wine and whisky tasting, and feasting on Chef Cordonniers fine food.
Overnight Ballyfin Demesne – Junior Suite
Day 12 - Transfer to Dublin Airport