The Soft Places of Ireland
One of our key missions is to create unique programs in collaboration with our clients. In many cases we suggest an initial program based on overall criteria expressed by the client but every so often we follow the lead of the client and discover a whole new way of looking at a destination. Such is the case with this program where a client indicated that she did not want just the tourist places in Ireland but, as she put it “the softer places of Ireland” and so this program came into existence. In addition to the normal sights you will stay at a quaint inn on the grounds of Kilkenny Caste, take part in a Hurling match, the national sport of Ireland and enjoy a craft brew far removed from Guinness. Our client liked the result and we thought you might too. This version involves one of our delightful raconteur/drivers but could, if you wished, be operated as a self-drive program.
Depart the USA bound for the Emerald Isle
Day 2: Arrival in Dublin
Upon arrival you will be met and driven into the Wicklow Mountains and the picturesque village of Macreddin. Take time to enjoy the village especially the microbrewery at your hotel’s pub. It also offers one of the first organic restaurants in Ireland
Day 3: Stately Homes and Gardens BREAKFAST
Today your driver will take you to visit two stately homes one of which is also known for its ornamental gardens. You have the chance to visit Avondale House and Kilruddery House and Gardens
Day 4: Glendalough and Sally Gap BREAKFAST
Your first stop today could be Glendalough the most significant monastic site in Ireland founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century. In a change of pace you drive through the Wicklow Mountains on what has been described as the most scenic drive in Ireland. Your driver will point out locations for movies such as The Vikings, Excalibur and Braveheart
Day 5: Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfalls BREAKFAST
Take time to visit Powerscourt whose main building has been ranked as one of the top ten houses and mansions in the world by Lonely Planet. The gardens have been rated number three in the world by National Geographic. The Powerscourt waterfall is about four miles from the house but well worth a visit. At close to 400 feet, it is the highest waterfall in Ireland
Day 6: The Tranquil Beauty of Kilkenny BREAKFAST
Leave County Wicklow and head south to County Kilkenny and its main town of the same name. Known for its setting on the River Nore, its many craft shops and quaint alleyways it is also home to Kilkenny Castle on whose grounds your hotel sits. Tour the castle and visit Smithwick Brewery as you explore the town.
Day 7: Hurling and Culinary Delights
Kilkenny has a major hurling team. This sport, a combination of lacrosse and rugby is very popular and Nowlan Park, the home of the Kilkenny team is a place you will visit. You will also be taken on a Culinary Tour of the town.
Day 8: Kinsale, the food capital of Ireland BREAKFAST AND DINNER
ead to the coast stopping in the university town of Cork where you have a chance to explore the English Market ironically offering the best of Irish food. Continue to the coast and the fishing village of Kinsale. Today is it known for the many fine restaurants mostly focused on fish. Tonight you will dine at Fishy, Fishy, one of our favorites
Day 9: Whiskey and the Art of the Kitchen BREAKFAST AND DINNER
In 1975 the noted firm of Jameson moved its distillery from Dublin to Midleton to handle increased business. You will tour the facility and taste a variety of whiskies. In the afternoon you will attend a small group cooking class at the Ballymaloe Cooking School.
Day 10: From Kinsale to Kenmare BREAKFAST
Leave Kinsale and follow the Wild Atlantic Way to Killarney where you take a cruise on the Killarney lakes and a ride around Muckross Estate in a Jaunting Car. Continue to Kenmare and your lodge located in over 350 scenic acres complete with lake.
Day 11: The Ring of Kerry BREAKFAST
No trip to Ireland is complete without a drive around the Ring of Kerry which combines mountains, coastal vistas, scenic valleys and quaint country life. Enjoy a private sheep dog demonstration as the collies show you their stuff in keeping sheep in line.
Day 12: Doolin and the Aran Islands BREAKFAST
Follow the Atlantic coast to the charming village of Doolin where you board a boat to the Aran Islands located offshore and representing the last part of Ireland where Gaelic is spoken. Take time to wander around the island and enjoy the view of the Cliffs of Moher seen from a sea perspective. Return to shore and drive to Adare to overnight.
Day 13: The Heritage and Music of Ireland BREAKFAST AND DINNER
Start your day with a visit to the Cliffs of Moher to view them from the land side and have a view of the Aran Islands out to sea. Spend time at Bunratty Folk Park with homes and crafts indigenous to Ireland. It’s also a good place to have lunch. In the evening you will be taken to Bunratty Castle where you enjoy good food, good wine and Irish music and dancing
Day 14: In Dublin’s Fair City… BREAKFAST
From Adare you will be driven to the east coast of Ireland and the capital city of Ireland. You will have a tour of the main sights of the city including Trinity College, Stephens Green, O’Donnell Street and the charming squares of Georgian Dublin. You finish your stay in Ireland at a Castle which is conveniently close to the airport.
Day 15: Homeward Bound Breakfast
You will be transferred to the airport for the return flight to the USA
For this suggested program we have chosen the following properties but we are happy to use other properties based on your personal preference provided that they meet our standards of quality and value.
- Macreddin: Brooklodge Hotel
- Kilkenny: Butler House
- Kinsale: Trident Hotel
- Kenmare: Sheen Falls Lodge
- Adare: Dunraven Arms
- Dublin: Clontarf Castle
*Prices start at the above price.