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An Irish Celebration

  • Ireland
  • OVERVIEW
  • ITINERARY
  • HIGHLIGHTS


An Irish Celebration

10 Days

For the ultimate celebration, we have combined two very special ‘house parties’ for you and your friends.   Explore some of the most scenic parts of Ireland by luxury train, chartered exclusively for you to enjoy . To follow, spend four nights in a private and magical castle, dating from the 1100’s but offering the very best in modern day luxuries.  Not only is your accommodation very special, the experiences offered throughout will allow you to get a true feel of this wonderful country.

 

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HOLIDAY ITINERARY



Day One: Arrival into Dublin

Day Two: Belmond Grand Hibernian  Dublin – Cork – Charleville

Day Three: Belmond Grand Hibernian  Charlville – Cork – Killarney

Day Four: Belmond Grand Hibernian  Killarney – Limerick Junction – Galway – Athlone

Day Five: Belmond Grand Hibernian  Athlone – Westport – Roscommon

 

Day Six: Belmond Grand Hibernian  Roscommon – Dublin on to Lismore Castle

Day Seven: Lismore Castle – Great Art

Day Eight: Ireland’s Great Houses

Day Nine: Ireland’s Great Outdoors

Day Ten: Homeward Bound

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Day One: Arrival to Dublin

On arrival in Dublin you will be met and welcomed by your experienced chauffeur-guide who will provide a safe and comfortable transfer into the city centre.

Your home for the evening is The Merrion Hotel, widely considered the finest hotel in Dublin, its understated listed Georgian exterior gives no indication of the sumptuous, graceful elegance inside.

It has been exquisitely decorated using Irish fabrics and antiques to reflect the architecture and original interiors of the 18th century town houses, and throughout, great care has been taken to retain all the outstanding architectural features for which Georgian Dublin is so famous. The property also provides the perfect backdrop for one of Ireland’s most impressive contemporary art collections.

 

 

 

 

Day Two: Belmond Grand Hibernian, Dublin to Cork

This morning, travel the short distance to Trinity College for a pre-opening, privately guided tour.

Trinity College was founded on the site of an Augustinian monastery in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.  The highlight is viewing the priceless “Book of Kells”; the manuscript contains the four gospels written in Latin and it may have been from the work of monks from Iona who fled to Kells around AD800 following a Viking raid.  The manuscript’s fame derives largely from its lavish decoration, the extent and artistry of which is said to be incomparable.

To follow, take time to explore Trinity College’s Old Library which is said to be one of the most impressive libraries in the world.  The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room; at nearly 65 metres in length, it is filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest and rarest books alongside marble busts of great philosophers and writers, and the Brian Boru harp – one of only three surviving medieval Gaelic harps, and a national symbol of Ireland.

Early afternoon, board Belmond Grand Hibernian at Dublin Heuston Station.

The Belmond Grand Hibernian has been chartered exclusively for your own use.  Your journey takes you on a four night ‘Legends and Loughs’ tour through Ireland.  You will uncover hidden gems, experience picture perfect scenery and dine on lovingly prepared cuisine all whilst enjoying your very own ‘house party’.  Please note, the journey can be tailored further to suit your own preferences.

This afternoon, indulge in a sumptuous Irish afternoon tea as the train weaves its way through lush landscapes to Cork, a former European Capital of Culture.

Arriving at The Jameson Experience in Midleton, a resident expert accompanies you on an early evening tour of the distillery, where you enjoy highlights such as the world’s largest pot still and a nip or two of whiskey.

Re-join the train for a leisurely dinner before making your way to the Observation Car for lively entertainment.

Day Three: Belmond Grand Hibernian, Cork to Killarney

Breakfast is served as the train travels south for a visit to Blarney Castle, home to the legendary Blarney Stone.

Enjoy a private tour and an opportunity to kiss the stone in time-honoured style.  Morning coffee is enjoyed in a private location within the magnificent grounds.

Lunch is served as the train continues west, through emerald hills, towards Killarney on the shores of Lough Leane.

A fun ride in a traditional jaunting car (pony and trap) takes you through the beautiful national park to scenic Ross Castle, where you enjoy a boat trip around the islands of the lake.

After a delicious dinner on the train, local musicians will inspire you to leap to your feet for some traditional céilí dancing!

Day Four: Belmond Grand Hibernian, Killarney to Galway

Savour a leisurely morning on board as the train travels north towards Galway.

Alternatively, disembark after breakfast for an optional excursion to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, towering over the Atlantic waves.

On arrival in Galway, a lunch of local specialties is served in one of the city’s convivial restaurants.

Afterwards, a traditional Irish experience awaits in a local pub.

Try your hand at the bodhran (Irish drum), learn an Irish dance and pull your own pint of Guinness!

Enjoy some free time to explore the streets of Galway before returning to the train.

Dinner is served as you bid farewell to Galway and Ireland’s dramatic west coast.  The train stops overnight in Athlone.

 

 

Day Five: Belmond Grand Hibernian, Westport and Connemara

Breakfast is served en route to the leafy Georgian town of Westport.

Disembark for a short transfer to Ashford Castle, in the atmospheric heart of Connemara National Park.  On arrival, take part in activities on site – a private falconry display that demonstrates the prowess of majestic hawks and a guided walk which takes in the estate’s breathtaking grounds.

Afterwards, enjoy a two-course lunch of local produce in the George V Dining Room.

Depart Ashford Castle for a short transfer to the home of Joe & Mary Ann Joyce to visit a working hill sheep farm and watch the Border Collie sheepdogs herding Connemara Blackface sheep.

Afterwards, visit a sheep and wool centre in the heart of Killary Harbour for a demonstration on traditional spinning wheels and looms to see how raw fleece is turned into yarn.

Rejoin the train at Westport in perfect time for pre-dinner drinks.

 

Day Six: Belmond Grand Hibernian, Westport to Waterford, Lismore Castle

Breakfast is served on the final leg of your journey as you return to Dublin and bid farewell to Belmond Grand Hibernian.

From Dublin, travel south to Lismore Castle, your private home for the following four nights.

Lismore Castle, located in County Waterford on the banks of the River Blackwater is a one of a kind.  Here you will find a home with an extraordinary history, from walls marked by Cromwellian cannon balls to the days it was owned by Sir Walter Raleigh, the man who brought potatoes and tobacco to Ireland, to Cecil Beaton, Lucian Freud, Fred Astaire and JFK, all of whom slept a night or more in this private Castle.

Although the castle dates from 1170, you will find no shortage of modern luxuries.

For the next few days, take up residence in this marvelous place, explore the beautiful local area and relax in the stunning surroundings.

Dinner is included in the Castle this evening.

Day Seven: Lismore Castle - Great Art

Lismore Castle is a veritable treasure trove of wonderful art.

This morning, the Estate’s Head of Collections will take you on a exclusive tour of the family’s collection offering insights into the family’s long history of collection and patronage.

Inside and out, you can witness an art collection resulting from many generations of the Cavendish Family.  Amongst the many pieces on display in the house, you will find Van Dyck portraits in the dining room, Teniers tapestries in the front hall, Ai WeiWei and Richard Long in the stone corridor and Lucian Freud drawings in the Duke’s study.

In the gardens, the family collection includes specially commissioned works by David Nash and Roman Signer as well as pieces by Eilis O’Connell and an Antony Gormley in the Yew Walk.

Following lunch in the castle, depart and travel to Cork for a privately guided tour of the Glucksman Gallery with the Gallery Director.  In addition to the tour of the Gallery you will be given an exclusive viewing of some of the University College Cork’s private collection.

Before returning to the castle you will have some leisure time in Cork to fit in some shopping.

Dinner is included in the Castle this evening.

Day Eight: Ireland's Great Houses

For those wishing to venture out of the Castle today, a wonderful experience awaits.  Often called the Irish Rhine, the Blackwater River runs across Ireland from the mountains of Kerry to the woodlands of Waterford.  Along its banks are some of the country’s loveliest houses, many still in the hands of the same families responsible for their construction.

A private guide who is a writer and lecturer specialising in the fine and decorative arts takes you to visit some of them:

  • Salterbridge House & Gardens – The house was built over a period of around 100 years from 1750. The exterior is in the picturesque Regency style whilst the interior reflects its early Victorian origin. The property boasts wonderful gardens, although they are modest in size at around 5 acres.  It is noted for its fine mature trees including one of the largest cork oaks in the country.
  • Cappoquin House and Gardens – The garden was laid out in the middle of the 19th century however there are remainders of earlier periods in walls, gateways and streams. The garden was taken in hand by Lady Olivia Keane in the 1950s and expanded by her in the late 1970s. It is on a south facing 2-hectare plot surrounding the house and overlooks the valley, affording visitors truly stunning views.  It combines formal and informal planting within a context of mature trees, some of which are more than 150 years old.
  • Tourin House – The main house was built in 1840 in the then fashionable Italianate style. The gardens embody an old-world allure which cannot fail to enchant visitors and are surrounded by parkland which extends over 5 acres to the banks of the river Blackwater and is home to many rare and mature trees.

Here, you not only have a chance to explore the gardens but to enjoy exclusive access to the private quarters, meet with the owners, including a private lunch with members of the historic Jameson Family – before returning in time for tea at the castle.

Day Nine: Ireland's Great Outdoors

There is no better way to explore the Blackwater Valley than from the river itself. A local guide will take small groups on river cruises in his little fishing boat along River Blackwater.  Beginning at the estuary in Youghal, the cruise brings you back up the river to Cappoquin where you disembark for a riverside picnic.

For keen fishermen, the River Blackwater provides some of the finest salmon fishing in Ireland and there are several top class beats within easy reach of the castle.  There is also a casual beat right beneath the castle walls which is ideal for beginners or those wanting some casting lessons from the ghillie.  For those lucky enough to catch something, the Castle will arrange for it to be smoked, vacuum packed and sent to their home.

For any hikers in the group, there is the option of a hike on what’s locally known as ‘The Duke’s Mountain’.  In 1800 the Bachelor Duke built a pass through the Knockmealdown Mountains and called it The Vee.  Today the Vee is one of the most spectacular spots in Southern Ireland.  Explore the surrounds with a local guide and enjoy a delicious packed lunch at Grubb’s Monument while taking in the panoramic view over several counties.

A truly special experience awaits you this evening.  In the magnificent Pugin Hall, enjoy a wonderful evening of traditionally themed food, drink and ‘ceol agus craic’.

Start the evening off with a whisky tasting cocktail hour in the company of local micro-distillers ‘Blackwater Distillery’ with traditional harp music.  Then on to the Hall to enjoy the very best Irish banquet, cooked by Chef using ingredients from local farmers and the castle gardens.

After dinner, the ‘seanchai’ will regale guests with tales of Clans & Kings, rebels and royals and usher in a troupe of musicians, singers and dancers to entertain and enthrall!

Day Ten: Homeward Bound

Private transfers are arranged for you today taking you to Dublin airport for your onward travel.

 

 

 

 

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HIGHLIGHTS

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THINGS TO DO

DUBLIN HIGHLIGHTS

The wide boulevard of O’Connell Street, passing the General Post Office, scene of the 1916 Easter Rising and birthplace of the Irish Nation.

TRINITY COLLEGE

Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1, it is home to one of the most impressive libraries in the world, the Book of Kells and the Brian Boru Harp.

JAMESON’S WHISKEY DISTILLERY

Visit the authentic Jameson’s Whiskey Distillery on the outskirts of Cork. Following a privately guided tour of the distillery, enjoy a tutored tasting of four premium whiskeys. Your Jameson Ambassador will take you through each whiskey – the distillery proudly suggests that while you may arrive as an appreciator, you will depart as an expert!

PLACES VISITED

DUBLIN

Dublin is steeped in history, with Viking, medieval and Georgian influences all having left their marks. Since the time of the Vikings, Dublin has been the principal gateway to the Emerald Isle. The medieval city, with its intimate knots of small alleys and broad streets south of the river, was developed in Norman times around St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle, and later came to symbolise British rule in Ireland. The 18th century was the “Age of Elegance”, a time of relative prosperity when the Irish gentry set about remodelling the city into one of elegance, replete with graceful terraces, wrought-iron balconies and fanlight doorways. The city became Ireland’s capital with the establishment of the Republic of Ireland in 1937, and today is regarded as one of the liveliest and most atmospheric in Europe.

CORK

Cork is Ireland’s second largest and southernmost city with a history dating back to the 6th century; Founded on islands in an estuary, waterways circle the city centre crossed by over 20 bridges. Hilly neighbourhoods climb the river banks, stacked with colourful houses. These along with the Georgian architecture give the city a Continental feel. It is a creative and exciting city, renowned for learning, with a world class university and specialist colleges. It has a rich musical traditional and is home to no less than 24 festivals running throughout the year.

KILLARNEY

Located by the three lakes and mountains of the Killarney National Park, Killarney is well known for its excellent shops, restaurants and cosmopolitan appeal. During the summer months, the lively on-street musical entertainment complements the meandering of tourists and locals alike. On bright evenings, one can browse in a bookstore, admire art or savour the delights of homemade ice cream or a finely prepared lobster.

GALWAY

Galway is the official European Region of Gastronomy 2018. The region stretches from green fields and rich farmlands to the unique karst landscape of the Burren and into Galway city, the trout fishing capital of Europe, and along the wild, rugged Atlantic coast. Galway has one of the highest densities of restaurants in Ireland and includes two of the country ‘s Michelin Star restaurants: Aniar and Loam. Galway is a city with a proud seafaring tradition and Galway Bay is one of the most celebrated oyster fisheries, where the native Irish oyster is widely prized as a delicacy in the later months of the year.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

  • Accommodation

    From private stately castles, historic manor houses and country club resorts to luxury city hotels and Georgian townhouses, Dream Escape will find you the perfect place to call “home’ during your stay.

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