Explore Ireland's country houses, castles, and beautiful gardens on a 4-day tour from Dublin. Enjoy a relaxed itinerary, ideal for lovers of mystical ruins, exotic gardens and grand houses. Go into the Lakelands, and cross the border to Roscommon.
What to Expect
Travel through time on a comprehensive but relaxed tour of Ireland, and discover some of the most exotic gardens, mysterious ruins, and stately houses in the country. Learn chapters from Irish history, such as the Great Famine at the National Famine Museum. Discover where the “Book of Kells” was found, take a boat trip on the River Shannon, and more.
Day 1 After departing Dublin at 09.00, travel West through the Midlands to Emo Court House, an 18th century neoclassical mansion surrounded by beautiful parkland and gardens. Enjoy a short walk on the grounds, photos and refreshments in the tea rooms before continuing west through the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the unique setting of Birr Castle and Gardens. The castle itself is still a private home and it will not be possible to see inside but the gardens are world famous and include the unique “Great Telescope” built by the 3rd Earl of Rosse in the 1840s and the largest in the world for over 70 years! The 3rd and 4th Earls were both pioneers in scientific discovery and there is a fascinating exhibition on site. After Birr the tour continues to the historic village of Adare just outside Limerick. Often called “Ireland’s prettiest village”, Adare has a wonderful collection of thatched cottages and historic buildings including the ruins of a 15th century Franciscan monastery and the 13th century Desmond Castle - great for photos! This is your overnight stop and you will be staying in the Dunraven Arms Hotel with dinner included.
Day 2 Today, travel through the counties of Tipperary, Offaly and Roscommon. This is rural Ireland at its best and along the way you will see a huge variety of scenery and sights. In the morning, travel north to Killaloe on the shores of Lough Derg. A scenic drive from here brings you to Clonmacnoise - an early Christian site in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Shannon. From there, travel through Athlone with its brooding dark fortress, then north beside Lough Ree to Strokestown Park for a visit to this magnificent country house complete with many of its original furnishings and its recently restored gardens. The house also holds the National Famine Museum for anyone interested in this terrible period of Irish history. From here it is a short drive to Lough Rynn Castle – your base for the next two nights. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight with a typically Irish menu (included).
Day 3 Enjoy a very relaxed day exploring the Lakelands of County Leitrim and across the border into County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. The highlight of the day is a visit to 18th Century Florence Court one of the grandest country houses in the whole of Ireland and former home to the Earls of Enniskillen. After a stop in the historic market town of Enniskillen, with its 600 year old castle sitting proudly on the banks of the River Erne, head back for Lough Rynn Castle in time for afternoon tea (included) The rest of the day is free for you to explore the wonderful formal walled gardens running down to the waters of Lough Rynn or just relax in the hotel. Overnight again in the luxurious surroundings of this 200 year old house.
Day 4 After a relaxed start to the day and a chance for a final stroll in the grounds of the hotel, it is time to start the return journey to Dublin. There are still some fascinating sights to be seen, including the heritage town of Kells, where the famous Book of Kells was discovered – created by the monks in the monastic site here. Have lunch and visit some of the historic sites including St Columba’s Church and the ancient High Crosses. After lunch, travel through the lovely rural countryside to Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Construction of the massive three storied keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun in 1176 and took over 30 years to build. Weather permitting, the final visit of the tour will be to the ancient site of the Hill of Tara – traditional seat of the High Kings of Ireland before returning to Dublin around 18.30.
- Transportation by 16-seat Mercedes mini-coach
- 3 nights hotel accommodation
- 3 breakfasts, 2 dinners, and 1 afternoon tea
- All tolls and taxes
What's Not Included
- Other meals and refreshments
- Entrance fees to visitor attractions
Know Before You Go
• The drop-off in Dublin on day 4 is scheduled for approximately 19:00
• The tour operates with a maximum of 16 passengers for a more intimate and personalized service
• Please bring suitable clothing and footwear for country walks