7 Night Castle & Manor Tour

Price per person twin sharing €925.00

Price is inclusive of:
Bed and full Irish breakfast at the following hotels and the hire of an economy  manual car such  for 7 Nights.

Car Upgrade Option;  Add €170 per week to upgrade to an automatic car.

Day 1 Cavan – Cabra Castle

Day 2 Sligo – Markree Castle Hotel

Day 3+4 Clifden – Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

Day 5 Newmarket on Fergus Co. Clare – Dromoland Castle

Day 6 Tralee, Co. Kerry– Ballyseede Castle

Day 7 Dublin – Harrington Hall Guesthouse

Day 1 Dublin – Cavan
Welcome to Ireland and to Dublin, the capital City! Dublin is the capital of Ireland and one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Home to over a quarter of the Ireland’s population, almost one million in all, Dublin is a youthful, vibrant and dynamic city with an ever-increasing cosmopolitan influence.

Pick up your car and travel north visiting Bru Na Boinne.  The Boyne Valley and its surroundings, situated some 20 miles north-west from Dublin, is one of the most important Irish locations as far as historical heritage is concerned, from pre-celtic to medieval times. In this area you can find the pre-celtic tumula of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, the Hill of Tara, where the ancient Irish kings settled their kingdom (actually, there is not much to see in Tara nowadays, but the site is inspiring), Monasterboice with its High Crosses, the Mellifont Abbey, and many other interesting things.

Take the N2 heading north via Ashbourne towards Slane in Co. Meath. Turn right about 2km south of Slane, the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is 7km (4.5 miles) east towards the village of Donore. For about 3km before the Visitor Centre the road follows the bend in the river Boyne.

Brú na Bóinne
Visitor Centre, open in 1997, is designed to present the archaeological heritage of the Boyne Valley, which includes the megalithic passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth. The Centre is the starting point for all visits to both monuments, and contains extensive interpretative displays and viewing areas.

Newgrange is the most important of three pre-celtic funerary monuments, and was built approximately 5000 years ago, being therefore older than Egyptian pyramids.

We would also recommend that you visit Monasterboice.  The Monastery which was founded by Saint Buite, who died in 521 AD, contains two of the finest High Crosses in Ireland, both of these Crosses are made of sandstone and date to around the 9th century. The site also has a round tower, which is in excellent condition.

Continue north on the N2.  A county of great cultural and artistic wealth, Monaghan boasts several Bronze Age megalithic sites and pre-historic remains such as the Tullyrain Ring Fort near Shantonagh in the south of the county. Carrickmacross is renowned for its traditional crafts, especially lace-making. The Lough Muckno Leisure Park in Castleblayney offers attractive lakeside and woodland trails as well as tennis,
canoeing, sailing, water-skiing and horse-riding.  The celebrated Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, who drew much of his inspiration from the Monaghan countryside, was a native of the village of Inniskeen.  Monaghan’s county town lies to the northwest of the county, and is a thriving agricultural centre with an impressive cathedral and courthouse. The County Museum is located there, and the Patrick Kavanagh Literary Resource Centre is nearby.

Take the N52 North to Kingscourt in County Cavan.

Overnight & Breakfast in Cabra Castle.

The original Cabra Estate dates back to 1699 and was owned by Colonel Cooch. The present Castle was rebuilt by the Pratt family in 1808. It is set on 100 acres of parkland and garden, with the magnificent backdrop of Dun a Ri Forest Park.

Day 2 Cavan – Sligo
Today travel to Enniskillen.  Enniskillen is the County Town of Fermanagh, located almost exactly in the Centre of the County on the natural island which separates the Upper and Lower sections of Lough Erne.  At the centre of the town is the Town Hall, which was completed as recently as 1901. The Clock Tower here is six stories high and can be seen from everywhere, complete with its statues marking the proud military heritage of the Town. The Bandstand outside the Town Hall is used regularly through the Summer.

Travel west from Enniskillen on the A4 and then the N16 into Sligo. 

Sligo is the county town and the largest town in the North West area. It is a colorful, bustling town, which has retained many of the beautiful shop fronts originally built in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries Today there are pedestrianised streets along the bank of the Garavogue River filled with pubs and restaurants.

Check out the Sligo Art Gallery, an innovative exhibition space housed in the Yeats Memorial or visit the Model Arts and Niland Gallery featuring the most significant if not the largest collection of Jack Yeats Paintings in the world … a whole host of Irish and International contemporary artists are also featured here.

County Sligo’s beautiful scenery was an inspiration for Yeats, who is buried at Drumcliffe Churchyard, under loaf-shaped Benbulben Mountain.

Overnight and Breakfast in Markree Castle Hotel, Collooney, Co Sligo

Markree Castle, the Cooper family home for 370 years, has been lovingly restored by the current owner Charles Cooper and his wife Mary to become one of the finest country house hotels in Ireland. Set in a secluded 500 acre estate, peace and relaxation combined with good food, fine wine and old-world charm
make a stay at Markree a step back in time.

Day 3 Sligo – Clifden
This morning follow the N17 to Charlestown and then follow the N5 to Castlebar.Present day Castlebar is a town with a good infrastructure and with businesses covering a vast spectrum of products and services.  Castlebar is the county town of Mayo. As well as being the administrative seat of the county, it is is one
of the fastest growing towns in Ireland. Modern Castlebar has a selection of shopping facilities and a business infrastructure which bears almost no resemblance to the garrison town which was the location of so many battles in the past. It featured prominently in the battles of 1798 when French troops who
had been organised by Theobald Wolf Tone, routed the British troops out of Castlebar on the 22nd of August. Originating back in the 11th century, the town was built around the castle of the De Barra’s.

Originally a market town, it has held onto this tradition over the years. An abundance of lively night – time entertainment is to be found in this town, with pubs providing traditional Irish music and a number of quality restaurants.

Castlebar has plenty to offer to those who like the outdoors, with a number of planned walking routes and plenty of good fishing available in the nearby rivers and lakes. The walking and angling in Castlebar have received international recognition and there is an annual Four Days Walking Festival which proves to be very popular. If you are interested in golf, you can play at the Castlebar Club.

Onwards to Westport – the charming town of Westport is designated as a heritage town and is attractively located near the sea with Croagh Patrick as an impressive backdrop.  It is one of the few planned towns in the country and was designed in the 1700’s by James Wyatt.  Amongst its many outstanding features are the elegant tree-lined streets along the river known as The Mall, bustling Bridge Street, the main shopping street with cheerful shop and pub fronts.  Westport attracts visitors of every age and nationality and they love what they find – a unique blend of old and new, living memories of a bygone era mingling happily with the lively, busy town of today.

Later travel south on the N59 through Liscarney, Carrowkennedy and Leenane and to Clifden.

Your journey today finishes today in Clifden.  Set between the Atlantic Ocean, Twelve Ben Mountains and preserved boglands, lies the town of Clifden on the Coast of Connemara.  Surprisingly, it is not an old town, being founded at the start of the 19th Century by John d’Arcy, the local landlord, who lived in Clifden Castle, now a roofless ruin on the scenic Sky Road Clifden Castle is situated 2km from Clifden. This ruin overlooks the sea and can be reached by the farm track near the Sky Road. Once a Gothic mansion, the d’Arcys lived here until 1850 when the estate was sold to the Eyre family who lived here at intervals until the castle fell into ruin in the early 20th century.

On June 15 1919, Cpt John Alcock and Lt Arthur Brown, flew a Vickers Vimy 1900 miles from Newfoundland to Ireland. A journey which had taken 6hrs and 12mins, they landed in the Derrygimlagh Bog, near Clifden. A monument representing the wing of the plane stands on a nearby hill and the original
landing site can still be seen.

Overnight & Breakfast in Abbeyglen Castle,  Clifden, Co. Galway

The Abbeyglen Castle was built in 1832 by John d’Arcy of Clifden Castle. It was leased to the then parish priest as Glenowen House. The property was purchased by Mr. Padraig Joyce of Clifden and he and
his wife operated the Glenowen House Hotel in the 1960s. The Hughes family took over in 1969 and have developed the Abbeyglen Castle into one of Connemara’s most prestigious hotels.

Day 4 Clifden
Today travel on the N59 through the Connemara region with it’s stunning patchwork of bogs, lonely valleys, mountains and lakes, and only the odd remote cottage or castle hideaway for company. Connemara has tremendous hill walking to offer-why not walk over the peaks of the Twelve Pins, which offer views over
to the sea and Connemara’s maze of rocky islands, tortuous inlets and sparkling white beaches. The wild, rugged beauty of Connemara has a unique character the fact that the Irish language is still the first language in a large part.

Visit Kylemore Abbey – Set in the Connemara mountains is Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful neo-Gothic Castle. Built by the English industrialist Mitchell Henry in 1868, visitors to the three reception rooms in the Abbey are touched by its history steeped in romance and tragedy. Kylemore Castle was sold to Benedictine nuns fleeing war-torn Belgium in 1920 and the Castle became an Abbey. The Community of Nuns re-opened their
International Boarding School here and also established a day school for local girls.

Mitchell Henry built the recently re-opened Neo-Gothic Church (under restoration) between 1877 and 1881 as a memorial to his wife following her untimely death. The Church, a ‘cathedral in miniature’, is a centre of
reflection and prayer for many visitors. Visitors can also see the Mausoleum where the original owners are buried.

Return to Clifden this evening.

Overnight & Breakfast in Abbeyglen Castle,  Clifden

The Abbeyglen Castle was built in 1832 by John d’Arcy of Clifden Castle. It was leased to the then parish priest as Glenowen House. The property was purchased by Mr. Padraig Joyce of Clifden and he and his wife operated the Glenowen House Hotel in the 1960s. The Hughes family took over in 1969 and have developed the Abbeyglen Castle into one of Connemara’s most prestigious hotels.

Day 5 Clifden – Newmarket on Fergus
Depart Clifden and travel towards Galway on the N 59.  Galway is a city, a county, and an experience to be savoured and remembered. The historic city of the tribes dances to a beat uniquely it’s own. There is certain chemistry and vibrancy to this friendly University City, which many delight in, and few forget. Music, festivals, horse racing, pubs, restaurants, shops, theatres and most of all Galway people, combine to create this atmospheric mediaeval city of culture.

Pay a visit to some of the local visitor attractions, including the Cathedral, Eyre Square, and the Spanish Arch.  The Spanish Arch, which is located on the banks of the river Corrib, was built in 1584. It was originally an extension of the famous city walls, designed to protect the quays. The Spanish Arch is, in fact, a misnomer, as there is no proven association between the Spanish in Galway and the building of the Arch. In the past it was known as The Blind Arch and it is located on the site more appropriately known as Ceann na Bhalla (The Head of the Wall). The Arch features a wooden sculpture, called Madonna of the Quays,
which was sculpted by the well-known artist, Claire Sheridan, who lived in the adjacent building during the 50’s. Today The Spanish Arch is home to the Galway City Museum, which nestles into one of its impressive walls.

Time permitting visit Galway Crystal factory, where you can learn the history of Claddagh Village, the birthplace of the world famous Claddagh Ring, a symbol of Love, Friendship and Loyalty.

Depart Galway and travel south on the N18.  At Kilcolgan take the N67 towards Ballyvaughan and the Burren region.

The Burren – The Burren is of huge international significance for three reasons – geological, botanical and archaeological.

Geological  : The limestone of the Burren was formed approximately 360 million years ago. However, what is unusual is that huge amounts of the stone have been exposed. The stripping action of the glaciers during the last Ice Age and the intensive cultivation of the land by prehistoric farmers subsequently have removed much of the top soil. The legacy is one of the most extensive examples of exposed limestone in the world.  This spellbinding scenery is a source of enduring fascination to visitors to the area.

Botanical : Rainwater  penetrates lines of weakness in the limestone and eventually vertical cracks in the rock  (grikes) are formed.  It is in these grikes that many of the Burren’s wild flowers thrive. The Burren is one of Europe’s richest botanical areas. It is home to 700 different plant species – three quarters of Ireland’s native flora. Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants grow in the thin soils in the grikes.  Nowhere else in Europe will one find such a floral diversity of plants representing different climatic areas and habitats.

Archaeological : Mankind has been heavily imprinting upon the Burren terrain ever since Neolithic man arrived here approximately 6,000 years ago attracted by the prospect of all year round grazing. In fact the Dingle Peninsula is the only other area in Ireland which can match the Burren for its archaeological wealth.

That wealth includes Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age wedge tombs and cooking sites, Iron Age hill forts,
ring forts, holy wells, early Christian churches, medieval abbeys,  tower houses and not least the thousands of kilometers of dry stone walls which brilliantly punctuate the landscape.

The Cliffs of Moher – The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s top Visitor attractions. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O’Brien’s Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South.

Continue from Ennistymon to Ennis on the N85 and towards Newmarket on Fergus on the N18.  Newmarket-on-Fergus is a thriving village on the main Limerick-Ennis road. The old name is CORA CAITLIN, the weir of Cathleen, a holy woman, who according to tradition lived in the area.

Overnight & Breakfast in Dromoland Castle, Newmarket on Fergus

With an extraordinary history stretching back to the 5th Century, Dromoland Castle was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.  Approached by a meandering drive that passes acres of magnificent lawns, the
Castle overlooks its own Championship Golf Course and a glistening lake which commands the panoramic beauty of the surrounds.

Day 6 Newmarket on Fergus to  Dublin
On you journey today we would recommend that you visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park (on the N18). Built in 1954 the castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. It is complete with 15th & 16th century tapestries and furnishings of the time. The castle hosts a medieval banquet for visitors where you can be transported back to the era of the Earl of Thomond. The folk park on the grounds recreates life in rural 19th century Ireland. The displays a living reconstruction of the homes and lives of the Irish over a century ago. Bunratty is also homeplace to Bunratty Meade and Poitín.  Onwards through Limerick – the capital of the Shannon Region and the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Limerick, with a charter older than London, has retained much of it’s historical past in attractions such as the Treaty Stone, King John’s Castle and the Hunt Museum.

Continue to Dublin via Kildare on the M7. 

If you have some extra time to spare before reaching Dublin, take a breaik from the driving and vist the National Stud & Japanese Gardens. The Japanese Gardens are situated in Tully, near the town of Kildare. They were created between 1906 and 1910 by Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. The gardens are situated in the grounds of the National Stud and are supposed to symbolise the “Life of Man” – the journey of a soul from Oblivion to Eternity.The Gardens have been carefully preserved as a part of Ireland’s heritage and are regarded as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe.

Overnight & Breakfast in Harrington Hall, Dublin.

Harrington Hall is an elegant Georgian Terrace in a fashionable city centre location. Grafton Street, Trinity College and the National Concert Hall are all just a short stroll away. The original style and architecture of the house has been carefully retained. After experiencing how the gentry lived in the countryside, you will now experience the luxury of their town homes. Harrington Hall is named after it’s most famous former resident, Timothy Charles Harrinton. He was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1901 and 1902.

Day 7  – Dublin

For your final full day in Ireland why not take in some of the great sights that Dublin has to offer including:-

Trinity College
The Book of Kells was written around the year 800 AD and is one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts in the world. It contains the four gospels, preceded by prefaces, summaries, and canon tables or concordances of gospel passages. It is written on vellum and contains a Latin text of the
Gospels in insular majuscule script accompanied by magnificent and intricate whole pages of decoration with smaller painted decorations appearing throughout the text. The manuscript was given to Trinity College in the 17th century and since 1953 has been bound in four volumes. It has been on display in the Old
Library since the 19th century. Two volumes can normally be seen, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script.

Guinness Storehouse
The new Guinness Experience is located in the heart of the Guinness brewery in Dublin. It is a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in Gravity, the sky bar, with a complimentary pint of Guinness and an astonishing view of Dublin. As you wander up through Guinness Storehouse, you’ll discover what goes into making the Black Stuff- the ingredients, the process, the passion.

National Gallery – Free Entrance
The National Art Gallery of Ireland was built in the mid-1800’s in honour of businessman and philanthropist William Dargan.  A committee was formed in the 1850s to commemorate in some permanent way the munificence of William Dargan. He was the outstanding inaugurator of many Irish railway companies and almost single handedly financed the Great Exhibition of 1853 which included the country’s
greatest art collection up to then. Artists represented include Rembrandt, Fra Angelico, Valázquez,
Vermeer, Murillo, Hogarth, Reynolds, Turner, Gainsborough, Titian, Caravaggio, Brueghel, Van Dyck, El Greco and Picasso. The Irish School includes Osborne, O’Connor, Maclise, Hone, Orpen, Jack B Yeats.

National Museum – Free Entrance
The National Museum of Archaeology and History displays many beautiful artefacts from throughout Ireland’s history. This branch of the National Museum of Ireland houses the most wonderful collection of artefacts dating from 7000BC to the 20th Century, including the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard.

Public opening hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm and on Sundays 2pm to 5pm. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and Good Friday.

The main shopping areas are Nassau Street, Grafton Street, St.Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar, O’Connell Street and Henry Street. The department stores are on Grafton Street (Brown Thomas, excellent for Irish fashion design has now relocated to the former Switzers building) and in O’Connell Street (Clery’s, for the more budget-conscious). For Irish and European gifts try House of Ireland on Nassau Street.

Shopping malls include the St. Stephen’s green shopping centre, the largest in the city, which is a bright and spacious shopping area where you can buy just about anything and also have a meal (it can be very crowded, especially in summer). The Powerscourt Townhouse on Clarendon Street (follow the sign on Grafton street) is on a smaller scale and specialises in wonderful restaurants, cafes, crafts, jewellery and clothes stores.

On the other side of Grafton Street in Dawson Street is the royal Hibernian way, a small shopping mall with some very exclusive clothes shops. Finally, there is the Jervis Centre which is second only to St Stephen’s green. Here you will find many clothes stores for all ages and a large branch of Dunnes Stores, an Irish clothes and food shop chain.

Branches of Marks and Spencers can be found in Grafton Street and Henry street, where most of the larger chain stores are represented, including the body shop for natural beauty products, HMV for music and concert tickets and the Levis store for casual clothing.

Of course, Dublin wouldn’t be Dublin without its markets, and one of the best of Mother Redcap’s in Back Lane (opposite Christ Church cathedral). This wonderful indoor market has stalls selling clothes and music, books and antiques, as well as excellent cakes and cheeses (try the Gallic Kitchen just inside the entrance). If you’re looking for bargain second-hand clothes, try the Iveagh market, next door to Mother Redcap’s.

This evening we would recommend that you dine in the famous “Temple Bar” area of Dublin city.  Since
1991, it become the cultural and entertainment quarter of the city (currently with 11 hotels and hostels. 14 music venues, 21 bars and 74 eating places!), Temple Bar covers 28 acres (11.3 hectares) and is bounded by Dame Street, Fishamble Street, the South Quays of the River Liffey and Westmoreland Street. The pubs of
Dublin are not simply places in which to satisfy your thirst. They are theatres for storytelling, backdrops for romance, homes away from home and keepers of the spirit of the city, in more ways than one. It never rains in a pub either!  Don’t forget to try a pint of the black stuff (Guinness) but remember it takes a while to become accustomed to the taste!

Overnight & Breakfast in Harrington Hall Dublin

Day 8 – Return Flight
Travel to the airport in Dublin for your return flight home.