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Irish Spring


The second in our series of Irish vacations featuring historic castles and manor house accommodations.


  •  All accommodations in 4 and 5-star historic castles and manor houses
  •  2 nights in Contarf/Dublin and Clifden
  •  Overnights in Larne/Antrim Coast, Donegal and Dunboyne
  •  Guided tours of Dublin, Belfast, Derry and Inishmore
  •  See the Book of Kells; visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse
  •  Tour Titanic Belfast, Giants Causeway, Walls of Derry and Westport House
  •  Ferry to Inishmore and prehistoric Dun Aonghusa
  • The Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and Connemara
  •  Services of an Irish guide and driver throughout, plus an experienced Sports Leisure Tour Director



Daily Itinerary

Irish grasslandDay 1 & 2

An overnight flight brings you to Dublin where you’ll embark on an easy (promise!) panoramic tour. At mid-afternoon head to the northern suburb of Clontarf. A centuries-old estate, it was here that the Battle of Clontarf was won against the invading Vikings in 1014. George Frideric Handel was a guest here in the early 1700s. Now it’s your turn. Contarf Castle Hotel – 2 nights (D)

Towering bookshelves at Trinity College, IrelandDay 3

Return to Dublin City for a more comprehensive tour led by a local guide with stops at Trinity College (including an opportunity to see the ancient Book of Kells) and the hallowed St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If all this touring is causing you to work up a thirst, you’re covered with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse where you’ll learn the history of Ireland’s national drink. Dinner is served in the fishing village of Howth. There the Abbey Tavern serves up traditional Irish fare complete with live music and dancing! (FB,D)

The Antrim CoastDay 4

Onward to Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland. The Belfast Shipyard is famous as the birthplace of the ill-fated HMS Titanic. A visit to a modern museum, opened on the centennial of the tragedy, and a city tour will set the stage. Continue on to the Antrim Coast and the village of Aldergrove where dinner and your 17th century accommodations await. Ballygally Castle Hotel (FB,D)

Derry walls muralDay 5

Drive along the Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage Site, to Derry, the only fully fortified city in the British Isles. Explore the Walls of Derry with a local guide, then head back to the Republic of Ireland and County Donegal. Your destination was featured on our last Irish tour and was just too good to pass by! Prepare yourself for a night in the lap of luxury in the ancestral home of Clan O’Donnell whose origins date to the 1400s. Lough Eske Castle Hotel (FB,D)

A road in Connermara, IrelandDay 6

Welcome to County Sligo where you’ll tour the magnificent Westport House, a 300+ year old manor originally the home of the Pirate Queen of Connacht. Onward to Connemara where your next castle awaits near the town of Clifden. Abbeyglen Castle Hotel – 2 nights (FB,D)

A horse grazing in Inis Mor, IrelandDay 7

Take the morning ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands situated just beyond Galway Bay. The other-worldliness of this remote, wind-swept island is apparent the moment you arrive. Even the residents (whom only speak Gaelic) seem to be from another time and place. Your island tour will include a visit to Dun Aonghusa, a magnificent stone fortification dating to between 1100 and 1500 BCE. (FB,D)

Ireland, Cliffs of MoherDay 8

Travel the Burren to the Cliffs of Moher, rising to a height of 400 feet above the icy Atlantic below. Awe-inspiring and sometimes a little frightening (especially in foggy weather when you’re never quite sure where the land ends), the cliffs are a must-see on any Irish vacation. A final castle and a grand Farewell Dinner await your arrival in County Meath. Dunboyne Castle Hotel (FB,D)

Ireland from aboveDay 9

A suburban location puts you close to the airport and returning flight. Dublin is among a small number of international airports offering US Customs onsite, so there will be no delays during our connection upon landing in America, thus bringing your Irish Spring to a peaceful end. (FB,In-flight meals)

Daily Itinerary Meal Legend
CBContinental Breakfast
BGenerally a limited buffet or menu
FBFull buffet or choice of menu
BRBrunch, often buffet-style
LLunch, often several menu options
HT or ATHigh or Afternoon Tea
DDinner, often several menu options

Photo Attributions

"Inis Mór" by Andrea Schaffer (CC BY 2.0)

"Cliffs of Moher" by Andrea Schaffer (CC BY 2.0)


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