(Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, Killarney, Dingle, Galway, Dublin)
This specially designed craft trail and artisan shopping tour of Ireland will take you to the very best places to see artisans at work and the little hubs and communities. Visit with an eclectic mixture of crafts people from glass blowers and cutters, pottery and ceramic artists, galleries, wool and textile workers as well as a host of other materials from traditional wood to modern metals. Discover regions celebrated for their clusters of craft workers from Kilkenny to Dingle Peninsula and Connemara to the West of Galway. There will be plenty of time to shop at the craft studios and in the centers such as Kilkenny Design Centre, Waterford Crystal, Green Street in Dingle and Quay Street in Galway City, and in the evenings you may well feel like heading to one of the local pubs to partake in some of the musical action.
All of our driver guides are experts on the areas you will be visiting on your tour of Ireland. We bring experienced driving skills, expert touring routes as well as knowledge and insight into the places you will be visiting and staying on your tour. Our driver guides will also recommend places to shop, have a drink, and dine in the various towns and villages and cities of Ireland. Your driver guide can arrange all kinds of activities, events and generally show you Ireland in such depth and quality that is only possible using a local expert. - Simply the best and most enjoyable way of seeing the Emerald Isle, in style! In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site.
The Mercedes S Class Sedan is the preferred vehicle for luxury individual group travel in Ireland. It has an elegant style and grace along with a smooth interior finished with leather, air conditioning, and electric windows, reclining seats and individual climate controls. It allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery in a space that is both comfortable and relaxing. We carry maps, guide books, water, fridge and music to make your journey as comfortable and entertaining as you wish. In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site.
Enjoy the scenic drive from Dublin to Kilkenny today. Kilkenny is Ireland's foremost medieval city with a beautiful castle, cathedral, narrow cobbled streets and its own brewery. It is a wonderful walking city with the river running through the centre of its streets and a beautiful park located north of the Castle. Near Kilkenny are the beautiful villages of Graignamanagh and Inistoige where the movie "Circle of Friends" was filmed. Kilkenny County is also great for artisans with leather, pottery and contemporary designers populating the countryside. Kilkenny Design Centre is one of Irelands most authentic shopping experiences. “In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site”.
A welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if relevant), and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Kilkenny has had a long reputation for being a hub of creativity and on this trail you will experience the master crafters work designing both unique and traditional crafts to suit all tastes. Kilkenny's Craft people make their own work using both traditional and modern techniques, from the white-hot furnace of the glass-blower to the throwing wheel of the potter. Spend time today discovering the artisanal side of life in Kilkenny and its environs as you are brought to various studios such as Nicholas Mosse Pottery, Jerpoint Glass, Chesneau Leather and Kilkenny Design Centre.
After getting your fill of the creative arts, and having had some time for lunch (not included) - there are lots of choices in Kilkenny, continue southbound towards Waterford, your destination for the day. The transfer should take approximately 2 hours. “In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site”.
Make your way from Waterford to Cork today in the compfort of your private vehicle in the company of your knowledgeable driver-guide. After a tour of Waterford city with its historical quarter, you can enjoy the verdant scenery along the away on the route towards Cork.Corks Old English Market is a unique covered food and artisan market that dates back to the middle ages. The origins of the market can be traced back to James 1st in 1610, but the present building dates from 1786.The centre is populated with some of Ireland's finest gourmet restaurants and a trip to the English Market, the heart of the city is a must see. Here local artisans have been trading local delicacies under charming Victorian decor for almost two centuries. Among the speciality foods sold at the market are buttered eggs, pigs' feet known as Crubeens, tripe in milk and a host of specialty local fish. The transfer between Waterford and Cork is approximately 2 hours.
Leave Cork today for the west! Todays destination is Killarney, but there is plenty to take in en route before your arrival...Kinsale Town has the enviable position in one of the most beautiful regions of Ireland protected on all sides by the ocean. Charles Fort on the hillside outside the town was designed just for the purpose of protecting this historical trading town. Around the town there are many beautiful beaches as well as the wonderful Old Head Golf Links which is at the tip of the peninsula. The town is noted as a gourmet capital and a visit to the numerous restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries is a must.The afternoon is dedicated to some of the crafts that are made in the area and can include stops at such places as a selection of Jewellery, Wood, Textiles and Ceramic designers who are dotted around the scenic peninsulas of West Cork. Discover the huge variety of handmade goods on offer, learn more about the processes behind the making of them and most importantly, have some fun along the way! Featured places on this trail are Skibereen, Clonakilty, Dunmanway and Baltimore. “In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site”.
Your day today is spent traveling from Killarney to Dingle, located on the western most part of Ireland. Enjoy a hands on experience after you watch the master crafter at work, feel the raw materials, and perhaps even be tempted to make a purchase to have something to remember your trip by on your return. The professional craft producers you'll meet throughout the day will love to chat and tell you about their work, about why they do what they do for a living and why they live where they live. Featured places on this trail are Dingle, Listowel, Tralee, Killarney and the Ring of Kerry.Enjoy time at lunch at leisure (not included) en route.This afternoon will take you to Dingle Crystal which is an artisan producer of top quality crystal from an ex Waterford crystal master craftsman, Sean Daly. A trip to the workshop is a must to watch Sean at work as he designs unique and individual pieces of crystal to suit all tastes. The powerful cutting wheel is used to create designs of unique and exquisite precision. You can also view a stunning array of glassware from bowls to glasses from candlesticks to vases onsite. “In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site”.
The destination today is Galway which is approximately 3.5hours from Dingle, though you will be spending the day meandering to your destination and stopping at sights of interest along the way. West Clare has some of Irelands most rugged and dramatic landscapes with shifting and sculpting stone creating unforgettable scenery such as the Cliffs of Moher, Burren Plateau and Islands. You may like to take a visit of the the spectacular Aillwee Caves in Ballyvaughan at the heart of The Burren. The ancient Dolmen at Poulnabrune is a relic to the intelligence of the first settlers in this remote lunar like landscape. The villages of Ballyvaughan and Kinvarra are quaint and two of the most pleasant and photogenic in Ireland.
This afternoon, delve into the local arts and crafts scene and spend time at Ceardlann, Spiddal Craft and Design Studios which is located at the entrance to Spiddal Village, just beside the beach, overlooking the beautiful Galway Bay, Cliffs of Moher and The Aran Islands. Here you will find 10 Craft workers designing, creating, making and selling their work.This unique and very accessible craft village, also called the Spiddal Craft Centre, and Ceardlann in Irish, is a "must stop" for visitors interested in Irish culture and craft. “In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site”.
At days end you'll be transfered to your accommodation in Galway.
Galway is Irelands Gaelic language cultural and arts Capital. The city centre is famous for its lively ambience, street entertainment and wonderful shops, cafes and pubs. As the centre of the city is pedestrian this is best explored at leisure and taking the axis from Eyre Square through Shop Street, Quay Street and down to Claddagh Quay. For shopping we recommend Fallers of Galway, Kenny's Book & Art Store and the myriad of Claddagh Jewellery stores. The Latin Quarter is veritably buzzing from the eclectic legacy of a maritime past with the Spanish Arch and cobbled street fronts. Dining and pubs numerous and the Quays Bar, Naughton's Pub and Mc Donaghs for fresh fish and chips are all favorites. The Midlands of Ireland is an area rich in a landscape of blanket bog dispersed with lakes, castles and historic towns. The highlights of the region include the wonderful gardens at Birr Castle with its turn of the century telescope and beautiful walks. Leap Castle is reputed to be Irelands most haunted building and can be visited on request. Clonmacnoise is one Irelands golden age of monastic centres of learning, a sixth century city built by St Ciaran. There are many other stops of interest including Kilbeggan which has a fantastic distillery tour and Glasson which also makes a great dining break. “In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site”.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer in a private vehicle.
Butler house, an elegant Georgian townhouse located in the centre of historic Kilkenny City offers visitors the best of two worlds. Through the back door you will find Patrick Street, which leads to the commercial centre of the city. Here you will find an array of shops, bars and restaurants. Through the front door you will be surprised to find the internationally renowned Butler House Walled Garden. This charming Georgian garden was restored to its former glory in 1999 and boosts its own private entrance to the Castle yard and Kilkenny Castle. This is another unique feature of this wonderful house. Butler House boasts thirteen special rooms and suites, all with their own individual character. Designed to provide maximum comfort, each has a modern bathroom, and is decorated with soft coordinated fabrics and furnishings. The balance of old and new is prevalent throughout the rooms – contemporary furnishings are combined with the magnificent original features, which afford their guests an impressive sense of comfort and space.
One of the most acclaimed castle hotels in Ireland, Waterford Castle (4*) has welcomed and charmed the most discerning travellers for decades. The castle is a legendary luxurious retreat of world class standing, offering superb castle accommodation. Experience a wonderful sense of anticipation as you make the short crossing by ferry to the island and travel the beech-lined drive to Waterford Castle. As you enter the massive studded oak doors you will be embraced by the Castle’s 500 year history, the carved stone and wood panelled Hall, with its Jacobean style antiques and intricate original tapestries.
The River Lee Hotel (4*) is the perfect vantage point from which to savor the city and everything that Cork has to offer. Located approximately 1km from the famous English market in the city centre, and standing on a bend on the river, it is just a short stroll from the city centre, in a leafy waterside setting. A striking contemporary building, the River Lee Hotel has a series of tall and bright ground floor spaces opening onto a large sunny terrace overlooking the river. Quality natural materials such as wood, stone and glass provide a background for an interesting collection of contemporary art. The rooms are truly outstanding; all are bright and spacious, with large comfortable beds, four piece bathrooms and dedicated work spaces. They enjoy a range of panoramic views; across the city from the front facing rooms, over the leafy parkland of the Bishops Palace to the rear, or from the premium corner rooms directly onto rushing waters of the weir.
Welcome to The Killarney Park Hotel (5*), Killarney, one of the premier 5 star hotels in this scenic part of Ireland. The warm smile and gentle service after a long days travel aren’t simply things this hotel offers, but rather a reflection of the great staff who work here. The log fire burns brightly, the concierge smiles warmly... your journey is over. The Killarney Park Hotel is situated on its own private grounds. This family owned, luxury hotel in Killarney, is committed to ensuring that every moment will be memorable, relaxing and enjoyable.
The old world charm and elegance of Benners Hotel (3*) will captivate you from the moment you arrive. Dingle Benners Hotel is one of the most luxurious Dingle hotels, offering the best of both worlds - traditional Irish warmth and comfort coupled with the best of modern facilities. Situated in the center of Dingle Town, in the heart of West Kerry, Benners is regarded as one of the best located Kerry hotels, an the ideal base for touring the magnificent Dingle Peninsula and surrounding areas.
Park House Hotel Galway (4*) is conveniently located in the heart of Galway's city centre. The hotel blends the warmth and personality of a boutique hotel with the style and luxury of a contemporary 4 Star international hotel. Guest accommodation comprises of 84 rooms divided into superior & deluxe rooms, suites and serviced apartments. The award-winning Park Restaurant is a favourite with locals and guests.
The Cliff House (4* Townhouse) is a luxury Georgian hotel situated on St Stephen’s Green, a quiet haven in the heart of Dublin’s finest shopping precinct. Its classic ambience and boutique style offers 10 comfortable bedrooms that are beautifully designed with thoughtful attention to each detail. As you relax in your room, admire the views over St Stephen’s Green, only a stone’s throw from the historic centre of Dublin. In fact, just to the side of this charming hotel is the National Art Gallery and Trinity College Dublin, so if you are a culture lover, this hotel is ideal for you. You will not be disappointed by the quality of the food offered here: each meal is meticulously prepared with the best ingredients to create a traditionally Irish meal with a modern twist. Together with excellent service and a great atmosphere, your dinner will be an unforgettable treat.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery Westlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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