(Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Ballyvaughan)
As you tread the sawdust-covered boards of Durty Nelly’s tavern, let your eyes adjust to the dim light and toast the ghosts of the medieval past while sitting at a bar that has served ale to the trodden masses since the Middle Ages.
The rich sense of history is palpable everywhere you turn in Ireland. From the almost perfectly intact Trim Castle that was put to modern-day use as the set for the Braveheart film to the ancient Dromberg Stone Circle on the rugged West Cork coastline, this is a country that proudly showcases the fruits of its centuries-old civilization. It’s also a place of incredible natural beauty which you’ll witness in the majestic Mourne Mountains, the panoramic view across Killiney Bay in charming Dublin, and in the pristine lakes and meandering glens of Wicklow.
The joyful social life evident in the crowded taverns and pubs of Ireland often shrouds the country’s turbulent history. Your team of experienced local guides will take you beneath the guide-book surface as you explore the difficult past of Belfast and visit the sites of bloody medieval battles, while introducing you to the enduring humor of the Irish people that has seen them through war and famine. You’ll also experience the best of modern Ireland in your collection of luxury hotels.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
A private vehicle will provide an airport transfer whilst in Belfast.
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.
Belfast has wonderful dining and entertainment options in the city centre. The two most celebrated chefs in the city are Michael Deane and Paul Rankin. Both chefs have a score of restaurants in the city centre called Deane's and Cayenne respectively. There is also Deane's Deli for a lighter more bistro style ambience. We highly recommend visiting the Crown Bar Saloon and marveling the opulent Victorian Décor of Irelands most beautifully crafted bar.
Enjoy the transfer from Belfast to Dublin stopping off en route at various places of interest. From Belfast there is an incredible range of archaeological and architectural treasures as you travel southwards to Dublin. To begin, there is the wonderful Mourne Mountains that sweep majestically down to the sea at Newcastle in Co. Down. An area of major interest is the archaeological region of the Boyne Valley with the prominent sights being Newgrange, The Hill of Tara, Knowth and Dowth, Slane Castle and The Battle of The Boyne site as well as a possible trip to Trim Castle where many scenes from "Braveheart" the Movie were filmed.
Enjoy an afternoon exploring the main mythological sites west of Dublin city. County Meath is a historical wonderland which has many attractions dating from ancient to medieval times. The Hill of Tara stands in the centre of this facinating county with commanding views in all directions and which was the seat of the ancient Kings of Ireland. Little remains but the outline of their kingdom, a church and a small cafe. Trim Castle to the west however is almost perfectly intact and one of Irelands most interesting castles. Used for many movie sets including Braveheart, the castle sits proudly on the banks of the Boyne and has many ruins in the area that make for an interesting walk.
The coastline of Dublin City from North to South is as fascinating as the city centre itself. Enjoy exploring with your chauffeured driven vehicle. Beginning in Malahide you'll get to visit one of Ireland's most beautiful castles located on lush gardens. From Malahide visit Howth Island, a rugged outcrop and the most easterly part of the country. On the south side of the city the scenery takes on a more Mediterranean feel with James Joyce's Tower in Sandymount. The two villages of Dalkey and Killiney nestled overlooking the sea are Ireland most opulent and the homes of the stars. The view across Killiney Bay to the Wicklow Mountains is among the most beautiful in Ireland. At the end of the tour you will be brought back to your hotel. In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site.
Spend half the day exploring the beautiful area of County Wicklow - just south of Dublin. Wicklow is rightly known as the Garden of Ireland due to the spectacular natural scenery which couple mountains with lakes and meandering glens and a long coastline. The Sally Gap, a high mountain drive, is akin to being in the Wild West and the lush landscapes of Glendalough, the Glen of the two lakes, is nestled deep in the Wicklow Mountains. There are also the delightful villages of Roundwood and Avoca where picturesque mountains meet pretty hamlets. Powerscourt House and Gardens is a spectacular gem shadowed by the Sugarloaf Mountain and the estate is home to the largest waterfall in the British Isles of the same name. From here we continue south to Glendalough and the monastic ruins of St Kevin. The location is one of stunning natural beauty and you may like to take a short stroll around the lake.
This afternoon, enjoy an excursion to Blarney Castle and environs. North of Cork City is the famous town of Blarney with its castle and expansive park and the world renowned Blarney Stone. This must be kissed in a feat of acrobatic heroics to achieve the gift of eloquence. Also in the town is the excellent Blarney Woollen Mills superstore which has amongst the finest ranges of Irish goods anywhere in Ireland. The tour can be completed with a nice meal in Christy's pub or in one of the local restaurants in the square of Blarney. 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 bucolic West Cork coastline is among the most indented, varied and lush in Ireland. Enjoy the beautiful views as you are driven to Killarney today. Among the highlights of your tour is the ancient Drombeg Stone Circle, the quaint fishing villages of Glandore and Union Hall as well as a possible detour to Ireland's most southerly peninsula, Mizen Head. There are also the pretty seaside towns of Baltimore with its islands and Schull with lots of nice shops and cafes to browse through. Glengariff is located at the foot of the Caha Mountains that separate Cork from Kerry. It is a dense lush sub tropical valley that is famous for its Bamboo Park, seal colony and Italian Gardens visited by boat from The Blue Pool in Glengariff. Inland from here is the solitary chapel on an island by the lake at Gougane Barra, one of Irelands most romantic locations. In order to give as much flexibility as possible, we have not included entrance fees and these can be paid in person on site.
On your chauffeur driven tour today, you will Highlights of The Ring of Kerry Tour takes in the very best of this magical peninsula in a unique and unforgettable drive through the heart of the National Park. From Killarney and the Muckross Estate the narrow road winds up to Ladies View and Molls Gap where panoramic view of the lakes and distant peaks form a picturesque stop. We continue to explore this region in depth by travelling into the Black Valley where a blanket bog land is still harvested. Finally we ascend at the Gap of Dunloe driving though a magical valley of quintessential Irish beauty. Ending the tour we can make a stop at Kate Kearney's Cottage where the adventitious can end the tour on foot or by horse drawn cart. 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 a private transfer to Ballyvaughan via Cliffs of Moher. The trip from Killarney to Ballyvaughan takes in the lovely bucolic landscapes of West Limerick and Clare as well as the heritage towns of Adare and Bunratty. Adare has often been touted as Ireland’s most picturesque town as it has many attractions of historic interest including castles, cathedrals, monasteries, and thatched cottages. Bunratty is a colourful village with a famous castle and folk village as well as Durty Nellies, one of Irelands most visited pubs. It’s also a great place to do a bit of shopping and explore the pretty village on foot. A great detour on this tour is to see the grounds of the famous five star Dromoland Castle estate near Ennis.
Connemara is one of Ireland most wild and beautiful regions best explored in a full day touring. There are lots of wonderful villages from Clifden, the alpine like Capital to Leenane on the banks of Killary Fjord as well as Roundstone with its beautiful beaces on the Western coast. The jewel of this rugged mountainous region is Kylemore Abbey and Walled Gardens as well as a serene chapel on the banks of the lake adorned with local Connemara marble and stained glass. A hike along the wilds of Killary Harbour as well as the deep valley at Delphi is also an option. 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 a private transfer to Shannon Airport. Travelling south from Ballyvaughan there is a wonderful journey through the plateau for the Burren. This is a rocky landscape that has been exposed and windswept for millennium forming magical results. Ancient sites such as the Poulnabrune Dolmen mark the landscape and each is worthy of a stop and detailed visit. The town of Ennis is a pretty market town with some great shops and bustling streets. Bunratty is a colourful village with a famous castle and folk village as well as Durty Nellies, one of Irelands most visited pubs. It’s also a great place to do a bit of shopping and explore the pretty village on foot.
The Merchant Hotel Belfast (5*) is an intimate, sumptuous, hotel in Northern Ireland, situated in the historical Cathedral Quarter of Belfast's city centre. The hotel rooms offer a classic design inspired by the richness of the Grade A listed architecture, with 21st century technology and comfort. No two rooms at The Merchant are the same – each has its own unique features, artwork and bespoke furnishings. The Merchant Hotel offers guests 5 different dining opportunities, and a fantastic Concierge that will assist guests in whatever they need.
The Merrion Hotel (5*) is an exclusive Dublin Hotel that comprises of 123 rooms and 19 suites. The interior is designed using Irish fabrics and antiques to reflect the architecture and original interiors of the Main House. Throughout this luxurious Dublin hotel guests benefit from the latest technology. There is a choice of two restaurants and two bars. A luxurious Spa and swimming pool, six magnificent meeting and private dining rooms, and a private car park complete The Merrion's impressive list of facilities. Over the last eleven years, The Merrion luxury hotel in Dublin City has established itself as the epitome of relaxed grandeur, welcoming Dubliners and visitors to the city with stunningly appointed rooms, crackling turf fires and a host of facilities. This hotel has received many prestigious awards and accolades over recent years and hope their guests appreciate what they feel is at the cornerstone of its success - excelling in the art of hospitality.
Hayfield Manor Hotel Cork (5*), is set within 2 acres of mature gardens, encompassing an oasis of calm within the Cork city in the south west of Ireland. As you make your way up the winding, tree lined path to our welcoming door, let calmness envelope you as Hayfield Manor Hotel Cork becomes your home away from home with luxury leisure facilities. A few minutes from Cork city centre and across from UCC, see why Hayfield Manor remains the premier 5 Star Cork hotel.
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.
More of a country Manor House than a castle per se, Gregans Castle Hotel (4*) is the ultimate luxury hideaway set within the visually enchanting and unique Burren landscape with it's myriad botanical, archaeological and cultural treasures and with breathtaking views across Galway Bay. Owners Simon Haden and Frederieke McMurray manage this oasis of comfort together with their attentive staff. Irish hospitality and total relaxation prevail. All bedrooms are individually and elegantly decorated and are indulgently free from the intrusion of televisions.
In the Dining Room, the head chef and his team serve creative and modern dishes using fresh, local ingredients like organic Burren lamb and game, and fresh Atlantic fish and shellfish. Should you decide to dine here you are certainly in for a treat as they have received many awards for their food including 3 Rosettes from the AA for “culinary mastery and excellence”; the National Hospitality Awards' Best Hotel Restaurant 2012 and the Food & Wine Magazine Restaurant of The Year Award 2011. the extensive and ever-expanding wine list features some favourite wines from each continent, including a large selection of organic and bio-dynamic wines. If you fancy a beer or an apéritif while you’re browsing the dinner menu, stroll into in the Corkscrew Bar where the open fire is always glowing and you can sit back and relax in comfortable, luxurious surroundings. The popular lunch menu is also served here, and it’s the perfect place for afternoon tea after a day’s sightseeing or hiking.
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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