Six-Night Sampling of Centuries-Old Castles and a Country Estate
Few spots in Europe feel as timeless as the Irish countryside. The craggy, untouched coastline and rolling meadows dotted with herds of sheep and the occasional crumbling castle seem to belong to a faraway past, as though the Industrial Revolution never managed to jump the Irish Sea. Sceptre Tours' six-night luxury Ireland vacation package lets you explore the Emerald Isle in grand style by staying at four palatial hotels, including a 19th-century castle and an 18th-century estate. The package also includes roundtrip economy-class airfare to Dublin and an economy-size car rental with a manual transmission for the duration of your visit. Click here for more info on the trip and additional upgrade options available.
Day 1: After picking up your car at Dublin Airport, you'll drive to the rolling hills of Killenard in County Laois, home to the five-star Heritage Golf & Spa Resort. If you're a golfer, hit the par 72 Heritage course, which meanders past lakes and streams, with the Slieve Bloom Mountains looming in the distance.
Days 2–3: A 100-mile (162 km) drive westward will take you to the next stop, Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate in County Clare. Housed in a 19th-century castle on grounds that were once home to Gaelic royalty, the hotel boasts interior design may remind visitors of Versailles (the property’s gardens are based on designs from Versailles landscape architect André Le Nôtre). A championship golf course designed by Irish legend J.B. Carr winds among woodlands, bogs, and a lake, where guests can fish or boat. The hotel also offers lessons in horseback riding, falconry, and subtly tipping your hat. For a scenic day trip, head to the Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast.
Days 4–5: Turning southward, you'll make your way to Muckross Park Hotel & Cloisters Spa in Killarney, where former guests include George Bernard Shaw. This five-star hotel borders the Cloisters Spa, a calm sanctuary named Ireland's Best Luxury Destination Spa at the 2011 World Luxury Hotel Awards. In nearby Killarney National Park, ride past lakes and glens in a horse-drawn jaunting car, a type of light carriage popular in 19th-century Ireland.
Day 6: On your way back to Dublin, take the included tour of the House of Waterford Crystal in the southeastern town of Waterford. Here, you'll see master artisans shape molten crystal using hand-carved wooden molds before passing it off to be polished, cut, and engraved. The Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Dublin will be the trip’s final hotel, where you can have a beer at the bar, which is located in the castle's original dungeon.
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