Drive Across Ireland with Stops at Dublin, 5-Star Hotel, and Historical Castles
Though Ireland is nicknamed the Emerald Isle for its lush vegetation and verdant pastures, the island is actually made up of several landscapes, ranging from the western causeway’s spectacular basalt columns to the towering Cliffs of Moher. On this six-night Ireland vacation from Sceptre Tours, you’ll get an up-close view of the unspoiled countryside as you travel through the country’s rural farmlands and historic cities. The package includes roundtrip airfare from New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), or Chicago (ORD), nightly accommodations, and a manual-shift rental car for the duration of the trip. Click here for more information and policies.
Day 1: After touching down in Dublin (DUB) and picking up your rental car, drive about an hour southwest to Heritage Golf & Spa Resort in County Laois. Fodor's called this five-star golf and spa resort "a haven of peace, calm, and elegance." Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the resort is bathed in grandeur, from its lavish European-style decor to its pristine 18-hole golf course that was partially designed by golf legend Seve Ballesteros.
During your stay, roam the grounds at the nearby Rock of Dunamase, a stone fort that served as an important stronghold as far back as the 9th century.
Days 2–3: On your way from Heritage Resort, take a tour of Kilkenny Castle, a stone structure built in the early 13th century that housed the Butler family for nearly 600 years.
Venture farther southwest through the breathtaking countryside towards Killarney, a popular tourist town that lies just off the island's Atlantic coast. While in Killarney, guests settle in at Scotts Hotel for a two-night stay. While you’re here, explore Killarney National Park and its more than 25,000 acres of waterfalls, lakes, and deep green mountainsides.
You could also visit some relics from Killarney's 4,000-year history. The national park’s Ross Castle dates back to the 15th century and overlooks a supposedly haunted lake. The castle rests on the Ring of Kerry, a 110-mile road with so many picturesque vistas that it can take up to a day to explore. Along the way, you’ll see centuries-old forts, scenic bluffs, and ancient monoliths carved with early Celtic writings.
Days 4–5: Wind your way north to Galway, a charming bayside city that’s home to the National University of Ireland as well as plenty of Gaelic history and culture. Hit up one of Galway's pubs for a pint of Irish beer and some live entertainment, which ranges from fiddlers to folk dancers.
At Galway Bay, you can gaze on the waters that inspired works by James Joyce and John Lennon. The bay is popular for deep-sea fishing and sailing. In warmer months, the waters are filled with dozens of Galway hookers, the town’s traditional fishing boats. You can also take a ferry ride to the Aran Islands, where ancient walls gird seaside bluffs covered with wildflowers in springtime.
During your stint in Galway, you’ll spend both nights at the posh Clayton Hotel, a four-star hotel with an indoor pool and gourmet dining.
Day 6: On the way to Dublin, you can pause in Kildare Village to enjoy the sights and do some shopping.
Your final accommodation is at the Ballsbridge Hotel, located in downtown Dublin.
Day 7: Say farewell to the Emerald Isle as you board your flight back to the States.