Ancient Ireland

Sunday, September 3 – Saturday, September 9, 2023  SOLD OUT

Sunday, September 10, 2023 – Saturday, September 16, 2023  Available

Sunday, September 23, 2023 – Saturday, September 30, 2023  Available

Sunday

On landing at the Dublin airport you will be met by our driver and escorted to the large van, you will spend the next 7 days and 6 nights living it up like Kings and Queens and exploring the many wonders that Ancient Ireland has to offer.

Once you have arrived at the Castle you will be met for an introduction to the historic castle, be served hors d’oeurves and a refreshing beverage in the Castle drawing room before settling into your luxurious surroundings and recuperating after your flight.

You will then enjoy a gourmet multicourse meal prepared by Le Cordon Bleu Paris Alum-Chef Walter and the AGA staff in style in the formal dining room.

Monday

Into the West, today were heading for Bunratty Castle and folk park and the spectacular west coast of Ireland to visit the world famous cliffs of Moher.

We’ll break up the journey with our first stop at Bunratty Castle and Folkpark, Bunratty castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art, which capture the mood of those times. Within the grounds of Bunratty Castle is Bunratty Folk Park where 19th century life is vividly recreated. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. The famous Durty Nelly’s Pub and The Blarney Woolen Mills shop is next door, we can enjoy lunch* and a have look around the shop before heading on to the Cliffs of Moher.

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s top Visitor attractions and are a designated UNESCO Geo Park. The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometers over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O’Brien’s Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. There are long walks along the cliffs ideal for stretching the legs and panoramic views out over the Atlantic ocean.

Upon arriving back to our Castle, you will enjoy hors d’oeurves and a refreshing beverage in the Castle drawing room and then a gourmet meal prepared by Le Cordon Bleu Paris Alum-Chef Walter and the AGA staff in style in the formal dining room.

Tuesday

Today we will go to Ireland’s capital city Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, meaning “town of the hurdled ford”) and our first port of call will be the famous Guinness Brewery or, as we like to call it ‘The home of the black stuff’. The Guinness Storehouse is the number one visitor attraction in Dublin and a “must see” visit on any tour of Dublin. It is located in the heart of the Guinness brewery at St. James’s Gate. Housed in an old fermentation plant, this seven- story visitor experience tells the history of the making of this world famous beer. It is a dramatic story that begins over 250 years ago and ends in Gravity Bar where visitors receive a complimentary pint of Guinness while relaxing and enjoying spectacular views over Dublin.

From Guinness we’ll go right into the heart of the city and visit the world famous Trinity College Dublin. Trinity College Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and is famous for its graduates such as Swift, Goldsmith, Wilde and Beckett. Visitor facilities include the Treasury, which houses the world famous Book of Kells and the Long Room, the largest single-chamber library in the world containing 200,000 of the library’s oldest books. Trinity is located right in the heart of city at the bottom of Dublin’s Grafton Street, Ireland’s most famous pedestrian shopping street. We will eat lunch in a local restaurant* and then return to our Castle for a relaxing evening. You will enjoy hors d’oeurves and a refreshing beverage in the Castle drawing room and then a gourmet dinner by Le Cordon Bleu Paris Alum Chef Walter and the AGA staff in the formal dining room.

Wednesday

Medieval Kilkenny City of Kilkenny or ‘The Marble City’ (as it’s affectionately known!) Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh, meaning “cell or church of Cainnech”) is a beautiful city with a tremendous sense of character, history and culture. Our first stop will be the focal point of the city, Kilkenny Castle. We will take the tour of this 12th century castle and explore the magnificent grounds. You have the rest of the afternoon to explore the quaint and bustling city center where you are sure to find lots to interest you including shops, pubs and great places to eat*.

Directly across the street from Castle is the famous Kilkenny Design Craft Centre. The Kilkenny Design Centre is situated in what were once the stables of Kilkenny Castle and is fittingly located adjacent to the National Craft Gallery one of Ireland’s most exciting artistic venues. The Centre’s unequalled supplier list, drawn from Ireland’s most eminent craftspeople and designers, gives visitors a uniquely special shopping experience. A world-renowned selection of jewelry, knitwear, Celtic gifts, china & crystal, pottery & glass, home & fashion accessories and one off contemporary design pieces are available. Visitors from outside of the EU can avail of highly attractive tax-free shopping.

Enjoy a visit and tasting at the Ballykeefe Distillery. Makers of fine Irish whiskey, Vodka, Gin and Poitín. Ballykeefe is an entirely independent, artisan, family-owned Single Estate Whiskey Distillery, which was built in 2016 to diversify a working family farm for successor generations. All of the Whiskey is triple distilled from barley sown, grown and harvested on the family farm. This makes it a uniquely 100% ‘field to glass “Single Estate” Whiskey distillery’ and marks a revival of a century’s lost tradition of family farm distilling. Ballykeefe on the label means 100% Ballykeefe distilled spirit made from 100% Ballykeefe Irish barley, in the bottle.

After our day of sightseeing we will return to the castle to relax and enjoy hors d’oeurves in the Castle drawing room and a refreshing beverage before our gourmet dinner. We will then be heading out to the Monks Pub (O’Gorman’s) for a traditional Irish music session. Every Wednesday, a group of local musicians gather in O’Gorman’s pub, enjoying the craic and playing traditional music into the early hours of the morning. Some nights can see up to 14 musicians gather, guaranteeing ‘craic agus ceoil’ (fun and music) to be had by all, not to mention the plentiful creamy pints of Guinness you may enjoy while chatting with the locals.

Thursday

Today we are heading south east to Waterford County. We will stop at the famous Waterford Crystal factory to learn how crystal is fired, shaped and finished into a perfect product. We will then head on to the Dunmore East Fishing Village for free time wander the village, having lunch* and enjoying the seaside. We will then return to our Castle for a relaxing evening of hors d’oeurves and a refreshing beverage in the Castle drawing room before our gourmet dinner by Le Cordon Bleu Paris Alum Chef Walter and the AGA staff in the formal dining room.

Friday

Our last day of touring will be a relaxed day. Today we’ll travel first to Holycross Abbey, a 12th century Cistercian Abbey. Holycross is a very special and sacred place where you can walk in the footsteps of ancient Monks. Experience first-hand, through local guides, the story of Holycross, spanning 10 centuries of a changing social, political and religious landscape, in the very heart of Ireland.

From Holycross we’ll take a short drive south to the historic town of Cashel, which is home to the iconic Rock of Cashel. Here you will have time to lunch* and explore this beautiful historic town and all it has to offer including shops, pubs, cafés and restaurants before we take an the official tour of the rock. “The Rock” was long ago the main seat of the High Kings of Ireland and is now one of the most spectacular tourist attractions in Ireland. It’s huge, it’s complex, it’s iconic, there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world and it’s right here in Cashel at the heart of Tipperary. The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig), more formally St. Patrick’s Rock, it is also known as Cashel of the Kings. Reputedly the site of the conversion of Aenghus the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century AD. Long before the Norman invasion The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. The buildings represent both Hiberno-Romanseque and Germanic influences in their architecture.

Upon arriving back to our Castle, you will enjoy hors d’oeurves and a refreshing beverage in the Castle drawing room and our last amazing gourmet dinner prepared by Le Cordon Bleu Paris Alum-Chef Walter and the AGA staff in the formal dining room of the Castle.

Saturday

After breakfast, we say  “Slán” to Ancient Ireland and transport you to the Dublin Airport for your journey home or on to your next destination!

* Indicates meals and alcohol not included in your Adventure cost. We do not set a fixed lunch as we feel you will enjoy choosing your own meal.

Itinerary subject to minor changes.

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The earliest recorded mention of the castle is to be found in the Tithe Applotment Book of 1827. The police barracks across the road from the castle entrance was built sometime after 1836, and is first mentioned in the rate book of 1842. Like many grand Irish residences in the 18th century, the Castle began life as an upper-class Georgian house. Today, if you want to flaunt your wealth, you build a bigger house. But in the 1800s, the fashion was to “castellate” your home by actually building a castle around the existing structure. The ultimate addition. The castle was a more modest version of many castellated residences. The castle is a battlemented Tudor-style structure, with side turrets, and a central machicolated (a projecting parapet or the vault of a gate, through which stones or burning objects could be dropped on attackers) turret enclosing the main doorway.

Formal Dining Room

The landlords of this time, would have focused their daily lives on the serious business of entertaining and the dining and drawing rooms were designed for this purpose. The importance of these rooms as the showcase of wealth, comfort and prosperity cannot be understated. On arrival at the Castle you will instantly be greeted by a sense of luxury that was intended by the original owners of the property.

The Drawing Room

The Castle drawing room is a showcase for the superb restoration of the Castle from an atmospheric ruin into an elegant manor house.

The Library

The traditional stone hearth of the library hints at this room’s past as it was originally the castle kitchen. The hearth is now fitted with a safe and energy efficient peat turf burning stove that still gives the feel of a traditional turf fire and makes this room a rustic informal family retreat. Comfortable leather arm chairs beckon you in after a busy day touring Ireland, to enjoy an evening’s relaxation. Why not unwind with a traditional Irish whiskey and chose a volume of Irish literature from the hand crafted library shelves. The library also has wi-fi so all your laptops and smart phones can connect to the internet but there is also a PC and printer available for guest use.

The Traditional Kitchen and Breakfast Room

Located in what was once the old coach house, the Castle’s kitchen dining area maintains many features from its original use such as the still visible archways through which the horse drawn coaches would have entered the castle.

This room which has been redesigned as a traditional Irish kitchen, similar to those to be seen in vernacular Irish farmhouses throughout the country. In a typical Irish country kitchen you will find a large Aga stove, used for both cooking and heating purposes, a dresser for displaying kitchen crockery and the quintessential deep “Belfast sink”. All are incorporated effortlessly into what was once a coach house to create a truly authentic country kitchen and breakfast room.

The Bed Chambers

The castle has seven bedrooms in total, five double en-suite rooms suitable for five couples, one single bedroom suitable for single occupancy and a twin room which has two single beds in it. All bedrooms have a private bathroom either in the bedroom or across the hall. Each bedroom has a hairdryer and spa robes for your use while you are staying in the Castle.

The Grounds

Looking at the landscape around the Castle it is easy to see why Ireland is known in the USA as the Land of Forty Shades of Green! On entering the wrought iron gates of the Castle, you will enjoy a meandering driveway over which stands the strong charismatic castle building. To the front of the castle you will enjoy views of green fields and mature trees.

Beautifully set up for adults and children alike with a new tennis court, basketball court, a playground, magnificent gardens perfect for walking, relaxing outside or playing Bocce.

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 We will meet you at the Dublin Airport and escort you by private van to your Castle home for the week, and take you back to Dublin Airport at the end of the Adventure.

The Artistic Gourmet Adventures’ driver’s greeting window time is between 1530-1730 (or 3:30pm-5:30pm) on Sunday. For the comfort of you, and our other travel weary Adventurers, it is preferred that arrival times  be planned within these hours for the drive back to the Castle. You will all be traveling together to the Castle and from the Castle. If you have an arrival outside these hours, we are happy to arrange a taxi for you (approximately $440 one way) from the airport directly to the Castle. If you arrive early on Sunday, please check out this link for a discounted Day Room at a local hotel.

Please plan for a 10:00 am departure from the Castle on Saturday, the last day of your Adventure, back to the Dublin Airport. You will all be traveling together to the Airport. If you have a departure outside these hours, we are happy to arrange a taxi for you (approximately $440 one way) to  the airport directly from the Castle.

Adventure cost is includes:

Daily ground transportation to excursion by van, all excursion costs, all gourmet breakfasts, lunches, dinners and wine, when dining at accommodations. Luxury Castle accommodations with private bathrooms are included.

*Meals and alcohol outside the accommodations are not included.

Airfare not included.

Proof of Travel Insurance is required and can be bought on line from Travelguard.com/ or Allianz Travel Insurance.com.

$4550 pp single occupancy

$4350 pp double occupancy 

 Nonrefundable deposit of $750 pp due upon booking.

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