With St Patrick’s day just peeking its nose around the corner of the calendar, could there be a better time to look at what the Emerald Isle has to offer travellers who fancy sampling some of that Celtic hospitality?
With just a couple of days to go until the ancient celebration (dating back as far as the ninth century), held annually on 17 March, the good people at Insight Vacations, have put together a list of what they believe is the crème-de-la-crème of what Ireland has to offer.
This five-star 800-year-old castle is part of The Red Carnation luxury boutique hotel collection and provides a 350-acre oasis in West Ireland. Delivering Irish hospitality and luxury, Ashford Castle provides a vast playground for travellers. A wealth of activities are available including discovering falconry at the oldest established Falconry School in Ireland, horseback riding, zip lining, stand-up paddle boarding, golfing and so much more
On the eight-day Irish Elegance journey, guests are escorted over the drawbridge to Ashford Castle by a lone piper upon arrival. There’s plenty of time to explore the estates striking surroundings and enjoy regal relaxation before indulging in a celebration dinner.
With the highly anticipated final season of Game of Thrones (GoT) within reach, visiting some of Ireland’s legendary film locations are a must. County Antrim in Northern Ireland is surrounded by the sites that set the scene for the iconic HBO show with record-breaking ratings.
On the 12-day Country Roads of Ireland journey, guests visit the Dark Hedges, recognized by GoT fans as King’s Road, before continuing on to their accommodations at the delightful coastal Ballygally Castle Hotel where many Game of Thrones cast members were known to frequent as they were filming nearby.
The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site which formed as a result of an ancient volcano fissure eruption and is now composed of thousands of interlocking columns that look like stepping stones for giants.
The breathtaking causeway, steeped in legend, is a spectacle to behold with the ever-expanding coastal scenery providing the perfect backdrop. Travellers can experience the phenomenon on the 12-day Country Roads of Ireland.
The Ring of Kerry
Stunning seascapes, towering cliffs, lush lake lands and charming villages are around every corner when journeying across the Ring of Kerry on the seven-day Focus on Ireland tour. The narrow, winding route has plenty of attractions along the way, including sights used to film Star Wars and the cast and crews’ local hangouts.
While filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi on the famous Skellig Michael, the cast and crew were known to polish off a pint in nearby Portmagee. Not too far away, is Ceann Sibeal, a well-known scenic headland on the Dingle Peninsula where Luke Skywalker begins Rey’s training in the ways of the force.
Regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure, the Book of Kells is housed in the heart of Dublin at Trinity College. Shrouded in mystery, the ancient manuscript Gospel dates back to the ninth century.
On the eight-day Irish Elegance journey, guests will enjoy an exclusive Insight Experience including priority entrance to the Book of Kells and an exclusive guided walk though Trinity College grounds accompanied by Joseph O’Gorman, a Trinity College Scholar.
Cliffs of Moher
The view of the Clare Coast from the top of these magnificent cliffs is unrivalled. The Cliffs of Moher are named after a fort built in the first century BC that stood where Moher Tower stands now. Standing over 700 feet high, the waves of the Atlantic crash powerfully along the bottom of these majestic cliffs.
On the 14-day Best of Ireland & Scotland journey, travellers take in the sights at Cliffs of Moher after enjoying a scenic ferry ride across the Shannon Estuary, before continuing to the gateway of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Speaking of “wetting the shamrock”, what better way to do so than with a pint of Ireland’s national and world-renowned tipple, Guinness. The stout’s signature creamy texture and long-lasting head contributed to its lasting success, but almost equally as well known is the famed 9,000-year lease, signed by Arthur Guinness in 1759 at St. James’s Gate in Dublin.
On the 15-day Britain and Ireland Explorer journey, guests will visit the Guinness Storehouse before it opens to avoid the crowds. Following an escorted tour of the storehouse, they will enjoy a Guinness tasting and learn how to pour the perfect pint.