7-Day Ireland History & Culture Vacation

A 7 day trip to Ireland 

The majesty of noble estates and aristocratic palaces accentuate the rich heritage and the gorgeous scenery found during your luxury castle vacation in Ireland. Relax in the lavish décor of antique rooms and discover period furniture decorating historical Great Halls, and then delve into the vibrant past of ancient mound tombs and explore the captivating panoramic views along the Atlantic coast. From manors in Mohill to pathways in Portmarnock, the Cliffs of Moher to the pubs of Dublin, you will have an immersive experience that will celebrate authentic castles and traditional customs of Ireland.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Dublin, Mohill, Portmarnock, Clifden’s Scenic Sky Road, Boyne Valley, Connemara, Donegal, Wild Atlantic Way, Clonmacnoise Trinity College, Guinness Factory

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Dublin – Arrive in Dublin with a Welcome Tour of the Famous City

Graceful Georgian architecture commands the streets, and the skyline is divided by green parks and an inspiring legacy of literary figures from Yeats to Beckett, Joyce to Wilde. Layers of history found in the city date back to the 9th-century arrival of Vikings while cobbled lanes bring a sophisticated elegance. Musicians perform on the sidewalks of Grafton Street and the ambiance buzzes with classical quarters, traditional fiddle players, and songwriters eager to get noticed.

Your flight will arrive at Dublin International Airport, and your private transfer will greet you at customs. After settling into the comforts of your luxurious accommodations in the heart of the city, your guide will meet you in the lobby ready to introduce you to the splendor of what was once the British Empire’s second city.

Trinity College acts as the perfect welcome to Dublin embodying both history and sophistication at the center of the city. Established in the 16th century, the grounds overtake 40 acres and feature cobbled plazas, radiant gardens, and immaculate green lawns that lead to the timber-tiled archway of the entrance opposite the old Irish Parliament building. The Old Library was erected in the 1700s with the main chamber possessing approximately 200,000 antique volumes filling the stacks of the room’s 213-foot long gallery. Your guide will lead you to the remarkable display of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript from the 9th century telling the stories of the four Gospels of the New Testament.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Dublin – Continue Exploring Dublin’s Charms, Culture, and History

In the morning, a traditional Irish breakfast fills the dining room of your hotel and is best accompanied by a cup of steaming black tea. Your guide will greet you on the classic castle grounds of your hotel that dates back to the 12th century but boasts the comforts of modern luxuries.

You will begin your continued exploration of Dublin at Kilmainham Gaol, the 18th-century prison that once detained notable inmates like the leaders of the 1916 revolution. The notorious site has a cold atmosphere emanating from the iron bars and open space leading to the Stonebreaker’s Yard, where the executions of the Irish revolutionaries took place. The entire prison acts like a museum frozen in time after its closure in 1924 while retaining the chilling effect of its challenging history that offers context into the daily lives of prisoners through the display of personal letters and belongings.

Continue to the festive ambiance of the Guinness Storehouse, one of the most popular attractions in the city. The factory spans nearly 65 acres and has stood at the same location since 1759 to produce over 50 million barrels of Guinness annually in the original location alone. Your guide will lead you around the central glass atrium shaped like a proper Guinness glass and rising seven stories. The galleries offer an intricate view of the iconic advertisements through the ages, as well as the traditional methods of crafting the beer that have changed little since production began. The Gravity Bar at the top of the museum offers a pint accompanied by a stunning view of the city. The scents of caramel and coffee swirl upwards from the glass leading to the famous frothy and smooth texture of beer on your palate.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Mohill – Stop at the Boyne Valley en route to Mohill

Your private driver will meet you in your castle lobby after breakfast and escort you away from the fringes of Dublin to bring you back 5,000 years to the fantastical megalithic passage tomb of Newgrange. The stunning mound predates Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids, date back to approximately 3,200 BC. The inspiring design features a 62-foot long passage that leads to a cruciform-shaped central chamber that aligns with the light of the winter solstice. On the outskirts of the tomb, you can find a collection of kerbstones that stand 10 feet tall and four feet wide, with a single stone possessing three elaborate spiral carvings framed in the background by the grassy mound’s 40-foot tall and 250-foot wide expanse.

You travel onward to reach the sensational storybook allure of Trim Castle, the embodiment of Anglo-Norman architectural style on Emerald Isle. What began as an earth and timber structure evolved into a stone stronghold by the late 12th century with a three-story, 20-sided keep. The dramatic medieval towers reflect in the stoic pond and highlight the strength and beauty of the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland.

In the afternoon, you will arrive at your luxurious castle accommodation in Mohill that reflects a fairytale design that dates back to the 19th century. The unique destination brings stunning views over the Irish countryside and access to the idyllic walled gardens, as well as the surrounding 300-acre estate.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Mohill – Discover the Beauty of the Wild Atlantic Coast

The morning light washes over the colorful flowers in the manicured garden that is visible from the windows of the dining room at breakfast. Your private driver will again greet you at the castle ready to traverse the marvels of Ireland’s famous Wild Atlantic Way along the western coastline. The adventurous terrain begins at the Cliffs of Moher, a sheer seaside precipice made of Namurian shale and sandstone that descends over 702 feet into the Atlantic at their highest point. Wind, rain, and waves carved the dramatic scenery over time, as well as 300-million-year-old river channels.

You will notice the puffins gliding through the air before diving into the cold water on the hunt for fish. The fascinating birds perch in the natural niches of the cliffs to build their secluded nests as their orange bills and feet stand out against their white and black plumage as they spread their wings up to 25 inches wide. The wind rushes up from the water and carries the scent of the sea as it brushes your cheeks.

You will then continue into the unique inland landscape of The Burren in County Clare, which contains remarkable glaciated karsts spanning 220 square miles. You can stop at Portal Tomb, which was erected over 5,000 years ago. The captivating ancient architecture features a large slab crowning two stone pillars rising above the rocky pavements of the region. The capstone weighs over 10,000 pounds covering the space where archeologists discovered the ancient remains of 21 people, as well as shards of pottery and pieces of jewelry dating back to 3,800 BC.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Mohill – Traverse Clifden’s Scenic Sky Road and Connemara

In the morning, you will travel outside of your castle grounds once more to experience the 4,942 acres of mountains, bogs, heats, and forests of the famous protected landscapes of Connemara beginning with Clifden’s Scenic Sky Road. The 10 miles of road travels around the coastal edge of the Atlantic providing panoramas of Clifden Bay and the islands that protrude from the ocean. The rugged beauty of the landscape and the untamed rolling waves of the water reveal the natural grandeur of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic coastline and indelible charm of the local villages.

The Victorian town of Clifden acts as a heading to the narrow bay and overlooks the mouth of the River Owenglin. The Heritage and History Center provides a look at the traditions of the region with a farm that has been operating since the 1840s. A tearoom offers visitors herbaceous tea accompanied by the sweet scent of delicious cakes while the museum also offers a tour on a tractor-pull that will lead you up the slopes of the mountain where locals actively cut peat from the landscape.

Continue to the sophisticated grounds of Kylemore Castle, which was built in 1868. Hidden in the woods on the banks of a rippling bog, the former home of the aristocrat Mitchell Henry became an abbey of the Benedictine Community after his death. The neighboring gardens transform the surrounding rocky wilderness into a festive display of blossoming flowers and elegant plants arranged in geometric patterns including the manicured beds and the charming borders with a designated area for harvesting fruits, vegetables, and edible flowers.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Portmarnock – Visit Malahide and Enjoy the Charm of Portmarnock

The morning light glints against the iconic emerald hills and grasslands of Ireland as you wake up delighted with your surroundings. Your private transfer will greet you in the lobby of your castle and lead you back to Dublin and the former harbor-side village of Malahide. The grounds of the lavish estate encompass nearly 250 acres for over 800 years. The three-story tower house from the original 12th-century castle rises above the surrounding landscape and connects to the 18th-century drawing rooms that were set beneath the storybook turrets with striking Gothic revival design. Furniture and paintings reflect the aristocracy of the 16th century with decorative oak carvings that depict six scenes from the Bible, and family portraits adorn the Great Hall where members of the Talbot family ate before the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Stroll down the scenic coastal walk that winds nearly three miles along a mixture of beach and rocky coastal edges. The village overlooks Baldoyle Bay and the estuary of Statutory Nature Reserve. Street art adorns the walls of the village and connects with the unique characteristics of the town’s rich history as an aeronautical center. This history is best captured in the large sculpture of a globe with a copper needle pointing to the north star to commemorate the first non-stop flight that traveled from east to the west across the north Atlantic Ocean.

The landscape sweeps eastbound to Swords Castle, home to the first Anglo-Norma archbishop and baron on a property constructed in the 14th century. The restored grounds highlight the heritage of the architecture and the surrounding towns with elaborate battlements and courtyards. Arched ceilings soar above the various rooms, and the entrance has a perfect archway topped with a square window. The symbol of the country reflects local custom, as well as the iconic image of a fairytale.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Portmarnock – Depart for Home

In the morning, the scent of fried sausages and eggs fills the dining room while outside of the castle lobby, visitors and locals alike take to the links golf course ready to test their skill on the fairway. On the opposite banks of the River Liffey stands the distinctive Elizabethan Rathfarnham Castle, as the white stone and palatial aesthetic are indicative of the 16th century around the time of the Norman invasion before transferring to a member of the clergy. After one last Irish breakfast and a chance to take it all in, your private transfer will meet you at the castle and escort you past the 11th-century Clontarf Castle to Dublin International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,795
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.