Enchanting Irish Family Vacation

A 10 day trip to Ireland 
4.68493
4.68 out of 5 stars
73 reviews

Tap dancers, treasure hunts, famous castles, and endless landscapes are all yours to enjoy on this handcrafted tour. Storytellers spin yarns and your kids will spin pottery wheels, and then an amphibious WWII vehicle takes you into Viking history before you experience many classic Irish traditions. Travel at a relaxed pace with three nights in three different destinations, with private experiences and the chance to stay in real castles.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Dublin, St Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, The Ark, County Cork, Cork, Blarney Castle, Cobh, Cobh Heritage Centre, Kinsale, Kinsale Pottery and Art Centre, Ballinacurra House, Killarney, Killarney National Park, Lakes of Killarney, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Limerick, Adare, Shannon

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Dublin – A Viking Splash Tour Starts the Adventure

It is not always easy to get kids interested in city history and architecture, as all that glorious Georgian architecture is going to be a tough sell. But Vikings in an amphibious World War II vehicle? Yes, that will do, and as a family, you can explore two completely different histories in the heart of the city. Dive into the experience as the vehicle splashes down onto the River Liffey and you travel through the city’s heart. Trinity College rises to one side, and Cathedral spires give you a glimpse at the stories you will look for tomorrow. But today you will first be greeted at the airport and transferred to a five-star hotel near St Stephen’s Green. The central location allows for easy walking distance to most Dublin highlights, plus an excellent choice of restaurants and evening entertainment. Ease into your Irish experience on your Viking Splash Tour for a good way to get your bearings without having to walk far.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Dublin – Exploring Dublin on a Treasure Hunt

The seafaring Vikings turned up in the ninth century, founding a settlement that’s evolved considerably since. With every turn on Dublin’s old streets, there is yet another century and another story to unravel, some of them told by costumed characters dressed up as if from the past. On a Dublin treasure hunt, you will go searching for clues, learning about the history as you go. Decipher the clues to locate those people dressed in costumes, then keep going through the backstreets and cobbled lanes. If you are successful in piecing it all together, then Trinity College is your final destination where the Book of Kells tells its own historical tale. You will see the city and keep the kids entertained before a hearty Irish pub lunch and a free afternoon in the city.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Dublin – Irish Step Dancing Lessons and Free Exploration

Tap, tap, tap. Move, move, move. It’s fairly easy if you know how, and children tend to pick up Irish step dancing much quicker than the adults do. Celtic music fills the room, and you can go through the paces, back and forth and back and forth. Dress up in costumes from the mid 19th century to make it even more authentic as you learn the reel, slip, jig and hornpipe. Phew, what a workout! After a morning of dancing the afternoon is left free, perhaps a good time to head out to the coast and some ice cream, or some fish and chips, by the beach.

For the evening, head to Temple Bar alongside your private guide. Although famous for its drinks and pubs, this cultural enclave has been updated to become quite family friendly. The Ark is a child-focused storytelling setting inside Temple Bar, ensuring young ones get chance to appreciate the old art of seanchai, the storyteller. Tales depict mermaids and unicorns, Gaelic heroins and ancient gods, each line more fanciful than the last. But you will be entranced, pulled into a tale that spins a web of mythology. Go listen to some early-evening tales before dinner, and then relax on this final night in Dublin.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: County Cork – First-Class Train to Cork and Sleeping in a Castle

The first-class train is the easy way to see Ireland as emerald valleys stretch out on either side of the tracks. Small villages of red and blue houses pass by as cows and sheep graze behind dry stone walls. You will zoom east to west across the Irish countryside and transfer to a medieval castle outside Cork. It appears to be a museum piece, turrets and all as it dominates gardens and forest and looks to be where earls and barrens live. Well, they once did, but now it is a castle turned hotel where you can sleep within the history and get a feeling for what things were like 500 years ago.

There is a lot to do around the castle resort, so you can walk the gardens and head into the forest for a stroll, or go horse or pony riding around the estate. Try the sport of hurling, or fire some arrows during a guided archery introduction. You can visit a working farm nearby, watching a milking demonstration or sheep shearing demonstration if the season is right.  But most of all, you can relax in the castle to find time and space to be together as a family. Irish musicians perform in the dining room each evening, bringing some lively entertainment to this place in the country.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: County Cork – Discovering Blarney Castle and the Titanic

To be a good storyteller, you need to have the gift of the gab, and to get that, you must lean backward and kiss the Blarney Stone. Try it for yourself on a private tour of Blarney Castle, the most famous and iconic of all the Irish fortresses. Another famous story is nearby as the Titanic last set sail from Cobh as it stopped here on route to the Americas, a small harbor town that helps children relive what it was like on the most famous of all boats. Explore the historical harbor to understand why so many were crossing the Atlantic before visiting the Titanic Experience. After these two excursions, your guide can customize an afternoon around County Cork, perhaps spending time in Cork itself, where the gaol offers stories different to what you’ve heard so far.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: County Cork – Celtic Jewelry and Pottery Making

Kinsale is all old-world charm as a star-shaped fort provides the backdrop to a town of contrasting colors, the houses painted all manner of hues in an attempt to be different from the next. Flowers add extra colors to the window frames. and even the town’s benches have been vividly painted. Arriving in Kinsale, you can explore Charles Fort, including a place where thick stone walls peer precariously over the Atlantic. The houses are historical here, and as you explore more of Kinsale, it may feel as though you have stepped into the 18th century, a feeling that is intensified when you hear Irish, and not English, on the streets.

One of those 18th-century structures is a converted farm stable, where artisans continue the crafts of Celtic jewelry and pottery. After lunch, you can join the artisans and make your own traditional pieces. Begin with pottery, learning how to handcraft and paint a sculpted piece, perhaps being inspired by the flamboyant Kinsale palette. Then the jewelry, from design to threading, knotting, fitting, then the all-important crimps before finishing it off with your own little flourish. It will be your final night in the Cork Castle, so there may be some more activities you want to do, probably a different Irish dish on the dinner menu you want to try, perhaps even a child who wants to join in the local evening entertainment.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Killarney to County Clare – Cycling and Walking in Killarney National Park

Killarney is lush, and lakes appear glassy beneath rolling peaks. Castle remains stud the hills, evocatively showing their age. The road is mostly empty, twisting across single-lane bridges and past old farmhouses. For many, this is the most beautiful part of Ireland, a landscape cut off from the world that makes for an adventure at your own pace. With your local guide, you can bicycle or walk in Killarney National Park, choosing from a wide variety of trails and routes. After half a day in Killarney, your guide will take you to Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare, and another castle waits here, red carpet and all. Check into your beautiful rooms and the family fairytale continues, just your nearest and dearest in a quiet corner of the emerald island.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: County Clare – Beautiful Journeys Along the Irish Coast

On a muggy day, the Cliffs of Moher appear through the mist, a cryptic landscape buffeted by raucous Atlantic Ocean waves. On a clear day, these cliffs are just as perplexing, five miles long and more than 650 feet above the ocean. A coastal path provides a dramatic ocean view, as well as a view down the craggy Irish coast, how far you can see is dependent on how much the mist has cleared. This piece of coastline deserves its place as one of the world’s most photographed natural wonders, but it is so much more beautiful than the photos can suggest, as you will soon find.

Other coastal highlights can be found in County Clare, along with small villages that provide a less touristic welcome than those in County Kerry. Your guide will know a lovely little place for lunch, where the kids can run around, and you can dine on classic Irish fare. This afternoon, back at the castle, you can go walking with a hawk. The will bird open its wings and fly, soaring nearer and nearer before landing on your child’s hand. There are other birds of prey, and you will learn how they fly and how you can call them with a whistle. Like the castle in Cork, there will be evening entertainment along with dinner, so you all can sit down to a feast before relaxing in the castle’s serenity.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: County Clare – Flexible Day to Explore More of Ireland

This day is left free as you may want to make the journey to the Ring of Kerry, one of Ireland’s most famous attractions. A farm interaction can be arranged, and it will be where you will really get your hands dirty. They do sheep shearing demonstrations all year around, and the kids learn how to feed lambs. Skilled dogs reign in the wooly masses, and it’s quite captivating, how two dogs can cajole the flock into their pen. Get involved with other aspects of the farm, or perhaps just splash around on the boggy fields, before the castle provides place to get clean and hang your mucky clothes out.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Shannon to Dublin – Connecting Flight and Departure

Shannon International Airport is only a 20-minute transfer from the castle, and from here you can fly to Dublin and meet your international departure.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$3,995
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.