Ireland’s 30,000+ ancient castles and ruins ensure magical encounters at seemingly every turn. But the chance to spend the night in the same halls where royals once slept takes an Irish adventure to the next level. Several tours in the CIE Tours collection feature overnight castle stays that will appeal to fans of history, romance and fantasy alike. Here are four:
Castles & Manors of Ireland: 8 days from C$2,924
Brand new for 2020, this tour lives up to its promise of castles right from the start with a two-night stay at Kildare’s Barberstown Castle, where guests enjoy a special dinner in the 12th century castle keep. Other castle stops on the tour include 15th-century Ross Castle in beautiful Killarney National Park, which guests will explore by horse-drawn jaunting car, the 19th- century Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, and the neo-Roman Cabra Castle (feature image above) — the setting for a memorable farewell dinner and final night’s stay. Guests will also have the chance to visit and stay in stately manor homes, from Russborough House, site of an infamous art heist, to the 1877 Cahernane House, Tudor-style Muckross House and Gardens, and Glenlo Abbey, whose history is intertwine with that of two legendary knights.
Irish Heritage & Dromoland Castle Tour: 8 days from C$3,030
This tour begins in Limerick at the 13th century King John’s Castle on the River Shannon, where guests learn Norman history via costumed guides and 21st century technology before a medieval-style banquet at Knappogue or Bunratty Castle. Then it’s on to the Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, and Ross Castle’s 15th-century ruins. After a visit to the famous Blarney Castle, guests continue to the House of Waterford Crystal and the monastic site of Glendalough, then spend a day exploring Dublin. The tour ends with a visit to The Irish National Stud and a night at Dromoland Castle.
Irish Odyssey: 12 days from C$3,030
A stay at the 1760 Cabra Castle Hotel in Kingscourt culminates an epic journey that takes guests from Dublin through the southern and western coasts and up through Northern Ireland before returning to the capital city. Along the way, guests explore historic sites from Kilmainham Gaol to Kylemore Abbey, Titanic Belfast and the Neolithic tombs at Newgrange, plus spectacular natural wonders from the Cliffs of Moher to the Giant’s Causeway. And, of course, a stop at the world-famous Blarney Castle.
Irish Supreme: 9 days from C$4,265
The most luxurious offering in the CIE Tours collection begins in Dublin with a Trinity College Tour and visit to the 9th-century Book of Kells. An excursion to mystical Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains follows, then the Irish National Stud, House of Waterford Crystal, and a sail to Spike Island, home to a 6th-century monastery and 18th-century star fort. Ireland’s castle legacy enters the tour with visits to Blarney Castle and Killarney’s Ross Castle. Other highlights include the Atlantic Irish Seaweed Walk in Kerry, a sheep herding demonstration on the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, a working goat farm visit, and the medieval old town of Limerick. For castle lovers, the trip’s highlight is a night at Dromoland Castle.
Learn more about CIE Tours’ castle-hopping tours at www.cietours.com or connect with a travel professional.
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