Castles & Classics - The luxury tour of Ireland

      Galway, Killarney, Dingle

      27 reviews
      Duration: 7 days
      Group size: 1 - 16
      Castles & Classics - The luxury tour of Ireland
      Galway, Killarney, Dingle

      27 reviews

      Duration: 7 days
      Group size: 1 - 16

      About this trip


      You’ll never forget checking into a world famous Irish Castle hotel, a 12th century fortress, and enjoy sleeping in its luxurious bedrooms. 

      This tour features all the fantastic activities and experiences Essential Ireland Tours are famous for, but the extra magic is the luxury accommodation and the small group size (8 - 16 tour guests only).

      You’ll have the travel experience of a lifetime in some of the world’s best hotels and stately homes. We leave nothing out and the attention to detail on this tour is exceptional.Great memories, fun experiences, gourmet food and wine, luxury Castles, an epic VIP tour of Ireland.

      note: This tour itinerary may occasionally need to operate in reverse direction or certain days may be swopped if logistically required. In this eventuality, the activities, sights or locations visited on the tour will not be affected. 

      What’s included

      • Hotel
        5 Star Castles, hotels and luxury Guesthouses
      • 1 Gourmet dinner & lunch
        A fine evening meal by private Chef (wine included)
      • All activities
        no hidden extras or "optional" activities
      • All breakfasts
        Hearty breakfasts each morning (including the magical King George V dining room experience at Ashford Castle)
      • Picnic lunch
        Irish cheese & prosecco at an epic spot

      Available Packages

      Per person sharing double/twin bedroom
      Available until 2 days before departure
      Deposit: €500
      solo-traveller / single-supplement
      Available until 2 days before departure

      solo/single traveller with a big bedroom all to your self

      Deposit: €500


      Day 1
      Dublin to Ashford Castle

      [9am] Depart central Dublin. Pick up in one central location City’s south-side (The Harding Hotel, just in front of Christchurch Cathedral). We’ll enjoy some fun and informative commentary on Dublin’s attractions to the beautiful Irish countryside.

      [10.30] Stop outside Dublin for a welcome-coffee! You’ll have an itinerary Q&A session with Stephen McPhilemy, our Co-Founder and Chief Tour-Guide.
      Then onward to the idyllic village of Cong, one of Ireland's most beautiful spots and scene of the Hollywood classic 'The Quiet Man'

      [12.30] Enjoy free time for lunch in charming Cong.. 

      [1.30pm] Checkin to Ashford Castle, the worlds most beautiful and luxurious Castle Hotel. The warm welcome from the staff is an experience in itself.

      [3pm] explore the exquisite gardens, perhaps ride some of the Castle's horses through the woods, fish on Lough Corrib for salmon or pike or relax in the award-winning spa.

      [5pm] Gather in the Prince of Wales Bar where everyone can enjoy each others company and have a good chat with other tour-guests

      Optional dinner in the George V dinging room (dinner jackets compulsory for Gentlemen), the Castle Dungeon ( no dress code) or the charming cottage restaurant...
      Browse the dining options at this link, Stephen's tip: be sure to pre-book directly with the Castle

      Your Organizer

      Essential Ireland Tours & Travel Ltd.
      27 reviews
      Famous for our small-group, VIP-style, Ireland Tours (8-16 guests) 🇮🇪 Created by award-winning Irish Tour-guide Steve McPhilemy (Rick Steves' right-hand man in Ireland for over 20 years) & Irish-American travel-enthusiast Patrick Wade to provide wonderful, fun & value-for-money Irish experiences for our friends, family and international guests.


      We had a wonderful experience with Essential Ireland. Chris and Stephen were very informative, had a great sense of humor,and were looking out for our best interests - we had a 2 year old in the group:) Killarney National Park was lovely, and we appreciated personal time to hike before starting our day. Ashford Castle, the Burren, the beaches, the peat bog, and the Great Blasket Center were fascinating, but the highlight for us was Dingle and our stay at Milltown. From the moment we were greeted by Seamus and our gracious hosts, we felt at home. The delicious breakfasts, the Irish music and dance presentation, the side trips to town and beyond, and most especially the falconry will leave us with lasting memories.
      By Sue W for Wild Atlantic Way 7 days (Killarney, Dingle & Galway) on Jun 20, 2024
      Many thanks Sue for your kind words and highly positive review of your 'private tour' with Essential Ireland Tours, it was such a pleasure to host you all and tour through our beloved Ireland together. Delighted to read you enjoyed all the Irish activities and cultural highlights and we hope to welcome you again in the near future. Le meas/with respect Stephen Mcphilemy Founder & Chief Tour-Guide Essential Ireland Tours
      Our first trip to Ireland. We absolutely loved the tour from Essential Ireland. The accommodations, the experiences (crystal cutting, falconry, sheepdog demo, whiskey tasting, Blasket Island Center, Jaunting car ride through Killarney National Park, and so much more), the wonderful breakfasts at all places, guide Stephen's terrific driving through the narrow roads along the Wild Atlantic Way and his amazing commentary of the history of Ireland and its people as he drove...this trip more than lived up to our expectations. Only downside was the group was a little larger than advertised (21 instead of cap of 15) - but it did not really hinder our experiences. We loved the amount of time spent in the smaller towns of Killarney, Dingle and Galway. We did the Dingle Sea Safari on our 'free day' and it was the highlight of our trip - but we had amazing weather to experience it, so it's a crap shoot. This trip allowed for lots of free time to shop, eat and experience the local vibes as well - Stephen gave great recommendations for local pubs/live music.
      By JODY B for Wild Atlantic Way 7 days (Killarney, Dingle & Galway) on Jun 20, 2024
      Thank you so much for the lovely positive review Jody, it really helps other travellers decide to tour with us at Essential Ireland Tours. Our tour was such fun and it was a really great group, I loved guiding every minute of it. This particular tour departure had some tour-guests who could not travel on the next open date (which had 12 tour guests) or the previous tour (which only had 6 tour guests on the tour) and trying to make sure they enjoyed an Irish experience on the only possible date, we permitted going over our max on this one occasion, but we have a system in place now to ensure we will always stay at 16 tour-guests or under (our average throughout the year is actually 12 tour-guests. In April 2024 I led this tour with just 2 guests! We have a never-ever-cancel guarantee). But as you kindly pointed out, the group size didn't hinder our experiences and our brand new tour-bus had 30 seats. Still, we wont be going over 16 participants again in future I assure you. Delighted to read you loved the hotels, the experiences and all the great activities we include every day on our Essential Ireland tours. Best wishes from Dingle bay, we hope to tour with you again in the near future. Slainte! Good health! Stephen McPhilemy Founder and chief Tour-Guide Essential Ireland Tours
      Wonderful tour with a small group. The tour leader had an extremely in-depth knowledge, but the group was small enough to adapt for individual preferences, and left enough free time for personal choice. Highest recommendation!!
      By Anne W for Wild Atlantic Way 7 days (Killarney, Dingle & Galway) on Jun 12, 2024
      Thank you sincerely Anne for your kind words, it was a pleasure to guide this tour and introduce our small group of 14 to my beloved Ireland. Im happy to read you enjoyed the relaxed pace of our Essential Ireland Tours and also the way we go in-depth in Irish history and culture. Best wishes to both of you and hope to see you "on the road again" sometime in the near future. Is mise le meas/from me to you with respect Stephen McPhilemy Founder and chief Tour-Guide Essential Ireland Tours
      This trip was exactly what I had hoped for & expected based on the information presented in advance. The small group of 14 people allowed well timed visits, the transmission of information & a congenial association of interested travelers of assorted ages. My two grown daughters accompanied me & were charmed by the whole experience. We especially liked the beautiful surroundings & interaction with animals ( hold the baby lambs, sheep herding, falconry) .Every part of the trip was timed perfectly with lots of free time. Stephen's knowledge of past history as well as the present day political scene gave us a broad background that enhanced the tour. Accommodations were excellent. The small bus was extremely comfortable. Stops were timed to insure individual needs were met. I"d definitely recommend this trip without hesitation.
      By Meryl K for Wild Atlantic Way 7 days (Killarney, Dingle & Galway) on Jun 11, 2024
      Nice group size. Good flexibility. Nice pace to trip - didn't feel rushed anywhere. Comfortable coach. Knowledgeable guide. Perfect way to check off Ireland on my bucket list!
      By Mary F for Wild Atlantic Way 7 days (Killarney, Dingle & Galway) on Jun 11, 2024
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