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Castles & Manors

Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara
9 Days from $2,295 per person

A complete circle of Ireland including fairytale castle and manor house stays. 

Visit the ancient city of Dublin, the wild Cliffs of Moher and the island's ‘emerald' countryside. See the wilderness of Connemara and stay in Galway's Ballynahinch Castle, built in the 1580s by Donal O'Flaherty, the first husband of Ireland's fearsome pirate queen, Grace O'Malley.

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Tour Pace: Active
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Dublin the lively Irish capital. This afternoon meet your Local Specialist for a guided tour. View St. Patrick's Cathedral, colorful Georgian Squares and the vibrant, modern city. Then raise a glass of the “black stuff” and drink in sweeping Dublin views at the Gravity Bar atop the Guinness Storehouse as you gain a Cultural Insight into this famous Irish product. Later savor free time and a Welcome Reception including dinner with Irish beer or wine.
    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Radisson Blu St. Helens
  3. Head across the rolling countryside to Kildare. Stop for a visit to the Irish National Stud for a Cultural Insight into the fascinating world of Ireland's thoroughbred industry. See the foaling unit, museum and of course the powerful and regal stallions. Visit the spectacular Rock of Cashel with a Local Specialist, where you view its majestic ecclesiastical ruins. Continue to Killarney, the town on the lakes where your evening is free.
    meal(s):FB
    hotel:The Malton Authentic Accommodations
  4. This morning enjoy free time in Killarney or you might wish to join a Local Specialist for a leisurely guided walk at Torc Waterfall. Later enjoy spectacular scenery, driving around the Ring of Kerry. Take in views of coast and sea, hills and green fields as you travel through this unspoiled land that has inspired artists and poets for centuries.
    meal(s):FB
  5. Head north and stop to visit the stunning Cliffs of Moher, rising up to 700 feet above the Atlantic. Afterwards continue to County Galway and visit the Connemara Marble artisan workshop for a Cultural Insight where you will learn all about the famous green jade-like marble. Later continue through beautiful scenery to the magnificent Ballynahinch Castle for a relaxing two-night stay.
    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Ballynahinch Castle Authentic Accommodations
  6. Drive through the scenic landscapes of Connemara, taking in views of rugged mountains, shimmering lakes and endless shades of green. Make a stop in the picturesque town of Clifden, set between the Twelve Bens Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Then on to visit Kylemore Abbey, a magnificent castellated structure built as a family home and now inhabited by a group of Benedictine nuns. The extensive walled Victorian garden is a delight to the senses. Later return to your castle hotel for dinner.
    meal(s):FB, D
  7. Venture north to Sligo. Here, amid the hills and loughs that inspired the lyrical lines penned by the poet William Butler Yeats, you will be welcomed to a private home for a bit of food, fun, and poetry. Damien and Paula Brennan live in, a modern abode with rustic touches overlooking beautiful Lough Gill. Inside, you will find walls adorned with contemporary Irish paintings and a table set for a Be My Guest prepared by Paula, a noted chef. Damien is an expert on W.B. Yeats. Delicious food, fine company, and the poetry of Yeats come together for a heart-warming meal. Then travel to Roscommon and Kilronan Castle Hotel the ancestral home of the Tenison family and the legendary Colonel King Tenison. It is one of a few Irish castle estates that can trace its history back to royal families.
    meal(s):FB, BG
    hotel:Kilronan Castle Authentic Accommodations
  8. This morning consider taking a luxurious relaxing cruise on the River Shannon. Stop for a visit to magnificent Strokestown Park House, an 18th century mansion with original furnishings. In the old stables is the Irish Famine Museum, one of the world's best private archives dedicated to the potato famine of the 1840s where you gain a Cultural Insight into the plight of the Irish people. Return to Dublin and relish a Farewell Dinner with newfound friends.
    meal(s):FB, FD
    hotel:Fitzpatrick Castle Authentic Accommodations
  9. You will be transferred to the airport, where your Emerald Isle adventure concludes. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.
    meal(s):FB
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30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

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Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

Meal Summary

7 nights, 7 full breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners, On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met… Enjoy lunch and a few hours of pure poetry spent with Irish superhosts, Paula and Damien, against the beautiful backdrop of Yeats country

Authentic Accommodations

  • The Malton in Killarney, Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara, Kilronan Castle in Co. Roscommon and Fitzpatrick's Castle in Dublin

Cultural Insight

  • Visit the Guinness Brewery for a Storehouse tour into what makes the perfect pint and enjoy one. Admire Ireland's finest thoroughbreds at the Irish National Stud Farm. Visit a Connemara Marble factory to see how this stone is crafted into jewelry and figurines, and visit the Irish National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House, a stately 18th century mansion

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Dublin, Cashel, Killarney and Sligo

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Dublin
  • Orientation of Killarney, Galway, Sligo
  • Visit Guinness Storehouse, Irish National Stud, Rock of Cashel, Cliffs of Moher, Clifden, Kylemore Abbey, Strokestown Park House
  • View Torc Waterfall, the grave of W.B. Yeats in Drumcliff
  • See Dublin's Georgian Squares
  • Scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry, through Connemara
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price AvailabilityPrice
27 Apr 17 5 May 17 $2,550$2,295pp
$2,550 $2,295 pp
4 May 17 12 May 17 $2,575$2,318pp
$2,575 $2,318 pp
11 May 17 19 May 17 $2,575$2,318pp
$2,575 $2,318 pp
18 May 17 26 May 17 $2,625$2,363pp
$2,625 $2,363 pp
25 May 17 2 Jun 17 $2,625$2,363pp
$2,625 $2,363 pp
1 Jun 17 9 Jun 17 $2,650$2,385pp
$2,650 $2,385 pp
8 Jun 17 16 Jun 17 $2,650$2,385pp
$2,650 $2,385 pp
15 Jun 17 23 Jun 17 checkmark $2,650pp
$2,650 pp
22 Jun 17 30 Jun 17 checkmark $2,650pp
$2,650 pp
29 Jun 17 7 Jul 17 $2,650$2,385pp
$2,650 $2,385 pp
6 Jul 17 14 Jul 17 $2,650$2,385pp
$2,650 $2,385 pp
13 Jul 17 21 Jul 17 $2,650$2,385pp
$2,650 $2,385 pp
20 Jul 17 28 Jul 17 $2,650$2,385pp
$2,650 $2,385 pp
27 Jul 17 4 Aug 17 checkmark $2,650pp
$2,650 pp
3 Aug 17 11 Aug 17 $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
10 Aug 17 18 Aug 17 checkmark $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
17 Aug 17 25 Aug 17 $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
24 Aug 17 1 Sep 17 $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
31 Aug 17 8 Sep 17 $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
7 Sep 17 15 Sep 17 $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
14 Sep 17 22 Sep 17 checkmark $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
21 Sep 17 29 Sep 17 $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
28 Sep 17 6 Oct 17 $2,595$2,336pp
$2,595 $2,336 pp
5 Oct 17 13 Oct 17 $2,575$2,318pp
$2,575 $2,318 pp
12 Oct 17 20 Oct 17 $2,575$2,318pp
$2,575 $2,318 pp
19 Oct 17 27 Oct 17 $2,575$2,318pp
$2,575 $2,318 pp

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $500 p.p.

Triple Discount: $10 p.p.

Shared Rooming: Room Share is not available on this trip.

Group Size: Itineraries have a maximum of 26 guests.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $57 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to Ireland must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Ireland.

  • The currency in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro (€) and in Northern Ireland is the Pound (£). While it’s a good idea to bring some money with you, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive at your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Ireland. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine.  Culinary experiences to try include a full Irish breakfast, a visit to a chip shop, and hearty lunch at a good local pub.  And be sure to sample Irish national specialties including Irish stew, coddle, potato bread, corned beef and whiskey cake.

    Ireland is famous for its stout and beer, the most famous being Guinness. Other popular brands include Murphy’s Irish Stout, Beamish, and Kilkenny beer. Whiskey is also renowned with the most famous distilleries being the Old Midleton Distillery in Cork, the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, and the Bushmills Distillery in Antrim.

  • The weather in Ireland is mild, moist, and quickly changeable. We suggest packing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Important items to bring include sturdy walking shoes and a waterproof jacket with a hood. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • Tipping in Ireland is less common than in the U.S. When dining in a restaurant, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave a tip of up to 5-10 percent.  Leave your gratuity on the table rather than adding it to your credit card receipt to ensure that your waiter receives it.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Reviews

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Excellent accommodations throughout the tour. The stops were well thought-out, with minimal bus rides between sights to be seen. The sights that we saw were truly well worth seeing, with enough free time to explore the local pubs and shops as we wanted.
Product : I'd recommend this trip for any and all - truly a wonderful experience.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : All accommodations, tours, transportation were as described. No glitches.
Product : Very impressed with all accommodations. Tours and guides were excellent. For a shorter tour of Ireland, I would definitely recommend this tour.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you so much for your comments and recommendation!

Grand European Travel
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Easy to book and confidence in the quality of the experience.
Product : Excellent tour director, sights, meals and support for travellers.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Secrets of Ireland
Service:
Vacation:
Guide was great. Hotels were great.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for sharing

Grand European Travel
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
The tour director (Evan) was fantastic.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : The actual tour company was Brendan Vacations
Product : The name of the tour was Secrets of Ireland
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Great tour, although a little bit too busy for us old folks.Tour guide and coach driver were excellent.
Product : Our accommodations were outstanding, especially the Ballyhaninch and Lough Eske castles. Would have liked a little more free time.
Response from Grand European Travel:
The castles are what makes this trip so unique. It's no surprise that you wanted to spend more time there. Thank you for sharing your comments and suggestions.

Grand European Travel
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : This was a really nice trip. Fantastic tour, knowledgable guide, every thing was well planned and well executed.
Product : I took the secrets of Ireland tour. It was fantastic, with a knowledgable guide, fantastic driver and a nice mix of well known and lesser known placed. Ireland is lovely, the people are open and friendly. I had a great time.
Response from Grand European Travel:
The local people are just one of the wonderful things about visiting Ireland. We are so happy that enjoyed it. Thank you!

Grand European Travel
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Friday, September 12, 2014
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : No problems with either Grand European or Brendan Vacations. This tour was great and we won't hesitate to recommend you or travel with you again.
Product : This was an excellent tour with an 'exceptional' tour guide- Jane Horgan- who knew her country and it's history like the back of her hand and was more than willing to share it with us. The name of this tour, Castles and Manors, led us all to believe that we would be staying in Castles and Manors, which was not the case. We did stay at the Ballynahich Castle Hotel and the Lough Eske Castle Hotel which were estates in years gone by. All the accommodations were wonderful, however, and the wonderful tour and tour guide made up for any disappointment. At both, would have loved to have been able to order meals off their menus. We had a separate menu with chicken, fish (Hake both nights at Ballynahinch) and a pasta and had to sit watching other guests eat oysters, salmon, lamb, steak, etc. Also, dinner was a 3 hour affair- they took care of the private guests first as we sat waiting 45 minutes for our appetizer, another hour for our main course, and another 45 minutes for dessert. When dinner doesn't start until 7:30, this is kind of late for us senior citizens! All in all, however, this was a GREAT tour. We saw and learned so much.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : The people on the phone were very helpful and easy to work with.
Product : Everything on the tour went smoothly and we felt like we got a good value for our money. The food was exceptional and the hotels we stayed at were luxury quality hotels.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Castles and Manors Vacation
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : The booking process was simple and the staff seemed very knowledgeable.
Product : I absolutely loved Ireland and staying in renovated castles was very unique. The tour included a lot of sightseeing and the meals were the best I have had on a tour like this. I especially enjoyed Connemara.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for insightful, eloquent, colorful, descriptive feedback

Grand European Travel-Guest Relations
Thursday, October 16, 2014

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