Luxury Travel to Ireland, Without the Luxury Price

Ever since I saw the movie, Waking Ned Divine, I’ve wanted to visit Ireland. Have you seen that movie? If you love comedies with endearing, quirky characters similar to those in Doc Martin, great scenery, beautiful Irish music and happy endings, you’ll love it! It’s one of my most favorite movies.

After seeing Waking Ned Divine, Ireland immediately went on the bucket list. Getting my Ancestry DNA test results back and discovering I’m more Irish than anything else, only heightened my desire to visit one day. (Read more about the process of having your DNA tested here: My Surprising DNA Test Results are Back.)

I spent much of this past weekend scoping out all the available tours to Ireland. I also ordered this book: Ireland Travel Guide. If you’re ever looking for a great travel guide, I can definitely recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. They are loaded with wonderful photos and tons of information. They are my favorite travel guide.

 

What I discovered during my research of Ireland tours is that there are a lot of very basic tours out there, tours where the accommodations are nice and the tour itself is good, but overall there was nothing that really stood out. The real deal-breaker for me is always the group size. The tours I found were usually large groups of 40-45 travelers. If you opted for a smaller group, the price of the tour always increased dramatically!

I loved my trip to Morocco in March, the group size was great (less than 16) and the places where we stayed were wonderful, but I’m ready for a completely different experience. This time I’d like something a bit more luxurious, something more like the dream trip I took to Kenya in Fall, 2015.

 

What Did I Find?

In my research this weekend, I came across a tour that checked all my boxes. It was luxury oriented, reasonably priced and had that special something that made it stand out above all the rest.

Imagine touring beautiful historic sites during the day and returning in the evening to dine and sleep in a place as fascinating and historic as the sites you’ve been touring. Imagine spending each night sleeping  in a beautiful castle or manor home, strolling the gardens and enjoying a nightcap in front of the fire.

The tour I chose for my next trip is the Deluxe Irish Castle Tour by My Ireland Tours. There’s no doubt in my mind that this trip was designed for hopeless romantics like me. This is the description for the tour.

 

These are the places this luxury tour of Ireland visits.

 

Luxury Travel to Ireland

 

Now about those special accommodations, the first night after arriving in Dublin, we’ll be staying in Dunboyne Castle Hotel.

On Monday and Tuesday evening, we’ll be bunking down in the five-star Lough Eske Castle Hotel pictured below. It looks like something right out of a storybook, doesn’t it?!

Affordable Luxury Travel to Ireland

 

Wednesday and Thursday evening will be spent in Ballynahinch Castle. Be still my heart! You can’t see it in this photo but there are majestic mountains behind the castle. I can’t wait to walk through the gardens surrounding this enchanting place!

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Ireland

 

This is one of the gorgeous bedrooms in Ballynahinch Castle, so beautiful!

Beautiful bedroom in Ballynahinch Castle

 

I hope it gets chilly enough for a drink in front of the fire in the library one night.

 

I’m not a fan of cold weather but I almost wish I was going to be staying at Ballynahinch at Christmastime. Such a lovely entrance!

Ballynahinch Castle at Christmastime

 

Friday and Saturday night we’ll be staying in the Lake Hotel on the lake of Lough Lein.

 

Sunday and Monday we’ll be staying in the Killashee House Hotel. From a visit to their webpage, I  know it has beautiful gardens, too. I hope some things are still in bloom when I’m there. Either way I know they’ll be lush and green.

Killashee House Hotel

 

How much do you think a 10-day luxury tour of Ireland with a group size no larger than 26, staying in beautiful castles and manors houses along the way, would run? I was surprised when I saw the cost, much less than I had expected! You’ll find pricing for this tour (which varies according to when you go) and the open available tour dates here: My Ireland Tour, Deluxe Castle Tour. Breakfast and dinner are included each day, as is a “Pub Lunch” on one day.

I’ve booked my trip for the end of August, August 20 through the 29th. I want to see Ireland during the summer while it’s at its most vibrant, although from what I’ve read it stays quite green all year since it rains a lot. They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing!

This is not a sponsored post, just sharing this castle tour with you with you in case you’ve been thinking of traveling to Ireland and are a hopeless romantic, too.

See the full itinerary for this trip here: Deluxe Irish Castle Tour.

Read reviews about this trip and others offered by My Ireland Tour here: Reviews. There are reviews on Trip Adviser, so check those out, too.

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Comments

  1. Susan, this sounds like a fabulous trip. We were in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England the first couple of weeks of August 2015. The weather was nice, a little cool, only one rainy day! You will love Ireland!

    • That sounds like a wonderful trip, Pam! I would to see Scotland and Wales one day, too. Sounds like you had great weather, hope I’m as lucky. 🙂

  2. I have Irish ancestors that are at opposite ends of the scale from my Scots mother’s side of the family. Anglo-Irish Protestant on my maternal grandmother and Catholic Irish from my maternal grandfather. I so want to go to see where their homes were.

    • Marge, that would be so wonderful if you could do that. I wish I knew more about my heritage, I haven’t been able to trace my family back very far, unfortunately.

  3. Nancy Carr says:

    I enjoy your blog and your travels. Blessings

  4. Susan, my husband and I are going to Ireland, too, later this year with a church group! We are beyond excited. If I ever got inside Ballyinahinch Castle, I would find a way to hide out and move from room to room and live there! Is that not gorgeous?? We also laughed out loud when we saw The Waking of Ned Devine. We showed it to another couple and they seemed mildly amused and I showed it to a group of girlfriends and they didn’t seem to “get it!” Really? We think it is one of the funniest movies we have ever seen. I can’t wait to see more of your Ireland preparation. We have an adventure ahead of us!

    • Martha, that is so awesome! I know you can’t wait! What month are you going? I could have saved a little if I had waited a few weeks longer, but I was worried there would be more rain than there already is in Ireland. There’s no such thing as a non-rainy month there. 🙂

      I love that movie so much! lol I guess it’s not for everyone, but it’s exactly the kind of movie I love. I love movies where you really get to know the characters and all their crazy quirks. The storyline is so clever! The facial expressions are so great throughout that movie…and the music…and the scenery! It just has everything I love in a good movie. I don’t think it was a huge box-office hit, guess it’s one of those you either love or don’t get. lol
      I’ll definitely post as I start thinking about what to take. The main tips I’ve read so far is it’s all about layering and being prepared for rain.

  5. Hi Susan,

    I have Waking Ned Devine on DVD and watch every time I need an Irish fix. Hubby and I have a cruise of the British Isles/Scotland/Ireland booked for next year and I can’t wait. England has always been one of our favorite places to visit, but we have not been to Ireland. My Dad’s family is from County Antrim and Protestant Irish. When I was growing up, my Dad insisted I wear orange on St. Patrick’s Day – and then I had to spend the day explaining why I was wearing orange and not green!
    Have a wonderful trip…can’t wait to hear all about it.

    • It’s such a fun movie, I just love the characters in the movie! I think I’ll watch it again this weekend. Ohh, that sounds like a wonderful trip! I so want to see Scotland one day, as well. That is too funny about having to wear orange! 🙂

  6. Your trip sounds enchanting, one I would love too. I’m Irish too, and so is my husband. We spent several days there several years ago with my sister and BIL. We didn’t get to stay in a castle, would have loved that. We enjoyed the Temple Bar area, hope you get to dine at the Gallaghers Boxty House, food is out of this world! Will look forward to your trip photos. Thanks for the link, I’m off to check it out…..

    • Emily, I will keep my eye out for that restaurant. Our breakfast and dinners will be at the hotel but most of our lunches, we’ll be on our own. Looking forward to posting some photos once I return!

  7. Ann Pauley says:

    I am going back to France next June and
    I will be traveling apart from my hubby,
    Since he is not particular about pilgrimages.
    Do you travel apart from your hubby in these European trips?
    Ann p.

    • I’m not married now, so I almost always go alone. A BNOTP reader joined on the trip to Holland and Belgium and we had a blast. We’ve become good friends and have stayed in touch. We would like to travel together again sometime. If you travel with a group, you are never alone. Usually after one day, everyone starts to know everyone else and it’s fascinating hearing about all the places everyone has been. You learn so much from the others on the trip. Hope you have a wonderful time in France, Ann!

  8. bobbi duncan says:

    Oh, Susan, this looks AMAZING! I can not believe the price for all you get. You will have such a great adventure. I’ve never been to Ireland–my grandmother and her side of the family were all from there and I have always wanted to see where they came from. You’re a great travel host–like Rick Steves. I will answer your last e-mail soon. I have been helping out a sick family member so things have been hectic. I didn’t forget you. Hugs!

    • Aww, thanks Bobbi! I was just watching his video o Ireland last night. He was there with his wife and children. I wonder if he ever gets tired of traveling for his company. I hope he gets to just go and play sometimes, although I bet it would be hard for him to turn off his “work” mind on any trip.

  9. Hi Susan: I also count Waking Ned Devine among my favorite movies. I suppose you either “get it” or you don’t. Your planned trip to Ireland sounds divine, too. My finances being what they are, I will travel with you in spirit. I don’t have a drop of Irish in me, but I am so drawn to that beautiful part of the world. I know it’s a little while away, but enjoy every minute of your trip!

  10. I enjoyed reading about your trip to Morocco but am even more excited to read about your Irish adventure! Why? Because my husband and I will be going the first week of September. After returning from 15 days on a Tauck tour of Italy, we immediately booked a small group tour to Southern Ireland. I will also have that princess feeling as we are spending 3 nights at Dromoland Castle. I am really looking forward to reading your pre travel plans as well as following you through Ireland on Instagram.

    • Oh, I hope I can get a post up on the blog before you leave. Not sure I’ll be able to blog while there since the rules have gotten much tougher on taking laptops along. I’ve heard such good things about Tauck. Their prices are always a bit steep on the trips I want to take, mostly due to the single supplement charges, but I’ve heard wonderful things about their tours. Linda, can’t wait to hear about Dromoland! I’d love to do a tour of the Castles in Germany one day, especially Neuschwanstein.

  11. Donna Maurer says:

    You have to go to Kinsale!! Our favorite town ! Adare Manor was awesome too. Ireland is so welcoming (been there twice and will go again).

  12. I could not pick a favorite place to stay–not even a favorite 4 places; they are all so beautiful. Really, really looking forward to your posts from Ireland.

  13. Color me emerald green with envy. I can’t wait to see your pictures and hear about the castles.

  14. Oh, Susan, I’m so glad to hear you’re traveling again because we get to share in your adventures! Your itinerary and accommodations sound fantastic!! You may come home inspired to write a romance novel!! Looking forward to all the news. Rosie

  15. We just got back from 17 days in Ireland a week ago. We did the southwest corner and Dublin. We loved it and are already talking about when we can return to do the northern part. We golfed six times and had the most wonderful driver for a guide. It was by far one of our favorite trips, so know you will love it. We were disappointed at Kylesmore Abby and Blarney castle, to have parts of them covered with scaffolding, but that seems to happen frequently in Europe as they renovate the outsides of these spectacular buildings. We had fabulous weather, with very little rain and were pleasantly surprised. Hope you have a wonderful time.

    • Oh, I bet you saw a lot during 17 days, what a great trip that must have been! You know, the same thing happened when I was in Italy, several of the huge churches were all covered in scaffolding. That is so disappointing but I guess you can’t avoid those things since work is always being done to maintain them. Hope we have good weather, too. Italy was not a good experience weather wise when I was there in October, all my photos have dark, forbidding clouds in the background. lol

  16. Bonnie Brown says:

    My husband and I went to Ireland several years ago and of all the places we have traveled, it is our favorite. We went in July and it only rained for about 30 minutes one afternoon and the rest of the time it was beautiful. Everything there is so clean ( no litter anywhere!) and you will love the flowers and the people are very, very friendly. Circumstances haven’t allowed us to return but another visit there is definitely on our wish list. Looking forward to seeing your pictures!

    • Wow, you had awesome weather, Bonnie! I keep hearing about how friendly everyone is, that is so nice to hear! Thanks, I’m looking forward to sharing photos!

  17. Cynthia Raines says:

    So happy for you Susan! I wondered when the travel bug was going to hit again! haha. Can’t wait to travel with you via the blog!

    • Cyndi, I tried my best to not think about travel but I guess I’m officially addicted. As soon as one trip is over, my mind begins to wonder and dream about the next. What is it about getting older that makes us do that?!

  18. Hi Susan,
    You will love Ireland! The shades of green are awesome and the people are truly friendly. I went in June and don’t remember it raining at all. Adare Manor is beautiful and so full of history. It is in Adare, which is a beautiful, quaint little town. You can’t go wrong wherever you go because each section of Ireland is charming and is rich in history.

    • Pat, I’m so happy to hear that. I keep reading how friendly the people are in Ireland. I was thinking about that today, about how so many places in Ireland have historical significance. It may take a few trips to really see it all.

  19. Ireland is the best! You will love the people and their humor. Historically amazing, so happy for you. I even kissed the Barney Stone.

    • So great to hear, Sue! I was watching a video a video, I think on youtube, of people kissing the Blarney Stone. I’m not sure I want to kiss it, it was literally black in the area where everyone has been kissing it over the years. lol Wonder if they ever wipe it down with disinfectant. Only I would worry about something like that!

  20. The trip sounds wonderful, Susan!! Lotsa stuff to see in a short time, but I know you will drink it all in just fine…

    Love those travel guides, I have a few of the same because I love to study other countries even though I don’t travel.

  21. I hope you have a fabulous time. I went 10 years ago and stayed at the Ballynahinch Castle, it was beautiful. You may want to ask the tour group if you will be staying in the original buildings. We stayed in a newer building and we had a very nice suite but it didn’t quite have the charm of the older building. My husband and I will be going again this September and I will look into the castle stays that are listed on your tour. Thanks for sharing

    • Kim, thanks so much for that information. I will definitely ask about that. Appreciate you letting me know about that. Have fun on your trip! 🙂

  22. Kathy Powers says:

    Hi Susan, So delighted you are going to Ireland. I am the retired Delta flight attendant that posts once in while. My last 3 years of international travel I always tried to get Dublin or Shannon trips. The people are so kind and it is a beautiful country. Weather-wise you never know what you’re going to get. It can be cold and rainy even in the summer months so pack accordingly. Shopping on Grafton Street in Dublin is a must, and if you see a Tesco grocery store, zip in and buy some packs of Bewley’s coffee. They also have a cute restaurant on Grafton. This tour looks wonderful. I want to return to Ireland as a tourist again and will certainly keep this one in mind. Safe travels!

    • Kathy, I’m so excited about this trip because so many folks have mentioned how friendly and kind the people are there. I love that! I wonder why that is. Of all the places I’ve traveled, no one has ever said that about any place like they have about Ireland. I can’t wait to experience it for myself. It sounds like such a special place to visit! Thanks for the warning about packing for cold temps. I had planned to prepare for rain but hadn’t thought very much about it being cold. Grafton sounds great, I hope we go there! I have a feeling this won’t be my last trip there, it sounds so amazing!

  23. Sounds you are going to make a great trip again! I’ve been to Dublin last november, together with my dad, and we had a great time. We visited Trinity College as well. I especially loved the long room, the beautiful, beautiful library. I can really recommend that one.
    Hope you have a great time!

  24. Kay from Kansas says:

    It looks like a fantastic trip, Thank you for the link! Just beautiful castles & countryside. I look forward to your posts while you are there and hope it is a wonderful experience!

    • Thanks, Kay! I’m not sure I’ll be able to post while I’m there like I normally do during trips because they may have started banning laptops on planes. I know there was talk of doing that, but I’m not sure if it effects flying to and from Ireland. I will have to check on that. Kay, I will definitely post a lot of photos during the trip on Instagram, so definitely watch for them there. I’ll also create a few posts and share pics once I’m back.

  25. Charlotte says:

    This looks like a great trip. I can’t wait to hear all about it and see the photos.

  26. We visited Ireland in September. We asked about their summer and the tour guide turned to the driver and said “let’s see, I think summer was on a Tuesday this year wasn’t it.” The driver concurred. The temperatures were wonderful compared to the 90’s we left at home in Florida. You will adore Ireland. You will feel like you are at home.

  27. Ann Butler says:

    Ireland has always been at the top of my list for visiting. I am planning either next year or the next. I can not wait to see all the pictures from your trip.

  28. Sherrill Kearney says:

    Love your travel blogs & you will adore Ireland-beautiful country, wonderful people & I want to suggest Belfast which was a surprise & Waterford for the crystal. I toured all of the rest & took an elderly former sister in law whose dream came true to see the land of her ancestors & mine also. I took the list of the names & where mine had lived & it made my 2014 adventure that much more fun. Enjoy!

    • I don’t think this trip goes to Belfast, I’d love to see the Titanic exhibit there since that’s where the Titanic was actually constructed. I also would love to see Waterford! All good reasons to return again on another trip one day. Thanks for those suggestions, Sherrill! What a wonderful trip you guys had!

  29. barbara says:

    You will love the trip. I was there 2 years ago in July and the weather was perfect. Not 1 raindrop! As far as Irish movies besides Waking Ted Divine I suggest you watch Brooklyn, The Quiet Man, and Angela’s Ashes.

  30. Dear Susan, I lost my husband almost 3 years ago and would love to travel with you but money is extremely tight. I was looking up the currency calculator so that I could figure out in American money. I already work two jobs, maybe I need a third? I hope you really have a good time. My mother’s family was from Ireland, so I consider myself very Irish. Good luck and take care.

    • Linda, I’m so sorry that you lost your husband. That is a very difficult thing to go through. I remember years ago I booked a trip to Italy and then ended up having to cancel it, loosing part of my deposit, it was just out of my reach financially at the time. Hope things improve and you are able to take a vacation in the near future.

  31. Jeanie Startzel says:

    I am jealous but so happy for you that another adventure is just around the corner. Ireland has been at the top of my travel list for awhile. Not sure if you remember but I bought a Peloton after reading your posts. That purchase pushed back traveling to Ireland until next year. No regrets, I am in love with my bike and down 32 pounds. If I win the lottery before the end of August will hop on that trip with you Susan.

    • Jeanie, that is awesome! Wow, 32 pounds is such a huge achievement! I’m obsessed with my bike, too. So far, I have kept off the 12 lbs I lost. It has been pretty easy to do with the bike.
      By the way, I’ve really gotten into the scenic rides again. I’ve been listening to some great courses on Audible, so what I do is I take my phone with my Audible books on it, and I’ll turn the volume down on the bike and ride the scenic rides while listening to a book. lol
      I’ll eventually start taking classes again, I’m sure, but I do still love the scenic rides, too. They’ve added some new ones! If you get a chance, check out the “30 min Sunset Scenic Ride.” It’s definitely one of my faves. So glad you are enjoying the bike!

      • Jeanie Startzel says:

        Thank you for the scenic ride tip, will bookmark to ride soon. Question for you, have you considered going to the studio for a live ride? Thinking I would like to go for my 100th ride.

  32. You will absolutely adore the people in Ireland. When they learn you’re American, they treat you as family and want to talk with you. When we visited, everyone from the sales clerks to the bus drivers to hotel folks all loved to banter so if you’re ‘game’ go ahead! On trips overseas, we always fly in a few days early in case flights are delayed and to acclimate to the new time zone. If you do fly in early to Dublin, may I suggest you visit the passage tomb called “Newgrange” which is one of the most spectacular sites in all of Ireland. It’s a full day trip from Dublin that was absolutely magical! When we went there in June 2014, it was so hot (and humid!) that we actually got sunburned! But be prepared for cold, damp winds, especially when you’re along the coast. You’ll be happy when you see this wonderful country and people! Have fun!

  33. I am bookmarking this Susan!!!….I have a lot of Irish in my heritage and have always wanted to go there…this sounds like a tour right up my alley…..magnificent places to stay!!…so checking into this for sure!! I consider you a most wonderful tour guide/advisor!!!

    • Come with us, Shirley! There are still a few openings left on that tour, although filling up quickly. Another dearheart that I met via blogging, Teresa, is going, too. She and I had a blast in Holland/Belgium. You should join us! 🙂

  34. Hi Susan! Your trip sounds awesome. Does this tour price includes airfare or are you required to purchase it on your own?

    • No, it doesn’t include airfare. I ended up using my Delta Skymile points. Hated to use them since I’ve been hoarding them forever, but I had just enough to cover both ways. I paid a little out of pocket to upgrade to Comfort Plus.

  35. We went to Ireland in 2009 the first part of September and it was just beautiful! I bought the best sweater there, I love that thing! You have amazing accommodations. Enjoy!

    • Diana, I hope I fall in love with a sweater. I’m a sweater nut anyway, since I’m always cold. 🙂 Do you remember where you bought it?

  36. This sounds like a lovely tour. I hope you take pictures of the amazing cross-stitch artwork you’ll see and share them with us. My friend purchased cross-stitched placemats, pillow covers along with a matching tea cosy when she visited. I pray you’ll have lots of sun to enjoy the emerald isle!

    • Thanks, Sandra! I hope so, too. I’m sure I’m going to be so tempted by lots of goodies! I bet take an empty suitcase. lol I’ll try to remember to take some pics of the cross-stitch if we go where we see some!

  37. Well…I’ll be…Ireland is ON for us this year, too!! Haven’t nailed anything down and then….your post!! This sounds exactly like the visit I’m looking for..I’m a Castle/Cathedral kinda gal! We’re “thinking” the end of September but… franki

  38. Betty Kubiak says:

    I’m glad to hear you are going on a My Ireland Tour! We just did their Iconic Scenes of Ireland – North and South Tours in May and had an amazing time! And we stayed at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel as well as other very nice hotels during our 15 day trip. You will have a great time. I hope you have a wonderful group of tour mates like we did. We also had a very special driver/guide named Tom Lavin who went above and beyond to make sure we all had a wonderful experience in Ireland. Looking forward to seeing your photos and hearing about your experience in Ireland with My Ireland Tours!

    • Thanks, Betty! That’s wonderful to hear! A friend who went with me on the trip I took to Holland and Belgium is going on and a reader of BNOTP along with her husband are going, so it should be a lot of fun. I’ll definitely share some photos when I return. I’ve read such positive things about all the guides so appreciate hearing that you loved it, too.

  39. ~Susan~
    Lucky You !! Ireland is on my bucket list too !! Someone that went, told me it is a MUST !! I hope you have a wonderful time , I cant wait to see your pictures!! You are the right , the prices are very reasonable !! Staying in castles how grand !! We are going to Martha’s Vineyard and Rhode Island, touring the mansions there !!
    Have safe travels 🙂
    Paula
    IN

  40. Cassie Myers says:

    Lough Eske Castle Hotel is fabulous. Ask if they will allow you to have a peat briquette for your fire this fall. Quietly…lol 🙂 Enjoy!

  41. My husband and I stayed in Lough Esk Castle during our trip to Ireland. We went in October several years ago. Our favorite thing to do was to sit by those awesome fireplaces!

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