Ireland’s Best Castles

A 7-day tour experience uniquely designed by Desmond Tours

Tour Highlights & Focal Points

  •  Dublin City
  • Glendalough
  • Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile 
  • Waterford City
  • Rock of Cashel
  • The Burren
  • King John’s Castle
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Galway City
  • Connemara
  • Kylemore Abbey
Black map of Ireland showcasing Irish Best Castles tour points

Best Castles Sample Itinerary

A photo of Malahide, Co. Dublin

On arrival you will be warmly welcomed to Ireland by your friendly driver guide. We will build the itinerary around your preferred time of arrival, allowing you full flexibility. 

To start off your castle tour, you will be taken to Clontarf Castle, just outside Dublin, where you will have the opportunity to sample a delicious full Irish Breakfast or a hearty lunch or supper, depending on your time of arrival. 

Continuing on from here, we make our way into Dublin City and you will experience a panoramic driving tour of the capital of Ireland. 

From Dublin, we will make our way South and depending on the group’s interests, we can include a drive through the scenic Wicklow Mountains and stop at the monastic site of Glendalough. From here, we will make our way to the first castle hotel of your tour, Kilkea Castle, which is one of Ireland’s oldest castles dating back to the 12th century.

Overnight suggestion -Kilkea Castle

A photo of Kilkenny Castle

After your night in the lovely Kilkea Castle, your driver will pick you up and you will start the day by diving deeper into Ireland’s Ancient East. We are driving you to the medieval city of Kilkenny where you can explore one or more of the following attractions: Saint Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower, walk the “Medieval Mile” and visit the Medieval Mile Museum, visit Kilkenny Castle and take a stroll to the castle park or take a tour in the Smithwicks Brewery.  

Be sure to get some gift shopping done in Kilkenny at the Kilkenny Design Centre, located right opposite Kilkenny Castle. 

After lunch at the infamous Kyteler’s Inn, a historic pub with great atmosphere, music and food, established in 1324, we will make our way down to the Viking City of Waterford, where you will check into Waterford Castle. This wonderful Irish castle is located on an exquisite 310-acre private island and is accessed by a car ferry over the King’s Channel.

Overnight suggestion – Waterford Castle

A photo of King Johns Castle

In the morning, after setting back over onto the mainland, we will make our way to the Rock of Cashel, a historic site perched on an impressive hill with numerous ancient buildings such as a round tower, historic cathedral and a Celtic high cross – a fabulous photo opportunity not to be missed!

We will leave the Rock of Cashel and delve deep into Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. We make our way to King John’s Castle in Limerick, a 15th century castle located on the banks of the mighty River Shannon. Here you may partake in one of the medieval activities that take place in the castle’s courtyard. 

From Limerick City, it is just an hours’ drive to another one of Ireland’s best castle hotels – Dromoland Castle.

Overnight suggestion – Dromoland Castle

A photo of the Dromoland

Today you can choose to make use of the castle’s fabulous amenities (perhaps you fancy an afternoon tea, a relaxing stroll through the gardens or a round of golf?). Contact the castle staff to pre-book your activities.

If you cannot get enough of Ireland’s beautiful landscape and exciting activities, another day of touring is on the cards. Perhaps you fancy a beautiful coastal drive on the Wild Atlantic Way via the Burren to the famous Cliffs Moher. En route, a possible photo stop is Dunguaire Castle and a quick visit to Poulnabrone Dolmen is also an option. 

A great alternative for our history buffs is a visit to the authentic Bunratty Castle and Folk Park with its 15th century castle and authentic old Folk Park. After lunch in Doolin (Cliffs of Moher Option) or at the famous Durty Nellies Tavern (Bunratty Castle Option), we will make our way back to Dromoland Castle, where you can enjoy some quality time making use of the wonderful facilities this castle has to offer.

Overnight suggestion – Dromoland Castle

A photo of Kylemore Abbey, Connemara

This morning bid your farewells to the lovely staff at Dromoland Castle. Your driver will pick you up and you will start the day by driving to the City of Galway, an excellent stop to stock up on some well needed Irish gifts. 

There will also be an opportunity to have a tour of the city, visit Galway Cathedral or enjoy a walk along Salthill promenade. We will have lunch in the city and will then make our way to Connemara. On this drive into the West you will experience the ruggedness of the beautiful mountains of Connemara, the serene lakes and of course everybody’s favourite – plenty of sheep along the way – or on the road in fact! 

For those of you who like movies, you will get the opportunity to have a photo stop at the scene of the opening of the film “The Quiet Man”.

We recommend an early check-in at Ashford Castle as this surely will be the highlight of your castle tour of Ireland.

Overnight suggestion – Ashford Castle

A photo of the Ashford Castle

Your driver will pick you up from Ashford Castle after a leisurely breakfast. From the village of Cong, several options are available, depending on the group’s interest. Your plan for the day is kept flexible and changes may be made according to how the group feels on the day. 

Your guide will be able to recommend some of the highlights of the area, which include: Ireland’s only fjord “Killary Fjord”, the beautiful fishing villages of Roundstone and Clifden, a sheepdog demonstration, Kylemore Abbey and its walled gardens or hike up Diamond Hill. 

At the end of the day, there is always the opportunity to visit the closing scene of “The Quiet Man” en route back to Ashford Castle. You may wish to spend the evening at your castle hotel and enjoy some of the activities on offer (lake cruising, fishing, spa treatments, afternoon tea or the famous falconry experience). We suggest you contact the castle staff to pre-book your activities.

Overnight suggestion – Ashford Castle

A photo of the Ashford Castle

This morning bid your farewells to the lovely staff at Ashford Castle. Before you leave this wonderful Irish castle, enjoy one last stroll through the castle grounds and say goodbye to the resident Irish wolfhounds on site. 

Then we will transfer you to Dublin Airport or transfer you to a hotel of your choice in Dublin. If your schedule allows, we can include a stop at Athlone Castle en route. If at this point you still can’t get enough of Irish castles, we can stop for lunch at Tyrell’s Pass, a fantastic medieval Irish Castle and Towerhouse!

Booking this Tour

Our tours are priced from €490 per day – please contact us for an exact quote as prices vary depending on group size, itinerary chosen and length of tour.

  • A fully customised itinerary designed with your touring needs in mind.
  • Scheduled stops at must-see locations. 
  • Additional stops at lesser known hidden gems – Ireland’s best kept secrets!
  • Live commentary, information and entertainment by an experienced, Failte Ireland approved driver guide.
  • Driver overnight expenses (including accommodation & food).
  • Private collection from / return to an address of your choice.
  • Mercedes Benz vehicle including associated costs such as fuel, tolls, insurance and car-parks – your own personal group vehicle.
  • Recommendations on reputable accommodation choices, local Irish pubs, award winning restaurants and fun activities. 
  • Wi-Fi connection in your touring vehicle on request
  • Admission fees to attractions and additional tours may incur an additional fee.
  • Driver’s gratuity (at your discretion)
  • Food, drink or refreshments
  • Guest accommodation
  • Airfares to & from Ireland
  • Travel insurance

What is the starting point of my tour?

We can arrange pick up from any of the airports on the island of Ireland and we also offer pick ups from your accommodation. In other words, you let us know where you would like to start your tour and we arrange it!

Can I choose a start date for my tour?

Our tours start on any day of the week, whenever it suits you best, subject to availability. Get in touch with your travel dates and we will check availability for you. Generally tours between May and September sell out quickly, so booking early is advised.

How many people can participate in the tour?

We organise tours for any group size. Larger groups may incur a surcharge, please contact us to enquire about specific rates. We do of course welcome children on our tours – please note that according to EU regulation children under the age of twelve, and shorter than 4’5″ must use a child seat to travel in a vehicle. You must let us know in advance if this is required.

Can we book accommodation through you?

While this is a service we usually do not provide, we are happy to help you book accommodation if required. We have excellent knowledge of the great accommodations that are available in Ireland (from simple B&Bs to exquisite Castle or Manor Hotels) and are happy to provide recommendations.

Can we book flights through you?

No, we do not book flights for our clients but your local travel agent will be happy to oblige.

How long is an average day of touring?

Usually groups are picked up at 9.00 in the morning and will then enjoy touring until around 17.30 but this depends entirely on the clients’ preferences. A longer touring day can easily be compensated by a shorter one the day after, providing you with a flexible touring experience.

How do we make a booking?

Please click here to complete your booking online. Once the booking is complete, a confirmation email is sent. If you would like to book a customized tour, feel free to email us with your personal Ireland Tour wish-list.

How do we pay for our booking?

You may pay your deposit and final payment by credit card through the online booking system on our website. Please note that credit card payments may incur an additional fee. Bank transfer payments can also be facilitated on request.

Do you recommend I take out travel insurance for my trip to Ireland?

Yes, absolutely. For further information on booking and cancellation terms, please see our Terms of Business

Are there any restrictions on the amount of luggage I can bring?

Please contact us in advance if you are planning on bringing any large equipment or if you would like to bring more than one large suitcase plus one piece of hand luggage per passenger and we will do our best to accommodate this.

What vehicle(s) will be used for my tour through Ireland?

This will depend a little on the size of your group and the availability of our vehicles. Please note that the availability of a particular vehicle may not always be guaranteed due to maintenance and repairs. Feel free to contact us for more information or review our Mercedes fleet page.

Would you like to book or customize this itinerary? Click below!

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