Irish Castles, Gardens & Manor Houses
4 day tour

  • Trim Castle
  • Birr Castle
  • Clonmacnoise Abbey
  • Adare

Fortify your knowledge of Ireland on this tour of gorgeous castles, sumptuous gardens, and stately manor houses.

Tour map

Places you'll explore


Birr Castle Gardens and the Great Telescope - Explore the lush gardens and discover one of the 19th century's greatest scientific instruments, The Great Telescope.

The Village of Adare - ‘Ireland’s Prettiest Village’ - A stunning ‘chocolate box’ collection of thatched houses and historic buildings.

Clonmacnoise Monastery - This 1,500 year old abbey was once a major centre of religion, learning, craftsmanship.

Strokestown Park House and Gardens - Uncover the secrets of the 19th century famine in the incredible grounds and house museum.

Fermanagh Lakelands and Florence Court - Pass along these wonderful waterways and sweep through the grounds of this beautiful 18th century house.

St. Columba’s Church in Kells - Admire the beauty and brutality of the past at this church built on the site of a ruined monastery.

Trim Castle - Stare in wonder at the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, the famous location for the film ‘Braveheart’.


Your journey


Medieval Ireland was a battleground. The Vikings plundered, the Normans raided, and the Gaels were steadfast in their resistance.

So it’s no surprise the gorgeous green hills of Ireland are packed with impressively fortified castles and magnificent manor houses.

On this tour, you explore the remains of these castles, travel through millennia of Irish culture, relive the history defining battles, and enjoy relaxing walks through splendid gardens and grand houses.

Join this tour and experience the monumental buildings and achievements of Ireland's ancient past.


Tour Details

Departs
09.00 - Opposite the Kilkenny Shop, Nassau St, Dublin
Returns
19.00 approx
Discounts

Students, seniors over 60, and children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • One 15 kilogram bag per person
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of a Rabbie's driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Explore the grounds of the neo-classical Emo Court House
  • Peer back into the past at Birr Castle and the Great Telescope
  • Snap a photo or two amongst the thatched roofs and ancient stone buildings of Adare

You depart Dublin and travel west through the Midlands to Emo Court House, an 18th century neoclassical mansion set in stunning parkland and gardens. There’s time for a stroll in the grounds and refreshments in the excellent tea rooms.

Continuing west through the Slieve Bloom Mountains, you arrive at the unique Birr Castle. You can learn about the bygone age of scientific discovery at the Great Telescope, the largest in the world for over 70 years. The castle is a private residence but the substantial and beautiful grounds are open to the public, as are the excellent exhibitions.

The tour continues south to the twin towns of Killaloe, Co Clare and Ballina, Co Tipperary - situated on the banks of the River Shannon - where you will spend your first night.

Day 2

  • Connect with your spirituality at Clonmacnoise, home to an early Christian site filled with stone crosses and legends
  • Delve into the tragic history of the Great Famine at the Georgian mansion house of Strokestown Park

Begin the day travelling through the counties of Tipperary, Offaly and Roscommon, and experience the best of rural Ireland. You pass along the shores of Lough Derg on the way to Killaloe.

A scenic drive from here brings you to Clonmacnoise - an early Christian site in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Shannon.

You head through Athlone and then northwards alongside Lough Ree to the grandeur of Strokestown Park.This great mansion house sits in stunning grounds and hosts a fascinating museum about the great famine.

From here, you drive a short distance to the bustling town of Carrick-on-Shannon, your home for the next two nights.

Day 3

  • Cross into Northern Ireland and visit the immaculate gardens and grand house of Florence Court
  • Rove the markets and stalls in the lakeside town of Enniskillen
  • Gaze in wonder across the picturesque Lakelands District

A relaxed day exploring the Lakelands in County Leitrim awaits and County Fermanangh in Northern Ireland.

You visit Florence Court, one the grandest 18th century country houses in Ireland and a former home of the Earls of Enniskillen. The lush parkland and majestic grounds are the perfect opportunity for photos.

You stop at the nearby historic market town of Enniskillen, where you can view the impressive 600 year old castle atop the banks of the River Erne.

Then we head back to Carrick-on-Shannon. The rest of the day is yours to explore.

Day 4

  • Roam the monastic site where the Book of Kells was discovered
  • Relive the famous battles of “Braveheart” at Castle Trim, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland

In the morning you have a chance to take a lovely stroll through the hotel grounds. We then head to the heritage town of Kells and the famous monastic site where the Book of Kells was created. This phenomenal ancient treasure exhibits the height of medieval design and craftsmanship. You have time to take a leisurely lunch amongst the historic sites of St Columba’s Church and the traditional High Crosses.

After lunch, you travel through the flourishing countryside to Trim Castle, the setting for the movie “Braveheart”. Relive the scenes from the film as you explore the massive three storied keep, a structure so large that it took over 30 years to build.

Weather permitting, you head for the ancient Hill of Tara, the traditional seat of more than 140 Kings of Ireland. From this regal site, you head back to Dublin.

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Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay one night in the twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina and two nights in Carrick-on-Shannon.


How does the accommodation work?

Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.


I want Rabbie’s to book my accommodation, what happens now?

Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts. You’ll pay your accommodation directly. Most don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.


What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Changes to accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability. A minimum amendment charge of £5.00 will apply.


I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in.You can find a selection of hotels at hotels.rabbies.com.


Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.


What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation. And occasionally you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.


What are the accommodation types and what do they cost?

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre.


We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard. The prices below are for guidance only.


B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard

The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other room in the house, and the price includes breakfast. The cost is between €30.00 - €65.00 per night.



B&B En/suite

The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The expected cost for a room, based on two people sharing, will be between €40.00 – €50.00 per person per night.

The expected cost for a single room will be between €45 - €60 per night.


Hotels

Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The expected cost of Hotel is between €55 - €65 per person per night.


Hostels

A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds. The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room. Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals. The cost is between €20 - €25 per person per night.

Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms. Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together).


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, you can read our FAQs, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.


FAQs

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.

Is there parking close to the departure point?

We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.

What happens if I'm late or miss the tour?

If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of three days for our one day tours, and 21 days for longer tours. If cancelled outside this period, we'll give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this period, refunds are at our discretion. Click here to view full terms and conditions.

What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.

Are there toilets on the bus?

Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.

Do you take children on your tours?

We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance. You can click here for excellent rates.

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com, or check out our full FAQs.

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or less

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Internationally recognised for our award winning experiences

Meet our guides

Meet more guides

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