Fortify your knowledge of Ireland on this tour of gorgeous castles, sumptuous gardens, and stately manor houses.
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.
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’.
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.
Students, seniors over 60, and children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)
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.
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.
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.
In the morning, we 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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You stay one night in the twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina and two nights in Carrick-on-Shannon.
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.
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.
Changes to accommodation cannot be guaranteed and are subject to availability. An amendment charge will apply.
You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central. You can find a selection of hotels at hotels.rabbies.com.
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.
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 €35 - €42.50 per person per night. A single standard room is €50 - €65 per night.
B&B En suite
The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is €45 - €60 per person per night. A single en suite is €65 - €80 per night.
Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price.
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 based on dorm beds is €22 - €30 per person per night.
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.
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.
Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.
If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.
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.
It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
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.
Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We advise you take out travel insurance. You can click here for excellent rates.
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
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Highlights: ferry, distilleries, gaelic culture, cathedrals, walks, waterfalls
Highlights: castles, monasteries, mountains, beaches, waterfalls, boat cruises
Highlights: beaches, gaelic culture, national parks, literature, mountains, film locations