Welcome to our

Castles & classics

5 Star Luxury Tour

7 Day Essential Ireland Tour

Our Famous VIP Tour


Experience the majesty of Ireland's Castles, stately homes and historic houses. A Tour high on culture, history and luxury with overnight stays you’ll remember forever

Win a once in a lifetime tour of Ireland

Visit our Facebook or Instagram page to enter the competition. All you have to do is like, share and leave a comment as to what you'd most like to see on your visit to Ireland. Enter before February 1st to be in with a chance of winning a place on our April 2019 Wild Atlantic Tour.

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Black Friday special Offer

Get €150 off your next  Wild Atlantic or Castles & Classics Essential Ireland Tours with this Black Friday special offer code: Ireland‍ or €115 of the True North Tours with this code: Ireland-North

Limited places so Book Now! Offer valid until 4 December

Price Per Person Sharing FROM Only €2,999-€3299

Reserve Place with 20% Deposit

Max Tour Size: 16 People

Solo supplement of €850 approx applies to solo travellers, see FAQs for details

Book now

Check Out our 2023 Dates!

We run a limited number of exclusive tours each year, all sell out! Book early to avoid disappointment

If a tour is 'SOLD OUT' you can email us to join a waiting list.
If a particular date does not suit your friends or family group, please get in touch about organising a private tour

Click to See Dates

Saturday 19th to Friday 25th March, 2023 SOLD OUT

Saturday 23rd April to Sat 29th April 2023 SOLD OUT

Saturday 21st May to Sat 27th May 2023 SOLD OUT

Sunday 23rd to 29th July - OPEN - some spaces left

Sunday 27th Aug to Sat 2nd Sep 2023 - OPEN

Saturday 9th to Sat 15 Sep 2023 SOLD OUT

Sunday 8th Oct to Sat 14th Oct 2023 - OPEN

The ultimate Irish Castles tour!

You’ll never forget checking in to a 12th century fortress and sleeping in its luxurious bedrooms.

This tour features all the fantastic activities and experiences ‘Essential Ireland Tours’ are famous for, but it’s extra magic is the luxury accommodation and the small group size (8 - 16 tour guests only).

You’ll have the travel experience of a lifetime in some of the world’s best hotels and stately homes. We leave nothing out and the attention to detail on this tour is exceptional. Great memories, fun experiences, gourmet food and wine, wonderful music, a luxury Castle, an epic VIP tour of Ireland.

This marvelous tour overnights in historic gems such as Ashford Castle and Milltown House. For our foodies, a gourmet Irish dinner with private Chef, a whiskey tasting, fun picnics with local produce (especially Irish cheese!). Epic experiences each day from historical walking tours, great traditional music and pubs, to our very own private School of Falconry and so much more

Price: Only €2,500 - 2,799 per person

Highlights of our 'castles & classics' tour

All activities are fully covered in the Essential Ireland Tour Package

Take a Jaunting car through Killarney historical national park

Stay in historic Adare (Ryder Cup 2027), one of Ireland's most picturesque villages

Great experiences galore from the iconic Guinness Brewery to our very own award-winning 'Kingdom Falconry'.

Visit the preserved historic village and castle in Bunratty county Clare, where you can see Ireland's history through the ages

Stay in the exquisite 5 star Ashford Castle, in the heart of Connemara

Explore the early medieval site of the Rock Of Cashel: follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick

See where 'The Quiet Man' was filmed in the charming village of Cong, home to Cong Abbey

Whats included in the tour package

All activities are fully covered in the Essential Ireland Tour Package

All Breakfasts are Included. From cooked gourmet feasts of eggs and bacon; and healthy fruit, homemade muesli and porridge

Luxury Accommodation: Ashford Castle included. Stately Homes, Country Houses, fine town-centre 4 & 5 star Hotels . Range of luxury accommodation outlined below

All tips to guides, drivers, local guides, bar-staff, servers etc ALL covered while on a tour activity or meal

All transport, from luxury coach travel, shuttle buses, taxis etc used for tour activities are paid for.

Snacks are occasionally provided while aboard our small luxury coach going from destination to destination.

1 picnic lunch is provided - hand-picked artisan Irish cheese board , cold meats, homemade breads and fresh-fruit

We provide 1 gourmet group-meal, this takes the form of a 3 course meal served in the waterfront conservatory at Milltown House. We include unlimited drinks (drinking responsibly is obviously encouraged) and wine pairings with this meal.

What type of accommodation will I stay in?

We handpick quality accommodation based on quality, location, and the best customer-service on offer. We like to provide a balance between 5 star luxury hotels and also high-quality Guesthouses, to give a variety of experiences, we also offer one night in a traditional B&B to experience life with an Irish family environment ned world-class quality customer-service.

Our co-founder, Patrick, always like to remind guests that we “dont stay in generic big-brand hotels, we prefer to offer you historic and luxury homes of character.. that have housed Hollywood stars and withstood sieges”.

oVERVIEW OF 7 DAY Castles & classics



Day 1: Dublin to Killarney (1 night)

  • Welcome Irish-coffee

  • Visit Dublin’s Phoenix Park

  • Rock of Cashel Tour

  • Group lunch at Cashel

  • Sleep in a Stately home, Killarney

  • An evening of Irish music in lively Killarney

Day2: Killarney to Kenmare to Dingle ( 2 nights )

  • Jaunting-car ride through Killarney National Park

  • Mini ‘Ring of Kerry Tour’

  • Kenmare (and the stone circle!)

  • Sheepdog demo on the Ring of Kerry

  • ‘Welcome to Dingle’ Gourmet banquet with private chef

Day 3: Dingle Peninsula tour and Falconry

  • Award-winning Walking Tour of Historic Dingle

  • Slea Head Tour, experience the idyllic peninsula

  • ‘Dingle Crystal ‘workshop visit

  • Irish bread making class and lunch

  • Free afternoon to enjoy Dingle

  • Dingle Whiskey tasting session

  • World Champion Irish dancer performance

  • Fun musical Pub tour (including Dick Macks)

  • Private Dingle Falconry Experience. (awesome!)

Day 4: Dingle to Dromoland castle

  • Visit Adare, National ‘tidy town’!

  • Lunch in Adare Manor

  • Tour Bunratty Castle and folk village

  • Drinks reception at Dromoland Castle

Day 5:  Dromoland Castle to Ashford Castle (2 nights)

  • Free morning to enjoy the exquisite gardens of Dromoland Castle

  • Experience the famous Cliffs of Moher

  • Walk the Burren

  • Galway Bay scenic drive

  • Guinness & Oysters in Galway city

  • Ashford Castle

Day 6: Connemara in-depth

  • Visit the historic village of Cong (The Quiet Man)

  • Walking tour of Cong Abbey

  • Tour the epic Kylemore Abbey (Ireland’s Taj Mahal)

  • Scenic drive through Connemara

Day 7: Ashford Castle to Clonmacnoise, Guinness Storehouse & Dublin

  • Free morning to enjoy Ashford Castle

  • Visit Clonmacnoise, ancient monastic city on River Shannon

  • VIP Connoisseur experience at Guinness Storehouse



5 STAR LUXURY TOUR - Incredible Value. Ashford Castle (or Dromoland or Ballyseede Castles) included!

note: Sep 3rd 2022 tour will stay 2 nights Killarney, 2 nights Dingle.
Oct 17th Tour will stay 1 night Killarney, 3 nights Dingle

Day 1: Dublin to Ashford Castle

  • Connemara

  • Cong village (National tidy town!)

  • welcome drink in the Prince of Wales cocktail bar

  • Overnight in a magical Irish castle

[9.30am] Depart central Dublin. Pick up in one central location City’s south-side (The Harding Hotel, just in front of Christchurch Cathedral). We’ll enjoy some fun and informative commentary on Dublin’s attractions to the beautiful Irish countryside.

[10.30] Stop outside Dublin for a welcome-coffee! You’ll have an itinerary Q&A session with Stephen McPhilemy, our Co-Founder and Chief Tour-Guide.
Then onward to the idyllic village of Cong, one of Ireland's most beautiful spots and scene of the Hollywood classic 'The Quiet Man'

[12.30] Enjoy free time for lunch in charming Cong..

[1.30pm] Checkin to Ashford Castle, the worlds most beautiful and luxurious Castle Hotel. The warm welcome from the staff is an experience in itself.

[3pm] explore the exquisite gardens, perhaps ride some of the Castle's horses through the woods, fish on Lough Corrib for salmon or pike or relax in the award-winning spa.

[5pm] Gather in the Prince of Wales Bar for a welcome drink, courtesy of Stephen and the Essential Ireland team.

Optional dinner in the Castle Dungeon...

Day 2: Ashford Castle to Adare (1 night)

  • The world-famous Cliffs of Moher

  • Adare heritage town

  • Visit 'the Normans' exhibition

  • Explore the Burren

[9am] After a delicious breakfast fit for royalty, you'll have all morning free to enjoy the facilities of Ashford Castle.

[12.30pm] Onwards through Connemara to the world-famous Cliffs of Moher to enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery. We go to a unique secret spot to enjoy the Cliffs and are able to avoid all the tourist hordes.

[2pm] Enjoy free-time to explore the unique geological formation of the Burren.

[3pm] Coffee and photo-stop at at Bunratty Castle.

[4pm] Arrive in the heritage village of Adare in County Limerick, enjoy a visit at the fascinating exhibition of the Normans

[5pm]   checkin in to the historic Dunraven Arms in the heritage village of Adare. Ryder Cup host-venue 2027.
Free for dinner in the many fine restaurants or traditional gastro-pubs.

Day 3: Adare to Killarney (2 nights)

  • Jaunting Car ride by the Lakes of Killarney

  • Killarney National Park

  • Muckross House & Gardens

  • Ross Castle

  • Fun music evening the lively pubs of Killarney

[10am] A leisurely morning in Adare. Gather after breakfast and onwards to wonderful Killarney, one of Ireland's most welcoming towns.

[12noon] We’ll break for lunch at Muckross House and Gardens.

[1.30pm] Tour Muckross House and stately home

Afterwards enjoy a jaunting-car ride through the native woodland of Killarney National Park and trot by the lakes of Killarney

[3.30pm] visit Ross Castle for a photo stop under Ireland's highest mountain - Carrauntoohill

[5pm] check in to our central Killarney Hotel, relax, perhaps use the spa, and prepare for a fun night out in the lively music pubs of Killarney, within a few minutes walk of our hotel.

Day 4: Kenmare & some of the 'Ring of Kerry'

  • Kenmare

  • Stone Circle

  • Kissane Sheep Farm (subject to opening)

[10am]  A relaxing morning in Killarney, we'll tour over Molls Gap and the Black Valley to the old market village of Kenmare.

[11.30pm] Visit the mysterious and ancient stone circle and free time to explore Kenmare.

[3pm] Enjoy sheep-herding by well trained and highly intelligent Border Collies are the Kissane family sheep farm.

[3.30pm] Arrive back in Killarney for free time to enjoy the bustling streets and colourful shops.

Day 5:  Killarney to Dingle (2 nights)

  • Dingle walking tour

  • Bean in Dingle coffee experience

  • Dingle Crystal workshop

  • Musical pub crawl

  • Gourmet buffet dinner at Milltown House

  • Irish Whiskey tasting

[9am] Depart at 9am for the one hour scenic drive to Dingle.

[10am] Coffee stop at the famous 'Bean in Dingle' then we'll enjoy an indepth walking tour of historic Dingle with our local guide, using our vox systems.

[1pm] free for lunch in Dingle

[3pm] Checkin into our waterfront home on Dingle Bay, Milltown House, once the residence for Hollywood star, Robert Mitchum

[4pm] Private Falconry experience with the Master Falconers at 'Kingdom Falconry'
[5.30pm] Irish whiskey tasting
Free for dinner in the many fine choices on offer in Dingle

Day 6: Slea Head Tour and Dingle in-depth

  • Slea Head Tour

  • David Geaney, Irish dancer (subject to availablity)

  • Meet the locals at famous Dick Macks pub & afterwards Gourmet final dinner by private chef (all drinks included) at the waterfront glass Dining room at Milltown House with some great Irish traditional musicians

[10am] Depart Milltown House after a hearty breakfast and tour the iconic Slea Head drive.

[11am] Visit the Blasket Islands interpretive centre to learn of the Gaelic heritage of the local people

[1pm] Visit Gallarus Oratory

2pm - 5.30pm Free time in Dingle to explore on your own

[6pm] Gourmet final dinner by private chef (all drinks included)

Day 7: Dingle to Cashel & Guinness Storehouse & Dublin.

  • The Rock of Cashel

  • The golden Vale of Tipperary

  • The full Guinness experience at Guinness Storehouse

[9am] Depart after a fine breakfast on Dingle Bay

[11am]: Rest stop in Newcastle West, home of the legendary Halla Mor (the great Norman banqueting Hall)

[12noon] Guided tour of the Rock of Cashel, following in the footsteps of St. Patrick himself

[1pm] We’ll be providing some picnic snacks here with our compliments on the hallowed Rock of Cashel

[2pm] Depart for the Capital City.

[3.30pm] Arrive in Dublin

[4pm] We’ll say our farewells in the environs of The Guinness Storehouse and then drop you off at your desired location in Dublin city-centre, (we can also help you arrange a drop-off at Dublin Airport or to an airport hotel, after 6 pm approximately).

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat, may the road rise to meet you.

Castles & Classics tour dates 2019

We run a limited number of tours each year, book early to avoid disappointment

March 25th to March 31st - SOLD OUT

October 30th to November 6th

If a particular date does not suit your group please get in touch about organising a private tour

Check Out our 2020 Dates!

Click to See Dates

Sunday 8th March - Saturday 14th March

Monday 5th October - Sunday 11th October

Book Now

Reserve your space with a 20% deposit 

Book now

Contact Us to Find Out More

Any Questions we are happy to help!



Stephen McPhilemy and Patrick Wade are the co-founders of Essential Ireland Tours. One Irish and one Irish-American, they met 20 years ago while Patrick was backpacking through Ireland and Stephen was his tour-guide.

Two decades later they (and their Irish Wolfhounds) are experienced and respected figures in the Irish tour and hospitality scene with a passion for providing high quality tours. Authentic Irish experiences for unbeatable value.



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