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.

Click Here to Enter

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 10% Deposit

Max Tour Size: 13 - 16 People

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

Check Out our 2024 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

Sunday May 5th, 2024 OPEN

Sunday June 9th, 2024 OPEN

Sunday July 7th, 2024 OPEN

Sunday July 14th, 2024

Sunday August 4th, 2024 OPEN

Sunday September 8th, 2024 OPEN

Sunday September 15th, 2024 SOLD OUT

Sunday September 22nd, 2024 OPEN

Sunday Ocotber 13th, 2024 SOLD OUT

Sunday October 20th , 2024 - OPEN

Note: Our 2025 dates are also live on our calendar, reserve by clicking on 'BOOK NOW'.

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 included!
(or an alternative 5 star luxury Irish Castle-hotel on certain dates)


Day 1: Dublin to Ashford Castle

  • Clonmacnoise and 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. 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 via beautiful Clonmacnoise 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.

[7pm] Gather in the Prince of Wales Bar for a welcome drink, courtesy of Stephen and the Essential Ireland team.
Guests will dine together in the Castle...
Note: Ashford Castle requests all guests to dine in one of the restaurants on the estate. Essential Ireland book the 'Thatched cottage' for us all.
Should you wish to use the spa, or any of the Castles facilities, please also arrange directly in advance with the Castle.

Day 2: Ashford Castle to Killarney (2 nights)

  • The world-famous Cliffs of Moher

  • Adare heritage town

  • Visit 'the Normans' exhibition

  • Photograph the Burren

  • Fun Irish music evening in lively Killarney

[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.

Photostop at the unique geological formation of the Burren.

Comfort stop and relaxing stroll in the heritage village of Adare in County Limerick, enjoy the little but fascinating Norman exhibition.

[5.30 pm] Arrive in lively and charming Killarney, our home for the next two nights. A fun-filled evening of Irish music lies ahead. Free for dinner

Day 3:  Killarney and 'mini Ring of Kerry Tour'

  • Jaunting Car ride by the Lakes of Killarney

  • Killarney National Park

  • Muckross House & Gardens

  • Kenmare , the stone circle & Kissane Sheep farm

  • Group dinner in Killarney

A leisurely morning in Killarney, one of Ireland's most welcoming towns.

[10 am ] Begin the day with one of our favourite activities, enjoy a jaunting-car ride through the native woodland of Killarney National Park and trot by the lakes of Killarney. Always a highlight for our Tour-Guests

11.30 ] Tour Muckross House and Gardens.

[2.30 pm] Visit the idyllic old market village of Kenmare and the Kissane family sheep farm, enjoy a herding demonstration by their super-smart Border Collies, amidst the stunning scenery of the 'Black Valley' and the backdrop of Molls Gap.

[5pm] Back at our central hotel with some time to relax and/or enjoy the colourful and bustling shops before we meet for a delicious group meal.

Day 4: Killarney to Dingle (3 nights)

  • 'Welcome to Dingle' Walking Tour.

  • 'Dingle Crystal' Workshop visit

  • Private Falconry experience

  • Gourmet buffet dinner by private Chef at Milltown House with excellent Irish traditional musicians

[9.30am] After breakfast we will take the 1 hour scenic drive to magical Dingle, one of Ireland's best loved fishing-villages.

[11am] Enjoy a 'Welcome to Dingle' walking tour, exploring all areas of cultural and historical significance and also meeting the local characters.

Visit the Dingle Crystal workshop and observe Sean Daly at work (the former Master-cutter at Waterford Crystal).
[1- 2.30 pm] Free time in Dingle to find a nice lunch-spot and to enjoy the bustling streets and colourful shops.

Then we'll checkin to our beloved Milltown House, right on Dingle Harbour.Our historic landmark property is the former home of Hollywood star, Robert Mitchum and is your home-from-home for the next 3 nights, offering some incredible Irish experiences. Beginning with a private falconry experience in our School of Falconry, and a fine dinner cooked by our private Chef (all ingredients sourced within 10 miles of Dingle). Followed by live Irish music and a whiskey tasting and Guinness-pouring class. Always a fun night (ps dinner-drinks included!)

Day 5: The Dingle Peninsula & the epic 'Slea Head scenic drive'

  • 'Hold a baby lamb'

  • Slea Head & the glorious beaches

  • Gallarus Oratory & the ancient ruins of Kilmakeader

  • Dingle Musical pub crawl

  • Harry Clarke's masterpiece stained-glass windows

  • Irish Whiskey tasting

[9am] Depart on our scenic scenic drive around the Dingle peninsula.

[9.30am] Hold some baby lambs at Aodhan's family farm, maybe even bottle-feed the wee rascals!

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

[1pm] Visit Gallarus Oratory

[2pm] Explore the 12th century ruins of Kilmalkeadar Church. View the ancient form of Celtic writing called 'Ogham' on the historic standing stones. We'll return to Dingle and offer the chance to view  Harry Clarke's masterpiece stained-glass windows, or rest-time for those tour-guests who would like to join our Dingle Musical pub-tour later this evening.
[5.30pm] Irish whiskey tasting with our resident expert.
Free for dinner and/or the pub-music, many fine choices on offer in Dingle

Day 6: Free-time to relax in charming Dingle

  • Free-time to shop, relax and wander the lively streets of Dingle.

  • David Geaney, Irish dancer (subject to availablity)

  • Meet the locals at famous Dick Macks pub, perhaps have a belt made by the resident artisan craftsman.

  • Many tour-guests opt for a habour cruise, short hike or a Dingle sea-safari.

[10am] Free-day to shop, relax and wander the lively streets of Dingle

Meet the locals at famous Dick Macks pub, perhaps have a belt made by the resident artisan craftsman.

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.



Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.