Epicurean, Garden & Equestrian Journey June 15 – 24, 2018
John Lyons welcomes you on a leisurely 8-day town & country journey of Ireland's grand & intimate gardens. We have lined up an eclectic mix of activities & some exclusive behind the scenes access, sure to be memorable. We’ll enjoy first class horse riding & visits to local food producers & farmers markets. Accommodations are wonderfully located 4* & 5* properties, where you may relax & enjoy some down time or explore on your own.
Everything was just perfect. We truly had a wonderful trip.– Jenny P.
Join us next Summer for a leisurely 8-day town & country journey of Ireland's grand & intimate gardens. We have lined up an eclectic mix of activities & some exclusive behind the scenes access, sure to be memorable. We’ll enjoy first class horse riding & visits to local food producers & farmers markets. Accommodations are wonderfully located 4* & 5* properties, where you may relax & enjoy some down time or explore on your own.
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
- Most meals, including lunches and dinners
- Two extraordinarily beautiful riding opportunities
- Wonderful private gardens and lunches
- A Castle Stay
- Luxurious 5 star Dublin Hotel
- Visit to a Farmers Market
- And much more ….
Included in This Tour
- Meet & Greet Welcome on arrival in Ireland at Dublin Airport
- Your tour leader will be John Lyons, Gardener & Equestrian
- Transportation by luxury coach throughout your trip with services of a Professional Driver
- Complimentary bottled water provided daily
- 8-Nights’ deluxe accommodation: Brook Lodge, Ahernes Townhouse, Kinnitty Castle & The Merrion Hotel
- Full Irish Breakfast Daily, 6 lunches, 4 dinners with wine & beer
- Riding on two days
- Admissions included to all gardens specified in the itinerary
- Private transfer on day of departure
- Concierge services or our office while traveling
- All taxes and service charges
Take the hassle out of booking flights. Ask about our best available Economy Fares as well as our Preferred Business and First Class Offers. Our air department experts can help with competitive rates. Just let us know your preferred dates and U.S. Departure City. We will do the rest.
June 15, Friday
Depart U.S. for Ireland on your overnight flight to Dublin.
June 16, Saturday
Arrive Dublin Airport where we will be met by our private driver and luxury transportation. We will continue to County Wicklow, known as the “Garden of Ireland”, for a 2-night stay.
Today we will visit the world renowned Powerscourt Gardens for a private tour, followed by lunch. We will then settle into the comfort of our deluxe accommodations to relax before our welcome get together over cocktails and dinner this evening. (L,D)
June 17, Sunday
After a wonderful nights rest, we will enjoy a fortifying Irish breakfast before we head off on an exhilarating ride in the Wicklow Mountains, not to be missed. Plenty of opportunity for gallops with views over the Irish Sea and fences for those who wish to jump. Non-riders will enjoy sightseeing and shopping in the company of their driver guide.
Everyone will enjoy lunch together at Jimi Blake’s, a plant-lovers paradise, before a private tour of his gardens. Hunting Brook is one of Ireland’s largest private collections of plants and surrounding Jimi’s home are many examples of the fiercely colorful and theatrically beautiful, large-scale planting combinations for which Jimi has become so well known. Next, we head down the road to his sister June’s for a tour of her gorgeous gardens. Spread over three rural acres, June’s garden wraps itself around her home, a handsome Victorian farm-steward’s cottage surrounded by a huddle of austerely beautiful, granite-stone farm buildings. June is an artist with an appreciation for color, texture and form that is reflected in all of her intricately planted borders, sculptural land-forms and flower meadows.
After a lovely time in the gardens we will enjoy beautiful views of the Wicklow Mountains as we drive over the Wicklow Gap and down to the valley of two lakes at Glendalough. Then back to our hotel to relax. Dinner independently and evening at leisure. (B,L)
June 18, Monday
After breakfast we check out of our hotel and drive south to County Carlow where we visit the beautiful Altamont Gardens outside Tullow. Widely respected as the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown with an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens and riverside walks covering over 40 acres, it’s a “must-see” for any garden enthusiast. The estate gains much of its character from the many mature trees, natives in the avenues and woodland areas, and exotic specimens throughout the gardens. Lawns bisected by sculpted yews slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons and lead in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees.
After lunch our road takes us further south to Waterford and a stop at the Viking Triangle, with some free time to explore and perhaps visit the House of Waterford Crystal. Later this afternoon we continue to the historic Norman walled port of Youghal where we will stay for 2-nights at our luxury Inn and seafood restaurant. Take time to relax and recharge. We will enjoy pints and cocktails in the warm and friendly bar before dinner. (B,L,D)
June 19, Tuesday
Enjoy some free time this morning after breakfast for a stroll around town. Explore the medieval town walls, enjoy a walk on the beach or visit the Clock Tower Museum. Getting the show on the road, we visit a farmers market to mingle with the locals and see what the artisanal food producers are up to at this time of year. We have the opportunity to graze on their fresh produce and learn all about it. The county of Cork is famous for starting the slow food movement in Ireland, producing delicious cheeses, cured meats, smoked fish and much more. These mostly organic fine foods can be found at top purveyors in London, Paris and New York.
We continue north to visit the majestic gardens at Lismore Castle overlooking the river Blackwater, one of the best salmon rivers in the country. The gardens are a mix of ornamental borders and productive areas, begun in the early 1600’s by the 1st Earl of Cork and later continued in 1800’s by the 6th Duke of Devonshire. Ancient yew tree avenues, romantic meadows, bountiful fruit and vegetable beds, formal long borders and exciting horticulture can all be seen here. We return to our hotel to relax before a lively evening. Dinner independently. (B,L)
June 20, Wednesday
After a leisurely breakfast we check out and head north to visit the Rock of Cashel, once the crowning stone for Ireland’s medieval bishops and kings. Afterwards we continue into the lush countryside to visit a world renowned stud farm, where we will see some of the finest race horses in Europe.
Leaving the Comeragh and Galtee Mountains behind us we drive up to County Offaly and the Sliabh Blooms, where we will check into our castle accommodations for 2-nights. Dinner at the castle tonight followed by traditional entertainment. (B,D)
June 21, Thursday
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we will be introduced to our horses and equestrian team. Once we’re all comfortable with our mounts, we head up into the Sliabh Bloom Mountains for a full day of riding. Non riders may relax at the castle or tour local historic sites and market towns with your driver guide.
Later this afternoon we will have a special visit for drinks and storytelling by an Irish Seanachai. Dinner independently this evening. (B,L)
June 22, Friday
After breakfast we check out and visit Birr Castle and Gardens for a private tour. The castle has been in the same family since the mid-1600’s, and the gardens are home to an abundance of rare plants, 2000 species in all, collected by the Earls of Rosse from around the world over the last 150 years. One of many features include the world’s tallest box hedges and a recent planting of the largest grove of giant redwoods outside of California.
After lunch we visit Clonmacnoise, founded in 544 by St. Kieran, to see High Crosses and the Horseman’s Stone. We then continue to Dublin where we will have a brief city overview before checking into our centrally located luxury hotel for 2-nights. Dinner independently this evening. (B,L)
June 23, Saturday
This morning we will meet our expert guide who will take us on an insiders food a shopping expedition. Some visits and tastings will include a world class cheese monger, chocolate atelier, a pub with a history and whiskey tasting. Enjoy behind the scenes introductions to the best of Ireland’s design and fashion with opportunities to buy unique pieces.
Our afternoon is free to explore, shop and enjoy the unique energy of Dublin City and perhaps a famous literary pub or two. There are many galleries to visit, including the new IMMA and of course the National Gallery only steps from our hotel. This evening we will meet for cocktails at our hotel before enjoying a celebratory farewell dinner and fine dining experience. (B, D)
June 24, Sunday
After a wonderful breakfast this morning, we will have a private transfer to Dublin Airport for return flights home. With fond memories or your trip to Ireland, we hope it won’t be your last. Until the next time, Slan Abhaile! (B)
Kinnitty Castle, Co. Offaly
Kinnitty Castle Hotel, located in the picturesque village of Kinnitty Co. Offaly, nestled in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, offers the perfect setting for a romantic castle break in Ireland. Arrive up the winding avenue, opening into breathtaking views of the 13th century castle seated on 650 acres of parkland, inclusive of 60 acres of rolling lawns. Enter the lavish medieval revival castle, drenched in original features, heritage colors and regal atmospheres dating back to 1209. Wander through the fine settings of the Library Bar, The Sli Dala Restaurant and the Drawing Room all with magnificent character. Relax beside our unique open fires, enjoy the best of local cuisine prepared by our Executive Chef, Anthony Holland.
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin
Recognized by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the World's Best Hotels, The Merrion Hotel is elegant and inviting. Located in the center of Georgian Dublin, it was created from four Georgian townhouses, and a contemporary wing was built around private gardens. Lord Monck built the four townhouses in the 1760's for wealthy Irish merchants and nobility. The hotel is remembered historically as being the birthplace of Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington. Dublin's "golden mile" of lively pubs & restaurants is just a short walk from the hotel, as is Grafton Street for shopping.
Aherne's Townhouse, Youghal
Open turf fires and the warmest of welcomes await you in this family run hotel in the historic walled port of Youghal. The rooms exude comfort and luxury, stylishly furnished with antiques and paintings. The famous Seafood Bar and Restaurant specialise in the freshest of the local-landed seafood. The Fitzgibbon family have been running Ahernes since 1923, originally a traditional pub and shop selling everything from a pint of Guinness to a pound of butter!
The BrookLodge & Wells Spa, Macreddin Village
The Wild & Organic BrookLodge and Macreddin Village is the perfect spot for a break. Take a well-deserved time-out with a long walk, taking in what the Wicklow Countryside has to offer. The BrookLodge comprises of 86 bedrooms ranging from traditional style standard rooms to New York style mezzanine suites. Each bedroom has been decorated to the highest standard to ensure your stay is ultra-comfortable and relaxing.
Travel Tips & FAQs
Passports & Visas
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).
Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland.
What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.
February to April: Highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F
May to July: Highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F
August to October: Highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February.
April & September are considered the most pleasant and temperate months.
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro (€). One euro consists of 100 cent. In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency (£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Gratuities and tips are discretionary and are not usually included in a bill. The general custom is to give 10% to serving staff in restaurants. Cafes might have a collection box at the till and bar staff are not tipped but you are free to offer “have one for yourself”.
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Republic of Ireland, Telephone: 112 or 999
Northern Ireland, Telephone: 999
Plugs in Ireland are three-pronged, the same as in the UK and the electricity supply is also 230v. Adapters are widely available and its a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.
Republic of Ireland: Bus Eireann
Northern Ireland: Translink
Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas Light Railway Tram and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) for up to 3 days.
Republic of Ireland: Irish Rail
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Railways
The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) covers Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow.
Luas light rail/tram service travels across the south and west of Dublin city including the city center areas.
Ireland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1, that’s Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland.
For example, New York is Irish Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Irish Time -8 hours.
English is commonly used throughout Ireland although Irish is the official language and there are Irish speaking areas called the Gaeltacht where it is the predominant language.
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit. Cars in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas are written in Irish (Gaelic) so familiarise yourself with both English and Irish spellings before you set off for those parts. Northern Ireland uses miles per hour, while the Republic of Ireland uses kilometers for signage and speed limits.
There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.
“Back from a great golf trip and thanks so much for your assistance. Hotels were outstanding and made for a wonderful relaxing trip.”
– Tim Dudich
“I wanted to let you know that our trip was one for the ages. We had more fun than I could have imagined.”
– Herb Bennett
“To say our group had an awesome time on our trip would be the understatement of the century.”
– John C. Granzow, CIMA
“I will have no hesitation in recommending your company for future use! I felt as if you and your company gave us top notch customer service and never batted an eye for what may have been odd questions – that type of service is hard to find. You really gave us personal service!”
– Leslie Wajda
“Trip was great – accommodations excellent.”
– Kathleen McCormack-Batterson
“This note is to praise Destinations Ireland and our driver, James Finn, who truly made our trip a pleasure!”
– Donna Long
“The trip was really great. You did a fabulous job of picking the properties. Scotland is beautiful! It was a great trip. You scored again! Can’t wait for our next adventure.”
– Libby McGriff
“I wanted to let you know that the accommodations were fabulous throughout our trip. We were completely blown away, what a magnificent find. The house is simply breathtaking. A word on the drivers. I could not have asked for more accommodating or entertaining gentleman to escort us around. They were full of information, great stories, and advice. Really, really just wonderful guys all around.”
– Susanne McNeill
“A masterful job in creating and arranging such a phenomenal trip…”
– P.J. Fitzgerald
“We had a “dream trip” and you/your organization were a large part it making it all happen. Everything went smoothly and was more than we ever imagined! We are already talking about a return trip in a few years! Have to save our money. 🙂 Thanks again for all you did for us.”
– Nancy Capocy
“I cannot express how much I appreciate you making all the arrangements with such short notice & I just wanted to say Thank you again for all your help.”
– Susan Sanford
“All I do is talk about the wonderful trip, sites and your company and how we couldn’t have been happier with all the arrangements and people who set this wonderful trip up. Again thank you!!!”
– Janet Jenrick
“We had a wonderful time in Ireland and I appreciate all the reservations you made and the guidance your gave us.”
– Monica Kobasic
“I wanted to thank you for arranging a great trip to Scotland. The Channings, Culloden House, and Roxburghe House were fantastic…the best of accommodations, food, and customer service”
– Trina Girimont
“I wanted to thank you and Destinations Ireland and Beyond. We had an amazing experience. We loved all the hotels that you set us up with. Thank you for being so insightful, quickly giving us a speed course of Ireland and helping us decide where to go and what to see. I would highly recommend Destinations Ireland and Beyond as the best travel agency!”
– Donna and Ira Spector
“A lot of beautiful memories. THANK YOU for all of your planning and attention to detail,”
– Kathy Ross
“I just wanted to send you a thank you for all you did to make our trip the best! It was beyond our expectations! We loved all of our accommodations. I can’t say that I have a favorite because it all was perfect. We were not ready to come home and all look forward to visiting Ireland again.”
– Peg Cozzolino
“I want to THANK ALL OF YOU FOR A WONDERFUL TRIP. Ronelle and I had a marvelous time.”
– P.J. “Paul” Nicholson
“Thank You! for all your help arranging a wonderful visit to Ireland.”
– Ron & Jennifer Spielman
“Tim and I had a wonderful trip to Ireland thanks to your wonderful suggestions and arrangements. Everything was just perfect. We truly had a wonderful trip and are grateful for your services.”
– Jenny Popp
“Thank you for the great job you did arranging our trip to Ireland. Everything went wonderfully and the accommodations were the best.”
– Elizabeth Zechman
Booking Enquiry for Epicurean, Garden & Equestrian Journey June 15 – 24, 2018
You can use this form to contact us with your preferred date of travel, the number of people in your party and your requirements and we will get back to you with a quote.