Gardens of Ireland Tour
Self Drive Tour or Luxury Chauffeured Tour
Enter a land of enchanting gardens, great and small, wild and formal. Feast on the stunning nature of Ireland while exploring its array of unique gardens.
“To say our group had an awesome time on our trip would be the understatement of the century.”– John C. Granzow, CIMA
Our Gardens of Ireland tour is a delightful journey from the East to West coast of Ireland exploring the most unusual and enchanting gardens not only within Ireland, but in the whole world. From the vast Phoenix Park in Dublin, to the Zen of the Japanese Gardens in Kildare, the Romantic gardens of Kilfane Glen, to the splendid gardens of Counties Cork, Kerry and Clare, this holiday is a rich feast of nature both tamed and wild, of stunning coastal scenery, rich heritage and the warm welcome of the Irish. Let our local experts create your perfect itinerary, specializing in the needs of families, groups, couples, alumni events, or association gatherings.
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
- Arrive in Dublin
- Tour Dublin City & The Phoenix Park.
- Visit the National Botanic Gardens & The Japanese Gardens in Kildare
- Stay in the medieval city of Kilkenny.
- Explore Kilfane Glen & waterfall
- Visit the Rock of Cashel
- Stay in the city of Cork.
- Visit the seaside town of Kinsale, & Lisselan Estate Gardens.
- Drive to Kenmare & tour Bantry House and Gardens
- Explore Killarney National Park & Lakes
- Visit Muckross House Gardens.
- Visit Knockpatrick Gardens
- View the stunning Cliffs of Moher and explore the lunar-like Burren
- Visit Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
- Return from Shannon Airport
Included in This Tour
- Private Car transfer to your hotel on arrival.
- 9 nights deluxe hotel accommodations with full breakfast daily.
- Self-Drive rental vehicle with unlimited mileage and CDW insurance. OR upgrade to the services of a Professional Driver Guide.
- Touring Map of Ireland & List of recommended pubs, restaurants and places of interest.
- An exclusive & extensive list of all the best craft trails and activities in Ireland.
- Deluxe portfolio of travel Documents & Personalized Itinerary.
- 24/7 Concierge service in Ireland while travelling.
- Arrive: Dublin (DUB)
- Depart: Shannon (SNN)
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.
- Breakfast Daily
Day 1: Arrive in Dublin Airport, transfer to your hotel. Stay 3 nights Dublin.
Arriving in Dublin Airport, enjoy a private transfer to your hotel. Settle in today, and become familiar with your surroundings. We recommend a horse and carriage ride through the old Georgian squares of Dublin. Enjoy a delicious dinner at a local pub, with traditional Irish Music. We will give you a list of our favorite recommendations for pubs and restaurants. Stay 3 nights at Brooks Hotel.
Day 2: Explore Dublin City.
Explore Dublin City today. We recommend getting a 48-hour pass for the ‘Hop on, Hop off’ double-decker bus tour of Dublin. It is a fantastic way to get around while touring all the best sights. Highlights include Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, St. Stephen’s Green, The Guinness Brewery, The National Gallery of Ireland and much, much more. Visit the Kilkenny Design Shop for fine Irish made crafts and goods, and stroll along Grafton Street, Dublin’s premier shopping area.
Day 3: Tour Dublin City and Phoenix Park.
Catch the ‘Hop on, Hop off’ bus and get off at The Phoenix Park. At 1,752 acres, The Phoenix Park is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. Established in 1662 by one of Ireland’s most illustrious viceroys, James Butler, Duke of Ormond – on behalf of King Charles II – about 30% of the Phoenix Park is covered by magnificent trees. The park is a sanctuary for many animals and birds. A huge herd of Fallow Deer has lived in the Park since the 1660’s, and a wide range of wildlife habitats are to be found in the park. The Victorian People’s Flower Gardens located close to the Parkgate Street entrance comprise an area of 22 acres. These gardens were established in 1840 as the Promenade Grounds, and display Victorian horticulture at its best.
Day 4: National Botanic Gardens and Japanese Gardens. Stay 1 night Kilkenny.
After breakfast, pick up your rental car in Dublin City today, and drive south towards Kilkenny. Before you depart Dublin, make sure to visit the National Botanic Gardens. Founded in 1795 it is one of the loveliest botanic gardens in the world. On your way to Kilkenny, stop in Kildare to visit the Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens and St Fiachra’s Garden. Renowned throughout the world and the finest of their kind in Europe, the Japanese Gardens are far more than visual delight. They also provide comfort to the soul, the objective that was set out when the gardens were created between 1906 and 1910.
Continue south, and arrive in Kilkenny where you’ll stay for 1 night at the Kilkenny Pembroke Hotel. Kilkenny is Ireland’s best example of a medieval town, and rich in history. Tour Kilkenny Castle and gardens this afternoon, and enjoy a delicious dinner and restful evening.
Day 5: Kilfane Glen and waterfall. Rock of Cashel. Stay 2 nights Cork.
After breakfast, tour the beautiful Kilfane Glen and waterfall, a perfect example of a Romantic era garden dating from the 1790s. Untouched for 200 years, it is a picturesque paradise with a waterfall tumbling its way to a rushing stream and woodland paths leading to a cottage orné. Tiny bridges sit among ancient trees, wild foxgloves, ferns and other historically correct 18th century planting. Continue south towards Cork.
On your way to Cork, you have the option to stop in Cashel, and tour the Rock of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig/ St. Patrick’s rock) is known also as the Cashel of the Kings. Most of the buildings on the site date from the 12th and 13th centuries. It is a magnificent sight. Upon arrival in Cork, you’ll stay 2 nights at Hayfield Manor.
Day 6: Cork City, Kinsale and Lisselan Estate Gardens.
Options today include, exploring Cork City where you can see The Shandon Bells, the Gothic style University College, St Finbarr’s Cathedral, City Market and the Crawford Art Gallery. Visit Cobh harbor, last port of call for the Titanic. Drive to Clonakilty and tour the Lisselan Estate Gardens. These gardens are among the most tranquil, romantic, and handsome gardens in Ireland. Take a little drive to the picturesque fishing town of Kinsale, famous for its outstanding seafood. Enjoy an evening meal and a stroll through the picturesque cobble stoned streets.
Day 7: Kenmare & Bantry House and Gardens. Stay 2 nights Kerry.
Depart Cork today and drive to Kerry. On your way stop in Kenmare and Bantry. Tour Bantry House and Gardens. This imaginative garden is one of the finest gardens in Ireland, in one of the most extraordinary settings in the world. It is impossible not to be charmed by this place. Travel onwards to Killarney, County Kerry, where you’ll stay for 2 nights at the Carrig House
. Enjoy an evening of relaxation by the roaring fireside, Irish Coffee in hand.
Day 8: Killarney
This morning take a horse and carriage ride to Muckross House on the Killarney Lakes. Set among the Lakes of Killarney in Killarney National Park, Muckross House Gardens are delightful. Let yourself be enchanted by the spectacular views, charming woods, walled gardens, and Torc waterfall. Afterwards visit the Gap of Dunloe and Kate Kearney’s Cottage, a cosy bar and restaurant with traditional music. Take a tour of the Dingle Peninsula featuring some of Ireland’s most spectacular coastal scenery, including Slea Head and the Connor Pass. Dingle town is well known for hiking, fishing and sailing by day and by night for lively restaurants, pubs and a traditional music scene.
Day 9: Knockpatrick Gardens. Stay 2 nights Co. Clare.
Drive north to Foynes in County Limerick, and tour Knockpatrick Gardens. Located overlooking the Shannon River estuary, this extravagant garden has been in existence for over 70 years. Continue, by taking the car ferry boat over the Shannon Estuary, and drive north into County Clare. Stay 2 nights at Sheedy’s Country House Hotel.
Day 10: Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
Visit the majestic Cliffs of Moher, soaring 700 foot above the Atlantic Ocean, and enjoy a stop at Ailwee Cave to see the underground river and waterfall with their dramatic stalagmites and stalactites. Explore the lunar-like landscape of the Burren region, famous for its unique flora and fauna and views of the Aran Islands. This limestone landscape is dotted with druidic altars, Stone Age fireplaces and 22 different kinds of orchid. Visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park with its charming flower gardens, vegetable gardens, farm animals, and old fashioned gardening implements, all part of the recreation of life in an old Irish Village.
Day 11: Drive to Shannon Airport & prepare to return home.
After a hearty Irish breakfast, drive to Shannon Airport, return your rental car, and prepare for your return flight home.
Brooks hotel, Dublin
Situated only minutes from Grafton Street in the fashionable heart of Dublin city, Brooks Hotel is the perfect place to stay. Most of the city’s key attractions are within walking distance to the hotel and include: the best shopping streets in the capital, St. Stephen’s Green, the Guinness storehouse, Dublin Castle, Trinity College and many popular art galleries, theatres, museums and entertainment venues. Luxuriously appointed rooms coupled with excellent food, fine wines and exemplary levels of customer care and service, are what make a visit to Brooks such a special and rewarding experience.
The Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny
The Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny is a relaxing 4 star boutique hotel in the heart of the old city quarter. Kilkenny is a city rich with medieval heritage and alive with a vibrant arts culture. Surrounded by Kilkenny's most famous landmarks including Kilkenny Castle, Butler House and Gardens and the National Craft Gallery, it is fitting that the hotel takes its name from the Earl of Pembroke for whom Kilkenny Castle was built.
Hayfield Manor, Cork
Hayfield Manor, an Experience beyond the Best. At the 5 Star Hayfield Manor Hotel Cork, a family owned boutique luxury hotel, a visit is an experience in itself. Winner of the Conde Nast Traveler 2012 Reader's Choice Awards, the hotel is discreetly nestled within beautiful walled gardens, a tranquil oasis in the vibrant city of Cork South West Ireland.
Sheedy’s Country House, Lisdoonvarna
Sheedy's Country House Hotel and Restaurant is a small family owned and managed 4 star hotel and award winning restaurant, situated in the village of Lisdoonvarna, on the edge of The Burren. When you stay at Sheedy's Hotel Lisdoonvarna, you instantly feel like family guests of John and Martina's 300 year old family home. The family-run atmosphere is unmistakable, but the piece de resistance of this charming hotel is the gourmet cuisine;John's passion for great food has earned him numerous awards. John and Martina, together with their children Roisin and Matthew look forward to making you feel like a very special guest in their very special home!
Carrig House, Kerry
This charming and meticulously restored Victorian residence has a sense of timelessness about it that has captured the imagination of poets and adventurers alike. Situated on the shores of beautiful Caragh Lake in Kerry, you will find the cleanest air in Europe, beautiful gardens and natural green woodlands with spectacular views across the still waters to the wildness of the Kerry Mountains. For the past 15 years Frank & Mary have operated a very successful Country House & Restaurant and have won many rewards for their hospitality and their Lakeside Restaurant. They are members of Ireland’s prestigious Blue Book.
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.
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Booking Enquiry for Gardens of Ireland Tour
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